Cultivate Winter 2016

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Family Tradition Three generations grow roots at Cal Poly Page 12







Seasons Change Dear CAFES Alumni and Friends,

Welcome to the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences’ new magazine: Cultivate. We are proud to offer you a new name, a new look and new content, reflective of the strategic momentum we’ve had over the past several years, as well as the ever-changing agricultural landscape. We are proud of what the college represents – our collective vision, strengths and influence — and honored to pay homage to a past deeply entwined in Cal Poly’s roots.


I hope you enjoy this update. More importantly, I hope you are inspired to remain involved with Cal Poly by sharing your own key achievements and stories. I look forward to continuing to connect with all of you. Warmest regards,

Andrew J. Thulin | Dean


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Q&A ————

10 THEN & NOW ————





While Agriview represented our college well for nearly 20 years, Cultivate will take us into the future. Within these pages, we hope to share stories that connect you to the campus and with each other. In this issue, you’ll be introduced to the new members of our leadership team and the global experience and strengths they bring to the college. You’ll learn about the powerful legacy that brings many of our students to Cal Poly. And, you’ll read about the progress we’re making on the Boswell Ag Tech Center.



14 COW PARADE ————



New Leaders Bring Passion, Industry Experience

Cal Poly is once again the best public, master’s -level university in the West — the 24th straight year the university has earned the distinction in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual America’s Best Colleges guidebook. The 2017 guidebook lists Cal Poly in a tie with Saint Mary’s College for ninth place overall in the West for regional universities (up from 10th place last year) and above all other public universities in the region. The Western regional list includes 124 public and private institutions in 15 states that provide a full range of undergraduate and master’s-level programs but few, if any, doctoral programs. “Our continued inclusion in the prestigious U.S. News rankings is a testament to the Cal Poly community’s unwavering passion for providing the best possible Learn by Doing experience for all of our students,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “Only through our faculty’s innovation and dedication to Learn by Doing; our staff members’ commitment to daily excellence; and our alumni, industry and friends’ support are we able to help our students become the industry and community leaders of tomorrow.”

Jim Prince is serving as the new associate dean of research. He oversees research coordination and funding and grant and research support. Previously, he served as vice provost for academic affairs for CSU Sacramento as well as a faculty member in their department of biological sciences. Prior to that, he was an associate dean at CSU Chico and also held several positions at CSU Fresno. He has more than 30 years of agricultural research experience, including at Cornell University, with USDA-ARS, and at Fresno State. He earned a bachelor’s degree in botany from UC Davis and a doctorate degree in botany and plant molecular biology from Cornell University.

Greg Brown is serving as the new Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences department head. Brown comes to Cal Poly from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Queensland, where he taught in the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management. His background spans forestry, natural resources and environmental management. Brown is recognized as an international leader in the integration of social spatial information for environmental and natural resource planning. He earned an undergraduate and master’s in business administration degrees from Northern Arizona University, and a doctorate degree in environmental planning and policy from the University of Idaho.

Peter Livingston, P.E., is serving as the new BioResource and Agricultural Engineering department head. He comes to Cal Poly from the University of Arizona, where he was an associate professor of practice in their Agricultural and Biosystem Engineering Department, as well as Bosque Engineering, where he is a managing partner. He has more than 35 years of engineering experience in both private industry and academia and maintains an active research portfolio. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Arizona, a master’s degree in agricultural engineering from Colorado State University, and a doctorate degree in biosystems engineering from the University of Arizona.

Johan (Job) Ubbink is the new Food Science and Nutrition department head. Currently, he is employed by ETH Zurich’s Department of Health Sciences and Technology as an instructor, the University of Bristol’s School of Physics as an honorary fellow, and The Mill Food Concept and Physical Design firm in Switzerland as a principal scientist. He previously worked at the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Givaudan Flavors Ltd. in Duebendorf, the Netherlands. Trained as a physical chemist, he has specialized in food science, particularly food technology and product development. He earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in physical and macromolecular chemistry from Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands; and a doctorate degree in chemical engineering and materials science from Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands.




