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College of Science and Mathematics

Enhancing lives through learning, discovery and innovation

Website Update

Spring 2013 Newsletter

Greetings From Dean Bailey


Dean Phil Bailey and the ChancellorIt's been a busy spring in the College of Science and Mathematics. I showed the new CSU Chancellor Timothy White the almost-completed Warren J. Baker Center for Science and Mathematics. We toured the studio classrooms, which will enhance students' Learn by Doing opportunities, and the many study spaces where students can hang out and work collaboratively. It will truly be a beautiful and inspirational place.

Read more from Dean Bailey

College and University News and Pictures

Center for Science and Mathematics Nears Completion: See the Photos

College of Science and Math on March 24, 2013

Sidewalks! Trees! Office doors! The Warren J. Baker Center for Science and Mathematics is only a month away from completion. Exterior landscaping around the building is largely complete, and work has begun on the adjoining Centennial Park area. The chemistry and physics departments will move in during July and August, and the Center will open for classes in fall. The building will be dedicated on Nov. 1. Look for the upcoming Cal Poly magazine article telling the story of how the building came to be.

View the latest construction photos


Chancellor Gets a Taste of Learn by Doing: See the Photos

Chancellor White with students and faculty wearing construction gear

New CSU Chancellor Timothy White visited Cal Poly May 2 as part of his tour of all 23 CSU campuses. White toured the new Warren J. Baker Center for Science and Mathematics with Dean Phil Bailey and students Sam Meijer, Sylvia Aguilar and Brittany Gonzalez. The students gave the chancellor an overview of undergraduate research and the hands-on learning that will happen in the studio classrooms that integrate lecture and lab.

See photos of White's visit


Cal Poly Pier Welcomes Public: See the Photos

Young girl and a starfish.

Over 1,000 community members of all ages visited the Cal Poly pier May 4. Visitors were treated to touch tanks full of live sea creatures, a chance to try on a Scuba mask, an underwater camera they could control themselves, and displays of student research and local marine conservation efforts.

View photos from the pier Open House


13th Annual COSAM Student Research Conference

student in front of research posterCal Poly’s College of Science and Mathematics hosted its 13th Annual Student Research Conference May 16 and 17. Almost 100 students presented posters or talks on topics ranging from organic polymer solar cells to genotype and breast cancer risk to the effects of relocating rattlesnakes. The conference celebrates science and Cal Poly students. By discussing their faculty-supervised research with inquisitive audiences, students gain the experience they need to become professional scientists.

View photos from the conference and see a complete listing of research topics

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Real-World Research


Students Challenge Laws of Physics in Italy

Two students in lab bunny suits.

A Cal Poly professor and his students are trying to disprove the laws of physics. Tom Gutierrez is part of the international collaboration called the Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events (CUORE), and for five years he's taken undergraduates to the Gran Sasso National Laboratory (LNGS) in Assergi, Italy, thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Read more about CUORE


Future Teachers Research Student Learning

student taking notesThree future teachers from Cal Poly's School of Education are investigating what's happening inside the minds of mathematics students. They recently presented their findings alongside professors, doctoral students and other professionals at the Conference on Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education.

Read more about the mathematics education research


Physics Students Present at Prestigious Research Conference

Two female students in front of a white board.

Not everyone gets invited to a Gordon Research Conference, especially not undergraduates. But that's what happened to Kara Zappitelli, a physics major, and Dana Hipolite, a math major, both working on liquid crystal research with Physics Professor Karl Saunders.

Read more about the liquid crystal research

Desert Plants May Yield Evolutionary Clues

Three people observing a cactus."Studying the plants of the future today" is how Charley Knight, a Cal Poly biology professor, describes the research he and his students conduct in the Mojave Desert. "We're studying heat- and salt-tolerant plants that might become more prevalent in the future" because of the effects of climate change, Knight said. 

Read more about leaf stress


Number of Scientist-Educators on the Rise but Training and Funding Not Yet Aligned

Professor Seth BushScience education may benefit from a new trend in faculty positions. Cal Poly Chemistry Professor Seth Bush is a member of the research team that recently published the first large-scale study of U.S. science faculty with education specialties (SFES). The researchers conclude that the number of these faculty members is increasing nationwide.

