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Solar Speed

Aug 19, 2019


In a “Star Wars”-like setting located in the Mojave Desert, a solar car created by a team of Cal Poly students eclipsed 50 mph this month, marking the fastest speed the Cal Poly team has achieved.

While the team did not break the 56-mph world record set in 2014, it overcame many obstacles to reach a top speed of 51 mph.

“It shows that with a little improvement, we can easily go 65 mph,” said Lacey Davis, an aerospace engineering student who drove the car.

Davis is a member of Cal Poly’s Prototype Vehicle Laboratory, also known as the PROVE Lab. For roughly three years, Cal Poly students have worked to build a solar car that could break the world speed record. Last weekend, the team went for that mark at El Mirage Lake in San Bernardino County.

The idea to pursue a world record came from Graham Doig, a former aerospace engineering faculty member who had created record-breaking solar cars himself.

Last year, electrical problems hampered the car, named Dawn, and the anticipated record attempt was called off. Then Doig, the mentor, took a job in private industry.

While Aerospace Engineering Professor Paulo Iscold is better known for creating airplanes that break records, he offered to take on Doig’s role.

“I saw it was a good project for the students,” he said.

The first challenge entailed re-working the electrical system that had stalled the car last year. But other systems needed re-tooling as well, Iscold said. And, by the time the car was ready, the optimal time to go for the record – the longest day of the year, when energy from the sun is strongest – had long passed.

Still, the team  went forward and tested the car in Santa Margarita earlier this month. Then it traveled to El Mirage, where the Southern California Timing Association has performed timed speed runs for 50 years. In that other-worldly setting, Davis squeezed into the car’s cockpit and set out to break the record.

“It felt like I was driving on another planet – like pod racing on Tatooine!” she said, referring to the “Star Wars: Episode One” scene. “I think that actually suppressed my fear of hitting an object or running the car off the track because it was so open and vast on the El Mirage lakebed. It was also inspiring to know how many other world records and vehicle testing had been done out there for other major projects. “

The car had a speedometer in it. Meanwhile, members of the team verified the speed by comparing it to a chase car. While the car came up just shy of the record, Iscold said that setback provided a good lesson for the team.

“Not everything in life goes exactly as planned,” he said. “Overcoming failure has become part of the engineering process.”

The team did have to overcome obstacles – including Doig’s departure and the electrical issues.

“Overcoming those obstacles was unfortunately very taxing on the team,” Davis said. “However, we did get some new faces to the project, and their dedication to persevere through the challenges with us made it that much more obvious how passionate they were about Dawn and engineering.”

The team did get Dawn up and running, Iscold said, and lots of data was collected. So this year’s effort, Davis added, was an important building block.

“We plan to try again next year because there are only a few changes that actually need to be made to the car’s solar array and electrical system to get those last few miles per hour in,” she said. 

 

 

 

Continue reading Solar Speed...
PROVE Lab’s Solar car reaches 51 mph, comes up just shy of world record

Solar Speed

Aug 19, 2019


In a “Star Wars”-like setting located in the Mojave Desert, a solar car created by a team of Cal Poly students eclipsed 50 mph last weekend, marking the fastest speed the Cal Poly team has achieved.

While the team did not break the 56-mph world record set in 2014, it overcame many obstacles to reach a top speed of 51 mph.

“It shows that with a little improvement, we can easily go 65 mph,” said Lacey Davis, an aerospace engineering student who drove the car.

Davis is a member of Cal Poly’s Prototype Vehicle Laboratory, also known as the PROVE Lab. For roughly three years, Cal Poly students have worked to build a solar car that could break the world speed record. Last weekend, the team went for that mark at El Mirage Lake in San Bernardino County.

The idea to pursue a world record came from Graham Doig, a former aerospace engineering faculty member who had created record-breaking solar cars himself.

Last year, electrical problems hampered the car, named Dawn, and the anticipated record attempt was called off. Then Doig, the mentor, took a job in private industry.

While Aerospace Engineering Professor Paulo Iscold is better known for creating airplanes that break records, he offered to take on Doig’s role.

“I saw it was a good project for the students,” he said.

The first challenge entailed re-working the electrical system that had stalled the car last year. But other systems needed re-tooling as well, Iscold said. And, by the time the car was ready, the optimal time to go for the record – the longest day of the year, when energy from the sun is strongest – had long passed.

