COMMUNITY HOLDS THE KEY TO SUPPORT & SUCCESS
When Daniel De Leon began college, he didn’t realize how drastic the adjustment would be. “I felt a mixture of gratitude and culture shock during my first couple days of WOW,” recounts De Leon. “At times, I regretted leaving the life I had back home — my family, friends, work, my culture,” said Daniel.
However, he found that his culture was the key to opening the door to connections with fellow classmates and other students who were also trying to adjust. “We came together because of our culture, but we bonded because of our shared struggles,” said De Leon. “Those strong ties of friendship helped us persevere.”
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THE FUTURE OF TRANSPORTATION
For nine months, things were going well for a team of Cal Poly students working on an autonomous vehicle project. But right after the students arrived in the Netherlands for the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles (ESV) competition, that abruptly changed. “The lighting was different, which threw off our vision subsystems, our object detection algorithm quit working and we even blew a fuse and accidentally shut off power to our corner of the conference center for a little bit,” said Nick Lampe, one of four CPE students involved.
Yet, after two days of developing under intense pressure, things were running smoothly again — and the team finished second, just behind the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. “It was extremely rewarding to see industry experts so amazed with our work,” Lampe said. “They had such positive things to say, and it made the whole experience very worthwhile.”
The team specifically explored how two autonomous vehicles could work together, driving close to one another, and how autonomous vehicles could respond to an object in the road.
The Netherlands competition and conference, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, provided opportunities to share advances in autonomous vehicle safety. Cal Poly competed with five other universities from the U.S. and Asia, demonstrating their system and offering an oral presentation. Cal Poly’s team was the only one that didn’t feature doctoral students.
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CLUBS MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN STUDENT SUCCESS
Coming into Cal Poly, Nayana Tiwari knew she would be one of few women in her major classes. But then she attended a WISH activity (Women Involved with Software and Hardware club) and was stunned to see so many women from a variety of tech majors at Cal Poly at the meeting. She never thought there would be a community where the gender ratios she’d witnessed in class were completely reversed. Through WISH, she became acquainted with women of all majors, backgrounds, interests, and career goals. And the club also provided opportunities for her to get involved by pairing her with a mentor and giving her a chance to volunteer for different activities all while helping her connect to a strong network of other women-in-tech like herself.
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