Latest Achievements

Updates about the latest accomplishments—including latest research, publications, and awards—by students, faculty, and staff

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Valerie Keody, Cristina Portillo, Olivia Ortiz, and Darlene Alexis Villalobos Cazares, Humboldt McNair Scholars
Four McNair Scholars were selected to present their research at the NDiSTEM Conference through poster presentations including Valerie Keody, Cristina Portillo, Olivia Ortiz, and Darlene Alexis Villalobos Cazares. Two won first place in their subject areas: Olivia Ortiz in Psychology and Darlene Alexis Villalobos Cazares in Life Sciences, Animal Sciences/Zoology.  The NDiSTEM Conference, managed by the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), was all-inclusive with learning opportunities offered through many cultural lenses. Approximately 6,500 attendees networked with graduate school, corporate, and governmental recruiters. 

Andrew Olson, Danyelle Allen, Lukas Faulder, Music
Congratulations to the Music Department Concerto Competition Winners:  Andrew Olson, piano, Competion winner;  Danyelle Allen, baritone saxophone, Runner-up;  Lukas Faulder, alto saxophone, Instrumental category winner.  During the Spring semester, Andrew Olson will perform Haydn's D Major Piano Concerto with the Humboldt Symphony.  

AJ Bealum, Cyril Oberlander, Library
AJ Bealum, Programmer & Project Manager, and Cyril Oberlander, Library Dean presented the innovative 3D Digital Herbarium project at the Access 2023 Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia on October 24, 2023. The 3D Digital Herbarium is a Cal Poly Humboldt Library project focusing on transforming how we learn Botany, or any discipline, transitioning from 2D online galleries to an immersive 3D Digital Exhibit. This open pedagogy software development will celebrate a Version 1 launch this January. Check out the progress so far at: 

Humnath Panta, Business
Dr. Humnath Panta's recent research, "Ex‐military CEOs and readability of financial reports," published in the Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, ABDC A* rated journal, reveals that firms led by ex-military CEOs issue more precise 10-K reports. Highlighting the value of transparent communication, the research indicates that such CEOs' military backgrounds contribute to straightforward reporting and diminish the obscuring of negative information. This pioneering work sheds light on the influence of a CEO's military experience on financial transparency and offers a behavioral rationale for the improved readability of corporate financial disclosures.

Alex Harper, Marine Laboratory
Dr. Alex Harper received a $60,000 grant to support research that will enhance climate change and extreme weather resilience along the North Coast. The project involves collaboration with local fishing associations, tribes, shellfish growers, and regional experts to enhance information sharing. It will also utilize existing partnerships between California Sea Grant, California Ocean Observing Systems (Central & Northern (CeNCOOS); Southern California Coastal (SCCOOS)), and local communities to co-develop climate solutions, such as curated data dashboards and capacity development opportunities, to safeguard resource dependent economies, and support sustainable ocean use.

C.D. Hoyle, Physics & Astronomy
The LAG (Liquid-Actuated Gravity) Collaboration that includes Dr. C.D. Hoyle recently published work in the journal Review of Scientific Instruments titled "Measurement of gravitational and thermal effects in a liquid-actuated torsion pendulum." The work discusses measurements taken to test and characterize a novel system for making precision tests of gravity at short distance scales. In addition to Cal Poly Humboldt contributions, the collaboration includes researchers from the University of Naples and University of Rome Tor Vergata, as well as the Italian INFN (Instituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare).  The article can be found here:

David Adams, Melissa Bittner, Lisa Silliman-French, & Barry Lavay, School of Applied Health
David Adams, Melissa Bittner (CSU Long Beach), Lisa Silliman-French (Texas Woman's University), and Barry Lavay (CSU Long Beach) published an article titled "Implementing Action Research in Physical Education: A Guide for Physical Educators in the Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance.  

