CEENVE Spring 2018 Newsletter







Canoe Team

Back-to-Back Champions


4 5

5 6 10 11 12 13

On the cover: Members of the Concrete Canoe Team

compete at the national championship in San Diego


Dr. Moss Selected for

Fullbright Specialist Program

Moss will develop engineering curriculum and

faculty education at Chilean universities.


Steel Bridge Team

Second in the Nation

Students competed against 41 other schools

from around the world to earn honors.


Student Project Will Improve

Water Flow to Village in Nicaragua

Engineers Without Borders are working on a

project to bring clean water to 300 residents.


Faculty Spotlights:

Voulgaris, Derbidge, King

How faculty are working beyond the classroom to

improve student learning and our community.


Students Win at 2018

WERC Competition

Environmental Engineering students tackle

solutions to environmental challenges.


ENVE Celebrates Golden Anniversary

+ Dr. Hal Cota

Brief history of the Environmental Engineering

program and honors founder Dr. Hal Cota.


Concrete Canoe Team Wins at

Nationals Second Year in a Row

Dive into the winning design and what makes

the Cal Poly team unstoppable.


Transforming the

Future of Industry

CE/ENVE and CAED develop partnership to

better prepare students for the workforce.


Spring Class of 2018

At a Glance

Farewell and breakdown of the

accomplishments of the class of 2018.


CE/ENVE Student Fund

Where Does the Money Go?

Explore the student opportunities created by

the department fund.


Alumni Spotlights:

Katrina Watkins + Thomas Wukadinovich

Look into two of our alumni and how they’ve

used their Cal Poly degrees.


Industrial Partnership


Thank you to our Partners!




Charles Chadwell

Alumni, sponsors, industry partners, students, parents and supporters of our department,

What a banner year! This year, we welcomed assistant professor Dr. Carole Voulgaris in transportation

engineering, visiting scholars Gizem Can and Xin Li, and hired 10 new adjunct faculty members. Two

new assistant professors will be starting in the fall quarter: Dr. Hani Alzraiee in the area of construction

engineering and Dr. Amro El Badawy in environmental engineering.

The students this year did what they always do – shined. The student chapter of ITE (Institute of

Transportation Engineers) was named the International Chapter of the Year; SCE (the student chapter of

the American Society of Civil Engineering) was awarded the Robert Ridgway Award for most outstanding

chapter of the year; the student chapter of the Society of Environmental Engineering won awards at the

national WERC completion; our Steel Bridge Team took second place at nationals, breaking the department

record in the process; and Concrete Canoe Team was named national champion for the second consecutive


This year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Environmental Engineering and paid homage to Dr. Hal

Cota and his tremendous impact on Cal Poly and the environmental engineering profession. In addition,

Civil Engineering received its first endowment in collaboration with Construction Management to create

the Granite Heavy Civil Engineering and Construction Program. The endowment covers, in perpetuity,

the costs of a joint CE and CM director with funding set aside to support scholarships for women and

underrepresented students in construction.

As part of a fundraising campaign to better support our students, labs and clubs, the department

revamped the Industrial Partnership program and welcomed several new companies into our circle. In

addition to Power Engineering and Cannon Corp. sponsored laboratories, next year we will celebrate three

new company-sponsored labs by Chevron, ZFA Structural Engineers and Clark Pacific. On behalf of our

department, faculty, adjuncts and students, I would like to give a big thank you to all our Industrial Platinum

Partners for 2017-18 as well as those already signed up for 2018-19: Gregg Drilling & Testing, Stantec,

Traylor Bros, Langan and Webcor. As a thank you, we will host our first Partners Dinner on Friday, Dec. 7,

2018. During the dinner, we will award department scholarships and give our students the opportunity to

network with our Industry Partners.

Civil and Environmental Engineering continues to produce the best and brightest ready to tackle

tomorrow’s engineering challenges. I wish all the students in the class of 2018 great success in the future.

I want to extend a special thank you to all our alumni for their ongoing support and to the companies that

continue to hire our students.