Cal Poly 2015-16 Distinguished Scholarship Award


Faculty Farm Tours 2

Food Science and Nutrition Professor Peggy Papathakis secured funding for a study treating 1,800 pregnant undernourished women in Malawi, Africa and the findings will help influence public policy for women worldwide. Papathakis has facilitated nutrition research experiences in Africa for 26 Cal Poly nutrition graduates and engaged more than 25 undergraduate students on campus in research projects. Students comment on the importance of these experiences in determining their future careers, and those engaged in Africa comment on the impact on their personal and professional growth.

Cal Poly 2015-16 Distinguished Staff Award



A key part of the new strategic vision for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences is to maintain close alignment with industry partners to enable the college to stay current on the latest trends and technologies. Faculty participated in two bus trips prior to the start of the fall quarter to directly engage with industry partners, many of whom have strong ties to Cal Poly, and learn new ways to collaborate across the college’s nine departments. THE VISITS INCLUDED:        – L&G Farming, NIPOMO | 300-acre berry farm – Houweling’s Tomatoes (2), CAMARILLO | world-renowned greenhouse tomato grower – Gill’s Onions (1), OXNARD | one of the U.S.’s largest onion growers; operates one of the world’s largest processing facility


– Mission Produce (3), OXNARD | global leader in producing, distributing and marketing Hass avocadoes – Gallo Courtside Cellars, SAN MIGUEL | one of the Central Coast’s largest custom crush winemaking facilities – Tanimura & Antle (5), SALINAS | an innovative vegetable farming company

Launnie Ginn was awarded one of three university distinguished staff awards. Ginn has served as an instructional support technician for the Horticulture and Crop Science Department for the past 17 years. He is known to be extremely supportive of students and faculty in his department, as well as the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. He is extremely dedicated to the success of the department, and ultimately, Cal Poly. Students from all majors seek his input and advice relative to project questions and concerns.

– Taylor Farms, SALINAS | one of the U.S.’s largest packers of greens, salads and other fresh foods – Dust Bowl Brewing Company, TURLOCK | a microbrewery started by Cal Poly alumni  – E & J Gallo Winery (4), LIVINGSTON | one of the largest wine making operations in the world – G3 Enterprises, MODESTO | owned by the third generation of the Gallo family; provides products and services to wine and spirits industry, including packaging and supply chain services

CALENDAR OF UPCOMING EVENTS DEC. 1, 2016 WINExpo (North Coast Wine Industry: Trade Show and Conference) DEC. 17, 2016 Fall Commencement JAN. 19, 2017 Ag Showcase

– Del Monte, MODESTO | manufacturer and marketer of processed foods

JAN. 24-26, 2017 Unified Wine and Grape Symposium

– H ilmar Cheese Company, HILMAR | a privately owned dairy processing company

FEB. 14-16, 2017 World Ag Expo FEB. 18-20, 2017 Western Bonanza APRIL 6-8, 2017 Open House


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Naming Opportunities PLANT PATHOLOGY LAB

Provides faculty and students the opportunity to diagnose and control disease utilizing the full range of plant diagnostic tools and methods. PHYSIOLOGY AND GENOMICS LAB Provides the opportunity

to investigate areas of physiology and genetics to enhance plant and animal performance.

complete meals: students learning to prepare a pleasurable dining experience is important to millennials. SENSORY ANALYSIS LAB

Allows faculty to train students and conduct research to determine insights into consumer goods and new food and beverage products. PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT LAB

Allows faculty and students to research potential solutions to improve overall soil, air and water quality.

Designed to conduct research to understand consumer needs, and to create food and beverage concepts and products to meet consumer needs and demand.





the industry’s need for risk assessment data and human capital development. The lab is designed as a biosafety level 2 (BSL-2) facility and will meet biocontainment precautions required to handle foodborne pathogens.

equipment such as gas chromatographs, high pressure liquid chromatographs, and many other types of sensitive equipment used to analyze food and beverage products for such things as flavor profiles.




