Construction Innovator Spring 2022 Edition

Aug 30, 2022

The latest edition of the Construction Innovator has been printed and should have already hit your mailboxes. If you did not receive a hard copy, and would like to, please e-mail Jenay Reynolds-Sibbach at Otherwise you can view the digital copy here

Ed Boucher Selected as Director of the Granite Heavy Civil Minor Program

Aug 31, 2021


Faculty member Ed Boucher, who has taught full time in the Construction Management (CM) Department and part-time in the Civil Engineering (CE) Department since 2017, was selected director of the Granite Heavy Civil minor program, a joint venture between the two departments.

The program is designed to better prepare students for an evolving industry that combines elements of design and construction. The minor was established in 2019 through an endowment created with donations from Granite Construction, Caterpillar, and Beavers Charitable Foundation. The endowment covers, in perpetuity, the costs of a joint CE and CM director with funding to support scholarships for women and underrepresented students in construction.

The program, which admitted 52 students in its first two cohorts, teaches CM students about heavy civil engineering fundamentals, and CE students have access to more construction management classes.

Boucher served on the committee that developed the Granite Heavy Civil minor. As director, he will teach in both the CM and CE departments while also being responsible for the administration and sustainability of the Granite Heavy Civil minor program, including recruiting and advising students, overseeing budget administration, fundraising, implementing program improvements, interfacing with industry, coaching team competitions, and developing two new courses.

The heavy workload does not intimidate Boucher, a self-described “construction guy.”

“I have passion for aiding student development and growth as construction professionals,” he said. “I also have passion and strong knowledge of the heavy civil sector of the construction industry as I spent 44 years in heavy construction before “retiring” in 2018. Additionally, I want to aid the university and promote student interest in the heavy civil field.”

Boucher wants to grow the program.

“Improvements will be iterative and ongoing,” he said. “Growth will be based on input from students, sponsors and the Granite Heavy Civil Minor Industry Advisory Board. My interface with industry is critical. The program needs to understand what industry desires of their new employees and to adequately prepare the students in the program for success.”


Construction Management Students Win First Place at Statewide Competition

Jun 3, 2021

Top Left: Marco De Zordo, Jonathan Lin, Carson Ernst
Middle Left: Brett Jones, Mason Heinse, Brent Underwood
Bottom Left: Coach Joe Cleary, Gus Coluccio, Coach Paul Redden


SAN LUIS OBISPO – A team of eight Cal Poly construction management students won first place and $7,500 at the CPMCA Student Competition, hosted by the California Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors Association (CPMCA).

The contest, held virtually, was CPMCA’s inaugural competition. It was open to university teams across the U.S. that have construction management and construction engineering programs with student MCA chapters. 

It tasked students with simulating a mechanical contractor submitting a proposal to win a “tenant improvement build-out project” in West Los Angeles. The student teams were given from Feb. 25 until April 2 to submit their proposals.

“We were asked to provide a variety of prequalification data and project-specific information,” said team captain Carson Ernst, a third-year construction management major. “In essence, we’re to make the documents that a mechanical subcontractor would submit to an owner’s representative or general construction manager to bid on and win the project.”

The proposals were submitted, and the top three – Cal Poly, the University of Southern California and Central Washington University -- were judged by CPMCA member contractor representatives. The top teams then gave a live presentation to a mock client panel, which chose the winners.

The students’ proposals included project management plans for all plumbing, piping, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), controls, and any other work required to complete the project as described in the bid documents.

The teams were asked to propose a plan to perform the necessary work, including BIM coordination BIM (building information modeling) coordination to locate and correct clashes with other crafts before fabricating or installing piping or ductwork.

“The most unique thing about this competition was that we were partnered with two mechanical

industry advisors, whom we met with weekly to discuss issues we had encountered in creating our proposal,” Ernst said. “Our advisors were Joe Camacho of Murray Co.  and Anthony Gomez from ACCO Engineered Systems. Having industry advisors with a reliable contact avenue made it incredibly easy to get real-world answers to our questions and improve our subject matter knowledge.

Cal Poly’s team, advised by construction management faculty members Joe Cleary and Paul Redden, included six team members and two alternatives.

“The six team members spoke during the final presentation; however, all members assisted in created the proposal, which got us to the final three,” Ernst said.

