Outstanding Students Named

Man and woman with awards

Two students with perfect grade points, another currently working at Microsoft, and a graduate student presenting a paper in Montreal this month topped this year’s engineering class academically while innovative and giving students were honored for their contributions to the university and beyond during the Outstanding Student Awards.

During the ceremony, held in the Engineering Plaza, Sonya Dick and Diego Rivera, both with 4.0 grade points, were honored with the Academic Excellence Award, along with Reed Garmsen, while Michael Clark was named Outstanding Graduate Student.

Dick, a mechanical engineering major, has focused her research and teaching skills by creating educational modules for multidisciplinary engineering, graduate ARCHE and kinesiology students. In August, she will be presenting a paper at the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics, and she was part of a team that secured $10,000 for a project that provides an automated, adaptable and caregiver-oriented hand hygiene compliance monitoring system for hospital infection control teams.

She plans to attend graduate school at the University of Michigan on a National Science Foundation Fellowship.

Rivera will also be attending graduate school — on a fellowship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The first-generation college student was recently one of three students nationwide to receive a $10,000 Thornton Tomasetti Foundation National 2019-2020 Scholarship for exceptional academic success. While earning straight A’s throughout college, the civil engineering major worked during the school year and summers so he wouldn’t have student loan debt.

Last summer, Rivera interned at Strandberg Engineering in San Francisco.

Even before he graduated, Garmsen had compiled an impressive resume, having done multiple internships at Google, Microsoft and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. Having graduated from the blended master’s program in computer science, his research interests included ray tracing, game development and software design. At Cal Poly, he pursued those interests by being a part of the Cal Poly Mixed Reality Lab and by creating numerous game and graphics projects in and out of the classroom.

He currently works at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington, as a graphics programmer on the Forza Motorsport game franchise.

Graduate student Clark, who also earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Cal Poly, has served as a shop technician and project manager for Cal Poly Steel Bridge, which set a record for the university’s fastest construction time. After graduating magna cum laude as an undergraduate, he earned a perfect 4.0 as a graduate student. His achievements include work on signage for Downtown SLO, the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County and Precision Construction, and he will present his CSCE/ASCE Conference paper in Montreal this month.

He currently works as a project engineer for Precision Estimating Services in San Luis Obispo.

Group of students

To read more about the Outstanding Student Awards and see a comprehensive list, visit HERE.

The Cal Poly College of Engineering understands there has been an enormous amount of turmoil and transition due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). As we continue offering support to our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, we also continue providing critical updates as well as college highlights. Ours is a college full of creative and bright engineers and staff. For more information on COVID-19 visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For more information on how Cal Poly is responding to COVID-19, visit the Cal Poly Coronavirus website Coronavirus website.


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