Arsine and Meline Baghdasarian
#WomenExcel: Two sisters start a new chapter at AECOM
We were born to an Armenian family and raised in Tehran, Iran. As teenagers, we immigrated to the United States with our parents in 2004. We clearly recall our first day of school in California, carrying a dictionary to our math class. We remember completing all of the problems at the end of the chapters since, oddly enough, we did not understand the meaning of “odd numbers only.” We received praise for going above and beyond the required assignment, yet, little did anyone know that we struggled to comprehend simple directions given in English.

As teenagers, we thought learning English was the most difficult thing in the world, until we attended college and took thermodynamics. As first-generation college students, this was the beginning of our journey into the mysterious world of mechanical engineering. For quite a while, the word “diversity” was ambiguous to both of us until we joined the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Upon serving as officers of SWE, we became involved in the community and helped inspire younger female students to truly enjoy their physics and math classes.

Before graduating from college, I (Meline) completed an internship at a waste-to-energy power plant while pursuing my master’s degree specializing in thermo-fluids. Simultaneously, I (Arsine) had the opportunity to move to the state of Washington for the summer and join the team working on the Hanford Nuclear Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant.

After receiving our degrees from California State University, Los Angeles, we both relocated to Richland, Washington, as cognizant system engineers at AECOM to work on the construction of the world’s largest nuclear waste treatment plant. This was the turning point in our professional careers.

A total of 56 million gallons of nuclear waste is stored underground at the Hanford Site — the remains of the plutonium production from World War II and the Cold War era. Many of these tanks have leaked, threatening the Columbia River and the surrounding community. The project’s ongoing efforts are to stabilize the waste by building and commissioning a nuclear waste immobilization facility.

We started our careers with the Plant Engineering department, working on mechanical handing systems to justify that high radiation and contamination areas can be maintained remotely in the future. Being part of AECOM has given us the opportunity to collaborate with a talented team to solve one of the most critical environmental efforts of all time. Upon graduating from college, we were both determined to pursue a career with a valuable purpose, work with a wonderful team, and learn how to cook while living on our own! AECOM has granted us the opportunity to achieve all three of these goals.

We have now realized that challenges are opportunities not to be avoided but to be embraced. Embracing these challenges leads to discovery — discovery of new people, discovery of information, and discovery of ourselves. Through all these years, we’ve written valuable chapters in our lives, and this is just the beginning of a new one.

Article courtesy of AECOM.  Full article can be found in the AECOM Blog:



This 'feminist Barbie' comes with an inspiring lesson for young girls
When Isaac Larian was in college, he had a poignant realisation.

“I graduated in 1978, and there was only one girl in the class,” recalls Larian, who studied civil engineering at California State University, Los Angeles. “And frankly, she was the smartest.”

Larian is now the billionaire CEO of MGA Entertainment, the world’s largest toy company. He’s also the brains behind Bratz, the uber-successful fashion doll line that has sold more than $US2 billion worldwide. At 61, he knows more about dolls than most 5-year-old girls.

Now he’s putting his collegiate epiphany to use.

Today, Larian is launching new line of dolls called Project MC2 , which MGA hopes will shake up the toy industry with its focus on science, technology, engineering, and maths — a set of disciplines collectively known as STEM. They will join GoldieBlox and LEGO’s latest STEM minifigs in a burgeoning push to get girls excited about scientific experimentation.

Girls are a third less likely to take interest in pursuing a STEM career than boys, and with the exception of marine and social sciences, males end up outnumbering females in each of the technical and scientific fields.

But maybe McKeyla, Adrienne, Camryn, and Bryden can help get girls inspired early on.

Each of the four dolls comes with her own kit for easy, at-home scientific discovery.

McKeyla McAlister helps kids create their own lava lamp using ingredients found in the kitchen. Adrienne Attoms comes with instructions for a baking soda-and-vinegar volcano. Camryn Colye helps you engineer a skateboard using household objects. And Bryden Bandwedth, completing the alliterative foursome, offers a hand in making a homemade glowstick necklace.

“It’s really cool to be smart,” Larian says. “I mean, smart is the new cool right now in today’s age.”

Mattel has also recently come out with STEM-themed Barbies, including a Computer Engineer Barbie. But not everyone is convinced that girly dolls are the best way to get girls interested in science. "This meme seems concerned with whether girls feel like they will fit in (or want to fit in) with typical mathematicians and scientists," writes Diana Betz over at Scientific American.

Nonetheless, the trend is gaining steam.  In collaboration with AwesomenessTV and DreamworksTV, the four Project MC2  girls are also making their way to Netflix and YouTube.