LAB Utilizes science to

Supports new food and beverage product development, and includes systems for determining nutrient levels, such as fatty acid profiles, and nutrient analysis, including products made through new processing techniques including high pressure (HPP), as required for nutrition labels.

evaluate the value of food and nutrition on the physiological parameters related to health and wellbeing.


To learn more about these labs

Culinary Lab will be built on the ground floor of the new building, in the center of campus next to the main thoroughfare, so every student can see their peers preparing new food products and

or to make a donation, contact:



Provides flexible support to a variety of animal research studies, from animal behavior, to ICSI and human disease.

Russ Kabaker, Assistant Dean of Advancement and External Relations 805-756-6601

THE BOSWELL AG TECH CENTER To continue to meet the world’s growing demands for agricultural innovation and food production, Cal Poly must continue to provide cutting-edge learning opportunities for tomorrow’s leaders. Thanks to a generous donation by the James G. Boswell Foundation, we have begun to envision this future: The Boswell Ag Tech Center. The Boswell Ag Tech Center will feature large and small laboratories to conduct teaching and applied undergraduate research in areas crossing the agricultural spectrum. The center will also include a sensory sciences complex to support food and beverage product development and evaluation. CREATING FUTURE GENERATIONS OF AGRICULTURAL INNOVATORS

Centrally located in the heart of campus, the center will foster a community of students, faculty and industry experts eager to share in the process of Learn by Doing scientific discovery. The building will serve as a hub for communities to gather and learn — from the campus to industry leaders and partners all coming together to push forward the state’s agricultural landscape for the benefit of our students, our state and our nation.




Meet three College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences students. All are ambitious, hard-working and members of the Cal Poly Scholars program.

Cal Poly Scholars


Armando Nevarez wants to be an agricultural engineer or teacher. Eden Peterson and Justin Kwan aspire to be veterinarians.

Words cannot

express how grateful I am. Receiving this

scholarship was such a blessing for me and my family. It is amazing to have

people support and invest in your future. It gives me that much more motivation to make the best out of my time here at Cal Poly. Eden Peterson


The students were selected from partner high schools, located throughout California, that have a high percentage of low-income, first-generation families. They were selected to participate in the Cal Poly Scholars program – a universitywide concept that provides scholarship funding for up to five years, as well as workshops, centralized on-campus housing for two years, concentrated academic counseling and other academic support tools. “These students are coming from more diverse backgrounds and they are going to have needs that require more than simply giving them a scholarship,” said Natalie Schaefer, executive director of the Cal Poly Scholars program.

Dedicated to Success The program launched at Cal Poly in 2012 under President Jeffrey D. Armstrong’s mission to diversify the incoming Cal Poly population to better reflect California’s population. It has been expanding each year to include more colleges on campus and more students. Eighty percent of the students in the Cal Poly Scholar Program are low-income, compared to 16 percent of the Cal Poly student population, said Virginia McMunn, coordinator. Sixty-five percent of them are first-generation students, compared to 18 percent of the Cal Poly student population.

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“These demographics tell us that some students will be away from their families for the first time. Or they may not feel that the diversity on campus represents them. Some of them will struggle with imposter syndrome, feeling that they don’t belong here – but they do,” said McMunn. “Those are the things we are combatting.” This is the first year that the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences has secured funding, which comes from a blend of designated college funds and donor contributions, to participate. Loretta Stagnitto and Ron Ricci, parents to a third-year plant science major, are the first donors to spearhead the program in the college. “We are inclined to give toward education,” said Stagnitto. “We wanted to contribute directly to a student’s education – and this program makes it very feasible to do that. If we can impact even just one student through this program, we will have accomplished what we set out to do.” Ricci said that he considers education to be one of the greatest equalizers in life, as it predicts success. Cal Poly was a natural choice to donate to, he said. “We are passionate about the future of food production and agriculture and Cal Poly are synonymous,” said Ricci. “We dream of empowering someone to achieve their dreams at a school that will leave them inspired to change the world.”

