In Brief

Great news in the last year from our students, faculty, alumni and supporters.

$2.4 Million Liquid Rocket Enclosure Fuels Rocket R&D

An enclosure at Cal Poly Pomona.
The 2,100 square-foot enclosure for liquid rocket research and development.

A 2,100 square-foot enclosure will open in fall 2021 for the sole purpose of building and launching liquid rockets.

A $2.4 million federal award from the Air Force Research Laboratory primarily funds the enclosure’s construction and the purchase of a vast and necessary collection of hardware to shape and weld metal materials. Hand tools, like saws and drills; a mill lathe, tube bender and much more will give students hands-on experience to build their liquid rockets.

An assembly room will enable students to assemble parts in-progress, leave them and continue progress on another day. Prior to this enclosure, this basic convenience was impossible—teams borrowed the college’s structures lab to assemble parts, disassemble them and then had to put them away to make room for classes taught in the lab. Tedious inefficiencies like these are now in the past.

“It is going to be a great increase to our capability to perform well,” says Frank Chandler, Ph.D., director of the Liquid Rocket Lab (LRL) and aerospace engineering associate professor. “We are so looking forward to this new addition to the campus.”

This will be the first time LRL will have a dedicated space to call their own. Funds are also being used for the purchase of an autoclave, a device used to create some of the strongest materials on Earth, like carbon fiber. This industry-standard device will be accessible to any engineering students interested in using it for their own projects.

LRL has in its sights making Cal Poly Pomona the first university to send a liquid rocket 45,000 feet into the air within the next few years. Longer term, their aim is to soar past the Kármán line, 62 miles above sea level, and considered to be the boundary between Earth's atmosphere and outer space. In other words, the vision is to exceed 45,000 feet by a factor of over seven.

“I think LRL has definitely played the biggest role in determining what I wish to pursue as a career,” says Kyle Lopez, an LRL team lead and aerospace engineering student. Lopez has dreams to work at SpaceX as a propulsion or development test engineer. “I still feel the same passion and determination I had since I joined four years ago. There is not a lot of things that I can say the same for.”


Dean’s Leadership Board Launches Student Success Initiatives

CPP Engineering’s Dean’s Leadership Board (DLB)—an advisory board of high-level executives with an alumni majority—brought their expertise and knowledge in three student success initiatives during the spring 2021 semester:

Bronco Mentoring Network: The Cal Poly Pomona Bronco Mentoring Network was expanded and enhanced through board member participation to help students and alumni connect and build networking relationships. To find out more about the program and how to become an alumni mentor, contact “Industry leaders who take time to mentor can provide students with information that may help them make better career choices, ensuring a successful and gratifying future,” says Larry Gates (’87, civil engineering), president of DRC Engineering, Inc.

An Inside Look at Industry: DLB members held a series of virtual tours and presentations for the companies they work in or lead. During these events, students had the opportunity to talk with industry leaders and learned about project sites, entry-level job opportunities, and the importance of diversity and inclusion for companies.

Stuff They Don’t Tell You in School Series: DLB-hosted seminars taught students the fundamentals of earning their first job. The four-part series covered creating a quality resume, preparing for the interview, following up, and negotiating salary. “Through this series, we hope to connect more industry representatives to engineering students and better prepare them for the interviewing process,” says Clark Rucker (’83, engineering technology), chair of the DLB and director of Phantom Works Quality at The Boeing Company.

Female CPP engineering students at an annual welcome lunch.WE to WiSE—Support Program for Female Students Grows

The Women in Engineering (CPP WE) program is now the Women in Science and Engineering (CPP WiSE) program. The program now serves students in the science, engineering, and agriculture colleges. CPP WiSE creates a welcoming environment for students to thrive, and connects members with alumnae via speaker and networking events. Plus, CPP WiSE members help inspire the next generation of women in STEM via K-12 outreach events. Since the program’s founding in 2012, CPP WE students consistently enjoyed higher graduation rates than their non-CPP WE counterparts.

Photo: Annual welcome lunches like the above will be available to female students from the engineering, science and agriculture colleges.

A graduate's mortarboard that reads: Latina EngineerCPP Engineering A Top School for Hispanics

Hispanic Outlook on Education magazine ranks the college No. 5 in the nation for graduating Hispanic students with a bachelor’s in engineering. Our student body is comprised of 40 percent Hispanics, the majority population in the college. CPP Engineering also ranks high in education quality, social mobility and diversity. Check out how we rank nationally.

Taking the “H” from H20

A chemical and materials engineering student duo Rogine Gomez and Alessandro Pereyra won second place in American Society for Microbiology (ASM) International's 2020 Undergraduate Design Competition. Advised by Vilupanur Ravi, Ph.D., chemical and materials engineering department chair, the team achieved this distinction in a competition space dominated by teams from major research universities. The team’s project focused on materials innovations related to the process of splitting water to produce hydrogen, a critical element for energy applications.

“Our win is a win for our research group, for the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, and of course, for Cal Poly Pomona. We are more than happy to represent our school to the world,” says Gomez.

Alumni Briefs

CPP engineering alumni James Williamson.

This Alumnus was a Literal Rock Star

Insider featured James Williamson ('82, electrical engineering) in their feature “10 rock stars with impressive college degrees.” A list that includes rock legends like Queen’s Brian May, Williamson was a member of Iggy Pop's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band, The Stooges. Iggy and James co-wrote the band's seminal work, Raw Power.

"I gave up being a Stooge to study calculus,” says Williamson. He would go on to work at Advanced Micro Devices, then Sony, then retire and finally reunite with the band for a few more years. In 2014, Williamson was inducted into CPP Engineering’s Hall of Fame, joining an inaugural class of 22 engineering alumni.

CPP engineering alumni Luis Dominguez

Luis Helps Get Us to Mars

Luis Dominguez (’09, mechanical engineering; pictured) served as deputy electrical integration and test lead for NASA’s Perseverance—the latest Mars rover, which landed on the planet on Feb. 18, 2020. Dominguez played a major role in testing and installing the rover’s electrical and software components. Perseverance will seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth.

“The most difficult thing about it is the troubleshooting aspect of the job, but it is also the most fun,” he says. “I enjoy when I have to go into troubleshoot mode and figure out what’s not working and why.”