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Cal Poly CLA News

News & Notes


A group of art and design students worked with San Francisco-based artist Strider Patton to complete 29 murals in the new yak tityu tityu yak tiłhini Northern Chumash Tribe of San Luis Obispo County and Region living community on campus.

The Mustang Media Group won several national Pacemaker Awards from the Associated College Press and Pinnacle Awards from the College Media Association.

Political science student Kate Ettl, ethnic studies and sociology student Carlos Gomez, ethnic studies student Leilani Hemmings Pallay, and communication studies students Julie Shaw and Madison Wiese each had papers accepted for the first CSU Gender, Race and Sexuality Undergraduate Conference.

Theatre and dance students Sammy Boyarsky, Gabrielle Duong and Anna Bubier each received Meritorious Achievement recognitions from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for their contributions to Cal Poly’s production of “The Tempest.”

Art and design senior Kyle Branch’s team placed second in Walt Disney Imagineering’s 28th Imaginations Design Competition.

The California Cybersecurity Institute was honored in the AVA Digital Awards for its videos made by liberal arts and engineering studies senior Ryan Vannucci.

English senior Amelia Meyerhoff spoke at the Change the Status Quo conference about her research, experience and advocacy regarding sexual assault. 

Journalism major Isabella Paoletto worked alongside New York Times reporters at the New York Times Student Journalism Institute in New York City.

A team of art and design students and industrial technology and packaging students placed second in the national Paperboard Packaging Council’s Annual Carton Competition.

For the second time in three years, graphic communications students won the Kipphan Cup at the annual conference of the Technical Association of the Graphic Arts.

Political science student Johanna Cogen received a grant from the Baker and Koob Endowment to fund her senior project, which examines the role of community gardens at homeless shelters.


Communication studies Professor David Askay and business entrepreneurship Professor Lynn Metcalf, in collaboration with Silicon Valley-based technology firm Unanimous AI, published research examining the effectiveness of business teams functioning as a “hive mind.”

Two art and design faculty — Thomas DePasquale and Giancarlo Fiorenza — contributed to the world-renowned touring art exhibit The Renaissance Nude, which displayed at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.


Torrey Sanseverino

Anthropology and geography student Torrey Sanseverino won first place in the Behavioral and Social Sciences category at the 33rd Annual CSU Research Competition held April 26-27 at CSU Fullerton. She researched utilizing mixed methods for development in engineering water projects in Malawi. 

Jay Bettergarcia

Psychology Professor Jay Bettergarcia received a $519,700 grant from the County of San Luis Obispo Mental Health Services Act to support the SLO ACCEPTance Project, an LGBTQ+ mental health training program in San Luis Obispo County. 


Psychology Professor Julie Garcia is serving as the interim associate vice president for diversity and inclusion for Cal Poly’s Office of University Diversity and Inclusion.

Music Professor Scott Glysson was selected to represent the U.S. in the American Choral Directors Association International Conductors Exchange Program in Kenya.

Social sciences Professor Martine Lappé​​​​​​ was awarded the second phase of a five-year Career Development Award from the National Human Genome Research Institute’s Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications Program for her interdisciplinary project, titled “Behavioral Epigenetics in Children: Exploring Social and Ethical Implications of Translation.”

Political science Professors Elizabeth Lowham and Anika Leithner are part of a Cal Poly team that secured a $150,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The grant will allow the team to work with public and private entities to research and suggest policy options related to cybersecurity while also providing technical assistance to address a major cyberthreat.

Social sciences Professor Dawn Neill and food science and nutrition Professor Aydin Nazmi were awarded a California State University Basic Needs Small-Scale Faculty Research Grant to investigate campus programs related to student food insecurity.

Theatre arts Professor Al Schnupp wrote and directed the play “Trust Fall,” which debuted at Cal Poly last November. 

Journalism lecturer Kirk Sturm and Marta Block, a lecturer in the Psychology and Child Development Department, each received the Terrance Harris Excellence in Mentorship Award.


Expressive Technology Studios Groundbreaking

Groundbreaking Expressive Technology Studios

On May 3, Cal Poly broke ground on a leading-edge facility that will open a new world of possibilities for College of Liberal Arts (CLA) students. The William and Linda Frost Center for Research and Innovation is a collaboration between the CLA; the College of Science and Mathematics; and the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. The complex will house the new Jack and Felicia Cashin Expressive Technology Studios (ETS), creating an interdisciplinary space that brings together technology and the liberal arts. The space will feature a 3,500-square-foot multifunctional studio with a control room; an acoustic sound studio; a central hub for collaboration and digital networking; editing bays; and a digital effects computer lab, all equipped with the same professional hardware and software found in the entertainment industry. Students and faculty are expected to move into ETS in 2021.

Peer Mentor Network for Underrepresented Students

To assist underrepresented students in having an equitable educational experience as a part of the Cal Poly campus, the CLA formed a peer networking program. The College of Liberal Arts Underrepresented Students Network (CLA USN) is designed specifically to support underrepresented students in our college. Mentors can meet informally with mentees to provide encouragement and resources on Cal Poly’s campus. USN is not a counseling service, but rather a place to talk with peers who can identify with the experiences of other underrepresented students.

Cal Poly ISLA

New Interdisciplinary Studies in the Liberal Arts Department

Beginning fall 2019, the CLA will welcome Interdisciplinary Studies in the Liberal Arts as its newest department. The CLA introduced a Bachelor of Arts degree in interdisciplinary studies (IS) in fall 2018. This new degree program offers students the chance to design their own majors with emphasis areas including arts and the human experience; ethics, law and justice; global studies; health, culture and society; science, technology and society; social sustainability; and technology and human expression. The major began accepting internal transfers in the spring.

Cal Poly KCPR Anniversary

Celebrating 50 Years of KCPR

Alumni, students and local music lovers came together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of KCPR-FM, Cal Poly’s student-run radio station. A weekend of events marking the occasion kicked off on Oct. 12, with a concert at SLO Brew Rock attended by 400- plus people. The celebration continued Oct. 13 in the Cal Poly Multi-Activity Center for the Hall of Fame and Through the Decades Gala. During the evening, four new members were inducted into the Journalism Department’s Mustang Media Hall of Fame — music industry executive Bruce Flohr (Journalism, ‘88), advancement professional Susan Houghton (Journalism, ‘82), political consultant and KCRA-TV analyst Kevin Riggs (Journalism, ‘78), and former KCPR faculty advisor and broadcaster Ed Zuchelli. Another highlight of the evening was a series of entertaining videos, produced by ABC News correspondent David Kerley (Journalism, ‘79), showcasing the evolution of KCPR. Throughout the weekend, dozens of KCPR alumni gathered and recalled their fondest memories of the station.


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