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

Cal Poly Student Teams Place High at National Packaging Design Competition

Ameristart Award Winning Designs

(Clockwise from top left) Contact Solution and Lens Case; Ergonomic Pill Bottle; EZ Pour Funnel; No Mess-Scara

Four Cal Poly student teams placed high in the recent Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) AmeriStar Packaging Awards Competition.

The teams developed consumer packaging designs for health, beauty, pharmaceutical and other products through the Orfalea College of Business Packaging Fundamentals courses.

A Cal Poly team earned second place in the student competition for its design of an all-in-one contact lens case and solution bottle. The product was designed by business administration majors Kevin Chiu of Fremont, Rachel King of Granite Bay, Elaine Cohen of San Luis Obispo, and Rachel Berman of San Diego. In the design, the contact lens case sits directly above the bottle of solution, and a one-way straw delivers the solution to the lenses by simply squeezing the bottle.

Cal Poly students Mariah Barnum, a business administration major from Loomis; Tyler Beaty, a business administration major from San Diego; Arek Boloyan, an industrial technology major from El Cerrito; Scott Burbach, a business administration major from Mission Viejo; and Kathryn Cassidy, a graphic communications major from Santa Clarita, won third place for their redesign of a pill bottle that is both childproof and ergonomically designed for those with arthritis. By requiring palm strength to open, the bottle reduces stress on the wrist joint.

Two other teams from Cal Poly earned honorable mentions. Taylor Crump, a journalism major from Elk Grove, Rachel Day, a graphic communications major from Bonsall (San Diego County), Galen Dresser, a business administration major from San Luis Obispo, Sean Gorman, an industrial technology major from Atascadero, and Jonathan Han, an industrial technology major from Napa, developed the No-Mess-Scara, a flexible mascara bottle and wand that prevents clumps. Business students Aline Schmitz of Carlsbad, Jordan Sligh of Atascadero, Stephen Smail of Copperopolis (Calaveras County), Devadasi Stuart of San Luis Obispo, and Blake Tillery of McMinnville, Ore., also earned honorable mention for the EZ Pour Funnel, a sleeve-style plastic funnel built into the packaging of a standard motor oil bottle.

Cal Poly packaging Professors Javier de la Fuente and Koushik Saha advised the student teams throughout the year on their projects.

Cal Poly Senior Project Wins Packaging Industry Award

An asparagus shipper developed by Cal Poly students in 2010 won the AmeriStar award from the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP), considered by industry professionals to be the most prestigious packaging competition awards in North America. More than 150 packages were submitted and judged on package innovation, sustainability, protection, economics, performance and marketing.