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Endless Opportunities One of the many great joys of my job is having a frontrow seat to the future. The many achievements of our students this year provides a glimpse into the success they’ll have in their careers. And every day I see faculty, staff and students working together in discovery – conducting applied research, finding solutions to problems and fueling passions that will last a lifetime.


In our cover story, we share how several of our faculty are developing breakthrough solutions to global issues, and providing students the opportunity to work alongside them to gain practical and invaluable experience. Throughout the summer, the students and faculty participating in the college’s second annual Summer Undergraduate Research Program will also work together to advance the issues facing the agriculture, food and environmental science industries. They will spend significant hours over the summer in the college’s various labs, production facilities and fields, seeking solutions. All of this underscores our critical need for improved facilities to ensure students and faculty alike are able to discover in environments similar to industry, with the most current technology and equipment. Our key priorities continue to be the J.G. Boswell Agricultural Technology Center, housed within the Science and Agriculture Teaching and Research Complex, Center for Wine and Viticulture, and Plant Sciences Complex. We are grateful for your partnership in this endeavor. Your support, both financial and otherwise, makes the future one of endless opportunities. Please don’t hesitate to contact me should you have any questions. My door is always open. Warmest regards,




Q&A ————


THEN & NOW ————







CULTIVATE is published for alumni and friends by the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES). Dean’s Office 805-756-2161 Communications Team Haley Marconett 805-756-2933 AnnMarie Cornejo 805-756-2427

Publication Designer IE Design + Communications, Hermosa Beach, Calif. Printer ColorGraphics, Los Angeles, Calif. Staff Photographer Mady Braught Andrew J. Thulin | Dean

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Summer Undergraduate Research Program The college’s 10-week Summer Undergraduate Research Program will continue in June with more than 69 students and 41 faculty participating in research related to their majors, including agribusiness and experience industry management.

New Director of Facilities Named Michelle Swanitz, who attended Cal Poly, has been named the director of facilities for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Complex. Swanitz, who has more than 25 years of experience in architecture, planning and project management, will oversee the college’s new building projects, including the J.G. Boswell Agricultural Technology Center, housed within the Science and Agriculture Teaching and Research Complex; the Fermentation Sciences Institute and its Center for Wine and Viticulture; and the Plant Sciences Complex. She will directly manage the college’s day-to-day new construction and renovation projects. Swanitz studied architecture at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental design from UC Davis.

The college-sponsored program, aimed at undergraduate students with outstanding academic potential, was launched in the summer of 2016 as a way 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. The program will kick off with a workshop on June 26 and culminate Aug. 31 with a poster presentation and reception. Projects include measuring the soil moisture retention characteristic of San Luis Obispo County hill slope soils for groundwater recharging and studying the anaerobic digestion of olive pomace for the production of biofuel. Participating students earn a $2,500 stipend, enabling them to intimately focus on academic research in their fields of study. In return, students spend up to 40 hours a week on research, under the guidance of a faculty mentor. The program will culminate with an open-to-the-public poster session, where students will present the results of their projects.


The Mixing Bowl: Ag Innovation Showcase, Mountainview


Salinas Rodeo Alumni Mixer

SEPT. 14

Fall Quarter Classes Begin

OCT. 20

PMA Fresh CAFES Alumni and Friends Reception, New Orleans



Bakersfield and Sacramento Alumni and Friends Events CAFES.CALPOLY.EDU



Plant Sciences Complex Facilities Greenhouses

Plant Sciences Complex Located at one of the entrances to campus on approximately 5.5 acres next to Cal Poly’s plant production fields, the Plant Sciences Complex will be comprised of a learning center to support various crops, soil health, organic growing and managed environment production. The complex — one of several key capital projects underway in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences — will emphasize synergy among many of the college’s nine departments and industry partners. It will include support for teaching and applied innovation in soil health, water and air quality, plant growing, harvesting and processing, and food safety, as well as a site for automation and systems testing. Programming is currently underway and being led by key faculty and staff from across the college, as well as industry leaders. Functionality will serve many of the college’s departments, including BioResource and Agricultural Engineering, Food Science and Nutrition, Horticulture and Crop Science, Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences, and Wine and Viticulture, as well as Cal Poly’s Strawberry Center and Center for Sustainability. The Complex will also include space to foster collaboration between industry partners and Cal Poly students, faculty and staff. Throughout the programming process, input and ideation is being sought from faculty, students, staff and industry experts. Leaders from the college are also visiting state-of-the-art facilities throughout the country to learn best practices. To learn more, contact: Russ Kabaker Assistant Dean of Advancement and External Relations; 805-756-6601

Key Capital Projects


J.G. Boswell Agricultural Technology Center, Housed Within The Science and Agriculture Teaching and Research Complex

Plant Sciences Complex

Center For Wine and Viticulture, and Fermentation Sciences Complex

Oppenheimer Events Center


Equestrian Pavilions Animal Health Center

Controlled-environment greenhouses representative of current state-of-the-art systems so students can experience the current technologies used by industry for plant production.