Animal science major Eden Peterson, 18, has always known that she wanted to attend college and that she would one day work with animals. “Ever since I was a little kid I’ve known I wanted to work with animals,” she said. Her parents didn’t attend college, but her grandparents did. In fact, they attended Cal Poly. Peterson, who is from nearby Paso Robles, chose Cal Poly because of its animal science program, but also because she felt more comfortable being closer to home. “The Cal Poly Scholars program has been amazing,” said Peterson. “It’s great to come to college and already have a support system of advisors and mentors set up.” Peterson was paired with an academic advisor and a program mentor. “Thanks to them and the support of this program, college feels a lot more manageable,” she said. Peterson said that no matter what, she would have found a way to attend college. However, the scholarships she received helped reduce the burden. “Words cannot express how grateful I am. Receiving this scholarship was such a blessing for me and my family,” said Peterson. “It is amazing to have people support and invest in your future. It gives me that much more motivation to make the best out of my time here at Cal Poly and succeed.”

Bioresource and agricultural engineering major Armando Nevarez, 18, is a first-generation college student from Imperial, Calif. His father, a farm laborer charged with irrigating multiple fields, always cautioned his son that it was back-breaking work and that he should pursue another path. Regardless, he found himself drawn to agriculture in high school, after taking an agricultural mechanics course and joining FFA. He was hooked. “By the time I entered my senior year, I was dead set on majoring in agricultural engineering as it combined both of my interests — engineering and agriculture — into a neat bundle,” said Nevarez. He said he was naturally drawn to Cal Poly because of its Learn by Doing mission. “I was able to find great success in high school because I chose classes that embodied this motto. I knew a university that shares this same principal is right for me.” Nevarez is now a member of the Cal Poly Agricultural Engineering Society, Agricultural Ambassadors, Latinos in Agriculture, and the Quarter Scale and Tractor Pull clubs. “I am extremely grateful for the Cal Poly Scholars program,” he said. “Aside from the financial benefits, the program strives to help its students excel. I hope to be able to better navigate through my courses so that I may succeed, and the Cal Poly Scholars program offers me that opportunity.”

Animal science major Justin Kwan, 20, started his college journey enrolled in computer engineering courses, at his parents beckoning. “In the back of my head, I knew if I ever felt unsatisfied with this major, I could switch over to Animal Science and pursue veterinary medicine at any time,” said Kwan. After a quarter of taking computer engineering courses, he decided to pursue his true passion. Both he and his brother are first-generation students. “Being a first-generation student had a significant impact on my decision to go to college. Both of my parents did not have enough money to attend college because of their large family and social status,” said Kwan. “Their stories of hardship gave me the motivation to attend college, graduate, and make a lot of money from my career. All in all, my main reason to attend college is to make my parents proud and to make their countless efforts to keep me healthy and happy not go unnoticed.” The Cal Poly Scholars program has helped alleviate some of the financial burden of student loans that Kwan would have to rely on. “Coming from a lower-middle-class family, financially, my family and I are unable to pay for all the college expenses,” he said. “In addition, Cal Poly Scholars has provided me many resources that have helped me in my college development both as a person and as a student.” Kwan hopes to attend graduate school at UC Davis to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine. “Without Cal Poly Scholars, I truly believe I would not be as successful in my college career as I am today,” Kwan said.




The Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration Department changed its name to the Experience Industry Management Department — making it the first of its kind in California.


The new department name encompasses the national shift that blends tourism, travel, experiences, social media, travel platforms, sustainability, food, wine, culinary arts, culture, sports, outdoor recreation, conventions and meetings, and events. A Q&A with Department Head Bill Hendricks explains the need for change.