Wishing you all my very best,

Charles Chadwell

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Department Chair

Spring 2018 3

Moss Named

to Fulbright

Specialist Program

Civil engineering Professor Robb

Moss, who was selected as a Fulbright

specialist, will work with universities

in Chile over the next three years

developing engineering curriculum

and faculty education. He specializes

in geotechnical, earthquake and risk


The Fulbright Specialist Program sends

U.S. faculty and professionals to serve

as expert consultants on curriculum,

faculty development, institutional

planning and related subjects at

academic institutions abroad. Moss’

proposal identified three main areas of

engineering education:

• Soft skills – Ethics, technical

communication, emotional

intelligence, licensure, importance

of continuing education.

• Active learning techniques –

Training for university professors

to implement a Learn by Doing


• Senior design capstone courses

– Education on structuring senior

design programs to achieve

desired outcomes outlined by

ABET (Accreditation Board for

Engineering and Technology).

Moss will work with faculty and staff

at Chilean universities to develop

curriculum and programs that address

the three areas. Over winter break,

he worked with faculty at Universidad

Adolfo Ibáñez in Santiago for two

weeks. La Pontificia Universidad

Católica de Chile will be Moss’ next

stop and lessons will continue for

as long as the universities need. His

appointment will run through 2020.

Moss will address the difficulty of

teaching engineering ethics. His

curriculum will use Cal Poly’s capstone

classes as models for effective

engineering training. These courses

give young professionals an ethical

basis so that when faced with dilemmas

they can respond accordingly. The

program also stresses the importance

of understanding the social implications

of engineering.

“My goal for this program is to bring

lessons learned from the Cal Poly

capstone classes to other universities

so students are able to Learn by

Doing,” said Moss.

As part of the Fulbright award, Moss is

required to bring learned experiences

in Chile back to Cal Poly. He is hoping

to establish faculty and student

exchanges in the next few years.

“As a college, we want to prepare

engineers for a global workforce.

Knowing how engineering works in

other countries is good because a

lot of our students will go to work for

different organizations,” said Moss.

Professor Robb Moss conducts field investigations

into earthquake-induced flow liquefaction of gold

mine tailings in central Chile.


Student Project Aims to Improve

Water Flow to Nicaraguan Village

Over winter break, the Cal Poly

Engineers Without Borders (EWB)

team visited the small Nicaraguan

village of La Rinconada to begin

plans for a water purification and

distribution system for the 300


together to design the water process

system. The final design will take about

six months to complete and will be

approved by a professional engineer.

The water distribution and purification

system will provide clean water for all 87

homes and will completely cut off the old

water source. The students plan to drill

the well in spring 2018 and hope to be

done with the entire pipeline distribution

system by summer 2019.

La Rinconada residents raise their hands in

support of the project during a meeting.

Most of the residents rely on natural

spring water that flows through

a pipe that is subject to cracking

because of its shallow burial. In

addition, the pipeline doesn’t reach

all 87 homes. Some homes have

wells. The water is often polluted by

livestock manure, however. Illnesses

have been attributed to the lack of

clean water in the community.

Cal Poly EWB has been working with

local community leaders and a nongovernmental

organization since

October 2017. More than 30 Cal

Poly students have been working

Students Win

at 2018 WERC


A group of ENVE students received

two awards at the 28th annual

WERC competition at New Mexico

State University from April 8-11.

The WERC Environmental Design

Contest brings industry, government

and academia together in search for

improved solutions to environmental

and sustainability-related


Two of the three Cal Poly

student-led teams won awards

in their respective categories.

The International Space Station

team created a system to remove

methanol and ethanol from water

and took second place in their

combined category and first place in their

specific task. The urine treatment team

created a method of treating urine on

military bases and won the EPA Pollution

Prevention award.

Students worked in teams to conduct

research, test and build solutions for

their tasks. Students learned to create

plans for full-scale implementation that

also took into consideration economic


The 2018 WERC competition team.

Spring 2018 5

Concrete Canoe

Team Wins Nationals

Second Year in a Row

Cal Poly was named national

champion at the 31st annual ASCE

Concrete Canoe Competition

in San Diego June 23-25. The

team placed first in the overall

competition, oral presentation,

final product, men’s endurance

race, women’s endurance race,

men’s sprint race, women’s sprint

race and co-ed sprint race.

