Recent News

Students Awarded CEENVE Industrial Advisory Board Professional Advancement Award

May 22, 2018

Civil and Environmental Engineering students Emily Miller and Delaney Nelson were awarded the Civil and Environmental Engineering Industrial Advisory Board Professional Advancement Award at the Spring Industrial Advisory Board meeting on May 4th. The award is given every year to students in the department who are making significant strides towards their career goals.Industrial Advisory Board

The CEENVE Industrial Advisory Board Professional Advancement Award was created to help prepare students for professional advancement by rewarding students who have demonstrated a commitment to their career goals through campus involvement. 13 students from both civil and environmental engineering were nominated for this year’s award. Emily and Delaney received $1,000 scholarships to help with future career endeavors.

Emily is a 4th year environmental engineering student and an officer for the Society of Environmental Engineers and student chair for the Student Funds Initiative. Emily helped plan the SENVE career fair and did undergraduate research with both Dr. Ludquist and Dr. Oulton.

“It was an honor to hear I was nominated for the award and even more so to win. I was up against very intelligent, hardworking students who have all been very involved in the department,” said Emily.

Delaney is a graduate civil engineering student and president of the Rainworks club, which allows students to get involved in environmental and water resources design competitions. She is grateful for the preparation the department has provided her.

“It is wonderful to have a department that supports its students and provides them with opportunities to get involved,” said Delaney.

The CEENVE Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) Professional Advancement awards were presented during the department’s bi-annual Industrial Advisory Board meeting. The IAB consists of 30 environmental and civil engineering professionals who provide industry insight to the department. 50 faculty, staff and students attended the IAB meeting at the Monday Club.

Ken Lindberg, a 1979 Civil Engineering Cal Poly graduate and past IAB president, explained that the meetings are beneficial to both the school and the students.

“We [members] have all been there and been successful so we know what works and what to do for them to be successful too,” said Ken Lindberg, 16-year IAB member and co-founder of Power Engineering Construction Co.


Cal Poly College of Engineering Partners with Granite

May 8, 2018

Cal Poly graduates see greater opportunities through the college's partnership with Granite.

Cal Poly's College of Engineering and College of Architecture and Environmental Design have launched a unique partnership with Granite Construction to create a more robust pipeline of diverse Cal Poly graduates skilled in both construction management and civil engineering.

“This new partnership creates a path forward for talented and motivated students by helping them overcome financial barriers with the support of industry leaders and future thinkers,” said James Meagher, interim dean of the College of Engineering.

“It will also bring together two of our most reputable programs in a way that will supply distinctively skilled graduates to the industry.” Granite employees

The Granite Heavy Civil Engineering and Construction Program is a unique cohort program, bringing together students from both colleges. Under this program, students in construction management will have the opportunity to become more proficient in heavy civil engineering fundamentals, and students in heavy civil engineering will have access to more construction management classes. The uniqueness of the program is furthered by a series of classes that students in both programs will take together. Students will complete at least two internships during the program.

"With a Learn by Doing atmosphere, coupled with an excellent curriculum and high standards for student participation, Cal Poly has been able to help place highly qualified candidates throughout the Granite organization,” said James Roberts, president and CEO of Granite Construction Inc. “We enjoy seeing bright, energetic, hard-working graduates coming out of the Cal Poly programs who have the desire to build careers and help Granite succeed.”

Beavers Charitable Trust, having endowed other professorships at universities nationwide, joined Granite by making a substantial gift to support the Granite program at Cal Poly. Roberts hopes others will follow Granite’s and Beavers’ lead.

“This partnership between Granite, Beavers and Cal Poly can be a leading opportunity for corporations and higher education institutions across the country to partner going forward as we build America’s infrastructure,” he said.Granite employees

Under the program, the Granite Beavers Heavy Civil Engineering and Construction Endowed Chair will support one full-time faculty chair with academic expertise and professional background in the heavy civil construction and engineering sector.

This role will provide leadership for the program through an innovative joint appointment to construction management and heavy civil engineering departments, and provide increased mentoring opportunities for students. Granite Construction has always sought to be impactful. Beginning with early founders and those who built Granite bit by bit, one theme remained: to impact the world around them and the people within it. That is where their support for student success comes in.

