April 20, 2017
Cal Poly swept top honors at the annual Pacific Southwest Regional Conference (PSWC) held April 6-8 at UC Irvine in Irvine, Calif. The annual event was sponsored by the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers).
Led by its Concrete Canoe, Steel Bridge and Environmental Competition teams, Cal Poly was a dominant force among 19 universities from Southern California, Southern Nevada, Hawaii and Arizona.
“This year, a change in rules precluded our painting the canoe or adding a new aggregate to the concrete,” said Ian Buchanan (San Diego), project manager of the Cal Poly Concrete Canoe team. “Our construction team created a beautiful canoe, nonetheless, by handcrafting the bulkheads and designs, while our mix design team create a concrete that’s less dense than water.”
In addition to Buchanan, a senior from San Diego, concrete canoe team members include mix design captains Jacky Mata (Oxnard, Calif.), Michael McMahon (Chico, Calif.), Amy Xu (Bakersfield, Calif.), Ashley Cruz (Elk Grove, Calif.) and Kyle Aube (Huntington Beach, Calif.), and construction captains Carson Burand (Pueblo, Colo.), Dillan Quigley (Orcutt, Calif.), Brandon Friedman (Porter Ranch, Calif.), Hailey Bond (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Jacky Loh (Azusa, Calif.)
The Cal Poly team will compete in the Concrete Canoe National Competition, June 17-19, at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo.
Cal Poly’s Steel Bridge Team project manager, senior Hannah Lancaster (Orange, Calif.), attributes the team’s win to an “amazing” combination of teamwork, workspace and legacy.
“Fabricating a bridge like ours would not have been possible without a space of our own in the Mechanical Engineering shops,” said Lancaster. “How well the bridge performed is truly a testimony to our outstanding team. Add to that the experience of returning team members and the high standards set by previous teams — and how could we not be inspired to succeed?”
In addition to Lancaster, the Steel Bridge senior captains included Matthew Ramos (Carmichael, Calif.), design lead; Stephen Hager (San Diego), fabrication lead; Jessica Ramirez (Union City, Calif.), machining lead; John Stern (Vacaville, Calif.), construction lead; and Jonathan Diaz (San Bruno, Calif.), software lead.
The Steel Bridge team will compete at the ASCE National Student Steel Bridge Competition on May 26-27 at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore.
The Cal Poly Environmental Competition team prevailed in a competition that presented students with a hypothetical earthquake situation requiring their constructing a filter to treat contaminated water using only readily available household materials. PSWC team veterans Wyatt Andersen (Farmington, Utah), Kelly McGartland (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and Mikel Sangroniz (Boise, Idaho) led team members Erik Mawn (Ship Bottom, N.J.), Sara Passantino (Westlake Village, Calif.), Sean Reece (San Luis Obispo, Calif.), and Sergio Vergara (Hayward, Calif.).
The American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 150,000 members of the civil engineering profession in 177 countries. Founded in 1852, ASCE is the nation’s oldest engineering society.
ASCE stands at the forefront of a profession that plans, designs, constructs, and operates society’s economic and social engine — the built environment — while protecting and restoring the natural environment.
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Pictured: Team paddlers, from left, are Dillan Quigley, Grace Melgard, Hailey Bond and Scott Kaufman.
Photo credit: Jacky Loh.
April 11, 2017
Garrett Rutherford (on far left), a civil engineering student, is on Cal Poly’s A Team, which will be competing at the American Mock Trial Association National Championship Tournament in Los Angeles on April 21-23. This is the first time Cal Poly has earned a spot in the prestigious national tournament.
More than 600 teams competed in this year's AMTA competitions. Cal Poly’s A Team is now one of only 48 teams in the nation that will compete at the championship level — the final round of the AMTA's annual national tournament structure.
In addition to Rutherford (Girdwood, Alaska), other team members are political science students Deeksha Kohli (San Jose), Zackery Michaelson (Visalia) and Jesse Quiroz (Orange); business student Chloe Loomer (Los Gatos); and mathematics student Rod Rahimi (San Luis Obispo).
Under the direction of Justin Cooley, a lecturer in Cal Poly's Political Science Department, 32 students from across the university participated in Mock Trial during the 2016-17 season. The teams competed in five invitational tournaments and two scrimmages, including their first invitational outside of the state of California. Three teams competed in two regional tournaments; one at the Pomona/Claremont McKenna Colleges and one at Arizona State.
