Cal Poly CLA News

The latest online edition of CLA's Impact Magazine

CLA Shoutouts

Check out our monthly roundup of faculty, staff, student and alumni accomplishments and news. Submit your news and stories here.


January 2023





Congratulations to journalism Professor Emeritus Paul Bittick who was honored with one of the inaugural Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) Pioneer Awards at the Fall National College Media Convention last October.

In honor of its 100th birthday, ACP celebrated 101 journalism educators and advocates with the awards.

The Pioneer is the only award ACP presents to journalism educators. 

Read more.



Congratulations to social sciences Professor Nikhil Deb and student Nadejda Genshaft-Volz who recently had their paper, titled "In Addressing Climate Change, Business as Usual Is Climate Injustice," published in Just Security, an online forum for the  analysis of security, democracy, foreign policy and rights.

Read the article.  




Ethnic studies Professor Emeritus Victor Valle is slated to have his article, "Toward a Poetics of Chile... In Another Mexico",  published in The Journal of Food Studies in February. The article is a prequel to his forthcoming book, "The Poetics of Fire: Indigenizing the Eco-aesthetics of Chile-eating" (Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2023).

Valle, alongside colleagues Catherine Trujillo, former Cal Poly Library staffer and current Deputy Director of the New Mexico Historical Museum; Jessica Eng, Cal Poly Digital Publishing Student Fellow; and Angel Diaz, curator of UC Santa Barbara's California Ethnic and Multicultural Archive, recently launched ChismeArte Home, a fully searchable digital humanities platform featuring the eponymous 1970s-1980s avant garde magazine. The inspiration for this project came from a student-designed and annotated library exhibit titled ChismeArte Y Que! Trujillo curated in 2008.





Annie Kettman headshot
Annie Kettmann is a 4th year
political science student with a
minor in ethics, public policy,
science and technology.

Last Spring, political science student Annie Kettmann was part of a group that won first place at the inaugural Change the World Challenge. Read her personal account of the experience here.







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Cal Poly students encounter Highland “coo”
cows on the Pentland Hills Hike.

In summer 2022, 17 students and two professors from the Cal Poly English Department visited the English Lake District and Edinburgh, Scotland as part of a new Cal Poly Global Program for an immersive experience of literature in the landscape.

Read one student's account of the Learn by Doing experience.





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At the Yorkshire moors students climbed
around and on the farm house that is said
to bethe inspiration for the setting in
Wuthering Heights.











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    Martin Mehl authored Chapter 11, "Digital Literacy & Mentorship Communication," in the "Handbook of Online Learning in Higher Education". Mehl was also honored as a Mustang Mentor during the Cal Poly v. UC San Diego Women's Basketball game on January 27, 2022. 
    Check out the print and online versions of "Handbook of Online Learning in Higher Education".


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    Corey Hable (Music, '17) was one of three winners of the San Diego district auditions for the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition — the biggest opera competition in the country. Hable will now move on to the Western Region Finals at the Colburn School in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 20. If Hable wins in Los Angeles, he will move on to the semi-finals in New York City.



    Chloe Heinz (Graphic Communication, '21) was part of the cross-discipline student team that worked in collaboration with local health officials to create an app that community members can use to find the nearest location to get naloxone — an opioid overdose reversal medicine.

    Read the story.


    Two teams of LAES students, advised by Dr. Michael Haungs and Dr. David Gillette, won prize money in the "Florida Hacks with IBM" national hackathon to combat global climate change.

    The hackathon issued challenges to the nation to work in multidisciplinary teams to compete in developing solutions to one of six climate change challenges. These challenges were “Climate Change & Florida Ecosystem”, “Improving the Condition of Florida’s Waterways”, “Sustainable Fisheries”, “Power Consumption”, “Animal Agriculture”, and “Wildcard”.

    The two teams entered the competition at the beginning of Fall quarter, 2021, and submitted their solutions to the “Sustainable Fisheries” and “Power Consumption” on November 29th.

    The “Sustainable Fisheries” team members were Brooke Anderson, Danielle Caparas, Jason Chu, and Matthew Killbride. They won 1st place in this category with their cloud-based mobile application, Fish Grid, designed to incentivize sustainable fishing practices. This came with $3000 in prize money.

    The second team with team, consisting of JJ Alen, Joe Debruynkops, and Corinna Donovan, designed a system to cool solar panels to increase energy output for the “Power Consumption” challenge. They received $200.

