Professor Lynn Metcalf Among Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing Scholar Award Winners

Lynn MetcalfLynn Metcalf, a faculty member in the Industrial Technology and Packaging Area of the Orfalea College of Business, and Catherine Waitinas, an English faculty member, have earned Cal Poly’s 2017 Learn by Doing Scholar Awards.

The annual awards, administered by Kennedy Library, were established in 2014-15 to recognize outstanding scholarship examining Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing philosophy. Winning research projects study the effectiveness of interactive, hands-on teaching methods and make important contributions to scholarly literature. A faculty committee representing each of the university’s six colleges and the library selects the winners, who are formally recognized at Cal Poly’s Fall Conference.

Metcalf received $2,000 in recognition of her completed research, “The Impact of Peer Mentoring on Marketing Content Mastery.” She collaborated with Orfalea College of Business faculty members Stern Neill, Lisa Simon, Sharon Dobson and Brennan Davis to design and test a student-mentor program. Top-performing seniors majoring in marketing management helped students in BUS 460: Principles of Marketing to apply lecture concepts when developing comprehensive marketing projects. Results showed students’ increased content mastery and higher positive perceptions of the class. The research is a valuable contribution to peer mentoring program literature, and the team’s published methodology guide is helping others to develop and improve hands-on peer mentoring programs.

Waitinas received $1,000 for her in-progress research, “Flipping Whitman: Collaborative Learn by Doing in the (Digital) Humanities.” Her work explores how digital manuscripts give students unique historical insights into Walt Whitman’s writing and editing process, comparing Whitman’s drafted manuscripts with his published poems.

“This fresh application of digital humanities demonstrates how new technologies provide innovative opportunities,” said Brett Bodemer, Learn by Doing Award committee chair and College of Liberal Arts librarian. “Waitinas’ research has already received praise from the Modern Language Association and promises to expand applications for other new instruction methods.”   

For more information on the awards, visit: For more information about this year’s award and selection committee, visit:

Cal Poly’s Industrial Technology Society Visits WestPack and Tours SpaceX

Cal Poly Industrial Technology Society Visits SpaceX

Cal Poly’s Industrial Technology Society, a club that helps connect students with the industry community, recently traveled to Southern California to visit the Advanced Manufacturing Expo/WestPack and tour SpaceX. During this trip, students were able to see the newest technologies being used in the industry and connect with companies and professionals.

First on their trip, Cal Poly’s Industrial Technology Society visited the Advanced Manufacturing Expo/WestPack, a convention that hosts over 20,000 engineers, executives and suppliers to present the latest cutting-edge technology in design and manufacturing. Throughout the expo, students explored a wide variety of industries, including supply chain software, medical component manufacturing and packaging equipment, and established connections with leading industry professionals and companies. They also had the opportunity to view demonstrations of new and innovative technologies, such as medical grade 3D printing.

After the convention, students visited SpaceX and were given a tour of the mission control center and production facility. On the first part of the tour, students explored SpaceX’s headquarters and saw an actual pod that had been to space, as well as the first rocket to perform a vertical takeoff and landing. Next, students were given a special viewing of the production facilities where rockets are built, tested, and inspected. Here, students were able to see rocket engines, octopod final assembly, composite layup, and more. At the end of the tour, students had the opportunity to network with SpaceX recruiters to gain an inside perspective of working at SpaceX and to learn more about their available positions.

Cal Poly’s Packaging Protégé Earns Coveted Position at Amazon Lab126

Katie Exum at Cal PolyCal Poly senior Katie Exum is used to defying expectations. The 6-foot-1 Torrance, Calif.-native came to Cal Poly in 2012, where she quickly emerged as a standout in the Industrial Technology and Packaging Area. Just as she prepares to graduate this December, she has secured a packaging engineer position at one of the highest-paying employers in Silicon Valley—Amazon Lab126, which designs and engineers consumer electronics, such as Fire tablets, Kindle e-book readers and Amazon Echo.

As Exum approaches the start of her career, she reflects on the moment that changed her direction at Cal Poly.

Read the full article on the Packaging Digest website.

Cal Poly Students Succeed at Statewide Research Competition

Cal Poly undergraduate students garnered two first-place awards and one second-place award at the 30th annual California State University (CSU) Student Research Competition April 29-30 at CSU Bakersfield.

Each spring more than 220 students representing campuses throughout the CSU gather at one of the campuses to present the results of their original research, scholarship and creative work to panels of judges.

Finalists submitted papers and made oral presentations to juries of experts. The submissions were judged on clarity of purpose, appropriateness of methodology, interpretation of results, clear articulation of the research, and their ability to field questions from the jury and audience.

Christine Liu, industrial technology student from San Jose, Calif., placed first for improvements to crash-cart packaging in hospital emergency rooms. Kristen Leemon, an undergraduate student, and Daniel Tachibana, a recent graduate, also contributed to this project. Javier de la Fuente, an industrial technology faculty member, supervised the project.

Mason DuBois, a biological sciences student from Lompoc, Calif., earned a first-place award for his project on the effect of oxygen availability on the ability of lizards to withstand thermal stress. The project was supervised by biological sciences faculty member Emily Taylor.

Lili Gevorkian, a biological sciences student from Glendale, Calif., worked with faculty in the College of Engineering to research recycling nutrients from biofuel wastewater for cultivation of algae and co-digestion of wastewater solid materials. The work garnered Gevorkian a second-place award. The project was supervised by Ruth Spierling and Braden Crowe, faculty in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.

Other Cal Poly projects included a study of the effect of different fiber sizes on the digestibility of feed for leopard tortoises, a chemical analysis of production methods for conjugated polyelectrolytes, a protein-based examination of the effect of fasting on baby elephant seals during weaning, and a historical study of the development of Waikiki tourism.

“We are extremely proud of our students’ success at this competition,” stated Dean Wendt, Cal Poly’s dean of research. “It is a testament to the quality of research opportunities and mentorship available to our students, and we appreciate the efforts of faculty who enhance student learning through their research programs. Our continued success at this annual competition is a prime example of Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing approach and our academic excellence.”