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College of Science and Mathematics

Enhancing lives through learning, discovery and innovation

Website Update

Fall 2010 eNews

Dean's Message


Dean Philip BaileyHello and welcome to the first College of Science and Mathematics electronic newsletter. There is so much to share... where to begin?

First, after 15 years of planning and fundraising, the new Warren J. Baker Center for Science and Mathematics is under construction. We had a gala groundbreaking attended by 500 people on May 1 but it really became real on August 23, 2010 when fencing of the construction site began. I always believed this day would arrive but when it did, it was almost unbelievable. This will be the second largest building at Cal Poly and, with the adjacent Centennial Park, is destined to become an important campus landmark.

You can be very proud of our faculty, staff, and students in the College of Science and Mathematics and throughout the University. 2009-10 was an extremely difficult budget year, perhaps the worst in my 41 years at Cal Poly. Despite furloughs that resulted in a 10% salary cut, the College of Science and Mathematics taught 107% of its target. And for the University, we met student demand for classes, the average number of units per student was the highest in Cal Poly's history, and our retention and graduation rates increased. Extraordinary!

Five of the eight awards presented annually to Cal Poly faculty and staff members went to the College of Science and Mathematics: two distinguished teaching awards, outstanding advisor, outstanding staff member, and one for partnerships in philanthropy.

Dean Bailey personally greets all 500 of the College's freshmen class
Dean Bailey personally greets all 500 of the College's freshmen class.

There's more, but you can see that we turned a very dark year into one full of accomplishment and pride.

And now we start a new academic year. The students have moved into the residence halls, orientation including Week of Welcome has concluded, and students are settling into their fall classes. Our expectations are high as this year's freshmen have the highest GPA's, SAT and ACT scores in Cal Poly's history.

I want to end by, as always, thanking the Cal Poly family: students, parents, faculty and staff members, alumni, industry, and friends... for your incredible enthusiasm and support. You play an important role in Cal Poly's growth in reputation and student success.

Phil Bailey, Dean

College of Science and Mathematics

Phil Bailey, Dean
College of Science and Mathematics

Contact Info

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Science & Mathematics News


COSAM Faculty and Staff Members Recognized for Outstanding Work

Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award

Philip Costanzo, Assistant Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry

Philip CostanzoPhil completed his doctorate at UC Davis and, after postdoctoral work, came to Cal Poly in 2007. He received numerous letters of nomination noting his dedication to student learning, mentoring student research and encouraging professional opportunities, in addition to influencing students' interest and passion in the subject of Chemistry. He received particular recognition for his role as faculty advisor for Alpha Chi Sigma and more generally has come to be known as "not only a good advisor but also a good friend" to his many students.

Faculty Offices East 233805-756-2692


Distinguished Teaching Award

Eric Kantorowski, Associate Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Eric KantorowskiEric completed a doctorate in Organic Chemistry at UC Davis and, after postdoctoral research, joined Cal Poly in 2003. The nominating committee emphasized his "ability to utilize an array of traditional and innovative instructional techniques to achieve excellence in his teaching." As one of his students put it, "In the lab is where his teaching really shines. It is easy to see that he truly takes the 'learn by doing' motto to heart, as he takes great joy in his students discovering new concepts and drawing new conclusions through experimentation and observation." Dean Bailey noted that Eric extends this talent to directing undergraduate research where he is also exceptionally skilled. In fact, one of his students won the CSU Student Research Competition in his division.

Faculty Offices East

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Distinguished Teaching Award

Kevin Taylor, Professor, Kinesiology

Kevin TaylorKevin completed his doctorate at the University of South Carolina in 1994 and after a stint at the University of Northern Colorado headed further west to Cal Poly in 1999. The nominating committee found him to be an energetic and animated teacher, who "makes excellent use of personal experience and humor to create an instructional environment that is conducive to learning and understanding difficult topics such as the challenges faced by people with disabilities." One of his students commented, "Dr. Taylor has a large passion for the class that he teaches, adaptive physical activity, and as a result, students are inspired to learn more about this area. Dr. Taylor fully supports Cal Poly's philosophy of learn by doing." Another student added, "The way the lab is designed encourages learning. By getting out and having hands-on experiences, we understand the material on a more personal level." Dean Bailey also made note of Kevin's interdisciplinary work with the College of Engineering through the Eye-Cycle program which is a bicycle for the visually impaired, as well as the Adaptive Paddling Program that assists kayakers with disabilities.



