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Congratulations to the MATE class of 2018!

Photos from graduation- 

Senior projects mark the culmination of materials engineering students' learn by doing experience. Senior projects mark the culmination of materials engineering students' learn by doing experience. Typically taken during Year 4, students focus on their senior projects each quarter - beginning with problem definition and literature review in the Fall; moving in to design, testing, and analysis through the Winter; and finalizing years of learning in a comprehensive report and professional presentation at the end of Spring.

We welcome sponsors to provide projects for our senior projects. This is a unique and exciting opportunity to participate in our students' education. Sponsoring a senior project enables MATEs to obtain a well-rounded experience focused on real-world engineering problems and presents your organization a new look at problems you want to solve.

If you would like to sponsor a senior project, please contact Lisa Rutherford at After receiving your proposal, a faculty member will work with you to scope your project and finalize its description.

Learn more by reading our Senior Projects Solicitation Letter and our Senior Projects Flyer.


Congratulations to the class of 2017!


Forgeng's Teaching

Following early retirement from research development at U.S. Steel in Pittsburgh, PA in 1980, Dr. Bill Forgeng became a professor in the Metallurgical Engineering Department at Cal Poly. He taught a variety of courses, excelling in metallography and ferrous metallurgy. Besides countless valuable and practical lessons, his students remember his kind nature and endless love of good jokes and stories. Dr. Forgeng’s humor brought him closer to his students, creating indelible memories of an outstanding educator and a truly lovable man. 

photos of Dr. Forgeng with a student and working the blacksmith shop. Picture of his plaque and his wife and daughter.Forgeng Metallurgy Fund

In honor of Bill, the department created the Forgeng Metallurgy Fund. Donations to this fund carry on one of Bill’s passions: studying the microstructure of metals and alloys. Metallography typically entails preparing a specimen for analysis by grinding and polishing its surface. MATE students spend hours polishing and analyzing microstructures throughout our curriculum. Making this learning opportunity available to students, requires the use of supplies (e.g., Bakelite, polishing pads, diamond abrasives) and the upkeep of saws, polishers, and microscopes. 

Dwayne Bell (Class of 1995) presented the idea of designing a plaque in memory of Bill. The plaque was hung in the Metallography Lab during the 50th anniversary weekend Open House in 2010. 

Donations from alumni and other supporters help maintain necessary supplies for students and make occasional upgrades (e.g., new mounting presses and polishers) to some of the equipment in the heavily used in the lab. 

Forgeng Hooks

Bill hung his hat on hands-on learning, so it is fitting that his wife, Maureen, and daughter, Karen, generously donated over 30 hand-forged coat hooks he made during his retirement years in Fort Vancouver (WA) to the department. The hooks are being awarded to alumni and other MATE supporters who exemplify outstanding engagement with the department. 

photos of hooks crafted by Bill Forgeng and his wife and daughter presenting hooks to alumni

In Spring 2016, three of Bill’s former students were the first honorees to receive Forgeng Hooks. David Taggart  (Class of 1985, vice president products, IronRidge Inc.) stands with Maureen and Karen in the center photo. Scott Miner  (Class of 1995, instructor of welding technology at Los Positas College) and John Simpson  (Class of 1981, retired senior principal engineer at Abbott Laboratories) are pictured on the right.

Read John Simpson's remembrance of Bill.

Forgeng Scholarship and Photo Contest

Thanks to the generosity of the Forgeng family, the Materials Engineering Department is also able to offer the W.D. Forgeng Scholarship to students.  Every Spring we also hold the Forgeng Photo Contest where students submit entries of their microscopic images. Winning photos are posted in the Metallography Lab with Bill's plaque.



Materials Engineering at Cal Poly is the only primarily undergraduate materials engineering program in the USA. You get to know your peers and professors on more of a personal level as you work hands-on with equipment that undergraduates in other universities typically do not have access to.

Our curriculum is centered on the grand challenges that engineers face in applying creativity to design products, processes, and systems that support human well-being and that are also compatible with sustaining the environmental systems that provide ecological services vital to human survival.

The intention behind our curriculum is that you will develop the cognitive, social, affective, and psychomotor characteristics needed for engineering's very important mission.

In the past, engineering education focused on technical information, which primarily involved left-brain development (e.g., science and math). With the rise of globalization and its strain on environmental and social systems, the 21st century engineer needs to develop skills that integrate creativity and social sciences into more technical aspects of engineering. We have designed our curriculum based on research in educational psychology.

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Materials Engineering Department
1 Grand Avenue
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407

Location: 41A-229

Phone: (805) 756-2568


Hours: M-F 8am-5pm

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