News for February 2016

January 2016
March 2016

Cal Poly Celebrates eWeek by Doing, Doing, Doing
February 19, 2016

Cal Poly Engineering will celebrate National Engineers Week (eWeek) Feb. 22-27 with activities and events that showcase the school’s Learn by Doing approach.

"The more events that students come to, the more points they get toward winning prizes," said Bo Oelker, president of the Engineering Student Council, which is organizing the slate of campus events and activities.

For more details on events and prizes, visit

Among the activities planned by the school’s Engineering Student Council:

Monday, Feb. 22

— 11 a.m.–Noon: Bus Bonanza, hosted by the ITE student chapter, is a fast-paced competition that challenges students to configure a transit bus (represented by chairs) to hold as many riders as possible. Location: Advanced Technology Laboratories (ATL) (Building 7, Room 2).

— 1-2 p.m.: Zipline Activity, hosted by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers student chapter. Location: Bonderson Project Center (Building 197, Room 104).

— 4-6 p.m.: Nuclear Power and Energy Talk, presented by PG&E. Location: ATL (Building 7, Room 2).

Tuesday, Feb. 23

— 9-10 a.m.: Zipline Activity, hosted by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers student chapter. Location: Bonderson Project Center (Building 197, Room 104).

— 11 a.m.–Midnight: Hacking Challenge, hosted by Sigma Phi Delta. Location: Bonderson Project Center (Building 197, Room 104).

— 11 a.m.–2 p.m.: Drought Demonstration/Seminar, hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter and Rainworks Club. Location: Engineering IV (Building 192, Room 136).

— 6-7 p.m.: Autodesk, hosted by Pi Tau Sigma. Location: Bonderson Project Center (Building 197, Room 104).

— 6:30-8:30 p.m.: Cybersecurity and Backdoor Hacking Debate, hosted by White Hats and Cal Poly Debate Cub. Location: University Union (Building 65, Room 220).

Wednesday, Feb. 24

— 10 a.m.–1 p.m.: The Club Showcase presents some of the college’s top student organizations. Location: University Union Plaza and Mott Lawn.

— 2-4 p.m. Building Competition, hosted by Structural Engineers Association of California student chapter. Location: A-Lab (Building 21, Room 100).

— 6-8:30 p.m. Underrepresented Youth Talk, hosted by Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers. Location: Bonderson Project Center (Building 197, Room 104).

Thursday, Feb. 25

— 3-4:30 p.m.: Stryker Info Session. Location: Bonderson Project Center (Building 197, Room 104).

Friday, Feb. 26

— 10 a.m.–Noon. Community and International Development Forum, hosted by Engineers Without Borders-Cal Poly. Location: ATL (Building 7).

— 2-4 p.m. Solar Turbines Info Session. Location: Bonderson Project Center (Building 197, Room 104).

— 7-10:30 p.m. Casino Night. Location: ATL (Building 7, Room 2).

Saturday, Feb. 27

— 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Next Generation Mobility Challenge, hosted by Net Impact and Toyota, invites students to look at mobility in new ways and explore how the transportation industry can  be transformed to become more socially and environmentally sustainable. Location: ATL (Building 7).

There are free giveaways, raffle prizes and food at many of the eWeek venues.

About eWeek:

The National Engineers Week Foundation, now known as DiscoverE, founded National Engineers Week in 1951. Each year, thousands of engineering professionals, students, teachers, and business and government leaders participate in National Engineers Week to celebrate and grow the next generation of engineers. For more information, visit


# # #

Cal Poly Students to Visit Elementary Classrooms to Promote Engineering Education
February 19, 2016

As part of National Engineers Week, Cal Poly’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) will visit 14 local fourth-grade classrooms to expose students to the possibilities of engineering by engaging in hands-on activities and interacting with SWE role models.

During the classroom visits the Cal Poly students will explain the basic scientific principles of gravity, force and impulse. The fourth-graders will use the information to build a system that keeps marshmallows in a paper cup when dropped from a height of four feet.

Throughout the lively and informal program, SWE members will share their passion for math and science and all things related to engineering. A goal is to inspire both girls and boys to see engineering and technology as a rewarding career path.

Who: Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers

What: Cal Poly Society of Women Fourth Grade Days

When: Feb. 23-26

Who/Where: More than 800 fourth-grade students from schools in Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Los Osos, Pismo Beach,  Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo will participate.

Why: “Through this fun, hands-on experience led by Cal Poly engineering students, local fourth-graders will learn about different types of engineering, what engineers do, and that anyone can become an engineer,” said Melanie Thatcher, Cal Poly materials engineering student and SWE elementary outreach chair.


Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers Honors Five Outstanding Members
February 03, 2016

The Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers (SWE) announced five recipients of the 2015 Outstanding Women in Engineering (OWE) award at this year’s Evening with Industry held Thursday, Jan. 23, at the Avila Beach Golf Resort. More than $44,200 in scholarships were also awarded.

