Definition of Success

1 a: degree or measure of succeeding b: satisfactory completion of something c: the gaining of wealth, respect or fame 2: a person or thing that succeeds

AgBOT Challenge

A team of BioResource and Engineering Department students won second place and $15,000 at the AgBOT challenge, an annual competition held to showcase the newest technology in agriculture.

The seven-person Cal Poly team drove more than 30 hours and 2,171 miles to get there — and was determined to succeed. Ultimately, the Cal Poly tractor planted different corn seed varieties in a straight line in two rows, turned around, and planted another two rows of seeds — all without a driver in the seat. The tractor also automatically applied fertilizers and live-streamed video from the front and rear while planting.

“We spent two quarters transforming a 30-year-old tractor into a state-of-the-art wirelessly remote-controlled tractor,” said Caleb Fink, a graduate student studying agriculture and the team’s manager. “With a very limited budget we used a lot of scrap metals and brainstormed a lot of innovative ways to make things happen.”

The team, consisting of biorescource and agricultural engineering majors Ryan Vyenielo, Charlie Ross, Dillon Beatty, Austin Della, Nate McCarthy, Matthew Valentine and Fink, was charged with creating an unmanned robotic device that could autonomously move through a field and plant up to four rows of seeds.

Professor Bo Liu acted as the faculty advisor to the team and Professor Mark Zohns and Lecturer Gary Weisenberger advised on the tractor’s mechanics.

Floral Team Second in the Nation

(L to R) Kristen Cotter, Dawn Mones and Sara Do
at the American Institute of Floral Designer’s
2017 Student Floral Design Competition.

The Cal Poly Floral Design Team ranked second in the nation at the American Institute of Floral Designer’s (AIFD) 2017 Student Floral Design Competition held July 1-5 in Seattle, Washington.

Agriculture and environmental plant sciences major Dawn Mones, who graduated in September, won high honors at the event with the overall highest student score for the competition. Mones placed first in the wedding bouquet category and second in the fashion flowers and people’s choice categories.

Students competed in the competition’s four categories: interpretative, fashion flowers, wedding and sympathy. Alumna Sara Do, who graduated from Cal Poly in spring 2017 with a degree in agriculture and environmental plant sciences, placed fifth in the fashion flowers competition and sixth in the wedding bouquet category.

Kristen Cotter, a senior agricultural and environmental plant sciences major, placed sixth in the wedding bouquet category. The team was led by Cal Poly Lecturer Melinda Lynch and alumna Katie Noonan.

Dairy Judging Team Takes First Place at National Competition

(L to R) Elise Regusci, Elisabeth Regusci, Hannah
Neer, Alex Gambonini, and Rich Silacci (coach)
at the All-American Dairy Show awards ceremony.

The Dairy Judging Team won first place in oral reasons and fourth place overall in the All-American Dairy Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Fourteen teams representing the top dairy and animal science college programs throughout the nation competed in the Youth Judging Contest on Sept. 18.

Four of the Cal Poly team’s 16 members competed: dairy science juniors Elise Regusci and Elisabeth Regusci, animal science junior Hannah Neer, and dairy science junior Alex Gambonini.

Contestants judged 10 classes of cattle, then gave oral reasons on four or five of the classes depending on their division. The team’s individual placings included: Gambonini, first in Guernseys and fourth in Ayrshires, third in reasons and third overall; Elisabeth Regusci, fourth in reasons; Elise Regusci, fourth in Jerseys. The team placed first in Jerseys and second in Guernseys. Cal Poly’s dairy cattle judging team is coached by Dairy Science Lecturer Rich Silacci and assisted by retired Professor Stan Henderson.

Agricultural Sciences Major Named President of the ASI

Riley Nilsen, a fourth-year agricultural sciences major with an emphasis in teaching and ornamental horticulture, was elected by her peers to serve as the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) president for the 2017-18 academic year. She is the third consecutive student from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) to hold the post.

As an active member of the Cal Poly community and native to San Luis Obispo County, she is passionate about the campus’ wellbeing and has a reverence for the student voice. “I ran on a student first platform focusing on three R’s: building relationships, providing resources, and advocating for student rights. These principles will guide my year because I believe they work in harmony to facilitate the welcoming, energetic, and dynamic campus community that all Mustangs deserve to experience,” said Nilsen.

If given three words to describe her experience at Cal Poly, Nilsen would use: opportunity, supportive and career driven.

“I love CAFES,” she said. “I think because so many of our majors correlate to heavily regulated industries, we are taught to be involved in government relations and in leadership through our academics. I have been really impressed with how CAFES students communicate with one another and can come together on any issue. It is such a unique skill that I am proud to say our college is known for.”

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