Still, the team  went forward and tested the car in Santa Margarita earlier this month. Then it traveled to El Mirage, where the Southern California Timing Association has performed timed speed runs for 50 years. In that other-worldly setting, Davis squeezed into the car’s cockpit and set out to break the record.

“It felt like I was driving on another planet – like pod racing on Tatooine!” she said, referring to the “Star Wars: Episode One” scene. “I think that actually suppressed my fear of hitting an object or running the car off the track because it was so open and vast on the El Mirage lakebed. It was also inspiring to know how many other world records and vehicle testing had been done out there for other major projects. “

The car had a speedometer in it. Meanwhile, members of the team verified the speed by comparing it to a chase car. While the car came up just shy of the record, Iscold said that setback provided a good lesson for the team.

“Not everything in life goes exactly as planned,” he said. “Overcoming failure has become part of the engineering process.”

The team did have to overcome obstacles – including Doig’s departure and the electrical issues.

“Overcoming those obstacles was unfortunately very taxing on the team,” Davis said. “However, we did get some new faces to the project, and their dedication to persevere through the challenges with us made it that much more obvious how passionate they were about Dawn and engineering.”

The team did get Dawn up and running, Iscold said, and lots of data was collected. So this year’s effort, Davis added, was an important building block.

“We plan to try again next year because there are only a few changes that actually need to be made to the car’s solar array and electrical system to get those last few miles per hour in,” she said. 

 

 

 

Continue reading Solar Speed...
NSF grant will help computer science professor increase safety of software

Automated Tracing

Aug 15, 2019


A grant from the National Science Foundation will help a computer science professor and two  graduate students work on improving the accuracy of automated traceabilty.

Davide Falessi was awarded a grant for $176,488 for his project, titled Semantically-Enhanced Software Traceability for Supporting Human-Centric Tasks. The grant period began in August and extends through July of 2023.

In software, traceability is used to prove that requirements have been fulfilled. In most cases, traceability is used to give the history of an item and to help track the item.

“For example, traceability provides support for safety analysis, compliance verification, test regression, software analytics, and many other software engineering activities,”  Falessi said. “In practice, many safety-critical systems suffer from inadequate or inaccurate traceability due to the cost and difficulty of manually creating and maintaining trace links. Therefore, the project aims at automating the tracing process.”

Falessi and his two students will provide techniques for increasing the safety of software applications in safety-critical domains, such as medical and defense.

One graduate student, Alberto Rodriguez, has already been hired. Rodriguez, a fourth year software engineering student, likely to be enrolled in the blended computer science program, will work on the project for the next two years.

Falessi, a Faculty Scholar with the Institute for Advanced Technology & Public Policy's Open Government Initiative, has experience in collaborating with several software companies, including Cisco, Keymind, DNV (Norway), and Finmeccanica (Italy). His main research interest is in devising and empirically assessing solutions to concrete software engineering problems.

Falessi received his Ph.D. in computer engineering from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy.

Continue reading Automated Tracing...
Cal Poly’s next Rose Parade float features an aquatic theme.

Down Under

Aug 12, 2019


An artist rendering of this year's float features a submarine exploring sea life living in an old shipwreck. The float will appear at the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day.

While last year’s Rose Float team was inspired by space exploration, this year’s team has decided to return to earth, with a float featuring exotic ocean exploration.

This year’s entry for the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association’s annual Rose Parade, as shown in an artist rendering, will feature a submarine navigating around a sunken shipwreck that has become home to colorful marine wildlife. The title of the float, “Aquatic Aspirations,” was announced over the weekend, though it was actually decided a few months ago.

“This year, we started our concept contest in January, where we collect concepts from the community and our team,” said Sydney Strong, president of the Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo team.

Students from the Rose Float team, including President Sydney Strong, left, Vice President Dexter Yanagisawa, middle, and Design Chair Shannon Cardoza, a mathematics major, planted flowers in July. 

The San Luis Obispo campus works on the float year-round with a team of students from Cal Poly, Pomona. After getting 110 concepts, the Cal Poly Universities Float team narrowed the list to five and ranked them, before sending to the Tournament of Roses, which has to approve. The organization had previously set this year’s theme: The Power of Hope.

The Cal Poly team is coming off a successful year. Last year’s rockin’ space-themed float, “Far Out Frequencies,” won the prestigious Extraordinaire Award – the first time Cal Poly had received the honor.

“I was so excited about last year’s float,” said Strong, an industrial engineering major, who served as decorations chair last year. “It was really, really a moment of pride seeing the float turn around the corner on Colorado Boulevard and getting such a prestigious award that we were never expecting to get. I think it has really inspired us this year.”