Alison Holmes, Politics
Based on her career trajectory both prior to, and since arriving in, academe, Prof Alison Holmes (PSCI) was invited to offer a piece for the “Learning the Scholar’s Craft” series on the ‘Robert Jervis International Security Studies Forum’ of H-Diplo. Joining scholars of international relations, politics and history that range from Charles Maier and John Lewis Gaddis to Cynthia Enloe and Ann Tickner, the invitation was extended to Holmes as the Forum seeks to offer more “success stories” to their younger/female grad student and early career readers that explore the breadth of pathways taken by women in the field:

Frank DeMatteo, Psychology
Dr. Frank DeMatteo, School Psychology Program Coordinator, received $2 million in Grant Funding (two grants). Over the next five years these grants, in partnership with the Northern Humboldt Union High School District, will be used to increase the number of mental health practitioners in disadvantaged school districts. They will also support the professional development of students and their field-based supervisors. Three students from the first-year School Psychology cohort were awarded $15,000 for the next two years. Four students from the second-year cohort, received $10,000 to support the completion of their 540 hours of school-based practicum for the 2023-2024 Academic year.

Prof. C.D. Hoyle, Physics & Astronomy
Dr. C.D. Hoyle is a co-author of a new publication that discusses the results of a 15-year campaign to map the moon’s orbit at the millimeter level. Such measurements can be used to test the validity of General Relativity and test theories that predict new physics.

Jill Anderson and David Adams, School of Applied Health
Drs. Jill Anderson and David Adams received a $1.2 million Department of Education grant to implement a teacher preparation program designed to increase the number of California educators fully qualified to serve children with disabilities who have high intensity needs. The project is in direct response to the state’s growing demand for fully credentialed special education, early intervention, and related services personnel. The program will recruit diverse student cohorts to complete a teaching credential in either Special Education or Physical Education, and complete an MS in Kinesiology to obtain an Adapted Physical Education added authorization.

Maxwell Schnurer and Steve Ladwig , Communication
Dr. Maxwell Schnurer and Steve Ladwig received a US Department. of Justice grant to support a collaborative program between Cal Poly Humboldt and College of the Redwoods offering a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Communication at Pelican Bay State Prison. This will be the first B.A. program in the US offered at a level-four, maximum security prison and in person. Partnering with Project Rebound and the Advising and Academic Career Center, the program will also provide re-entry support and post-degree employment preparation. This work will strengthen post-release career opportunities for incarcerated students, while reducing recidivism and enhancing community safety.

Kamila Larripa, Mathematics
Kamila Larripa and collaborators published an article in the Journal of Theoretical Biology entitled Macrophage phenotype transitions in a stochastic gene-regulatory network model.  The study classifies cell phenotypes using a spectral clustering algorithm and quantifies transitions between phenotypes using transition path theory.  

Joshua Meisel and Daniel Bear, Sociology
Joshua Meisel co-authored with Daniel Bear (Humber College) "A tale of two cannabis legalization experiments" for Policy Options in commemoration of the 5th anniversary of cannabis legalization in Canada.…

Joshua Meisel, Amanda Reiman, Rielle Capler, and Darcey Paulding McCready, Sociology
Joshua Meisel co-authored an article on "Medical Cannabis Identity and Public Health Paternalism" with Amanda Reiman, Rielle Capler, and Darcey Paulding McCready in the June issue of Public Health in Practice.  

Joshua Meisel, Dominic Corva, and Ara Pachmayer, Sociology
Joshua Meisel co-authored with Dominic Corva and Ara Pachmayer "Cannabis, Communities, and Place: (Re)constructing Humboldt's Post-Prohibition Present" in the 2023 issue of the Humboldt Journal of Social Relations.…

William Wood, Chemistry
Emeritus Chemistry Professor William Wood recently published an article in the Austrian Academy of Sciences journal Biosystematics and Ecology on the oyster-like odor of the plant, Mertensia maritima.  This plant has a circumboreal oceanic distribution where it grows just above the high-tide mark, most often on exposed maritime shingle bars. Because of the smell of crushed plant leaves, it is called the oyster plant in Britain and Ireland, and oyster leaf in North America. Wood collected this plant in Homer, Alaska and is the first person to identify the chemical that gives this plant its common names.  

