Latest Achievements

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

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Armeda C. Reitzel, Communication
Armeda C. Reitzel, Professor Emerita, was one of the co-authors of a new open educational resource titled: "Interpersonal Communication: Context and Connection (OERI)." This project was funded and facilitated by The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI).  

Mary Virnoche, Sociology
Professor Mary Virnoche published in Teaching Sociology “‘You Make Your Own Luck’: Building Cultural and Social Capital in a Major-Based Career Course.” The piece is a call to action for sociologists and other faculty, particularly those serving first-generation and BIPOC students. Research indicates that first-generation students are more likely than continuing generation students to rely on posted ads for opportunities, while most opportunities are actually discovered through networking. The article outlines curriculum and a pilot assessment of a required sociology proseminar. The course focuses on integrating major-based skills into professional materials, developing soft skills, and organizing professional opportunities and contacts.

Alison Ruth Holmes, International Studies
Professor Alison Holmes (Chair International Studies and Politics) presented to the Association of Interdisciplinary Studies hosted by Sonoma State University. She was attending the conference to promote the new online interdisciplinary journal, csuglobal. With a launch set for 2023, the journal will highlight the global work of faculty, students and staff of the CSU system. The goal is to better connect our campuses while showcasing the research, curricular and co-curricular work we do that connects California to the world. If you would like to know more about the journal or to submit your work email Dr Alison Holmes:

Alison Holmes (Chair, Politics and International Studies), Richard Marcus (Global Studies Institute, CSULB), International Studies
Professor Alison Holmes and Professor Richard Marcus (CSU Long Beach) made a brief presentation via zoom to the CSU's Academic Council of International Programs enlisting their help to get the word out about the new online journal, csuglobal. This interdisciplinary journal will launch in 2023 and is designed to showcase the work of faculty, staff and students of the CSU as they connect California to the world.  If you are interested in learning about the journal or submitting work email Dr Holmes:

Johnathon A. Macias, Environmental Science & Management
Johnathon A. Macias published the peer-reviewed paper “Highlighting the Disconnect Between Legislation and Sustainable Cannabis” in the newly released ideaFest Journal.

Erin J. Hanson and Dr. Jose R. Marin Jarrin, Fisheries Biology
Erin J. Hanson and Dr. Jose R. Marin Jarrin published the peer-reviewed paper “List of Fish Species Present in Galápagos, Ecuador, and California, U.S.A., With Notes on Their Commercial Importance and Conservation Status” in the newly released ideaFest Journal.

Louis Antonelli, Alexandra Winkler, Theron Taylow, and Natalie Greenleaf, Fisheries Biology
Louis Antonelli, Alexandra Winkler, Theron Taylow, and Natalie Greenleaf published the peer-reviewed paper ”Variation in Coastal Macroinvertebrate Species Diversity on Intertidal Boulders in Trinidad, California” in the newly released ideaFest Journal.

Jasmine Williamshen, Alison O'Dowd, Kyle De Juilio, Nicholas Som, Darren Ward, Brian Williamshen, Environmental Science & Management
Former ESM graduate student Jasmine Williamshen and co-authors Alison O'Dowd (ESM professor), Kyle De Juilio (Yurok Tribe Fisheries Program), Nicholas Som (USFWS), Darren Ward (Fisheries professor) and Brian Williamshen (UC Davis) published a paper entitled, "Restoration pulse flows from a California dam temporarily increase drifting invertebrate biomass concentration" in the Journal of Environmental Management (

Geneviève Marchand, Recreation Administration
Geneviève Marchand recently completed a national study on compensation in collegial outdoor programs. Findings were presented at the Symposium on Experiential Education Research and are published in a national report through the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.

G. Webster Ross, Environmental Systems, M.S.
G. Webster Ross published the peer-reviewed paper “Injustice Within Renewable Energy Life Cycles: Can IRENA Offer a Solution?” in the newly released ideaFest Journal.

