Engineering Students Win Awards at CSU Research Competition

Alyssa McCulloch, a biomedical engineering student, performs research for faculty mentor Kristen Cardinal in 2019.
Biomedical engineering student Alyssa McCulloch performs research during the 2019 Summer Undergraduate Research Program. She was one of three engineering students who won first or second place during the CSU Student Research Competition.

Three engineering students were awarded first- or second-place prizes at the 2021 California State University (CSU) Student Research Competition, an annual event held to promote excellence in undergraduate and graduate scholarly research and creative activity.

Alyssa McCulloch
Vasanth Sadhasivan
Vasanth Sadhasivan
Andy Wu
Andy Wu

Alyssa McCulloch, a third-year biomedical engineering major from Park City, Utah, won first place in the Health, Nutrition, and Clinical Sciences and Interdisciplinary category for her project focused on her work in Cal Poly’s Tissue Engineering Lab with Professor Kristen O’Halloran Cardinal of the Biomedical Engineering Department. Andy Wu, a mechanical engineering student, won first place in the Engineering and Computer Science (Graduate and Undergraduate) category for his project, Autonomous Instrument for Aircraft Acoustic Measurements, mentored by Russell Westphal (Mechanical Engineering). Vasanth Sadhasivan, a computer engineering student, won second place in the same category for his project, PolyCrypto: A Polynomial-based Architecture for Post-Quantum Secure Cryptographic Schemes, with faculty mentors Joseph Callenes-Sloan, Andrew Danowitz, Paul Hummel (Electrical Engineering/ Computer Engineering).

“All of our student and recent alumni delegates were phenomenal representatives of Cal Poly at the competition,” said Jane Lehr, director of the Office of Student Research at Cal Poly. “Each project represents what is best about the opportunity to Learn by Doing research at Cal Poly: the opportunity to work closely with amazing faculty mentors to create new knowledge that makes a difference in the world. I am excited that so many of our students and recent graduates were recognized at the CSU level for the quality of their work.”

Students from across the CSU competed in 10 divisions for each of the following categories: Behavioral, Social Sciences, and Public Administration; Biological and Agricultural Sciences; Business, Economics, and Hospitality Management; Creative Arts and Design; Education; Engineering and Computer Science; Health, Nutrition, and Clinical Sciences; Humanities and Letters; Physical and Mathematical Sciences; and Interdisciplinary.

California State Polytechnic University in Pomona hosted the 35th annual competition. Students presented their work through a prerecorded video and participated in a live virtual Q&A with a jury and an audience. Students competed by discipline category and, where feasible, by undergraduate/graduate level. First-place finishers were awarded a $500 prize and second-place finishers were awarded $250.

“I’ve been fortunate to be active in research since my freshman year at Cal Poly, and having the opportunity to present what I’ve worked on for over two years was incredibly rewarding,” McCulloch said.

“I hope more Cal Poly students seek out ways to get involved with research,” added McCulloch, who participated in the College of Engineering’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program in 2019. “It’s a great way to practice Learn by Doing outside of the classroom and develop true partnerships with your faculty mentors.”

Cal Poly was also represented at the 2021 CSU Research Competition by Eric Cuellar (Industrial Engineering), Ricardo Laso (Biomedical Engineering), Anika Maney (Communication Studies), and Ahmed Osman (Civil Engineering).

Overall, seven Cal Poly students campus-wide received first- or second-place honors.

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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