Fruit and Vegetable Processing Facility The site will include a processing facility for fruits and vegetables grown on and off campus by Cal Poly students. Processing lines will include automated cull detection and grading equipment, and cleaning, sorting and packing systems to accommodate both conventional and organic processing.

Research Labs This facility will support teaching and research in the burgeoning area of the soil, water, air and plant interface, accommodating teaching and research from several disciplines.

Storage Facility The complex will include a facility to store pesticides and controlled products, as well as farming equipment that is sensitive to the elements.

Farm Market The building currently located at Highland Drive and Mount Bishop Road will be retained and converted into a Farm Market where all student-produced agricultural products made on campus can be sold in one place. This will include dairy, meat, eggs, processed food products (jams, chocolate, BBQ sauces, etc.), fruits and vegetables, ornamental plants, a tasting room for Cal Poly produced wine, beer and spirits, and a dairy bar to serve ice cream products.



Natural Trailblazer


Alumna Yvonne Sams’ (Agricultural Engineering Technology, ’95) path to where she is today as the director of logistics of G3 Enterprises, working with wineries on transportation, warehousing and distribution services, has been defined by a series of firsts. A first-generation college student from Watsonville, California, she attended Cal Poly determined to pursue a path in engineering. “I come from a fairly traditional Mexican family and for a woman to go away to college was a big deal,” Sams said. She was the first of 33 cousins to go away to college. Sams quickly fell under the wing of Agricultural Communications Department Head Robert Flores, and under his guidance helped to reestablish the Latinos in Agriculture Club — which is still active today. She was also the first woman to major in agricultural engineering technology at Cal Poly. Despite naysayers who voiced concern that a woman would struggle in the then typically male-dominated major, Sams spent her college years learning to weld, mill, lathe, rebuild engines, build trailers and master the technology behind complex agricultural systems – as the only woman in each of her classes. She was determined to succeed and graduate with the degree that she set out to obtain. Five years later, she did. “At the time, I really didn’t think it was such a big deal,” said Sams. However, 20 years later, Sams found herself transcending a similar barrier when she pursued a job heading the agricultural arm of logistics at G3. Located in Modesto, California, G3 Enterprises is owned by the third generation of the Gallo family and provides creative, integrated solutions for beverage and ag industry partners with packaging products and supply chain services. Until then, the position had always been run by men, she said. “I doubled the business in five years and I’m on the road to doubling it again,” Sams said. Her loyalty to Cal Poly remains strong, with Sams

You can do anything you put your mind to, there are only mental barriers. Just because someone tells you that you can’t do something, doesn’t mean that serving as an advisory board member for the BioResource and Agricultural Engineering Department and as a Cal Poly alumni advisory board member representing the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. She frequently hires Cal Poly students as interns to do harvest and billing and systems work because she believes in the college’s Learn by Doing philosophy. She and her husband of 19 years, Brad Sams (Food Science, ’95) and three children Bianca, Ashley and Brent, live in Oakdale, California. The couple met at Cal Poly through Greek Week activities.

you shouldn’t. Yvonne Sams

“I never intended to lead the way or to be the first at these things,” she said. “I did it out of necessity. You can do anything you put your mind to, there are only mental barriers. Just because someone tells you that you can’t do something, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t.” CAFES.CALPOLY.EDU



Meet Our New Faculty

Greg Brown

Michael La Frano

Jeta Rudi

Johan Ubbink

Department: Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences

Department: Food Science and Nutrition

Department: Agribusiness

Department: Food Science and Nutrition

Area of Specialty: Public participation for environmental planning and management Education: Ph.D. in environmental planning and policy, University of Idaho Hometown: San Francisco What book are you currently reading? “The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America” by Timothy Egan