On Netflix, the girls will appear in a three-episode live-action series with Danica McKellar, the former "Wonder Years" star and vocal advocate for getting girls into math. The show launches in in tandem with the dolls, which will be available at a number of big box stores.

Larian says his goal for the doll line is to get girls excited about subjects they're normally nudged away from.

"I hope girls get inspired," he says, "to take science classes, take math classes, pursue careers down the road that break down the taboo that only engineers are boys, or mathematicians are boys, or chemists are boys."

Article courtesy of Business Insider.  Full article can be found in the Business Insider websites:


EcoCar3 Air
Cal State L.A. students win national engineering competition
A team of Cal State L.A. students has won a prestigious national engineering competition to design workplace technology for people with disabilities.

The team from the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology was one of three university squads selected for the finals of the SourceAmerica Design Challenge in Washington, D.C. About 70 universities entered the competition.

Cal State L.A. students took the top prize with “Straight to the Punch,” customized devices that improve the assembly processes for hole punchers. The students altered the devices, such as a jig and spring holder, so that workers with disabilities can more easily use them to assemble hole punchers. Workers who used the specialized devices reported experiencing less pain in their hands, wrists and fingers. Students collaborated with FVO Solutions, a nonprofit agency that employs workers with disabilities

The Cal State L.A. team and the two other finalists—the United States Military Academy at West Point and Ohio University—presented their projects before a panel of judges and the public.

Shi-Hsin "Frank" Wang, Cal State L.A.’s team captain, credited the competition with allowing students to use their engineering skills for the public good.

“Life isn’t about the paycheck,” Wang said. “It’s about engagement and service to others.”

The team also included Filiberto Garcia, Jr., Rodney Paguyo, Erick Vegegas and Mabel Luu. Professor Paul Liu was the faculty coach. Tizoc Loza, of the Northrop Grumman Corp. (NGC), was the team sponsor. Juan Pena, of Adams Rite, an international company that designs, manufactures and markets door and door hardware products, served as the mentor.

Each student received an iPad Mini 3 and a suit and shirt that was used as a team uniform. Students also received a scholarship toward their tuition. All prizes came from the support of Northrop Grumman.

"NGC has always been our best higher education supporter from the industry," Liu said.

He said his students received supportive phone calls and emails encouraging them and thanking them for thier efforts to support workers with disabilities. "My students' value system have been changed and enhanced because of engagement of this segment of community often forgotten," Liu said.

Steven Soroka, president and CEO of SourceAmerica, said students in the competition developed technology that helps transform lives.

"Simply put, the Design Challenge creates tools for successful employment and provides some of our best and brightest college students the opportunity to learn more about the disability community,” Soroka said. “By improving productivity for people with disabilities in the workplace, these students are helping us get one step closer to the day when every person with a disability who wants a job can have a job and be successful at it."

Photo: Members of Cal State L.A.'s winning team, from left to right: Shih-Hsin "Frank" Wang, Erick Venegas, Professor Paul Liu, Mabel Luu and Rodney Paguyo. Filiberto Garcia, Jr. is not in the photo. (Courtesy of College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology).

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Cal State L.A. is a university dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 24,000 students, and 235,000 distinguished alumni, who are as diverse as the region we serve. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Cal State L.A. has long been recognized as an engine of economic and social mobility. Led by an award-winning faculty, the University offers nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and the humanities.

Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex, TV, Film and Media Center and the Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good. For more information, visit, or like us at

Article courtesy of Cal State L.A.; for more information on the event please visit:



Cal State L.A ITE student chapter

Five civil engineering students presented their Southern California Regional Interconnector Project (SCRIP) at Southern California Section of Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) on May 20th 2015. A total of seven major universities competed for the championship at the student presentation night. CSULA was awarded 1st place followed by Cal Poly Pomona, UC Irvine, UCLA, CSU Long Beach, USC, and CSU Fullerton. The ITE student chapter was awarded $3,400 for the best project and presentation. A special thank you to part-time faculty Mr. Shamma, Dr. Song, and Mr. Lum for helping students in their project and presentation.



EcoCar3 Air
EcoCAR 3 team receives $100,000 from South Coast Air Quality Management District
Cal State L.A. is accelerating into the EcoCAR 3 competition with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) joining the team as a cosponsor.

The agency has awarded the University’s EcoCAR 3 team $100,000 from its Clean Fuels Fund, which will be allotted during the four years of the prestigious competition. The funding will be used for team training, software, hardware outreach, travel to competitions and student stipends.

