Recent News

Noise and Light Pollution Can Limit Which Birds Visit Our Backyards

Jun 14, 2021


cedar waxwings
SAN LUIS OBISPO — A new study led by Cal Poly researchers reports that birds across the continental U.S. tend to avoid backyard feeders in louder areas. When light pollution is also present, even more species stayed away.  

The study, published June 10 in Global Change Biology, used data from the community science program Program FeederWatch, which includes thousands of participants reporting bird observations at feeder locations across the nation. The research team analyzed more than 3.4 million observations of 140 different bird species across the continental U.S.  

“Broadly speaking, we are just starting to dive into the consequences of light and noise for  animals,” said Ashley Wilson, a Cal Poly graduate student who led the study. “Most studies focus on a single species’ responses to noise or light pollution. As such, our study involving 140 species provides the most comprehensive assessment of how noise and light influence which birds we see in our backyards and neighborhoods.”  

Cal Poly Engineering Labs Receive $350,000 from Key Figure in Auto Racing and Machining

Jun 9, 2021


Brian Hillenbrand (Mechanical Engineering, '19) works in the advanced machining lab as a student. The advanced machining lab and the material removal lab will both be renamed in honor of a $350,000 donation from the Gene Haas Foundation.
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Two manufacturing labs at Cal Poly will be renamed in honor of a $350,000 donation from the Gene Haas Foundation, which will help the labs remain up-to-date and safe for the hundreds of engineering students who use them every year. 

“The new gift for the Gene Haas labs pairs two successful organizations, Cal Poly and the Gene Haas Foundation, and links together our interests toward graduating top-notch engineers and making sure our labs are state-of-the-art and in excellent condition,” said Dan Waldorf, chair of Cal Poly’s Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department.

To recognize Haas’ commitment, the material removal lab and the advanced machining lab, located in the Grant M. Brown Engineering Building (Building 41A), will be called the Gene Haas Material Removal Lab and the Gene Haas Advanced Machining Lab for the next 10 years.

Cal Poly Student Affairs Receives Gift to Fund Tanklage Family Homelessness Initiative

Jun 9, 2021


SAN LUIS OBISPO — The estate of the late Carole Tanklage has donated a revenue-generating commercial real estate property that will fund a Cal Poly initiative aimed at ending student homelessness.  

The real estate gift will fund the Tanklage Family Initiative to End Homelessness, which Mrs. Tanklage initially established with a three-year gift totaling $150,000 in 2018. Mrs. Tanklage, who passed away in 2020, originally created the initiative in 2018 in honor of her late husband, Cal Poly alumnus Donald Tanklage (Architectural Engineering, ’57), to assist Cal Poly students struggling with homelessness and housing instability.    

Since its inception, the fund has provided more than 100 struggling students with on- and off-campus housing support.

Six Outstanding Cal Poly Graduates Symbolize Hope, Perseverance and Tenacity of the Class of 2021

Jun 8, 2021


SAN LUIS OBISPO — Members of Cal Poly’s Class of 2021, who overcame one of the most challenging years in school history, are excited about commencement and beginning the next phase of their lives.

More than 5,300 graduates are eligible to take part in the virtual commencement June 11 and special in-person recognition events Saturday and Sunday, June 12 and 13. Attracted to the Learn by Doing ethos, they leave Cal Poly beaming with confidence for the future to begin careers or move on to advanced studies.

Each of this year’s graduates leaves ready to become future leaders, innovators and problem-solvers — skills earned through studies steeped in a hands-on learning environment and working shoulder-to-shoulder with classmates and faculty members.

Cal Poly Spring 2021 Virtual Commencement, In-Person Events Set for June 11-13

Jun 7, 2021


SAN LUIS OBISPO — Nearly 5,300 Cal Poly students are eligible to be honored in this year’s virtual commencement June 11 and in six spring graduate recognition events Saturday and Sunday, June 12 and 13.

The Class of 2021 will have a virtual commencement on Friday, June 11, similar to what was done for degree candidates last year and each graduate’s name will be read. At this online event there will be speeches, bachelor’s and master’s degrees will be conferred and five individuals —including former NFL coach, sportscaster and Pro Football Hall of Fame Member John Madden, a Cal Poly alumnus — will receive honorary degrees.

