San Luis Obispo, Calif.- Cal Poly Engineering announced its 2014 Outstanding Graduates at the college-wide Project Expo. The awardees included the top senior for academic excellence and graduating seniors recognized for service to the college, service to the university, and service to the community. Also announced were the Student Volunteers of the Year.
Biomedical engineering senior Tanner Stevenson from Granite Bay, Calif., was recognized as the College of Engineering’s topmost graduating senior for academic excellence. Stevenson earned a 3.994 GPA – he has made the Dean’s List every quarter from 2009 through 2013 and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
In 2012, Stevenson served as an intern at SandraMedical/Boston Scientific, where he worked to increase manufacturing capacity, reduce cleanroom particulate, and streamline equipment implementation. For his senior design project Stevenson worked on a three-person multidisciplinary team to develop a traumatic brain injury detection device. Mechanical engineering senior Jenna Becker from Goleta, Calif., was named Outstanding Graduating Senior for Contributions to the College of Engineering. She helped promote Cal Poly by participating in the NASA Reduced Gravity Flight Education Program.
Becker worked with a multidisciplinary team to design, build and test a gyroscopic stabilization system, which resulted in an invitation from NASA to visit the Johnson Space Center, where they tested their experiment aboard the reduced gravity aircraft known as the Vomit Comet. Becker is also an active member of the Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Since 2011, she has participated in many SWE outreach events, such as Building an Engineer Day, Girl Scout Day, Open House, and others. A music minor, Becker is the flute section leader in the Mustang Band. According to a nominator, she is easily recognizable in the Pep Band at sports events as the “energetic ball of energy waving a flute and dancing.”
The Outstanding Graduating Senior for Contribution to the University was electrical engineering senior Shaun Villa Koide from Lihue, Hawaii. As president of the Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club (ARC) Koide served as “the spark plug that makes the amateur radio operation hit on all cylinders in a coordinated way,” according to fellow club members and Department Chair Dennis Derickson. He coordinated three radio licensing events, which serve as regional Federal Communication Commission-sanctioned testing events for Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.
During his tenure, Koide increased club membership and solicited donations that added to the budget for student projects and also provided for investment in enhanced equipment and technology. He led the effort in planning and coordinating the club’s contributions to community events, including the San Luis Obispo Bike Club Lighthouse Century Ride, the Wine & Roses Ride and the Wildflower Triathlon. For these events, the club established a comprehensive communications network, including radio repeaters, GPS tracking of emergency service vehicles and interface to the public communications network. Koide’s leadership with the ARC resulted in community involvement opportunities for students and an increased presence of Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.
Computer engineering senior Cecilia Cadenas from Rio Vista, Calif., was named the Outstanding Graduating Senior for Service to the Community for her service and outreach efforts on behalf of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). In her words, she joined the group for personal support and to increase the numbers of Hispanics in college.
In her first year as a club officer, Cadenas concentrated on chapter development so that Cal Poly’s Hispanic engineering students could become “a family” and “know that they are not alone.” As SHPE outreach coordinator, Cadenas spent countless volunteer hours working with local middle and high schools to promote college and especially science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors. She focused on reaching underrepresented individuals. “We often shared our stories,” said Cadenas, “to let them know that we have similar backgrounds – parents who work in the fields and families in which no one has gone to college. We wanted to show that if we have made it this far, they can one day be in our shoes, too.” According to a nominator, Cadenas is an excellent example of why inclusiveness and diversity are strengths for Cal Poly’s Computer Engineering Program.
Announced as College of Engineering Student Volunteers of the Year were Michael Haworth from Riverside, Calif., and Christy Carter from Fort Jones, Calif. Haworth is graduating this June with bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s in integrated technology management. Carter (B.S. Aerospace Engineering, 2013) is currently working on master’s degrees in engineering management and business administration.
During the past year, Haworth and Carter, both active as Engineering Ambassadors – Haworth serves as the current president – conceived and initiated a project to turn the lobby of Building 192 into an Engineering Welcome Center. The redesigned space will help showcase the College of Engineering to prospective students, alumni, donors and industry partners, and it will also serve as a welcoming alcove to current students, faculty and staff. The pair worked tirelessly to develop a design plan, engage constituents in the project and acquire needed permits and approvals. Additionally, Carter and Haworth developed engineering department brochures with self-guided walking maps, flow charts and general information about each major. The publications will available in the completed lobby area for prospective students and visitors.