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Cougars and Mustangs 

While Cuesta College students are living it up during their first week of summer break and waking up with killer hangovers, Cal Poly kids are settling down for finals and are taking home prestigious awards.

Cha-ching! Kevin Yamauchi, a Cal Poly biomechanics master’s candidate, was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship worth $90,000 over three years. In good news for seniors, Yamauchi’s research will focus on the properties of articular cartilage as it relates to treatment of osteoarthritis. He plans to devise new tools, strategies, and therapies to improve tissue repair and regeneration for this disease that affects about 30 million Americans.

When the earth gets a-shaking, Cal Poly gets a-planning! A Cal Poly team of two College of Architecture and Environmental Design faculty members, Cesar Torres-Bustamante and Louise Schiller, and regional planning graduate student Schani Siong won first place in the international competition Design for Post-Earthquake Resilience of Cities for their proposal, “City Map.”

Their proposal used Acapulco, Mexico, as the site to test a low-budget, easily implemented strategy that focused on assigning new uses to existing transport infrastructure after an earthquake hits. The first-place award came with a cash prize of 2,000 in New Zealand dollars (which is the equivalent of three sheep, 15 kilos of kiwi fruits, and a pair of rugby boots).

For those thinking Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration is a useless degree, think again! Cal Poly student Kimberly Saavedra turned an internship with NASCAR into a full-time seasonal position with the stock car auto racing sanctioning body. A second-year rec major, Saavedra starts her new position this summer and will travel with the series as it tours the United States.

In a topic foreign to many SLO college students, a Cal Poly team took first place in Bank of America’s Low-Income Housing Challenge. The team partnered with developer Madonna Enterprises to create “Entrada Ranch.” The proposed site features a 135-unit affordable living community in San Luis Obispo. The project design includes a community center, community garden, recreational and exercise facility, connection to local trails, bike paths, a variety of open spaces, and a daycare center.

The project supports healthy living through site design and sustainable building, and programs that foster community, such as a cooperative garden that will produce organic produce and serve as a gathering place for residents.

Oh, the dreams! Too bad reality has it that most students are paying rents in excess of $700 a month for dilapidated rooms.

Intern Kai Beech compiled this week’s column. Send your college news to cougarsandmustangs@newtimesslo.com.

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