Outstanding Staff Award

Vivian Longacre, Instructional Support Technician II, Chemistry & Biochemistry

Vivian LongacreVivian is a Cal Poly graduate in biochemistry and has worked at Cal Poly since 1994. Commenting on Vivian's contribution to the program, a co-worker put it this way: "Without a doubt, Vivian has been the most diligent, capable, and flexible technician for the biochemistry laboratories in my 29 years at Cal Poly. Students often go to Vivian when they need help with a particular instrument, especially biochemistry students frantically trying to get their senior project research finished, and I have never seen her turn them away." Dean Bailey personally thanked Vivian for her loyal work on the Baker Center which included transferring equipment and sophisticated instrumentation this summer before the north end of Building 52 was closed prior to demolition. Dean Bailey noted that Vivian's "energy, sense of responsibility, and ability to get things done is amazing."

Science North

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Provost's Leadership Award for Partnership in Philanthropy Award

Dean Philip Bailey

Dean Philip Bailey (L) and Cal Poly Interim President Robert Glidden (R)Cal Poly Provost Robert Koob noted that Dean Bailey has been on a mission to secure private funding for the Center of Science and Mathematics. The result is the largest public/private funded capital project in the history of the University. The nominating committee noted Dean Bailey's "creativity, perseverance and humor" and commended him for overcoming numerous challenges encountered during the fundraising effort.

Dean Philip Bailey (L) and Cal Poly Interim President Robert Glidden (R)

Faculty Offices East


National Teaching Award for Mathematics

Allan Rossman, Professor, Statistics

Alan RossmanProfessor Rossman was awarded the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics by the Mathematical Association of America. Dr. Rossman is a fellow of the American Statistical Association. Each year as many as three people are given the national award, which honors college or university teachers who are widely recognized as extraordinarily successful and whose teaching effectiveness has been shown to have influence beyond their institution.

Faculty Offices East

Professor Devore Receives McGuffey Longevity Award

"Probability and Statistics for Engineering and the Sciences" in Print Since 1982

Jay DevoreProfessor Emeritus Jay Devore was chosen by the Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA) to receive the 2009 McGuffey Longevity Award for his book "Probability and Statistics for Engineering and the Sciences" (7th ed). Dr. Devore is a fellow of the American Statistical Association. His book, which has been in print since 1982, is used at hundreds of colleges and universities across the country and around the world, and has been translated into Spanish and Chinese. Devore has begun work on a revision for an eighth edition.

Faculty Offices East 341805-756-6129

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Other COSAM News


CESaME Co-Hosts Demonstration of Eyes on the Earth 3D

"Fly Along" with NASA's Earth-Observing Satellites

NASA's Eyes on Earth logoOn July 1, the Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME) joined with Cal Poly, NASA, and the Central Coast Science Project to host a demonstration of NASA's Eyes on the Earth 3D. This innovative new technology introduced by Jet Propulsion Laboratory allows the viewer to "fly along" on any one of the more than a dozen NASA satellites that constantly monitor the Earth from space. Available for viewing on the NASA website, the interactive program allows one to select between satellites monitoring Earth's atmosphere, oceans, or land. You can even select a particular part of the Earth for your fly-along. As noted by Cal Coast News in its reporting of the demonstration, "You have never before seen our planet as a dynamic system with such clarity and detail."


School of Education Awarded $12.6 Million Shared Grant to Help Improve K-12 Teaching

Cal Poly, CSU Monterey, and CSU Bakersfield were jointly awarded a $12.6 million grant by the U.S. Department of Education to help strengthen K-12 teacher preparation with special focus in math, sciences, and special education. Cal Poly's School of Education will partner with colleagues at the other two universities. The Tulare County Office of Education and Kern County Superintendent of Schools will also participate. Grant funds will be spread over five years and will fund the Central California Partnership for Teacher Quality Programs. Learn more about this important education grant at the CSU website.