The underwater theme, she said, allows them to play with underwater creatures, Strong said. 

 

A student on the Rose Float team welds together some of the frame for this year's Cal Poly Universities float. 

“Cal Poly is kind of known for our fun, cartoony floats, so we’re excited to play around with something a little more elegant this year,” she said.

As usual, the College of Engineering at the San Luis Obispo campus is well represented on the team. Ten of the 19 SLO leadership roles are from the college, including Strong serving as president and mechanical engineering student Dexter Yanagisawa as vice president.

In July, the team planted some of the flowers that will be used at the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo campus. And construction on the frame has already begun.

Walter Trygstad, the construction chair of the Rose Float team in San Liuis Obispo, performs grinding work on a steel plate. Trygsdad, a manufacturing engineering student, will also drive the float on New Year's Day. 

The float, which will be driven by Walter Trygstad, a manufacturing engineering student, will feature animated turtles, swimming fish, a rocking ray and swaying kelp. The submarine will rock back and forth, and there will be an octopus that glides 13 feet high while waving its tentacles toward the crowd.

This will be Cal Poly’s 72nd entry to the parade, held annually on New Year’s Day. Last year’s parade was seen by 700,000 people in person and more than 70 million worldwide on television.

 

Continue reading Down Under...
LightSail 2 success owes a nod to Cal Poly – and its CubeSat pioneer.

Sailing on Sunbeams

Jul 31, 2019


Justin Foley, left, a system engineer with NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, and computer science professor John Bellardo, right, pose with a life-sized photo of Jordi Puig-Suari, a retired Cal Poly professor who co-created the CubeSat. 

 

Now that a mini-satellite prepared at Cal Poly has successfully propelled through space with solar power, Bill Nye the Science Guy has another cosmic goal – and this one is even farther out of this world.

“I would very much like to look for signs of life in my lifetime,” he said during a press conference Wednesday (July 31).

If that happens, Cal Poly will have played a significant role.

The press conference was arranged to announce that LightSail 2 – a mini-satellite, also known as “CubeSat” – had successfully raised its orbit in space solely on solar. LightSail 2, a project by Nye’s Planetary Society, was prepared with student assistance at Cal Poly’s College of Engineering, which also acted as mission control last week during the deployment of the CubeSat’s Mylar sail.

During the teleconference, Bruce Betts, LightSail 2 program manager, thanked computer science professor John Bellardo and PolySat systems engineer Michael Fernandez, a physics major, for their help on the project. But another Cal Poly figure proved instrumental in the feat: Jordi Puig-Suari, a retired aerospace engineering professor, co-created the CubeSat, which has greatly expanded space exploration – and allowed for the solar sail experiment to happen.

This image from the Planetary Society shows the LightSail 2's Mylar sail.

When asked about the LightSail 2 success, Puig-Suari said the cost reductions afforded by the CubeSats were crucial.

“It is a huge score for CubeSats and for the team at Cal Poly,” he said, while crediting the Planetary Society for making it happen. “It is the beginning of a new way to travel in space.”

Nye said the crowdfunded project cost $7 million.

Puig-Suari created the CubeSats in 1999 with Stanford University professor Bob Twiggs as a way for students to become involved in designing spacecraft. But soon private companies, governments and more schools embraced CubeSats.

Puig-Suari is now sailing the world with his family – using boat sails instead of solar sails. But a reminder of his impact stood just a few feet from the Planetary scientists as they monitored the sail deployment at Cal Poly: The PolySat lab features a life-sized cut-out of Puig-Suari.

LightSail 2 is roughly the size of a loaf of bread. Yet it was still large enough to travel with an 18-foot sail powered by photons. Once the sail was deployed, navigation was performed autonomously with an on-board algorithm.

Previously, spacecraft had to travel with fuel – which eventually runs out, Nye noted. Solar powered spacecraft can continue much longer, paving the way for much further travel.

“For me it’s very romantic that you’d be sailing on sunbeams,” he said.

Bill Nye, CEO of the Planetary Society, hopes solar sails will help space exploration go farther in the galaxy -- and beyond. (Photo: The Planetary Society)

Nye first learned of the concept from his former teacher and Planetary Society founder Carl Sagan in the 70s. This month, Sagan’s concept, which he described to Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show” in 1976, was proven.

“The community spent decades talking about solar sailing as an academic exercise,” Puig-Suari said. “Carl Sagan would be proud!”