The 19-1/2 foot canoe named

Van Gogh was inspired by the late

artist and and featured a blue hull

and a dozen accent colors.

2018 Concrete Canoe Team

Project Manager: Brandon


Mix Design Captains: Kyle Aube,

Yingyi Xu, Mason Breipohl,

Michael Romano

Construction Captains: Hailey

Bond, Jacky Loh, Royston Chan,

Jason Johnson, Eleni Korogianos

The team spent more than 4,500

hours designing and building the

canoe over six months. The team

included nine civil engineering

Nine of the 10-member 2017-18

Concrete Canoe Team ready to

defend their title in San DIego.

students and one mechanical

engineering major. In addition, more

than 50 volunteers from Cal Poly’s

ASCE student chapter contributed

to the successful defense of the

national title.

The team began testing designs

in September and a final design

was chosen in November. The final

canoe was cast in January, cured in

February and demolded by March.

With the help of the volunteers, the

team spent March and April sanding

down the canoe.

“My favorite part about working

on this project is the people. If

you have a great team to work

with, all the challenges become

easier,” said Brandon Friedman,

project manager.


Van Gogh was 19-1/2 feet long.

The team of paddlers selected

in the fall had two-hour

sessions each week at Laguna

Lake to prepare for the racing

components of the competition.

The paddlers were Mason

Breipohl, Eleni Korogianos,

Hailey Bond and Derek Fromm.

In April, the team competed

at the Pacific Southwest

Conference at Northern Arizona

University and won the overall

competition and nearly swept all

other categories to advance to the


At the national finals hosted by San

Diego State University, Cal Poly

competed against schools from

around the world. The Mustangs

finished with 95 points, surpassing

the University of Florida, Université

Laval and Shanghai’s Tongji

University. Cal Poly ASCE received

a $5,000 scholarship and the “Civil

Engineering Cup” award.

By earning its fifth national title, Cal

Poly’s Concrete Canoe Team is tied

with the University of Wisconsin-

Madison, UC Berkeley, and the

University of Alabama-Huntsville for

most national titles.

The concrete canoe features a

design inspired by Van Gogh.

Spring 2018 7

Cal Poly Civil and Environmental

Spring Class At a Glance

B.S. Civil Engineering 127

B.S. Environmental Engineering 36

M.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering 37

CE/ENVE Industrial Advisory Board

Professional Advancement Award

This award is given every year to students who are

making significant strides in their career goals.

This year’s award winners were:

Emily Miller B.S. ENVE ‘18

Delaney Nelson M.S. ‘18


Engineering Spring Class of 2018


Stay connected with our department

and learn about ways you can get

involved by signing up for our mailing

list. Visit ceenve.calpoly.edu/alumni

to sign up!

Graduates were given

a sea-level bench

mark of the civil

and environmental

engineering department.

Spring 2018 9


Katrina Watkins Civil Engineering ‘13

Katrina Watkins, who graduated

in 2013 with a degree in civil

engineering, attributes her

successful career to her Cal Poly

education, involvement on campus

and on-site construction experience.

While a student, she was involved

as a WOW (Week of Welcome)

leader, executive board leader for

the Society of Women Engineers

local chapter, a member of the

Concrete Canoe Team and sat on

the executive board for Chi Epsilon,

the Civil Engineering Honor Society.

Watkins spent three years as

a staff engineer at Langan, an

engineering and environmental

consulting firm in San Francisco,

while training to become a

licensed professional engineer.

At Langan, she worked on construction

sites to make certain contractors

installed items correctly and soil was

being treated properly. She took a

year off to pursue a master’s degree

in civil engineering at UC Berkeley

and graduated in July 2018. She is

now a senior staff engineer and PE in

Langan’s geotechnical department.

“Getting to work in civil

engineering is so rewarding

because you get to see the fruits

of your labor on the skyline in

the cities that you work in. I love

problem-solving, and getting to

do this on a day-to-day basis is

very rewarding,” said Watkins.

Thomas Wukadinovich Civil Engineering ‘13

Thomas Wukadinovich graduated

in 2013 with a bachelor’s in civil

engineering. A background

in construction management

has given him opportunities

on a wide array of projects.

He works for Long Beachbased

Traylor Bros., one of

the nation’s leading heavy

civil engineering contractors,

as a professional engineer.