In addition to Ernst, team members included fourth-year students Jonathan Lin and Brent Underwood; third-year students Marco DeZordo, Mason Heinse and Brett Jones. Second-year student Gus Coluccio and fourth-year student Heilam Wu served as alternates.

Clayco Donates 16 Laptops to Aid Construction Management Students in Need at Cal Poly

Apr 22, 2021

SAN LUIS OBISPO – Clayco, a full-service design-build and construction firm headquartered in Chicago, has donated 16 laptops to aid Cal Poly construction management students in need.  

This gift of the Dell 5500 series computers was made possible, thanks to efforts by Clayco Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Tomislav Žigo, who is passionate about promoting construction innovation and investing in future leaders in the construction industry. 

Žigo has been implementing and using digital technology as a designer, builder, educator and researcher.  

“We were eager to jump in and support Cal Poly construction management students,” Žigo said. “We especially wanted to support students in need during the pandemic so they would not be limited by access to campus computer labs. During these challenging times, it is more important than ever to help the most vulnerable students stay in school, earn their degrees, and build a better future for themselves and our communities.”

Construction Management Department Head Jeong Woo added, “We realize that some of our students don't have laptops that can run basic construction software such as Bluebeam, AutoCAD, Revit and Navisworks. This laptop support will help the students to better focus their attention on their academic success.

“We are indebted to Tomislav, as well as to Clayco’s Todd Finders, chief information officer; Frank May, vice president of recruiting; and Birttany Emmons, recruiting coordinator,” Woo continued.

Clayco is one of the newest members of CMAC (Construction Management Advisory Committee), which now has 170 members dedicated to increasing alumni involvement and strengthening student engagement with the Cal Poly Construction Management Department and industry practitioners.

About Clayco

Clayco, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, is a full-service, real estate, architecture, engineering, design-build and construction firm known to deliver high-quality solutions to clients across North America. Founded in 1984, Clayco has revolutionized the design-build process, dramatically set new standards for collaborative design, construction quality and craftsmanship, efficient project management, cost containment and jobsite safety. With more than 2,600 employees across the country, it is one of the nation’s largest privately owned real estate, architecture, engineering, design-build and construction firms. It provides fast-track, efficient solutions for commercial, institutional, industrial and residential building projects. Year after year, Engineering News Record ranks Clayco as a top design-builder and contractor. 

About Cal Poly’s Construction Management Department
The Construction Management Department at Cal Poly is a tight knit group of faculty and staff working to provide its students the best possible education so that when they leave Cal Poly, they are ready to tackle the challenges they will encounter in the professional world. Students take a variety of classes, join one or more of our professional student organizations, and frequently intern with one of the many companies that visit the campus over the course of each year. Upon graduation, the department has virtually 100% placement in the construction industry.

International Student Competition Team Places Second

Feb 26, 2021

Top Row L-R: Itzell Ruiz, Samuel Wong, Professor Lonny Simonian,
Middle Row L-R: Tadeáš Zahradník, Anna Karbanová, Ing. Martin Čásenský
Bottom Row L-R: Madison Lightfoot, Barbora Macková


Cal Poly Construction Management students joined with students from Czech Technical University to compete in the Associated Schools of Construction International competition this February 19-22, 2021.

Three students from each university formed the Design-Build team whose problem focused on the Deadwood at Main complex in Dallas, TX. The competition took place over the weekend, so students worked on it in their free time and thanks to the time difference between Prague and Oklahoma, which is 7 hours, mostly at night. After the submission of the final report, on Monday, February 22, in the evening, an online presentation and defense before a professional jury took place. At midnight of the 22nd (Prague time), the team found out that their hard work had earned them second place.

"Cal Poly and the Czech Technical University, Prague, only had a short amount of time to assemble a combined team.  The students learned to quickly work together, identifying areas of strength, roles, and responsibilities.  Their project submittal, and presentation, were warmly received, earning them a second-place finish in the Design-Build competition; a first entry by either university in this ASC region," says Cal Poly Professor Lonny Simonian.

"I believe that an equally significant benefit in addition to the location was that our students had the opportunity to work in international teams, where representatives of various specializations, such as construction management, architects and the like, also had to agree on work. Compared to the past, a new experience has been added, namely working online, where half of the team was in various places in the Czech Republic and the rest in the USA. This allowed them to acquire new work habits, as well as possible important contacts for their future practice. In particular, the style of online cooperation will obviously become more important in the near future, "says Ing. Martin Čásenský, CSc.,faculty of Civil Engineering of the Czech Technical University.


