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International Women's Day | Women in Engineering

Mar 8, 2018

In honor of International Women's Day, we're celebrating some of the countless trailblazing women in engineering.

(1898-1983) Elsie Eaves was the first woman admitted as a full member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). She completed a degree in civil engineering from the University of Colorado and worked for the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads, the Colorado State Highway Department and the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. Her research in construction trends was used by various organizations but was most influential in construction planning after the Great Depression. (Source: Engineer Girl (1885-1957) Olive Dennis was the second woman ever to graduate from Cornell University with a degree in civil engineering and the first female member of the American Railway Engineering Association. During her 30-year career, she worked for the Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad and was the railroad’s first service engineer. She was tasked with improving passenger experience and is credited with creating reclining seats, stain-resistant upholstery, patented window vents and air conditioning. (Source: Transportation History)
(1883-1971) Nora Stanton is one of the first women in the United States to earn a degree in civil engineering and the first woman to be admitted as a junior member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). She worked for the American Bridge Company, New York City Board of Water Supply, and as an assistant engineer and chief draftsman for the Radley Steel Construction Company. (Source: ASCE) (1878-1972) Lillian Gilbreth is considered by many as the “mother of modern management” and is credited with developing industrial management techniques still used today. She held a doctorate in psychology and was the first female professor at Purdue’s college of engineering. She was the first female member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and was awarded the Hoover Medal by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). (Source: ASME)
Shudabeh is the second woman ever to be awarded the Hoover Medal by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASME). Shudabeh earned a master’s degree in civil engineering from Purdue and is currently the Assistant Director of Engineering and Public Works for the city of Vista, CA. She co-founded CHILD, an organization dedicated to educational opportunities and self-sufficiency programs in Iran, Afghanistan, Mexico, Turkey, India and Belarus. (Source: ASME)  

Alumni Spotlight | From Cal Poly to Geotechnical Engineer at Langan

Feb 25, 2018

Katrin Wakins Alumni spotlight

Katrina Watkins, who graduated in 2013 with a degree in civil engineering, attributes her successful career to her Cal Poly education, involvement on campus and on-site construction experience.

While a student, she was involved as a WOW (Week of Welcome) leader, executive board leader for the Society of Women Engineers local chapter, a member of the Concrete Canoe Team and sat on the executive board for Chi Epsilon, the Civil Engineering Honor Society.

Watkins spent three years as a staff engineer at Langan, an engineering and environmental consulting firm in San Francisco, while training to become a licensed professional engineer.

At Langan, she worked on construction sites to make certain contractors installed items correctly and soil was being treated properly. She took a year off to pursue a master’s degree in civil engineering at UC Berkeley and graduated in July 2018. She is now a senior staff engineer and PE in Langan’s geotechnical department.

“Getting to work in civil engineering is so rewarding because you get to see the fruits of your labor on the skyline in the cities that you work in. I love problem-solving, and getting to do this on a day-to-day basis is very rewarding,” said Watkins. 

Langan is a sponsor of the CEENVE department and offers various internship and entry level positions for students. Openings can be viewed on the department’s Job & Scholarship listing page.

To learn more about Langan, visit, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Twitter.

Cal Poly EWB Begin Plans for Water Distribution and Purification System

Feb 12, 2018

La Rinconada residents raise their hands.

Over winter break, the Cal Poly Engineers Without Borders (EWB) team visited the small Nicaraguan village of La Rinconada to begin plans for a water purification and distribution system for the 300 residents.

Most of the residents rely on natural spring water that flows through a pipe that is subject to cracking because of its shallow burial. In addition, the pipeline doesn’t reach all 87 homes. Some homes have wells. The water is often polluted by livestock manure, however. Illnesses have been attributed to the lack of clean water in the community.

Cal Poly EWB has been working with local community leaders and a non-governmental organization since October 2017. More than 30 Cal Poly students have been working together to design the water process system. The final design will take about six months to complete and will be approved by a professional engineer.

