CIVIL & ENVIRONMENTAL
CIVIL & ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT | COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING | SPRING 2018
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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.
Voulgaris, Derbidge, King
How faculty are working beyond the classroom to
improve student learning and our community.
Students Win at 2018
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.
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.
Katrina Watkins + Thomas Wukadinovich
Look into two of our alumni and how they’ve
used their Cal Poly degrees.
Thank you to our Partners!
2 Spring 2018 CEENVE.CALPOLY.EDU
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,
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Spring 2018 3
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
• Soft skills – Ethics, technical
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
“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.
4 Spring 2018 CEENVE.CALPOLY.EDU
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
October 2017. More than 30 Cal
Poly students have been working
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
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
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
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,
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
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,
6 Spring 2018 CEENVE.CALPOLY.EDU
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
8 Spring 2018 CEENVE.CALPOLY.EDU
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
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.
10 Spring 2018 CEENVE.CALPOLY.EDU
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
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
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
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
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
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
engineering programs in the
country, making Cal Poly’s one
of the first of its kind. The first
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
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
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
“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.”
14 Spring 2018 CEENVE.CALPOLY.EDU
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
Each year, the Civil and
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
The CE/ENVE Industrial
Partnership Program (IPP) was
started in January 2018 to expand
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%
WERC Environmental Design Contest
Concrete Canoe Competition
Environmental Challenge International
PSWC Environmental Competition
National GeoWall Competition
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
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
For more information about
donating or becoming part of our
Industrial Partnership Program
Student Research & Instructional Materials
Students participated in graduate-level and
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.
Silver and Bronze Sponsors
Rick Engineering Co.
A. Teichert & Son Inc.
DeSilva Gates Construction
Drake Haglan & Associates Inc.
Van Sande Engineering
Murphy Structural Engineers
GS Bridge Engineers and Contractors
LSC Transportation Consultants Inc.
SUSTAIN THE FUTURE
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