Skip to main content
Campus and Community

Here Are The Top Cal Poly Photos of the Year

A woman sits and looks through a telescope at the Cal Poly Observatory.
Written By Gabby Ferreira and Larry Peña // Photos selected by Joe Johnston

It’s been one heck of a year at Cal Poly — and through it all, our students, faculty and staff have worked hard to learn, experience, research and have fun. The Cal Poly News staff asked our campus photographer, Joe Johnston, to select his favorite photos from the past year. See them all below.


A flower sits on a table under a spotlight while two hands use tweezers to touch it.

Students explore floral diversity by dissecting a selection of flowering plants in professor Jenn Yost’s BOT 313 - Plant Taxonomy lab class.


A student wearing a surgical mask and chemistry goggles performs an acid titration procedure in a lab.

A student works on an acid-base titration procedure during Matthew Zoerb’s CHEM 331 - Quantitative Analysis lab class.


A woman wearing a mask and a beanie pokes at a wooden piling covered in marine life.

A student learns about marine invertebrate fouling and ecosystems during one of a number of different stations at the Center for Coastal Marine Sciences as part of their BIO 336 - Invertebrate Zoology class taught by professor Nikki Adams.

A woman wearing a Cal Poly tennis uniform hits the ball with her racket on the tennis court.

Cal Poly women's tennis player Delanie Dunkle plays during a match against the University of San Francisco on March 22nd at Mustang Tennis Complex. Cal Poly won 5-2.


Purple-flowered lupine bloom under a warm sunset.

Lupine bloom on the Cal Poly campus in early April.


A student wearing a beekeeper's uniform holds a frame of bees up for two other students to look at during a beekeeping class.

Students observe a frame of bees during a popular beekeeping class (AEPS 175).

A student wears protective gear as they weld equipment together for their mechanical engineering project.

A mechanical engineering student works on building their senior project at the Mustang '60 machine shop.


Two students in veterinary gear hold a chihuahua dog as they get ready to treat him at a free clinic.

Jacqueline Martinez, left, and Lena Hoover prepare to weigh their patient, Milo, as part of Doggy Days, a veterinary community service clinic operated by Cal Poly students to serve animals owned by unhoused people in San Luis Obispo.

Students surround a flower-covered sculpture of a butterfly rising from flowers at Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo.

The Cal Poly Rose Float team puts the final touches on the “Spring Wings” art installation in SLO’s Mission Plaza. The installation helped to showcase the process behind building a Rose Float design.

Students kneel on Pismo Beach on an overcast day as they dig for Pismo clams.

Student volunteers help conduct a survey of Pismo clams on Pismo Beach. The ongoing surveys are intended to help Cal Poly researchers learn about the clams' growth rates mortality rates and how much they move on the beach.


Two students wearing protective gear pour molten metal into a mold.

Students in lecturer Rob Carter’s (blue helmet) IME 331 - intermediate metal casting class, cast their final projects in brass, aluminum or zinc. The projects ranged from lightsabers to figurines, key holders, and more.

A woman wearing a cowboy hat rides a brown horse in a covered arena.

Horses trained by students, as part of Cal Poly’s Quarter Horse Enterprise project, are sold during the Cal Poly Performance Horse Sale. The two-year-old horses are trained entirely by students.



A shot of a vineyard with Bishop Peak in the background on a sunny day.

Cal Poly’s Trestle Vineyard with Bishop Peak in the background.

A student wearing VR gear sits at a conference table with other students.

A team of students in Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Summer Accelerator program works on an extended reality  company developing an educational virtual reality sandbox for use by science, technology, engineering and math students to conduct experiments. This photo was taken in the brief window of time when masks were not required indoors.



A man wearing a Cal Poly polo shirt and khaki pants wears a mask and vacuums an empty dorm room.

Cal Poly Housing Services Custodial Staff member Tim Wang cleans a Poly Canyon Village Apartment ahead of the arrival of students to campus for the start of fall quarter.

A hand hovers above multiple water-filled clear boxes containing Pismo clams.

Pismo clams, which are native to the Central Coast, are separated into water-filled boxes as part of research into whether the clams can be used for aquaculture.



A man leans on a podium, silhouetted against a sunset sky on Cal Poly's campus.

Mustang Band director Nick Waldron leans on his podium during the band’s first rehearsal of the year — and the first time the entire band met in 18 months.

A woman wearing athletic clothes strikes a ballet pose on Cal Poly's campus.

Biomedical engineering student and dancer Tori Barrington demonstrates her ballet skills during a photo shoot.

Two week of welcome leaders wear yellow shirts and jump up and down as they wait for WOWies.

WOW leaders jump up and down in excitement as they wait for their group to arrive during Cal Poly’s first in-person Week of Welcome since 2019.

A group of students gathers around a bonfire at Grover Beach during Week of Welcome.

A WOW group gathers around a bonfire in Grover Beach.

Football players rush out of the tunnel and onto the field at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

Offensive lineman Austin Anderson and the rest of the Mustang football team charged onto the field to face South Dakota at Cal Poly’s first home game of the season at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

A student walks between grapevines at Trestle Vineyard during the grape harvest.

Wine and viticulture students were up at the crack of dawn for harvest at Cal Poly’s Trestle Vineyard, bringing in the grapes that will eventually become Cal Poly wine.



A female student wearing a traditional Mexican foklorico dress smiles as she dances.

The annual Culturefest event featured artistic and culinary presentations from across the Cal Poly community, including this performance from the student dance group Imagen y Espíritu Ballet Folklórico de Cal Poly.



A man wearing a green sweatshirt touches a Dia de los Muertos altar at Cal Poly.

Cal Poly celebrated Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead — a holiday observed by Mexican communities that honors the memories of loved ones. At the University Union Plaza students built memorials for their loved ones on altars or ofrendas, and participated in discussions of the challenges facing the Latinx community.

A woman looks through a telescope at the observatory on Cal Poly's campus.

Physics student Kailei Gallup uses the Cal Poly Observatory, located right in the heart of campus in the courtyard of the Science building, as part of her senior project work.

A detail shot of an innovative chair made from plywood sheets by students.

At the College of Architecture and Environmental Design’s Vellum competition, students put their design skills to the test creating innovative furniture pieces — including this contoured chair made from plywood sheets.



Students wearing green graduation robes cheer as streamers fall around them during graduation.

In December, Cal Poly hosted a commencement ceremony celebrating the fall graduates of 2021 — plus spring graduates from 2020 who missed their in-person commencement due to the pandemic.

Don't want to miss any of the best Cal Poly News stories? Sign up for our monthly newsletter, the Cal Poly News Recap!