Frank Fogarty, Wildlife
Dr. Frank Fogarty received funding to study how retained patches of trees in timber harvests effect bird communities in managed forests of the Pacific Northwest. Regulations in Oregon and Washington prescribe a minimum number of standing trees that must be retained by timber harvest operations, in part to enhance the biodiversity value of harvested lands. Dr. Fogarty will work with a graduate student to experimentally compare a variety of spatial retention arrangements, with the goal of demonstrating which retention strategies maximize avian diversity post-harvest. Funding comes from the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement.

Alison Holmes, Politics
Dr. Alison Holmes (Politics) was invited to co-lead the 'Pay it Forward' program at the International Studies Association (ISA)-West Conference in Pasadena. Designed to support female-identifying graduate students and new faculty by pairing mentors with mentees by research area and intended career plans, Holmes first participated in this program at the national level in 2016 and then helped establish the program at regional level through ISA-West. Holmes also presented on a panel discussing California's changing role in the world and promoted csuglobal, the new online journal of which she is the inaugural Managing Editor.

Humnath Panta, Arun Narayanasamy, Ayush Panta, Business
Dr. Humnath Panta, Associate Professor of Finance at School Business, recently published an article entitled "Organizational capital and credit ratings" in Finance Research Letters, an A-level ABDC journal. The study investigates organizational capital's impact on credit ratings using pooled OLS and US firm data from 1989 to 2017. Results indicate that companies with greater organizational capital achieve higher credit ratings. This conclusion withstands various robustness checks, estimation methods, and addressing potential biases. Notably, the positive correlation is especially pronounced for financially constrained firms. Overall, the research's findings reveal the importance of organizational capital in the credit ratings of a firm.

Paul Michael L. Atienza, Critical Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Dr. Paul Michael L. Atienza was one of six experts invited to "Swipe Rights" Book Workshop at the University of Michigan in mid-September. The transdisciplinary group of digital media specialists from academia, the non-profit sector, and tech industries assisted Dr. Apryl Williams, assistant professor in the Department of Communications in developing a public-facing resource to accompany her forthcoming book, Not My Type: Automating Sexual Racism in Online Dating available February 2024 through Stanford Press (

Margaret Lang, Environmental Resources Engineering
Dr. Margaret Lang received funding from the National Park Service to assess the condition of culverts (tunnel structures under roadways that provide cross drainage) throughout Redwood National Park. Many of the park’s culverts have not been properly assessed in over 40 years, and may be acting as passage barriers to federally threatened coho and chinook salmon, and steelhead trout. The project will provide the park with site survey data and a culvert replacement priority list, contributing to the preservation and enhancement of the park’s natural and cultural resources. Cal Poly Humboldt students will assist in conducting the assessments.

Steve Martin, Environmental Science & Management
The U.S. Secretary of the Interior has appointed Prof. Steve Martin to the Bureau of Land Management's Resource Advisory Council for Northern California. The Council provides advice to the federal agency regarding the management of public land resources.

Rouhollah Aghasaleh, Education
Dr. Aghasaleh's commentary Whose Science is of the Most Worth? Making a Case for Problem Posing Instead of Problem Solving was published as a chapter in Navigating Elementary Science Teaching and Learning: Cases of Classroom Practices and Dilemmas (Part of the book series: Springer Texts in Education) edited by Sophia Jeong, Lynn A. Bryan, Deborah J. Tippins, Chelsea M. Sexton. This book includes cases that feature dilemmas embedded in rich narrative stories that characterize the lives of science teachers, and by extension, their students. The case-based pedagogy serves as a tool for discussion, critique, and research practice.

Jill Anderson, David Adams, Chris Hopper, School of Applied Health
The Adapted Physical Education Program led by Jill Anderson, David Adams, and Chris Hopper received federal funding (1.2m) from the U.S. Department of Education for a teacher preparation program. Funding for this Teacher Preparation Program will allow students to complete a Special Education Credential or a Secondary Credential in Physical Education, along with an Added Authorization to teach Adapted Physical Education, and a Masters degree in Kinesiology or Education. All students will be funded for a total of 2 years. Interested students should contact David Adams ( and Jill Anderson (

Libbi Miller, Kimberly Coy, Education
Libbi Miller (Education) along with Kimberly Coy of Fresno State University (Literacy, Bilingual and Special Education) published the article Co-Teaching in a Digital World in the Journal of Education Technology Systems. 