Wukadinovich is working on

the Los Angeles MetroRail’s

Purple Line Extension, a fourmile

spur from Beverly Hills to

Westwood. Since August of

2017, he has worked in support

of soil excavation, steel supports

and ventilation for the project.

Because of its proximity to the

La Brea Tar Pits, hydrogen sulfide

gas release is a concern to the

project. To reduce the risk of

explosion, several precautions

have been implemented

including prohibiting electronics

in the tunnel unless protected

by explosion-proof cases. The

project is expected to continue

through the rest of the year.

“Your interest in a subject is

going to make it easier to work

harder. What I do is more of a

lifestyle than it is a profession,

and working in this industry is

fulfilling,” said Wukadinovich.


Steel Bridge

Team Second

in the Nation

The Cal Poly Steel Bridge Team

finished second in the nation against

41 universities at the University of

Illinois at Urbana-Champagne.

This year’s squad set a school record

for fastest construction time at 2:41.

The senior project team of six civil

engineering seniors devoted more

than 600 hours over seven months

designing and fabricating the bridge


2018 Steel Bridge Team

Project Manager: Michael Clark

Design Captain: Sarah Shaffer

Machining Captain: Gabriela Pascualy

Welding Captain: Luke Nazaroff

Construction Captain: Allen Lactaoen

Analysis Captain: Michael Choi

The competition rules for the

steel bridge design vary every

year. Time, weight, deflection and

construction speed make up the

final cost and the team with the

lowest cost wins the competition.

During fall quarter, the team

designed 2-D models of potential

bridge designs using SAP and

AutoCAD. They created 3-D

models of their designs and

narrowed them down to three.

After careful research and testing,

the team chose an under truss

bridge because of simplistic

design, quick construction time

and overall cost. The team used

previous steel bridge designs

to analyze both effective and

ineffective design elements to

create their final effort.

During winter quarter, the team

used donated steel from San

Steel Bridge Team members

assemble their bridge at the

regional competition.

Diego-based Century Tubes and

fabricated the 29-piece bridge.

Connections were made on CNC

machines to create easy-sliding

tubes to reduce construction time.

The team spent countless hours

practicing bridge construction to

improve their speed. Only four

team members can assemble

the bridge during the timed

competition. The team took

third in structural efficiency and

construction economy.

The team swept all categories

at the 2018 Pacific Southwest

Competition held at Northern

Arizona University in Flagstaff.

Cal Poly took first against 18

schools in all four categories —

construction speed, lightness,

stiffness and structural efficiency.

Spring 2018 11


Carole Voulgaris Assistant Professor

Carole Voulgaris joined the department

in January 2018 as an assistant professor

in transportation engineering. She earned

bachelor’s and master’s degrees in

civil engineering from Brigham Young

University. She worked as a transportation

engineer for three years after graduating.

She then received an MBA from Notre

Dame in 2012. She went back to school

to pursue a doctorate in urban planning

at UCLA and graduated in June 2017.

Voulgaris was named “Outstanding

Student of the Year” at the 2018

annual Transportation Research

Board conference for her work at

METRANS during her doctoral studies.

As an assistant professor, Voulgaris’ focus

is on public transportation, intelligent

transportation systems, sustainable mobility

and transportation planning. She hopes to

create opportunities for interdisciplinary

work with other engineering majors

and hands-on experiences for students.

“Engineers can’t work in a vacuum

and need opportunities to work

on real projects to gain experience

working with external factors that

happen in real life,” said Voulgaris.

Faculty Volunteers Work to Improve Pismo Preserve

Cal Poly faculty members Judd King

and Nephi Derbidge are helping The

Land Conservancy of San Luis County

create a parking area and trailhead for

the Pismo Preserve, a nearly 880-acre

property with sweeping views of Pismo

Beach and 11 miles of trails for outdoor

enthusiasts to enjoy.

The Land Conservancy acquired the

Pismo Preserve in September 2014 with

the goal of creating a space for hiking,

biking and equestrian use. It envisioned

a project that provides safe access to

different users while being sensitive

to the surrounding communities. The

Pismo Preserve is the first project of

this magnitude to be developed by

the Land Conservancy. The site will

have restrooms, picnic facilities and a

wheelchair-accessible trail.

