News for July 2016

June 2016
September 2016

Cal Poly Universities Unveil Rendering of 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade Float, ‘A New Leaf’
July 28, 2016

Cal Poly Engineering majors abound on the Rose Float leadership team.

Cal Poly Rose Float has announced the 2017 Cal Poly universities’ Tournament of Roses Parade float, “A New Leaf.”

It was completely designed and is already under construction by students from Cal Poly and their counterparts at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona.

“A New Leaf” features an animated family of chameleons exploring the wonders of a vibrantly colorful world. It will be the only student-built float in the upcoming New Year’s Day classic, which is being held a day later — Monday, Jan. 2, 2017 — because of the parade’s “Never on a Sunday” policy.

A cross-section of engineering expertise is represented on the Cal Poly leadership team, said Philippe Napaa, president of the San Luis Obispo team, and a bioresource and agricultural engineering major.

Other Cal Poly engineering students in leadership roles are Margaret Kennedy, aerospace engineering, vice president; Sara Novell, mechanical engineering, construction chair and an executive officer; Ali Harake, mechanical engineering, assistant construction chair; Helena Yanez, biomedical engineering, assistant design chair; alumna Kendall Searing (B.S., Electrical Engineering; M.S., Mechanical Engineering), electronics lead; Tyler Couvrette, electrical engineering, electronics assistant; Gregory Baghdikian, computer engineering, engines and hydraulics  lead; Tyler Koski, mechanical engineering, engines and hydraulics assistant; Mason Garcia, industrial engineering, lead structural welder and donations coordinator; Marie Scholl, manufacturing engineering, assistant structural welder and construction team member;  Dexter Yanagisawa, Justin Sherrell, Morgan Montalvo, Sergio Gutierrez, mechanical engineering and construction team members; and Cecilia Allor, mechanical engineering, decorations team member.

“Echoes of Success” is the 2017 parade theme. It is a celebration for those people — family, friends and teachers — institutions and organizations that help in the success of others. It focuses on how character is developed through the selfless contributions of others and celebrates their inspirational gifts.

The Cal Poly Rose Float has been invited to participate in the New Year’s Day parade for 69 consecutive years.

The universities’ Learn By Doing ethos is exemplified in all facets of the program, as students get hands-on experience turning their concepts into creations. The effort brings together students from all disciplines and backgrounds who do the welding, metal shaping, machining, foam carving, woodworking, painting and flower harvesting in a unique experience.

In the process, students compete against professional float builders and over the years have garnered scores of awards while showcasing their work to a vast international television audience. In 2015 and 2016, the Cal Poly entry received the Lathrop K. Leishman Trophy for the most beautiful non-commercial entry.

Construction is in full swing on both campuses and will continue until mid-October, when both halves are united on the Pomona campus.

Cal Poly EPIC Summer Camp Introduces Teens to Engineering Through Hands-On Labs and Experiments
July 11, 2016

WHAT: As part of the EPIC (Engineering Possibilities in College) summer program, almost 500 teens will visit Cal Poly this summer to build and launch rockets, program robots, delve into cybersecurity, and more. The camp’s 28 hands-on labs span aerospace, architectural, biomedical, civil, computer, electrical, environmental, industrial, manufacturing and materials engineering.

WHEN: July 10-29 (three one-week sessions for grades 7-9, 10-11 and 12, respectively).

WHERE: EPIC is headquartered in the Advanced Technology Laboratory (Building 7); labs are located at various venues. For a campus map, visit

MORE: EPIC is an annual summer program that immerses campers from grades 7-12 in a wide array of labs and activities that include designing software, spaceships and infrastructure of the future. Now in its 10th year, the event targets underserved students and those who may not have considered a career in engineering. (More details at

This year, EPIC is collaborating with regional offices of the Migrant Education Program to expand access to hands-on learning experiences for 79 students who are sons or daughters of migrant farmworkers who work in California’s agricultural, dairy, lumber or fishing industries.

Forty-six percent of the 2016 EPIC campers are underserved minorities, up from 31 percent last year. Almost 40 percent are female. About 39 percent are first-generation college-bound students. “Studies show that students are more likely to consider a career in engineering after learning about the breadth of what engineers actually do. That’s where EPIC excels,” said Deb Larson, dean of Cal Poly Engineering.

For the first time, EPIC’s residential program is an option for all campers who do not live locally or want to experience university life more fully.


4 p.m. Friday, July 15:

  • Cal Poly alumnus Rick Sturckow (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1984) will give the keynote speech at the closing ceremonies for the camp’s first session, which is designed specifically for middle school students and includes the largest contingent of participants from the Migrant Education Program. Sturckow flew four space shuttle flights as a NASA astronaut; he currently serves as a pilot for spaceflight company Virgin Galactic.
    Engineering Plaza (between Buildings 192 and 197).

9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 13, in

  • Special lab presentation: Matt Stumbo, from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), will demonstrate how JPL operators drive the rovers Curiosity and Opportunity on Mars.
    Engineering IV (Building 192), Room 109.

Other EPIC highlights include:

Week 1: July 11-15 (Grades 7-9)
Events listed for this week will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, July 15,

  • Robot Dance Contest. Engineering East (Building 20), Room 136.
    The robotics lab will show students how to program scribbler robots and introduce them to robot motion control. The session will end with a coordinated multi-robot dance contest.
  • Helicopter Drop. Engineering IV (Building 192), Room 220.
    Students will design a helicopter and see how long it flies.
  • Eco-Surfboard. Reinhold Aerospace Engineering Lab (Building 41B), Room 136.
    Students will design and build environmentally friendly boards using sustainable materials and processes.

Weeks 2: July 18-22 (Grades 10-11)

2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 12:

  • A network security board game will launch students into the world of cybersecurity, including terminology, attack-and-defend mechanics and a heightened awareness of computer security issues.
    Bonderson Project Center (Building 197), Room 104.

9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 13:

  • Students will make and launch their own model rockets.
    Engineering IV (Building 192), Room 109. Launch to be held outside.

9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, July 14:

  • Using a mobile manufacturing lab, students will learn how to use an electric welder safely to design and manufacture their own art pieces.
    Brown Engineering Building (No. 41A), Room 103.
  • Students will design, build and test their own gliders.
    Reinhold Aerospace Engineering Lab (Building 41B), Room 136.

2 to 4 p.m. Thursday, July 14:

  • Students will build, program and test their own mini-satellite.
    Engineering East (Building 20), Room 116.

Week 3: July 25-29 (Grade 12)

9 to 11 a.m. Friday, July 23:

  • Watch your head! In this lab, students will learn about concussive forces to design and test a device to reduce the impact of a concussive blow to the head.
    Engineering IV (Building 192), Room 120.

About EPIC and its partners:

EPIC is an outreach program designed to inspire a diverse set of students to become engineers. Among this year’s partners are Migrant Education, Regions V (Kern County), XV (Santa Barbara County) and XXII (Santa Barbara County); partner schools and programs: Academy of Science and Engineering, the ACE Mentor Program, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, Ernst & Young College MAP Program, John Muir High School and KIPP Schools; and Wishbone, a nonprofit student funding program.

For more information, contact Maria Mazano, EPIC program director, at 805-550-7296 or, or visit

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Photo: Aerospace engineering alumnus Josef Sanchez, a mechanical engineer at JPL, introduces campers to the intricacies of the Mars rover at a previous EPIC summer camp.

June 2016
September 2016