“Having AQMD partner with us is important for both organizations as the funding allows us to compete more competitively,” said Justin Bower, the student team captain. “It also helps us to focus more on the environmental aspects of the competition and to train more future engineers on how to design lower emissions vehicles, which ties right in with AQMD’s mission.”

The Cal State L.A. team is nearing the end of the first year of the EcoCAR 3: Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition. Cal State L.A. is the only university from California and just one of 16 in the U.S. and Canada selected to participate in the collegiate competition.

Teams are tasked with redesigning and re-engineering a Chevy Camaro to convert it into an electric hybrid vehicle. At the end of the fourth year, teams will compete in a road test of vehicle readiness, dependability and safety.

The competition aims to help develop cutting-edge technologies for the automotive industry and provide unique educational experiences for students.

As part of the competition, teams are expected to seek sponsors to support their activities. Team members are also responsible for research, development and design, as well as creating the vehicle’s systems, buying parts and producing promotional materials.

Cal State L.A.'s EcoCAR 3 team will be traveling to Seattle, Washington, from May 29 to June 4, to end the competition’s first year. Teams will showcase their design work, project management, communications, and architecture selections of the student vehicles.

Visit the Cal State L.A.’s EcoCAR 3 website for more information:

Photo: Cal State L.A. faculty adviser David Blekhman (far right) with members of the Universitys EcoCAR 3 team. (Credit: Carol Mamon)

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Cal State L.A. is a university dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 24,000 students, and 235,000 distinguished alumni, who are as diverse as the region we serve. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Cal State L.A. has long been recognized as an engine of economic and social mobility. Led by an award-winning faculty, the University offers nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and the humanities.

Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex, TV, Film and Media Center and the Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good. For more information, visit, or like us at

Article courtesy of Cal State L.A.; for more information on the event please visit:




NASA grant
Cal State L.A. receives $5-million NASA grant for research center
Center will train students in critical STEM fields, bolster research and development

Cal State L.A. has been awarded a $5-million grant to conduct NASA-related research and education to help train a new generation of scientists and engineers.

Under the five-year grant, the University will establish a Data Intensive Research and Education Center in STEM to create academic and research opportunities in critical science, technology, engineering and math fields for students from underserved communities.

The goal is to strengthen the nation's base for aerospace research and development, spur participation by faculty and students at minority serving institutions, and increase the number of undergraduate and graduate degrees in NASA-related fields.

“We are looking forward to collaborating with NASA to create a center where research and scholarship can flourish for the benefit of our students, our region and our nation,” Cal State L.A. President William A. Covino said. “By diversifying the ranks of students who graduate in STEM fields, we help create richer research environments.”

NASA reviewed 76 proposals and selected 10 universities as award recipients under the agency’s Minority University Research and Education Project. Cal State L.A.’s proposal was prepared by principal investigator Hengchun Ye, a geosciences professor and department chair.

“With rapid development in scientific research technologies for handling massive data, there is a pressing need to train a new generation of scientists and engineers with skills in scientific computing and data analysis,” Ye said.

The center will be housed in the Department of Geosciences and Environment and will be supported by the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology, the College of Natural and Social Sciences and the Charter College of Education. Faculty and students will focus on collaborative research and training in areas of hydrology and climate change, computational physics, and cloud computing that directly contribute to NASA’s mission.

Cal State L.A. faculty involved with the center include Jiang Guo, of computer science; Jingjing Li, of geosciences; Sonya Lopez, of civil engineering; Susan Terebey, of physics and astronomy; Borislava Gutarts, of mathematics; Daphne Liu, of mathematics; and Paula Arvedson, of curriculum and instruction.

“I am looking forward to working with a great team of faculty from across disciplines throughout campus in order to help equip our students for the highly competitive workforce,” Ye said.

The center will partner with UC Irvine’s Data Science Initiative and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Center for Data Science and Technology.

NASA previously awarded Cal State L.A. $11 million in grants to fund a center that featured two laboratories: the Structures Pointing and Control Engineering (SPACE) laboratory and the Multidisciplinary Flight Dynamics and Control (MFDC) laboratory. That center was the first NASA research facility established on a campus in the California State University System, which is the largest university system in the United States.

Photo: Faculty advisers who will be involved in the center, from left to right. Susan Terebey, Sonya Lopez, Jingjing Li, Hengchun Ye and Jiang Guo. (Credit: Cal State L.A. Geosciences and Environment Department)



Cal State L.A. is a university dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 24,000 students, and 235,000 distinguished alumni, who are as diverse as the region we serve. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Cal State L.A. has long been recognized as an engine of economic and social mobility. Led by an award-winning faculty, the University offers nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and the humanities.

Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex, TV, Film and Media Center and the Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good. For more information, visit, or like us at

Article courtesy of Cal State L.A.; for more information on the event please visit:


Cal State L.A. Forensic Science Symposium 2015

Cal State L.A.'s Westec Team won third place at 2015 Product & Manufacturing System Design Contest on Saturday, April 18. The team competed with 16 universities and colleges from U.S. and Mexico. Our team built a piston for motorcycle and small engines. A special thanks goes to Blake Cortis for his technical assistant and help with this project. Team members: Antonio Romero, Brandon Law, Isai Guerrero, Nathan Portillo Silva, Roderic Tabuyo, and Mejia Virginia.


Cal State L.A. Forensic Science Symposium 2015

Cal State L.A. Forensic Science Symposium “Uniting Forensics Across LA” being held April 10, 2015 at the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center. This Symposium was 100% organized by the Forensic Science Student Association (FSSA) at Cal State L.A.; led by symposium co-Chairs Emma Thurau and Yuvitza Garcia.

Page 1 agenda

page 2 agenda


Facebook: Forensic Science Student Association at Cal State L.A.

More Information:


Cal State L.A. ECST B.E.S.T. event 2015

B.E.S.T. Professional Networking Mixer
Need to practice your networking skills? Looking to freshen up on your etiquette skills? Join the Society of Hispanic Engineers and Science Students and the Hispanic Business Society for the B.E.S.T. Professional Networking Mixer Tuesday April 14. Meet with industry professionals and alumni and learn the do's and don'ts to networking and landing that potential interview. Please register to attend by April 10, 2015

For more information on the event please visit

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Cal State L.A's AAAE student organization participates in full scale emergency drill.

Cal State L.A. Participates in the Burbank Bob Hope Airport Emergency Drill
Over spring break, several students from the CSULA Southwest Chapter of American Association of Airport Executives Student Chapter (SWAAAE) participated in a full scale Emergency Drill at Burbank Bob Hope Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration requires that airports conduct full-scale readiness exercises every three years. The purpose is to assess how prepared the airports are and to fix glitches in procedures before real emergencies occur. The emergency drill involved the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, law enforcement, fire department, and EMT. With the help of the participants, the different agencies were able to prepare and train for a potential future emergency. The scenario for the drill was that two aircraft had a mid-air collision near Burbank airport. One of the aircraft involved was considered severe with many deceased passengers and the other aircraft moderate with a small amount of causalities but many injured or disoriented.

For more information on the Cal State L.A. AAAE student chapter and any of their upcoming events, go to

Photo courtesy of Eduardo Galvan

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Graduate ME Student Angela Wu receives an award for her research in heat exchangers.

Mechanical engineering major Angela Wu was recently presented a Phi Kappa Phi Travel Award for her research on improving the design of heat exchangers to make them more energy efficient and environmentally sound.

Wu, who lives in Temple City, received the award during the 23rd Cal State L.A. Symposium on Research, Scholarship and Creativity. The symposium is aimed at encouraging Cal State L.A. students in every discipline to showcase their papers, projects and research endeavors.

“I am grateful and humbled that Phi Kappa Phi chose to recognize my hard work and research through this generous grant,” Wu said. “This award will allow me to attend conferences where I can present my research, without worrying about the costs of travel and lodging.”

Wu is being recognized for her research with Cal State L.A. Professor Arturo Pacheco-Vega on numerical simulations of compact heat exchangers to help make them more energy efficient.

“I’m hoping that my results will help improve the design of heat exchangers, which may help reduce their environmental impact and costs,” she said. “These devices are widely used in homes, cars, commercial buildings, manufacturing systems and in power plants, and they currently take a lot of energy to operate.”

An international student from Suriname in South America, Wu has participated in a variety of activities and projects during her time at Cal State L.A. She was part of the Super Eagle III team, which competed in the Society of Automotive Engineers Supermileage Competition. She is also a student fellow of the University’s Center for Energy and Sustainability, which is funded by a National Science Foundation grant.

Wu will be one of 11 Cal State L.A. students selected to represent the University at the 29th Annual California State University (CSU) Student Research Competition at Cal State San Bernardino in May.

The other Cal State L.A. students who will take part in the competition are Gabrielle Aroz, a psychology major who lives in San Gabriel; Miguel Arriola, a history major and San Gabriel resident; Karen Pekacheky, a public health major and Glendale resident; Andre Leon, a biochemistry major who lives in Los Angeles; Dalton Meena, a Los Angeles resident and psychology major; Alma Olaguez, a San Gabriel resident and forensic psychology major; Kevin Parducho, a Pasadena resident and microbiology major; Jessica Mayers, a Fullerton resident and forensic psychology major; Edith Soto, a Granada Hills resident and mechanical engineering major, and Burbank resident and education major Hoover Zariani.