Area of Specialty: Lipid mediators and metabolomics Education: Ph.D. in nutritional biology, University of California, Davis Hometown: Fullerton, California What book are you currently reading? “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi

Area of Specialty: Food choices and food safety Education: Ph.D. in applied economics, University of Minnesota Hometown: Gjakova, Kosovo What book are you currently reading? “The Book of My Lives” by Aleksandar Hemon

Peter Livingston

Cristina Lazcano

Department: Horticulture and Crop Science

Department: BioResource and Agricultural Engineering

Area of Specialty: Landscape horticulture

Area of Specialty: Agricultural and water resources engineering

Department: Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences

Education: Ph.D. in landscape horticulture, Penn State

Education: Ph.D. in biosystems engineering, University of Arizona

What book are you currently reading? “On the Origins of War: and the Preservation of Peace” by Donald Kagan



Hometown: Tucson, Arizona What book are you currently reading? “Kilrone” by Louis L’Amour

Education: Ph.D. in chemical engineering and materials science, Delft University, Delft, Netherlands Hometown: Groningen, The Netherlands What book are you currently reading? “Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States” by Michael Lind

Margaret Hoffman

Hometown: Minneapolis

Area of Specialty: Food physical chemistry and food functionality

Area of Specialty: Sustainable soil management Education: Ph.D. in soil ecology, University of Vigo, Spain Hometown: Ourense in Galicia, Spain What book are you currently reading? “Purity” by Jonathan Franzen


Professor Stephanie Jung, originally of France, joined the Food Science and Nutrition Department from Iowa State. She is one of the leading researchers in using high pressure processing in food production.

What role do food processing technologies play in feeding the world’s growing population? A: Food science and technology are needed to meet the growing needs of enhanced food security in developing countries, and solutions to complex diet and health challenges in industrialized countries. Every year, more than one-third of the food produced worldwide is wasted. I strongly believe that food scientists, in addition to further improving food safety and innovations for the development of nutritious food, will play a key role in helping the food industry to reduce both food waste and the associated water and energy resources.

What is high pressure processing and how is it used to increase food safety? A: High pressure processing (HPP), known as “cold pasteurization,” is a clean, natural, environmentally-friendly post-packaging, non-thermal pasteurization method that uses a high-pressure treatment to kill potentially harmful pathogens, such as listeria, E. coli, and Salmonella, and extend the shelf-life of foods by controlling microorganisms that cause it to spoil. The flavor and nutritional characteristics of the treated products remain unaltered if proper processing conditions are applied. Consumers’ request for natural, chemical-preservative free products is one of the main drivers of HPP and this trend will more than likely continue to be a top consumer priority in the future. A technology like HPP, because it allows an extension of the food shelf-life, directly leads to less waste by consumers.

What is the future of high pressure processing at Cal Poly? A: Cal Poly has the potential to be the scientific platform in California, to support the food industry in developing healthy foods that are safe and contain the attributes and nutritional quality expected by today’s consumers. Food processing is a $52 billion industry and Cal Poly has talented scientists in all the areas involved in HPP, from food science and nutrition to packaging and engineering — we can be a major player in supporting the food industry with the scientific knowledge needed to help develop food products that are pressurized. I have no doubt that this technology will help prepare Cal Poly students for future industry demands. The addition of high pressure processing capability at Cal Poly will enable students and researchers to work closely with the food industry in developing the innovative, safe and nutritious food products of tomorrow.





Springtime brings new life to Cal Poly.




I Rooted in Our History BY LA U R A S O RVE TT I | University Archives

Seventy-five years ago, in 1942, the first baccalaureate degrees were awarded at a Cal Poly commencement. Cal Poly had granted vocational certificates to graduates since 1906, but it wasn’t until 1940 that the State Board of Education permitted the university to offer a four-year course of instruction granting bachelor of science degrees in 12 departments within the agriculture and industrial programs. The first graduates, who had completed prior courses, would complete the program by spring of 1942. The first 26 bachelor of science degrees were awarded on a Friday evening on May 29,1942. Twenty-five students graduated from agriculture programs and one student graduated from the industrial program. Another 26 graduates received a technical or vocational diploma. World War II reduced attendance at the graduation ceremony – a national defense bond sale was held the same evening in San Luis Obispo and a tire shortage restricted travel throughout the state. Because

of the war, enrollment dropped by 17 percent. Many students dropped out to work or manage family businesses, while others were drafted or enlisted. The industrial students were the most impacted, recruited into branches of the Army and Navy. In addition, several students were required to move to internment camps in the spring because of their Japanese ancestry. At the ceremony, Cal Poly President Julian McPhee and Walter F. Dexter, state superintendent of public instruction, awarded the graduates their diplomas. Los Angeles Superintendent of Schools Vierling Kersey gave the commencement address, titled “For the Minds of America,” while valedictorians of the graduating class spoke on the topic of the war. The Cal Poly Band provided the music, and the evening’s celebration concluded with the singing of the alma mater “All Hail Green and Gold,” a tradition that continues to this day.

