Getting Real-World Perspectives


Students at EPIC conference club showcase
A student inquired about Cal Poly Supermilage at the club showcase during the EPIC conference. During the first annual event, several clubs set up booths. 


The costs and benefits of launching a start-up, the moral considerations of artificial intelligence and changes in the semiconductor business were a few of the many topics discussed recently during the first annual Engineering Perspectives and Impact Conference, held May 19 at the Advance Technology Laboratory.

The event, resembling the well-known TED Talks series, was put on by Cal Poly’s American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) to bridge the gap between students’ academic perspective of engineering and the real-life experience of those in the industry, said Thomas Headland, the executive director of the conference.

“Despite the countless hours spent studying engineering concepts, the full breadth of the field of engineering and the impacts it has on the world around us is a topic not often discussed in our classes,” said Headland, a mechanical engineering student from Paso Robles.

The speakers included important contacts, who added important insights, added Gloria Whang, the conference logistic director.

“The conference topics were important for engineering students because there are a lot of nuances to what it means to be a successful and happy engineer,” said Whang, a mechanical engineering student from Seattle, adding that the lectures included “life lessons and thoughts that will make us better engineers and people.”

During a lunch break, the event showcased engineering clubs, which had booths and presentations.

After the inaugural success, the ASME is already working on next year’s conference.

“The lessons learned from this event will be used as the foundation of the next and is something I hope will continue as a staple of the Cal Poly ASME,” Headland said.