While doing initial environmental

studies on the site, it was discovered

that the project location contained

sensitive cultural resources belonging

to the yak tityu tityu yak tilhini (ytt),

Northern Chumash tribe. The Land

Conservancy worked with ytt leaders

on a plan that reduces impacts

to sensitive resources. To mitigate

impact on the site, the project size was

reduced and minimal excavation was

done. These measures ensure sensitive

resources are protected while still

providing safe public access.

The presence of sensitive resources

limits the amount of remedial grading

that can be done in the area. To create

a level parking area, about 12 feet

of soil will be used to fill the sloped

project area and will then be supported

by a retaining wall.

King and Derbidge are donating their

geotechnical engineering and soil

testing services. Derbidge and student

assistant Jack Christy conducted

a soil-testing program to measure

the compressibility and strength

characteristics of the onsite soil.

King was responsible for taking data

generated by Derbidge to assess soil

settlement in the final retaining wall


The Land Conservancy hopes that by

providing this space the general quality

of life will improve for residents and

visitors alike. The Pismo Preserve is

expected to open in late 2018.

12 Spring 2018 Jack Christy (environmental and earth soil science;

junior) performs lab testing.

ENVE Celebrates Golden

Anniversary & Dr. Hal Cota

Environmental Engineering

commemorated its 50th anniversary

with a May 4-6 celebration and

renamed the Air Pollution Control

Lab for Professor Emeritus Hal Cota,

one of the founders of the program.

Cota was hired in 1966 and taught

advanced courses in what was

then the Air Conditioning and

Refrigeration Department. Cota

helped spearhead the addition

of the air pollution control

concentration in the department,

which would later become an

important part of the curricula for

the environmental engineering

program. With his help, former

AC&R Department Chair Jim

McGrath and then-university

President Robert Kennedy in 1968

established the Environmental

Engineering Department.

Cota believed that a curriculum

that combined chemical and

environmental engineering was

best for providing students the

training needed to tackle the

nation’s environmental issues.

Fifty years ago, there were no

undergraduate environmental

engineering programs in the

country, making Cal Poly’s one

of the first of its kind. The first

environmental engineering

class of 14 students graduated

The Environmental Engineering Department

assembled for a group photo in 1981.

Dr. Hal Cota is pictured in the third row, far left.

in 1968. Between 1968 and 1982,

environmental engineering was its own

department until civil engineering was


His contributions have made a lasting

impression on generations of students

over the years. In the past 50 years,

more than 1,500 students have

graduated thanks to Cota’s efforts.

College of Engineering officials say

renaming the department lab will keep

his contributions alive for generations

of students to come.

“He had such a big impact on my

life because he created this program

in a way that fits me personally.

He created something unique – a

combination of environmental and

chemical engineering,” said Yarrow

Nelson, a Cal Poly environmental

engineering professor.

Spring 2018 13

Transforming the Future of Industry

Cal Poly’s College of Engineering

and College of Architecture and

Environmental Design have launched

a unique partnership with Granite

Construction to create a more robust

pipeline of diverse Cal Poly graduates

skilled in both construction management

and civil engineering.

“This new partnership creates

a path forward for talented and

motivated students by helping

them overcome financial barriers

with the support of industry leaders

and future thinkers,” said James

Meagher, interim dean of the

College of Engineering. “It will

also bring together two of our

most reputable programs in a way

that will supply distinctively skilled

graduates to the industry.”

The Granite Heavy Civil Engineering

and Construction Program is a unique

cohort program, bringing together

students from both colleges. Under

this program, students in construction

management will have the opportunity

to become more proficient in heavy

civil engineering fundamentals, and

students in heavy civil engineering

will have access to more construction

management classes.

The uniqueness of the program is

furthered by a series of classes that

students in both programs will take

together. Students will complete at least

two internships during the program.