The water distribution and purification system will provide clean water for all 87 homes and will completely cut off the old water source. The students plan to drill the well in spring 2018 and hope to be done with the entire pipeline distribution system by summer 2019.


First Official Participant in the Industrial Partnership Program: Ken Lindberg

Jan 6, 2018

Department Chair, Dr. Charles Chadwell, has officially initiated the new Industrial Partnership Program for the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. We thank Ken Lindberg, Vice President and co-founder of Power Engineering Construction Co. for being one of our first donors through the program.

Power engineering lab

Ken Lindberg graduated from Cal Poly in 1979, when there were not as many concentrations offered in civil engineering as there are today. Ken’s focus in structural engineering at Cal Poly led him to a career in construction engineering. He always appreciated the down-to-earth attitude and “learn by doing” mentality at Cal Poly. He continues to support and grow the education of the civil and environmental engineering students here by participating on the Industrial Advisory Board. With his generous donation, he hopes to provide more opportunities for student projects that will further enhance their education. He also hopes to spark the interest of civil engineering students to consider a career in construction engineering.

Power Engineering Construction Co. specializes in marine, heavy civil, and design-build projects. Founded in 1986, the firm pursues excellence in civil engineering by focusing on the technical aspects of their designs. Power Engineering Construction Co. has grown to roughly 80 employees and regularly recruits Cal Poly Students as part of their team. They have worked on many projects in Northern California, including the expansion of the San Francisco Ferry Terminal and construction of water treatment plants in Redwood City and Palo Alto.

If you would like to learn more about Power Engineering Construction Co., please visit their website at:

Cannon Corp Sponsors Cal Poly CE/ENVE Water Lab

Dec 8, 2017

Cannon’s partnership with the College of Engineering’s Hydraulics Laboratory stems from a commitment to excellence in water resource infrastructure development and a long-standing partnership between Cannon and Cal Poly. 

Cannon lab

Cal Poly’s Water Resources Laboratory, or also referred to as the Hydraulics Laboratory, is an educational and hands-on resource for the College of Engineering’s undergraduate and graduate students. As a requirement for all Civil and Environmental Engineering majors, this laboratory provides students with the opportunity to “Learn by Doing” where students are able to learn about principles and applications of flow measurement in pipes and open channels, rainfall runoff, and discharge through a weir. Recently, the Hydraulics Lab was awarded a three-year sponsorship totaling $15,000 to fund student research projects and purchase new equipment. This generous donation was provided by local engineering firm, Cannon.

Cannon’s partnership with the College of Engineering’s Hydraulics Laboratory stems from a commitment to excellence in water resource infrastructure development and a long-standing partnership between Cannon and Cal Poly. This funding partnership allows Cannon to stay at the forefront of water resources in the areas of desalination, low impact development, and improved efficiencies for water treatment. Beyond achieving financial benefits from this partnership, students and Cal Poly receive additional benefits.

Students have the opportunity to meet regularly with engineers from Cannon who are in-the-field designing and implementing the very types of projects that are being studied within the laboratory setting. Having this resource provides students with an opportunity to investigate ideas, concepts, or theories with experienced engineers. 


SCE Wins the Robert Ridgeway Award

Oct 23, 2017

"The Robert Ridgway Award is presented annually to the single most outstanding Student Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.  Each year we submit an annual report that includes information and pictures about our goals, social events, community service events, project teams, mentorship program, general meetings, career fair, conferences, and everything else our chapter is involved with.  It is a huge honor to be awarded this and we are proud to say this is our 7th time receiving the award.  We have been a finalist 11 additional times."

-Cate Kraska, SCE President

 Eight Cal Poly SCE Members and one advisor were able to attend the ASCE National Convention in New Orleans because they won the Robert Ridgeway Award.


CE/ENVE Department starts a fundraising campaign to upgrade the Concrete Canoe Shed

Oct 18, 2017

The Industrial Affiliates Program has been retooled and is being launched this week in an effort to raise funds for expanding the current Concrete Canoe shed to include a dedicated student meeting space.   