Graduates receive their diplomas at Cal Poly’s first college commencement in 1942 from State Superintendent Walter F. Dexter, while President Julian McPhee (hand in pocket) announces the 26 names. Photo courtesy of University Archives.




Technology Fuels F Meeting the increasing demands of food production to feed an ever-growing world population, with fewer natural resources available to do so, necessitates advances in innovative technologies. Peter Livingston, head of Cal Poly’s BioResource and Agricultural Engineering Department, is working alongside his peers throughout the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, to produce food in unchartered ways – like growing produce in highly salinated water. One secret, he says, rests in the millions of tiny bubbles, invisible to the naked eye, that can be injected into water. Livingston and bioresource engineering lecturer Sara Kuwahara are keenly study8


ing the use of these ultra-fine bubbles, infused with oxygen, as a shield to protect a plant’s roots from the salt ions in saltwater.

college’s second annual Summer Undergraduate Research Program. First, they will study strawberries.

In theory, if they succeed, certain crops like lettuce could be grown in parts of the world such as the Arabian Gulf where water scarcity prevents sustainable food production.

“Strawberries are incredibly sensitive to salt,” said Livingston. “If we can make it happen with strawberries, then we can make it happen with many other crops.”

Livingston and Kuwahara will expand their research this summer with a team of undergraduate students during the

Small successes have kept both Livingston and Kuwahara excited about this research. In tests this spring, they were able to keep lettuce plants alive in water that


“A lot of countries do not like the idea of having to be dependent on another country to produce food and may be compelled to take it versus buying it,” said Livingston. “This is a way to provide food security to areas that will not otherwise be able to provide for themselves.”

Food was 20,000 parts per million sodium, three-quarters of the way to seawater in terms of saline content. California agriculturalists will benefit from the technology, said Livingston, as the past five years of drought conditions have caused saltwater intrusion throughout essential agricultural lands spanning the state. And salt water intrusion is not limited to California – it is a growing concern of nearly every other state in the U.S. as populations continue to grow, leading to the depletion of groundwater. Ultimately, Livingston sees the project as a way to combat food insecurity, which could bring peace to some nations that may otherwise be embroiled in future conflict over food and water shortages.

Kuwahara said she observed something similar in Singapore, where agricultural land is scarce. “They [Singaporeans] buy food from neighboring countries, but they don’t want to be dependent on that should a war break out,” she said. “If they can find a way to grow things in buildings using indoor aquaculture and hydroponics, then they can produce more of their own food and not worry about the stresses of the political climate.” “This is critical for the world because as its population continues to increase, so will the need for consistent food sources. We are headed toward a global food crisis,” said Livingston. “We no longer have the land needed to grow enough food to feed the world’s population, and with climate change and the recent drought we continue to have even less.” Livingston and Kuwahara’s push to use technology to end food insecurity has also led them to partner with Job Ubbink and Amy Lammert, department head and professor, respectively, in Cal Poly’s Food Science and Nutrition Department, on the formulation of algae protein-enriched foods. Their concept is to mass produce spirulina, a blue-green algae that is extremely high in protein and other essential nutrients, and make it into a flatbread or pasta product that can be used to help feed the large population of Syrian refugees, among other populations. Spirulina is commonly

referred to as a “superfood” because of its nutrient-rich composition, but has typically been used in supplement form. “Many Syrian refugees are only getting 50 percent of their daily recommended protein,” said Livingston. “Using a mass-produced, plant-based protein like spirulina will be more efficient in terms of water and energy usage than animal livestock.” Kuwahara said that growing conditions can dramatically alter the color of the spirulina – including reducing the chlorophyll to make it more color-neutral – allowing for a more visually appealing food product. In addition, a photo-bioreactor – a closed device used to cultivate microalgae – can be used on a large scale to produce spirulina continuously 12 months out of the year. Lammert is working with students to research and develop recipes to make the flatbread not just nutritionally optimal, but culturally acceptable as well. Livingston is seeking funding to pursue the study from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a nonprofit which aims to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation and partnerships critical to enhancing the production of food for a growing population.