Sponsored by the CSU Office of the Chancellor, the statewide competition will consist of 10 discipline categories in the undergraduate and graduate levels. Each student will have 10 minutes to present an oral presentation to an audience and jury members, who will then have five minutes to ask questions.

For more details on the CSU Student Research Competition, go to

Photo: Angela Wu with Philip LaPolt, associate vice president for research and academic personnel, during the 23rd Cal State L.A. Symposium on Research, Scholarship and Creativity. (Credit: Cal State L.A.)

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Cal State L.A. Preview Day 2015

2015 Preview Day
Date: March 28, 2015
Time: 10:30 – 1:00 p.m. (ECST College Activities)

Program Goal: The goal of the University’s Preview Day event is to acquaint conditionally admitted students with the campus, introduce them to their College and department, answer questions they may have, and most importantly, encourage them to enroll for Fall 2015. The participation of our College in this event is central to the success of the program.

Brief Description: Preview Day consists of:
1. University Activities in the morning (an information/student services fair, student clubs/organization fair, University Welcome) and
2. College of ECST Showcase and Activities starting at 10:30 a.m. (building tours, department presentations & lab demonstrations, and a resource fair showcasing our student projects). Again, the central part of the program is the time that these conditionally admitted students spend with our college.

For more Information: Contact Frances Hidalgo x3-4574 or email at fhidalg@exchange.

--- PREVIEW DAY 2015 | AGENDA: Saturday, March 28, 2015 ---

10:30 A.M. Welcome
Dr. Emily Allen, Dean, College of ECST

10:37 A.M. Program Overview
Frances Hidalgo, Director, ECST Student Success Center

COLLEGE ACTIVITIES* (will repeat every 15 minutes during the following sessions):
Session 1: 10:55 A.M. - 11:10 A.M.
Session 2: 11:15 A.M. - 11:30 A.M.
Session 3: 11:35 A.M. – 11:50 A.M.
Session 4: 11:55 A.M. – 12:10 P.M.

Parent Coffee Corner

E&T A-126

Department Presentations/Lab Demonstrations

Civil: Strength of Materials Lab
Civil: Geotechnical Engineering Lab
Civil: Environmental Engineering Lab
Computer Science: Computer Science Presentation
Electrical: Electrical & Computer Engineering Presentation
Electrical: Bio-Medical Research Lab (NetLab)
Electrical: Power Lab
Mechanical: Mad Scientist Lab
Mechanical: Thermo-Fluid Sciences Lab
Mechanical: Wind Tunnel
Technology: Aviation Presentation
Technology: Fire Protection Administration Presentation


E&T C-156
E&T C-17
E&T C-161
E&T A-309
E&T A-331
E&T A-207
E&T A-209
E&T A-1
E&T C-260
E&T C-19
E&T A-226
E&T A-227

Hydrogen Station

Hydrogen Station

ECST Student Success Center Presentation

E&T A-129

ECST Resource Fair

ECST Courtyard

12:15 P.M. Lunch Old Basketball Court/ECST Courtyard
1:15 P.M. Adjourn

*Students and guests will be escorted to the activities of their choice during each session. The starting point will be in the ECST Courtyard (see colored stars on the ECST Courtyard Map and look for the volunteers with the signs).

Preview Day 2015 Layout

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Sikand Foundation gift to support faculty research in urban sustainability

Cal State L.A. receives $1 million Sikand Foundation gift to support faculty research in urban sustainability

Cal State L.A. has been awarded a $1 million gift from The Sikand Foundation to establish the Gunjit S. Sikand Faculty Endowment for Research in Urban Sustainability.

The Sikand family established the endowment as a tribute to former Cal State L.A. Civil Engineering Professor Gunjit Sikand, who passed away last spring after a long and distinguished career as an educator, business owner and philanthropist. Sikand taught at the University for more than two decades and valued its role in providing first-generation college students an outstanding education and ensuring they possessed the expertise and accomplishments that would lead to further success.

“The endowment will be used in perpetuity to provide funding for a faculty member, allowing them time to focus on research,” said Mark Sikand, president of Sikand Engineering Associates, which was founded by his father in 1958.

