Student Success – Cultivate Summer 2022

Definition of Success

1 a: degree or measure of succeeding b: satisfactory completion of something c: the gaining of wealth, respect or fame 2: a person or thing that succeeds

Showcasing their extensive knowledge of animal science, a team of four animal science majors took third place in the nation at the American Society of Animal Science Academic Quadrathlon in Oklahoma. The team, pictured from left to right: Sophia Juarez, Genna Vieira, Coach Assistant Professor Zach McFarlane, Rachael Stucke, and Ashley Tartaglia. The team earned first place at the 2022 Western Section of the American Society of Animal Science Academic Quadrathlon, held April 1-2 – qualifying them to compete in the national competition. The Cal Poly team focused on how animal genetics, rangeland management, water storage, and feed selection are all tools producers can implement in times of drought. Assistant Professor Zach McFarlane of the Animal Science Department mentored the team.


The college recognized several outstanding seniors, along with a few other awards at the college’s Student Leadership Awards Banquet in June.

  • Louis H. and Stella Soares Outstanding Achievement Award in Agriculture: Ashley Waymire (Animal Science, ’23)
  • Academic Excellence Award: Rebecca Culbertson (Animal Science, ’22)
  • Contributions to the Objectives and Public Image of the College: Kiara Benavides (Agricultural Science, ’22)
  • Contributions to the Objectives and Public Image of the University: Hope Springer (Environmental Management and Protection, ’22)
  • Service to the Off-Campus Community: Rose Giorgi (Nutrition, ’22)
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award: Jasmine Moallem (Animal Science, ’22)
  • Large Club of the Year: Agricultural Engineering Society
  • Small Club of the Year: CAFES Ambassadors


More than 50 students presented in the fifth annual CAFES Spring Student Research Symposium on May 20 at the JUSTIN and J. LOHR Center for Wine and Viticulture with undergraduate and graduate students from throughout the college presenting their recent research during a poster session. See a full list of the participants and their projects.

Undergraduate winners:

  • First Place: Hannah Shinnerl, animal science major, advised by Professors Mark Edwards and Darin Bennett: “Evaluation of the Effects of Dietary Uronema spp. on the Growth Performance, Feed Intake and Feed Conversion Ratio of Broiler Chickens”
  • Second Place: Jasmine Moallem, animal science major, advised by Professor Ike Kang: “Effect of Dietary Micro Algae Supplementation in Broiler Chicken Carcass and Meat Quality”
  • Third Place: Annika Malmstrom-Smith, animal ccience major, advised by Lecturer Heather Harris: “Domoic Acid Exposure in Leatherback Sea Turtles Along the West Coast of North America”

Graduate winners:

  • First Place: Jack Koster, Master’s in Agriculture, specialization in plant science, advised by Professor Shashika Hewavitharana: “An Integrated Approach for Controlling Verticillium Wilt in Strawberry”
  • Second Place: Evelyn Alvarez-Mendoza, Master’s in Agriculture, specialization in crop science, advised by Assistant Professor Shunping Ding: “Fungicide Resistance of Botrytis cinerea Populations on Wine Grapes in the Central Coast of California”
  • Third Place: Nora Bales, Master’s of Science in Environmental Sciences and Management, advised by Assistant Professor Yamina Pressler: “Investigating the Relationship Between Biological Soil Crust and a Federally Threatened Plant (Hooveria purpurea var. purpurea) Found on California’s Central Coast”

The Cal Poly Dairy Judging Team traveled to Richmond, Utah in May for the 2022 Western Invitational Dairy Judging Contest – earning first place along with many individual awards.
  • Cal Poly Gold: High Team Overall and High Team Reasons
  • Ryan Haringa (Dairy Science, ’23): High Individual Overall, High Individual Reasons, High Individual Placings 
  • Marco Marsigli (Agricultural Science, ’23): 2nd High Individual Reasons, 4th High Individual Overall
  • Russell Sorbo (Dairy Science, ’23): 3rd High Individual Placings, 10th High Individual Overall


Eleven members of the Cal Poly Rodeo Team competed in the 73rd annual College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming on June 12-18. Recent agricultural systems management graduate Quintin McWhorter placed third in Saddle Bronc Riding; Gracely Speth, who earned a master’s degree in agriculture specializing in bioresource and agricultural engineering this spring, placed sixth in the Breakaway Roping; third-year child development major Aimee Davis and Sierra Spratt, who earned a master’s degree in agricultural education this spring, tied for fourth in the Goat Tying.