Libbi Miller, Heather Ballinger, Ryder Dschida, Jack Barreillis, Education
Drs. Libbi Miller and Heather Ballinger (Education) along with Ryder Dschida (History) and Jack Barreillis (Northern Humboldt Union High School District) received the US Department of Education American History and Civics Grant ($2.4M). In this project, Cal Poly Humboldt and TK-12 school partners will serve a three year cohort of 50 California educators from Humboldt, Del Norte and San Diego Counties and 10 teacher candidates per year by providing training and support to implement evidence-based approaches that encourage innovative history and civics education.

Brian Tissot, Sean Craig, Biological Sciences
Drs. Brian Tissot and Sean Craig received funding to continue ongoing monitoring research in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) along the California coastline. MPAs are regions designated and managed for the long-term conservation of marine resources, ecosystems services, or cultural heritage. Specifically, he and his team are looking at underwater kelp forests, collecting ecological and environmental data that will inform the evaluation and adaptive management of California’s network of MPAs. The project includes collaborators from UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, and Occidental College. Funding comes as a subaward from UC Santa Cruz, with the primary funder being California Sea Grant.

Dr. Sara K Sterner, Education
Sara K. Sterner (Education) recently published a chapter entitled Chasing lines of flight: Using post-intentional phenomenology for educational research in J. DeHart (Ed.), Phenomenological Studies in Education (pp. 1-21). IGI Global.

Dr. Sara K Sterner, Education
Dr. Sara K. Sterner (Education) and her colleagues, Dr. Megan M. Van Deventer (Weber State University) and Laura Lemanski, ABD (University of Minnesota, MCAD) recently published a chapter entitled Teaching guide: Children’s literature resource file for teaching Children’s Literature to undergraduates in Smith, P., Devi, G., & S. Weaver, S. (Eds.), Teaching Equity through Children's Literature. Routledge.

Alison Holmes, Politics
Professor Alison Holmes (PSCI) has been awarded a 'Love Of Learning' scholarship from the honor society, Phi Kappa Phi. Designed to help students pursue continuing education opportunities, Holmes will be using the grant towards her tuition at Montana State University where she is continuing her work on a Graduate Certificate in Native American Studies that she expects to complete in May 2024. 

Nino Dzotsenidze, California Center for Rural Policy
Dr. Nino Dzotsenidze (Research Analyst, California Center for Rural Policy) co-authored an article titled, “Anti-Asian Racism during COVID-19: Emotional Challenges, Coping, and Implications for Asian American History Teaching,” that was recently published in Education Sciences. The article explores the emotional and behavioral effects of anti-Asian racism on Asian and Asian American individuals and communities in the United States. The study illustrates the crucial role of amplifying Asian and Asian American voices in the school curriculum in combating anti-Asian racism beyond the pandemic. Full article at the link:

Troy Lescher, Evan Pierce, Dance, Music & Theatre
Dr. Troy Lescher and student Evan Pierce recently published the “Doctoral Projects in Progress in Theatre Arts, 2023” report for the Association of Theatre in Higher Education [ATHE].

Paul Michael Leonardo Atienza, Critical Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Dr. Paul Michael L. Atienza gave the keynote address at the First Summer Fellowship Program (FSFP) for incoming Cal State University Mellon Mays Undergraduate  fellows (MMUF) earlier in the summer. The MMUF program is a Mellon Foundation-funded two-year fellowship program designed to address the problem of underrepresentation in the academy at the professoriate level in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. The multi-day program provided the nuts and bolts of undergraduate research in the humanities and social sciences and what to expect in graduate school. Dr. Atienza spoke about their path to the professoriate, and their interdisciplinary research.

