Research projects

Cal Poly Awards Grants for Student Research Projects

Cal Poly has awarded grants to support 33 student-led research projects through the university’s Baker and Koob endowment funds, according to a March 29 press release.

The endowments, which support hands-on learning opportunities for students, will fund $108,000 for a variety of question-focused projects ranging from a wide range of topics, including space exploration, machine learning, and climate change. Students from four of Cal Poly’s six colleges received funding. These projects will serve as senior projects or master’s theses for many students, according to the press release.

Aerospace engineering senior Carolyn Flitsch and a team of six other students were among the grant recipients for their project. Their student-led project, called Project Mobius, is a solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle with the goal of sustained 24-hour flight. In addition to the seven students, there are five alumni who act as consultants if the team needs technical assistance. Aerospace engineering professor Dr. Paulo Iscold is their academic advisor.

The Mobius project team received the grant last year, but felt they could improve the project after receiving the grant again this year.

“It was exciting to get [the award] this year because it meant we could continue the project and learn from where we went wrong last year,” Flitsch said.

The grant will specifically be used to purchase solar cells and composite materials to build the drone, according to Flitsch. The process to receive funding was competitive, as the Mobius Project team had to create a report detailing a timeline and budget for their project which they then submitted to the Endowment Selection Committee.

“We are very lucky to get the money to help us build the plane and achieve our goal,” Flitsch said. Cal Poly students can apply for endowment by completing Baker and Koob’s cover page and proposal, in addition to obtaining a letter of support from their stated academic advisor. Students can learn more about the Baker and Koob Endowment and how to apply for next year at the Provost’s Office. website.