Recent News


May 24, 2024

The Cal Poly Archaeology Club took their final field trip of the 2023-24 school year to Los Angeles to visit the Natural History Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits! Following the usual grind through L.A., the club was taken on a behind-the-scenes tour of the anthropology and ethnology collections at the museum. They were able to see very cool artifacts and learn about the process of how artifacts are prepped for display. Afterwards, the club continued to tour the museum, spending lots of time at the dinosaur exhibits and the butterfly pavilion. That night, the Club camped out at Malibu Creek State Park, with students working together to prepare a campfire dinner and breakfast for everyone to enjoy surrounded by the beautiful park landscape The last stop of the trip was the La Brea Tar Pits, which did not disappoint!!! The club was met by archaeologists on site who brought them through a tour of the paleontology laboratory where technicians and volunteers clean and repair the excavated bones, including a recently unearthed mammoth skull! Students were then brought to the actual tar pits, and were able to watch the paleontologists at work uncovering fossils. There was even an opportunity for club members to see a tar pit up close, while learning about how the asphalt acts as a preservative for the bones, with some of them being over 40,000 years old! To wrap up the trip, club members strolled through the La Brea museum to see all the fossils on display and learn about what has been learned so far from the tar pits. This trip was very educational and super fun for everyone involved! if you are interested in joining and going on field trips like this next year, please reach out to the club’s new president, Sophie Fioravanti at Click link to photo album by Elliot Waters.

Anthropology Conference & Student Participation

May 13, 2024

From May 3rd through May 5th, the HEE lab and their faculty advisor, Dr. Stacey Rucas, attended the California Workshop on Evolutionary Social Sciences (CWESS) 2024 Conference held at UCSB. Students who attended listened to diverse presentations exploring different topics that examined human behavior through an evolutionary lens. The HEE lab proudly presented two posters investigating comfort food-seeking behavior from an evolutionary perspective: “The Cultural Stickiness of Comfort Food” and “Craving Comfort: Stress Relief on a Plate.” Amidst the poster session, students seized the opportunity to connect with graduate students and faculty from various institutions, particularly those considering graduate school. Moreover, through being a part of the 2024 HEE Lab, students gained valuable hands-on experience conducting research, including project formation, data collection, analysis, presentation of findings at an academic conference, and working collaboratively in a group setting.

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 This group presented “The Cultural Stickiness of Comfort Food,” focusing on the sense of belonging and in-group versus out-group theory within the student population at Cal Poly in relation to comfort food. From left to right, this group consists of Leno Bertozzi, Joseph Leeman, Savanna Goodpaster, Ashley Pearce, Sophia Neal, and Cecilia Lozano.

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This group presented “Craving Comfort: Stress Relief on a Plate,” exploring the relationship between different stressors (social, economic, and environmental) among Cal Poly students and their influence on comfort food-seeking behavior rooted in evolutionary tendencies for individuals to seek quick energy sources in response to a perceived threat. From left to right, this group consists of Madeline Sickert, Jack Tierney, Zoe Miersma, Laura Elliott, A.J. Nicholson, Caroline Boer, Kendall Tarman, and Kylee Zinnen. 

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This picture shows the combined teams and the full Human Evolutionary Ecology (HEE) 2024 lab. From left to right, starting in the front row, are Madeline Sickert and Zoe Miersma. From left to right, the second row includes Kylee Zinnen, Cecilia Lozano, Leno Bertozzi, Laura Elliott, Caroline Boer, Sophia Neal, and faculty advisor Dr. Rucas. Lastly, in the back third row, we have Ashley Pearce, Jack Tierney, Savanna Goodpaster, A.J. Nicholson, Joseph Leeman, and Kendall Tarman.

2024 Learn by Doing Good Award Winner Kelly Christian

May 2, 2024

Sociology senior Kelly Christian was recognized with a Learn by Doing Good Award for Significant Volunteer Contribution on May 1 by Cal Poly President Armstrong, an award that acknowledges students who have done stellar and self-motivated work with the community independent of course or job requirement. Her dedication to the community has included organizing a hugely successful clothing and toiletries drive for the ECHO Homeless Shelter in North County, and volunteering with Santa Maria Social Services 20 hours per week on top of the paid work she uses to support herself through college. After transferring to Cal Poly in 2022, Kelly is set to graduate this June with one of the highest GPAs in the Department of Social Sciences. We are so proud of Kelly, and wish her all the best in her bright future!