Micaela Szykman Gunther, Ho Yi Wan, Wildlife
Drs. Micaela Szykman Gunther and Ho Yi Wan received a $170,000 grant from the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI) to support a distribution study on the marten and fisher, two closely related members of the weasel family that are both species of special concern. The project aims to assess potential shifts in the species’ distributions after wildfires in Lassen County, and will support two Department of Wildlife graduate students. Findings will determine if certain management strategies or habitat types are more resilient to fire, potentially serving as refugia for martens and fishers.

Pedro Peloso, Biological Sciences
Research Associate Dr. Pedro Peloso and collaborators have discovered and described a new species of frog from South America (Brazil and French Guiana). They revealed this discovery in a paper titled "A new Chiasmocleis (Anura: Microhylidae) from the eastern Guiana Shield with an amended definition of C. haddadi", published in the Journal Zootaxa.

Laura Johnson, Geography
Dr. Laura Johnson, a lecturer in departments of Geography and Environmental Studies, was interviewed on the Sacred Community Project Podcast. Her conversation with host Sitaram Dass, MSW, revolved around ecological grief, rest as radical practice, embodied activism, and postcapitalist futures, among other related topics. Feel free to listen or share here: 

Bonnie Ludka, Adam Young, Robert Guza, William O’Reilly, Mark Merrifield, Environmental Resources Engineering
Dr. Bonnie Ludka and colleagues have published a paper in Coastal Engineering titled "Alongshore variability of a southern California beach, before and after nourishment." Their work investigates the link between wave-driven alongshore currents and hotspots of beach erosion and accretion on a southern California beach. Additionally, they analyze the effectiveness (both positive and negative impacts) of beach nourishment as a coastal management technique to manage the hotspots. The influence of alongshore sand transport on the migration and closure of a nearby river mouth is also discussed.

Frank Juma Ong'ondo, Frank Fogarty III, Peter Njoroge, and Matt Johnson, Wildlife
Wildlife graduate student Frank Juma Ong'ondo and his collaborators Drs. Frank Fogarty and Matt Johnson from Humboldt Wildlife, and Dr. Peter Njoroge from the National Museums of Kenya published a paper entitled "Bird abundance and diversity in shade coffee and natural forest in Kenya" in the journal Global Ecology & Conservation. Open access link here.

Dr. Oscar M. Vargas-Hernandez, Biological Sciences
Assistant Professor Dr. Oscar Vargas and collaborators published a paper titled "Evolutionary history constrains heat tolerance of native and exotic tropical Zingiberales." The paper studies the thermal tolerance of native and wild gingers in Costa Rica, discussing its implications to conservation and the biology of invasive species. 

Matt Johnson, Wildlife
Wildlife faculty member Matt Johnson has secured a new grant ($659,987) from the Agricultural Research Institute to investigate the use of nest boxes for bluebirds and swallows for insect pest control in winegrape vineyards. The 3-year project is in collaboration with researchers at UC Davis (Dr. Daniel Karp) and UC Riverside (Drs. Erin Wilson-Rankin and S. Houston Wilson), and it will fund a post-doctoral researcher and multiple undergraduate students from Cal Poly Humboldt, along with a PhD student at UC Davis. The research will occur in Napa Valley.

Brittany D. Light and Robert W. Zoellner, Chemistry
Professor Emeritus Robert W. Zoellner and his former student, Brittany D. Light, have published a "mini-review" entitled "Chemistry with a capital Z:  The superheavy elements, Flerovium" in the Summer 2022 issue of The Hexagon of Alpha Chi Sigma:  B. D. Light and R. W. Zoellner, The Hexagon of Alpha Chi Sigma2022113(2), 20-24.

Tara S. Caso, Robert W. Zoellner, Chemistry
Professor Emeritus Robert W. Zoellner and his former student, Tara S. Caso, have published a peer-reviewed article entitled "The effect of substituents on the hypothetical decomposition energies of triacetone triperoxide (TATP) derivatives:  Structures and properties from density functional calculations":  T. S Caso, R. W. Zoellner, Journal of Undergraduate Chemistry Research 202221, 106-110.