CM Students Capture Historical Win at Regional Competition

Feb 24, 2021

Top Left to Right are:  Evan Tookey, Shaina Suanico, Lizette Galvez
Bottom Left to Right are: Sophie Stewart, Skylar Schrank, and Josh De Mattei


Feb 18, 2021

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly students brought home 11 trophies from this year’s annual Associated Schools of Construction Region 6 and 7 Student Competition, breaking their historical record set just last year when they won 10 awards, including six first-place trophies.

This year 11 of Cal Poly’s 14 teams finished in the top three spots, including 10 trophies won by architectural engineering (ARCE), architecture (ARCH), and construction management (CM) students, and one trophy by civil engineering students. Four Cal Poly teams placed first, including three Construction Management Department teams — Project Management, Electrical and Mixed-Use teams — and the Virtual Design and Construction Team from the Civil Engineering Department.

Cal Poly teams were made up of nearly an equal number of women and men. The university earned nearly three times the number of trophies than its closest competitor, Idaho’s Boise State.

The annual competition attracted nearly 1,100 students competing on 152 teams from 18 states representing 47 universities, including Brigham Young, UC Los Angeles, UC Berkeley, Stanford, the University of Southern California and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

In addition to the four top-place finishes, Cal Poly’s Commercial, Design Build, Integrated Project, Sustainable Building, Preconstruction and Concrete Solutions teams took second place. A second Cal Poly Virtual Design and Construction team placed third.

Senior Dara Lin, who is majoring in construction management and architecture, participated with the Integrated Project Design team, which earned a second place in the graduate division. The team included all new members. “Our hard work paid off,” said Lin, of Boston. “Although we hadn't participated in the ASC competition before and the format was all virtual, we were able to collaborate effectively, and I’m proud of what the team was able to achieve."

Construction Management Department Head Jeong Woo added, “Our teams’ outstanding results tell a great deal about student quality, faculty dedication and the excellence of Learn by Doing.”

The 2021 event marked the ASC’s 34th annual competition, held virtually Feb. 3-6.
Cal Poly construction management students have been participating in the competition since its inception.

The student teams spend months preparing for the competition, working under the guidance of faculty coaches and team sponsors, many of whom are Cal Poly alumni. Because it was held virtually this year, students had to prepare quite differently. For the first time in the competition’s history, students were not allowed access to labs and rooms for practice runs.

“We prepared, practiced and expected the unexpected,” said Electrical Team member Amanda Schrader of Huntington Beach. “Ultimately what it came down to was our team collaboration, determination and work ethic. It was an incredible opportunity for all of us. Our biggest takeaway is that team moral and dedication will always be a strong suit in the industry.”

Twelve individual team sponsors mentored them and helped pay for team shirts, new computers and other supplies. Cupertino Electric and Nibbi Brothers provided virtual collaboration tools for all dozen teams.

“The sponsorships were instrumental in helping us shift to a virtual work environment. Our students could not do this without the continued financial support and mentoring of our generous sponsors,” Woo said. “Our student teams, their coaches and I really appreciate all their dedicated help.”

The Heavy-Civil and Mechanical teams did not place; they were supported by McGuire & Hester and Dome Construction, respectively.

Cal Poly’s winning teams are:


First Place

  • Electrical Team Members: CM students Connor Avrit of Orland; Morgan Gawle of Emerald Hills; Braden Hotra of Huntington Beach; Miriam Robles of Templeton; Amanda Schrader of Huntington Beach; James Ziebell of Marina; and alternates Heather Sailor of Morgan Hill; and Allison Wild of Rohnert Park.

    Sponsored by Sprig Electrical.


  • Mixed-Use Team Members: CM students Jacob Clark of Placentia; Keagan Coyne of Newport Beach; Sebastian Froman of Santa Rosa; Ashley Isla of Salinas; Ryan Proctor of San Ramon; Chloe Riddlespurger of Solano Beach; and alternates Jake O’Balle of Moraga; and Anna Knutson of Danville.

    Sponsored by Holland Construction Inc.