This is a way to provide food security to areas that will not otherwise be able to provide for themselves. Peter Livingston

Livingston said that the proposed research will take place in the U.S. as well as in Turkey with local Syrian populations to ensure the product is culturally appropriate. He plans to partner with food scientists in Turkey, who know the regional cuisine, to ensure that the product will be readily consumed. “There are more than 2.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey alone,” said Livingston. “If we can use technology to do this for them, we can do it for the world.” CAFES.CALPOLY.EDU


The Cal Poly Soil Judging Team and its coaches are pictured (L to R) Coach Gordon Rees, students James Smith, Angus Chang, Taylor Cullum, Riley Haas and Adriana Delucchi; and assistant coach Kelly Carter.


Definition of success 1 a: degree or measure of succeeding b: satisfactory completion of something c: the gaining of wealth, respect or fame 2: a person or thing that succeeds



The team is pictured above at a community garden in Pixley, California. (L to R) Lluvia Santana, Micaela Wu, Jocelyn Swan, Sarah Miller, Amanda Silacci, Josephine Rodriguez, Allison Warren and Jose Martinez-Luna.

Armando Nevarez (second from the right) celebrates at the FFA State Conference in Fresno, California.

3 4




The dairy science students are (back row, L to R): Hank DeVries, Jack Vander Dussen, Nico Marsigli, and Professor Stan Henderson; and (front row, L to R): Alexandra Gambonini, Elisabeth Regusci, Elise Regusci, Hannah Neer, Brandon Almeida, and lecturer Rich Silacci. 10


(L to R) Professor Lindsey Higgins, and students James Broaddus, Caitlin Stevenson, Blair Brookes, Jenna Nichol, Molly Gilmartin, Eleanor Harlan, and Shane YoungGillard celebrate their first place win at the National Agri-Marketing Association competition.


(L to R) Professor Lindsey Hulbert of Kansas State University, Cal Poly animal science seniors Gabriella Hernandez and Tivon Brown, and Cal Poly Professor Rodrigo ManjarĂ­n at the American Society of Animal Sciences annual conference.


1 Soil Judging Team The Cal Poly Soil Judging Team won first place in the Region 6 Collegiate Soil Judging Competition held March 4 in Woodlake, California. The competition, sponsored by the American Society of Agronomy and the Soil Science Society of America, challenges students to describe, classify and interpret soils in the field in a competitive setting using standards established by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. The Cal Poly team took first place in group judging and first place overall. Awards were also given to the top six individuals at the competition, with four of the five team members placing in the top six. Environmental soil science senior Adriana Delucchi of Stockton, California, won first place overall in the individual competition. Environmental soil science senior Riley Haas of Morro Bay, California, placed fourth, environmental earth science senior Taylor Cullum of San Luis Obispo, California, placed fifth, and soil science senior Angus Chang of Davis, California, placed sixth.

2 Food Justice The inaugural cohort of students in the Cal Poly Food Justice Service Learning Project spent their spring break working with FoodLink for Tulare County, a nonprofit food bank that provides food and nutrition education to individuals and families throughout Tulare County. Six undergraduate students majoring in animal science, business, environmental management and protection, and nutrition spent the week learning about, and engaging in, food justice issues relevant to Central Valley families through hands-on service-learning at a number of sites including local schools, nonprofits, and Fresno State. First-year nutrition major Micaela Wu from Temple City, California, said the trip solidified her desire to seek a career in community-based nutrition outreach. “I learned how food injustice is ingrained with other issues such as racial discrimination and politics, and that you can’t solve one without focusing on the whole.“

3 AFA Student Advisory Animal science junior Sarah Dreyer,

of Exeter, California, was selected to serve on the Agriculture Future of America (AFA) Student Advisory Team. Dreyer and nine team members were selected through a competitive application process to serve as AFA’s student voice and represent their peers and their colleges on a national level. “I am excited to develop my own leadership skills and work with a team to achieve a common goal of advocating for the vast agricultural industry and encourage others to participate in the AFA organization,” Dreyer said. In addition to her involvement with AFA, Dreyer is active in the American Society of Animal Science Scholars, Cal Poly Agriculture Ambassadors, National FFA, Animal Science Student Advisory Council, California Farm Bureau Federation and the Young Cattlemen’s Committee.

design and implement the Made for Excellence and Advanced Leadership Conferences held to inspire agricultural students for future career opportunities. “FFA has given me a lot of direction in life,” Nevarez said. “Agricultural education doesn’t tell you what to do; it prepares you for what you want to do. Serving as an officer will strengthen my leadership skills and allow me to advocate for what I believe in.” The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences provides academic scholarships to California FFA State Officers to encourage their enrollment in a major within CAFES and honor their commitment to agriculture.