Alison O'Dowd, Environmental Science & Management
Dr. Alison O'Dowd, with collaborators in the Yurok Tribe and Hoopa Valley Tribe, was awarded $123,000 by the Trinity River Restoration Program to explore the effects of scour and marginal inundation on Trinity River invertebrate communities. River invertebrates are an important food resource for salmonids and this study will investigate if longer periods of winter inundation can bolster invertebrate populations.  The other aspect of the study will use monthly invertebrate sampling to see if high-flow winter scouring events can 're-set' the system and increase fish food later in the season (as has been shown in other research).

Pedro Peloso and Brandice Guerra, Biological Sciences
Dr. Pedro Peloso and Brandice Guerra, M.F.A., received a $10,000 grant from the Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation to support a scientific illustration residency program at Cal Poly Humboldt. The program will recruit a student or recent graduate from anywhere in the world to work with faculty from the departments of Art+Film and Biology. The intern will create a series of illustrations of recently extinct Brazilian frogs, and share their work and artistic process through a lecture or exhibition on campus.

Linda Kuckuk, English
Linda J. Kuckuk (graduate student, M.A. English, Applied English Studies) is presenting a paper titled "Interwoven Stories/Embroidered Identity" at the 119th Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA) Conference in November 2022. The conference theme is "Geographies of the Fantastic and the Quotidian." Linda's presentation will be part of a session on ideas about "Auto/biography."     

Alexandra Papesh and Tanner Hooven, Physics & Astronomy
Congratulations to Physics & Astronomy majors Alexandra Papesh and Tanner Hooven who presented Cal Poly Humboldt gravitational physics research at the 2022 Far West Section Meeting of the American Physical Society. This year around 100 researchers were welcomed by the University of Hawai'i, Manoa in Honolulu to share knowledge, network, and learn about recent groundbreaking results. Great work!!

Dr. Christopher Hopper (KINS), Dr. Sheila Rocker Heppe (CEEGE), Joy Hermsen (LDRS), and Betsy Rogers (LDRS), School of Applied Health
Dr. Christopher Hopper, Program Director; Dr. Sheila Rocker Heppe, Director of Extended Education; Joy Hermsen, faculty; and Betsy Rogers, Academic Advisor, presented at the California Community College Association for Occupational Education Conference (CCCAOE) to an audience of faculty and administrators representing vocational/technical degrees throughout the CCC system. The presentation highlighted transfer pathways for members of the vocational and technical workforce to earn their bachelor’s degree in Leadership Studies, a fully online major at Cal Poly Humboldt, and shared how California community college programs can build transfer agreements that cater to working adults.

Molly Parren, Daniel Barton, and Barbara Clucas, Wildlife
Molly Parren, MS graduate in Wildlife, published results from her MS thesis research, "Drought and coyotes mediate mesopredator response to human disturbance" in the ESA open-access journal Ecosphere, co-authored with Cal Poly Humboldt faculty Drs. Daniel Barton and Barbara Clucas and CDFW scientists Dr. Brett Furnas and Misty Nelson. This work addressed how California's extreme drought and coyotes in 2013-16 influenced interactions between bobcats, kit foxes, raccoons, and human disturbance at 585 study sites throught California's Central Valley and Mojave Deserts.

Alan Tepley, Forestry, Fire & Rangeland Management
Alan Tepley was the lead author on a paper that evaluates trends in wildfire evacuations across Canada's forested regions over the last four decades. The study summarizes spatial variation in the characteristics of the fires that led to evacuations (e.g., the size, seasonality, and ignition sources) and the communities exposed (e.g., population, access to the road network, and trends in evacuations on First Nations reserves vs. non-reserves). Understanding the key risk factors and how they vary spatially across Canada and temporally over the fire season will aid in planning for future fire seasons.    

