Recent News

Rebekah Oulton is an associate professor for civil and environmental engineering at Cal Poly.

Meet the Faculty: Rebekah Oulton

Oct 15, 2019

Rebekah Oulton graduated from Harvey Mudd College with a bachelor’s degree in both general engineering and environmental policy.  

Although as an undergraduate Oulton said she imagined herself creating policies for environmental protection, her first job post-grad was in a marketing position working for Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) in San Luis Obispo. During her time at SoCalGas, Oulton earned her mechanical professional engineer license and eventually received a promotion that transferred her from San Luis Obispo to downtown Los Angeles.

Continue reading Meet the Faculty: Rebekah Oulton...
Stefan Talke is a new faculty member for the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Cal Poly SLO.

Meet the Faculty: Stefan Talke

Oct 14, 2019

Stefan Talke graduated from UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering before working for a couple years in the software industry. Talke decided to return to his alma mater, wanting a better fit for his desire to get outside and do more field work. 

“It’s different [in the field]. You know, these days we tend to see things behind a computer, and you miss some stuff when you’re doing that,” Talke said. “Literally you might miss it, but figuratively or conceptually we simplify things too much sometimes and we don’t see the details that are important.”  

Continue reading Meet the Faculty: Stefan Talke...
Cal Poly Wins First Place at PSWC

Cal Poly Wins First Place at PSWC

Apr 9, 2019

Cal Poly civil and environmental engineering students competed with 17 schools in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Pacific Southwest Conference on April 4–6.
Congratulations to the Concrete Canoe Team for winning first place in all seven of their events, and to the Transportation and Design Build Teams for winning first place overall in their categories. Cal Poly teams placed in nine out of the seventeen team competitions, winning first place in the overall conference.

Our concrete canoe team will advance to the national championship in Florida June 6-8, 2019 and compete for their third consecutive national title. 

Cal Poly PSWC Team
2019 Cal Poly PSWC Team


Concrete Canoe team
2019 Concrete Canoe team will advance to the national championship.

Cal Poly GeoWall team
2019 GeoWall team placed second


Planning committee
2019 PSWC Planning Committee

Continue reading Cal Poly Wins First Place at PSWC...
Alumni spotlights

Alumni Spotlights

Mar 28, 2019

These alumni spotlights are from the latest edition of Benchmark, our department newsletter.

kevin zucco

Kevin Zucco
Executive Principal, ZFA Structural Engineers

Kevin Zucco graduated from Cal Poly in 1992 with a degree in civil engineering and concentrated in both structural and geotechnical engineering. Zucco has worked at ZFA Structural Engineers, a firm started by his father, since 1993 in the Santa Rosa, Sonoma County and San Francisco offices. ZFA Structural Engineers is involved in a diverse portfolio of projects including educational, retail, residential and historic buildings. 

As an executive principal, Zucco has worked on  a variety of projects including the retrofitting of the Napa County Historical Courthouse and a four-story fire training center in Hayward. The training center has mechanisms to create fire and smoke hazards to mimic a real fire emergency. The design features a heavy water drainage system, collapsed parking lot and a BART-like subway.

“My favorite part about these projects is that once the public gets to use these facilities, they really appreciate the work our firm does,” said Zucco.

Sustainability is an important part of Zucco’s work, and he believes that an effective design takes into account not just the site but also the economic impact. ZFA Structural Engineers is a platinum Partner and lab sponsor of Cal Poly Civil and Environmental Engineering. 


Jason Hsia

Jason Hsia
Design Engineer, Gregory P. Luth & Associates

Jason Hsia graduated from Cal Poly in 2017 with a bachelor and master’s degree in civil engineering. He is a design engineer at Gregory P. Luth & Associates, a firm based in Santa Clara, California specializing in structural engineering.

As an undergraduate, Hsia was a pledge marshal for Chi Epsilon honor society and served on the executive board for the Cal Poly American Society of Civil Engineers. As captain of the 2016 ASCE Pacific Southwest Conference transportation competition team, Hsia led the team to propose improvements for the I-405/I-710 interchange in Los Angeles and was first among 17 entries from universities in California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii. 

Hsia was a student assistant for Caltrans District 5 and completed a 3-D design for a project to repave Highway 101 past Atascadero. He also designed a drainage system and rock slope protection for erosion control in San Miguel. Gregory P. Luth & Associates is a silver Partner of Cal Poly Civil and Environmental Engineering.

read newsletter alumni

Continue reading Alumni Spotlights...

First Annual Partners Dinner

Jan 4, 2019

Partners Dinner


Over 110 students, faculty, staff, and company representatives attended the first annual CEENVE Partners Dinner on December 7, 2018 in the Advanced Technologies Lab. The event connected students with industry professionals and celebrated this year's scholarships recipients. 

