Look back at the biggest Learn by Doing news from the past year.
Flower PowerJanuary 1
Cal Poly’s “Dreams Take Flight” Rose Parade float (above), jointly created by students in San Luis Obispo and at Cal Poly Pomona, was honored as California-Grown Certified for the seventh consecutive year and took home the prestigious Past Presidents award. The two universities have had an entry in the parade every year since 1948.
Hacking for GoodJanuary 13
At Camp PolyHacks, student designers, developers and entrepreneurs worked together to build fully-functional digital products aimed at serving the SLO community. At Camp PolyHacks, student designers, developers and entrepreneurs worked together to build fully-functional digital products aimed at serving the SLO community. At Camp PolyHacks, student designers, developers and entrepreneurs worked together to build fully-functional digital products aimed at serving the SLO community.
A Brighter FutureJanuary 24
Cal Poly dedicated a new 4.5-megawatt solar farm, generating enough energy to cover a quarter of the universityâs power needs. The project, a partnership with the SLO-based company REC Solar, will yield more than 11 million kilowatt-hours per year, save the university $10 million in utility bills over the next decade, and provide students with Learn by Doing opportunities in renewable energy management.
Capitol HonorsFebruary 12
Nineteen outstanding Cal Poly students shared their Learn by Doing stories as they were honored by state lawmakers in Sacramento. The honorees included an editor of the award-winning Mustang Media Group, students who had spent the fall in Antarctica researching seals, and leaders of the Concrete Canoe and Rose Parade float teams.
A Survivor SpeaksFebruary 16
Holocaust survivor and social activist Ben Stern served as the keynote speaker for Cal Polyâs 16th annual Change the Status Quo Conference. The conference included workshops on a wide range of social justice issues, led by presenters including SLO mayor Heidi Harmon, the NAACP of San Luis Obispo County and the Cal Poly Cross Cultural Centers.
Coming TogetherMarch 12
More than 50 middle- and high school students from the Central Coast attended Cal Poly’s inaugural African-American Male Spring Summit. The event, hosted by Student Academic Services in partnership with the Lompoc Unified School District and the California Opportunity and Access Program, was designed to introduce the students to campus life and promote the importance of education and mentorship.
Bound for MarsMarch 17
Cal Poly engineering students assisted NASA in preparing two CubeSat communications-relay satellites for deployment on a mission to Mars. The CubeSat standards were developed in part at Cal Poly in 1999, and this is the first time the miniature satellites have been used in an interplanetary mission. The satellites launched in May and arrived at Mars in November as part of NASA’s InSight rover landing operations.
Career BuildersMarch 27
Anthropology professor Coleen Carrigan and physics professor Stephanie Wissel won the National Science Foundation’s prestigious Career Award for outstanding early-career educators. Only 450 such awards are given nationwide each year. The accompanying grants will provide more than $500,000 each in research funding as Carrigan studies why women and ethnic minorities are underrepresented in STEM fields and Wissel tests a new detector for high-energy neutrino particles.
Award-Winning JournalismApril 6
This year Mustang Media Group earned 15 awards for outstanding journalism from the California Collegiate Media Association. The awards included recognition for advertising design, overall newspaper design, social media coverage, sports feature writing and feature photography. Professor Brady Teufel was also named Journalism Educator of the Year.
Fulbright for NutritionApril 10
Nutrition Professor Peggy Papathakis earned a Fulbright Scholarship from the U.S. State Department to study and promote nutrition in Malawi. For the past decade, Papathakis has been working in the African nation with the World Health Organization, focusing on the nutritional intake of pregnant women and including students in her research. The scholarship will enable her to spend 10 months abroad, helping the University of Malawi College of Medicine build a nutrition training program.
The New StandardMay 7
A team co-led by physics professor Brian Granger won the Association of Computing Machinery’s Software System Award for the Jupyter data science platform, which is revolutionizing the way academic research is shared. The software platform has become the go-to tool for authoring and sharing code for computational research, data science and artificial intelligence. Previous winners of the prestigious award include the UNIX operating system, Java programming language, and the World Wide Web itself.
Tiny Homes, Big HeartsMay 31
Construction management students designed and built miniature cabins on wheels and donated them to a local nonprofit, Hope’s Village, which serves the SLO County homeless. The homes, built as part of a 10-week course, have been auctioned in the past. ”It’s an honor to be able to use what I have learned in the last four years to help such a cause,” said student Jimmy Fewell, who continued to work with the nonprofit as part of his senior project.
Horse HeavenJune 1
Cal Poly dedicated the new Oppenheimer Family Equine Center, featuring a covered riding arena, a foaling barn, labs and classrooms, and training spaces to enhance the Equine Science program. The facility was funded by a $20 million gift from longtime supporters Peter and Mary Beth Oppenheimer.
Getting Gold for Going GreenJuly 13
Cal Poly won three statewide awards among universities and colleges for its outstanding sustainability efforts. The awards include recognition for the Honors Program in which students investigate the impacts of sustainability; the Climate Change Action Research Group for student sustainability leadership, and the Cal Poly Zero Waste Ambassadors program for best practices in waste reduction.
Triathlon TriumphJuly 28
Cal Poly students completed the final piece of equipment to help special needs athlete Joseph Cornelius and his father John compete together in the SLO Triathlon. Teams of engineering students have developed a specialized wheelchair, an aquatic floatation system, and now a bicycle trailer to help Cornelius, who has cerebral palsy, accompany his father along all sections of the race.
Bridging the Pay GapAugust 8
Professor Patty Dahm won the Scholarly Achievement Award from the Academy of Management for research on the gender pay gap. Dahm’s research focuses on the rare occasions in which high-potential women earn more than male peers, analyzing how and why this occurs, in a study that adds nuance to the well-documented phenomenon of women typically earning less than men in the same roles.
New Law on the BooksAugust 27
A California State Assembly bill written by Cal Poly political science students that would potentially save college students money on textbooks was signed into law. The bill, which requires publishers to disclose how new editions of textbooks differ from previous editions, was developed by students in a Cal Poly course with help from state lawmaker Katcho Achadjian.
Good CompanySeptember 20
Alydia Health, a medical device company founded by Cal Poly alumnus Jessie Becker, who launched the company through the CIE HotHouse as a student, secured $10 million to fund clinical trials. The company, originally called InPress Technologies, develops devices to help prevent dangerous hemorrhaging in mothers after childbirth. Becker was featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Healthcare list in 2015.
Preserving HeritageSeptember 21
Cal Poly, PG&E and the Northern Chumash tribe received the Governorâs Historic Preservation Award for a partnering to preserve a historic Chumash site on the Central Coast. A Cal Poly archaeology field class has been working to help restore the site of a native village near Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant after centuries of agricultural and industrial disturbances and coastal erosion.
A+ in ArchitectureOctober 10
A survey by DesignIntelligence ranked Cal Poly’s Bachelor of Architecture program the best in the nation among public universities and No. 3 overall. The Bachelor of Landscape Architecture program was also ranked first in its category among public institutions, and No. 6 overall.
Fighting WildfiresNovember 1
Cal Poly is establishing an interdisciplinary institute dedicated to addressing the many factors contributing to wildfires at the boundaries between wildland and urban areas. The institute will focus on research, education, training and outreach, and will be the first of its kind in the nation.