EMPOWER Student Club Aligns with New TECHE Lab Created to Leverage Learn by Doing for Societal Benefit

Lyndon Fresnido, current senior vice president with EMPOWER, works with Ali Pompeii last January to create a special bike seat for Pompeii, a recently graduated aerospace engineering student who was injured in a car accident.

A student club established to improve the quality of life for individuals facing physical challenges has a new name to coincide with a new engineering lab that aims to promote systemic change.

The EMPOWER (Endeavors to Move People Onward with Engineered Results) club’s newly stated goal is to “create better everyday life through engineering and innovation.”

The club was formerly called Quality of Life Plus Student Association.

“We wanted our mission statement to reflect our passion for helping all those in need, regardless of their background,” said Pearse Lipscomb, president of the club.

The club will be associated with the new TECHE Lab (Transforming Engineer Through Community Hands-on Engagement), which the College of Engineering announced in September.  The center will leverage Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing approach to have a wide impact, addressing both individual and society needs.

EMPOWER members work directly with individuals who have needs, then design and manufacture devices that can help.  In the past, EMPOWER members have constructed prosthetic arms, legs, hands and other devices to help “challengers” improve their quality of life. Lipscomb said that mission will continue. Meanwhile, the club provides further Learn by Doing and teamwork skills to students outside the classroom while engaging in rewarding, real-world work.

“All of our projects, whether large or small, are based on improving the human experience,” Lipscomb said. “After working on an EMPOWER project, not only will members have gained valuable skills, they will have provided a member or multiple members of the community with something truly invaluable.”

Club members have been known to dedicate many hours per week on projects, forming close bonds with teammates and other club members while learning from each other in biweekly workshops.

“The ability to lead, follow, cooperate and know one’s role in an engineering team is crucial to its success, whether in the classroom or in the field,” Lipscomb said. “EMPOWER is a home for all students, regardless of technical expertise, year and major.”

When he first became involved in the club as a freshman, Lipscomb said it quickly became a family.

“The support that I’ve received and given to this family truly has no end in sight,” he said.

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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