Cal Poly Honors Faculty, Staff Who Received $32 Million in Grant Funding in 2015-16

Entrance to Cal Poly's campus

Cal Poly honored faculty and staff who received a record $32 million in grants and whose research resulted in five patents for the university in the 2015-16 academic year.

The patented inventions include an automotive air-conditioning system, an in-wall air-filtration system, CubeSats (or small satellites that launch as secondary payloads), a computer-implemented process to allow the visually impaired to transform touch into an audio response, and an environmentally benign packing design.

“I just want to say how proud I am of the work that you are all doing,” Dean Wendt, dean of research in the Office of Research and Economic Development, told about 80 faculty and staff members gathered at the annual reception held in the fall. “We are celebrating an unprecedented year of externally funded research activity at the university.”

Grant funding for research projects was up 25 percent over last year’s $26 million, and “ranks as the highest amount of external funding on record at Cal Poly,” Wendt said.

“Let me put that number in context for you: The annual base budget for the College of Science and Mathematics is around $37 million, and it includes all the salaries and wages and operating budgets for the college,” he said. “The $32 million is a significant contribution you are making to our institution and to the education of our students.”

There are other benefits to campus research, Wendt said. The grants contributed to more than $250,000 in tuition, fees and scholarships for students; funded more than $650,000 in lab equipment in the university’s six colleges; supported the wages of 58 Cal Poly Corporation employees; and paid $1.8 million in wages to more than 800 student researchers.

President Jeffrey D. Armstrong praised the faculty, who in addition to their teaching duties also apply for and oversee the research, and the staff of the Sponsored Programs and Grants Development offices who administer the more than 500 grants.

“You are impacting lives. You are helping students succeed,” he told the group. “And your careers are just blossoming and growing. It’s very, very exciting.”

Five university centers that each received more than $1 million and those who manage them were singled out: Stuart Styles and Charles Burt of the Irrigation Training and Research Center; John Keller and Chance Hoellworth of the Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME); Sam Blakeslee and Christine Robertson of the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy; Wendt of the Center for Coastal Marine Sciences; and Suzanne Phelan of the Center for Solutions Through Research in Diet and Exercise (STRIDE).

In addition, four individuals who secured a combined $50 million in grant funding over their Cal Poly careers were honored. Styles and Burt, director and chairman of the board respectively for Cal Poly’s Irrigation Training and Research Center, each has procured more than $20 million in external funding. Blakeslee, IATPP director, and Trevor Cardinal, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and director of the Regenerative Medicine Program, each has procured $5 million in grant funding.

The patent holders from the 2015-16 academic year are:

— Jay Singh and former student Evan Cernokus, patent for “System, Method and Apparatus for Making and Using Flex Column Void-Based Packing Materials.” Their system for forming space-consuming, shock-absorbing packing materials uses a three-sided flex-column to eliminate the need for non-recyclable polystyrene packing peanuts and better protect shipped items saving time and money in a manner that is also easier on the environment.

— Patrick Lemieux, patent for “Air-Cycle Environmental Control Systems and Methods for Automotive Applications.” This air-cycle air-conditioning invention uses an automotive turbocharger as the system core to maximize cooling while minimizing weight and space, as well as impacts on engine performance.

— Jordi Puig-Suari and Austin Williams of aerospace engineering, patent for “CubeSat Systems, Method and Apparatus.” These nano-satellites piggyback on the launches of larger satellites. The basic CubeSat unit is a box about 4 inches square; larger CubeSats are multiples of that unit.

— Dennis Fantin and Art MacCarley, patent for “Transforming a Tactually Selected User Input into an Audio Output.” Fantin, blind since age 12, and MacCarley developed a computer-implemented process to assist the visually impaired, transforming the touch of a selected Braille key into an analog audio signal output as human speech with an electro-acoustic transducer.

— Carmen Trudell and student Natacha Schnider, patent for “System and Method for Air Filtration Via Cyclone Separators Enclosed Within Exterior Walls.” The invention uses cyclone separators mounted within walls to purify the air in buildings.

