Predicting Wildfire Spread, Partnering with the City of Anaheim, and More

Innovative College of Engineering & Computer Science students are taking on challenges like street safety, wildfire spread, roller coaster design, and EMT protections during a pandemic.

decorative stock image illustration of a busy street intersection

Dwight David Eisenhower Fellow Partners with City of Anaheim for Safer Streets

Headshot photo of Cal State Fullerton student Christopher Wongsavanh
Eisenhower Transportation Fellow Christopher Wongsavanh.

Christopher Wongsavanh envisions modern-day cities where streets are designed to increase the safety for all users – motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.

As a Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellow, the 2020 civil engineering graduate spent the last academic year examining Anaheim’s streets to determine the practicality, efficiency, and benefits or consequences of design features stemming from the concept of “complete streets.” The concept integrates elements including wider bike lanes, raised medians, better pedestrian facilities, landscaping elements, exclusive transit lanes, and bike parking to increase safety for everyone.

Addressing the Climate Crisis: Predicting California Wildfire Spread

What if you could more accurately predict and track the spread of California’s devastating wildfires – and prevent them from growing out of control? A group of mechanical engineering students are using smart drone technology to develop a system that could do just that. Under the guidance of Sagil James, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and faculty adviser, students Rashed Alazemi, Abdulmohsen Albisher, Abdulmohsen Aleissa, Abdallah Almodhyan, Abdualwahab Alrashed, and Abdullwhab Alsaleh are developing a prototype called the Wildfire Aversion by Forecast and Early Response System (WAFERS). The system uses a smart drone and a sophisticated algorithm to produce highly accurate estimations of wildfire spread that can be visualized over a specific surveyed area. The team won second place and a $2,000 prize in the Pix4D Climate Contest, where college and industry teams from 31 countries submitted for judging projects that address the climate crisis.

3 Engineering Students, 48 Hours & 1 Silver Medal-Winning Roller Coaster Design

Over 300 international college teams entered the University Physics Competition, but there was room at the top for only a few. Undergraduates Patrick Babb, James Barnett, and Mitchell Kitazumi designed a silver medal-winning, adrenaline-inducing thrill ride for the competition, sponsored by the American Physical Society and the American Astronomical Society. The team had just 48 hours to solve one of two challenging, open-ended applied physics problems and submit a solutions report. The team wrote custom computer code simulating the motion of a roller coaster along each segment of the track, accounting for gravity, friction, and air resistance. They also created a 3D computer rendering of a four-seat roller coaster cart shaped like an aerodynamic aircraft nose.

Student Entrepreneur’s Dispatch System Becomes Key COVID-19 Resource

As a part-time EMT dispatcher, Bryan Ruef saw firsthand the anxiety healthcare workers experienced as they ventured into the unknown to help patients stricken with COVID-19. But the 2020 computer science graduate felt proud that his new business dedicated to improving dispatching helped relieve some of that burden. Ruef’s company, 10-8 Systems, and his novel cloud-based dispatch system was successfully pressure tested when it helped first responders after Hurricane Dorian. COVID-19 has now created a massive spike in demand for 10-8 Systems, and Ruef’s company signed a five-year agreement with a Maryland city and was approved by a federal police agency to deploy to locations across the United States. Private security services have also enlisted 10-8 Systems to help manage increased risks of break-ins and property crime affecting closed businesses.

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