Every year, AMTA publishes a fictitious legal case, and teams from across the country argue the case in front of real judges. Universities field teams that compete during rounds that last about three hours, during which one college represents the prosecution and the other represents the defense.
- American Mock Trail Association (AMTA): www.collegemocktrial.org
Photo information — MockTrial_ATeam.jpg: Cal Poly Mock Trial A Team members from left to right: Garrett Rutherford, Jesse Quiroz, Rod Rahimi, Deeksha Kohli, Zackery Michaelson and Chloe Loomer. Photo by Mock Trial Coach Justin Cooley.
About Cal Poly Mock Trial
Cal Poly Mock Trial was started in 2006 by a student in political science. Over the past 10 years, the program has involved more than 100 students from across all the colleges and is one of the most successful embodiments of the Learn by Doing philosophy in Political Science. Students prepare for these tournaments by learning about case law, statutes, affidavits and the rules of evidence, which are largely identical to the Federal Rules of Evidence. They do this by enrolling in POLS 295, Foundations of Mock Trial, and POLS 395, Advanced Mock Trial, and by participating in the Mock Trial Club.
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April 05, 2017
Mark Pestrella (Civil Engineering, ’87) was officially sworn in March 6 by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to lead the largest municipal public works agency in the United States.
As director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, Pestrella will also serve as the county engineer, road commissioner and chief engineer of the Los Angeles County Flood Control District. With an annual budget of more than $2.5 billion and a workforce of 4,000 employees, Los Angeles County Public Works provides vital public infrastructure and civic services to more than 10 million people across a 4,000-square-mile service area.
A native of Southern California, Pestrella attended Cal Poly, where he received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering with concentrations in structural engineering and water resource management. He is a California-licensed civil engineer and has taught post-graduate classes in civil engineering and land development entitlement at UCLA.
Over the last decade, Pestrella has been instrumental in department leadership development, the adoption of county, state and federal policies related to Clean Water Act compliance, integrated water resource management, ecosystem restoration and infrastructure sustainability.
Pestrella is also an active member of the American Public Works Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Water Works Association, Association of California Water Agencies, National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies (board member), Southern California Water Committee and Urban Water Institute (board member).
February 24, 2017
Twenty Cal Poly students, including six engineering majors, were recognized for their awards and other accomplishments by state lawmakers on the floors of the state Assembly and Senate in Sacramento on Monday, Feb. 13.
“I am so pleased to share with our state leaders the can-do Learn by Doing ethos that this group of dedicated and talented students exemplify,” said university President Jeffrey D. Armstrong, who accompanied the students to both legislative chambers. “These fine young men and women from all six of our colleges will be future leaders in their respective fields.”
The group was introduced in the Senate by Majority Leader Bill Monning, D-Carmel, and in the Assembly by Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, R-Templeton. Both men represent San Luis Obispo County. Ceremonies were held in each chamber Monday afternoon. In addition, the students met with the Office of Gov. Jerry Brown and with representatives from each student’s respective Senate and Assembly districts.
Most of the students call California home — from Solana Beach, in San Diego County, to Roseville, near Sacramento — including one from the Central Coast. Four others are from outside the Golden State — Alaska, Hawaii, New Jersey and Oregon.
Each has distinguished him- or herself as an individual or on a team that has received a national industry award or was involved in other high-profile events, including the Tournament of Roses Parade, with a worldwide TV audience of 100 million.
The group also greeted family, friends and alumni at a series of receptions in the East Bay and Sacramento area Sunday and Monday.
The Cal Poly Engineering honorees include:
Dorian Capps (Maplewood, N.J.), a mechanical engineering major, was part of Cal Poly’s top-scoring American entry that finished third overall at the Shell Eco-marathon Americas in Detroit. The 10th annual contest attracted more than 1,000 students and a record 124 teams from seven countries who competed in energy-efficient gasoline-fueled vehicles they designed and built themselves. He was also the president and powertrain lead of Cal Poly’s entry that achieved 1,215 miles per gallon — the top-scoring American entry and third highest overall in the Prototype class, which is for futuristic vehicles. Cal Poly was also recognized by event organizers for participating every year in the Americas competition and being the first-ever winner. Capps also has a passion for aerospace. He is particularly interested in high-performance rocket engines and designing earth-to-orbit launch vehicles that reduce launch costs enough to facilitate large-scale space colonization.