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Alumni in the News


COSAM Graduates in the Workplace


Biological Sciences Alum Heading Research at University of Wyoming

Walt CookWalt Cook (B.S., Biological Sciences, 1989) has been hired to coordinate brucellosis research at the University of Wyoming and several universities across the country where research is being conducted. His research priorities are vaccine development (for both cattle and wildlife) and improved diagnostic tests for the bacterial disease. Cook worked as assistant state veterinarian and state veterinarian for the Wyoming Livestock Board before moving to UW. In addition to his Cal Poly degree, Cook earned his doctorate of veterinary medicine degree in 1994 from UC Davis and his doctorate in zoology and physiology from UW in 1999.

More about Walt Cook


Education Alumna Named SLO County Teacher of the Year

Cathy AhearnLaguna Middle School Teacher Cathy Ahearn (Cred., Elementary Education, 1992; M.A., Education, 1995) was selected as Teacher of the Year for San Luis Obispo County. An August 23 article in the Tribune quoted her as saying, "I believe in empowering students." Laguna Middle School Principal Diane Frost said of Ahearn, "She is an amazing teacher. She is dedicated to working with English learners and spends countless hours planning for instruction." Ahearn teaches reading and comprehension to English language learners, serves as mentor for the school's leadership class, and helps with the district's summer school program. She is the only teacher on the PTA, volunteers with the FFA every summer, and serves on the Single Subject Advisory Committee at Cal Poly. This is her 11th year teaching and her fourth year at Laguna Middle School. She was previously awarded Teacher of the Year for San Luis Coastal Unified School District.

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Liberal Studies Alumna Named San Joaquin County Teacher of the Year

Krista BeltranSeventh grade teacher Krista Beltran (B.S., Liberal Studies, 2002) is used to recognizing and nurturing her students' talents at Hawkins School in Patterson, California. Last month, however, Beltran was the focus of the recognition when she was named 2010-11 San Joaquin County Teacher of the Year. As noted in the local paper, the Patterson Irrigator, Beltran said she has always loved children and felt teaching would allow her to pursue that passion as a career. In the classroom, she enjoys teaching English-language arts and history because she can tie them together. As student council adviser, she enjoys watching the students develop their leadership skills. She also runs an after-school book club and is a member of several district committees. Jefferson District Superintendent Dana Eaton said of Beltran, "She is the kind of teacher who makes her classroom better, makes her grade level better, makes her school better and makes our district better."

More about Krista Beltran


Kinesiology Grad Brings Enthusiasm, New Ideas to Palo Verde College PE Program

Greg SniderWhen Greg Snider (M.A., Kinesiology, 2009) graduated from UC Santa Barbara and took a year and half off to teach English in Japan, he never dreamed it would change his entire career path. Originally interested in a career in the golf industry, Snider is now the physical education coordinator at Palo Verde College's Blythe campus. Talking about his experience in Japan, Snider said, "I found I love teaching, love being around people, and I love sports." So Snider returned to the U.S. and earned his master's degree in Kinesiology at Cal Poly. While here, he taught as a graduate assistant in golf and basketball and was adjunct instructor at Palo Verde College (PVC). Now, as physical education coordinator at PVC, Snider teaches basic health, adaptive PE, and a one-credit class for community members called The Fitness Center. The program provides instruction in the use of exercise equipment in the PVC's Clancy Osborne Physical Education Complex. Snider is exploring activities to expand the community's use of the complex, stating "I want this building to be a place for the community to come. I want the people to use it, and I want it to serve the people."

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Student Spotlight


COSAM Honored Grads Named

Each year COSAM presents awards to four top graduates. All college faculty members participate in the nomination and selection process. Students are recognized at the annual COSAM Awards Banquet held at Madonna Inn. This year's student awardees are included below, along with remarks made by Associate Dean Dane Jones at the banquet.

Academic Excellence

Michelle Beam, Microbiology

Michelle BeamIn addition to having the highest GPA of graduating seniors in COSAM -- all A's with a sprinkling of A-'s -- Michelle participated in undergraduate research at Cal Poly and a neuropathology internship at Oregon Health and Science University. Passionate about environmental issues, she was actively involved in Cal Poly's Zero Waste coalition and Empower Poly. She is also passionate about social issues, and is considering an experience with the Peace Corp followed by medical school with interests in working with underserved communities.


