Research Assistants

Current Research Assistants

SuMoLab Alumni

Peyton Ratto

My name is Peyton Ratto, and I completed a bachelor’s degree in City and Regional Planning in 2021 at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (SLO). Since September of 2021, I have been pursuing a dual master’s degree in City and Regional Planning and Civil and Environmental Engineering. I am involved in research for my thesis where I will be evaluating the reduction in vehicle miles traveled achieved by affordable, infill housing. The research is directly funded by the California Air Resources Board. I have also co-authored a textbook that will support individuals to learn the fundamentals of engineering for those from a non-engineering background. I recently was awarded CTEDD’s Student of the Year, and I am very excited to attend the TRB Annual Meeting in Washington, DC to meet with professionals to talk about the transportation field. I understand that I am starting my career in a transformative era in the field and that the challenges I would face in the workplace would almost certainly be different than the projects I am pursuing now. However, having availed of the opportunities to work on a diverse portfolio of projects, I feel prepared to take on new challenges and achieve my goal in helping the public. After graduation I hope to either work in the public or private sector in the field of transportation planning. In my free time I love to hike, reaching the tops of mountains to see the beautiful overview of various locations. 

Hayden Flechner

My name is Hayden Flechner and I am a Civil Engineering student from Tustin, CA.  Starting my fourth year, I have achieved Cal Poly’s Dean’s List for eight full-time quarter terms and I have achieved Cal Poly’s Presidents List for the 2021-22 academic year. In addition, I was honored with the Don Chapin Company Scholarship award from Cal Poly’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department in 2021. What excites me about transportation engineering and planning is the raw geometric design of roadways and highways. I feel as if day-to-day passengers take for granted complicated infrastructures like highway interchanges and roads that carve through mountains. My research interest lies in analyzing how transportation systems infrastructure impacts passenger decision making. Fascinatingly enough, it is difficult to predict people’s decisions but it is important to me to understand how the preferred mode of transport affects the demand for other transportation systems. With SuMoLab, I am working as an assistant to synthesize a framework to study the VMT and GHG impacts of priority capital improvement projects across California. To start, we are categorizing infrastructure projects based on their category from active transport to public transit strategies. After graduation, I plan to continue research and study to achieve a Master’s of Science in Civil Engineering. Being the current Chief of Staff of Cal Poly’s Interfraternity Council and formerly serving as the President of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, I’ve committed my time and efforts to serve the Jewish community of San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly’s student body.

Liana Saker

My name is Liana Saker and I am from Corona, California. I am a civil engineering student here at Cal Poly, and also a research assistant with SuMoLab. This summer I had the opportunity to be a civil engineering student intern at TRC in Irvine, CA. I am also a part of the Society of Women Engineers and Society of Civil Engineers, which I love to be involved in.  In my free time I love to spend time with my friends and family. Transportation is interesting to me because there is a lot to help with the sustainability of the planet through transportation. I am interested in researching sustainable mobility and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I have been working in SuMoLab with Dr. Shams Tanvir in creating open-source educational materials for transportation engineering students through a course Dr. Tanvir is a building called sustainable mobility. After graduation I plan to take the PE exam to become a licensed civil engineer and hope to work as a civil engineer and work my way up to a project manager.  

Malik Rahim

My name is Malik Rahim. I am born in Fresno, California and raised in San Luis Obispo. My parents are from Egypt and I visit my family there often. My most notable educational achievements have been placing top 10 in my entire high school in terms of academic GPA and getting on the Dean’s List in the Fall Quarter of 2021 (>3.5 GPA). The most exciting and compelling reason I decided to participate in transportation research was because of its direct applicability to everyone’s lives on a daily basis. My father also is a professor on this sub-field within Civil Engineering. Therefore, my research interest is mainly surrounding the topic of transportation engineering. This past summer I participated in paid research with a fellow professor (Dr. Tanvir) in which we had to process, organize, and explain raw data from several sites on campus. These were tests done on several days (usually about two weeks) and had thousands of different counts and related details such as vehicle type. The research was a great experience for me and allowed me to delve into applicable and direct work related to the field that interests me most. After graduation, I hope to work for a public/state company (i.e.. Caltrans) as an engineer dealing with transportation in California, USA. I hope my college experience through both classes and research aid me for this. Finally, I enjoy playing and watching soccer, spending time with family and friends, and watching an interesting show or documentary in my free time. 

Franklin Pandoy

Franklin is from Redlands, CA. In Southern California he grew up living with congestion, and in his undergraduate career he also lived through the infamous traffic of Los Angeles. At UCLA he earned the Chancellor’s Service Award, marking his commitment to create a better UCLA community through transportation improvements among other endeavors. Immediately after graduation he continued to explored opportunities in non-profit work and politics but realized he could create the change he wanted to see through influencing the urban form.

The grid locked streets of Los Angeles made him realize there was a pervasive problem that needed to be fixed, so he continued his education at Cal Poly to pursue a dual City & Regional Planning and Civil Engineering master degree. As his interest in transportation grew his research interests grew into easing congestion starting with transportation equity, transit-oriented developments, and finally landing on micro-transit research with SuMoLab. After graduation Franklin plans to work for a transportation consulting company to create better connected cities and work on all things transportation.

Alexandra Lee-Gardner

Bryant Lee