Department lab

The goal of the Industrial Affiliates Program is to create a consistent source of company sponsorship to help support student success.  The center of our campaign as we start our new program is the Concrete Canoe work shed.  The Canoe folks have outgrown their current space and are looking to expand into the space next door.   

Currently, the space is split between Mechanical Engineering (where it is used as storage) and the Concrete Canoe workshop where all the magic happens.  If we can raise enough money to renovate the current ME space, we can not only expand the shop but we can create a dedicated student meeting space in the center of all the CE/ENVE action - right next to Building 13 

Cal Poly ITE Bowls 'em Over, Named Student Chapter of the Year

Aug 14, 2017

For the third time in four years, Cal Poly’s Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) club has been named the Institute’s international Chapter of the Year.

The student group was honored at the ITE annual conference, held July 30-Aug. 2 in Toronto for the outstanding activities and achievements reflected in its annual report.

Cal Poly ITE was the recipient of back-to-back international titles in 2014 and 2015, and has been ITE’s premier Western District chapter for four years running.

The club also made history at the conference’s Collegiate Traffic Bowl Grand Championship, a Jeopardy!-style competition that tests the transportation knowledge of the top team winners of the ITE district competitions.

“Our team brought home the Traffic Bowl trophy for the second year in a row — and that is a first,” said Ashley Kim, president of Cal Poly ITE of Irvine, Calif. “The challenges of this contest are such that no other university has won it twice, and we did it!”

The team also took home more than $2,700 in prize money at the championship.

Cal Poly ITE’s Traffic Bowl team also included Ryan Caldera, vice president, of Irvine; Jonathan Howard, treasurer, of Murphys, Calif.; Curtis Yee, member, of Sacramento; and Vanessa See, professional coordinator officer who served as team alternate, of San Francisco.

Other Cal Poly ITE officers include Justina Tran, secretary, of San Jose, Calif.; Brian Gaul, webmaster, of Agoura Hills, Calif.; Sang Hee Cho, social coordinator, of Seoul, South Korea; Jacob Friedhoff, marketing coordinator, of Tualatin, Ore.; Seitu Coleman, historian, of Lafayette, Calif.; Calvin Chen, IRA (Instructionally Related Activities) liaison, of Placentia, Calif.; Travis Low, past president (2012-13); and Krista Purser, past president (2015-16) of Clayton, Calif. Civil engineering Professor Anurag Pande was faculty advisor.

In addition to the club’s wins, graduate students Kim and Low presented research at the conference based on their respective master’s theses. Earlier this summer, Low received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award at ITE’s Western District annual meeting in San Diego.

Kim praised the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s role in encouraging the club, noting that Pande, department staff representative Amy Sinclair and Cal Poly ITE past president Krista Purser traveled to Toronto to show their support.

About ITE

The Institute of Transportation Engineers is an international association of nearly 17,000 transportation professionals and more than 140 student chapters.


Read more here

Cal Poly Concrete Canoe Team is Tip-Tops in the Nation

Jun 21, 2017

Cal Poly’s concrete canoe team — and a canoe named Meraki —took first place at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) National Concrete Canoe Competition, held June 17-19 at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo.

"Meraki translates from Greek into pouring one’s heart and soul into a project,” said Ian Buchanan (San Diego), team project manager. And seeing it translated into a major win was especially uplifting.

 “It’s surreal,” said construction captain Dillan Quigley (Orcutt, Calif.). “It hasn’t really hit us yet. We’re walking on a cloud right now.”

Other construction captains included Carson Burand (Pueblo, Colo.), Brandon Friedman (Northridge, Calif.), Hailey Bond (Mesa, Calif.) and Jacky Loh (Arcadia, Calif.). Mix captains were Jacky Mata (Oxnard, Calif.), Michael McMahon (Chico, Calif.), Amy Xu (Bakersfield, Calif.), Ashley Cruz (Elk Grove, Calif.) and Kyle Aube (Huntington Beach, Calif). Other team members included Scott Kaufman (Lander, Wyo.) and Grace Melgard (Boise, Idaho).