Q: What is experience industry management? A: Think of going to a park, a restaurant, a concert, a convention, a hotel, a winery, or a college football game. The planning, facilitation and management of that experience, all done behind-the-scenes, ultimately effects the outcome of how someone engages with a brand and an organization. In a nutshell, experience industry management encompasses all facets of the experience industry with an emphasis on developing leaders. We are focused on preparing the industry leaders, not just the direct providers of an experience.

Q: Why was it important to shift the department in this direction now? A: Our discipline is broadening and changing rapidly. In addition, over the past two decades student interests have changed significantly. We have always been a step ahead of most academic programs in the realm of event planning. With the explicit incorporation of experience industry management, we will stay at the forefront of the provision of experiences for individuals and communities that impact quality of life and economic development through structured programs, events and experiences. 9

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Q: What are the department’s goals in the next five years? A: Foremost is restructuring curriculum to remain

cutting-edge, including an expanded emphasis on hospitality, event planning, sport management, and destination management. Plans to increase collaboration with other Cal Poly departments, including Wine and Viticulture and Food Science and Nutrition, are also in place.

Q: What are some of the industry partners that students seek jobs from? A: Event and brand marketing corporations such as George P. Johnson, 360 Destination Group and AlliedPRA; hospitality partners such as the Seacrest Oceanfront Hotel and the Cliffs Resort in Pismo Beach; sports management jobs with the San Jose Earthquakes and the San Francisco 49ers; the California State Parks; and global technology companies such as Google and Salesforce.

Q: What is one thing that might surprise most people about the EIM department? A: It is a discipline grounded in social science with theories, concepts, research, and foundations that are the same as any discipline. It is critical to most people’s daily lives and the inclusion of social equity in our communities. EIM graduates are the professionals who provide individuals the opportunity for healthy lifestyles, memorable places, and life-enhancing experiences — those moments that we all live for.


Rooted in Our History


BY L AU RA SO RV E TT I | University Archives

In the spring of 1913, to celebrate the end of the 10th year of instruction at the California Polytechnic School, the students and staff orchestrated a three-day decennial celebration to coincide with the commencement of the Class of 1913. The anniversary celebrations included exhibits of the school equipment and schoolwork, the Annual Farmers Picnic, alumni meetings, and a historical pageant, where students acted out the history of California. At the conclusion of the pageant, students led a series of floats demonstrating the work done in the school’s three departments: Household Arts, Mechanics, and Agriculture. The culmination of the events was the evening graduation exercises, celebrating the 26 graduating seniors who completed the three-year curriculum offered by the school. The students (outfitted in their white creamery uniforms) pictured on the agricultural float were enrolled in the school’s agricultural program, which was first outlined

in Cal Poly’s 1901 Establishing Act. The act stated “the purpose of the school is to furnish to young people of both sexes mental and manual training in the arts and sciences, including agriculture, mechanics, engineering, business methods, domestic economy, and such other branches as will fit the student for non-professional walks of life.”

Photo Courtesy of University Archives

Courses listed in the 1913 catalog for students in agriculture included plant propagation, farm mechanics and carpentry, animal husbandry, agronomy, agricultural physics, and dairy courses. On-campus facilities included a creamery “in daily operation,” dairy barn and silo, greenhouses, incubator cellar, swine houses, and poultry houses that covered the 311 acres of farm and grounds. Special Collections and Archives collects, preserves, and provides access to materials of enduring historic value, including the University Archives.




Tradition, pride and reverence for Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences has led multiple generations of families to attend the program. Each experience is unique and becomes woven into the fabric of both family and college.

family tradition


Jana Colombini, 21, wearing a red “Made in the CSU” t-shirt, sits with a natural confidence behind her desk at the university union. The new Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) president is ready to take the helm and continue a long family history of service to Cal Poly. She is the seventh member of her family to attend Cal Poly and the second Colombini to be elected as ASI president; her brother Jason, a recent agricultural business graduate who is now pursuing a master’s degree in public policy, held the seat four years ago. The siblings are the only family members to have shared the title in the last six decades. The fourth-year agricultural science major will spend her senior year representing the more than 20,000 students at Cal Poly, serving as a conduit between students and administration. She will also be tasked with helping facilitate a better relationship with the San Luis Obispo community. “It’s my job to be the face of the ASI and to make sure that students’ voices are not only heard but listened to by administrators on the issues that they are passionate about,” said Colombini. “The community angle is the


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harder one, as students are not always seen in a positive light. Having roots in Cal Poly, it hurts me when others talk negatively about it. I want to change that.”

