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Dublin High School Alum Kayla Collins Helps Engineer Cal Poly’s Rose Parade Float

December 21, 2017

DUBLIN, CA–Coming up News Year’s Day 2018 over 100 million people around the world are expected to watch the 129th Rose Parade. Dublin High School Class of 2016 alum and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo mechanical engineering student Kayla Collins is getting the experience of a lifetime by helping engineer Cal Poly’s “Dreams Take Flight” parade float (their 70th entry). Kayla is the latest profile in our popular Women in STEM Series.

2018 Rose Float Rendering

Kayla_Collins_4x6Kayla Collins: “I was attracted to Cal Poly because I was interested in engineering and they have a great reputation. I love Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing philosophy. The Rose Float Program is a great example of Learning by Doing. I joined the Rose Float this year, as a sophomore, as a team member.

“I wanted to join Rose Float because everyone was so welcoming and helpful. It’s really great to get to work with a team on an important project like this. I have gotten to learn how to use a lot of tools, and I have so much to learn from everyone on the Leadership Team. They are all very knowledgeable, and I really look up to them.

“The best experience I’ve had on Float has just been the labs – I get to see the progress being made on the float.”

“Dreams Take Flight,” designed and built by teams of students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, invites onlookers to take flight on the airplane wings of a trio of cuddly critters — a koala, sea otter and red panda. It celebrates the 2018 parade theme, “Making A Difference,” honoring those individuals in our communities who act in selfless, generous and kind ways to benefit others.

The float is the culmination of a yearlong process that began last January. The concept was selected from more than 100 ideas submitted by students, local communities, alumni and friends of the Cal Poly Rose Float program.

The 18- by 54-foot entry uses animation to breathe life into its trio of amiable aviators as they swoop and sway amid the clouds. Paula the Koala, the largest element on the float, flies a striped-red biplane, controlling the craft’s flaps, rudders, ailerons and elevators, as she glances between the sky and the audience. She leads Ollie the Otter’s seaplane, which emerges from a cluster of swirling clouds, while Rusty the Red Panda soars behind, banking left to right, some 28 feet above the float.

The design includes a nod to Cal Poly’s rich history dating back to the 1949 parade. Stamps of past Cal Poly universities floats are depicted on the planes in tribute.

During Decorations, or Deco, Week — Dec. 26-30 — in Pasadena, the float will be adorned by students and community volunteers with a bounty of more than 42,000 colorful blooms — nearly all grown in California. There’ll be roses, Gerbera daisies, irises and mums — lots of mums: chrysanthemums; yellow and green button mums; and orange and purple cushion mums.

The schools enjoy a storied history among parade participants.

Cal Poly universities has reached the 70-year mark —the sixth highest number of appearances — with “Dreams Take Flight.” Since the inaugural effort in the fall of 1948, students from San Luis Obispo and Pomona have come together across 240 miles to produce a float — one of only six self-built entries — for Pasadena’s signature event. A symbol of the partnership between the campuses is the float’s chassis, whose front and rear halves are joined mid-October each year in Pomona to officially unite both the float and the teams.

Over the years, the Cal Poly entries have earned more than 50 awards, including the Founders’ Trophy in 2017 for the most beautiful float built and decorated by volunteers from a community or organization.

In addition, the scale and scope of the entries has burnished the school’s reputation among float builders for creativity and ingenuity. The program has received countless accolades for introducing innovations into its float designs including computer-controlled animation, hydraulic systems and cleaner emissions with propane.

At the Dublin High School 2016 Senior Awards Night Kayla Collins was awarded the Dublin/San Ramon Women’s Club Scholarship, the Peace Officers Research Association Scholarship, an RMEL Foundation Scholarship, a Schoenthal Family Foundation DEDA Scholarship, a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo scholarship, was named a Project Lead the Way Scholar, earned a President’s Gold Award for Education Excellent, is a National Honor Society member, is a California Scholarship Federation Life Member, was named a GAEL Scholar, and earned Dublin High School’s Advanced Scholar Diploma. Kayla also graduated from Dublin High School’s Engineering and Design Academy Program.

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