Cal State L.A. President William A. Covino thanked the Sikand family for its generous gift and noted that it would greatly benefit the University in conducting research on one of the most important issues facing the Los Angeles region. “Professor Sikand was an admired educator, role model and mentor whose contributions have left a lasting legacy at Cal State L.A.,” Covino said.

Over the last two decades, Sikand had established three endowments at Cal State L.A. through his Foundation: the Sikand Scholarship Fund, the Gunjit Sikand Civil Engineering Endowed Guest Lecture Fund, and the Gunjit Sikand Civil Engineering Endowed Senior Design and Freshmen Design Fund.

“The Sikand Senior Design and Freshman Design Fund have tremendously impacted project-based civil engineering education at Cal State L.A. This funding was critical in creating our senior design course, which won two national awards from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) in 2010 and 2011,” Covino said.

Emily Allen, dean of the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology, said the Sikand family’s gift would serve as a cornerstone for a proposed Institute for Urban Sustainability at Cal State L.A.

“The next generation is deeply concerned about how we will survive as the climate changes, and with the research supported by this gift we can help make Los Angeles County a model for sustainable development,” Allen said.

Sikand emigrated from India when he was 20-years-old to attend Auburn University. He earned his master’s degree in engineering from the University of Colorado, where he met his wife, Margarete. He began his teaching career at Cal State L.A. in 1958.

“Professor Sikand was one of the early pioneers of the College, proposing countless new engineering courses and teaching a wide range of classes,” said Young Kim, emeritus professor and chair of civil engineering at Cal State L.A. “He brought with him practical engineering experience and knowledge he gained from the private sector. His students greatly benefitted from his real-world experience.”

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Photo of Sikand family: (back, l-r) sister Renee, mother Margarete, wife Lynette, dad Gunjit, sister Annette, Mark, and (front, l-r) sons Owen and Mark Jr. (Credit: Mark Sikand)




Geo Tech Team

Cal State L.A.’s GeoTech Team will be competing this week in the national GeoChallenge competition in San Antonio, Texas.

The team qualified for the championship, which features 20 colleges and universities, after advancing in a preliminary round. The competition is organized by the Geo-Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers and will take place on March 18 as part of the International Foundations Congress and Equipment Expo.

The competition requires teams of students to design and build miniature reinforced retaining walls inside a plywood form filled with soil. The walls are built with paper and poster board. The objective is to use the least amount of reinforcement needed to support the retained soil.

“Congrats to our team of 17 students for their hard work!” said Professor Reinard Knur, the team’s faculty adviser. “This hands-on experience helps prepare our students for careers in the field of geotechnical engineering, a specialty of civil engineering that involves studying the engineering behavior of earth materials.”

The Cal State L.A. team is led by captain Gerardo Nunez, civil engineering majors Ryan Jacobs, Shannon Hernandez and Reynold Wong. Team alternates Roberto Garcia and Jose Rodriguez will also be representing the University at the competition.

“This makes it four years in a row that we have been invited to nationals,” Nunez said. “And we are all very excited for this year's competition as the playing field has been expanded to 20 schools from around the nation.”

To learn more about the competition, see the GeoWorld website.

Full article may be found on Cal State L.A's website:




2015 AT&T Developer Summit

The 2015 AT&T Developer Summit Hackathon was held January 3rd and 4th at Rain Nightclub in the Palms Casino Resort. The event was held in conjunction with CES 2015.

This hackathon allowed attendees access to the latest technology, tools and services for the connected car, connected home and wearables, and more. Nearly 700 developers, designers and tech entrepreneurs from all around the world competed to win their share of $100,000 in cash and prizes by building the most innovative apps.

As part of the hackathon, there was an AT&T Women in Tech Challenge prize awarded.

“At AT&T, we have adopted a progressive approach to innovation – one that embraces openness and encourages collaboration between entrepreneurs and professionals of all genders and backgrounds,” the team at AT&T wrote on their website. “This challenge will be awarded to the best mobile app created by a women led team.”

The winners of the AT&T Hackathon Women in Tech Challenge were America Lopez and her twin sister, Penelope. The prize included $10,000.

“The AT&T Dev Summit hackathon is where programmers and non-programmers come together to make a great mobile app and/or hardware hack using the latest technology,” said America Lopez. “The theme of the event was to have an app and/or hardware hack for the connected car, connected home or other wearables.”

“This hackathon meant students like us could try out the latest hardware, APIs, and software and go stalk the top notch experts all night long and have them teach us a thing or two about how to use their product or service,” added Penelope Lopez. “It really helps that they provide a place for us to call our own hacker zone to catch a power nap in the middle of crazy hacking and to grab food when the munchies kick in.”