The in-person graduate recognition ceremonies will be held at 9 a.m., 12:30 and 4 p.m. each weekend day in Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

“Commencement is not the end but merely the beginning of the next stage in the lives of these graduates,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “While there are high expectations for each individual, they can travel hopeful. They are ready for the world, and the world is ready for them and needs them. We’re confident that the skills they’ve developed at Cal Poly will propel their transformation from yesterday’s students into tomorrow’s innovators and leaders.”

Want to Move More? Cal Poly Study Has an App for That

May 27, 2021


SAN LUIS OBISPO — Are you looking to reduce your screen time but can’t quite find the motivation? Cal Poly needs people to participate in a new study that could help you break the habit.

Research shows that sedentary screen time — activities such as TV, social media and video games — has increased during the pandemic. On an average day, Americans spend nearly eight hours engaging in recreational sedentary screen time. This lack of movement shortens life expectancy and increases risk for cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Researchers at Cal Poly’s Center for Health Research hope a smartphone app will cut that time.

Cal Poly Study Finds Recording of Whitewater River Noise Drives Bats and Birds Away

May 24, 2021


 Cuesta College alumnus Dylan Gomes, left, led the research team that deployed speaker arrays early in the spring in Idaho’s Pine Mountains to begin playback of whitewater river noise before most birds and bats were using this 5,000- to 7,000-foot elevation area. The study was a collaboration between Cal Poly and Boise State, where Gomes was doing his doctoral research.
SAN LUIS OBISPO — A new Cal Poly study finds that birds and bats often avoid habitat swamped with loud whitewater river noise.

“Naturally loud environments have been largely neglected in ecological research,” said Dylan Gomes, a Cuesta College alumnus who led the study as part of his doctoral research at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. “We aimed to test the hypothesis that intense natural noise can shape animal distributions and behavior by experimentally broadcasting whitewater river noise at a massive scale.”

The study, published today in the journal Nature Communications, was a collaboration between Cal Poly and Boise State.

Cal Poly Study Finds Weight-Loss Maintainers Sit Less Than Weight-Stable People with Obesity

May 24, 2021


SAN LUIS OBISPO — A new Cal Poly study found that people who lost weight and kept it off spent less time sitting compared to people with obesity whose weight stayed the same. This is the first study to examine time spent in various sitting activities among weight-loss maintainers. The research was published today in the journal Obesity.

In 2006, the National Weight Control Registry showed that weight-loss maintainers watched significantly less television than controls, but other sitting activities weren’t included in the registry. The Rhode Island-based research study includes more than 10,000 who have lost at least 30 pounds of weight and kept it off for at least one year.

Seven Cal Poly Student Projects Recognized at CSU Student Research Competition

May 12, 2021


SAN LUIS OBISPO — Seven Cal Poly students and recent alumni were awarded first- or second-place prizes at the 2021 California State University (CSU) Student Research Competition. Cal Poly was the most recognized university in the competition, with its students taking home 15% of the total prizes awarded.

“All of our student and recent alumni delegates were phenomenal representatives of Cal Poly at the competition,” said Jane Lehr, director of the Office of Student Research at Cal Poly. “Each project represents what is best about the opportunity to Learn by Doing in research at Cal Poly: the opportunity to work closely with amazing faculty mentors to create new knowledge that makes a difference in the world. I am excited that so many of our students and recent graduates were recognized at the CSU level for the quality of their work.”

Cal Poly Engineering Dean Earns 2021 Woman of Distinction Honor from Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast

May 7, 2021


Amy Fleischer will be honored May 20 for her purpose-driven leadership

Amy Fleischer
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly Engineering Dean Amy Fleischer will be one of six women honored as a Woman of Distinction during the Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast annual celebration.

On May 20, the Breaking Barriers to Build Change virtual event will honor key individuals who drive lasting change in the Girl Scout organization and beyond, an honor fitting for Fleischer. The Central Coast scouting organization serves more than 8,800 girls across a region that includes San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura County, Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties.

Fleischer, a third-generation Girl Scout whose daughter was a scout, joined the local Girl Scouts council board in 2019. Her involvement at a board level came after the Girl Scouts of the USA announced an enhanced focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

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