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See a timelapse video of students working on CubeSat tracking antennas

Calling all CubeSats

Apr 18, 2019


Under spring clouds billowing over the roof of the Advanced Technologies Lab, a multidisciplinary team of Cal Poly Engineering students spent quarter break working on adjusting two CubeSat tracking antennas that monitor the small satellites in their orbit around the earth.

Computer Engineering student Justin Nguyen, Joshua Anderson (Computer Science) and Justin Sherrell (Mechanical Engineering) worked on the pair of antennas, called “Hertz” and “Marconi,” that track dozens of CubeSats every day.

“We are currently tracking the following CubeSats: CP7-DAVE, CP10-ExoCube, CP-11-ISX, Irvine-01 and Irvine-02,” Nguyen said. “We also track NOAA weather satellites and regularly downlink Earth imagery from them and assist in tracking other CubeSats in the community.”

Nguyen, one of two CubeSat Lab Managers, said the tracking team is about to get busier. “We’ll be launching many more CubeSats this year — LightSail2, CP12-ExoCube2, and CP9-LEO!”

For more information on Cal Poly CubeSats, visit the PolySat website

Continue reading Calling all CubeSats...
Bernard Amadei, founder of Engineers Without Borders-USA, to speak at Cal Poly on April 19. Read our interview here.

Making the World a Better Place

Apr 16, 2019


Cal Poly's branch of Engineers Without Borders, launched in 2005, has become one of the largest student branches in the country.  

 

Historically, engineers have often been portrayed as tough, hard hat-wearing men building bridges and controlling nature, said Bernard Amadei, founder of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-USA).

“That kind of nonsense doesn’t attract too many women,” he said.

But once it was shown that engineering could help communities in need, Amadei said, more women became interested. So while women only make up 18 percent of engineers in the United States, according to a Congressional Joint Economic Committee report, they comprise half of EWB.

Amadei thinks the difference relates to how engineering is portrayed by Engineers Without Borders- USA.

“It presented itself as more compassionate and more caring,” Amadei said. “I think for women that’s more important.”

Amadei will offer a public talk, “Global Engineering for a Small Planet,” Friday April 19, at the ATL (Building 007), beginning at 11 a.m. The discussion is part of the College of Engineering's Diversity and Inclusion Speaker series. 

Nearly 20 years after he founded the organization, the popularity of EWB has exploded, with roughly 17,000 members, working on more than 700 projects in 48 countries. While EMB students are working to make the world a better place, for many years Amadei viewed engineering in a more traditional way – that men-making-bridges notion -- until one person changed his view.

“I keep saying an Angel knocked on my door and changed my life,” he said.

As in Angel Tzec, who did some landscaping work for Amadei in 1997.

At the time, the year 2000, Amadei was a civil engineering professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. While he had volunteered at a local homeless shelter and a children’s hospital, he had never considered incorporating his engineer training into volunteerism. But that would change after Tzec – who became a representative for Belize’s Department of Agriculture -- invited him to his hometown in Central America, initially to help develop the curriculum for a vocational school for Mayan youths.

Amadei agreed to go to San Pablo in 2000. San Pablo was a small village of 150 inhabitants, which had no electricity, running water or sanitation. And while there, he saw

Bernard Amadie, founder of EWB-USA

 

school-aged girls carrying water from a river to their village.

Amadei thought they should have been going to school instead.

“I looked at it as a challenge and maybe I could do something,” he said. “Here was a unique opportunity to combine engineering with volunteerism.”

While the community had the natural resources and motivation to build a reliable water supply system, it lacked the technical skills and economic capacity to design one. So Amadei returned to Colorado, where he discussed potential solutions with colleagues. After students helped raise $12,000 for the project, Amadei returned to Belize – this time with a cadre of 12 students and a colleague – and installed a clean water system powered by a waterfall a quarter of a mile from the community. The system failed twice and a third option was installed by another chapter of EWB.

With that project, students drove him to do even more, he said.

“I said, ‘If that’s what they want, let’s do it.’”

EWB-USA was founded with the idea that engineers could use their skills to help communities in developing countries. While there was initially resistance at his university, the non-profit expanded considerably.

Cal Poly’s chapter formed in 2005 and has since grown to become one of the largest student chapters in the country. Today, the Cal Poly chapter features five project teams – in Fiji, Malawi, Nicaragua, Thailand and locally.

Over time, it was clear that EWB offered not just a benefit to developing countries but also to the students who participated, Amadei said. The experience, after all, required students to work in teams, often next to professional engineers, coming up with solutions to complex problems. In short, EWB provided excellent career training.

“Companies are interested in hiring these young people right away because of the skills they have acquired outside the classroom,” Amadei said.