Wendt recognized the individuals who had the highest grant funding totals in their colleges:

— Orfalea College of Business: Stephen Hamilton, economics.
— College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences: Stuart Styles, bioresource and agricultural engineering.
— College of Architecture and Environmental Design: Cornelius Nuworsoo, city and regional planning.
— College of Engineering: Trevor Cardinal.
— College of Liberal Arts: Patrick Lin, philosophy.
— College of Science and Mathematics: Stan Yoshinobu, mathematics.

Cal Poly Named Top Producer of Faculty Fulbright Scholars Among Nation’s Public and Private Master’s Universities and Colleges

Cal Poly has been named a top producer of U.S. Fulbright scholars for the 2016-17 academic year by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Five faculty members, including three multi-year recipients, received Fulbright grants — more than any other public or private masters-level university in the nation.

Cal Poly’s Fulbright scholars represent four of the university’s six colleges: John Battenburg, a three-time Fulbright award winner in the College of Liberal Arts; Chris Carr, a four-time Fulbright scholar from the Orfalea College of Business; R. Thomas Jones of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design; and, from the College of Engineering, Zachary Peterson and three-time Fulbright scholar Jose Macedo.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Its Core Fulbright Scholar Program offers more than 500 teaching, research or combination teaching/research awards in more than 125 countries.

“Being named the top producer of Fulbright scholars in the nation is a great honor and speaks to the high quality and caliber of our faculty,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “I am proud of these dedicated educators, who will gain from and be inspired by these teaching assignments abroad, returning with new lessons to share with our students.”

Also named to the top-producer list of master’s institutions, with three scholars each, were: College of Staten Island (The City University of New York); Ithaca College (New York); Jacksonville State University (Alabama); James Madison University (Virginia); Salem State University (Massachusetts); and two California schools: Mills College and San Jose State University.

The University of South Florida in Tampa was the top school among research institutions with 12 Fulbright scholars. Cal Poly also ranked 16th in the nation overall after such institutions as University of Washington and University of Texas at Austin, each with six scholars.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 370,000 participants — chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Since 1984, Cal Poly faculty have received 44 Fulbright scholar awards.

The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by Congress to the Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations abroad and in the U.S. also provide direct and indirect support.

In the U.S., the Institute of International Education’s Council for International Exchange of Scholars administers and coordinates the activities relevant to the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program on behalf of the Department of State, including conducting an annual competition for the scholarships.

The Fulbright Program also awards grants to U.S. students and teachers to conduct research and teach overseas.

About Cal Poly’s 2016-17 Fulbright Scholars:

John BattenburgCal Poly Faculty Member Battenburg Named U.S. Fulbright Scholar
College of Liberal Arts
Battenburg, a professor in the English Department, is teaching at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakesh, Morocco. His project is titled: Preparing Effective and Innovative English Language Teachers. This is his third Fulbright grant; previously he served in Tunisia, 1995-96 and 1996-97. He has also served as U.S. AID consultant in Costa Rica and was named a U.S. State Department academic specialist in Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Austria. His work on the California Central Coast Online Dictionary, which was compiled by his students in 1999, was featured in the New York Times.




Chris CarrCal Poly Faculty Member Carr Named U.S. Fulbright Scholar
Orfalea College of Business
Carr is the recipient of the 2017 U.S.-Italy Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Business award. A business law and public policy professor, Carr also served as associate dean for the college from 2004-09. He will visit the University of Naples Parthenope to collaborate on research with faculty primarily from the Department of Management and Quantitative Studies. He will also teach doctoral seminars in law and economics, entrepreneurship, and presentation design. Distinguished Chair awards are considered the Fulbright organization’s most prestigious award. Carr was selected for one of just two chaired positions offered in Italy this year. He is also a prior three-time Fulbright award recipient, having been selected to advise as a senior specialist at top science and engineering universities and business schools in Tunisia, Pakistan, and Mongolia.