Archaeology and Geography Club lecture

Apr 24, 2024

Thursday May 23, 11:10-12:00 Building 10 Room 222

Mapping the Past: The Importance of GIS in Cultural Resources Management and Archaeological Research

By Cal Poly Alumni, Zoe Levit and John Vilarino. Free and Open to All

Mapping the Amazon's Forest-Agriculture Interface

Apr 2, 2024

Dr. Andrew Fricker and some of his GIS undergraduate students and colleagues have been hand-digitizing geographic boundaries of oil palm and cacao plantations in Ucayali, Peru and Para, Brazil in support of SERVIR Amazonia goals. These data sets, supported by training documentation describing methodologies, have been published in the Harvard Dataverse in ways that make them available to local land managers, farmers and scientists to create a more transparent supply chain, preserve biodiversity and reduce additional deforestation.

Archaeology Club Visits Vandenberg Air Force Base

Jan 31, 2024

Cal Poly’s Archaeology Club visited Vandenberg Air Force Base for their second trip of the school year! Students drove a little over an hour to the base before getting a tour of four amazing archaeological sites on this remarkable stretch of coast. Accompanied by the former and current base archaeologists, the club first visited a 9,000 year old shell midden site to observe the impacts of coastal erosion. The next stop took students to a beautiful Chumash rock art site situated more than 1,500 feet in elevation, where indigenous Californians have been painting for thousands of years. After driving back down through the base’s hilly landscape, the club observed a fascinating 11,000 year old site, the oldest on mainland California and one of its most unique. Lastly, students were able to explore one of the five Chumash village sites contained on the Vandenberg base, finding shell and stone remains from the land's original inhabitants. The club’s visit to Vandenberg Air Force Base was a huge success, and with plans to have another field trip in Spring quarter, please reach out to club president, Alex Amundsen at if you are interested in joining!

Dr. Paul Gellert talk

Jan 30, 2024

Thursday, February 1, 2024 from 4:10-6:00 PM at the Christopher Cohan Center 006-0124 (PAC -Philips Hall). This event is presented by CLA Doyle Speaker Funds and is co-sponsored by the Social Sciences Department.

Continue reading Dr. Paul Gellert talk...

2024 Career Expo

Jan 23, 2024

Time to grasp the opportunity to jumpstart your career in the field of Social Sciences! Join us on January 30th from 10 am to 2 pm to build bridges with professionals who share the same interests as you and learn about what job opportunities your degree can take you.

Bring your polished resume and bright self to the Performing Arts Center on January 30th from 10 am to 2 pm to talk with companies, such as Albion Environmental, Lumina Alliance, and many more.

Continue reading 2024 Career Expo...

Archaeology Club Visits Carizzo Plains Painted Rock

Nov 15, 2023

Archaeology Club Takes First Field Trip of 2023-2024 to Painted Rock on Carrizo Plain

Cal Poly’s Archaeology Club visited Carrizo Plains Painted Rock for the first trip of the 2023-2024 school year! This was the club’s second time venturing out to Painted Rock, which is about an hour and a half east of San Luis Obispo. Students drove through the expansive, rural landscape spotting cattle, deer, and even some foxes before arriving at the monument. After a brief 0.5 mile hike from the rest stop, students arrived at the rock and were awed by its presence among the rolling hills. The club was captivated by the Chumash rock art motifs around the rock’s interior, while layers of historical graffiti dating back to 1885 could also be observed. The club’s return to Painted Rock on Carrizo Plain was a huge success, and with plans to have more field trips throughout the year, please reach out to club president, Alex Amundsen at if you are interested in joining!


Virtual Chinese Artifact Display and Reception

May 16, 2023

San Luis Obispo's Chinatown: History, Excavation and Legacy. Showing and Reception May 31, 7:00-8:00 PM Building 10-226


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