The evening began with a networking hour for students, faculty and industry professionals to connect. Students sat at company-sponsored tables for dinner and were able to learn about employment opportunities within the companies.

CENG Dean Amy Fleischer was the keynote speaker for the event and spoke about the importance of making a conscious effort to create a more inclusive environment. 

At the end of the night, this year's 25 scholarship recipients were acknowledged for their accomplishments. 

We would like to give a special thank you to all those who attended and made this event so successful!

2018 Partners Dinner Sponsors:

  • Clark Pacific
  • Cannon
  • Langan
  • Traylor Bros.
  • Stantec
  • Ashley & Vance Engineering
  • Cornerstone Earth Group
  • Chevron
  • Webcor
  • Kimley-Horn
  • Sage Engineers
  • Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc.
  • Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group
  • Water Systems Consulting, Inc. 


Continue reading First Annual Partners Dinner...
Alex Huang at 2016 REACTICA

Civil Engineering Student Aims to Beat World Record

Nov 13, 2018

Alex Huang at 2016 REACTICA

Alex Huang, second-year civil engineering student, is hoping to break the Guinness World Record for the longest chain reaction in the world.

This past June, Alex and his team created a 300-step chain reaction during their 2018 REACTICA event at the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose. They are hoping to break the current Guinness World Record for the longest chain reaction at 412 steps during their upcoming event in June 2019.

The team spent over a week constructing and designing their chain reaction using regular household items such as dominos, cups, K’nex, wooden blocks, and hot wheels ramps. The design featured seven Rube Goldberg machines and over 15,000 dominoes. A Rube Goldberg machine is a machine designed to complete a simple task through a series of complicated steps. Some of the design elements are planned beforehand but the majority of it is created on the spot.


“The idea you have in your head for the design may seem ridiculous but if you set your mind to it and have a good team, you can build anything,” said Alex.

The entire chain reaction took about 5 minutes to complete.

Alex believes that chain reaction is a way to demonstrate otherwise complex ideas such as physics in a manner that is easy for kids to understand. He hopes these events will inspire younger audiences to build chain reactions and pursue careers in STEM.

For the past three years, Alex and his team have hosted the annual chain reaction event REACTICA at the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose. Alex started the event on his own but brought on teammates after meeting chain reaction builders like himself online.

Alex started building smaller domino chain reactions seven years ago in middle school and was inspired by others to start a YouTube channel to share this passion. Alex now has over 4,500 subscribers on his channel and hopes that in sharing videos of his chain reactions he can inspire others to build.

The current world record is held by Latvian e-commerce company Scandiweb .

Alumni Spotlight | Monica Fiedler-Ross

Oct 3, 2018

Alumni feature header

Monica Fiedler-Ross graduated from Cal Poly in 2016 with a degree in civil engineering and is now an Engineer in Training (EIT) and Civil Analyst at Kimley-Horn in San Diego. During her time at Cal Poly, Monica was President of the Society of Civil Engineers and involved in the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

When did you realize that you chose the right career?

I went on a firm tour my freshman year of college to visit the Transbay Terminal project in San Francisco and it made me realize the impact I could make in communities and cities as a civil engineer. From there, I knew that this was the right career for me.

What have been some of your favorite projects you’ve worked on at Kimley-Horn?

Mobility Hub conceptMobility Hubs – As part of the Mid-Coast Trolley project in San Diego, Kimley-Horn is working with SANDAG to propose station amenities at the 10 existing and new stations along the light-rail alignment. The objective of this project is for these stations to serve as a “mobility hub” and allow for all modes of transportation to safely access the stations. While working on this project, I have been assessing approved community plans to ensure that the recommendations align with the access planned for in the neighborhoods surrounding the stations.


Airport Terminal Diagram



Airport Terminal 1 EIR The Airport Development Plan (ADP) is the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s master planning effort to determine the facilities needed at San Diego International Airport to meet the region’s air travel demand through 2035.  One of the major components of the ADP is the replacement of the 50-year-old Terminal 1 with an attractive, modern and more efficient terminal. Proposed on-airport entry roadway and new terminal circulation roadways will improve traffic flow and further reduce congestion on Harbor Drive, resulting in less greenhouse gas emissions. Kimley-Horn was responsible for the traffic and circulation portion of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) document and I worked on the analysis of the intersections, roadway, and freeway segments.



How did the civil engineering program at Cal Poly prepare you?

The hands-on learning gives you a good understanding of what you will be doing in the field as a civil engineer. Apart from the education, there are many opportunities to network and create connections with industry professionals through the program.

What advice to you have for current students?

Get involved in organizations and clubs that expose you to different fields in engineering and that give you opportunities to make connections with people you can grow in your career with.