Cal Poly’s National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) Team won first place at this year’s student marketing competition hosted by the National Agri-Marketing Association. Cal Poly — which has taken first place three times in the last four years — competed against 28 other schools from the United States and Canada for the championship title April 26-27 in Dallas, Texas. The students developed a marketing strategy for creating a consumer product using grape pomace left over from the wine-making process. Cal Poly’s team included: James Broaddus, an agricultural communication sophomore from Davis, California; Blair Brookes, an agribusiness senior from Kelseyville, California; Molly Gilmartin, an agribusiness senior from Valencia, California; Eleanor Harlan, an agribusiness senior from Woodland, California; Jenna Nichol, an agribusiness junior from Cottonwood, California; and Shane Young-Gillard, an agribusiness senior from Atwater, California. “The team reached out to a wide network of industry contacts and Cal Poly alumni to conduct research and get feedback on their plan,” said Agribusiness Professor Lindsey Higgins, who coached the team. “We are grateful for the support that continues to provide our students first-hand exposure to real-time industry issues.”

Cal Poly Loggers The Cal Poly Loggers, an intercollegiate team of male and female students involved in traditional forestry field skills, won first place at the 78th annual Association of Western Forestry Clubs Logging Sports Conclave. In addition, bioresource and agricultural engineering sophomore Will Kraemer, of San Luis Obispo, California, emerged as the top male competitor, winning the title “Bull of the Woods.” The Cal Poly team competed April 19-23 at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, against 10 other universities and community colleges from throughout the West. The win marks the third time in the last four years that the Cal Poly Logging Team has taken first place. Cal Poly will host the 79th annual Association of Western Forestry Clubs Logging Sports Conclave in 2018.

5 FFA Treasurer Cal Poly freshman Armando Nevarez, a bioresorce and agricultural engineering major, was elected treasurer of the California FFA State Officer Team. He will serve alongside five colleagues in 2017-18, traveling the state and representing the organization. Nevarez, a firstgeneration college student from Holtville, California, will take a year off from his studies at Cal Poly to fulfill his duties as a state officer. Nevarez and the team will help make decisions that govern the state chapters and


7 Top Contenders Cal Poly dairy science students were among the top contenders at the Western Spring National Collegiate Dairy Judging Contest in Richmond, Utah. Cal Poly took two teams of students to the

competition, coached by dairy science lecturer Rich Silacci and assisted by Professor Stan Henderson. Ten teams from across the country competed, including teams from Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Modesto Junior College. Participants, working on four-person teams, judged 10 classes of Holstein cattle. Each contestant then gave an oral presentation (called reasons) defending their placings for five of those classes. The Cal Poly Gold Team — comprised of dairy science seniors Alexandra Gambonini of Petaluma, California and Hannah Neer of San Luis Obispo, California and dairy science juniors Elise Regusci and Elisabeth Regusci, both of Modesto, California — took first place overall and in placings and reasons. The Cal Poly Green Team — comprised of agribusiness freshman Nico Marsigli of Gustine, Calif., dairy science sophomore Jack Vander Dussen of Hanford, Calif., dairy science junior Hank DeVries of Buhl, Idaho, and dairy science freshman Brandon Almeida of Hilmar, Calif. — placed third in reasons and sixth overall.

8 Second Place American Society of Animal Science senior Gabriella Hernandez, of Chino Hills, California, won second place at the American Society of Animal Science’s Midwestern undergraduate student oral competition on March 14 in Omaha, Nebraska, for research related to using an activity monitor to track swine behavior. Two other animal science seniors, Tivon Brown, of Berkeley, California, and Yanisse Montano, of Visalia, California, also attended the conference and were invited to present during the oral competition. Animal Sciences Professor Rodrigo Manjarín advised the students. Brown presented on the influence of seminal additives on sow fertility. Montano presented on piglet creching decreasing protein content in colostrum. Hernandez and Manjarín collaborated with Kansas State University on their research, titled, “A Commercially Available Activity Monitor Attached to the Ear Tag Detects Swine Oral-Nasal-Facial Behaviors.” Hernandez plans to pursue a master’s degree at Cal Poly after graduation in the spring.




