Cal Poly Packaging and Design Students Earn National Awards at 2017 Ameristar Student Packaging Competition

For the second consecutive year, four teams of Cal Poly students took first-, second- and third-place awards and an honorable mention in the 2017 Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) Ameristar Student Packaging Competition.

Interdisciplinary teams combined industrial technology and packaging students with art and design students to create packaging solutions for a variety of consumer needs. Each team developed a physical prototype of their product complete with branded graphics.

Industry experts judged entries on environmental impact, marketing, product protection and economics. Award-winning teams will be honored at the PackExpo industry conference in November. Top entries will also represent the United States in a global design competition, the WorldStar Student Awards, hosted by the World Packaging Organisation.

Organizers called these honorees “tomorrow’s packaging leaders.”

Cal Poly’s first-place award was given to “Tea Stems,” a convenient alternative to tea bags. The tea stem is a cylindrical wooden dowel attached to a polymer mesh material filled with tea leaves functioning as a tea bag and stirring stick. The stems are packaged within a die-cut paperboard folding carton that “blooms” when the box is opened. The package was designed by industrial technology and packaging students Brendan Smyth (San Jose, Calif.), Simeon Comanescu (Pleasanton, Calif.) and Ryan Marrs (San Luis Obispo, Calif.), and art and design students Alexandra Rosado (San Francisco, Calif.) and Lucia Astiazaran (Valencia, Calif.).

SticKitSecond place went to SticKit, a two-in-one packaging system that dispenses insulin syringes and safely houses used syringes. A pull tab on the bottom of the secondary container dispenses a boxed syringe while a flap on the top of the container can be opened and locked for safe syringe disposal. A durable plastic divider separates the compartments, moving down with gravity as syringes are dispensed. The entry was designed by industrial technology and packaging students Paul Woodman (Atascadero, Calif.) and Michael Lowe (Pleasanton, Calif.), graphic communications student Dana Shell (San Ramon, Calif.), and art and design students Gina Agapito (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Ashley Vong (San Jose, Calif.).

Vera Cruz Surf WaxVera Cruz Surf Wax earned the third-place award. The packaging integrates a wax comb, a protective shell to minimize sun exposure of the wax and a discrete compartment to store the user’s car keys. The design is made of injection-molded compostable PaperFoam. Its unique triangular shape offers an ergonomic grip. The dispensing mechanism was inspired by chap stick packaging, which can contain and reshape a melted product. The package was designed by industrial technology and packaging students Brooke Billmeyer (Solana Beach, Calif.), Grant Badstubner (Danville, Calif.), and Sai Domanico (Hillsborough, Calif) with art and design students Daniel Blenkinship (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and Zach Baker (Rocklin, Calif.).

La Habra Avocado OilLa Habra Avocado oil earned an honorable mention. The oil is housed in a recyclable plastic pouch encased by two paper pulp shells molded in the shape of an avocado. A pour spout with a drip return prevents the oil from spilling on the package. The product was designed by industrial technology and packaging students Katie Exum (Torrance, Calif.), Michael Moorehead (Walnut Creek, Calif.) and Patrick McCaffrey (Irvine, Calif.), and art and design students Jessica Ferguson (San Jose, Calif.) and Deric Shindledecker (Temecula, Calif.).

The student projects were developed in Professor Javier de la Fuente’s IT 435: Packaging Development class and Professor Mary LaPorte’s ART 437: Graphic Design III class. De la Fuente and LaPorte served as student advisors.

For more information about this year’s teams, visit IoPP’s website at

Business Students Win Two Awards, Funding in Cal Poly’s Pitch Perfect Competition

Kennedy Library and Orfalea College of Business are proud to announce the first round winners of the Pitch Perfect Competition. The contest partners with the the Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship to encourage students to pitch an idea that fosters interdisciplinary collaboration at Cal Poly. The Orfalea College of Business has provided $25,000 in prize money make a student’s idea into a reality.

In February, students from all colleges submitted video pitches for developing new spaces, apps and programs to bring people together across campus. After judges weighed in, the winners of Round 1 are:

Best Overall $1,000 & President’s Pick $850: PolyProjects by Kathryn Cassidy
Best of Orfalea $750: CoLab by Ashlee Lam (Orfalea College of Business Student)
Most Creative $700: Brilliant Minds by Sean Christensen AND Expand by David Quiray
Fan Fave $700: PolyPaths by Jenna Hoffman (Orfalea College of Business Student)

“I couldn’t be more impressed by and proud of each and every student who participated,” said President Jeffrey Armstrong. “I am particularly struck by the number of students who focused on wanting tools to help connect with other students across academic disciplines. I have no doubt their combined interest and energy can and will lead to some tangible ways to enhance collaboration. This is what Learn by Doing is all about.”

In this year’s expanded competition, all students who entered Round 1 are invited to enter Round 2. In that round, students will develop a one page business canvas for the idea they pitched in the video. One canvas is selected as a winner and awarded an additional $1,000. Students who complete Round 2 will also be considered for the SLO HotHouse Accelerator Program. The deadline is April 20, 2015.

The CIE will host an information session on how to write a one-page business canvas on Thursday, April 2 during UU Hour (11 a.m. – 12 p.m.) in the Entrepreneurship Ideation Lab (Bldg. 2 Rm. 206).

The student or team who submits the winning business canvas will work with library staff and faculty on developing their idea during summer quarter 2015 with a generous program budget. This may involve developing a prototype, collaborating with a vendor or otherwise finding creative ways to implement a new idea. They will also be considered for the SLO HotHouse Accelerator Program.

Orfalea College of Business and Kennedy Library Launch $25,000 Competition

Cal Poly’s Kennedy Library and Orfalea College of Business announce the launch of the 7th annual Pitch Perfect Competition, open to all Cal Poly students.

This year’s competition asks students to suggest ways Kennedy Library can foster cross-campus collaboration at Cal Poly. The Orfalea College of Business will offer $25,000 in prizes and funding throughout three rounds of competition.

“We are grateful for the generosity and vision of the Orfalea College of Business in partnering with Kennedy Library on this competition for the last seven years,” said Anna Gold, dean of library services. “We’re also proud of the ingenuity and creativity of the many students who’ve participated.  It’s because of them that this year’s competition includes, for the first time, funding that will bring students’ ideas to life.”

In the first round of the competition, students submit a 60-second video pitch about their ideas for how the library can foster interdisciplinary collaboration at Cal Poly. For the second round, winners of the video pitch are invited (but not required) to write a one-page business plan for the idea they pitched in their videos.

The student or team who submits the winning business plan moves into the third and final round, working with library staff and faculty on developing their idea with $20,000 in funding.

In addition to the potential cash awards, participating in the Pitch Perfect Competition is a way for students to build their professional portfolios by documenting their process and building career readiness. The theme acknowledges that interdisciplinary collaboration is important not just while students are at Cal Poly, but in their future careers.

“Career readiness remains one of our biggest goals here in the Orfalea College of Business,” said Dean Scott Dawson. “Opportunities like this empower students in business and beyond to work like professionals by collaborating on a project that can have lasting impact on our campus community. I’m eager to see what fresh ideas students will pitch.”

The deadline for the first round, the 60-second video pitch, is February 23, 2015.

For more information about the competition go to