My grandfather

Family Tradition The Colombinis’ connection to Cal Poly dates back three generations, starting with their grandfather, who attended in the late 1940s; followed later by their uncle Jerry, and their father, Jay, and his twin brother, Jeff, who both majored in agricultural business. Hailing from the small town of Linden, Calif., the family is deeply rooted in agriculture and has farmed walnuts and other crops for decades. It all began in 1934 when their great-grandfather emigrated from Northern Italy and purchased 15 acres east of Stockton, Calif. Their grandfather later purchased the farm next door and raised four sons – all working the land. The farm remains in the family. “The family are all deeply rooted in agriculture to this day,” said Jana Colombini.

passed away when I was young, but Cal Poly has been able to provide a link to him, an ability to learn about who he was, that I’m very grateful for. Jason Colombini

she has always embraced. She said her perseverance also stems from her agricultural background. She is the 24th ASI president from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. “A lot of us grew up on farms and understand that if you want to achieve something, you have to work for it. Agriculture is one of the only industries that have youth programs that start you at a young age in leadership roles and public speaking,” she said. “It’s also a theme in the college to be involved. Whether you are in a leadership position or not, you still give your all to the organization. It is the root of your education — you learn so much more outside the classroom.”

In 1990, her father, who also serves as executive vice president of Farmers and Merchants Bank, bought about 60 acres in Linden to farm walnuts. The farm has now expanded to more than 175 acres. Her uncle Jeff Colombini was named the 2013 Grower of the Year by the Good Fruit Grower’s Advisory Board. He is an owner – along with a management team – and president of Lodi Farming, which farms more than 1,800 acres of fruit trees, grapes and more. Jana Colombini said that growing up in a small, rural farm town led her to use creativity and innovation to create her own adventure. “In a town of 1,700 people, everyone knows everyone,” she said. “Our 200-acre walnut orchard was my playground – it was an amazing place to grow up.” For both Jana and Jason, the trajectory to Cal Poly was somewhat imminent. “I grew up coming to Cal Poly during Open House every year,” said Jana. “We would vacation nearby. After coming here so many times, you can’t help but fall in love with it.” Jana eventually wants to return to

Linden High School to teach agriculture, something she was inspired to do from a young age while participating in 4H and FFA programs. In the meantime, she plans to give Cal Poly her all. She and her brother will make another lasting family memory in the spring when they both don caps and gowns and graduate onto their next experiences. The memories they have built at Cal Poly will be added to decades of treasured family remembrances. “After my grandparents passed away, we found a box in their garage with all my grandfather’s school memorabilia – from catalogues to schedules and even a pennant and his graduation program,” said Jason. “My grandfather passed away when I was young, but Cal Poly has been able to provide a link to him, an ability to learn about who he was, that I’m very grateful for.”

Giving Back Jana admits that a friendly element of sibling rivalry has made her more competitive at times, but ultimately her desire to lead is an innate quality

Jason said that he is incredibly proud of his sister. “I know firsthand how much you learn and change by being ASI President, so there’s a lot more in store for her this year,” he said. It runs in the family. Their dad served as a committee chair on the ASI Senate, now known as the ASI Board of Directors, when he attended Cal Poly.

Learn by Doing is not something that you can get elsewhere. I want to make good, thoughtful decisions that will have a positive impact for my kids

After Jason completes his master’s program, he will return to the family farm in Linden to work. He also plans to one day pursue public office.

fourth generation

In the meantime, the siblings continue to give back.

believe that when

“Cal Poly provided my family with many skills, connections, friends and a high quality education,” said Jason. “I feel that we’ve always done what we can to give back to the university that’s given our family so much.” Jana agrees.

when they are students here. I my grandfather was here, he thought about that too. Jana Colombini

“I want to preserve what we do here,” she said. “Learn by Doing is not something that you can get elsewhere. I want to make good, thoughtful decisions that will have a positive impact for my kids when they are fourth generation students here. I believe that when my grandfather was here, he thought about that too.”




