Meet the Students of Univ 392 Winter 2011

Pete Schwartz, Instructor, Cal Poly Physics Department

Tekuru (on shoulders) was on the winter research trip in December 2010, and is now almost 7 years old and is building community with the girls in San Pablo

After a decade of scholarship dedicated to nanotechnology, I took a year’s sabbatical in 2006 with the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley ( to study renewable energy, and models of sustainability. Since then, my teaching and scholarship has been dedicated to energy, and the interface between technology and society. The overarching challenge is to provide services to society in a way that is accessible and beneficial to all. This requires attention to the environment and recognition that the solutions may have more to do with social restructuring than implementation of new technologies. My students and I have conducted technological, financial, and environmental analysis of renewable energy (especially concentrated solar), personal vehicle transportation, and technology substitutions toward carbon neutrality. These more technical studies have provided insight and support for two community outreach projects in collaboration with many faculty and community members here and abroad:
International Outreach: We have introduced two international service learning classes using a collaborative model sharing information with overseas communities and introducing appropriate technologies as a means to generate wealth and provide services. Our students in these classes are designing a summer school in Guatemala for Cal Poly and Guatemalan students starting 2011. In December 2010, 12 Cal Poly students traveled to Guatemala to develop this school and explore projects with Guatemalan partners.
Local Curriculum: We are developing a community partnership surrounding a yearlong, full time, integrated sustainability-oriented curriculum ( for Cal Poly freshmen involving partnership with local businesses and organizations. Target starting date is January 2012.

Kevin Williams, Instructor, Cal Poly Industrial Manufacturing Engineering Department


In my seventh year of teaching construction technologies at Cal Poly, I an excited to teach with Pete Schwartz on a topic that has always been close to my life style, that of appropriate technologies. As a licensed general contractor, and with the benefit of having worked in construction and fabrication since the early 90’s, I have a great deal of skill in construction methods and fabrication that I bring to the prototype portion of our class.

Having lived aboard a sailboat and off the grid for more than a decade, I fully embrace the technologies that we are designing. Over the last two decades I have spent the bulk of my time working with wood, concrete, composites, electrical, mechanical, and of course steel. This class acts provides the exciting opportunity to explore what these modern construction technologies can bring to the largest economic levels of humanity.

Collaborative Teams

Alternative Energy

Chrissa Blattner –

A 5th year Materials Engineer who specializes in alternative energy. One of her past projects include working on a solar concentrator to heat ovens in the Congo. Currently, she is doing her senior project on solar cells. The goal is to design a process to fabricate solar cells in array on a single wafer. The cells will be used to recharge hearing aid batteries. This is especially useful in third world countries where batteries are more inaccessable.

Ben Turley –

A 5th year Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration major with a minor in Biology. Growing up he lived in a 135yr. old house, which was under constant renovation. Through this experience he has gained the basic skills to tackle many problems, including alternative energy.

Jonathan Frederic –
A 3rd year Physics major. He enjoys working on cars, computers, and electronics. Jon has a good foundation in automotive electronics as well as the physics concepts behind them. One of his projects included upgraded his car’s electrical system (alternator, power lines, battery, fuses, etc…).


Alese Ashuckian
I’m a fifth year architectural engineering student minoring in Sustainable Environments and Latin American Studies. I am 22 years old and love to travel, experience other cultures, and try new foods. In my free time I like to read, do pilates, hike, cook with friends, and refurbish furniture.

Michael Meizen – Mike is a connoisseur of apple juice. Also, he is concurrently a fifth year architecture student, looking to graduate in the spring and is heading back to the east coast thereafter.

Corey Kawamoto -I am a fifth year architecture student from Los Angeles. I’m not really a fan of apple juice.



I am currently a graduate student pursuing a Masters’ degree in Architectural Engineering, with an emphasis on steel construction and seismic rehabilitation. My thesis is on the topic of retrofitting residences in Haiti after the large earthquake which struck the area last year. In my free time, I enjoy photography and building furniture.