“The idea behind the funds was based on a couple of principles,” explained Philip DeCocco, senior vice president, human resources, at Granite Construction. “Granite is an industry leader, and as such, we believe it is important to lead by example, similar to the Cal Poly Learn by Doing motto. It is also important to us to have Granite’s name and reputation tied to a top-notch program like Cal Poly. “Lastly,” DeCocco added, “Granite is passionate about creating a program where we partner with Cal Poly. We want to ensure that students who mirror the many communities we serve across the country have an opportunity to succeed in our industry.”

Cal Poly Students Win at 2018 WERC Competition

Apr 30, 2018

A group of ENVE students received two awards at the 28th annual WERC competition at New Mexico State University from April 8-11.WERC competition team The WERC Environmental Design Contest brings industry, government and academia together in search for improved solutions to environmental and sustainability-related challenges. Two of the three Cal Poly student-led teams won awards in their respective categories. The International Space Station team created a system to remove methanol and ethanol from water and took second place in their combined category and first place in their specific task. The urine treatment team created a method of treating urine on military bases and won the EPA Pollution Prevention award. Students worked in teams to conduct research, test and build solutions for their tasks. Students learned to create plans for full-scale implementation that also took into consideration economic impacts.

Cal Poly Students Win 20 Awards at 2018 PSWC

Apr 16, 2018

Students cheering at PSWC competition.

106 Cal Poly students competed in ASCE’s annual Pacific Southwest Conference (PSWC) at Northern Arizona University April 12-14. Over 1,500 students from 18 schools competed in the events this year. Teams competed in a variety of events including  concrete canoe, steel bridge, environmental design, geotechnical design, surveying, technical paper, concrete bowling, scavenger hunts, and several sport tournaments. The Cal Poly team took home 20 awards including first place for the PSWC award.


2018 PSWC Awards

Kan Jam – 1st

Concrete frisbee – 1st

Soccer - 2nd

Environmental – 3rd

Sustainability – 2nd

Concrete Canoe (Men’s Endurance) – 1st

Concrete Canoe (Women’s Endurance) – 1st

Concrete Canoe (Men’s Sprint) – 1st

Concrete Canoe (Women’s Sprint) – 1st

Concrete Canoe (Co-ed Sprint) – 1st

Concrete Canoe (Final product) – 1st

Concrete Canoe (Design Report) – 1st

Concrete Canoe (Presentation) – 2nd

Concrete Canoe (Overall) – 1st

Steel Bridge (Construction Speed) – 1st

Steel Bridge (Lightness) – 1st

Steel Bridge (Stiffness) – 1st

Steel Bridge (Structural Efficiency) – 1st

Steel Bridge (Overall) – 1st

PSWC 2018 – 1st

Alumni Spotlight | Thomas Wukadinovich

Apr 3, 2018

Thomas Wukadinovich alumni spotlight

Thomas Wukadinovich graduated in 2013 with a bachelor’s in civil engineering. A background in construction management has given him opportunities on a wide array of projects.

He works for Long Beach-based Traylor Bros., one of the nation’s leading heavy civil engineering contractors, as a professional engineer.

Wukadinovich is working on the Los Angeles MetroRail’s Purple Line Extension, a four-mile spur from Beverly Hills to Westwood. Since August of 2017, he has worked in support of soil excavation, steel supports and ventilation for the project.

Because of its proximity to the La Brea Tar Pits, hydrogen sulfide gas release is a concern to the project. To reduce the risk of explosion, several precautions have been implemented including prohibiting electronics in the tunnel unless protected by explosion-proof cases. The project is expected to continue through the rest of the year.

“Your interest in a subject is going to make it easier to work harder. What I do is more of a lifestyle than it is a profession, and working in this industry is fulfilling,” said Wukadinovich.

Traylor Bros. is a platinum sponsor 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 Traylor Bros., visit


Chi Epsilon Elects New Board and Reflects on Accomplishments This Year

Apr 2, 2018

Chi Epsilon elected new leadership for the 2018-19 school year and prepares to pass on the torch to new president, Jason McShane. As the year comes to a close, former Chi Epsilon president Mindy Zhang reflects on the chapter's accomplishments this year. 

Chi Epsilon is a national civil engineering honors society started in 1923 at the University of Illinois. The Cal Poly chapter was started in 1986 and currently has 40 members. Chi Epsilon executive boardMembership is only offered to the upper one-third of the Cal Poly civil and environmental engineering class. During the year, Chi Epsilon hosts industry speakers and conducts professional development workshops tailored to member needs addressing topics like resume-building and LinkedIn.