CAFES Inaugural Summer Undergraduate Research Program The college launched its inaugural 10-week Summer Undergraduate Research Program with more than 21 students participating in research on topics such as the “Effect of the Timing of Cluster Thinning in Pinot Noir” to “Determining the Impact of the ‘Ripple Effect’ in Team Work on Individual Information Literacy.” The college-sponsored program, aimed at undergraduate students with outstanding academic potential, was intended to give students the opportunity to have an immersive, hands-on research experience during the summer which might not be possible during the school year.

way to improve meat processing efficiency, quality and tenderness, as well as product safety, when chilling broiler carcasses such as chickens and other fowl in cold saline. Additional research was aimed at saving water throughout the process and reducing waste management and operational costs.

Participating students earned a $2,500 stipend, enabling them to intimately focus on academic research in their fields of study. They were required to spend up to 20 hours a week on research, under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Library, laboratory and field work culminated with a well-attended, opento-the-public symposium presenting the results of the varied projects.

Students Jim Young, a food science major, Luke Nora, studying industrial engineering, and Natalie Tse, an animal science major, all participated in the research. Graduate and postdoctoral students Morgan Metheny and Hongchul Lee also assisted.

Animal Science Professor Ike Kang, who came to Cal Poly in January from Michigan State University, and a team of students researched a revolutionary


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Kang is now in the first stages of seeking a patent related to the advanced technology. Animal Science Professor Darin Bennett and Agribusiness Professor Sean Hurley will be listed as co-principal investigators on the patent.

Ultimately, the formula that Kang and his students developed will reduce the amount of time a chicken carcass must chill by half and more than double the tenderness of the meat. The research, funded by the California State University Agricultural Research Institute and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, combined with funding by the Summer Undergraduate Research Program, allowed students an opportunity to do groundbreaking research while working in an industry setting at Foster Farms. Kang’s research will not end there – he hopes to recruit additional students to do further study into safety conditions related to minimizing bacteria and cross contamination throughout the chilling process. “We need more good research scientists,” said Kang. “This was a good program to guide them and provide an opportunity to conduct actual research. This teaches students to pursue concepts that are not common and are not unique – opening their eyes to new approaches in the industries they will enter. ”

For a full list of projects, please visit us online:



1 SLO COWnty Brands: This cow brings to life San Luis Obispo County’s iconic cattle brands, including the college’s own Bar P. In true Learn by Doing fashion, fourth-year agricultural communications student Annierose Seifert designed and painted the cow to reflect her interpretation of Western and agricultural lifestyles.

2 See Cow Do:

Cow Parade


The Experience Industry Management (formerly the Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration) Department’s cow, painted by local artist Deprise Brescia, reflects California’s iconic travel destinations and brings to life Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing mission, as well as the department’s tagline, Live | Protect | Explore.

3 Legends of Cow Poly:

The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences joined San Luis Obispo County’s largest public art display and charity benefit, CowParade San Luis Obispo County, with four cows uniquely designed to highlight the Cal Poly legacy of Learn by Doing.

Cal Poly’s esteemed Learn by Doing dairy science program has graduated generations of California dairy industry leaders. The artist pays homage to the hands-on learning principal that contributed to their success.

The Cal Poly herd will be on public display at various locations on campus through May 2017. Several of the cows will then be auctioned off, with the money donated to specific Cal Poly departments and programs.

4 Micow Distillery: 3


Designed by sculptor Bouba Boumaiz and sponsored by a College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences class of 2020 parent, this cow is a well-riveted and well-grounded cow that uses methane to fuel an internal steam engine. The cow highlights CAFES’ fermentation sciences program, currently under development.