Attended by almost 1,000 students, faculty, staff and industry representatives, the banquet honored student accomplishments. In addition to the OWE honorees, 39 student scholarships were awarded by Bert and Candace Forbes, Boeing, Cal Poly SWE, Chevron, Eaton, Fluor, Lam Research, LLNL, Maxim Integrated, Mazzetti, Phillips 66, Raytheon, Skyworks, Solar Turbines, Southern California Edison and SWE Central Coast Region.

The Outstanding Women in Engineering awardees were chosen based on four criteria: faculty recommendations, demonstrated leadership, related work experience and grade point average. Each of the winners is actively engaged in extracurricular activities.

The recipients are:

Vanessa Forney: A computer science graduate student from Cupertino, Calif. has a special appreciation for her field: “Everything in computer science is simply a puzzle that needs the pieces put together in a certain way to work.” For Forney, it all came together in her first computer science class. “It wasn’t about memorization,” she said, “it was about learning and applying concepts.” An active member of WISH (Women in Software and Hardware), Forney has been part of the Cal Poly contingent that attends the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. This year, she was the first student to present student work at the conference. Forney has served as an intern at Google for the past two years. This winter, in partnership with classmate Myra Lukens, she developed an iOS app for Cal Poly students called Poly Rides, a long-distance ride-sharing app. The idea won the Elevator Pitch Award from Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and, more recently, earned a place in the Apple store, where the app has already has been downloaded by more than 1,200 Cal Poly students.

Michallyn Hoffman: An industrial engineering major from Meadow Vista, Calif., who graduated in December, Hoffman is drawn to global challenges. For the past two years, Hoffman has been project manager for Engineers Without Borders (EWB) - Cal Poly, leading its newest Thailand project, which included setting the course for engineering projects to be implemented by the team and community over the next five years. Her EWB work introduced her to the world of composting, and she became keenly interested in the topic because of its relevance to the Thailand project and the larger world. “I was extremely impressed with her ability to learn about and grasp topics very different from her formal training, and her desire and formidable capacity to do so has made her an ideal EWB leader and team member,” said project advisor Chip Appel, professor of environmental soil chemistry at Cal Poly. Hoffman recently gave a presentation to an international audience of agronomy, soil science and crop science professionals. Although she was the only presenter with no formal training in sustainable agricultural systems, her paper took first place.

Martina Kroener: An international Fulbright Scholar from Germany, Kroener selected Cal Poly for her master’s work in industrial engineering. During her undergraduate studies in business and engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich, she spent a semester at Cal Poly. Particularly significant during her time in San Luis Obispo was her participation in the technical project management class known as PolyHouse, where a house is remodeled for a local family in need. Kroener’s experience as an intern at a local energy supplier in Munich exposed her to power plant operations that used renewable as well as conventional production methods. “It made me realize that I want to work in the environmental sector and contribute my engineering and business knowledge to protect our environment.” While at Cal Poly, Kroener has volunteered for Cal Poly Open House and Orientation Day for International Students.

Krista Purser: From Concord, Calif. Purser is a graduate student in civil engineering, specializing in transportation. The current president of the award-winning Institute of Transportation Engineers student chapter, and a key player on several of its championship teams, Purser is also leading the development of a new area for student project work. Purser is known for her work ethic and initiative at Cal Poly, financing her education through a combination of scholarships and work. Observed Helene Finger, advisor for the Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers, “Krista demonstrates one of the highest levels of commitment that I have witnessed at Cal Poly or anywhere else in my 27-year career.”

Samantha Rawlins: Aerospace engineering senior Samatha Rawlins has accrued a list of impressive space-related learning experiences. Two years ago, she was selected to serve as a student ambassador at NASA, the first Cal Poly student to receive the honor. In 2013, Rawlins was a summer intern at NASA Langley Research Center through the Langley Aerospace Research Student Scholars Program, one of NASA’s most prestigious student research programs. In 2012, she interned at the NASA Propulsion Academy in Huntsville, Ala., where she joined a team made up mostly of college graduates and master’s-level students. This past March she represented Cal Poly on the winning team at the Caltech Space Challenge, where two teams of 16 students representing 20 universities and 14 countries had five days to design a detailed mission to land humans on an asteroid and extract resources from it. “I found myself in the presence of the most intelligent people I have ever met,” said Rawlins. “But, I felt more than qualified thanks in large measure to my Cal Poly education.”

# # #

Photo caption: The Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers Outstanding Women in Engineering recipients for 2015 included, left to right, Vanessa Forney (Computer Science), Krista Purser (Civil Engineering), Samantha Rawlins (Aerospace Engineering), Michallyn Hoffman (Industrial Engineering) and Martina Kroener (Industrial Engineering).

January 2016
March 2016