Meet the New Faculty
Andrew Fricker is a spatial ecologist with interdisciplinary teaching and research interests. He holds a Ph.D. and master’s degrees in Geography from UC Los Angeles and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Physical Geography from UC Santa Barbara. Before arriving at Cal Poly, he spent two years as a postdoctoral research fellow at Arizona State University and UC Riverside while lecturing in the Geography Department at UCLA. Much of his research focuses on the spatial distribution of plants and animals across numerous ecosystems, from the tropical forests of Kauai and Panama to closer to home in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Recently, he has taken an interest in the spatial dynamics of fire after the Camp Fire, which devastated his hometown in and around Chico and Paradise, California. His research has evolved to focus on using new techniques in computer vision and "deep learning" to analyze geospatial imagery and to study ecological systems.
At Cal Poly, Fricker is teaching GEOG 350: The Global Environment, GEOG 328: Applications in Remote Sensing and GEOG 318: Applications in Geographic Information Systems. He will add GEOG 440: Advanced Applications in Geographic Information Systems in the 2019-20 academic year. He is also interested in creating new coursework to use exciting new data sources like imagery from web-based data, microsatellites, mobile mapping platforms and the powerful Google Earth Engine analysis platform. He is excited to get students interested in new technology, research and learning the skills to handle new large and dynamic datasets. A Northern California native who was educated in Southern California, Fricker is pleased to find the geographic "middle ground" in San Luis Obispo.
Martine Lappé is a qualitative sociologist who focuses on the intersections of gender, health, science, and medicine. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from UC San Francisco and held postdoctoral research fellowships at UCLA and Columbia University before joining the faculty at Cal Poly. Lappé’s scholarship draws on her interdisciplinary training in sociology, bioethics, life sciences and public health to examine how lived experiences and social inequalities affect health, science and medicine in the United States. Her research has focused on family experiences of autism diagnosis and care, the impacts of genetic information on social policies and reproductive decision making, and how the science of environmental epigenetics is shaping our understandings of children’s health today. She currently holds a Career Development Award from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)’s Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) Program. At Cal Poly, Lappé teaches SOC 470 as an Advanced Topics course on the Sociology of Health and Medicine and ISLA 456: Advanced Project-Based Learning in Science, Technology and Society. She is passionate about mentoring students and looks forward to developing additional courses related to gender, health and society in the future. Lappé is a member of Cal Poly’s Center for Health Research and employs sociology and anthropology-geography majors on her qualitative research team. She is excited to be living and teaching back in California, where she was born and raised.