Hunter Harrill, Will Goldenberg, Forestry, Fire & Rangeland Management
Dr. Hunter Harrill (Forestry, Fire, and Rangeland Management) was invited to deliver a presentation titled, "Creating Immersive Field Trips and Assignments During COVID" for a panel session on Forest Operations Education at the COFE-FORMEC-IUFRO Division 3 International Conference of Forest Engineering, in Corvallis, Oregon, October 4-7th, 2022. His presentation featured the high quality virtual field trips that were filmed and produced by Humboldt alumni Will Goldenberg, that are now helping professors from other universities around the world, to educate their students. Dr. Harrill also served as a moderator for a panel session on Forest Operations Planning Issues and Opportunities. 

Dennis Lindelof, Lisa Elconin, Huntington Paulson, Amanda Admire, Geology
On Saturday October 1st, the Geology Club officers, Dennis Lindelof, Lisa Elconin and Huntington Paulson, joined the Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group and Humboldt Earthquake Education Center to participate in Pastels on the Plaza. Their design promoted the Great ShakeOut happening on October 20th at 10:20 am, and it highlighted the importance of earthquake and tsunami awareness and preparedness. Check out their design on the Arcata Plaza! We encourage everyone to sign up and participate in ShakeOut during Safety Week so you too can practice your earthquake and tsunami drill. Preparedness makes a difference! 

Karolyn Fagundes, Hunter Harrill, Susan Marshall, Andrew Stubblefield, Han-Sup Han, Forestry, Fire & Rangeland Management
Karolyn Fagundes (Forestry, Fire, and Rangeland Management) was invited to deliver a presentation highlighting her Master's thesis research, titled, "Assessing Soil Disturbance from a Tethered Feller Buncher on Steep Slopes in Northern California." The presentation was part of a panel session on Environmental Impacts at the COFE-FORMEC-IUFRO Division 3 International Conference of Forest Engineering, in Corvallis, Oregon, October 4-7th, 2022. 

Logan Hysen, Wildlife
Logan Hysen, M.S. student from the Department of Wildlife, was selected to be the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship given by the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the California Association of Environmental Professionals. The scholarship supports students pursuing a career in the environmental field. Logan is conducting research on environmental impacts on northern spotted owl for his thesis.

Hunter Harrill, Forestry, Fire & Rangeland Management
Dr. Hunter Harrill received a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service to conduct a study that will determine the size, scale, and capabilities of the logging industry in California. The main objective of the project is to survey the industry to quantify the number of crews that exist and their characteristics (e.g. capacity, employment, equipment, capabilities), and improve our understanding of their challenges, opinions, business outlook, and vision for the future. Findings will inform land managers about the potential for types of forest operations and available capacity in their respective area.

David Adams, School of Applied Health
David Adams published the following article. Adams, D., Bittner, M., Lavay, B., & Silliman-French, L. (2022). Adapted Physical Education Teachers Prior Training and Current use of Action Research to Monitor Student Progress. PALAESTRA, 36(3) 35-43.    

Logan Hysen, Danial Nayeri, Ho Yi Wan, Wildlife
In Summer 2022, Logan Hysen and Danial Nayeri, graduate students of the Wildlife Department, were awarded a $1,000 research grant from the California North Coast Chapter of the Wildlife Society. This grant will be used to conduct a pilot research on northern spotted owl prey species in recently burned forest landscapes. They will be conducting the research under the supervision of Dr. Ho Yi Wan.

Jen Maguire, Centers for Equitable Higher Education
Dr. Jen Maguire received a $150,000 grant from the College Futures Foundation to support strategic planning for the Centers for Equitable Higher Education (CEHE) at CSU Long Beach and Cal Poly Humboldt. The initiative will allow CEHE to define an expanded effort to generate research that advances policy and practice changes to better meet student basic needs in California.

