About EPIC

Our Mission

EPIC-Engineering Possibilities in College shares Cal Poly’s College of Engineering mission “to educate students for careers of service, leadership, and distinction in engineering or other fields by using a Learn by Doing, hands-on approach." As one of the college’s outreach programs, EPIC aims to facilitate a participant’s exploration of engineering fields and build a community of like-minded individuals.

Our History

EPIC-Engineering Possibilities in College summer camp began in 2007 with 20 middle/high school female students as a Cal Poly student half-day camp project. Since then, EPIC has expanded to include six annual sessions accommodating over 800 participants each year. Each week/session is offered for either Middle School or High School students respectively. Sessions are offered both residential and virtual giving participants an opportunity to experience campus life and the ability to envision themselves as college students.

Hands-On Labs

At EPIC, participants explore the world of engineering through live virtual and in-person engineering labs.

Tentative Engineering topics/classes 

Note: Some of these will be offered only in some sessions. Students will take a combination of 1-8 of these topics/classes since they vary in depth in material and length. These should be finalized in March 2022.



TOPIC 1: Arduino Rube-Goldberg Machine covering Computer, 
Software, Computer Science, Electrical, Mechanical, and General Engineering 

DescriptionStudents will go through a variety of hands-on projects to learn about the world of computers, software, and electronics. They will learn about micro controllers, writing software, read sensors and control hardware, and construct a mechanical apparatus. (Virtual and Residential)


TOPIC 2: Designing Structures for Earthquakes covering Civil, Structural, Computer Science, and General Engineering

Description: Students will participate in hands-on activities to learn how earthquakes impact buildings as well as the design methods and technologies that ensure greater seismic safety. They will learn about shake-table testing of small structures, applying sensors, writing software to analyze data, as well as constructing earthquake force-resisting systems. Engineering fields that will be covered include Civil/Structural Engineering, Computer Science, and General Engineering. (Virtual and Residential)


TOPIC 3: Automated plant care covering Engineering and Agriculture

Description: Sensors and controls are used in many aspects of Agriculture today, whether crops are grown in the field or a factory. This lab will explore the use of various sensors to monitor weather and soil conditions around a single plant. Collected data will be used with a controller to help provide for the plant's wellbeing in various ways. (Virtual and Residential)


TOPIC 4: Rockets

Description: Let's get fired up about Aerospace Engineering. Learn how engineers design, build and fly airplanes, rockets, and spaceships. Build your own model rocket, predict the altitude it will reach, and then launch it yourself to verify your prediction. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 5: Airfoil Design

Description: The objective of this lab is to design and create an airfoil cross-section out of styrofoam material. The airfoil's lift force will be calculated by placing the cross-section through a homemade wind tunnel. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 6: Glider

Description: Design, build and test your very own glider! Students are introduced to aerospace fundamentals of stability, control, structures, and aerodynamics in glider manufacturing and design in this lab. Students will plan and build their own gliders using composites and various materials. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 7: Whirly Gig Activity

Description: Students will be introduced to thermodynamic and fluid principles that are considered when designing air and space vessels. Then, students will apply these principles to designing a whirly gig system. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 8: Photoplethysmography: Wearable Pulse-oximetry

Description: Students will learn about how the body transports oxygen from the lungs to tissue and how oxygenated hemoglobin can be measured using light in modern wearable devices. They will then implement a microcontroller-based heart rate and blood oxygenation sensor. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 9: Cardiovascular System: Vessels and Disease

Description: Interested in using technology to improve lives? This course examines Cardiovascular Disease which is the number one cause of death in the United States. Students will perform different methods of measuring blood pressure and learn about the electrical and mechanical properties of the heart and cardiovascular system. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 10: Fresh Water Percentage on Earth

Description: In this workshop, students learn about the different sources of water on Earth, units for measuring, amount of water-density- salinity, and how to draw a chart for the percentage of freshwater to saline water on Earth. Students will realize the great importance of keeping fresh water on Earth, especially in California, which is still suffering from a freshwater shortage. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 11: Graph Coloring

Description: Dive deep into computer science theory by examining how coding can create images. In this lab, you will learn about graph theory through the coloring problem. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 12: Text Compression

Description: Interested in a career in computer science? Examine how text compression can improve space efficiency. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 13: Scribbler Robotics