Mindy is majoring in environmental engineering and pledged Chi Epsilon her sophomore year. Jason is a third year civil engineering student and served as his pledge class president this past winter.

“Chi Epsilon is a small community with like-minded individuals that are academically-oriented. I saw the leadership development that was possible and this inspired me to join,” said Mindy.  

During her presidency, Mindy made it a priority to create an environment where members can connect and saw Chi Epsilon as a resource and not an obligation. Mindy worked with her board to develop programming and events to engage the new pledge class.  Among many of their accomplishments this quarter, the Chi Epsilon leadership began plans for a mentorship program that is set to be implemented in upcoming pledge classes.

This year, Chi Epsilon sent 5 board members to the annual Pacific District Conference (PDC) to compete against 13 other chapters from the west coast and won 4th place. Chi Epsilon also created an Alumni group during winter quarter to connect current members with past. The board is learning from other well-established chapters like San Jose State University to develop an efficient platform.

 Chi Epsilon banquetJason, incoming Chi Epsilon president, hopes to implement programming that keeps members engaged throughout the year. He wants to increase participation in Intramural Sports and the annual PDC.  He hopes to create an environment where members are excited to meet new friends. 

 “The main reason I joined was that it was cool recognizing people from Chi Epsilon in my classes. There are lots of like-minded people that take school more seriously and make it their priority,” said Jason.

2018-19 Chi Epsilon Leadership

President - Jason McShane

Vice President/FE Review Session Committee Lead - John Ross

Treasurer - Brad Williams

Secretary - Alana George

Pledge Marshals - Alex Murray, Patrick Butler

Editor, Webmaster, & Engineering Student Council Rep - Renzel Balance

Character Directors - Julia Sullivan, Isabel Brady

Speaker Coordinator - Chris Neisius

Alumni Coordinator - Mindy Zhang

PDC Coordinator - Ryan Harrington

Mentor Coordinator - Tony Park

Faculty Advisors - Dr. Anurag Pande, Dr. Carole Voulgaris


To learn more about Cal Poly Chi Epsilon, visit

Outstanding Cal Poly Student Endeavors Honored in Sacramento

Mar 17, 2018

Five engineering majors were among 19 Cal Poly students recognized for individual or team accomplishments by state lawmakers on the floors of the state Assembly and Senate in Sacramento on Monday, Feb. 12.

“I was proud to accompany these fine young men and women who are among our best and brightest students,” said university President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “These campus leaders, representing each of the university’s respective colleges, were able to share with state representatives the value of a Learn by Doing education. In just a matter of months, several will make the transition from campus to careers, where the skills they developed as students will make them future industry leaders.”

The group was introduced to the Senate by Majority Leader Bill Monning, D-Carmel, and to the Assembly by Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, R-San Luis Obispo. Both men represent San Luis Obispo County.

Honorees represented outstanding work accomplished by their respective teams or their own individual achievements — ranging from the Cal Poly Concrete Canoe Team national championship to Cal Poly’s award-winning entry in the Tournament of Roses Parad

Among the Cal Poly Engineering student representatives on the tour:

  • Ian Buchanan (San Diego) led Cal Poly’s Concrete Canoe Team to a win at the “America’s Cup of Civil Engineering” — the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 30th annual National Concrete Canoe Competition held last June in Golden, Colo. Seeing his team’s entry “Meraki” — Greek for pouring one’s heart and soul into a project —“translated into a major win that was especially uplifting,” said the 23-year-old civil engineering student will receive his master’s degree in June. It’s tricky business crafting a canoe from scratch, its hull thickness smaller than the width of a dime, and a sleek design that can both float and quickly slice through water, but the team has a legacy. The 2017 competition was the team’s fourth national title since Cal Poly first advanced to the finals in 1998. As project manager, Buchanan oversaw the team’s fundraising, finances, scheduling and material procurement for the yearlong project. He also made oral presentations to judges at the regional qualifier and national competition. He ultimately hopes to become a principal partner in a structural engineering firm. Buchanan said it is an honor to represent Cal Poly and the team.