Dr. Maria Gonzalez , University Advancement
Dr. Maria Gonzalez, Higher Educational Initiatives, received a grant from the US Department of Education Title V DHSI project entitled: Caminar Juntos (Walking Together), a project that will increase retention and graduation for Hispanic, low income and other underserved students. The project will support Hispanic, low-income, and other underserved students as they develop a sense of belonging through academic support services and social integration efforts. The project will reduce retention and graduation gaps for students at Cal Poly Humboldt and transfer students from College of the Redwoods.

Laura Levy, Rosemary Sherriff,
Laura Levy (Geology) and Rosemary Sherriff (Geography) were awarded an NSF grant "Collaborative Research: RUI: Glacier resilience during the Holocene and late Pleistocene in northern California" for $742,040. It is an interdisciplinary research project with co-PIs Dick Heermance (CSU Northridge) and Andrew Malone (University of Illinois, Chicago). The aim is to reconstruct the glacier and climate fluctuations since the last ice age in the Trinity Alps- a region that is climatologically unique in northern California.

Kerry Byrne, Environmental Science & Management
Dr. Kerry Byrne (Associate Professor, Environmental Science and Management) was awarded a sabbatical research grant from Western SARE (Sustainable Agriculture, Research, and Education) to work with collaborator Dr. Kelly Hopping at Boise State University on a project entitled "Seeds underhoof: can the soil seed bank facilitate restoration of sheep-grazed, cheatgrass-invaded rangelands?" Details of the award can be found here:

Lucy Kerhoulas, Rosemary Sherriff, Kerry Byrne, Geography
Lucy Kerhoulas (Forestry), Rosemary Sherriff (Geography), and Kerry Byrne (ESM) were recently awarded funds from PG&E to evaluate tree failure and environmental conditions along PG&E infrastructure throughout five counties in northwestern California. The project involves both undergraduate and graduate students during the summer and academic year for 3 years.

Lucy Kerhoulas, Rosemary Sherriff, Erik Jules, Forestry, Fire & Rangeland Management
Lucy Kerhoulas (Forestry), Rosemary Sherriff (Geography), Erik Jules (Biology) are co-leading a new project to map the vegetation of the Klamath ecoregion along with undergraduate and graduate students, and collaborators from the California Native Plant Society and Michael Kauffmann (alum; Backcountry Press). The project involves sampling ~ 1600 locations across the 3-year project.

Justin Luong, Forestry, Fire & Rangeland Management
Dr. Justin Luong received a $520,000 grant to study how managed cattle grazing can provide benefits for wetland plant and animal communities at the Willits Bypass in Mendocino County. Managed grazing is a powerful tool for land management and has the potential to bolster biodiversity and carbon storage. Dr. Luong will work with local land agencies to assess how grazing exclusion affects special status plant species, overall plant communities, biodiversity, and soil carbon storage through traditional field study methods and aerial imagery. Collaborators include Drs. Sharon Kahara and Buddhika Madurapperuma. Funding comes from the California Bountiful Foundation.

Professor Alison Holmes, Politics
In an effort to support equity and inclusion for young faculty and international colleagues who may struggle with financial constraints or government/travel restrictions, the International Studies Association has piloted an all-virtual conference as a permanent feature of their calendar. In August, Professor Alison Holmes (Politics) presented her paper "Subnational Diplomacy - Sovereignty at the Crossroads" on a panel that included colleagues 'live on zoom' from China, Germany, The Netherlands, Czechia, the UK and Canada. Unlike the traditional conference format and capitalizing on the new modality, all the panels were recorded and will be available to the entire ISA membership. 

Robert W. Zoellner, Tara S. Caso, Chemistry
Professor Emeritus Robert W. Zoellner and his former student, Tara S. Caso, have published their third peer-reviewed article, together, entitled "The DFT computational investigation of the β-sila-α-amino acids and their β-permethylsila-analogs:  Silicon-containing amino acids as a viable foundation for silicon-based life”:  T. S. Caso, R. W. Zoellner, Journal of Undergraduate Chemistry Research 202322, 47–61.