The Planetary Society has shared multiple images taken by LightSail 2.

When asked his dream for solar sailing, Nye said he wanted to discover if there were other life forms out there – be it on Mars, Saturn or Jupiter. Solar travel will also help identify potentially dangerous asteroids, he said.

Bellardo, who has been involved in the project since the early design phase of LightSail 1, which did a test run in 2015, said he's also excited about the newfound possibilities. 

"Solar sailing excites me because it enables us to build small spacecraft that can explore our solar system," said Bellardo, who was responsible for most of the LightSail 2 flight software, primary flight commanding, ground station infrastructure and general spacecraft operation support. "I’m hopeful that a price reduction is correlated with the size reduction, and that results in being able to send a greater number of satellites to all sorts of different destinations."

In addition to Bellardo’s work, PolySat also assisted with environmental testing. manufacturing of the P-POD deployer, primary flight computer, and more, Bellardo said.

Puig-Suari said he’s proud of what his CubeSat work has led to.

“I am so happy with the results from LightSail 2,” he said. “It is a really big deal.”

 

Continue reading Sailing on Sunbeams...
Two Lockheed endowed professors plan to expand CubeSats and programming

Expanding Innovation

Jul 26, 2019


Two recently endowed Lockheed Martin professors plan to use their awards to increase accessibility to space with mini satellites and expand the use of parallel computing to study earthquakes, Hawaiian bird calls and wine production.

Pauline Faure, an assistant professor in the Aerospace Engineering Department, and Maria Pantoja, an assistant professor in the Computer Science and Software Engineering Department, were both awarded $25,000 Lockheed Martin Endowed Professorship awards. The awards recognize faculty members who contribute new knowledge in the field of engineering, partner with industry, involve students with advanced ideas and enhance teaching by introducing state-of-the-art topics in the classroom.

The award provides time and resources for professional growth and development to  enrich the educational experiences of Cal Poly students.

Faure said her main goal is to facilitate access to space to more people through STEM education using mini-satellites called CubeSats as a tool.

“This is important because space is supposed to be available to all nations regardless of the hardships they might be facing,” she said. “Yet, space has a reputation of being inaccessible, complex and expensive.”

CubeSats, co-created by retired Cal Poly faculty member Jordi Puig-Suari, have allowed students and private citizens worldwide to become more involved in space research. Several CubeSats developed at Cal Poly have been launched into space.

Faure, who is an advisor to the Cal Poly CubeSat Laboratory, has worked on multicultural satellite projects with members from over 20 countries, from South America to South East Asia and Africa. This summer she will travel to Cambodia to provide intensive CubeSat training and help set up a ground station for CubeSat operations.

“Involving other countries benefits U.S. efforts of developing collaborations and partnerships,” Faure said.

At the university level, she said, it provides diversity benefits through the broadening of horizons, thoughts and logic processes of the people involved. On an industry basis, it helps develop networks and share projects while enhancing our overall understanding and approach to problems that are being addressed with space assets.

To help others learn about CubeSats, she proposes developing satellite kits along with trainings as educational tools.

Pantoja hopes to increase research in parallel programming, which will enhance Cal Poly’s international visibility. Parallel programming is the use of multiple resources – especially processors – to solve  problems.

Cal Poly’s parallel computing facilities help students learn how to create software that can be deployed in distributed systems and can run faster, she said. But those facilities need to be upgraded – one of the things she plans to do.

“Every three to five years, components should be replaced,” she said, adding that those can be replaced in steps.

Pantoja also wants to involve other departments in artificial intelligence projects that seek to increase production of wine grapes, identify damage caused by earthquakes and understand the population distribution of endangered Hawaiian birds.

This summer, she will work with local wine producers and begin taking data in vineyards. That project, supported by the Agriculture Research Institute Grant, will involve students helping to study different computer vision algorithms to improve wine grape production.

The use of computers in agriculture is not new, she said, but it is growing.

“There are several companies already developing software for ag,” she said.

 

Continue reading Expanding Innovation...

STEM Equity

Jul 25, 2019


Brian Self, far right, will utilize a $1.3 million California Education Learning Lab grant to help students better understand physics, statistics and dynamics.

 

A gauntlet of three intense classes — physics, statics and dynamics — presents a grueling test for the majority of freshman and sophomore engineering students at Cal Poly. And while most students studying engineering across the country struggle in those courses, statistics show minority and first-generation students struggle more.