America and Penelope attended the AT&T Developer Summit Hackathon thanks to the Hacker Bus from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, which was organized by Ben Nelson and AT&T.

“We use a motorcycle as our main mode of transportation to get to and from school so we are glad about that bus option to get to Las Vegas in one piece and on time,” said America Lopez.

Their winning hack was called the Body Cam Hack, and can be used by police officers, journalists, or those chasing storms.

“The Michael Brown case really affected public opinion that more people now are in favor of body cams on the police force,” America Lopez said. “Body cameras should not be stiff as the cameras on their police car dashboards. They have to be as smart as their mobile counterpart unit. People have seen smart watches, smart houses, and smart watches but they have not seen smart body cams. People should see this as the new face of wearable technology — a body cam that can use face-tracking technology.”

The hardware parts the pair used to allow the camera to move include an arduino, 2 standard servos, a 3-D printed pan/tilt bracket, joystick attached to lots of wires from their breadboard, and a wireless receiver camera. For other areas of the project, they used a Nucleo NFC to integrate NFC technology, Nucleo F411RE as the main controller board, a Grove Base Shield to allow the temperature and humidity sensor to work with the 4 digit display LED working, and a UBLOX to allow for wireless GPS tracking using AT&T cellular network.

The integration that had the pair most excited was using sponsored data.

“We are very touchy about the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ movement happening in the work place,” said Penelope Lopez. “We like the idea that AT&T Sponsored Data means a journalist who is covering a new story don’t have to use their own personal data and use their company data instead. It means that person can be more productive and worry less about their personal data being used up. This is even more important in the government role as well. We can’t have people worrying about their personal data at the expense of public safety.”

This wasn’t the pair’s first AT&T Hackathon event.

“We went to our first AT&T hackathon accidentally a year ago,” explained Penelope Lopez. “It took place in Santa Monica. We thought it was just a Meetup User group meeting that would last for an hour, not a 24 hour hackathon.”

“I still can’t believe what noobies we were,” added America Lopez. “But luckily we were able to get our first xcode app working in the end and we got an honorable mention award back then. We kept going to more AT&T hacks and kept getting better from then on out.”

America and Penelope Lopez say the #VegasTech community is invited to get involved with their next tech event, called LA Mobile Camp.

“That conference that will take place on January 31, 2015 in Hollywood and we would love to see folks from the Vegas Tech scene attend that and say hi to us,” America Lopez said. “I will be hosting the event with George McKinney. He is a great friend and mentor. We will be covering internet of things workshops to app development workshops. He is our leader of our Los Angeles mobile developer group, which has over 800 members.”

“We would love to keep in touch showing you our hacks and crazy conference photos in the near future,” added Penelope Lopez. “We are coming back to Las Vegas for our birthday so we would love to see more of the Vegas Tech scene!”

Full article can be found on the Vegas Tech website:




Student Leaders

A select group of 10 California State University Los Angeles MESA students honed their leadership skills at a special invitation-only conference for math-based majors in San Diego early this month.

The 11th Annual Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Student Leadership Conference is fully sponsored by industry donations. Southern California Edison is the lead sponsor with additional funding from San Diego Gas and Electric, Southern California Gas Company, Pacific Gas and Electric and AT&T.

CSULA students were sponsored by sponsored by Southern California Gas and Edison International. Their generous contribution allowed students from southern California campuses to attend. SoCalGas and Edison employees volunteered their time to work closely with the students during the conference.

The conference, themed “Today’s STEM Students--Tomorrow’s STEM Leaders,” was held October 31 to November 1 at the Marriott Mission Valley in San Diego. It offers extensive professional and leadership development through direct interaction with industry mentors and speakers. The hand-picked MESA students, all science, engineering, or math majors, represent over 27 universities and community colleges from across the state.

Attending CSULA students were:

Mark Alvarez


Mechanical Engineering

Paolo Galicia


Computer Science

Alonso Garcia


Electrical Engineering

Victor Garcia


Mechanical Engineering

Pyae Hein


Electrical Engineering

Sandra Hernandez-Andrade


Computer Science

Vashti Hollomon


Mechanical Engineering

Liliana Montes De Oca


Mechanical Engineering

Rubi Mora


Mechanical Engineering

Jeovanny Reyes


Electrical Engineering

Students participated in mock interviews, connected with industry representatives, heard guest speakers and attended workshops.

San Diego Gas and Electric Company has been named the 2014 MESA Champion for the energy company’s longstanding support of the program. Marvin Lopez, Global University Relations Manager at Advanced Micro Devices, is this year’s MESA Distinguished Alumnus.