    Read more from the College of Engineering.




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      Philosophy Professor Patrick Lin was quoted in an article by Independent Online (IOL), one of South Africa's leading news sources. Lin is mentioned at the end of the article warning about the dangers of cyber-warfare.

      Read the story.






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      ISLA Department Chair David Kirby was interviewed by Mel Magazine about about genetic engineering and its intersection with the critically acclaimed science fiction film "Gattaca".

      Read the story.





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      On March 7, Music Professor Alyson McLamore led a conversation and audience Q&A with Adeline Mueller about her new book, "Mozart and the Mediation of Childhood." The event for the Mozart Society of America titled, "Spinning Songs and Sibling Harmonies: A Conversation on Mozart and the Mediation of Childhood," discussed the nascent children’s music industry in Mozart’s Europe.

      Read her bio.



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      English Assistant Professor Dr. Steven Ruszczycky's new book, "Vulgar Genres: Gay Pornographic Writing and Contemporary Fiction" was published by the University of Chicago Press in January 2022.

      Check out the book.




        Craig H. Russell

        Music Professor Craig H. Russell has composed a new construction of the song “O, mistress mine,” from Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," which he believes is the closest approximation to the 1602 production. Music student Dylan Benander will sing the piece, accompanied by Russell on guitar, for his senior recital on Saturday, May 7 at 3 p.m. in room 218 of the Davidson Music Center.

        See more upcoming music events.



        Ariadne Kaylor

        Psychology student Ariadne Kaylor is presenting one of ten research projects chosen to represent Cal Poly at the CSU Research Competition from April 29-30. Kaylor's project titled, "Relationships Between OCD Symptoms, COVID Anxiety and Cognitive Distortions," was advised by psychology Professor Laura Freberg.

        Read more about the other projects.



        Gaby Perez's artwork

        Communication studies student Gaby Perez's artwork was one of more than 50 to be released by the San Luis Obispo sustainable art and home goods store Buen Dia. The California-inspired prints are eco-friendly made from 100% cotton paper and printed using vegetable based ink. SLO themed watercolors made in collaboration with Perez pay tribute to the city’s history. 

        (Artwork courtesy of Buen Dia and Gaby Perez)

        Read more.



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        The Music Department was awarded a $500 prize from the Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology (CTLT) for producing the highest number of improved digital instruction materials at Cal Poly during the CSU Ally Challenge, logging 177 improved files.

        The CSU Chancellor’s Office Academic Technology Services and the Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI) hosted the CSU Moving the Needle Challenge, a five-day systemwide competition (April 4-8, 2022) that was dedicated to fostering equitable and inclusive digital learning environments for all students.

        (Blurb courtesy of the CTLT)






          Deb Donig

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          The Ethical Tech @ Cal Poly Initiative, led by Assistant Professor of English Deb Donig and Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Matt Harsh, was recently mentioned in the publication "Protocol" where they discuss the rise of tech ethicists and the new job landscape. Read the story.




          No Emoji for Ennui installation.

          Art and Design Assistant Professor and filmmaker Lana Z Caplan’s short film "Autopoiesis" was included in the Urban Video Project exhibition No Emoji for Ennui at the Everson Museum of Art this spring. Caplan’s "Autopoiesis" sources media from the internet — including audio of self-hypnosis how-to’s, video from the 2018 PyeongChang and 1934 Berlin Olympics (from Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia) and music from Sun-Ra’s Space is the Place — to deconstruct utopic visions of hashtag activism and autopoietic self-modulation in unregulated times.

          Curated by Anneka Herre, "No Emoji for Ennui" was a four-person exhibition described by the curator as “explor(ing) the difficult-to-define emotional tenor of our time—one that often leaves us overstimulated and underwhelmed at the same time it demands endless positivity. By turns unsettling, contemplative, humorous, and filled with existential dread, the resulting show is a collective selfie of who and what we are now.”

          Watch the trailer for "Autopoiesis." More information about "No Emoji for Ennui."


          Ariadne Kaylor

          Anthropology and Geography students Emilio Espinal and Eduardo Villanueva-Gonzalez recently presented a paper virtually and won the Best Student Paper Award for Social or Environmental Justice at the 2022 conference of the California Geographical Society (CGS). The students were encouraged to submit their paper, titled "Housing Segregation in the United States: A Review of The Color of Law," for publication in the CGS journal, "The California Geographer".



