STEM Engaged Learning

Introduction to Engineering at Cal Poly Pomona

Through a grant from Southern California Gas, Cal Poly Pomona faculty facilitated two learning communities in engineering: one for Cal Poly Pomona and community college faculty and the other for Cal Poly engineering students.

Seven faculty members participated in the faculty learning community, from Cal Poly Pomona, Fullerton College, Mt. San Antonio College, Pasadena Community College, Moorpark Community College, and Chaffey Community College.  This group met regularly and developed four energy efficiency exercises which would be applicable to Introduction to Engineering courses across all campuses. The exercises are on file and available upon request.

The second learning community consisted of nearly 30 Cal Poly engineering students. This student team partnered with GRID Alternatives Inland Empire to participate in an alternative spring break service experience. As Cynthia Corrales, SolarCorps Volunteer Training Fellow with GRID Alternatives Inland Empire explained:

“GRID Alternatives Inland Empire partnered with Cal Poly Pomona to conduct its Pilot Alternative Spring Break with 28 engineering students. Through their participation, they fundraised $4,140 and installed two residential solar electric systems, totaling 5.78 kW, for two low-income families in the cities of Redlands and Loma Linda during their Spring Break 2013 period. Because of their efforts, the impact of this installation will generate over $54,000 in electricity bill savings, and off set 182.31 tons of carbon emissions during the lifetime of these two systems. These students not only donated their time and fundraising dollars to GRID Alternatives, but they also gave back to the local community and helped green our environment while gaining technical skills in PV installation.”

A story about the Spring Break experience written by the campus can be found here.

Finally, one of the participating students summed up the impact of the experience in this way:

“The GRID Solar project has given me the opportunity to gain real world experience outside of school. From this experience, I was able to convince my employers that I have some knowledge and hands-on experience with solar power. The homeowners were extremely content that we devoted our time and energy to help install the solar panels. What made me proud of being a part of the GRID team was seeing the smiles on the homeowners’ faces.”

Cal Poly Pomona engineering students prepare to install solar panels on the home of a low-income resident.

Cal Poly Pomona engineering students prepare mounting hardware.

Cal Poly Pomona engineering students move solar panels to the house roof for installation.

Cal Poly Pomona engineering students wire solar panels on the home of a low-income resident.

Cal Poly Pomona engineering students celebrate their success!