Meenal Rana, Beth Phelps, Lonny Grafman, Environmental Resources Engineering
Meenal Rana, with co-authors, Beth Phelps and Lonny Grafman, has received the SSSP Best Paper Award in Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation for the paper, “Youth-Adult Partnership in Social Entrepreneurship and Community Engagement: A Case Study of Daula Village in India.” at the Society's annual conference in Philadelphia (Aug 18-20). The works adds to the literature by demonstrating ways the youth-adult partnerships can benefit the communities in their social entrepreneurship goals. The data comes from the "Rural Youth Volunteers in India", an international experiential learning project, in which Humboldt and Indian students and faculty worked for 11-weeks in two rural communities. 

Kamila Larripa, Mathematics
Kamila Larripa was selected to participate in the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics collaborative research workshop in data science.  She worked on tensor decomposition methods for machine learning.

Jeff Kane, Forestry, Fire & Rangeland Management
Dr. Jeff Kane received a grant to support restoration efforts for a rare tree species in the Plumas National Forest, the Baker Cypress, whose population was extirpated by the 2021 Dixie Fire. Currently, there are only 11 known Baker cypress populations worldwide. Under the project, Cal Poly Humboldt faculty and students will work towards re-establishing this population, collecting cones from the remaining mature stands of Baker cypress in northern California and southern Oregon. Additionally, students and faculty will be engaged with relevant research projects that can inform and improve gene conservation and restoration efforts for Baker Cypress.

Hunter Harrill, Forestry, Fire & Rangeland Management
Hunter Harrill (Assistant Professor) received a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service to assess the recently completed and present forest stewardship operations in western high-risk fire landscapes. The project will develop productivity models for fuel reduction operations, and make them publicly available for land managers to predict the cost of forest operations. The work will support the USFS Wildfire Crisis Strategy and is funded through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The research is also part of a larger multi-disciplinary team, collaborating with Northern Arizona University, West Virginia University, and Washington State University.

Andrew Olson, Music
California Federation of Women’s Clubs, has announced that Andrew Olson, Crescent City resident and student at Cal Poly Humboldt in Arcata, is the recipient of the 1st place award  in the prestigious “YOUNG MUSICIANS” state-wide competition.  Andrew entered the contest under the auspices of the local Crescent City Women’s Club.  Andrew qualified in the “Young Musicians Competition” Piano 19-24 age category.  The judges used a rubric that included many elements, including tone, technical facility, rhythm, and articulation.   The award carries great weight in honor, and proof of ability, and providing opportunity for meeting others, and provides a monetary award.  

Robert W. Zoellner and Tara S. Caso,
Professor Emeritus Robert W. Zoellner and his former student, Tara S. Caso, have published their third and final peer-reviewed article entitled "The DFT computational investigation of the β-sila-α-amino acids and their β-permethylsila-analogs:  Silicon-containing amino acids as a viable foundation for silicon-based life”:  T. S Caso, R. W. Zoellner, Journal of Undergraduate Chemistry Research 202322, 47–61.

Noah Zerbe, Alison Holmes, Politics
Professors Noah Zerbe and Alison Holmes were nominated to participate in the US Navy’s Distinguished Visitors (DV) Embark Program. Designed to educate community leaders, groups are invited to experience 24 hours aboard an aircraft carrier. Zerbe and Holmes received a Command briefing at Naval Base Coronado then flew via Osprey to the USS Carl Vinson, currently engaged in maneuvers off Mexico. They toured the Nimitz-class carrier, dined with the Executive Officer(XO), Judge Advocate General(JAG) and Air Officer Assistant (MiniBoss) and stayed overnight to observe the Bridge alongside the Commanding Officer(CO) and watch night and day operations from the flight deck.

Professor Alison Holmes, Politics
The Chancellor's Office has invited Professor Alison Holmes (Politics) to join the leadership team of the CSU International Forum. In the newly created role of Vice Chair for International Research, Holmes will help add a faculty/scholarship track to the Forum. Started in 2016, this has been a two-day, annual event, often seen as a networking and best practices professional development opportunity for CSU staff in the tracks of: Study Abroad, Incoming Exchange, International Recruitment, International Admissions and International Student Services. The Forum will now explicitly invite faculty and staff to share relevant/international research, extending its reach and impact.