Description: Create art, navigate through a maze, and coordinate dance routines with... ROBOTS! This course is an introduction to robotics using scribbler robots that can do a variety of activities including the ones listed above. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 14: Fun with Arduino Microcontrollers

Description: Want to know how to use microcontrollers? In this class, students will learn about programming and using the Arduino microcontroller to put together projects. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 15: The Archimedes Screw

Description: Students will be introduced to the engineering design process where students will work together to try to build the most efficient Archimedes Screw. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 16: The Green City

Description: In this workshop, each group of students imagines they have a space area of 50 square miles close to the sea or the ocean. They will use the suitable drawing scale to sketch and design (by drawing only) an environmentally friendly city in this area and using the various clean energy resources to provide the city with the required clean power for living in it. After finishing this work the students will gain experience in the different methods of clean energy resources (like a wind turbine, water waves energy, solar panels,……etc.), the drawing and design skills, the design of the traffic roads which save money and time, the design of the different transportation methods which use the clean energy, choosing the appropriate areas for growing the plants and fruit trees, and students also specify areas in the city to raise animals and poultry, which supply the city with the necessary meat, milk and organic fertilizer. Finally, the instructor makes a competition among students groups for the best drawing design which satisfies the main requirements for the green city. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 17: Build Your Won App

Description: Ever wondered how the applications on your phone work? Or maybe how you can make one yourself? In this lab, you will create an Android app. You will specify requirements for your app, design the user interface, add functionality, and deploy it to an android phone. The best part? No experience is required. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 18: Scratching the Surface (Be a Game Designer Using Scratch!)

Description: Do you like playing video games? What if you could design your own video game? In this lab, you'll get an introductory taste of game development using Scratch. In this lab, you will find learn the basics of Scratch as well as how to use sensing blocks to get your game on! (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 19: Engine Dissection and Reassembly

Description: The purpose of this lab is to learn about the components of a four-stroke gasoline engine, and how they work together to form a functioning machine. The lab is comprised of two stages, disassembly, and identification of parts, and reassembly with an eye toward how the function of one part affects the function of another. The primary areas of interest are the cylinder, connecting rods and crankshaft, as well as the valves with associated cams, lifters, and camshaft. Students will also learn the overall operation of an engine, following the progression of the four strokes (intake, compression, combustion, exhaust). Once completed, students should consider why certain design decisions were made (the shape of the cams, etc) to further explore the concept of the design process. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 20: Glider Workshop and Composite Material Testing

Description: Design, build and test your very own glider! Students are introduced to aerospace funamentals of stability, control, structures, and aerodynamics in glider manufacturing and design in this lab. Students will plan and build their own gliders using composites and various materials. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 21: Car Crash Lab

Description: Interested in cars? In this lab, students will design and build car bumpers to minimize the impact on the passenger. Then, your design will be put to the test on our small scale crash test lab (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 22: Eco Surfboard

Description: Design your own surfboard design and build it! Students will be introduced to prototyping with foam and epoxy and will finish off the build by learning and completing the composite vacuum nag process. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 23: E-Textiles: Creating & Testing Circuits

Description: Learn how to design and create e-textiles (soft circuits) by sewing with conductive thread. You'll go home with functional soft circuits that you can use to convince friends and family that iron man really can exist. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 24: Exploring the World of Nanotechnology

Description: Through simple hands-on lab exercises, the students will learn about the fundamental of nanotechnology. The students will explore the nano scale, the types of nano-structures and their unique properties, the synthesis of engineered nanomaterials, and the tools for seeing and characterizing materials at the nanoscale. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 25: Metal Processes Welding and Casting

Description: Learn how metal is manufactured and formed. This lab will provide a hands-on experience for welding and a section on metal casting and additive manufacturing. (Residential ONLY)


TOPIC 26: Solar Engineering

Description: Learn about renewable energy by diving into the basics of solar power (from cells to entire systems). In this course, you will learn about how solar power works as well as getting to interact with actual solar panels. (Residential ONLY)

Participants also learn a lot from their counselors. All counselors are Cal Poly Engineering students! 

Social Activities

EPIC isn’t all work and no play. Participants will have the opportunity to make new friends during virtual activities that may include home scavenger hunts, talent show, Kahoot games, and spirit competitions.

Residential program students will enjoy bowling, swimming, rock wall climbing, and using the university recreation center. 



