COVID-19 Testing Available to Employees
Cal Poly employees are again invited to participate in the university’s ongoing testing program, which started Sunday, Jan. 3. The university is continuing to work with a third-party vendor to offer this convenient nasal-swab testing through mid-January, at which time the university plans to transition to a saliva based-testing program. As faculty and staff, you are eligible to participate in both programs. Testing will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily in the Performing Arts Center Lobby through Saturday, Jan. 16. Testing will also be offered starting Jan. 7 in the Aliso Conference Room in Poly Canyon Village (171A). Visit https://coronavirus.calpoly.edu/employee-testing for more information and to make an appointment. As the university transitions to saliva-based testing, we will have the capacity to test up to 4,000 individuals a day, including students and employees.
Cal Poly Strategic Research Initiative Funding Supports First-of-its-Kind Institute to Research Holistic Solutions to Prevent Destructive Wildfires
An interdisciplinary group of faculty and staff, partnered with industry and community members, have received support from the university to officially establish a unique institute to research wildfires and risk reduction strategies, tactical and technical firefighting practices and more resilient methods of building in fire-prone areas. The Cal Poly Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) FIRE Institute will focus on the area known as the wildland-urban interface, which is where the natural environment meets the built environment. Fires in the wildland-urban interface make up the most frequent source of declared disasters in California and are becoming increasingly more frequent and damaging because of climate change. While researchers at Cal Poly have been studying WUI fires, prevention and firefighting strategies for years, support from the university’s Strategic Research Initiatives (SRI) program has allowed for the official establishment of the institute. This status will allow the researchers to bring more projects and funding to Cal Poly and will enable better coordination with other universities studying the field. Read more on Cal Poly News.
Cal Poly Researchers Receive Public Interest Technology Grant to Utilize Virtual Reality in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Trainings
An interdisciplinary group of faculty members has been awarded a $45,000 Public Interest Technology University Network(PIT-UN) Challenge grant to further support the critical new field of public interest technology. This funding will go toward a project that incorporates immersive virtual reality (VR) components into sexual and gender harassment, and LGBTQ+ affirming training. Working with partners, including Cal Poly Safer, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of the Central Coast(GALA) and the San Luis Obispo County Behavioral Health Department, the researchers hope to understand where VR can be added to existing trainings in order to improve inclusion and equity at Cal Poly and in the community. The project will be led by James Werner, associate professor of media arts; Christine Hackman, associate professor of kinesiology and public health; Coleen Carrigan, associate professor of anthropology and science, technology, and society; and Jay Bettergarcia, assistant professor of psychology and child development. The project also will involve several student research assistants, who will help develop scenario scripts, conduct research activities and serve as liaisons between researchers and community partners.
Submit Nominations by Jan. 7 for Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
The campus community is invited to honor Martin Luther King Jr. at the fifth annual celebration from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20, via Zoom. The Black Academic Excellence Center in partnership with ASI Events hosts this event to honor King’s legacy, to raise awareness of the experiences of people of color at Cal Poly, and to celebrate a campus community member who leads with love and hope to create a better campus for all. This event will feature special guest speaker Yusef Salaam, one of the falsely convicted/exonerated “Central Park Five.” Salaam has committed himself to advocating and educating people on the issues of false confessions, police brutality, race and law, and the disparities in America’s criminal justice system. His story is an example of how the fight for racial justice must remain relevant and persistent. Thursday, Jan. 7, is the last day to submit nominations for the 2021 MLK Legacy Award. Click here to nominate someone who most represents the values reflected by King's legacy. Learn how the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lives on in the experiences of the Cal Poly community and nationally. Join on Zoom at https://calpoly.zoom.us/j/85781582516 (webinar ID: 857 8158 2516).
