Cal Poly College of Engineering Announces 2017 Outstanding Students

June 05, 2017

Contact: Amy Hewes
College of Engineering
805-756-6402
ahewes@calpoly.edu

Cal Poly College of Engineering announced its 2017 Outstanding Students at the Engineering Project Expo on June 2. The students included the top senior for academic excellence; three graduating seniors honored for service to the college, university and community; and the outstanding volunteer of the year.

Environmental engineering senior Kimberly Pugel from Grass Valley, Calif., was recognized as the college’s top graduating senior for academic excellence. With a 3.91 grade point average, Pugel made the Dean’s List every quarter except winter 2017, when she had fewer units, and she made President’s List, which recognizes undergraduates who have been on the Dean's List at least three quarters of the academic year, three times since she entered Cal Poly in 2013. While a student, Pugel interned at Arcadis coordinating remediation field activities, and served as a project lead for the Global Waste Research Institute winning third place at 2015 Algae Biomass Summit in Washington, D.C., for her research. Active with Engineers Without Borders – Cal Poly, Pugel was chapter vice president and technical project leader for the Thailand team. As chapter vice president for the Real Food Collaborative, Pugel helped bring local organic food to campus. She worked as a primary research assistant on projects sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in March. Pugel is seeking a master’s degree in civil systems engineering and a certificate in engineering for developing countries at the University of Colorado, Boulder

Melisa Esquivias, an industrial engineering major from San Bruno, Calif., was named Outstanding Senior for Contributions to the college. She was on President’s List from 2013 to 2014 and earned Dean’s List honors for eight quarters. Esquivias served as an officer for the Radio Frequency Identification Club working to increase club membership and awareness. As vice president of operations, she managed multiple club projects. In organizing an RFID/Internet of Things Conference, Esquivias provided learning opportunities for students and the local community. She also serves as an Engineering Ambassador, and for two years, volunteered as leader of the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Open House Marketing Team. As a member of the Latina Interest Sorority, Esquivias conducted research and fundraising projects to provide services to the Latinx community. As student coordinator for the Peer Resources in Student Mentoring, she designed and led mentoring programs to facilitate transition of queer students into the Cal Poly campus.

The Outstanding Student for Contributions to the University is Charly Flores, an electrical engineering senior from San Pedro, Calif. Known for his leadership in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Flores is passionate about opening paths to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics for underrepresented students. As the society’s vice president of community affairs, Flores planned more than 20 outreach activities, including installing solar panels for low-income families and volunteering at local schools. He currently serves as SHPE president. A parent whose son received a tour of the college from Flores said, “Charly speaking to my son about his experiences as a transfer student truly inspired my son.” Flores has interned as a product support engineer at Rantec Power Systems and at Pacific Gas and Electric. He received a Multicultural Engineering Program Chevron Scholarship because of his leadership and outstanding academic performance.

Materials engineering senior Erika Hansen from San Luis Obispo, Calif., was named the Outstanding Student for Service to the Community for her commitment to help others and make the world a better place. She worked with EPIC, Cal Poly’s engineering summer camp, and was involved with outreach activities for the Materials Engineering Department. As outreach officer for the Alpha Sigma Mu Materials Honor Society, Hansen has organized outreach efforts, such as the MATE lab for the campus chapter of the Society of Women Engineers Building an Engineer Day, and visits to an after-school program at Fairgrove Elementary in Grover Beach, Calif. Hansen served in several leadership positions with Engineers Without Borders – Cal Poly, including project lead for a water distribution system for the Nicaragua team. Hansen also volunteers locally, and has served as a WOW orientation leader. An internship with the TenCate Advanced Composites company helped her expand her knowledge and skills with the manufacturing and testing of composites.

The 2017 Outstanding Student Volunteer of the Year is Dina Alarian, an electrical engineering senior from Folsom, Calif. As president of the Engineering Ambassadors, Alarian has made numerous improvements that benefit the college and this hardworking group of volunteers, who serve at college events. In addition to organizing and leading Ambassador and group officer meetings, she revamped the bylaws, and reworked and edited tour routes and training materials to better reflect the college on tours. She has revamped how to track Ambassadors' duties and reworked its budget to include more social events, and she began a fundraising campaign with industry contacts to provide new opportunities for group. Alarian serves on the search committee for a new College of Engineering dean.

The top undergraduate and graduate students for academic excellence by department included the following:

Outstanding Bachelor's Degree Graduates

Charles Aaron Ward          Aerospace Engineering
Derek Denardo                Aerospace Engineering
Samantha L Smith           Biomedical Engineering
Corina Mary Espelien         Biomedical Engineering
Steven Ellis Ambers          Civil Engineering
Chase Redd Hemming       Civil Engineering
Justina Tran                    Civil Engineering
Matthew T Lindly              Computer Engineering
Matthew A Coats              Computer Engineering
Cody Daniel Rhoads          Computer Science
Andrew Trong Khuong Tran Computer Science
William Cary Tran             Electrical Engineering
Dylan James Kirkby           Electrical Engineering
Kimberly Ellen Pugel          Environmental Engineering
Lauren Ingrid Miller           Environmental Engineering
Kendyl Jaclyn Cohn           General Engineering
Anna Colleen Laird            General Engineering
Jesse Elliot Yap                Industrial Engineering
Fiona Catherine Blackburn   Industrial Engineering
Jared Marshall Olson          Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies
Eric Colin Hill                   Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies
John Francis Brown            Manufacturing Engineering
Joseph A Hanacek             Manufacturing Engineering
Kenneth Blain Ainslie          Materials Engineering
Cory Jacob Hughes             Materials Engineering
Alexander Rodney Nichols     Mechanical Engineering
Christopher Michael Gonzales Mechanical Engineering
Myra Cherise Lukens            Software Engineering
Brittany Ashley Berlanga       Software Engineering

Outstanding Master's Degree Graduates

Reed Danis                      Aerospace Engineering
Matthew Richardson           Aerospace Engineering
Steven Maclean                Aerospace Engineering
Daniel Fugett                   Aerospace Engineering
Tiffany Shen                    Biomedical Engineering
John Gerrity                     Biomedical Engineering
Jennavive Lillie                 Biomedical Engineering
Kristina Bishard                 Biomedical Engineering
Nupur Garg                      Computer Science
Katherine Davis                Computer Science
Ivan Pachev                     Computer Science
Christopher Hunt               Computer Science
Sean Bayley                     Computer Science
Christian Skylar Durst         Computer Science
Brandon Livitski                Computer Science
David Ritter                     Electrical Engineering
Travis Taylor                    Electrical Engineering
Zhaoci Hu                        Engineering Management
Spencer Martinez               Engineering Management
Alisha Bender                   Engineering w/Integrated Technology Management
Austin Lynch                    Engineering w/Integrated Technology Management
Jonathon Chiu                  Engineering w/Integrated Technology Management
Joakim Larsen                  Fire Protection Engineering
Colin White                      Fire Protection Engineering
David Otsu                       Industrial Engineering
Nandan Thor                     Industrial Engineering
Joshua Ledgerwood            Industrial Engineering
Victor Espinosa III              Mechanical Engineering
Ryan Baskett                    Mechanical Engineering
Nick Bonafede                   Mechanical Engineering
Samuel Artho-Bentz            Mechanical Engineering
Michael Schier                   Mechanical Engineering
Connor Sullivan                  Mechanical Engineering
Kevin Carney                     Mechanical Engineering
Ruben Diaz                        Mechanical Engineering

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Photo at top, from left to right: Dina Alarian, Charly Flores, Melisa Esquivias and Erika Hansen. Kimberly Pugel not pictured.

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