Cal Poly is no stranger to the concrete canoe winner’s circle. This marks the school’s 11th top-five finish at nationals in the last 12 years, including a three-year run of championships from 2010 to 2012.

“Each Cal Poly concrete canoe team benefits from that long-running legacy,” said Buchanan. “You have a strong base of past captains to help you with every part of the project.”

This year’s event commemorated the 30th anniversary of the National Concrete Canoe Competition, founded by the late R. John Craig, a professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology whose passion for both teaching and canoeing led him to organize the first national concrete canoe event in 1988.

San Diego State University will host the 2018 national competition.

Read more here

Cal Poly College of Engineering Announces 2017 Outstanding Students

Jun 5, 2017

Cal Poly College of Engineering announced its 2017 Outstanding Students at the Engineering Project Expo on June 2. The students included the top senior for academic excellence; three graduating seniors honored for service to the college, university and community; and the outstanding volunteer of the year.

Environmental engineering senior Kimberly Pugel from Grass Valley, Calif., was recognized as the college’s top graduating senior for academic excellence. With a 3.91 grade point average, Pugel made the Dean’s List every quarter except winter 2017, when she had fewer units, and she made President’s List, which recognizes undergraduates who have been on the Dean's List at least three quarters of the academic year, three times since she entered Cal Poly in 2013. While a student, Pugel interned at Arcadis coordinating remediation field activities and served as a project lead for the Global Waste Research Institute winning third place at 2015 Algae Biomass Summit in Washington, D.C., for her research. Active with Engineers Without Borders – Cal Poly, Pugel was chapter vice president and technical project leader for the Thailand team. As chapter vice president for the Real Food Collaborative, Pugel helped bring local organic food to campus. She worked as a primary research assistant on projects sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in March. Pugel is seeking a master’s degree in civil systems engineering and a certificate in engineering for developing countries at the University of Colorado, Boulder

Melisa Esquivias, an industrial engineering major from San Bruno, Calif., was named Outstanding Senior for Contributions to the college. She was on President’s List from 2013 to 2014 and earned Dean’s List honors for eight quarters. Esquivias served as an officer for the Radio Frequency Identification Club working to increase club membership and awareness. As vice president of operations, she managed multiple club projects. In organizing an RFID/Internet of Things Conference, Esquivias provided learning opportunities for students and the local community. She also serves as an Engineering Ambassador, and for two years, volunteered as leader of the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Open House Marketing Team. As a member of the Latina Interest Sorority, Esquivias conducted research and fundraising projects to provide services to the Latinx community. As student coordinator for the Peer Resources in Student Mentoring, she designed and led mentoring programs to facilitate transition of queer students into the Cal Poly campus.

The Outstanding Student for Contributions to the University is Charly Flores, an electrical engineering senior from San Pedro, Calif. Known for his leadership in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Flores is passionate about opening paths to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics for underrepresented students. As the society’s vice president of community affairs, Flores planned more than 20 outreach activities, including installing solar panels for low-income families and volunteering at local schools. He currently serves as SHPE president. A parent whose son received a tour of the college from Flores said, “Charly speaking to my son about his experiences as a transfer student truly inspired my son.” Flores has interned as a product support engineer at Rantec Power Systems and at Pacific Gas and Electric. He received a Multicultural Engineering Program Chevron Scholarship because of his leadership and outstanding academic performance.

Materials engineering senior Erika Hansen from San Luis Obispo, Calif., was named the Outstanding Student for Service to the Community for her commitment to help others and make the world a better place. She worked with EPIC, Cal Poly’s engineering summer camp, and was involved with outreach activities for the Materials Engineering Department. As outreach officer for the Alpha Sigma Mu Materials Honor Society, Hansen has organized outreach efforts, such as the MATE lab for the campus chapter of the Society of Women Engineers Building an Engineer Day, and visits to an after-school program at Fairgrove Elementary in Grover Beach, Calif. Hansen served in several leadership positions with Engineers Without Borders – Cal Poly, including project lead for a water distribution system for the Nicaragua team. Hansen also volunteers locally, and has served as a WOW orientation leader. An internship with the TenCate Advanced Composites company helped her expand her knowledge and skills with the manufacturing and testing of composites.