Nutrition and Packaging

Daniel Tennant
My name is Daniel Tennant. I’m a third year Social Sciences major, concentrating in Criminal Justice. I chose to take advantage of this opportunity at Cal Poly because of the hands on aspect and the fact that I know I am able to make a direct impact through my work this quarter. I am looking forward to what our group will produce and learn throughout the quarter. On my free time I enjoy snowboarding, skiing, running, swimming, and surfing.
Megan Sirna

My name is Megan Sirna. I’m a third year Psychology major, Child Development minor, graduating in Spring. I like to hike, run, and eat. I’m excited to hopefully introduce a nutritious bar into San Pablo, that not only tastes good, but helps the community as a whole. Also, I really like apples (or any fruit for that matter), rice cakes, and chocolate.

Emily SwiftDSCN1106.jpg My name is Emily Swift, and I’m a fourth year Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies Major with a concentration in technical writing and editing. I am very excited about having this opportunity to create a business and help a community flourish. I love hiking, horseback riding, and reading. My favorite things to snack on are almonds and pita chips.
Isabelle Kraus162911_1626100887094_1073670103_31534736_92208_n.jpgMy name is Isabelle, and I am a fourth year Psychology major at Cal Poly. I am 22 years old and am originally from Boulder, Colorado. I love to travel, hike, and do yoga. My favorite snack is dried mango. Mmmm.

Pottery Machines

Howard Reiss:

Profile_Image.JPG A 5th year civil engineering senior, originally from the East San Francisco Bay Area, and currently living in Los Osos, California. Currently employed as a mechanic, and with a background in construction, he brings a very practically minded approach to problem solving. Interests in welding, fabrication, and design drew him to working on the pottery wheel team, “The design challenges presented here are so far removed from what I’m accustomed to. Ordinarily we want to make something efficient to build and as productive as possible, but in this situation, we want a simple and accessible design that is inexpensive and effective above all else.”

Ian Rice:

A 4th year Business Entrepreneurship student from South Lake Tahoe. Ian is currently working on developing a consumer fitness product for his business Mobility Co. Ian firmly believes in creating businesses centered on helping others and helping the environment. He was drawn to this class because of the unique opportunities it provides to examine business and life from a completely different angle. The pottery project was alluring to Ian because of his prior experiences using clay.

Frank Hanna:

2a.jpg A 4th year City and Regional Planning student from Monterey, California currently living in San Luis Obispo, California. Enrolled in the sustainable environments minor, he hopes to bring something to the people of San Pablo that will help sustain their city’s future. “We want to build something easily and inexpensively replicated that can translate into an intermediate technology for the people of San Pablo to start their path to economic and environmental sustainability.”

Solar Concentrator

Lucian Sweitzer

I am a third year Industrial Technologies major with a minor in packaging. I have lived for extended periods in Connecticut, New Mexico, Brazil, and California and I am very interested in entrepreneurship and technologies that utilize sustainable energy.

Matt Cohen

I am a third year General Engineering major from Hermosa Beach, California. I am interested in technologies that help to improve the world, efficiency, or quality of life. I enjoy learning about anything really and look forward to learning a lot from this project. Also, I like turtles.

Trevor Seck


I am a third year Forestry major from Argoura Hills, California. I’m an avid fan of the outdoors, rockclimbing, protecting our forests. Only you can prevent forest fires. If I could have a power animal, it would be the red chested monkey from Planet Earth.

Max Chellemi


I am a third year General Engineering student with a passion for developing countries, green technology, and business. I network and communicate very efficiently and am bilingual (English and Spanish). I from Costa Rica, which I blame for everything I’ve said thus far. I enjoy the outdoors; especially when practicing extreme sports.