Contribution to the Objectives and Public Image of the College

Amanda Whitaker, Kinesiology

Amanda WhitakerAmanda's accomplishments include: participation in the Muir Hall Council; serving as a PolyFit Group leader for two years; COSAM Ambassador Social Chair for three and half years; Physician's Assistant/Nursing Club founder, and president for two years; AMSA member for two quarters; STRIDE (Science through Translational Research in Diet and Exercise) volunteer; Resident Assistant (RA); COSAM Council for two quarters; Special Olympics; COSAM Health Professional Peer Advisor; and the Hands on Health event at Cal Poly. Biological Sciences Assistant Professor Christy Strand said of Amanda, "She stood out due to her outgoing personality and dedication to learning. She was a great pleasure to have in class and I wish that all of my students had her enthusiasm and drive!"

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Contribution to the Objectives and Public Image of the College

Joshua Lazarus, Kinesiology

Joshua LazarusJosh's accomplishments include service as the COSAM College Council ASI rep for two years and president this year; Internal Review Subcommittee and Personnel Subcommittee for the Instructionally Related Activities Advisory Committee; Campus Safety and Risk Management Committee; Commencement Committee; ASI Sports Official for soccer; member of Delta Sigma Phi; Student Advisory Committee to the Dean on Budget and College-Based Fee; Student Health Advisory Council 2007-2008; and Learn by Doing Lab. Associate Dean Dane Jones recognized Josh for his outstanding leadership of the College Council this year, noting that "it is not easy convincing Council members to give up their Monday evenings to attend a meeting. Josh managed to get most of the members there, however, and he always ran the meetings in an organized and efficient manner. He was never overbearing, kept things comfortable for everyone, and sought inclusiveness in everything. He is a model of what it means to be of service to the university."


Community Service

Kenneth Mangalindan, Biological Sciences (Graduated March 2010)

Kenneth MangalindanKenneth's service to Cal Poly and the SLO community includes serving as Director of Raise the Respect; Director of Student Community Services; 2009 Change the Status Quo Conference; Mentor to low-income youth in SLO through God's Haven for Children Organization; participant in See the Need and Homelessness Awareness Week; organizer of the Humanitarian Flea market; in-service intern for the SLO lawyer referral Law Line; volunteer for 200 hours at Sierra Vista Hospital; and member of the Tri Beta Honor Society.


Students Living the Cal Poly Motto


A Dean's Interest Launches a Career with Amgen

Saba Abuhay (B.S., Statistics, 2010)

Saba AbuhayRecent graduate Saba Abuhay (B.S., Statistics, 2010) got her job through the Cal Poly job fair. She will be working for Amgen as an information systems analyst, tasked with improving processes, tools, and efficiency for one of the nation's most prestigious biomedical companies.

Abuhey said she had the support of both the Cal Poly career resources department and from mentor Phil Bailey, Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. "I don't know if I could have gotten through Cal Poly without him," said Abuhay. "It's amazing to know your Dean on a one-on-one basis," she said, crediting Bailey with helping her find solutions when at first she only saw roadblocks. "What I learned from him was that if I want to make something happen, there's always a way."

Bailey listened to Abuhay's aspirations, offered advice and encouraged her to participate on a local, regional and national level in the National Society of Black Engineers and Scientists, a campus affiliate of the National Society of Black Engineers. Abuhay said it was empowering to be surrounded by so many like-minded students through regional and national conferences, and exposed to hundreds of recruiters that value diversity in the workplace.

Born in Ethiopia, her family immigrated to the U.S. when she was three to escape the country's civil war. She has visited Ethiopia several times since and says those experiences are part of the reason she is interested in health care: "I've seen what it's like to live without it." A self-proclaimed news junkie, she says statistics and analysis suits her - tracking information and following trends. She honed those skills during two internships at Boeing. First, she worked in the Integrated Defense Systems division, where she condensed large data sets into executive-level summaries and analyzed an internal tracking tool, finding discrepancies in its reporting. The following summer she worked in Boeing's Commercial Airline division where she improved process documentation and training methods. She said her ability to analyze huge amounts of data "came from a combination of all my stats courses."