Making History



The 77th annual Poly Royal Rodeo made history in April, entertaining a sold-out crowd of supporters at Cal Poly’s Alex G. Spanos Stadium. The move to a larger venue put Cal Poly’s rodeo program on the map as the largest collegiate rodeo in the nation – captivating more than 12,000 spectators.

To watch a time-lapse video of the stadium’s conversion, visit

In less than 96 hours the stadium was converted from a football stadium to a rodeo arena and back again. The transformation included 1,500 sheets of plywood, 2,000 cubic yards of dirt and dozens of volunteers working through the night. In May, Cal Poly’s Poly Royal Rodeo was named the College Rodeo of the Year for the West Coast Region — a testament to the hard work and dedication demonstrated by the team, Coach Ben Londo and the program’s sponsors who worked tirelessly to make the move to Spanos Stadium a reality. The program’s new venue aligns with the momentum the program has seen in recent years under Londo’s leadership.

Mark and Mike Zohns (wearing Hawaiian leis) celebrating the launch of the Mark and Mike Zohns Out-of-the-Classroom Experiences Endowment with their families.



“The Cal Poly Rodeo program has been building momentum for the last three years,” Londo said. “It has always been a well-known program; now it’s on everybody’s radar. The caliber of our athletes continues to grow, and because of the continuous support of our sponsors, we will be able to give our students even more support in the coming years.”

To make gift or to learn more about the program, contact: Grant Kirkpatrick, senior director of development, 805-781-2173 or

Celebrating a Legacy Retired professors Mark and Mike Zohns, both recipients of Cal Poly’s Distinguished Teacher Award, dedicated a combined 65 years of teaching to Cal Poly in the BioResource and Agricultural Engineering, and Horticulture and Crop Science Departments, respectively. To honor their passion for teaching, the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences launched the Mark and Mike Zohns Out-of-the-Classroom Experiences Endowment. The fund will support future generations of students participating in experiential activities. More than 200 alumni, students, faculty and friends gathered during Open House weekend in April to celebrate the brothers’ contributions to Cal Poly, pledging more than $17,000 to the endowment. To donate, visit

Mark Zohns, who advised the Agricultural Engineering Society for all but one of his more than 30 years at Cal Poly, also co-advised the Tractor Pull Club. On April 8, he participated in the decommissioning of Poly Thunder – a longstanding competitive tractor built as a senior project in 1999 by Myles Anderson, Russ Angold and Bobby Pierce and used in competitions throughout the state for the last 18 years. In the past two decades, more than 100 Cal Poly students sat in the driver’s seat, participating in tractor pull competitions in front of a combined 450,000 spectators. Mustang Fever will be replaced with new tractor Mustang Legacy, which was debuted at Dixon May Fair in Dixon, California, taking first place on its maiden run.


Plant Pathology Lab Physiology and Genomics Lab Soil, Water and Air Lab

Food Safety Teaching and Research Lab

Culinary Lab

Food, Nutrition and Metabolism Research Lab

Health and Product Development Performance Lab Lab Animal Physiology Lab

Sensory Analysis Lab

Food and Beverage Analytics Lab

J.G. BOSWELL AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY CENTER housed within The Science & Agriculture Teaching and Research Complex

The college’s continual pursuit of excellence and focus on applied research in agriculture, food and environmental sciences requires providing its students with the most dynamic Learn by Doing experiences. That is why the college will soon be breaking ground on one of the most advanced educational and experiential facilities on campus with doors anticipated to open in 2021. There is still time to be a part of this monumental endeavor. Naming opportunities are available for the interdisciplinary and collaborative laboratories planned for the building. CREATING FUTURE GENERATIONS OF AGRICULTURAL INNOVATORS

To make a gift or learn more, contact: Russ Kabaker, assistant dean of Advancement and External Relations 805-756-6601 or

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

Cal Poly Open House

Thank you to all who made Cal Poly’s 24th annual Cal Poly Open House a success. With more than 10,000 people on campus, it was a great day to showcase our student talent.