  • Project Management Team Members: CM students Makenna Gitchell of Santa Maria; Sophie Harrington of Pleasant Hill; Collin Martin of San Rafael; Reagan Milligan of San Jose; Molly Pryde of Castro Valley; Alex Trujillo of San Marcos; and alternates Christian Blevins of Antioch; and Jonah Kim of Aliso Viejo.

    Sponsored by Blach Construction.


  • Virtual Design and Construction: Civil engineering students Sergio Beltran of El Centro; Casey Boyle of Roseville; Ingrid Chan of San Bruno; Serina Feng of Elk Grove; Esmeralda Cruz Pacheco of Santa Maria; and Andy Sazima of Granite Bay. 


Second Place

  • Commercial Team Members: CM students Josh De Mattei of Monte Sereno; Liz Galvez of Somis; Skylar Schrank of Orange; Sophie Stewart of South Lake Tahoe; Shaina Suanico of Chula Vista; Evan Tookey of Torrance; and alternates Dylan Barrett of Walnut Creek; and Joseph Miller of San Luis Obispo.

    Sponsored by XL Construction.


  • Concrete Solutions Team Members: CM students Grace Brekke of Oakland; Peter Finocchio of Los Gatos; Thomas Rogers of San Jose; Jackson Thomas of Pleasant Hill; Sterling Treloar of Silverado; ARCE student Jack Radovan of Santa Cruz; and CM student alternates Jenny Knickerbocker; and Sierra Williamson, both of San Diego.

    Sponsored by BuildGroup.


  • Design Build Team Members: CM students Ellis Fryer of Los Osos; Sydney Sitton of Huntington Beach; Greta Stout of San Anselmo; Luke Terrio of Bakersfield; ARCE student John Leone of San Diego; ARCH student Zack Pasma of Niwot, Colorado; and CM student alternates Catie Dines of San Diego; and Michaela Denny of Fallbrook.

   Sponsored by XL Construction.


  • Integrated Project Team Members: ARCH students Joyce Huang Ooi of Santa Clara; Ashley Pang of Honolulu; Ezra Zuidema of Anaheim; dual ARCH and CM major Dara Lin of Boston; CM students Kiana Dehpanah of Morgan Hill; and Samuel Wong of Santa Rosa; and ARCH student alternate Rafael Gali of San Jose.

    Sponsored by Pankow.


  • Preconstruction Team Members: CM students Molly Bobrovitch of Morago; Kyra Glaus of Solvang; Connor Morinini of Santa Maria; Ryan Nielsen of El Dorado Hills; Shay O’Laughlin of Cardiff; Jane Runte of Penryn; and alternates Kieran Barker of Fairfield, Connecticut; and Jack Sampson of Santa Ana.

    Sponsored by SC Builders.
  • Sustainable Building Team Members: CM students Bradley Burfield of Redwood City; Bella Crafton of Costa Mesa; James Foad of Cameron Park; Hailey Lancaster of San Mateo; Danielle Moody of San Diego; Madeleine Zetterquist of San Jose; and alternates Jaqueline Badal of Danville; and Oliver Leograndis of Corte Madera.

    Sponsored by Level 10 Construction.


Third Place

Virtual Design and Construction Team Members: CM students Kyle Bresnahan of Long Beach; Sydnee Greer of Granite Bay; Jared Jacobs of Sammamish, Washington; Allen Le of Lakewood; Carter Melick of Mercer Island, Washington; ARCE student Joshua Shockey of Chino Hills; and CM student alternates Nathan Giannini of Granite Bay; and Cooper Strong of Fort Collins, Colorado.

Sponsored by Snyder Langston.

CM Magazine - New Edition Fall 2020

Dec 17, 2020

The latest edition of Construction Innovator is out and headed to your mailbox. If you can't wait to read it, check out the on-line edition. Just click the below picture to download the pdf.

What to Do When an Internship Goes Virtual

Jul 29, 2020



What does it take to ace a summer internship during a pandemic? A journal, good lighting and a whole lot of humanity.

For many Cal Poly students, summer internships usually mean a chance to test their skills in a professional workplace, network with seasoned professionals and maybe even try living in a new city. But in the face of the coronavirus, these internships and co-ops are presenting a new set of challenges for future professionals to tackle.


A student sits in her bedroom in front of her open laptop.
Lauryn Westgarth interns for EY from home. Courtesy of Lauryn Westgarth.


