Four College of Architecture and Environmental Design Champions Honored in Sacramento

Champions with President ArmstrongSAN LUIS OBISPO — Twenty-one Cal Poly students, including four from the College of Architecture and Environmental Design were recognized for their awards and other accomplishments by state lawmakers on the floors of the Assembly and Senate in Sacramento on Monday, Feb. 1.

“These fine students are indicative of our Learn by Doing philosophy and reflect what their peers are also accomplishing at Cal Poly,” said university President Jeffrey D. Armstrong, who accompanied the students to both legislative chambers. “We want to honor these representatives of our six colleges for their success in the classroom and for their extracurricular activities that have been honored regionally and nationally."

The group was introduced to the Senate by Majority Leader Bill Monning, D-Carmel, and to the Assembly by Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo. Both men represent San Luis Obispo County. Achadjian is a Cal Poly graduate.

In addition, the students met with the Office of the Governor Jerry Brown, Office of the Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and representatives from their respective Senate and Assembly districts.

Each has distinguished him or herself as an individual or on a team that has received a national industry award or on such high-profile events as the Tournament of Roses Parade, with its TV audience of 100 million, and the team that raised $600,000 for a net zero solar home that was judged third best in the nation.

The College of Architecture and Environmental Design honorees:

A.J. Chamorro is a construction management major in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. His hometown is Emerald Hills, Calif. He was captain of the Cal Poly Mechanical Team, which earned first place at the Associated Schools of Construction competition held last February in Reno, Nev. “The ASC competitions are invaluable to students’ career development. There’s nothing in the country that compares with it,” said Al Hauck, head of the Construction Management Department. In addition, last August, Chamorro received the Don Batz Memorial Scholarship Award as the top-scoring scholarship recipient among 61 winners at the Northern California Mechanical Contractors Association’s 2015 Kent Morrill Scholarship Reception in Oakland. His scholarship was valued at nearly $2,700. He is president of the MCAA Student Chapter at Cal Poly.

Alyssa Parr is an architecture major and solar energy enthusiast in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. Her hometown is Clarksville, Md. She was one of two project managers for a team of about 100 Cal Poly students who took third for INhouse, a 1,000-square-foot, net zero, solar home that wowed judges and spectators in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2015 Solar Decathlon last fall. It was only the second time that Cal Poly entered the nationwide contest that began in 2002. “It has brought awareness of challenges in our current curriculum and has stimulated a buzz and excitement around campus to prepare for a more-sustainable future,” she said. The team helped raise more than $600,000 for the project that took two years to design, plan and build. Faculty advisor Sandy Stannard said the project was life changing for the team. “This experience will probably change the course of their professional careers,” she said.

Rachel SantaOlalla is a landscape architecture major in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. Her hometown is Ventura, Calif. She was one of three students across the nation to receive the $4,000 American Society of Landscape Architects Council of Fellows Scholarship. In November 2014, she was a team leader of a project that received a national award for a 5,000-square-foot playground Cal Poly students designed and built in South Africa. It was one of only three awards of excellence given out in ASLA’s annual competition that attracted more than 500 entries from 77 universities across the U.S. “My career goals after graduation are to continue learning about landscape architecture as a professional; to reach out to the community I live in through ASLA; and to eventually become the principle of a firm,” she said. “The project types I am interested in are mitigation, restoration, conservation and preservation. My favorite topics include natural systems, culture, history, social justice and recreation.”

Tanner Shelton is a city and regional planning major in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. His hometown is Ventura, Calif. He was a member of a multidiscipline team of Cal Poly students who partnered with People’s Self-Help Housing to develop plans for Vestri Vita, a 30-unit affordable housing complex for at-risk and homeless veterans proposed for Atascadero, Calif. The design won an award at the 2015 Bank of America Merrill Lynch Low-Income Housing Challenge. Vestri Vita (Latin for “your life”) complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and includes a counseling center, first-aid resources, and a “maker space,” a facility with resources geared to helping veterans reintegrate into the community. The project also features solar panels, a gray-water system and drought-tolerant landscaping. People’s Self-Help Housing can continue to pursue the project. Shelton is also a student ambassador for the college and a member of its Student Council.

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