Student Success – Cultivate Summer 2023

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

Cal Poly Cheese Takes First Place at Specialty Dairy Competition

The Cal Poly Creamery won first place in the soft cheese category at the Dairy Challenge competition held in New York in May. Students Ryan Nunes and Teddy Lopez, both agricultural science majors, presented the Cal Poly Triple Peak Brie at the event. The contest consisted of multiple categories: ice cream, milk, hard cheese, soft cheese, and other dairy products like butter and cream cheese. “The Cal Poly Creamery takes pride in its quality of cheese, but even more so the story we represent,” Lopez said. “From start to finish, we know the story of our product. We know the faces of the process — all Cal Poly students. Our team works hard to ensure our customers receive the quality they deserve. The accomplishments of our students and products are a result of Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing education.”


Cal Poly Women’s Polo Team Wins First Place at Nationals

The Cal Poly Women’s Polo Team won the national title at the 2023 National Championship at the 2023 USPA Division II National Intercollegiate Championships. The Cal Poly team consists of six men’s team members, 14 women’s team members, and another 10 club members, all students from various colleges throughout the university. After earning a wild card slot leading up to the final competition, the team worked its way to the finals. The team, under the coaching of Megan Judge, overcame a 6-2 deficit at halftime to defeat the University of Connecticut to take the first-place ranking.


Cal Poly Soil Judging Team Wins Second Place at Nationals

The Cal Poly Soil Judging Team won second place at the National Collegiate Soils Contest at Oklahoma State University. The competition included 23 teams from colleges and universities across the nation. The Cal Poly team includes 10 students, majoring in environmental earth and soil sciences and environmental management and protection.

In addition to earning second place as a team, fourth-year environmental earth and soil sciences major Lauren Morris placed fifth as an individual, and the team ranked fifth in the group judging category. Fourth-year environmental earth and soil sciences majors Miguel Ramos placed 11th as an individual competitor and Andrew Litto placed 22nd. There were 92 total individuals competing.


Cal Poly Rodeo Student Wins College National Finals Rodeo Title

Graduate student and saddle bronc rider Quintin McWhorter, a graduate student who earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural systems management in 2022, tied for the national title in Saddle Bronc at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming. McWhorter shares the title with Damian Brennan of West Texas College with a tied score of 323.5. He is the first national champion from Cal Poly since Taylor Santos won in the tie-down roping competition in 2014.


CSU Student Research Competition

Four Cal Poly students were awarded first- or second-place prizes at the 2023 California State University (CSU) Student Research Competition, including two from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. Jordan Richards, a second-year graduate student in the food science program, and Jack Madden, a third-year food science major, won first place in the biological and agricultural sciences category. Seeking to reduce food waste and utilize what is currently wasted in carrot processing, Richards’ and Madden’s project, mentored by Professor Samir Amin in the Food Science and Nutrition Department, involves manipulating carrot pomace and utilizing its fiber to retain water and flavor in beef patties. “The food science program prepares you well for sharing and speaking about your research, and I felt confident in sharing about the work I’ve been so focused on over the past two years,” said Richards, originally from Kingston, Jamaica. “The competition judges took an interest in my project and asked a lot of engaging questions about how the patties tasted and how people responded to sensory tasting.”


Spring Student Research Symposium

The 2023 CAFES Spring Student Research Symposium was held on May 19 at the JUSTIN and J. JOHR Center for Wine and Viticulture. Undergraduate and graduate students had the opportunity to present their research and chat with peers, faculty and industry leaders about their projects. The winners were selected from more than 40 participants. First place undergraduate winners Morgan Lunn and Shaina Duhra, both animal science majors advised by Professor Mohammed Abo-Ismail, presented “Genome-wide Association Analyses Revealed Potential Molecular Mechanisms Affecting Milk Fever in Dairy Cattle.” Graduate student Mary Steele, advised by Professor Shashika Hewavitharana, presented “Effect of Wheat Cover Crop on Macrophomina Root Rot and Rhizosphere Microbiome in Strawberry.”


Latinos in Agriculture Club Wins President’s Diversity Award

The student club Latinos in Agriculture (LIA), advised by Professor Ann De Lay, won the 2023 President’s Diversity Award in the student club/organization category. The President’s Diversity Awards celebrate members of the Cal Poly community who have exhibited a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion on our campus. The awards are an opportunity to recognize members from the faculty, staff and student communities as well as contributions from a recognized student group/organization and department/unit. A statement from Latinos in Agriculture reads, “LIA has created a familia that has since expanded beyond our Cal Poly community and this award is a testament for all that we stand for: creciendo en lugar en que hemos sido plantado.”


Cal Poly Logging Team Takes Third Place

The Cal Poly Logging Team took third place at the Association of Western Forestry Club’s logging conclave held in Corvallis, Oregon. This is the largest event the team competes in and the largest competition west of the Mississippi River. In addition, Kelly Schwenger, a forest and fire sciences third-year student, won the top female competitor award, called the Belle of the Woods. Students also competed in events including dendrology (tree and plant identification), tree measurements (without any tools, estimate the diameter, height, and number of logs of trees), and traverse (hand compass and pacing). The team is advised by Professor Samantha Gill.


Students Place Second in Ocean Spray Competition

A team of food science students took second place in the Ocean Spray product development competition for their cranky jerky, a shelf-stable plant-based cranberry jerky. Students Emily Hoang, Sarah Wong, Catherine Moore and Allison Stauffer worked on the product throughout the winter and spring quarters, including gathering consumer feedback and conducting a sensory test, winning the second-place trophy in May. The team, the only one consisting of all undergraduates, is the first Cal Poly team to enter the competition. They partnered with the Meat Processing Center to package the jerky, using a partial vacuum nitrogen-flushed packaging – keeping the product fresh and extending its shelf life. “After Cal Poly I want to go into product development and this was a great opportunity to get insight into what that looks like,” Moore said. “The competition took all of our classes and put them into real-world application. It was awesome to see the finished product.”


Visit Cultivate Summer 2023 to read more stories.

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