  • Ali Harake’s handiwork over the past four years has been seen in person by more than a million people — and, by some estimates, hundreds of millions of people throughout the world (on TV). The mechanical engineering major, from Moreno Valley, Calif., graduates and starts a full-time job in June. As president of the 2017-18 Cal Poly Rose Float team, he upheld a uniquely collaborative tradition: Working  in tandem with counterparts at Pomona’s California State Polytechnic University, the two campuses produce a succession of innovative, stunningly beautiful floral creations that drive down Colorado Boulevard each New Year’s Day during the classic Pasadena parade. Cal Poly universities’ milestone 70th float, “Dreams Take Flight,” received the Past Presidents Trophy this year for the most outstanding innovation in the use of floral and non-floral materials. The award was icing on the cake for Harake who celebrated his 23rd birthday on the day of the parade. The scale and scope of the entries has burnished both universities’ reputations for creativity and ingenuity among professional float builders. Harake valued meeting lawmakers. “It means a great deal to me to have the honor to represent my college as well as my team for our great achievements,” he said. “Our hard work and dedication has definitely paid off, and we are fortunate to have the opportunity to attend such an amazing university that allows us these kinds of opportunities.”

  • Civil engineering major Laney Nelson (Chico, Calif.), president of Cal Poly Rainworks, was on the team that won the WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff Student Design Competition, a key student event held during the annual World Environmental and Water Resources Congress held last May by the Environmental and Water Resources Institute, a technical institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The competition challenges undergraduate students to solve real-life infrastructure problems with “practical yet innovative” solutions. Nelson, who is also pursuing her master’s degree in a blended undergraduate-graduate degree program, was one of the leaders of the site design team for the club’s Creekside Revival project — a stormwater management plan that uses green infrastructure and Low Impact Development (LID) techniques to manage and treat stormwater from an on-campus site. LID design uses or mimics natural processes “that result in the infiltration, evapotranspiration or use of stormwater” to protect water quality and aquatic habitat, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The competition was a step along the pathway to her dream job as a water resources engineer. “I would like to work on the most important water projects in the state to help secure a sustainable water supply for all Californians,” said the 22-year-old who will graduate in June.

  • Electrical engineering senior Melinda Ong (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) is a member of the Cal Poly collegiate section of the Society of Women Engineers that received the Mission Gold Award — the highest possible collegiate recognition — at the national organization’s annual convention, held last October in Austin, Texas. The award recognizes student chapters that best embody the organization’s core values and demonstrate improvement and growth as they work to further SWE’s goals. Ong, who is serving as the group’s president, plans to graduate in June, with a goal of becoming a program director and technical expert in electronic systems. The group also received the Boeing Multicultural Award for “best multicultural program to increase and maintain a diverse membership” and picked up two Best Practices awards for leadership development and public policy. In addition, it placed second and third, respectively, in the technical poster and Team Tech competitions. “Cal Poly Engineering and Cal Poly SWE provide a thriving environment for preparing women to be all they can be in their present and future lives and endeavors,” she said. Ong said representing her peers to state lawmakers in Sacramento “was an incredible honor” —and opportunity to share her insights. “The state and federal lawmakers set and assign significant standards to many aspects of the technology field for sustainability, safety and quality, she said. “I am very interested in learning how the importance of our national security is affecting the advancements in technology.”

  • Colleen Richards (Centennial, Colo.), a biomedical engineering junior, is the president of Cal Poly’s Panhellenic Executive Board of Directors. The campus Panhellenic Association, which oversees the 11 campus chapters and their approximately 2,500 sorority members, received the “Best in the West” Sutherland Award from the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values, an organization that provides experiences that challenge and encourage fraternity/sorority members to live ethical values and implement best practices. The award recognized the organization for academic achievement, council management, leadership and educational development, membership recruitment, public relations, risk reduction management, self-governance and judicial affairs in its division. “This recognition validates the efforts of Cal Poly’s Greek organizations,” said Keith Humphrey, vice president for Student Affairs. “Their leadership has positively impacted both our campus and the San Luis Obispo community.” Richards, who is seeking a career in research and development, served as Alpha Phi’s vice president of programming and education on the sorority’s executive board. “”I’m excited to give back to my university,” she said. “I’ve always felt so much support from Cal Poly, Panhellenic, the engineering department, and all of the students and staff I’ve interacted with here.”