“One of the problems with these courses is there’s a GPA gap of almost .5 when you look at underrepresented minorities or historically marginalized groups and first-generation students,” said mechanical engineering professor Brian Self. “Cal Poly and every college of engineering is working on reducing that gap.”

Self will soon get a chance to concentrate on the problem as he is a part of a coalition of educators from Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara and Allan Hancock College that received a $1.3 million grant from the California Education Learning Lab to develop and re-imagine online components and courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“We are developing concept questions and concept tests for the online component in these courses,” Self said. “In the online component, we’re doing modules to really help students understand physics and mechanics, and importantly, figure out what they understand and what they don’t in all three courses.”

Working with Cal Poly faculty that included mechanical engineering professors Ben Lutz, Eileen Rossman and John Chen, and physics professors Stamatis Vokos, Laura Rios, Geraldine Cochran and Pete Schwartz, Self said their proposal, “The Mechanics of Inclusion and Inclusivity in Mechanics,” also includes creative classroom activities.

“There’s an in-person component that will try to create a more inclusive classroom environment with the use of learning assistants, which are undergraduate students who will come and work through problems,” Self said. “We’ll try to make it a little less rote and less lecturing by the professor to make it more engaging.”

Self said this project, one of six fully-funded projects funded by the Learning Lab to close equity and achievement gaps in STEM, benefits from being based on three campuses.

“Because we have people that teach in physics, statics and dynamics in a mechanics sequence at each school, we can look at student learning longitudinally,” he said. “For students who go through all three of these courses under specific professors, we’ll be able to look at their learning gains in the sequence. With Allan Hancock College as one of our partners, we’ll be able to do some interesting work with the students in those three courses because they have a more diverse population.”

A three-year project, Self said producing videos is also part of the plan to boost inclusivity early in the process.

“We’re developing the materials for an online sequence the students will go through before they even come to class,” he said. “And we’re going to make an introductory video that hopefully motivates the students by highlighting some non-traditional engineers.” 

See the California Education Learning Lab for more info.

Continue reading STEM Equity...
Cal Poly helps Bill Nye reach a milestone

Setting Sail -- in Space

Jul 24, 2019


Scientists from the Planetary Society used the PolySat lab as their mission control for the deployment of LightSail 2. Click here for a photo gallery.

From Cal Poly’s PolySat lab, a scientist announces, “We’ve got a sail out!” prompting Bill Nye to let out a “Woot!” and offer a thumb’s up.

Nye – known as “Bill Nye the Science Guy” on television – is CEO of the Planetary Society, which privately funded LightSail 2, a mini satellite designed to be propelled through space with an 18-foot sail. LightSail 2, which is roughly the size of a bread loaf, was prepared at Cal Poly with student assistance and launched in June. The mini satellite contained four triangular-shaped Mylar pieces that could unfurl to form a square.

On Tuesday, the PolySat lab acted as mission control for Planetary Society scientists as the sail was set to be deployed.

As the deployment neared, the PolySat lab grew quiet, the Planetary Society crew monitoring their laptops. In the PolySat lab, someone had drawn a photo of the light sail on a white board, with “Go Light Sail!” written next to it. Nearby stood a life-sized cut-out of Jordi Puig-Suari, the now-retired Cal Poly aerospace engineering professor who co-founded mini-satellites, or CubeSats, which have revolutionized space research.

Meanwhile, a lecture room across the hall offered a live feed of both mission control and Nye, who appeared on a live stream from his vacation spot in Delaware.

Nye said the light sail is a potential game-changer for lower-cost interplanetary space travel.

“We are advancing space science and exploration,” he said. “We are democratizing space. We are innovating.”

CubeSats mostly float in space, but the next step is propulsion, which would allow them to travel through space with more direction. The LightSail 2’s sail will be propelled by photons from the sun.

While Nye said he learned about light sails through scientist Carl Sagan in the 70s, the concept, he added, is ancient.

“People have discussed this for centuries,” he said.

Privately funded, it cost about $7 million, Nye said, whereas it might have cost $140 million had a space agency funded it.

After the deployment, Nye lauded Cal Poly.

“It’s one of a couple of places to go if you want to fly a CubeSat,” he said.

 

Continue reading Setting Sail -- in Space...

Diversity Recognition

Jul 23, 2019


Clubs like Color Coded, which invited University of Miami professor Lindsay D. Grace to come to Cal Poly to speak about diversity in games, have helped CENG's efforts to increase diversity and inclusion. 

After launching several initiatives to encourage diversity and inclusiveness, Cal Poly’s College of Engineering was recognized recently by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) as a national leader in inclusive excellence.

