Carolyn Flitsch | Curtesy

Cal Poly awarded grants to support 33 student-led research projects through the university’s Baker and Koob endowments, 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 projects that are focused on issues ranging from a broad spectrum of topics, including space exploration, machine learning and climate change. Students from four of Cal Poly’s six colleges were awarded funding. These projects will serve as senior projects or master’s theses for many of the students, according to the press release. 

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

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

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

The grant will specifically go toward buying solar cells and composite material to build the UAV, according to Flitsch. The process to receive funding was competitive, as the Project Mobius team had to create a report that detailed a schedule and a budget for their project which they then submitted to the selection committee of the endowment.

“We are very fortunate to get the money to help us build the plane and reach our goal,” Flitsch said. Cal Poly students can apply for the endowment by completing the Baker and Koob cover page and proposal, in addition to obtaining a letter of support from their declared faculty advisor. Students can learn more about the Baker and Koob endowment along with how to apply for next year on the Office of the Provost website.

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