The 2017 Outstanding Student Volunteer of the Year is Dina Alarian, an electrical engineering senior from Folsom, Calif. As president of the Engineering Ambassadors, Alarian has made numerous improvements that benefit the college and this hardworking group of volunteers, who serve at college events. In addition to organizing and leading Ambassador and group officer meetings, she revamped the bylaws, and reworked and edited tour routes and training materials to better reflect the college on tours. She has revamped how to track Ambassadors' duties and reworked its budget to include more social events, and she began a fundraising campaign with industry contacts to provide new opportunities for group. Alarian serves on the search committee for a new College of Engineering dean.

The top undergraduate and graduate students for academic excellence by department included the following:

Outstanding Bachelor's Degree Graduates

Charles Aaron Ward          Aerospace Engineering
Derek Denardo                Aerospace Engineering
Samantha L Smith           Biomedical Engineering
Corina Mary Espelien         Biomedical Engineering
Steven Ellis Ambers          Civil Engineering
Chase Redd Hemming       Civil Engineering
Justina Tran                    Civil Engineering
Matthew T Lindly              Computer Engineering
Matthew A Coats              Computer Engineering
Cody Daniel Rhoads          Computer Science
Andrew Trong Khuong Tran Computer Science
William Cary Tran             Electrical Engineering
Dylan James Kirkby           Electrical Engineering
Kimberly Ellen Pugel          Environmental Engineering
Lauren Ingrid Miller           Environmental Engineering
Kendyl Jaclyn Cohn           General Engineering
Anna Colleen Laird            General Engineering
Jesse Elliot Yap                Industrial Engineering
Fiona Catherine Blackburn   Industrial Engineering
Jared Marshall Olson          Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies
Eric Colin Hill                   Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies
John Francis Brown            Manufacturing Engineering
Joseph A Hanacek             Manufacturing Engineering
Kenneth Blain Ainslie          Materials Engineering
Cory Jacob Hughes             Materials Engineering
Alexander Rodney Nichols     Mechanical Engineering
Christopher Michael Gonzales Mechanical Engineering
Myra Cherise Lukens            Software Engineering
Brittany Ashley Berlanga       Software Engineering

Outstanding Master's Degree Graduates

Reed Danis                      Aerospace Engineering
Matthew Richardson           Aerospace Engineering
Steven Maclean                Aerospace Engineering
Daniel Fugett                   Aerospace Engineering
Tiffany Shen                    Biomedical Engineering
John Gerrity                     Biomedical Engineering
Jennavive Lillie                 Biomedical Engineering
Kristina Bishard                 Biomedical Engineering
Nupur Garg                      Computer Science
Katherine Davis                Computer Science
Ivan Pachev                     Computer Science
Christopher Hunt               Computer Science
Sean Bayley                     Computer Science
Christian Skylar Durst         Computer Science
Brandon Livitski                Computer Science
David Ritter                     Electrical Engineering
Travis Taylor                    Electrical Engineering
Zhaoci Hu                        Engineering Management
Spencer Martinez               Engineering Management
Alisha Bender                   Engineering w/Integrated Technology Management
Austin Lynch                    Engineering w/Integrated Technology Management
Jonathon Chiu                  Engineering w/Integrated Technology Management
Joakim Larsen                  Fire Protection Engineering
Colin White                      Fire Protection Engineering
David Otsu                       Industrial Engineering
Nandan Thor                     Industrial Engineering
Joshua Ledgerwood            Industrial Engineering
Victor Espinosa III              Mechanical Engineering
Ryan Baskett                    Mechanical Engineering
Nick Bonafede                   Mechanical Engineering
Samuel Artho-Bentz            Mechanical Engineering
Michael Schier                   Mechanical Engineering
Connor Sullivan                  Mechanical Engineering
Kevin Carney                     Mechanical Engineering
Ruben Diaz                        Mechanical Engineering

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