“We know that California’s economy needs more STEM workers to stay competitive,” said MESA Executive Director Oscar F. Porter. “These students provide the solution to industry’s need for well-trained professionals.

“They were selected to attend the conference because these students have strong leadership skills. This event gives them a chance to interact extensively with STEM professionals currently working in industry,” said Porter.

Student attendees represented the following campuses: CSU Chico, CSU Fresno, CSU Long Beach, CSU Los Angeles, CSU Sacramento, San Diego State University, San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, , American River College (Sacramento), Bakersfield College, Butte College (Oroville), , City College of San Francisco, , College of the Sequoias, Cosumnes River College (Sacramento), East Los Angeles College, El Camino College (Torrance), Los Medanos College (Pittsburg), , Pasadena City College, Rio Hondo College (Whittier), Sacramento City College, San Diego City College, Santa Ana Junior College, Santa Barbara City College, and Southwestern College (Chula Vista).

MESA promotes STEM success for more than 28,000 educationally disadvantaged secondary, community college and four-year college students in California through project-based learning, academic counseling and exposure to STEM careers, so they can graduate from college with math-based degrees. Seventy percent of MESA high school graduates statewide went directly to college after graduation compared to 48 percent of all California graduates. Sixty percent of MESA students go on to math, science or engineering majors. Ninety-seven percent of MESA community college transfer students go to college as STEM majors.

For more information about MESA visit






On November 12, 2014 California State University, Los Angeles was the first in California (CA) to sell Hydrogen (H2) by the kilogram! You may ask what is the significance of this fueling; well in CA right now if you go to fuel your H2 vehicle you will have to pay the same amount of money regardless of the quantity purchased. The Cal State L.A. H2 Station is able to sell the public fuel and charge only what is purchased.
The CSULA Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility was formally opened on May 7, 2014. As the largest University located hydrogen fueling facility in the nation, commissioning continues and the facility will soon be available to Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV's).

The station is capable of producing hydrogen onsite from renewable energy sources, using the process known as electrolysis. FCEV's fueling at the station emit only water vapor emissions!



Industrial Designers

The concept, style and function of each manufactured product on the consumer market were developed by an industrial designer. These highly skilled visionaries blend the fields of business, engineering and art to create such commodities as toys, gadgets, home appliances and motor vehicles. Job opportunities for those that design precision instruments and medical equipment will grow rapidly in coming years, projects the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Los Angeles, it is a vocation that remains in demand throughout a broadening range of industries.

“Because we continue to be the front leaders in manufacturing and production, this occupation is an ideal one to pursue in the L.A. area,” said Dr. Mauricio Castillo, an industrial technology professor at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA). “We create, plan and design new-style manufactured goods for all sectors of industry.”

In Thousand Oaks, a master-planned community, commercial and industrial designers earn an average annual salary of $90,000, according to economic data. Within other divisions of greater L.A., the median yearly wage is around $60,000, which is a hefty paycheck for a recent college graduate. Castillo said CSULA is busy preparing endeavoring industrial designers for a sustainable career in this avant-garde territory.

“Our students are gaining technical knowledge in areas of production, manufacturing and transportation,” Castillo said. “Our program offers a strong curriculum for any aspiring industrial designer who desires to become a leader in the technology field.”

How has the need for adept industrial designers progressed since 2010?

“Technological devices, such as 3D printers, are changing the way we do business within the manufacturing sectors of both private and governmental entities.”

How will the role of an effective industrial designer change by 2022?

“A larger variety of businesses and industries will be in need of individuals who have the knowledge and flexibility to learn, implement and manage new technology within complex business environments.”

What is your message to the academic community?

“Technology changes at the speed of light. What was innovative yesterday may be replaced tomorrow. Schools need well-prepared industrial and technology education teachers to help instruct and guide young men and women into high-technology careers.”

Full article can be found on the CBS Los Angeles website:



MEP Welcome Back BBQ
ECST Welcome Back BBQ

When: Thursday, October 2, 11am – 4pm
Where: ECST Courtyard


Boeing Day & ECST Open House
Boeing Day & ECST Open House

(October 18, 2014) This annual event provides prospective students with a closer look at the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and technology (ECST).


Student Orientation
Student Orientation

(August 28 & September 23, 2014) Orientation for transfer students to College of ECST is August 28, 2014. Orientation for undergraduate students to all Colleges is September 23, 2014.


STEP Award Ceremony
STEP Award Ceremony

(August 22, 2014) The STEP Award Ceremony (August 22, 2014) celebrates the achievement of our incoming College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology (ECST) freshmen.