While the Peace Corps has been providing assistance to underdeveloped countries since 1961, Amadei said engineers are in a unique position to change the world for the better.

“We take basic science and apply it to problems faced by communities worldwide,” he said.

 

Continue reading Making the World a Better Place...
See how rodeo coach Ben Londo's relationship with a key supporter led to a new minor

To the Rodeo and Back

Apr 15, 2019


While the Poly Royal Rodeo has always drawn huge crowds, rodeo coach and Cal Poly alumnus Ben Londo thought the crowds could be even bigger.

In this video, see how Londo worked with Jim Roberts, CEO of Granite Construction, to transform the Spanos Stadium into a rodeo arena -- and how that eventually resulted in a $5 million donation from Granite, Caterpillar and Beavers Charitable Trust to fund a new civil engineering-construction management minor.

The video also explores Londo's rodeo history, with a look at Cal Poly's own rodeo past, while offering a glimpse of how the stadium transformation works.

Continue reading To the Rodeo and Back...
Students begin designing prosthetic for amputee surfers through Quality of Life Plus program.

Taking on the Challenge

Apr 11, 2019


 

After watching veterans during the Operation Surf camp last fall, a team of four students set out to create a prosthetic limb that would improve mobility for amputee surfers.

Operation Surf founder Van Curaza had requested students help design such a prosthetic at the beginning of the fall quarter, saying existing ones were too rigid for surfing. His challenge was issued to the Quality of Life Plus (QL+) program, founded by Cal Poly alumnus Jon Monett.

The QL+ program pairs interdisciplinary student projects with the needs of wounded vets. At the beginning of the school year, students are matched with challenges, which they work on the entire school year. The team taking on Curaza’s challenge includes biomedical engineering majors Oyundari Altansukh and Samantha Campbell and mechanical engineering students Kurtis Barth and Caroline Swanson.

In the first installment of “Up to the Challenge,” Curaza and veteran Kyle Kelly discussed the need for a surfing prosthetic. In chapter two here, we follow the team of students as they meet Curaza and begin the design process.

Continue reading Taking on the Challenge...
The reigning national champion concrete canoe team won this year’s regionals, held at Cal Poly.

A Solid Performance

Apr 10, 2019



The Cal Poly concrete canoe team’s bid to win its third straight national championship launched from its home turf last weekend, where the team finished first in the regional portion of the American Society of Civil Engineer’s (ASCE) Concrete Canoe Competition.

As a result, the team will advance to the National Concrete Canoe Competition at the Florida Institute of Technology, June 6-8.

"It was a fun experience hosting the regional competition at our school," said project manager Mason Breipohl. "Having our display and presentation on campus gave us a chance to show our peers about the project and interest people that have never heard of the competition. We also receive amazing alumni support as a result of hosting at Cal Poly, with nearly 80 alumni and past concrete canoe captains in attendance."

Cal Poly’s team, which has won five times in the past decade, hosted the Pacific Southwest ASCE Student Conference, held April 3-6. The event, which included students from 19 western universities and colleges in four states, featured numerous technical and non-technical competitions.

While the concrete canoe team won first place in all seven of its events, the transportation and design build teams also won first place overall in their categories. During the event, Cal Poly teams placed in nine out of the 17 team competitions, winning first place in the overall conference.

The concrete canoe competition is the most visible and well known. The competition tests students’ ability to collaborate as a team while using engineering skills to design and construct a seaworthy canoe. Concrete canoes are created with a specialty mix of aggregates and cement that each team formulates to be light and strong. The competition included four categories: Design Paper, Oral Presentation, Final Product and several racing events.

Cal Poly’s team unveiled its 2019 canoe, Yggdrasil -- named after a mythical tree in Norse cosmology -- which was displayed with other team canoes on Dexter Lawn Thursday, April 4.

"The team captains met at the beginning of the year to discuss our goals and select a theme that aligned with these goals," Breipohl said. "We selected Yggdrasil as a unique theme that symbolizes unity and incorporates the shipbuilding craftsmanship of Norse/Viking culture."

Once the canoe was displayed, presentations followed, and the canoe was put to the test on water the next day, when races were held at Lake Nacimiento.

With its victory, the team will advance to the nationals – also known at “America’s Cup of Civil Engineering” – held in Melbourne, Fla. There the Cal Poly crew will compete with 25 other teams from across the country.

"According to the rules, we are not allowed to work on the final canoe between regionals and nationals," Breipohl said. "However, we will use the feedback we got to improve our design paper, oral presentation, and paddling."

Cal Poly is in the midst of an impressive run, having won the nationals in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2017 and 2018.