          Headshot of Pedro Armendariz
          Pedro Armendáriz’s senior photo,
          at age 18, in 1931. Photo courtesy:
          Cal Poly.

          Cal Poly Alumnus Pedro Armendáriz received a posthumous honor at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival Showing of "La Perla." The award, given by College of Liberal Arts Dean Philip Williams, was presented to the Head Consul for the Mexican Consulate out of Oxnard, Euclides Del Mar Arbona. He will personally deliver the award to Armendáriz’s closest living relatives.

          Read the story.







          Members of the Spanish Debate Team
          Members of the Spanish Debate Team

          Spanish Debate Team members Austin Grassbaugh and Klara Perkins placed first at the Legados 2022, a debate founded by Cal Poly and co-hosted by Cal Poly and Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superior (CETYS), a private university in Mexicali.

          The motion for this year’s series centered on the water crisis that is affecting the Californias; specifically water from the Colorado River, the populations who depend on this water and the protected ecosystem of the Ciénaga de Santa Clara. In this context, the motion called for debaters to assess whether the Yuma Desalting Plant causes more harm than good.

          Grassbaugh and Perkins advocated that given the current water crisis, any use of the Yuma Desalinating Plant causes irreparable harm to protected environments and endangered species and is only a “bandaid” to the larger water crisis that is affecting the United States and Mexico. They were joined in the final round by another Cal Poly team made up of first time debaters Alexander Torres and Aimee Nevarez who stepped in at the last minute to debate for the finalists from CETYS






            Headshot of Hala Baki


            Congratulations to the many CLA faculty members who were recently promoted to the rank of professor, associate professor or who received tenure effective in the 2022-23 school year. See the full list of faculty promotions:

            Promoted to Professor:

            • José Navarro (Ethnic Studies)
            • Colleen Twomey (Graphic Communication)
            • Matthew Harsh (Interdisciplinary Studies in Liberal Arts)
            • Linda Lee (Psychology and Child Development)
            • Thomas Bernard (Theatre and Dance)
            • Huei-Yu Chen (World Languages and Cultures)


            Promoted to Associate Professor:

            • Lana Caplan (Art and Design)
            • Laura Krifka (Art and Design)
            • Megan Lambertz-Berndt (Communication Studies)
            • Steven Ruszczycky (English)
            • Dina Vees (Graphic Communication)
            • Farah Al-Nakib (History)
            • Yan Shan (Journalism)
            • Scott Glysson (Music)
            • Jay Bettergarcia (Psychology and Child Development)
            • Amber Williams (Psychology and Child Development)
            • Liz Johnston (Social Sciences)
            • Sara Lopus (Social Sciences)
            • Joan Meyers (Social Sciences)
            • Christian Anderson (World Languages and Cultures)
            Received tenure:
            • Lana Caplan (Art and Design)
            • Megan Lambertz-Berndt (Communication Studies)
            • Dina Vees (Graphic Communication)
            • Farah Al-Nakib (History)
            • Matthew Harsh (Interdisciplinary Studies in Liberal Arts)
            • Yan Shan (Journalism)
            • Scott Glysson (Music)
            • Kelly Bennion (Psychology and Child Development)
            • Jay Bettergarcia (Psychology and Child Development)
            • Laura Cacciamani (Psychology and Child Development)
            • Liz Johnston (Social Sciences)
            • Joan Meyers (Social Sciences)
            • Christian Anderson (World Languages and Cultures)


            Headshot of Hala Baki

            Theatre and Dance Lecturer Hala Baki recently served as assistant director, translator, and Arabic language coach on the first ever Arab American play to be produced at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF). The play "UNSEEN" by Mona Mansour tells the story of an American conflict photographer who wakes up at the site of a massacre in Syria and must piece together what happened to her.

            "As a major regional theater with a national reputation, OSF exemplifies how the American theater institution can answer the call for diversity and inclusion on stage by showcasing an array of perspectives and asking provocative questions," Baki said. "This production, along with others in their first in-person season since 2020, shows the company's commitment to creating real change in culture and representation. I'm proud to have been a part of this production.

            Baki also taught "UNSEEN" in her spring course, TH 305: Race, Gender and Performance. 

            "The playwright, director, and dramaturg of the production visited our class for a fruitful discussion of the play, its treatment of race and gender, and theater making more broadly. Many thanks to department chair Brian Healy for helping make these accomplishments possible," Baki said.