Program Dates

  • Session 1   June 13-17           Rising 6th-12th Grade   (Virtual Program ONLY) 
  • Session 2   June 19-24           Rising 6th-8th Grade     (Residential)               

                        June 20-24           Rising 6th-12th Grade   (Virtual)

  • Session 3   June 26-July 1     Rising 9th-12th Grade   (Residential) 
  • Session 4   July 5-8                Rising 6th-8th Grade   (Residential)  
  • Session 5   July 10-15            Rising 9th-12th Grade    (Residential)
  • Session 6   July  17-22           Rising 9th-12th Grade    (Residential)

Grades are based on Fall 2022 enrollment. Students who have graduated H.S. are not eligible to apply.

Eligibility Criteria

Acceptance into EPIC is based on the essay written, interest to learn about engineering, and indication student has applied themselves to their studies based on g.p.a, classes taken, and extracurricular activities. The EPIC program does its best to determine which students will gain the most from the program. 

Requirements for the virtual program: Students must have access to a computer, reliable internet, and a non-school district-issued email address.

Application Process

To apply, you will need to sign up for a login on the Home page. Once the application is available, EPIC will notify you on how to access it. The application will require general family and student information along with a no longer than 250 words (1 page) essay answering why they would like to attend EPIC. Students must have a non-school issues email address listed on the application. A parent email address may be used for students as long as the students will have access to the emails sent from EPIC. Although the program is not first-come-first-serve, we strongly encourage you to apply early and submit before the deadline. 

Applicants do not need to submit a letter of recommendation or send in transcripts. There is also no fee to apply. Payment is submitted once the applicant is admitted to the program.

2022 Registration Fee

Virtual Program

  • To be determined: Fee includes all programming and engineering kit.
  • Live two-hour Monday-Friday Virtual Engineering class 
  • Daily live virtual office hours to help with engineering project 
  • Live virtual speakers: Cal Poly Admissions, Industry Speaker, College Life, Engineering Majors, Engineering Student Panels 
  • Live virtual Social Events: Scavenger hunt, talent show, and more 
  • Virtual Tours: Cal Poly, College of Engineering, and Housing 



Residential Program

  • To be determined: Fee includes all engineering class programming and kit.
  • Monday-Thursday Engineering Classes and Friday activities
  • Engineering week group project 
  • Speaker Series: Cal Poly Admissions, Industry Speaker, College Life, Engineering Majors, Engineering Student Panels 
  • Social Events: Scavenger hunt, talent show, recreation center, pool, movie night, bowling
  • Tours: Cal Poly, College of Engineering, and Housing 



EPIC offers partial scholarships to campers based on financial need. We strongly encourage participants to apply for a need-based scholarship as soon as possible as funds are very limited.



If needed, transportation to and from the San Luis Obispo airport can be arranged only on Sunday of check-in and Friday after check out.

A charter bus is also available for pick up and drop off from pre-designated areas in El Segundo, San Jose, and Oakland, CA.  Check again later for specific times and locations and information on how to sign up.

Admission Criteria

Decisions are made based on the essay written, interest to learn about engineering, and indication student has applied themselves to their studies based on g.p.a., classes taken, and extracurricular activities. The EPIC program does its best to determine which students will gain the most from the program.

Requirements: Students must have access to a computer, reliable internet, and a non-school district issued email address. Only for students who apply for the virtual program.

Deadline to Confirm Attendance

Attendance will be confirmed by submitting payment. Please submit payment by the deadline provided in the admission email. 


Participants who are admitted from the waitlist will have a week from the admitted date to accept, complete registration, and finalize payment. 

Payment Deadline

The payment deadline will be stated in the admission email along with the scholarship code if one has been awarded. The discount will be applied to the registration fee. All payments must be made online using a credit card. Checks are not accepted. Participants who fail to pay by the deadline will be dropped. 

Participants who wish to cancel their registration must follow the cancellation policy. Cancellations must be made in writing at least 15 days prior to the event start date in order to receive a refund. $200 minimum registration fee and 3% credit processing fee is non-refundable.

More Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page for more information. If you still have questions, email us at epic@calpoly.edu.

Related Content

Applying to EPIC

Applying to EPIC

Find out More

EPIC 2022

Excited students

An EPIC Adventure Awaits!

Find out More


Student wearing backpack and smiling

Read the Testimonials

Photo Gallery

EPIC photo gallery

EPIC Photo Gallery

Make a Gift

Support EPIC

Support EPIC