 

Continue reading A Solid Performance...
Open House April 12-13 and CENG Logo

CENG Open House 2019

Apr 5, 2019


Friday, April 12 Engineering Events:

Event Location Time
Women's Engineering Program Panel Discussion Advanced Technologies Lab, (ATL) Bldg. 007, Rm. 2 8:00 AM - 10:15 AM
Multicultural Engineering Program Info Session and Panel Experiences of Underrepresented Students Bonderson Projects Center, Bldg. 197, Rm. 104 9:15 AM - 10:15 AM
College of Engineering Welcome Recreation Center Main Gym, Bldg. 43 11:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Aerospace Engineering Welcome Lunch Engineering Plaza, Bldg. 192 12:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Biomedical Engineering Welcome Lunch, Q&A Bldg. 192, Rm. 106 12:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Civil and Environmental Engineering Info Session Mott Gym, Bldg. 42, Rm. 102 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Civil and Environmental Engineering Admitted Students Day Bldg. 13, Courtyard 1:45 PM - 4:00 PM
Computer Engineering Welcome Lunch Fisher Science, Bldg. 33, Rm. 286 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Computer Science and Software Engineering Welcome Lunch and Overview Recreation Center, Bldg. 43, MAC Room 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Computer Science and Software Engineering Opportunities for Women Panel Recreation Center, Bldg. 43, MAC Room 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Computer Science and Software Engineering Ignite Cal Poly Fisher Science, Bldg. 33, Rm. 286 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Electrical Engineering Welcome Lunch Bldg. 20, South East Lawn 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Electrical Engineering Student Club Presentation Bldg. 20, South East Lawn 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Electrical Engineering Lab Tours and Demonstrations Bldg. 20, South East Lawn 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Electrical Engineering Ice Cream Social Bert and Candace Forbes Center Bldg. 20A, Lobby 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
General Engineering Welcome Lunch Bonderson Projects Center, Bldg. 197, Rm. 104 12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Welcome Lunch Bldg. 192, Rm. 240 12:15 PM - 1:30 PM
Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Lab Tours Bldg. 192, Rooms 220-221, 237, 240-241, Bldg. 41, Rm. 104, Rm. 107, Rm. 111 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
IME Q&A Session with Current Students Bldg. 192, Rm. 220 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Materials Engineering Welcome Lunch ATL, Bldg. 007 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Materials Engineering Panel Discussion ATL, Bldg. 007 1:30 PM - 2:15 PM
Mechanical Engineering Welcome Lunch Alex and Faye Spanos Theater Bldg. 44, Rm. 227 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
     

Saturday, April 13 Engineering Events:

Event Location Time
Cal Poly Alumni Beer & Wine Garden Engineering Plaza 2:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Aerospace Engineering Rocket Launch Engineering Plaza 9:00 PM - 11:00 AM
EE/CPE/SCE - Computer and Electrical Showcase Ben and Candace Forbes Center, Bldg. 20A, Lobby and Patio 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
General Engineering Hospitality Area Bldg. 192, Rm. 106 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Mechanical Engineering Welcome Center Bonderson Projects Center, Bldg. 197, Rm. 107 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

 

Continue reading CENG Open House 2019...
SURP photo collage and CP Engineering Logo

Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) - 2019

Mar 26, 2019


Thank you for your interest in SURP!

Did you miss Monday's Info Session? Not to worry. A video recording of the presentation is available below:

 

Info Session Slides:

 

 

About SURP

The College of Engineering Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) is a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to engage in hands-on research with a faculty mentor while using critical thinking, collaborative, and entrepreneurial skills to help solve major societal challenges. SURP is an 8-week long program, and students are expected to spend at least 20 hours/week working on their research projects; SURP students and their faculty mentor will agree upon a start date for their research project.

Each SURP student participant will receive a CENG Summer Research Grant of $3,000. SURP students will not receive additional funding for working more than 20 hours/week or for more than 8 weeks. This grant will be disbursed through the Financial Aid Office. Preference will be given to lower division students (students completing their freshman or sophomore year) who have not previously participated in SURP.

See the "2019 SURP Projects" section below.

Don't Miss the 2019 Info Session (April 8th)!

