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IRAs in the News


Engineering Students Shoot for the Moon in NASA Challenge

In early June, two teams of engineering students headed to the Johnson Space Center inThree Cal Poly engineering students Texas to compete in NASA's Micro-g NExT Challenge, where they — along with students from around the country — showed prototypes designed to address specific challenges in space exploration. NASA learns from all prototypes as they develop solutions for future missions. “I’m still just shocked that my Cal Poly education has provided me an opportunity like that,” said student Andrew Reese, who participated in the challenge.



Concrete Canoe Team Wins Seventh National Title in 13 Years

The Cal Poly concrete canoe team, the defending national champion, was the school to to beat out of the 20 teams gathered at the 2023 American Society of Civil Engineers Concrete Canoe Competition at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville on June 10-12. It became official at the awards presentation at the end of day three: “We won our seventh national title,” beamed civil engineering senior Heather Migdal, one of the paddlers and the team’s project manager. The team’s 2022 victory snapped what had been a four-way tie of five titles with UC Berkeley, the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of Wisconsin. The seventh win (in 13 years) of the 36th annual competition adds an exclamation mark to the Eight team members gather along the side of their concrete canoeOceanatitle. “This year, we’ve had our fair share of obstacles, but we’ve all come together, put in a tremendous amount of work and effort into this,” Migdal said. “The five senior captains were all on the team last year. We all know what is expected … and I'm just beyond excited and happy that we’re able to say ‘We’re a two-time, national-winning team.” Other team members include Clarissa Arredondo, Peter Cline, Adam Loewenherz, Jonathan Maas, Sarah Sakakihara, Sarah Scherzinger, Nicholas Toma and Ryan Trainoir.


MOSAIC Wins DownBeat Student Music Award

MOSAIC, Cal Poly’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble, is a winner of a DownBeat Student Music Award: 2023 Small Vocal Jazz Group, Undergraduate College Outstanding Performance. The magazine holds an annual national competition in which submissions are reviewed through a blind judging process. This is the second DownBeat award the group has received in two years. In 2022 it won for Outstanding Performance, Large Undergraduate Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Asynchronous. That same year, MOSAIC member Mady Frei (Music, ’22) woMembers of MOSAIC, Cal Poly's vocal jazz ensemble, pose for a photon Outstanding Soloist, Jazz Undergraduate. "Universities typically awarded are the most notable jazz and music schools in the country, including Berklee College of Music; University of North Texas, California State University, Long Beach; University of Northern Colorado; University of Kansas and University of Miami,” said Arthur White, Cal Poly director of jazz ​​​​​​​studies. The 46th Annual DownBeat Student Music Awards special section can be viewed on the DownBeat website and in the June issue of the magazine, which is available now.​​​​​​​

Design Village Brings Students Closer to Nature


Teams of students transformed Poly Canyon in late April into a small city of self-built structures during Design Village, the College of Architecture and Environmental Design’s annual, highly anticipated event — and a key course for first-year architecture students. TA student from Cal Poly’s College of Architecture & Environmental Design work on their structure for the Design Village competition. rue to its long-standing emphasis on hands on, project-based learning, competitors work in teams to design and build inhabitable structures within the canyon, which they must transport a mile up Poly Canyon Road, set up and disassemble at the end of the weekend. Structures were designed with this year’s ​​​​​​​theme in mind: “Biophilia,” the innate human instinct to connect with nature and other living beings. “This is definitely the biggest project most of us here have ever done,” first-year architecture student Claire Enright said while standing next to “Bamboozled,” a structure comprised of canvas hammocks attached to 14 sticks of bamboo. “It was a big jump from building models to a structure for seven people.”




Cal Poly Cheese Takes First Place in Specialty Dairy Competition

Third-year Teddy Lopez, left, and fourth-year Ryan Nunes, both agricultural science majors, pose after Cal Poly’s student-produced Triple Peak brie was awarded the first-place title.The Cal Poly Creamery’s Triple Peak brie, a student-produced cheese that was added to the lineup in 2020, took the first-place title in the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge’s (NAIDC) “Best of Dairy Challenge” competition. Two agricultural science students, third-year Teddy Lopez of Wilton, California, and fourth-year Ryan Nunes, of Grover Beach, California, presented the soft cow’s milk triple cream cheese at the national competition, which was held March 30 to April 1 in Saratoga Springs, New York. The Triple Peak brie cheese was submitted under the soft cheese category, with 30 other competing products, and garnered 200 voters — more than any other submissions. “Our team works hard to ensure our customers receive the quality they deserve,” Lopez said. “The accomplishments of our students and products are a result of Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing education.”


Biodiverse Plant Conservatory Officially Opens

The Cal Poly Plant Conservatory building is surrounded by a living wall of flowering plants.The new Cal Poly Plant Conservatory — a $5 million, 5,000-square-foot, multi-use botanical science facility with greenhouses, labs and offices — has opened for operation this year.  Featuring living plants, including exotic and rare species, that grow in extreme weather conditions, the conservatory’s greenhouses showcase three distinct growing environments: the warm tropics, a cloud forest and desert climate. In addition, there is dedicated space for experimental research for urban planning. The varied plant collection includes cacao, mahogany, banana, several types of cacti and koa — one of the most valuable hardwoods in the world, a species (acacia koa) that only grows on the Hawaiian Islands. “It’s an impressive learning experience with such a wide range of flora right here on campus, and it’s very exciting to be studying strategies toward adding more foliage to the world,” said Professor Matt Ritter, plant conservator director and national tree expert.


Cal Poly Cantabile Performs in Lincoln Center

Cal Poly Cantabile performs in Lincoln CenterOver spring break, Cal Poly Cantabile traveled to New York City to give a feature performance in the world-famous Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center. The 64-member group of alto and soprano voices was invited there after its performance at the February 2022 California Music Educators Conference in Fresno. The March 25 program featured the East Coast premieres of Professor Meredith Brammeier’s “I Pastured My Wolves,” and Jocelyn Hagen’s "While I Breathe, I Hope,” which was commissioned by Cantabile. Brammeier also accompanied the choir on piano. Titled “This is ME,” the concert featured music by female composers with themes of femininity in a modern world and poetry by Cal Poly singers. The group received a standing ovation at the end of the 30-minute performance. Deon’te Goodman, a member of the Broadway cast of “Hamilton” who was also on the program, approached the choir and told the members that he was blown away, and that their performance was “everything,” said Scott Glysson, Cantabile’s conductor.




Soil Judging Team Takes Second at National Contest

Members of the Cal Poly Soil Judging Team compete at a national competition in Oklahoma in March.A flight delay and missed day of practice didn’t stop the Cal Poly Soil Judging Team from beating out 21 other teams to take second place at the National Collegiate Soils Contest at Oklahoma State University. The competition, held March 26-31 in Woodward, Oklahoma, included 23 teams from colleges and universities throughout the nation. The 10-person Cal Poly team advanced to the competition after a first-place finish at the regional contest held last November in Sonora, California. “I have been to three contests, and I have to say, it is one of the most fun, exciting and most unique ways to learn,” said Andrew Litto, a fourth-year environmental earth and soil sciences major. “Soil is so dynamic and diverse, and traveling to see new soils is truly a privilege. At this contest, I was able to use what I have learned in my college experience and represent our university well.”

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