Salmonson Gift


Cal Poly alumnus John Salmonson has deep roots at Cal Poly and a long history of giving back to his alma mater. “Cal Poly did me well, and we are giving back to what we feel led to a very successful life for us,” said Salmonson. He recently pledged $50,000 — which was matched by Brandt Consolidated, one of the nation’s largest agriculture-related firms — to create a $100,000 scholarship for students in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. Salmonson earned a bachelor’s degree in crop science from Cal Poly in 1967 and went on to found Monterey AgResources in Fresno. After four decades at the helm, Salmonson sold the business to Brandt Consolidated in 2009.

Cal Poly did me well, and we are giving back to what we feel led to a very successful life for us.

“They wanted to have a big retirement party,” said Salmonson, who remains involved at the company as a consultant. “But I told them, I didn’t really need a party.” So instead, Brandt’s Chief Marketing Officer Karl Barnhart, who knew of Salmonson’s affinity for Cal Poly, made him a deal he couldn’t refuse. The company offered to create a $50,000 scholarship in his honor. Salmonson and his wife Carol matched the amount. The scholarship, titled the “John and Carol Salmonson Scholarship for Excellence in Agriculture,” will be awarded to two students annually for five years. Selected students will receive nearly $10,000. Students with an interest in becoming a pest control advisor are encouraged to apply, but the scholarship is open to all sophomores with good academic standing.

John Salmonson

Salmonson is a member of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council and serves on the Cal Poly Foundation Board. In 2011, he was named the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Honored Alumnus. “This won’t be our last gift to Cal Poly,” said Salmonson.


FALL 2016

Noteworthy Partner of the Year Cal Poly’s Irrigation Training and Research Center (ITRC) has been named “Partner of the Year” by the national Irrigation Association in recognition of the center’s contributions to irrigation and long-standing support of the Irrigation Association. Nominated by irrigation industry members, the ITRC will be honored at the Irrigation Association’s annual convention and trade show Dec. 6 in Las Vegas, Nev. The center is being recognized for contributions that include the high caliber of Cal Poly graduates who gain work experience through the center and for the technical assistance and training it provides to the irrigation industry.

Dairy Cattle Judging Contest The two Cal Poly Dairy Judging teams secured both second and fourth place at the 23rd Annual Accelerated Genetics Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest in Viroqua, Wis. The first team, comprised of Tony Lopes, Caitlin Lopes, Matt Ruby, and Amber LaSalle, placed second overall out of 16 teams competing from colleges in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, California and Wisconsin. The junior team, comprised of Elise Regusci, Elizabeth Regusci, Alex Gambonini, and Annalicia Luis, placed fourth overall.

First Place The Cal Poly Floral Design Team earned first place at the Floral Designer’s 2016 Symposium held July 2 to 3 in Anaheim, Calif. Cal Poly students also took top honors in several individual categories at the AIFD (American Institute of Floral Designers) Symposium and Student Floral Design Competition. In all, 11 colleges, including Texas A&M and Missouri State University, and 52 contestants took part in the national competition.



Animal Science Professor Rodrigo ManjarĂ­n designed the three-hour studio-lab

Students enrolled in a required 10-week anatomy and physiology course get a hands-on anatomy experience using 14 skeletons of various animal species including an ostrich, horse, cow, pig, cat, dog and rat.

The laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art threedimensional computer programming, a webcam and projector to demonstrate dissections and multiple screens throughout the laboratory for added student engagement.

Teams of students work to identify and label each bone, as well as use yarn to make three-dimensional skeletons that include muscle mass.

Donor funding from a Learn by Doing Endowment was used to equip the room with high-tech, specialized computer screens enabling three-dimensional capability.

to engage students at a higher-level and push them to excel at research.

California Polytechnic State University 1 Grand Avenue San Luis Obispo, California 93407-0250

Fresh(men) Start

In Fall 2016, 837 freshmen and 167 transfer students enrolled in Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.