Astronaut Victor Glover Delivers Fall Commencement Address from the ISS
In December, graduates and families watching the university's virtual commencement ceremonies were treated to a truly special keynote address from alumnus and NASA astronaut Victor Glover. Floating in zero gravity inside the International Space Station, Glover encouraged Cal Poly's roughly 1,000 new graduates to continue to Learn by Doing and to stay resilient in the process. He was flanked by green and gold banners from his alma mater as he told his fellow alumni to dream big and take care of one another. "From up here, your futures look very bright," Glover said. "I expect to see big things from this graduating class." Watch the address and read the transcript on the Cal Poly News website.
Viasat Lab Will Help Engineering Students Adapt Workforces to COVID Challenges
As industrial and manufacturing engineering students prepare for careers that will likely be impacted by COVID-19, a newly sponsored lab at Cal Poly will help them adapt workforces to the unique challenges posed by the pandemic. The Viasat Advanced IME Lab will receive $125,000 to fund hardware, software and senior projects over the next five years. The gift will also support faculty professional development and research. The lab, in Room 240 of Engineering IV (No. 192), is sponsored by Viasat Inc., a global communications company based in northern San Diego County. Given the technical and economic challenges posed by the pandemic, Dan Waldorf, chair of the IME Department, said the donation comes at a time when students need to be trained to face changing work environments and demands. “During COVID and into the future, the ability to collect, analyze and make decisions based on large amounts of data will be extremely important for many, many fields, including healthcare services, manufacturing and distribution logistics, and development of new technology products,” Waldorf said. Read more on Cal Poly News.
Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Welcomes Five New Faculty Fellows
Kim Lisagor Bisheff
Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has added five faculty to its interdisciplinary cohort of faculty fellows. This newest group of CIE Faculty Fellows bolsters an interdisciplinary community that is committed to being a resource for the university as it evolves its role in innovation, entrepreneurship, technology commercialization and regional economic development. They join 24 previously appointed faculty fellows who connect students to Cal Poly’s highly regarded and nationally recognized entrepreneurship program. “CIE Faculty Fellows have reimagined curricula, crossed disciplines, and pushed the boundaries of what interdisciplinary entrepreneurship education can be,” said Lynn Metcalf, director of the CIE Faculty Fellows program and a professor of entrepreneurship in the Orfalea College of Business. The latest CIE Faculty Fellows include Deb Donig, an assistant professor of English literature; Kim Lisagor Bisheff, a multimedia journalism lecturer; Laura Cacciamani, an assistant professor of psychology and child development; Andrew Lacanienta, an assistant professor in the Experience Industry Management Department; and Zachary Rentz, a lecturer in the Philosophy Department. For more information, visit https://cie.calpoly.edu/learn/cie-fellows.
Cal Poly Study Shows Birdsongs Benefit Humans
If you thought your morning hike was contributing to your well-being, a new Cal Poly study shows that you’re right, especially if our avian friends were singing while you strolled. A growing body of research shows that time spent in nature contributes to human mental health. Although many studies have found that humans benefit from spending time in nature, few studies have explored why. A Cal Poly research team investigated how much the natural sounds humans hear during their time in the great outdoors contribute to this sense of well-being. The study was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B on Dec. 16. “While the bigger picture of nature’s restorative properties is likely to involve multiple senses, our study is the first to experimentally manipulate a single one (sound) in the field and demonstrate its importance to human experiences in nature,” said Danielle Ferraro, a biology graduate student who led the study. Read the news release.
Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Startup Launches Online Marketplace to Encourage Sustainability
A Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship(CIE)HotHouse Incubator company recently launched The Future Is Good(FIG), an online marketplace that sells sustainable goods and connects users with content that teaches the importance of sustainability and provides resources needed to improve their environmental impacts.
“Our mission is to empower individuals and organizations to make the future good through education, community and sustainable shopping,” said Garrett Perkins, who recently graduated with a degree in industrial engineering and communications. The marketplace houses products that the FIG team deems ethical and sustainable. Each product is evaluated on what Perkins refers to as “the FIG value score,” a composite score of the product manufacturer’s business practices and social and environmental impacts. Many of the products that FIG sells are made by B Corporations or companies certified as socially and environmentally responsible. Read the news release.