            "UNSEEN" is currently open and running through July 31 in Ashland, OR (with a streaming option coming soon). Support the play here.



            Coach Larry Lee (left) smiling with his son Brooks Lee (right)

            Sociology student Brooks Lee is slated to be a top 5 draft pick in next month's Major League Baseball draft. Lee is the son of Cal Poly Baseball Coach Larry Lee. Read the Lee family's inspiring story in Cal Poly Magazine here.






            Matia Mathes smiling at the ICA Conference in Paris, France

            Last month, Matia Mathes (Communication Studies, ’21) presented her senior project at the International Communication Association (ICA) Conference in Paris, France.  

            Mathes initially came up with the idea for the project in Dr. Lauren Kolodziejski’s class, COMS 422: Rhetorics of Science, Technology, and Medicine, where she created an informational poster of original illustrations, “How to Apply a Tourniquet.” The poster provides visual instructions in four steps to easily teach tourniquet use for emergency situations.  

            “In an emergency where someone is bleeding out, it is so much harder to read a paragraph of instructions compared to following four simple illustrations. I became very interested in the translation of difficult medical language into simplified visuals,” Mathes said. 

            Read more about Mathes' project and how it influenced her job out of college.









              Headshot of Elvira Pulitano

              Ethnic studies Professor Elvira Pulitano recently published a book titled, "Mediterranean ARTivism: Art, Activism, and Migration in Europe." The book frames the "crisis" narrative of contemporary illegalized migrations in Europe within a human rights debate. Learn more and check out the book here.




              Grants and Fellowships and Trainings, Oh My! It's the beginning of a new academic year which means new opportunities. Check out some of the newest faculty opportunities below:


              Cal Poly Global Programs Call for Proposals Informational Flyer

              • Cal Poly Global Programs is seeking proposals from faculty wishing to pursue teaching abroad through the program. Faculty who want to initiate a new faculty-led Global Program or teach on an existing campuswide program should note the upcoming deadlines of November 1 for winter or spring 2024 and April 1 for summer or fall 2024. 


              • The NEH Spotlight on Humanities in Higher Education grant program supports the exploration and development of small projects that would benefit underserved populations through the teaching and study of the humanities. 

                The Spotlight program supports activities such as curricular or program development, expert consultations, speakers’ series, student research, creation of teaching resources, and community engagement. Projects may benefit students, faculty, the institution or organization, and/or the community.

                Proposals are due to the NEH on 11/2/2022.

                Faculty exploring this opportunity should submit a Cal Poly R-EDGE Pre-Award Proposal Initiation Form ASAP to be added to the R-EDGE proposal queue. (It is better to submit the form now and then cancel plans rather than delay submission of this form.)

                • Maximum award amount: $25,000 for Exploration, $60,000 for Development
                • Expected output (at least one)
                  • Community Partnerships; 
                  • Curriculum; 
                  • Faculty Development; 
                  • Teaching Resources
                • Period of performance - Exploration: up to one year, Development: up to two years
                • Contact Jane Lehr for questions. Learn more here.


              • ACLS invites research proposals for fellowships from scholars in all disciplines of the humanities and related social sciences. In 2022-23, the program will award up to 60 fellowships. ACLS invites applications from scholars pursuing research on topics grounded in any time period, world region, or humanistic methodology. The fellowship provides $60,000 to support 6-12 months devoted to full-time research and/or writing for scholars in all disciplines of the humanities and related social sciences. Tenure-track and lecturer faculty are eligible. An ACLS Fellowship may be held concurrently with other fellowships and grants and sabbatical pay. Learn more here.




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              Students pose with new and old 
              friends in Kenya during the 
              third Kenyan Choral Conducting

              Music Associate Professor Scott Glysson, Professor Meredith Brammeier, and several Cal Poly students recently returned from a trip to Kenya for their third Kenyan Choral Conducting Workshop. The group spent four days conducting, singing and learning and ended the trip with an "amazing" 3-day safari in Maasai Mara. 





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              Students pose alongside Associate
              Professor Scott Glysson during
              their safari.

              The group visited local community choirs, church groups and did everything from join in on a rehearsal of Messiah to play golf at a local country club!

              A choir from Kenya is set to perform on June 4 at the Cal Poly Choirs' Spring Concert.








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              The group shares a meal. 