Kimley-Horn is a platinum Partner of the CEENVE department and offers various positions for students. Openings can be viewed on the department’s Jobs and Internship listing page. For more information about Kimley-Horn visit

Department Lab Updates

Sep 20, 2018

Our department was busy this summer renovating and updating our labs and classrooms for our students. We maximized space and updated computers to ensure our students and faculty have room to "Learn by Doing".

13-117 and 13-118 were swapped!

Lab   lab

13-125B - Our new CE 204 TA office space and Mechanics Learning Center


Concrete Bins outside Building 13


13-201 - New ENVE Student project workspace


13-115 - Concrete Materials Supply room




13-113 - New BIM Lab


13-119 - New Grad Lab


Continue reading Department Lab Updates...

2018-19 Department Scholarship Recipients

Sep 17, 2018

Our 2018-19 Scholarship Recipients

We are proud of all the work our students have done in our department and community. These students were selected for their respective scholarships after careful consideration of their academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and strides they've made towards their career goals. Scholarship recipients will be recognized at our Partners Dinner and scholarship banquet on December 7, 2018. For more information on department scholarships, please visit our scholarships page.

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Chris Rockway Scholarship Endowment
Ed Sullivan Memorial Scholarship Endowment

Vanessa See

Vanessa is a fourth year civil engineering student and the recipient of two department scholarships. Last year, Vanessa served as President of Cal Poly's Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE). She also served as team captain for the National Operations Center of Excellence's Transportation Technology Tournament, in which the Cal Poly SLO team placed second through their proposal for Intelligent Transportation Systems solutions for pedestrian safety in Detroit. Vanessa has held several transportation engineering internships with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and DKS Associates in Oakland and Seattle. Last year, Vanessa served as President of Cal Poly's Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE). She also served as team captain for the National Operations Center of Excellence's Transportation Technology Tournament, in which the Cal Poly SLO team placed second through their proposal for Intelligent Transportation Systems solutions for pedestrian safety in Detroit. Vanessa has held several transportation engineering internships with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and DKS Associates in Oakland and Seattle.


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Constant J. and Dorothy F. Chrones Scholarship Endowment for Environmental Engineering

Karin Finney

Karin is a third year Environmental Engineering student and member of the Society of Women Engineers and Engineers without Borders. She is part of Cal Poly's Water Energy Sustainability Training Team (WESTT) and was involved in research exploring improvement of algae strains to increase their biofuel yields. She is also a learning assistant for general chemistry courses at Cal Poly. After graduation, Karin hopes to attend grad school and pursue a career in bioremediation. 


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Lam Research Engineering Scholarship for Civil Engineering

Calvin Wang

Calvin is a fourth year Civil Engineering student and is involved with Cal Poly's Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), Asian American Christian Fellowship (AACF), and Society of Civil Engineers (SCE). He interned for the San Francisco Transportation Agency during summer 2017 and worked on projects to help reduce traffic congestion from ongoing construction projects in the city. This past summer, Calvin interned for Balfour Beatty and worked on the Caltrans Modernization Program and helped construct the overhead contact system that will provide electricity for the Caltrain system. After graduation, Calvin hopes to pursue a career in civil engineering, urban planning, and economics. Calvin hopes that through his career, he can help find solutions to societal issues like homelessness, traffic congestion and water scarcity. 


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Cord Meier Memorial Civil Engineering Scholarship

Anna Johnson

Anna Johnson is a third year civil engineering student. She has been on committees for Society of Women Engineers in the past. This year she is the Conference Coordinator officer for Society of Civil Engineers. Anna also competed at the Pacific Northwest Conference on the Design Build team this past year, and plans on competing this upcoming year when Cal Poly hosts the conference. The past two summers she has worked for NorthStar in Chico, California, a multidisciplinary civil engineering firm. In the future she would like to pursue the concentration of water resources, hopefully working in the Sacramento/Northern California area.


Scholarship Recipient

Clark Construction Engineering Scholarship

Daniela Vazquez

Daniela Vazquez is a fourth year civil engineering student and member of Cal Poly's Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and the Ethical Eating Club on campus. She interned this summer at BKF Engineers as an Engineering Assistant and got hands-on experience with transportation engineering and land development. She currently works for the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District as a Clean Air Ambassador and translator. After graduation, she plans on working as a civil engineer in the transportation field.


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Mary and Dale Strunk Scholarship Endowment for Civil and Environmental Engineering

Brianna Edwards

Brianna is a second year civil engineering Honors student. She on the events committee for the Society of Civil Engineers and helped coordinate the winter retreat and the Pacific Southwest Conference. Brianna was accepted into the University Singers and has performed in two concerts. During her first quarter at Cal Poly, she participated in the Emerging Leadership Series. 


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Chevron Scholarship for Civil Engineering

Jordan Wong

Jordan is a third year civil engineering student and is part of the Society of Civil Engineering (SCE) Concrete Canoe Team. He was part of Engineers without Borders Malawi maize mill project. Jordan has worked as a drafter for Alan Mok Engineering, a land development engineering firm based in Fresno. After graduation, Jordan hopes to work as a geotechnical or transportation engineer. 