Lauryn Westgarth, a business administration senior, is one of many Cal Poly students taking on a professional internship remotely this summer due to COVID-19. She navigates an audit internship with accounting firm EY from the comfort of her sunlit bedroom in San Luis Obispo. Each day is a mesh of Zoom calls, new tasks and professional development curriculum.

For a future accountant like her, the third-year internship is an essential step in landing a full time offer in the fall. She’s not alone: roughly 12% of Cal Poly undergraduates use internships to find employment, according to the most recent Graduate Status Report.

Cal Poly Career Services estimates that about 70% of internships are still happening despite the pandemic, outside of hard-hit industries like entertainment and tourism. The majority of internships that continued have gone virtual. And those co-ops often have abbreviated timelines — work that would have lasted two or three months is now taking place across three or four weeks.

Travis Raynaud, career counselor in Career Services, has talked to students about how to make the most of an internship that has taken such a different shape. He says the remote work format can be a plus, empowering some to broaden their network within a company.  

“Individuals who you historically wouldn’t have access to because they’re not on site, now you’re part of their network and part of their team, so it’s easier for you to have those coffee chats or virtual chats,” said Raynaud. He encourages students to conduct informational interviews to understand a professional’s career path, their work routine, and how their role has changed since stay-at-home orders were issued.

Raynaud also advises students to thoroughly document their tasks, skills and successes. A written record can help students remember specific accomplishments and better determine if they enjoyed their experience.

“When you’re on site, it’s a lot easier for your internship supervisor to see the work that you’re doing because you’re there together, but it’s a little harder virtually,” says Raynaud. “We’ve talked to students about a digital portfolio, an excel spreadsheet or just a simple journal they’re keeping, just to keep record of all the things that they’re completing.”

Westgarth, who is about half way through her condensed four-week accounting internship, is reveling in the chance to work during auditing’s “busy season” with a client that completed its fiscal year at the end of June. She connects daily with a supervisor and navigates a handful of different tasks before logging off for the evening.

“The tasks are always pretty different and involve learning something entirely new,” she Westgarth. “It's fun to see all the things I've learned about in class in real life.”

While she regrets missing her chance to live in San Francisco for the first time, she stays energized by connecting with fellow interns over lunchtime Zooms and learning directly from her supervisor.

“The individuals who most successfully navigate the transition from in person to virtual, [they] will stand out as the most adaptable and flexible, therefore the strongest candidates for full time positions,” says Raynaud.

Marisa Martineau, an architecture senior, has some advice for her fellow virtual interns. She dove into remote work creating renderings for Fougeron Architects in the spring, just after the COVID-19 pandemic emptied many offices.

Martineau landed the opportunity by reaching out the firm, where she worked last year, because she was concerned about her colleagues.

“When you’re trying to network, reach out to people not just when you need something, but to reach out and kind of check in to [maintain] that relationship,” she said. “You can show concern and show caring.”

She also advises eager students to establish strong, clear communication habits in the transition to working from a distance.  

“Work is about communication, especially now that we work virtually,” she says. “Don’t expect someone to read between the lines, and don’t read between the lines [yourself].”

She also suggests that students pay attention to their at-home work space to enhance productivity.

Alexis Cañas is a Cal Poly 2020 Great Grad

Jun 8, 2020

Alexis Cañas is one of six Great Grads from 
across the university


As she worked toward a degree in construction management at Cal Poly, Alexis Cañas had a guiding goal: to graduate debt-free. At 16, she started working in restaurants to support herself and her two younger siblings, in addition to keeping up with school and extracurricular activities. Her younger brother and sister became her motivation to succeed.

“Coming to college was a big financial burden on top of what I already had to take care of,” she said. “I had to work a lot to be able to afford to take care of my family and to be here.”

Cañas, of Indio, California, started studying civil engineering at UC Irvine, but after a year decided it wasn’t a good fit. She attended a local community college to help determine her career path. There, she visited the career services office and learned more about construction management.

“I saw Cal Poly had a great construction management program, and I learn best by doing. It seemed to be the right fit,” she said. “Now here I am a few years later and I couldn’t have picked a better major.”

While at Cal Poly, Cañas applied for numerous scholarships, year after year, to help pay for her education. She also worked as a server and had a few internships. Now, as she prepares to graduate, she has achieved her debt-free goal.

“I have a lot of people depending on me financially,” Cañas said. “Not having to worry about paying off student debt further enables me to take care of those I love.”