The ASEE, a non-profit member association dedicated to promoting and improving engineering and engineering education, launched the National Diversity Recognition Program in April with the support of over 200 engineering schools and colleges. After an ASEE committee reviewed Cal Poly’s application, it rated Cal Poly at the Bronze level, the highest issued during the first round of ratings.

“This award affirms and recognizes the many efforts we have undertaken to date to be more inclusive,” said College of Engineering Dean Amy S. Fleischer. “At the same time, we will continue to take more steps to improve diversity, inclusion and equity. By creating an inclusive and diverse community we will foster a diversity of ideas that will fuel great innovation.”

The rating was the first national effort to publicly recognize institutions for their success in building a diverse workforce.

“While other efforts have sought to award individuals or organizations for singular efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion, this recognition utilizes self-assessment, metrics and reforms to propel units in advancing systemic institutional change,” said Gregory N. Washington, chair of ASEE Engineering’s Dean’s Council and the dean of UC Irvine’s Samueli School of Engineering.

The engineering field has reported a need for a more diverse mix of professionals, which led the ASEE Board of Directors to declare the 2014-2015 academic year the Year of Action on Diversity. During that year, the ASEE implemented numerous awareness and implementation activities in response to data on continued – and in some cases worsening – underrepresentation of various minority groups. And in January, 2017, the ASEE Engineering Deans Council issued the ASEE Deans Diversity Pledge, which was signed by over 220 members, including Cal Poly’s College of Engineering.

“We want all students to be able to take advantage of the many great opportunities Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing experience offers,” Fleischer said. “So we want to improve retention rates of underrepresented students. We are also working to increase diversity in future enrollment so the college better reflects the population of our state and the workforce that drive California’s economy, culture and communities.”

Each institution which submitted an application received two reviews from a team of 24 reviewers, conducted by an augmented Engineering Deans Council Diversity Committee. The Bronze level recognition demonstrates institutions have established baseline support for groups underrepresented in engineering while also analyzing their policies, culture and climate related to all underrepresented groups. The recognition also shows institutions are strengthening the K-12 or community college pipeline and developing a diversity and inclusion action plan focused on continuous improvement.

Cal Poly’s College of Engineering features many initiatives to encourage inclusivity and diversity, including:

• Organizations, such as the Multicultural Engineering Program and the Women’s Engineering Program, which build communities and provide the necessary support for students’ academic, personal and professional success. • Clubs with specific underrepresented student missions, such as Women Involved in Software and Hardware, Color Coded, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers and the National Society of Black Engineers, which help students connect with peers while providing alumnae, faculty and industry representatives as role models and supporters.

• Pipeline programs to recruit future underrepresented students, including Engineering Possibilities in College (EPIC), a summer camp designed to get middle and high school students interested in engineering, and Cal Poly ENGAGE, a pipeline scholarship program targeting regional community colleges.

• The Cal Poly scholars program, which seeks to recruit and retain high-achieving, low-income students from California high schools while providing financial, academic and community support.

While most of the college’s diversity efforts are still relatively new, the college notes that the percentage of female students has more than doubled since 2006 (13.3 percent of new students were women in 2006, compared to 26.3 percent in 2018.) The overall percentage of students belonging to an underrepresented group is increasing, driven primarily by growth in students who identify as Latinx. From 2013 to 2018, the total percentage of federally underrepresented students increased from 16 percent to 18 percent. In 2018, 50 percent of students in the college identified as white (down from 54 percent in 2013.) Another 32 percent of the students identified as Asian or multi-racial.

 

Continue reading Diversity Recognition...
Combat vet tests surfing prosthetic created by Cal Poly students.

Challenge Complete

Jul 19, 2019


 

After paddling into a Morro Bay wave, Kyle Kelly popped up on his surfboard and discovered movement.

The prosthetic foot designed by a team of Cal Poly students, he said, allowed greater flexibility than the rigid prosthetic he had previously used. 

"There's a noticeable and incredible difference as far as being able to move my ankle," he said. "It changed the way I stood up on the board. It made everything smoother, easier, faster than the leg that I have been using to surf."

The students began working on the prosthetic in the fall, through the Quality of Life Plus program, which started on the Cal Poly campus and has since spread to a dozen others. Van Curaza, who founded Operation Surf for veterans, proposed the challenge.

In this video, the final of a 4-part series, you can see how the student project fared in the surf.

 

Continue reading Challenge Complete...

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