Olivia McKay (Master’s in Environmental Sciences and Management, ’21) was selected by the Graduate Education program as the Outstanding Graduate Student in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. McKay, who earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental earth and soil science in 2020, is currently working as an environmental scientist at Arcadis in San Luis Obispo. McKay was recognized for her academic achievements, drive, and curiosity modeling how students could and should develop new skills in the field, the laboratory, and in analysis techniques. Her work on the distinct habitat for soil microbial decomposers created by macroplastic pollution led not only to a new research direction but also directly to funding from California Department of Food and Agriculture.



Food Science graduate student Isaac Ho won second place in the 36th annual Cal State University Student Research Competition April 29-30 for his research on the mindsets of early adopters of insect-based food products in the Behavioral, Social Sciences and Public Administration division. Food Science Professor Amy Lammert is advising the project. Ho’s research, titled “Use of Preference Analysis to Identify Early Adopter Mind-Sets of Insect-based Food Products” seeks to identify early adopter mind-sets of insect-based food products and determine product features early adopters would prefer in an insect-based food product and the differences in mindsets in different countries. Ho, who graduated in the spring from the Food Science and Nutrition Department’s blended program which allows students to pursue a joint bachelor’s and master’s degree, was one of four Cal Poly students recognized with first or second-place awards in their divisions.



Students enrolled in an upper-level food service operations course, offered through the Cal Poly Food Science and Nutrition Department, which teaches large-scale food production, created several recipes, prepared the food at the campus culinary lab, and served it during the annual Open House barbecue for prospective students and their families. Included on the menu: A Mediterranean bean salad, fruit salad, oatmeal chocolate chip cooked and vegan spied sugar cookies. Taste something you liked? Click here for their recipes!



Students from the AG 452 class, Issues Affecting California Agriculture, met with legislators and top policymakers in Sacramento to discuss key issues affecting the agriculture industry and the political process tied to it. The class, envisioned by George Soares, alumnus and founding partner at Kahn, Soares & Conway in Sacramento, has been taught at Cal Poly since 2003. The classes policy paper, titled “Dairy Cattle Management Practices and the Effect on Climate,” detailed various new and currently used management practices that can aid in lowering the total amount of methane produced by the dairy cattle industry.


The Cal Poly Dairy Products Judging Team placed first in the ice cream judging category of the 98th annual Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest held April 13 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The team was comprised of dairy science majors Emily Barajas and Elizabeth Kostalnick, electrical engineering major Micah Fitzgerald, business administration major Megan Van Ruler, food science graduate student Abbey Affonso and dairy products technology graduate student Joey Paglia. Team members judged six categories of dairy products including milk, butter, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, yogurt, and ice cream, based on flavor, texture, and appearance. Dairy science Professor Vincent Yeung coached the team.


Students enrolled in the Marine Mammal Enterprise visited the main hospital of The Marine Mammal Center (TMMC) in Sausalito. Through this professional university-nonprofit partnership, Cal Poly students become trained TMMC volunteers who participate in marine mammal field response and rehabilitation. Students had a fantastic day of hands-on activities including helping the vets perform medical exams, weighing patients in the “sealbarrow,” helping with tube and hand feeds, and a hospital tour. The course is led by Animal Science lecturer and veterinarian Heather Harris by application only (available in mid-October) and requires a two-quarter commitment for both winter and spring.

Visit Cultivate Summer 2022 to read more stories.

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