Elizabeth Coffey (Fremont, Calif.), a civil and environmental engineering graduate student, was a member of the Steel Bridge team that finished second at the annual American Society of Civil Engineers National Student Steel Bridge Competition. The contest brought together 48 student teams from across the world. Cal Poly’s strong showing marked the school’s sixth consecutive year of finishing in the event’s top 10 and second straight year as runner-up. Coffey served as the team’s machining lead in a competition designed as a real-world project that required structural design, fabrication, construction planning and execution, and load-testing expertise. It’s an extreme test of teamwork and project management that challenges students to produce a scale-model bridge that satisfies stringent requirements in the categories of stiffness, lightness, construction speed, display, efficiency and economy.
Salvador Cortes Soancatl (Livingston, Calif.) received the 2016 Cisco Scholar Award for Outstanding Achievement by the California State University Board of Trustees — one of the system’s highest distinctions given to a student who overcomes adversity. Soancatl was inspired to pursue electrical engineering after writing an essay on Nikola Tesla, whose experiences as a young immigrant in America resonated with the then-seventh-grader.
Rebecca Kandell (Ridgecrest, Calif.), a biomedical engineering senior, was part of the team that received the Gold Award, for outstanding overall programming from the Society of Women Engineers. In addition, Kandell, the SWE chapter president, received the Outstanding Collegiate Member Award for her contributions to the organization, the engineering community and the Cal Poly campus. She credits her Latina heritage, her family’s strong work ethic, and her mother — a first-generation electrical engineer and Cal Poly alumna — with inspiring her advocacy for women in engineering.
Nelson Lin (Escondido, Calif.), who is studying mechanical engineering, was part of the team that won the 2016 American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Student Design Competition. The five-member team, which also received the $4,000 top prize, displayed a battery-powered, model-sized manufacturing system that fired paper projectiles through the air. The team competed against some 200 engineering students from colleges and universities from 11 countries.
Jennifer Tuttle (Anchorage, Alaska), a civil engineering major, led a 20-member student team whose bicycle-powered maize mill won the 2016 Premier Project Award from Engineers Without Borders USA. The Engineers Without Borders-Cal Poly Malawi team designed the mill for residents of Kumponda, Malawi, who face a limited growing season and other food-production challenges.
Cal Poly Engineering’s social media student assistant, Naba Ahmed, was also among the Sacramento honorees. A journalism major and news editor and reporter for the Mustang News, Ahmed was part of the award-winning Mustang News team that received the highest honor in college media at the Associated Collegiate Press/Media Association’s national convention, first place for Best Social Media Strategy, and more than 16 other college media awards.
For a complete listing of honorees, go here.
Photo: Back row, from left: Dorian Capps, Rebecca Kandell, Nelson Lin; front row, from left, Elizabeth Coffey, Jennifer Tuttle and Salvador Cortes Soancatl.
February 24, 2017
Jim Meagher, professor and chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department, has been named interim dean of the College of Engineering by Cal Poly Provost Kathleen Enz-Finken. Meagher follows former Dean Debra Larson, who recently left Cal Poly to take a position as provost at CSU Chico. Meagher’s appointment was effective Feb. 13.
“Jim has provided excellent leadership and outreach throughout his time on campus,” said Enz-Finken. “His measured and collaborative approach to leadership, support for diversity and inclusion efforts, and experiences in philanthropy will be assets at the college level.”
Meagher joined the Mechanical Engineering Department in 1988 as an assistant professor; he was awarded tenure and promotion to full professor in 1994. For the past three years, Meagher served as department chair. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Akron and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. His areas of scholarship include rotor dynamics and modeling of high-speed rotating machinery.
During his career at Cal Poly, Meagher helped establish the Donald E. Bently Center for Engineering Innovation, a research center in the Mechanical Engineering Department, the Bently Computational Facility, and the Solar Turbines/Bently Nevada Vibrations and Rotor Dynamics Laboratory.
“It was a great privilege to work with Don Bently, a giant of industry,” said Meagher. “I am also gratified that my early collaboration with Munich University of Applied Sciences evolved into a rich exchange of students and faculty. Hundreds of students and half of the mechanical engineering faculty have had the opportunity to study and teach abroad as a result of this ongoing partnership.”
In addition to his teaching and research activities, Meagher served as faculty advisor to the Cal Poly chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for 25 years. “In this position, I’ve seen first-hand how Cal Poly engineering students collaborate on award-winning projects,” he said. “In fact, what brought me to Cal Poly in 1988 still motivates me today: contributing to student success along with a passion for the discipline.
“As interim dean, I want to continue the positive trajectory set by Dean Larson. I hope, especially, to add momentum to the development of a new Engineering Projects Center, and to enhance diversity and promote inclusivity in the college.”
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