Solar Water Heater

willie.jpg Willie Blackmon
Willie is a senior civil engineering student from Olympia, Washington.
After studying abroad in Germany, he’s caught the travel bug and now
hopes to find a way to apply his engineering skills to the international
nonprofit world. Willie enjoys running, tutoring (math/science and ESL),
all things outdoors related, and general shenanigans.

haley_petersen.jpg Haley Petersen
Haley is a 3rd year Journalism major and is minoring in Spanish
and linguistics. She grew up in Bend, OR and likes to play tennis,
rock climb and travel. She is very interested in foreign policy and
hopes to become a foreign correspondent when she graduates.

corbin.jpg Corbin Volbert
Corbin was born in Minnesota on March 23, 1987 and has since lived in North Carolina, Texas,
Sacramento and Manhattan Beach. He is a bio major that enjoys playing lacrosse, camping, hiking,
and basically anything outdoors. In high school he was captain of his lacrosse team and a math tutor.
Since then he has been involved in the SLO Botanical Garden, Cuesta’s student government,
and landscaping jobs around the central coast. His future plans are to be involved in a wolf reintroduction
program in which he can spend my time observing wolves and enjoying the ecosystem that they live in.

MP_Hasta_Thanksgiving_033.jpg Will Lennox
Will is currently studying mechanical engineering at Cal Poly, and is focusing on
renewable energies such as solar and wind power. Having grown up in the redwoods
of Mendocino, Will is inspired to promote renewable energies by his love for the
outdoors and his earth roots philosophy. He hopes in working with Guateca he will
further his knowledge of appropriate technologies while successfully creating a
viable business model for communities with water-heating needs.

Stove Group 2011

The Refrigerator Group

Water Sanitation

(From left to right: Meghan, Anna, Carl, Matt)


Carl Petterson: (
-I hope that my experiences and efforts in this project will be long lasting and beneficial to the people of San Pablo, my peers, and myself.

About me: I am a second year materials engineering student from Hudson, Ohio. I am striving to make my time at Cal Poly truly educational by varying my experiences and attempting to focus on enriching myself as a person. And I feel that this project provides a perfect opportunity to stride forward with this personal goal. My current career goal is to work in the field of sustainable development; helping society to more effectively provide for it’s own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to provide for theirs (to quote the Brundtland Commission).

I am an active member of the Cal Poly triathlon team with high hopes for this collegiate racing season. Aside from triathlons, I enjoy a good laugh, friends, skiing, backpacking, the outdoors in general, traveling, reading, all genres of music, but most of all life (the game, cereal, and biological function and all that comes with it).

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I’m a 5th year international business major from San Jose. I enjoy reading, art, dancing (not dance), biking, volleyball, and domestic things (sewing, cooking, crafting, decorating), hiking, nature, silence and occasionally a little music.. Learning to play the uke at the moment.. I hope to work in mircofinance someday, ideally abroad somewhere- anywhere! (Just out there) In fact it’s the sole reason I’ve stuck with the business major… However currently I’m a humble server at Uppercrust restaurant, Which I do love.. Worked for a summer with Seeds of Hope, a local nonprofit which provides water sanitation/hygiene training in training in Zambia.. therefore was most attracted to the wat/san topic because of that… Am excited to see where this class takes us all (or where we take it)…


I am a second year Environmental Engineering (ENVE) student…thus I only have a taste of this topic right now, and hope to gain some practical knowledge. I enjoy reading and science fiction (particularly Star Trek, but it’s all good)…as well as enjoying the outdoors. I have a wide variety of interests…right now I am taking a horticulture class, and it’s pretty awesome learning how to prune fruit trees and roses- I’d like to maybe work with rain gardens and phyto-remediation (using plants to help clean up pollution) in the future. I also like cats (did you know there is a cat shelter on Cal Poly campus?!) and hope to someday soon have my cat live with me (he is currently at my home in Huntington Beach).



I’m a third year Tourism Management/Outdoor Adventure Major, also minoring in Philosophy. I was born and raised in Santa Barbara and upon moving to San Luis Obispo I became dedicated to contributing to a world change from the logic of domination to that gratification, (from every man for themselves to unity). I will soon be traveling to different villages around the world on a full emersion vagabond surf trip and plan to use my knowledge and experience gained in this class to help people in whatever ways necessary. I am an artist and am huge on self expression, creativity, and imagination. I spend most of my time surfing, painting, reading, writing, and playing music. I don’t know exactly what I want to do when I get out of college, I might get my masters in philosophy and try to become a professor, or I might try to create sustainable surf resorts in third world countries and help the people in need. Whatever I end up doing, it will be something that I am passionate about.