“With a Learn by Doing

atmosphere, coupled with

an excellent curriculum and

high standards for student

participation, Cal Poly has been

able to help place highly qualified

candidates throughout the Granite

organization,” said James Roberts,

president and CEO of Granite

Construction Inc. “We enjoy seeing

bright, energetic, hard-working

graduates coming out of the Cal

Poly programs who have the desire

to build careers and help Granite


Beavers Charitable Trust, having

endowed other professorships at

universities nationwide, joined Granite

by making a substantial gift to support

the Granite program at Cal Poly. Roberts

hopes others will follow Granite’s and

Beavers’ lead.

“This partnership between Granite,

Beavers and Cal Poly can be a

leading opportunity for corporations

and higher education institutions

across the country to partner going

forward as we build America’s

infrastructure,” he said.

Under the program, the Granite

Beavers Heavy Civil Engineering

and Construction Endowed Chair

will support one full-time faculty

chair with academic expertise and

professional background in the heavy

civil construction and engineering

sector. This role will provide leadership

for the program through an innovative

joint appointment to construction

management and heavy civil

engineering departments, and provide

increased mentoring opportunities for


Granite Construction has always sought

to be impactful. Beginning with early

founders and those who built Granite bit

by bit, one theme remained: to impact

the world around them and the people

within it. That is where their support for

student success comes in.

“The idea behind the funds was

based on a couple of principles,”

explained Philip DeCocco, senior

vice president of human resources,

at Granite Construction. “Granite

is an industry leader, and as such,

we believe it is important to lead

by example, similar to the Cal Poly

Learn by Doing motto. It is also

important to us to have Granite’s

name and reputation tied to a topnotch

program like Cal Poly.

“Lastly,” DeCocco added, “Granite

is passionate about creating a

program where we partner with

Cal Poly. We want to ensure that

students who mirror the many

communities we serve across the

country have an opportunity to

succeed in our industry.”


CE/ENVE Student Fund

The Civil and Environmental

Engineering student fund

comprises donations from the

Industrial Partnership Program

that support instructional

activities for student groups such

as field trips, student projects,

student research, conferences

and competitions.

Each year, the Civil and

Environmental Engineering

Student Fee Initiative Committee

is charged with apportioning

the funds in this account.

The committee includes the

department chair, six CE/ENVE

students, and two CE/ENVE

faculty members.

The CE/ENVE Industrial

Partnership Program (IPP) was

started in January 2018 to expand

employment opportunities

for civil and environmental

engineering students and

increased funding for

extracurricular student activities.

Since the start of the program,

IPP has welcomed 11 platinum

sponsors, two gold sponsors, and

16 silver and bronze sponsors.


2017-18 Student Fund

26% 32% 35%

Student Competitions

WERC Environmental Design Contest

Concrete Canoe Competition

Environmental Challenge International

PSWC Environmental Competition

National GeoWall Competition

Student Conferences

U.S. Green Building Council National Conference

Engineers Without Borders National Conference

ITE Student Leadership Summit

Engineers for a Sustainable World Annual Conference

Perspectives on Global Development Showcase

CalGeo Annual Conference

U.N. Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science and Technology

ITE Western District Annual Meeting

Student Projects

Cal Poly Engineers Without Borders

participated in projects in Malawi, Nicaragua

and Fiji. Students worked on a borehole

project, water filtration system and a coastal

erosion project.

For more information about

donating or becoming part of our

Industrial Partnership Program

visit ceenve.calpoly.edu.


Student Research & Instructional Materials

Students participated in graduate-level and

GeoWall research.

Spring 2018 15

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

1 Grand Avenue

San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0353

Industrial Partnership Program

We would like to give special recognition to this year’s Industrial Partners. We thank you for

your contribution to our department and investment in our students.

Laboratory Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver and Bronze Sponsors



JDS Civil

Rick Engineering Co.

A. Teichert & Son Inc.

Walsh Engineering

DeSilva Gates Construction

Drake Haglan & Associates Inc.

Kiewit Corporation


Van Sande Engineering

HMH Engineering

Murphy Structural Engineers

FTF Engineering

GS Bridge Engineers and Contractors

LSC Transportation Consultants Inc.


Make a gift to support Civil and Environmental Engineering labs, student projects and clubs. For more information

about donating or becoming part of our Industrial Partnership Program visit ceenve.calpoly.edu.

Cal Poly College of Engineering | Civil and Environmental Engineering Department | ceenve.calpoly.edu

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