A first-generation student, Cañas said she faced challenges in trying to navigate the path to her degree.

“It’s difficult being a part of the LGBTQ community, a person of color and lower income. While it seemed everyone around me in my major and the industry that I’m seeking to work in was nearly the complete opposite,” Cañas said. “It can be hard to find people to relate to and have a support system.”

However, at Cal Poly, Cañas found professors who are deeply invested in their students. Construction management faculty member Andrew Kline helped Cañas apply to scholarships, guided her toward an internship that led to a job opportunity, and provided support and advice.

At Cal Poly, Cañas worked on the new William and Linda Frost Center for Research and Innovation as an intern with Gilbane Building Company, the construction manager for the project. A groundbreaking for the Frost Center, which will house culinary, sensory, food safety and product development labs at the heart of campus, was held in June 2019.

“Being able to say I took part in constructing a new building on campus is a great achievement to me,” she said.

Cañas plans to work for Snyder Langston, an Irvine-based commercial general contracting firm. Cañas is looking forward to finishing a project she started last summer while she was an intern at the firm, and being close to her family.

“By obtaining my degree, I hope it will encourage others in my family to pursue one as well,” she said. “I may be the first one in my family, but I know I will not be the last.

Credit for this article goes to the Cal Poly Communications team. 

For more information, or to read more about the other five Great Grads, go to

CM Student Collin Martin Honored at State Capitol

Mar 6, 2020

16 Cal Poly Students to be Honored by Lawmakers at State Capitol on March 2

(Click here to read about CM student Collin Martin)

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Sixteen Cal Poly students will be recognized for their awards and other accomplishments by state lawmakers on the floors of the state Assembly and Senate in Sacramento on Monday, March 2.

“Our students are doers who take pride in the creative process — building a vehicle that gets people across the country faster; creating a light-weight concrete canoe that slices through the water more efficiently; constructing a bicycle capable of setting speed records; or helping to explore the cosmos by finding — and harvesting — extraterrestrial sources of ice,” said university President Jeffrey D. Armstrong, who is accompanying the group to Sacramento.

“They are our ambassadors of Learn by Doing. They represent like-minded counterparts in all six of our colleges. Their successes, in and out of the classroom, for which they will be recognized by our lawmakers in Sacramento show that these young people are leaders ready to take on real world challenges and succeed.”

The group will be introduced to the Senate by Majority Leader Bill Monning, D-Carmel, and to the Assembly by Assemblywoman Megan Dahle, R-Bieber. Monning represents San Luis Obispo County. Dahle has a son who attends Cal Poly.

Ceremonies will be held in each chamber Monday afternoon.

The majority of the students call California home — from the Bay Area to San Diego — including Nathaniel Morgan from the Central Coast. One is from outside the Golden State —Ohio.

The nine women and seven men represent all of Cal Poly’s colleges: two from the College of Architecture and Environmental Design; three from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Services; six from the College of Engineering; one from the College of Liberal Arts; two from the College of Science and Mathematics; and a pair from the Orfalea College of Business.

Each has distinguished himself or herself, as an individual or on a team that has received a national industry award or in other high-profile events.

These include the Tournament of Roses Parade, with its worldwide TV audience of 65 million; Mustang Media, the campus newspaper, radio, TV and online outreach that earned nearly 50 state and national honors; the concrete canoe team that was runner-up in the national championship; a team of engineering students who are helping NASA look for ways to drill for water on Mars and the moon; and an interdisciplinary team that was invited to SpaceX’s competition to build a Hyperloop pod for faster personal and freight travel. 

Participating Cal Poly students are:

Mason Breipohl
Elk Grove, California
Breipohl was part of Cal Poly’s award-winning concrete canoe team that took first in final product and finished second overall at the 2019 National Concrete Canoe Competition held in Florida. As project manager, the civil engineering senior led the team efforts to design, build and race Yggdrasil, named after the tree of life in ancient Norse mythology. The canoe weighed 183 pounds — its hull thinner than the width of a dime — and measured 19.3 feet. Breipohl was also one of the four paddlers who won four of their five races at the Melbourne, Florida, event. “I am so proud of the team and everything that we accomplished this year,” he said. “We had a smaller team, so every member played a huge role. The team worked countless hours and embraced challenges along the way to continue the Cal Poly Concrete Canoe Team legacy.” That legacy includes a fistful of national titles earned in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2017 and 2018. Breipohl, who will graduate in June, chose Cal Poly “because it has one of the top civil engineering programs in the nation, and I really liked the Learn by Doing approach.” Growing up so close to Sacramento makes it special to be part of the group that will be honored at the Capitol. “I have met so many incredible people during my time at Cal Poly and am grateful for all the opportunities and experiences the school has provided me,” the 21-year-old said.

