SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -

A lesson can be learned from every earthquake, especially at Cal Poly where some engineering students are learning to build earthquake-resistant buildings.

Their architectural engineering program is arguable the most intense in the nation, and valuable to California because their study has a large emphasis on our seismic zone.

They place their models on shake tables to test resilience and study damage.

And their program is getting more advanced; now students are experimenting on a part of a real building.

The department head says these kids are truly our future.

“The big one will be coming in the next 30 years, at least by all probability, that’s true,” says department head Dr. Allen Estes, “and structural engineers don’t get a lot of credit in society for what they do.  Quite honestly, we save lives.”

In addition to design, the students also learn to formulate building material like concrete, and they use new earthquakes, such as the one in Southern California and Chile, as case studies.

There are 300 students in the program.