Intersections Magazine - 2020
Letter from the Dean
I hope you and those close to you are well. We started this issue of the magazine long before the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 changed the way life is lived in California, the U.S. and the world. When we chose “health” as the magazine’s theme, we had no idea that we would all be so powerfully reminded just how precious good health is.
I’m grateful to be part of the truly caring and dedicated community at Cal Poly during this difficult time. Our staff set up shop at home and is providing critical support to keep the university functioning. Our faculty jumped into learning a new way to teach while staying committed to creative, high-quality learning, and our students adjusted to changing scenarios with good will and flexibility.
Even as we practice physical distancing, we’re learning to value our relationships more deeply. We’re reaching out and caring for one another in unprecedented ways, and we are connecting socially despite being apart.
The stories in this magazine are still relevant because they focus on what we have learned is of utmost importance over the last few months: We are all connected, and we can help each other.
The power of science and mathematics is that what we learn can make an impact locally, in the state of California and throughout the world. In the College of Science and Mathematics, our student-faculty research positively affects the Central Coast community that supports us (see the features that begin on pages 8 and 12) and this place we call home.
The local recovery of the Pismo Clam (page 5) may help this species whose habitat stretches from Baja California in Mexico to Monterey Bay. The Beyond Burger (page 6), invented by our 2019 Honored Alumnus Tim Geistlinger (Biochemistry, ′94), will help feed people around the world, providing a high protein, plant-based dietary option.
The world is an intricately interconnected social and natural global ecosystem. Now more than ever we are aware that it is one community, that we are one community. I’m grateful for all of our connections to our extended family of alumni, donors and friends. Strengthened by your friendship, we will continue to move forward into this new and emerging world together.
DEAN WENDT, DEAN
College of Science & Mathematics
Piering into the Ocean’s pH
Investigating ocean acidification in Morro Bay and the Cal Poly Pier in Avila Beach
Return of the Pismo Clams
Understanding why Pismo clams are making a comeback
Are You Thinking Big Enough?
Practicing disruptive science with the Beyond Burger and Perfect Day’s Tim Geistlinger
Watch a video interview with Geistlinger
Harnessing the Sun to Cook—and Cool—in Africa
Building solar systems in Ghana, Africa
Learn how a solar cooker works
Do No Harm
Reducing harm at San Luis Obispo’s syringe exchange program
An Exchange of Respect
Student viewpoint: Exchange program fosters compassion in medicine
Cal Poly’s Center for Health Research creates the knowledge needed for healthier lives
Former Mustang athlete expands horizons from football to chiropractic practice
Anatomy of a Discovery
Finding unexpected benefits in medical research
Math is Good for You
Programming more accurate MRIs and CT scans used to better battle cancer
The Future of Teaching Science
Inspiring a diverse group of students to become energized K-12 science educators
Retiring teachers’ teacher distills decades of instruction with a Learn by Doing approach
The Gift of Math
Making math accessible to all