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News & Notes

Awards and Accomplishments

Faculty and students are raising the bar here and in far-flung places.


At the California Cup, a three-tournament sweepstakes, the Cal Poly Debate Team (Communication Studies) earned the title of champion at the Claremont McKenna College Tournament and Loyola Marymount University Tournament.

Seven Graphic Communication students were awarded Best Concept and Best Graphics at the 2015 Phoenix Challenge Flexo Packaging Competition.

Gabrielle Amar (Liberal Arts & Engineering Studies) was selected for an internship with the Clinton Foundation in fall 2014.

Kappa Kappa Psi, the national honorary band fraternity, awarded Cal Poly’s Iota Pi chapter (Music) its 2013-15 Leadership Award.

Mustang Band (Music) was selected to march in the Southwest Airlines San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade and won first place in the Marching Band category.

Daniel Estes (Political Science) was named Top Attorney at both the Uclassic and Fresno State University Mock Trial tournaments.

Mikaela Vournas (Social Sciences) was awarded first place in the Behavioral and Social Sciences category at the 2015 California State University Research Competition.


John C. Hampsey (English) published his memoir, “Kaufman’s Hill,” in January.

Dustin Stegner (English) was named the university’s 2014-15 Distinguished Teacher.

José Navarro (English) was the 2014-15 recipient of the President’s Diversity Award – Faculty.

The Graphic Communication Department was awarded the Flexi Award for Technology Leadership in Education.

Matthew Hopper (History) earned a 2015-16 Smuts Visiting Research Fellowship at Cambridge University.

Molly J. Loberg (History) was awarded the History Article Prize by The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians for her publication on interwar Berlin.

James Tejani (History) won the 2014 Ray Allen Billington Prize from the Western History Association for his article on the coastal estuaries of Los Angeles.

Mustang Media General Manager Paul Bittick (Journalism) was presented the JoAnn Daughtee Distinguished Service Award by the College Media Business and Advertising Managers organization.

Kathleen Murphy

Kathleen Murphy (History) received a National Science Foundation grant of more than $152,000 for her project “Exploring the Use of British Slave Trade Ships to Gather Biological Specimens and Data.”

Mustang News Staff

Mustang News (Journalism) were lauded with more than 60 awards during the 2014-15 year. Mustang News was honored
with state and national awards from the College Media Association, Associated Collegiate Press, California Newspaper Publishers Association and more!

ARTS Obispo honored Jacalyn Kreitzer (Music) for outstanding achievement in the performing arts. Kreitzer was also selected as a quarterfinalist for the Music Educator Award presented by The Recording Academy and Grammy Foundation.

Patrick Lin (Philosophy) spoke at the United Nations’ Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons meeting of experts on April 16. Lin also received a $54,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for “Safeguarding Cyberspace with Ethical Rules for Cyberwarfare.”

Michael Latner (Political Science) was named a faculty scholar for the Institute for Advanced Technology & Public Policy’s Digital Democracy Leadership Team. With a $1.2 million grant, the team is working to convert video files of California legislative hearings into free searchable transcripts.

Jennifer Teramoto Pedrotti (Psychology & Child Development) published two books: “Positive Psychology: The Scientific and Practical Explorations of Human Strengths” and “Perspectives on the Intersection of Multiculturalism and Positive Psychology.”

J. Kelly Moreno (Psychology & Child Development) published his first novel, “A Duty to Betray.”

Julie Garcia (Psychology & Child Development) and colleagues received a $101,000 grant for their project “Identity Threats in Higher Education: Implications for College Outcomes of Underrepresented Students of Color.”

Jennifer Jipson (Psychology & Child Development) received a $38,000 NSF grant for the project “My Sky Tonight: Early Childhood Pathways to Astronomy.”

James Keese (Social Sciences) was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers.

Pegi Marshall-Amundsen (Theatre & Dance) was granted a $6,000 fellowship for “To Trash or Not to Trash: Making Sustainable Choices in Theatre Design Scenic Shops.”

Leading Interdisciplinary Innovation with New Minors

Coming fall 2015, four new interdisciplinary minors at the intersection of science, technology and society (STS) will be open to students. Dubbed the STS minors, the program will include areas of study in:

Designed to foster interdisciplinary innovation, the minors challenge students to respond to 21st-century problems, become fully engaged in an increasingly interconnected and diverse workplace, and promote more socially responsible scientific and technical practices.

Katie Hoselto

Senior Project Impacts Congo War with Cal Poly’s Purchasing Power

As a result of Katie Hoselton’s (B.A., Political Science, 2014) senior project, Cal Poly committed to a plan to purchase electronics made without “conflict minerals” — minerals mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo and sold to fund war and violence.

“As one of the leading polytechnic institutions in the nation, I felt it was essential that Cal Poly address its role in the continuance of the violent conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Hoselton. “Since this issue involved everyone who owns an electronic device — nearly every Cal Poly student — I thought it was important for students to understand how interconnected our world is today and how simple purchasing decisions made by students on a daily basis can affect lives thousands of miles away.”

Hackathon Winners

Design & Dev Hackathon 2015

More than 130 students from the university’s six colleges participated in the Graphic Communication Department’s second annual Design & Dev Hackathon on Jan. 30-31. During the 24-hour event, Cal Poly students pooled their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit to develop apps, a website, and other projects designed to make life better for the campus and local community. Mentored by 20 industry professionals, 18 teams worked around the clock to formulate ideas, develop a product, and pitch their final concept. Concepts included apps that connect volunteers to organizations, an on-campus alert for events with free food, and a student comprehension monitor. The winning team received $2,500 and four iPads for its mobile mental health application “Optimist.”

Did You Know?

According to PayScale’s 2015 Best Value report, the return on investment (ROI) for Cal Poly art students — drama, music, industrial design, graphic design, fine arts, etc. — was $399,800 (No. 3 in the nation), while nonresidents recorded an ROI of $354,600 over 20 years (No. 6). Cal Poly humanities degrees also ranked high. Majors such as English, literature, history, foreign lan- guages, philosophy and others ranked sixth best in the U.S. with a 20-year return of $329,800. For nonresidents, the ROI was $284,600 (No. 13).


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