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Unique Learn-by-Doing Biology Lab at Cal Poly Pier in Avila

You Tube logo Watch the You Tube video!

Aquaculture student at Avila Pier The Cal Poly Pier at Avila is the living lab where students apply marine science in a real-world setting - and a world-class setting, to boot. Students in the biology class "Aquaculture" worked in teams to track the growth and mortality rates of oysters and the impact of environmental variables on their survival. The hands-on lab helps students understand real-world issues affecting the farming of marine organisms.


Biology Students Get Hands-On Experience at Condor Lookout Station

Students at Hi Mt California Condor LookoutTrevor Pell (far left) and Jeremy Pohlman (third from right) are among the new interns at Hi Mountain Lookout. The Lookout radiotracks California Condors re-introduced into the wild as they fly between Big Sur in Central California and the Sespe Condor Sanctuary in Southern California. Interns learn about Condor management at release sites located in Bittercreek and Pinnacles.

The Hi Mountain Condor Lookout Project is a collaboration between the Cal Poly Biological Sciences Department, Morro Coast Audubon Society, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Ventana Wildlife Society, and Pinnacles National Monument. Restored as a biological field research station, the Lookout includes an interactive visitor center with condor and other local wildlife displays.

Visit the Hi Mountain Condor Lookout Project website

Kinesiology and Engineering Students Collaborate to Aid Kayakers With Disabilities

You Tube logo 
Watch the You Tube video!

Students assist kayakers with disabilities in launching their kayaks

Cal Poly Kinesiology and Mechanical Engineering students collaborated on the design of an Adapted Paddle Launch Vehicle (APLV) to assist local kayakers with disabilities. Unveiled on May 16 at Tidelands Park in Morro Bay, the APLV successfully launched kayaks in a less invasive manner both increasing the safety and enjoyment of their kayaking experience.

The project was part of the Kinesiology Department’s Adapted Paddling Program and was funded by a National Science Foundation grant awarded through the Research to Aid People with Disabilities (RAPD) program.


Full story in Cal Poly Magazine

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STRIDE's Second AnnualHANDS on HEALTH” Event,
Friday October 22, PAC Pavilion

STRIDE Hands on Health logoMeet and interact with people interested in healthy living through diet and exercise at STRIDE's second annual 'Hands on Health' event free and open to the general public on Friday, October 22 from 3:30-6:00 p.m. A symposium will feature a four-member panel. A reception ($15 fee) for speakers follows to provide opportunity for attendees to interact with the speakers.

Map link to PAC Pavilion

Visit the STRIDE website for more information.

Fall Commencement, Saturday December 11, Mott Gym

The College of Science and Mathematics ceremony is at 9 a.m. and lasts approximately 2 hours. Graduate names will be read at the ceremony. Immediately following the ceremony, a punch and cookie reception will be held in the University Union in Chumash Auditorium located across the street from Mott Gym. This reception offers graduates and guests the opportunity to visit with faculty and friends.

Cal Poly December 2010 Commencement Schedule

Map link to Mott Gym

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Baker Center

Model of Center for Science and MathematicsThe dream is a reality. A groundbreaking ceremony for the Baker Center was held Saturday, May 1. More than 500 donors and friends joined Cal Poly administrators and college faculty and staff members to celebrate this important new facility. The event program included the complete list of names that will appear on the donor wall located inside the building.

College Honor Rolls

The College is grateful to the numerous individuals and organizations whose generous annual support continues to help us meet current needs of the students and faculty members, fund scholarships, and purchase equipment.

Increase Your Impact with a Matching Gift

Does your employer match your gifts to Cal Poly? More than 13,000 companies have programs that match employee charitable contributions. Some companies will match gifts from retirees and spouses, and some will automatically match gifts made through payroll deductions. Matching gift programs are a powerful way to expand the potential impact of your gift.

To find out if your company will match your gifts, Go to Cal Poly Matching Gifts. By enrolling in a payroll deduction plan through your human resources department, you can create a seamless way to make a gift while possibly doubling your contribution through your company's match.





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Questions, corrections, or content may be directed to Sarah Bettancourt at (805) 756.6448 or

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