  • Civil engineering major Vanessa See (San Francisco) was a member of Cal Poly’s Institute of Transportation Engineers club that for the third time in four years was ITE’s International Chapter of the Year among more than 140 student chapters. The group was honored for the outstanding activities and achievements reflected in its annual report at the organization’s annual conference, held last summer in Toronto. The club also won the ITE Collegiate Traffic Bowl Grand Championship, a Jeopardy!-style competition and became the only student chapter to win the grand championship twice. See, who is this year’s chapter president, plans a career as a transportation engineer after graduting in June 2019. “Transportation is experienced by everyone,” the 20-year old said, “whether it’s noticing a new signal timing feature that makes crossing the street safer, complaining about a late bus or train, or advocating for safer ways to bike, walk or take transit. To me, it's all about the direct impact on the people that makes learning about and working in transportation so rewarding.” Meeting state lawmakers give her more insight into the decision-making process, and underscored the fact that, ultimately, “transportation is as much engineering as it is politics.”

Read more here

CE Professor Selected for Fulbright Specialist Program

Mar 12, 2018


Dr. Robb MossCivil engineering Professor Robb
Moss, who was selected as a Fulbright
specialist, will work with universities in Chile over the next three years developing engineering curriculum and faculty education. He specializes in geotechnical, earthquake and risk engineering.

The Fulbright Specialist Program sends U.S. faculty and professionals to serve as expert consultants on curriculum, faculty development, institutional planning and related subjects at academic institutions abroad. Moss’ proposal identified three main areas of engineering education:

  • Soft skills – Ethics, technical communication, emotional intelligence, licensure, the importance of continuing education.
  • Active learning techniques – Training for university professors to implement a Learn by Doing approach.
  • Senior design capstone courses – Education on structuring senior design programs to achieve desired outcomes outlined by ABET (Accreditation Board forEngineering and Technology).

Moss will work with faculty and staff at Chilean universities to develop curriculum and programs that address the three areas. Over winter break, he worked with faculty at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Santiago for two weeks. La Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile will be Moss’ next stop and lessons will continue for as long as the universities need. His appointment will run through 2020. Moss will address the difficulty of teaching engineering ethics. His curriculum will use Cal Poly’s capstone classes as models for effective engineering training. These courses give young professionals an ethical basis so that when faced with dilemmas they can respond accordingly. The program also stresses the importance of understanding the social implications of engineering.

“My goal for this program is to bring lessons learned from the Cal Poly capstone classes to other universities so students are able to Learn by Doing,” said Moss.

As part of the Fulbright award, Moss is required to bring learned experiences in Chile back to Cal Poly. He is hoping to establish faculty and student exchanges in the next few years.

“As a college, we want to prepare engineers for a global workforce. Knowing how engineering works in other countries is good because a lot of our students will go to work for different organizations, ” said Moss

Faculty Volunteers Work to Improve Pismo Preserve

Mar 12, 2018

Cal Poly faculty members Judd King and Nephi Derbidge are helping The Land Conservancy of San Luis County create a parking area and trailhead for the Pismo Preserve, a nearly 880-acre property with sweeping views of Pismo Beach and 11 miles of trails for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy.Student performing lab testing

The Land Conservancy acquired the Pismo Preserve in September 2014 with the goal of creating a space for hiking, biking and equestrian use. It envisioned a project that provides safe access to different users while being sensitive to the surrounding communities. The Pismo Preserve is the first project of this magnitude to be developed by the Land Conservancy. The site will have restrooms, picnic facilities and a wheelchair-accessible trail.

While doing initial environmental studies on the site, it was discovered that the project location contained sensitive cultural resources belonging to the yak tityu tityu yak tilhini (ytt), Northern Chumash tribe. The Land Conservancy worked with ytt leaders on a plan that reduces impacts to sensitive resources. To mitigate impact on the site, the project size was reduced and minimal excavation was done. These measures ensure sensitive resources are protected while still providing safe public access.

The presence of sensitive resources limits the amount of remedial grading that can be done in the area. To create a level parking area, about 12 feet of soil will be used to fill the sloped project area and will then be supported by a retaining wall.
King and Derbidge are donating their geotechnical engineering and soil testing services. Derbidge and student assistant Jack Christy conducted a soil-testing program to measure the compressibility and strength characteristics of the onsite soil.

King was responsible for taking data generated by Derbidge to assess soil settlement in the final retaining wall design.

The Land Conservancy hopes that by providing this space the general quality of life will improve for residents and visitors alike. The Pismo Preserve is expected to open in late 2018.


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