Read more about the scientist-educator findings

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Science in the Community


Senior Project Helps Community, Environment

Cal Poly biology major Elizabeth Sikkema used her senior project to give back to the community, learn a little and have some fun. Sikkema organized the second annual Beneath the Surface beach cleanup for Earth Day in April. The event included a dive cleanup, trash art workshop and multiple educational displays. "I wanted to help spread awareness of conservation," Sikkema said. "We need to come together and keep our local backyard clean, and that, in turn, will have a global effect."

Watch an interview with Sikkema on KSBY


Cal Poly Physics Demonstrations Wow Middle School Students

Student holds bicycle wheel on a string.

How better to celebrate Pi Day — March 14 — than with three Cal Poly physics students and two cars full of science experiments? That's what Santa Lucia Middle School in Cambria did with the help of Physics Professor Karl Saunders and three of his students.

Read more about the demonstrations


Cal Poly's Pink & Dude Chefs Demonstrate Healthy Cooking

Person handling kitchenware

STRIDE's Pink & Dude Chefs treated Cal Poly alumni and friends to some healthy cooking this winter. Following a campus brunch based on student recipes, Cal Poly's Health Ambassadors and one of their middle school chef trainees demonstrated how to make granola.

Read more about STRIDE's Pink & Dude Chefs


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Upcoming Events


Commencement is June 16

Graduates in caps, gowns, and leisMore than 400 students from the College of Science and Mathematics are eligible to participate in commencement ceremonies at 10 a.m. Sunday, June 16, in Spanos Stadium. Commencement lasts just under two hours and is followed by the college's post-commencement ceremony in the stadium and reception on O'Neill Green.

Students from the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences will also graduate on Sunday. The College of Architecture and Environmental Design, Orfalea College of Business, and College of Engineering ceremonies will take place at 10 a.m. June 15. 

Visit the university commencement website


Come Back for Poly Days

Crowd shot of people arriving at picnic tablesAll alumni are welcome back to campus July 18 to 21. The weekend offers a chance to reconnect with old friends and make new ones; tour the Cal Poly pier and the new Warren J. Baker Center for Science and Mathematics; and take Classes Without Quizzes on wine tasting, drawing and a host of other topics. Lodging will be available in Poly Canyon Village.

Learn more and register for Poly Days

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Today's Students


Student Researchers Take Top Honors at CSU Competition

Student winners display their certificatesThe College of Science and Mathematics made a strong showing at the 27th annual California State University Student Research Competition in May at Cal Poly Pomona. From a field of more than 200 competitors, science students brought home two first place awards and one second place award.

Read more about the CSU Research Competition


College Awards Honor Graduating Seniors

Lauren Fanella speaking at microphoneFaculty and staff gathered to honor top seniors in each department and collegewide at the annual College of Science and Mathematics awards banquet at the Madonna Inn in May. The college clubs were also recognized for their contributions.

Read more about the winning students and clubs


Biology Student Educates Lawmakers About Fisheries Management

ocean and shorelineMorgan Ivens-Duran, a graduate student in biological sciences, joined ocean health advocates and experts from all over California at the sixth annual Ocean Day in Sacramento. The event is designed to encourage legislators to preserve and restore California’s ocean and coastline. Ivens-Duran blogged about her passion for ocean conservation prior to the event.

Read Ivens-Duran's blog post on The California Majority Report

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Alumni News


Teaching Candidate Overcomes the Odds

Kathy Krueger in the lab.For a perfect example of a lifelong learner, look no further than Kathleen Krueger (B.S., Biological Sciences, 2004; Single Subject Credential in Biological Sciences, 2010). Krueger earned her bachelor's degree and single subject credential while working full time for Cal Poly's custodial services.

Read more about Kathleen Krueger

Chemistry Grad to Practice Medicine in Native Cambodia

Daniel Chan in his medical office

Daniel Chan (B.S., Chemistry, 1994) recalled his rough childhood in Cambodia and decided to return to provide medical care to the poor and hungry. He and more than 100 medical professionals — including surgeons, optometrists, nurses and pharmacists — estimate they will treat about 1,000 patients a day. Currently Chan serves as the lead clinician and senior partner at Healthcare Partners in Los Alamitos, Calif. He departed mid-February.


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