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Clark Construction Engineering Scholarship

Alyssa Swanson

Alyssa is a fourth year civil engineering student and members of both the Cal Poly Rainworks and Institute of Transportation Engineers clubs. During Fall 2017, she served as a Master Plan Design Captain for the EPA Campus Rainworks Challenge through the Rainworks club. She has interned for the Department of Water Resources, the City of San Luis Obispo Public Works Department, and Kimley-Horn and Associates. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in transportation and has accepted an offer to join Kimley-Horn fulltime as part of their transportation team. 

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Environmental Research Foundation Award Endowment

Hayley Aarsvold

Hayley is a fourth year environmental engineering student and has participated in the WERC engineering design competition for the past two years. During her first year on WERC, her team developed a water treatment system to remove heavy metal ions from roof water runoff. This project won the INTEL Environmental Innovation Award. Hayley completed an internship with Lee & Ro, a civil engineering consulting firm, where she handled submittals, helped engineers complete CAD drawings, and developed a spreadsheet for handling pipe hydraulics. After graduation, she hopes to attend grad school and receive a master's degree in Atmospheric Science or Climatology. 

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Martini Scholarship for Civil & Environmental Engineering

Diego Rivera

Diego is a fourth year civil engineering student and is involved in various extracurricular activities while maintaining a high GPA. Outside of school, Diego has devoted much of his time to working in the restaurant, construction, and engineering industries, gaining real-world work experience and thus far achieving his goal of funding his undergraduate education completely on his own. After graduation, Diego plans to pursue a master’s degree in structural engineering at a top university to continue exploring how he can use his passion to contribute to his community and inspire others.

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San Marcos Grange Civil Engineering Scholarship Endowment

Justin Saeidian

Justin is a fourth year civil engineering student and has been involved with the Structural Engineers Association (SEAOC). This club has given him opportunities to network with industry professionals. Justin hopes to complete a Master's degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering and pursue a career in land development.

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Adele Alessio Scholarship Endowment Fund for Civil Engineering

Alex Deatherage

Alex is a third year civil engineering student and member of the Marksmanship club and the Society of Civil Engineers. He was a Lab Assistant for the CE/ENVE department during the summer of 2018 and helped renovate the department labs. After graduation, Alex hopes to work as a structural or construction engineer.

Spring 2018 Newsletter | Department Chair Message

Aug 20, 2018

Alumni, sponsors, industry partners, students, parents and supporters of our department,

What a banner year! This year, we welcomed assistant professor Dr. Carole Voulgaris in transportation engineering, visiting scholars Gizem Can and Xin Li, and hired 10 new adjunct faculty members. Two new assistant professors will be starting in the fall quarter: Dr. Hani Alzraiee in the area of construction engineering and Dr. Amro El Badawy in environmental engineering.

The students this year did what they always do – shined. The student chapter of ITE (Institute of Transportation Engineers) was named the International Chapter of the Year; SCE (the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineering) was awarded the Robert Ridgway Award for most outstanding chapter of the year; the student chapter of the Society of Environmental Engineering won awards at the national WERC completion; our Steel Bridge Team took second place at nationals, breaking the department record in the process; and Concrete Canoe Team was named national champion for the second consecutive year.

This year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Environmental Engineering and paid homage to Dr. Hal Cota and his tremendous impact on Cal Poly and the environmental engineering profession. In addition, Civil Engineering received its first endowment in collaboration with Construction Management to create the Granite Heavy Civil Engineering and Construction Program. The endowment covers, in perpetuity, the costs of a joint CE and CM director with funding set aside to support scholarships for women and underrepresented students in construction.

As part of a fundraising campaign to better support our students, labs and clubs, the department revamped the Industrial Partnership program and welcomed several new companies into our circle. In addition to Power Engineering and Cannon Corp. sponsored laboratories, next year we will celebrate three new company-sponsored labs by Chevron, ZFA Structural Engineers and Clark Pacific.

On behalf of our department, faculty, adjuncts and students, I would like to give a big thank you to all our Industrial Platinum Partners for 2017-18 as well as those already signed up for 2018-19: Gregg Drilling & Testing, Stantec, Traylor Bros, Langan and Webcor. As a thank you, we will host our first Partners Dinner on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. During the dinner, we will award department scholarships and give our students the opportunity to network with our Industry Partners.

Civil and Environmental Engineering continues to produce the best and brightest ready to tackle tomorrow’s engineering challenges. I wish all the students in the class of 2018 great success in the future. I want to extend a special thank you to all our alumni for their ongoing support and to the companies that continue to hire our students.

Wishing you all my very best,

Charles Chadwell
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Department Chair


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