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Philosophy Department Sends Team to National Competition

Mar 1, 2017

On Feb. 26, five Philosophy students went to Dallas, Texas to compete in the intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, a philosophy competition for colleges and universities with the best analytical and argumentative teams in the country.

Cal Poly's Philosophy Department sent one team to the national championship in Dallas for the first time in the program's short history. The team members are fourth-year Richard Shea, third-year Derek Diemer, third-year Ruby Allen, fourth-year Zackary Dackawich and third-year Ryan McGuire. The team earned their trip to Dallas after finishing in second place at the regional philosophy competition at Chico State on Dec. 3.

"Philosophy competitions are applying what you understand about moral theory to real world issues," said Shea.

At Ethics Bowl, teams are posed ethical cases by a moderator. The teams are then scored by a panel of judges based on their responses to the cases, arguments for a moral framework and practical recommendations as solutions to the problem.

At the Ethics Bowl in Dallas, the Cal Poly team defeated Indiana University in the first round, tied Lynchburg College in the second round, but ultimately lost in the third round to Youngstown State University.

"The team that beat us in the third round was in the finals both this year and last year, so we were up against the best of the best, and we held our own," said Diemer.

The Ethics Bowl has existed on a national level since 1997, but Cal Poly has only competed for three years.

"Some of these teams have four or five coaches, huge budgets and more time to prepare, and we still beat them in Chico," said Shea. "This says a lot about how awesome our instructors are."

The two coaches for the Cal Poly team are Professor David Zoller and Professor Ryan Jenkins of the Philosophy Department. “Even though our department is small we have some really great professors that really do an amazing job training us in philosophy," said Shea.  

“It was fun and exhausting," said Diemer. "There were lots of early mornings and long hours discussing cases, but ultimately it was rewarding."

The team returned to Cal Poly the day after the competition in Dallas and is already meeting to discuss preparation for next year's Ethics Bowl.

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Psychology Major Organizes TEDx Event

Feb 27, 2017

Last fall, fourth-year psychology major Cameron Wiese co-organized Cal Poly's first TedX event, TedXCalPoly 2016, which featured talks from Cal Poly students and professors, as well as a host of other accomplished individuals from across the country. Speakers presented to a sold-out audience in the Performing Arts Center on campus.

"Hands down, it was the best learning experience I've had so far," said Wiese, who co-organized the event with his partner, economics student, Eli Burch. The pair worked hard to find accomplished speakers whose stories adhere to the TED mantra: Ideas Worth Spreading.

“A couple of us spent days digging through local newspapers, Cal Poly publications, and talking with as many people as we could asking them, 'who do you know that's working on a big idea'," Wiese said.

Wiese and his team eventually came across worthy speakers. Many had ties to the College of Liberal Arts, including sociology senior Luke Fox, CEO of drone defense company WhiteFox, psychology professor Don Ryujin and philosophy professor Ryan Jenkins. 

All the the speakers for TEDxCalPoly 2016 presented topics or stories that fit the event's theme, "Plot Twist." Wiese said, "Most [students] are at a point in our lives when we're experiencing dramatic change, and it strongly resonated with the team, so we decided to roll with it."

Wiese says that serving as a TEDx organizer helped him learn about himself as a person and a worker. In addition to finding speakers, Wiese solicited sponsorships, hosted a preview event for sponsors and coordinated the logistics. "From TEDx, I learned where some of my strengths and weaknesses lie, as well as the types of people I work well with," he said. "It's these experience-based lessons that will certainly shape my path moving forward."

Wiese is currently honing his entrepreneurial skills on a new startup called PolyRents, a website that helps landlords organize tenant applications.    

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Mustang Minute: Amanda Lovely From Cal Poly Women's Basketball

Feb 23, 2017

Cal Poly women’s basketball senior forward Amanda Lovely and the Mustangs play at UC Davis at 7 p.m. Wednesday, before returning home to host Senior Day in Mott Athletics Center vs. Cal State Fullerton at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 1.

Amanda has played in 55 games over the past two years, with career totals of 512 points and 488 rebounds while also making the Big West Conference All-Academic Team as a psychology major from Palo Alto. What’s been your favorite memory as a Cal Poly student-athlete?

Amanda: In the summer of 2015, the team took a trip to Costa Rica where we played three local teams, enjoyed the beautiful outdoors (zip lining, snorkeling, and river rafting), played with children at a local after-school program, and embraced the Pura Vida culture.

It was such an amazing bonding experience for our team and made me feel very grateful for all of the traveling opportunities I have experienced through basketball. Why did you choose psychology as a major, and what are your career plans?

Amanda: I’ve always been interested in the inner workings of human relationships and behavior. I like to think of myself as a helper and definitely wanted to be in a field of study related to helping people.

I have been interested in many different career paths but most recently have considered going on to become a nurse sometime in the future. As for now I want to take a break from school and do some fun traveling! How do you balance being a student and athlete at Cal Poly?

