We Do it Best
We Did it First
Since our founding in 1901, Learn by Doing has been core to our curriculum—in and outside of the classroom—and central to the success of our students. It’s why top students choose us and why top employers choose them. Because when you Learn by Doing, you’re ready day one.
A Number of Reasons Why
Learn By Doing is Different
A Number of Ways
Mustangs are making a difference
Cal Poly's 4th Astronaut
And the first African American astronaut to call the ISS home
Whether it was piloting the first operational flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience to the International Space Station or his current service as a member of the Artemis Team of NASA astronauts preparing to return to the moon, Victor Glover’s mission to expand both humanity’s knowledge and reach began here at Cal Poly.
Major League Hacking Coach
And founder of Los Altos Hacks and SLO Hacks
Hackathons bring communities of coders together from around the world to collaborate on everything from A.I. and machine learning models to mobile apps and game design. Computer science student Selynna Sun chose Cal Poly because of Learn by Doing and because we lacked a nationally recognized collegiate hackathon. Not anymore.
Celebrity Chef and Author
And guest on The Chew and The Daily Meal
California feeds America. Food science major Jimmy Wong prepares the meal. And in 2018, he shared his recipe for success in the TEDx talk “Food, Identity, and Kung Fu Panda.” The evening’s theme—Making Waves—celebrated those like Wong who “create real change in their communities … whose ripple effect has made the world a better place.”
Shaping Careers, Communities and California
FOR THE BETTER
See how Learn by Doing impacts everything we do
The Learn by Doing story is still being written
By the more than 200,000 students, staff, alumni and faculty living it
Preserving a Culture
Ethnic studies student Cheryl Flores draws on a rich history of language and food to preserve her family’s indigenous roots.
Water is Life
A trip to Haiti inspired then artist John Gausman to earn the engineering degrees needed to achieve his life’s goal of helping others.
Cal Poly students reunite post-COVID to continue the tradition of building one of the Tournament of Roses Parade’s most iconic floats.
Higher Education Advocate
Mathematics student and marine science program ambassador Andres Rocha Jayasinha gives Central Valley high schoolers the chance to Learn by Doing.
To most campus observers, the utility shed is just another building. To these architecture students, it’s an experiment in cultural meaning.
As oceans rise in response to climate change, students spent their vacation working on low-cost sensors to keep coastal communities safe and informed.
Space for Everyone
Aerospace engineering student Christina Hernández went from being afraid to raise her hand in class to helping land the Perseverance rover on Mars.
Leading with Love
To better understand and combat discrimination and inequality, Professor Amber Williams is researching how children develop attitudes on race.
I came to Cal Poly for the location. I stayed because of Learn by Doing.
Within my first two quarters at Cal Poly, I was able to get hands on experience working in research. It made me realize that Cal Poly is truly committed to Learn by Doing.
Clam Capital of the World
Sixty years ago, it was Pismo Beach. Student researchers hope to bring the endangered species back from the brink.
Roselyn Romero came across one of the biggest stories of the pandemic while interning on the Associated Press’ global investigation team.
Animal science student Lena Hoover gained valuable clinical experience while providing free veterinary care to the pets of our area’s most vulnerable people.
Right Off the Vine
Wine and viticulture students get a unique experience with professional winery equipment as they process harvested grapes into the next bottles of Cal Poly vintage.
Child development major and Mustang student-athlete Kianah Corey is providing individual counseling through our new Black Academic Excellence Center.
legendary football coach and Emmy-winning broadcaster
John Madden, '59
"Some people learn by example and other people learn by participating. John learned by participating."
Virginia Madden (MA '61) remembering her husband, John
Deep (Space) Stuff
Physics professor Vardha Bennert is using her expertise—and the James Webb Space Telescope—to advise researchers studying dark matter and our universe’s expansion.
Taste the Science
Biological sciences professor Nishanta Rajakaruna has seen first-hand the impact experiential botany has on his students. Now you can see it, too — on their faces.
It Takes a Design Village
Each year, architecture students Learn by Doing when they team up to turn Poly Canyon into a vibrant, yet fleeting, neighborhood of innovative structures.
California’s Seal of Approval
In a novel program piloted here at Cal Poly, students are using drone technology to gather important data about the local elephant seal population.
What the Buzz is About
Join students from a variety of majors in the field as they learn about the care and keeping of our most important pollinators.
Our six colleges
Where students get hands-on in their education and take education into their own hands
Learn by Doing is central to Cal Poly
Cal Poly is Central to California
And what happens here in California impacts our world.
Tech and Humanity
During the pandemic, researchers developed a saliva-based testing technology to help combat COVID-19, as well as to address future viruses, improving healthcare technologies worldwide.
Food and Wine
Students are helping small-scale farmers in one of California’s most important industries — leafy greens — to overcome food safety issues related to barriers in language, education and resources.
Faculty co-created CubeSat technology, a billion-dollar industry both expanding space exploration and research and leveraging the tech developments of California’s non-space industries; CP1, our first student-led CubeSat, launched in 2006.
Biology students are researching ways to use rare and understudied lichen as bioindicators for things like air pollution, mineral content in rocks or to assess an ecosystem’s health.
Interdisciplinary groups of students and faculty are researching more resilient methods of building to reduce wildfires at the most frequent source of declared disasters in California — where the natural and built environments meet.
Students and faculty are driving economic development, launching more than 120 companies since 2010, creating over 1,000 jobs and raising more than $250 million through our Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.