Cal Poly Engineering Students Shine at CSU Research Competition  

Student winners pose with staff and faculty
From left are Dawn Neill, Cal Poly’s interim vice president of research; Harrison Oen; Anna Dion; and Jane Lehr, Cal Poly's director of the Office of Student Research.

Students and faculty from Cal Poly’s College of Engineering excelled at the 2024 California State University Student Research Competition, earning top honors at the event held on the San Luis Obispo campus April 26-27.  

Leading the achievements was the team of Harrison Oen (biomedical engineering) and master’s student Izzy Starr (biomedical engineering) who worked with Jonah Adams (biochemistry). They secured first place in the Health, Nutrition and Clinical Sciences category (mixed undergraduates and graduates) for their study on the effects of silicone blood vessel models to remove blood clots causing strokes. They worked under the guidance of biomedical engineering Professor Kristen O’Halloran Cardinal. 

“I am most proud of being able to participate in a project that provides valuable information for companies to improve medical devices, and ultimately, increase patient safety and effective treatments,” said Oen, a fourth-year student. “Fundamentally, biomedical engineers work in this field to make an impact in the health-care field, and I am fortunate to be able to do so through my research.”  

Another highlight for the College of Engineering was Anna Dion (biomedical engineering), who received second place for her work titled “Chronic Disease Prevalence Among Patients Attending a Free Clinic on the Central Coast of California” in the Behavioral, Social Sciences and Public Administration category for undergraduates. Dion, along with her teammates James Roake (health), Kate Mayeda (public health, ‘21) and Nicholas Elich (statistics), discovered that uninsured individuals attending the free clinic experienced a high burden of chronic diseases and that the clinic itself improves patients’ quality of life. 

Overall, five Cal Poly student research teams received first or second place at the competition. Hundreds of students from across the 23-campus CU system competed in 10 categories at the 38th Iteration of the statewide contest, including 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.  

Cal Poly tied for the most awards along with San Jose, East Bay, San Francisco and Sonoma. Student researchers included individual participants and teams. Cal Poly students represented the College of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts and Bailey College of Science and Mathematics.