Amanda: In both academics and athletics, Cal Poly has a very high standard for excellence, which can make the load difficult to manage at times. I have not always been the best at balancing both school work and basketball but I’ve worked hard at prioritizing my responsibilities to make sure I maximize my time off the court to get school work done.

Since this lifestyle can be very exhausting, rest and relaxation is a huge part of the formula for success. I always leave plenty of space in my schedule for naptime throughout the week. What have been your favorite classes at Cal Poly, and how would you describe the university’s Learn by Doing approach with regard to your experience majoring in psychology?

Amanda: Cal Poly’s Psychology Department has a tremendous faculty that have all inspired me in one way or another to continue in the field of helping. Each course has an experiential learning experience that embodies the Learn by Doing philosophy to the fullest.

The Helping Relationship class [PSY 323] with Elizabeth Barrett gave me the opportunity to learn basic-level counseling skills and put them to use through counseling sessions with Cal Poly students seeking help on mid-level life stressors. Professor Barrett was able to mentor the students in the class and oversee our progress as we grew more confident in our helping skills. You’re 15-for-18 on free throws this year and the team as a whole is on pace to break the all-time school record for free-throw shooting percentage in a season, ranking No. 25 nationally (.758). What advice would you give to young basketball players on the keys to making free throws?

Amanda: The free throw line is a perfect place to take a deep breath. No matter the score, take your time at the free throw line and have confidence. Everyone should come up with a free throw routine that works for them and stick to that every single time at the line.

No one is guarding you so this is a perfect opportunity to remember your shooting fundamentals and regain composure. You have almost 500 career rebounds, and have had five games in the past two seasons with at least 10 rebounds. If you were coaching younger players, what would you tell them are the keys to being a successful rebounder?

Amanda: Rebounding is all about heart. I have seen players who may not be the tallest or strongest player who come up with the most rebounds. I just try to tell myself that the ball is mine and I don’t care if I have to run someone over to get it; I’m going to get it. You’ve played for Greece’s Youth National Team in the past. What was the experience like? How did it add to who you are as a person & player, do you have dual citizenship, and is it something you might try again?

Amanda: In the summer of 2012 after getting my dual citizenship, I was selected to play for the U18 Greek National Team. The experience was one that I am so grateful for and will never forget.

My mom is a first-generation American and her father immigrated to the United States from Greece. My grandfather passed away before I really got the chance to know him so it was so special for me to honor him by playing for his home country.

Most of my learning experiences had nothing to do with basketball and everything to do with me growing as a young adult. I learned both how to be independent but also how important my family is to me and to not take them for granted. I would go back to Greece in a heartbeat but probably just to visit family and spend time on the beautiful beaches.


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Cal Poly Orchesis Dance Company Presents ‘Synergy’

Jan 19, 2017

8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 21-22, and 2 p.m. on Jan. 21

Spanos Theatre (Bldg. 44)


The Cal Poly Theatre and Dance Department will present the Orchesis Dance Company’s 47th annual concert, “Synergy.” The concert will feature the choreography of guest artists Amanda Leise, Ryan Corriston, and Mark Haines with Rita Chenoweth, as well as the work of five selected students.

Bach In the Mission VII Concert

Jan 19, 2017

8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21

Mission San Luis Obispo


Cal Poly’s Early Music Ensemble, members of the Cal Poly Symphony and faculty members join professional guest artists to perform the music of Baroque master Johann Sebastian Bach.


The Price is Right Live! (Cal Poly Arts)

Jan 17, 2017

7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20

Cohan Center, PAC (Bldg. 6)


The Price Is Right Live! is the hit interactive stage show that gives eligible individuals the chance to win prizes including appliances, vacations and possibly a new car. For more information on contestant eligibility requirements or on the show itself, click here.

‘RENT’ 20th Anniversary Tour (Cal Poly Arts)

Jan 17, 2017

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17

Cohan Center, PAC (Bldg. 6)


The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning 1996 rock musical that forever changed American theatre returns two decades later to speak to audiences across the world. The re-imagining of Puccini’s “La Boheme” follows a year in the life of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams in New York’s City’s East Village. This musical is only suitable for ages 13 and up.


For more information, click here.

Bach Week with the Music Department

Jan 17, 2017

Jan. 17 – 22

Various Locations


The Music Department will celebrate Bach Week, an annual celebration of composer Johann Sebastian Bach, this week. The department will host daily events throughout campus, ranging from collaborative musical performances to lectures on Bach’s life and influence from both Cal Poly professors and guest musicians. For more information on Bach Week, see the webpage.

Russian and German Conversation Tables Now Open

Jan 17, 2017

The German Conversation table will be open every other Thursday beginning Thursday, Jan. 19, and ending Thursday, March 16, from 11:10 a.m. to noon in the faculty fishbowls near Julian’s Café in Kennedy Library. The Russian Conversation table will be open every other Thursday beginning Thursday, Jan. 26, and ending Thursday, March 9, from 11:10 a.m. to noon in the same location.

For more information, contact Angelia Browne at or Olga Dekhtyar at


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