Nievita Bueno Watts, Indian Natural Resources, Science & Engineering Program
Dr. Nievita Bueno Watts received a $1.3 million Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Program grant from the US Department of Education. McNair is a prestigious national program that prepares selected first generation college students from low income backgrounds for doctoral studies by providing opportunities for research and other scholarly activities, summer research institute, seminars, and academic counseling. This includes assistance to students in securing admission to graduate programs. The McNair Scholars program is the latest in a suite of TRiO programs available at Cal Poly Humboldt which include EOP/Student Support Services, Educational Talent Search, and Upward Bound.

Sara L. Chase Merrick, Child Development
Dr. Sara L. Chase Merrick received an $18,000 grant from the Yurok Tribe to instruct an asynchronous, 3-unit American Indian Education course designed for local Native American high school students through the College of Extended Education. The course will use relevant theories to study contemporary and historical experiences of Indigenous youth, their families, and their communities. Course topics will be guided by student interest and include: History of education from an Indigenous Perspective, Relationships to Land, Language Revitalization, Stories, Health, and Decolonization. Students will participate in a variety activities, including field trips and tribal expert guest presentations.

Kathleen Brewer, Dr. Mary Gruber, Psychology
Kathleen Brewer (M.A., 2013) and Dr. Mary Gruber (Emerita Professor) published their peer-reviewed Professional manual for the Parent Reaction to Autism Diagnosis Scales (PRADS-2) with guidance for tailoring parent supports, in May 2022.  It is available through open source at and also as a book through Amazon.  The manual describes their research, development, and validation of the scales, along with instructions for using them accurately, ethically, and beneficially in tailoring supports for parents.  Their manual also cites nine Humboldt graduate student thesis research studies on supports for caregivers of children with developmental disabilities.

Brandilynn Villarreal, Kimberly Vincent-Layton, Edelmira Reynoso, Kayla Begay and Kimberly N. White, Native American Studies
Despite having expertise, student voices have typically been left out of faculty professional development literature. The purpose of this study was to center college student voices around perceptions of equitable learning environments for use in faculty professional development programs.  Results revealed students and faculty had similar perceptions and both endorsed the importance of equitable classroom practices. Using content analysis to generate themes, students identified instructor responsibilities to promote learning environments that are: (1) caring and supportive, (2) safe and equitable, (3) individualized, (4) student-centered, and (5) active and collaborative.

Mary Lipiec, English
Mary Lipiec, graduate M.A. student in English, presented at the SPARK conference in New York City. Mary is researching representations of  autism in literature for the culminating M.A. project in English. As part of the SPARK conference, Mary was part of a panel discussion on disability justice.

L. Rae Robison, Dance, Music & Theatre
Theatre Professor L. Rae Robison is a contributor to the new Routledge publication of Masking in Pandemic U.S.: Beliefs and Practices of Containment and Connection by Urmila Mohan. This anthropological study explores the beliefs and practices that emerged around masking in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jeffrey Kane, Forestry, Fire & Rangeland Management
In an effort to address California's daunting wildfire challenges, Dr. Jeffrey Kane and the Humboldt Fire Resilience Institute recently acquired a $500,000 Cal Fire Workforce Development Grant. Through these funds, the institute, in partnership with local agencies and organizations, will work to develop and better integrate education, training, experience, and outreach opportunities for fire students, professionals, and community members within northwestern California. The major aim of this work is to enhance the qualified fire and fuels management workforce to help reach the ambitious but necessary fuel reduction targets for California in the coming years.

Sara L. Chase Merrick, Child Development
Dr. Sara L. Chase Merrick received a $400,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation to build on her previous research-practice collaborations with the Hoopa Tribal Education Association, and expand the resurgence of Na:tinixwe Mixine:whe (Hupa Language) and Na:tinixwe approaches to education. The project will utilize Na:tinixwe methodologies to investigate how current short-term language and education resurgence efforts can be developed into an effective long-term program.  Research will be grounded in the specificity of the Na:tinixwe (people) and Na:tinixw’ (place), yet have implications for Indigenous contexts across the world, endangered language communities, and Education research-practice.