R. Thomas JonesCal Poly Faculty Member Jones Named U.S. Fulbright Scholar
College of Architecture and Environmental Design
Architecture Professor Jones, who served as dean of the college from 2001 to 2012, directs Cal Poly’s San Francisco Urban Program. As a Fulbright scholar at Cardiff University in Cardiff, Wales, in the United Kingdom from September to December 2016, he joined faculty and students of the Welsh College of Architecture on a multidisciplinary academic and community partnership project. His work focused on citizen participation and large-scale urban design methods, and the integration of architecture students into public planning efforts in Cardiff’s Grangetown neighborhood.




Jose MacedoFaculty Member Macedo Named U.S. Fulbright Scholar
College of Engineering
Macedo, a professor and former chairman of the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department, will teach at the University of Technology and Engineering in Lima, Peru. He is a three-time Fulbright scholar and was a reviewer for the Fulbright Scholar program for four years. From March to July 2017, Macedo will teach and collaborate in research projects at UTEC. His focus areas include quality, lean management, statistical analysis, and automation, robotics and machine vision. He also plans to conduct a benchmark study of Peruvian manufacturing industry practices in conjunction with UTEC students and faculty. In 2008, he received a Fulbright Scholar award to work at the Universidad Tecnologica de Panama (UTP) for seven months.




Zachary PetersonFaculty Member Peterson Named U.S. Fulbright Scholar
College of Engineering
The associate professor of computer science visited last fall at University College London, the United Kingdom’s largest postgraduate institution and regarded as one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary research universities. His project title was: This Is Not a Game: Advancing Cybersecurity Research and Education Through Play. He will continue some of his ongoing research in the use of games and play for teaching computer security concepts to new, younger, and non-technical audiences. He said being named a Fulbright scholar was the result of a package of increased U.S.-U.K. cyber-security cooperation that grew from bilateral meetings in January 2015 between then-President Barack Obama and former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron. Peterson leads Cal Poly’s computer cybersecurity program.


More online:
– For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit
– For lists of Fulbright Scholar recipients, visit



SAVE THE DATE: Alumni Beer and Wine Garden April 8, 2017

Alumni Beer and Wine Garden 2017

Orfalea College of Business, the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, and the College of Engineering alumni are invited to enjoy a Beer and Wine Garden during Cal Poly Open House on April 8, 2017. Alumni and guests will sample local wine and beer while enjoying delicious appetizers on Cal Poly’s campus. Many of your favorite faculty members will be in attendance to reconnect with former students.

Tickets are available now:

Alumni Beer and Wine Garden
Saturday, April 8, 2017
$20 per person
Cal Poly (map)
21+ only

Buy Tickets Now

Alumni and guests can purchase tickets now via Eventbrite. All attendees must have ID.

For information about local lodging options, check out the Visit SLO website.

Business and Engineering Alumni Beer and Wine Garden April 16

Cal Poly wine and Bishop's Peak

Orfalea College of Business and College of Engineering alumni are invited to enjoy a Beer and Wine Garden during Cal Poly Open House on April 16. Alumni and guests will sample local wine and beer while enjoying delicious appetizers in Cal Poly’s Engineering Plaza. Tickets are available now!

Business and Engineering Beer and Wine Garden
Saturday, April 16, 2016
2:30 – 5 p.m.
Engineering Plaza, Cal Poly (map)
$20 per person (plus transaction fees)
21+ only

Alumni and guests can purchase tickets via Eventbrite at All attendees must have ID.

In case of rain, the event will be moved into Building 07 (the Advanced Technologies Laboratory) next to the Engineering Plaza.

Parking is available in Lot H16 on Via Carta on Cal Poly’s campus. View a campus map here.

For information about local lodging options, check out the Visit SLO website.

This year’s wineries and breweries will include:
BarrelHouse Brewing
Biddle Ranch Vineyard
Four Lanterns Winery
Harmony Cellars,
J Dusi Vineyards
Opolo Vineyards
Rabble Wine
Rasmussen Vines
Villa San Juliette

Questions? Call 805-756-5374.