Cami Christopher
Burbank, California
At the Southwest American College of Sports Medicine Annual Region Chapter Meeting in Costa Mesa, California, last October Christopher and two teammates won the annual quiz bowl competition — edging out the second-place team — also from Cal Poly — by a single point. In addition, the kinesiology senior, who is minoring in statistics, took the top spot in the individual undergraduate student competition. Christopher and her teammates will represent the region at the upcoming national meeting. She said she is looking forward to representing the College of Liberal Arts and the university to state lawmakers. “This is a very special and humbling experience for me,” the 21-year-old said. “The Department of Kinesiology and Public Health has given me so many incredible opportunities to develop both research and professional skills that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I am honored to represent Cal Poly with my research and be a testament to how incredible Cal Poly is.” She was attracted to the university because of its “strong educational foundation and interdisciplinary focus,” and its Learn by Doing ethos. “It allowed me to collaborate on research projects early on in my undergraduate experience,” she said. “Cal Poly’s environment drew me in with the beautiful nature and supportive campus culture.” Christopher will graduate in June.

AJ Goldberg
Calabasas, California
Goldberg, a fourth-year business administration-marketing senior, is president of the Cal Poly chapter of the American Marketing Association, which formed in 1978 to provide those interested in the field of marketing, advertising, and sales with the tools and tips needed to launch successful careers. He was part of the chapter’s history-making effort at the 2019 AMA International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans. For the first time Cal Poly placed among the top 15 international chapters out of the nearly 400 that attended. The ranking was the result of the chapter’s performance at the conference combined with how active the group is during the school year. Cal Poly placed third in several conference competitions: Marketing Strategy; SABRE Business Simulation; AMA Sales; and Perfect Pitch. Goldberg, who is minoring in psychology, is “extremely humbled to represent Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business in Sacramento,” the 22-year-old said. “I look forward to hearing peers and professionals share their passions, journeys and hardships, as I can learn a lot from their stories. Additionally, I know this honor represents more than just my leadership these past two years. It reflects the incredible efforts of the American Marketing Association team that proved that the college’s Marketing Department is highly esteemed and deserves to be recognized on a national scale.” He applied to the university because of its “forward-thinking business school that utilizes local businesses as clients for classes, a campus that provides ample career and wellness resources, a club life that is socially stimulating, and a beautiful backyard full of hidden gems with a vibrant town.” Living, studying and working on campus was akin to making “your own adventure book,” he said. “I was immediately attracted to the idea of creating my unique adventure in this special place. Not only has Cal Poly exceeded my high expectations, I know my continued journey is only the beginning for an even brighter future.” Goldberg will graduate in June.

Luke Haley
San Ramon, California
The Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration major was part of a five-person team that won the Professional Convention Management Association’s annual student competition. PCMA is the world’s largest platform for business events professionals. The PCMA North American Student Competition asked teams to create a convention or meeting that encourages in-person interactions for the digital era. In doing so, Haley and team created the “Home Sharing Experience Convention,” or HSX. “After doing much research, we found that within the home sharing industry, property owners often never interact with their customers or with other rental property owners,” Haley said. “HSX is a convention with the intent of providing everything that rental property owners could need to create the perfect homestay, by engaging in face-to-face conversations with other rental property owners, as well as with exhibitors who are there to help improve their rental properties.” The team followed up in January with a presentation at the association’s Convening Leaders 2020 conference in San Francisco. Haley is “super grateful” for the opportunity to showcase with state lawmakers “all the hard work that led to the PCMA North American Student Competition win. Being recognized by President Armstrong and the state of California is a great honor, and I hope to represent my department and university with pride, in Sacramento,” the 22-year-old added. The self-described legacy student chose Cal Poly because it “has done so much for my family, and it was my turn to create my own Mustang Legacy. I saw how much opportunity that my department and major could provide and knew that pursuing a degree would best prepare me for my career in the business events and hospitality industries.” Haley plans to graduate in June.


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