                Alyson McLamore's textbook translated to Chinese

                Music Professor Alyson McLamore is happy to announce the Chinese debut of her textbook, "Musical Theater: An Appreciation.” The textbook was translated by Tsinghua University Press using Chinese Simplified Characters and is available in mainland China. 








                 Three Plays by Mona Mansour"

                Theatre and Dance Department Lecturer Hala Baki's latest publication, "The Vagrant Trilogy: Three Plays by Mona Mansour," is now available. The anthology was edited by Baki and University of Oregon Professor Michael Malek Najjar. In addition to the plays, the volume features an original introduction by the co-editors, an interview with the award-winning playwright, and a critical essay by refugee studies scholar-artist Diya Abdo. It's the latest contribution to a growing body of dramatic literature by Arab American playwrights and scholars.

                Check out the book.







                writers at work event graphic

                The English Department's Writers at Work series is back with the first two events happening this quarter. 

                A virtual reading by poet, teacher and essayist Danusha Laméris will start at 2:10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, on Zoom. Laméris is the author of “The Moons of August,” which won the Autumn House Press poetry prize, and “Bonfire Opera,” winner of the Northern California Book Award in Poetry. The 2020 recipient of the Lucille Clifton Legacy Award, Laméris is Poet Laureate emeritus of Santa Cruz County. Register here:

                An in-person reading with author Mira Rosenthal will be held at 2:10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, in the Baker Center for Science and Mathematics (No. 180), Room 102. Rosenthal wrote “Territorial,” which was selected for the Pitt Poetry Series, and “The Local World,” winner of the Wick Poetry Prize. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University. More information here:




                Clara Atwell and Sadie Calhoun in Peru
                Sadie Calhoun (left) and Clara Atwell
                (right) pose for a photo in Peru.

                Anthropology and geography students Clara Atwell and Sadie Calhoun presented their paper, "Modeling Forest Transition Using Deep Learning: A Remote Sensing Study of Taucamarca, Peru," at the Annual Conference of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers in Bellingham, WA. The pair won the Geosystems Award for Best Applied Geography/Earth Systems Student Paper, which included a $500 prize. The purpose of the research was to quantify tree species land-cover and maturity in Taucamarca, Peru from high-resolution satellite imagery. The pair used the deep learning frameworks integrated in ArcGIS Pro to classify land-cover. Because the project focuses on a large-scale pine reforestation project in Taucamarca, the students aim to allow for monitoring future land-cover changes in the region.

                Their paper served a dual function as their senior project and an extension of Professor Jim Keese’s political ecology research in Peru. The project was funded by the Cal Poly Latin American Studies Program with Assistant Professor Andrew Fricker as the project advisor.









                  Graphic of Sky Bergman announcing her fellowship

                  Congratulations to Sky Bergman, professor emeritus of photography and video, who has been selected as one of CoGenerate’s 15 Gen2Gen Innovation Fellows, a group of the nation’s most talented innovators and entrepreneurs marshaling their best ideas to create and scale intergenerational solutions. 

                  Bergman was selected from a field of more than 120 applicants. Over the next nine months, fellows will meet with one another and with experts who will help them advance their work. 

                  Learn more about CoGenerate fellowships.




                  Graphic of Kristin Horowitz winning her award
                  Photo Courtesy: The Pad Climbing

                  The Pad Climbing gym, co-owned by alumna Kristin Horowitz (English, '06), was recently awarded the US Chamber of Commerce's Dream Big Woman-Owned Business of the Year for 2022. The Pad was also recognized as one of three finalists for the overall Business of the Year award.

                  “When we started this,” said Horowitz, “I was one of a handful of women in the local community,  much less the industry. Over the years, we have become majority women-led and owned and it’s been a truly wonderful thing to watch,” she said. “We’ve come to rethink how business can operate through the lens of women and are now at the forefront of how to operate a small business as a result.”

                  Read more from The Pad.



                  Headshot of Selina Madeira Dolscheid
                  Selina Madeira Dolscheid

                  On October 26, 2022, international exchange student Selina Madeira Dolscheid won the CSU Media Arts Award for Best Short Screenplay at the prestigious CSU Media Arts Festival. 

                  Dolscheid attended Cal Poly last academic year as an international exchange from Stuttgart Media University in Germany. 

                  “I feel honored to have won the CSU Media Arts Award for Best Short Screenplay. It is an amazing competition that fosters the passions of CSU students, and I especially want to encourage exchange students to seize these unique opportunities that Cal Poly offers,” Dolscheid said.

                  Read more.







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