Matthew Dean, World Languages & Cultures
Dr. Matthew (Mateo) Dean's latest book, Beginning Spanish Language and Culture, which was published in August of 2020, reached over 30,000 downloads worldwide last month, just two years after publication. This peer-reviewed OER textbook has consistently been the #1 most popular download on Humboldt Digital Commons.  

Rosemary Sherriff, Geography
Rosemary Sherriff (Professor, GESA) co-authored (85 authors) a recent paper in the journal Ecosphere on a newly compiled North American tree-ring fire-scar network (NAFSN), which contains 2562 sites, >37,000 fire-scarred trees, and covers large parts of North America. The study explores  the NAFSN in terms of geography, sample depth, vegetation, topography, climate, and human land use. Fire scars are found in most ecoregions, from boreal forests in northern Alaska and Canada to subtropical forests in southern Florida and Mexico. The network includes 91 tree species, but is dominated by gymnosperms in the genus Pinus

Zachary Wenderott, Rosemary Sherriff, Geography
Humboldt graduate Zachary Wenderott (MS, Forestry, Watershed and Wildland Sciences), Rosemary Sherriff (Professor, GESA), and colleagues at the U.S.G.S and National Park Service recently published a paper in the journal Forest Ecology and Management on prescribed fire effects in mixed-conifer forests in Lassen Volcanic National Park. The findings suggest that forest management, such as prescribed fire, may be beneficial in terms of maintaining or improving tree growth among large residual trees. However, managers may want to balance the benefits of these treatments against inadvertent injury and mortality of large trees.

Sarah Jaquette Ray, Environmental Studies
Dr. Sarah Jaquette Ray published a short essay, "Doing Nothing for the Planet," on One Earth Sangha. Read it here:

Student Alumna Kathleen Brewer and Faculty Emerita Dr. Mary Gruber, Psychology
Student Alumna Kathleen Brewer and Faculty Emerita Dr. Mary Gruber published their peer-reviewed Professional manual for the Parent Reaction to Autism Diagnosis Scales (PRADS-2) with guidance for tailoring parent supports.  It is available at and also as a book through Amazon.  The manual describes their research, development, and validation of the scales, along with instructions for using them accurately, ethically, and beneficially in tailoring supports for parents.  Their manual also cites nine Humboldt graduate student thesis research studies on supports for caregivers of children with developmental disabilities.   

Alison O'Dowd, Environmental Science & Management
ESM Professor Alison O'Dowd received >$800,000 in grants and matching funds to do a 5-year food web study related to the removal of 4 large dams on the Klamath River.  The study includes collaborators at the Karuk Tribe and UC Davis to look at food resources and diet of salmonids in tributary and mainstem sites on the Klamath River before, during and after dam removal.  This research will explore the resiliency of culturally-important salmonids during high sediment loads released during dam removal.

Alison Holmes, World Languages & Cultures
Alison Holmes, leader of the International Studies Program, spent the summer on a Fellowship at the University of London. While in the UK, she presented papers at two conferences: the Transatlantic Studies Association and HOTCUS (Historians of the Twentieth Century United States).

Alfredo Calderon, Kevin Chung, Steven Gracy, and Taylor Juchau, Physics & Astronomy
Four Physics & Astronomy majors were selected to be Cal-Bridge Scholars for the upcoming academic years. The Cal-Bridge program creates opportunities for historically underrepresented groups and first-generation students to participate and advance in STEM fields including physics, astronomy, computer science, and computer engineering, in order to increase their representation in PhD programs. Each scholar is provided a CSU as well as a UC mentor to help prepare them for graduate school applications and secure research opportunities. Students are awarded a scholarship up to $10,000 per year on a need-based assessment. Congratulations to all!