 

Printable Info Session Flyer (PDF)

Join us for an overview of the SURP program and application process. This information session will feature a student and faculty panel as well as a Question & Answer session. Event details:

  • Event Date: Monday, April 8th, 2019
  • Event Time: 4:00 PM
  • Event Location: ATL - Keck Lab (Building 7)

2019 SURP Projects ★ Updated on 4/17/19 ★

★ Recently Added Project ★
Faculty Name: Jean Lee
Department: MATE/GENE
Email: jlee473@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Physical and Environmental Characterization of Microwave Synthesized Ceramic Nanoparticles for Greenhouse Gas Sequestration
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description: This project examines the means by which microwave-synthesized Group II oxide nanoparticles (such as magnesium oxide and calcium oxide nanoparticles) can act as greenhouse gas sequestration materials.  Group II oxide nanoparticles produced using a simple microwave synthesis method with be studied using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) to determine the compounds formed on the nanoparticles when they are exposed to carbon dioxide and possibly other greenhouse gases.  Environmental characterization of these microwave-synthesized nanomaterials will be conducted using life cycle assessment (LCA) to quantify the environmental impact of this microwave-based nanomaterials synthesis method with respect to key life cycle impact categories such as global warming potential, energy consumption, and water consumption, paving the way for systematic quantitative evaluation and comparison of the environmental impact of different nanomaterials synthesis methods.  The LCA software SimaPro (available at Cal Poly) will be used to calculate the environmental impact of nanomaterials produced using a microwavebased synthesis method.

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Faculty Name: Trevor Cardinal
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Email: tcardina@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Impact of Myoblast Transplantation on Arteriogenesis in Mice with Diet-Induced Obesity
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description: Students will tie off the femoral artery of mice with suture to mimic the insufficient blood flow characteristic of peripheral artery disease. To better mimic the human patients, the mice will have diet-induced obesity. At the time of surgery, students will transplant muscle progenitor cells (i.e. myoblasts) on a gelatin disc to enhance the growth or natural bypass vessels (arteriogenesis). At day-7 following surgery, students will measure the enlargement and function of the natural bypasses by recording maximum and resting diameter with microscopy.

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Faculty Name: Trevor Cardinal
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Email: tcardina@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Developing a novel thermoreversible polymer for cell delivery
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description: Students in my laboratory and in the laboratory of Dr Philip Costanzo (Chemistry & Biochemistry) will collaborate on developing a novel thermoreversible polymer for cell delivery. Specifically, students in Dr Costanzo’s Lab will synthesize copolymers of poly(n-isopropylacrylamide) with hydroxyethyl methacrylate or hydroxyethyl acrylate (pNIPAM with pHEMA or pHEA) at various ratios. Students in my laboratory will then work with students from Dr Costanzo’s laboratory to test the copolymers at various dilutions for injectability, cell dispersion, cell viability, and in vivo durability.

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Faculty Name: Christopher Heylman
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Email: cheylman@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Microfluidic Chip Design for Growing Tissues-on-a-chip
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description:
Biomedical engineering graduate students are currently working in my lab to create a microfluidic “tissue-on-a-chip” device that will allow for the growth and maintenance of 3D vascularized human tissues. These tissues will be used for screening the potential effects of novel drugs on human tissues and organs before resorting to costly pre-clinic animal models and human clinical trials. Current devices contain a single, central incubation chamber in which the tissue is grown. However, our first generation of devices present challenges with cell-loading and perfusion. This summer research project aims to address these issues. This involves redesigning the chip and simulating flow rates in CAD and COMSOL software, fabricating chip molds in Cal Poly’s Microfabrication Lab, casting and plasma bonding chips, and validating simulated cell-loading and perfusion rates in the chambers of the final chip using fluorescent microscopy. Successful redesign of these chips will open the door for further tissue growth and drug response research while increasing the validity, reliability, and efficiency of this research. Planned future applications of this technology include rapid drug screening for cancer therapeutics and analyzing the effect of one drug on multiple parts of the body (i.e. multiple tissue types/organs on a single chip).

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Faculty Name: Christopher Heylman
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Email: cheylman@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Fluorescent Microscopy of Vascular Networks on a Microfluidic Chip
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description:
Biomedical engineering graduate students are currently working in my lab to create a microfluidic “tissue-on-a-chip” device that will allow for the growth and maintenance of 3D vascularized human tissues. These tissues will be used for screening the potential effects of novel drugs on human tissues and organs before resorting to costly pre-clinic animal models and human clinical trials. These devices are created by injecting a mixture of fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and extracellular matrix proteins into a central incubation chamber. Cell culture medium is then perfused through the tissue using the fluidic channels of the device. Given the appropriate ratio of cell types, nutrients in the medium, and flow rates, the growth of a 3D network of blood vessels can be stimulated. This summer research project aims to develop protocols for growing these 3D vascular networks on a chip and methods for characterizing them using fluorescent microscopy. This involves cell culture, microfluidic device fabrication, immunostaining, and fluorescent microscopy. Successful growth of a vascular network in these chips will open the door for further growth of multiple tissue types on a chip and drug response research while increasing the validity, reliability, and efficiency of this research. Planned future applications of this technology include rapid drug screening for cancer therapeutics and analyzing the effect of one drug on multiple parts of the body (i.e. multiple tissue types/organs on a single chip).

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