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Cal Poly Program Could Help Reduce Math Anxiety, Close Gender Gap with NSF Funding

Oct 8, 2015

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Thanks to a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Cal Poly’s Academy of Inquiry Based Learning will lead an effort to increase active learning in college math classes across the nation, with research support from the University of Colorado, Boulder’s Evaluation and Ethnography Research unit.

Active learning — also known as inquiry-based learning (IBL) — has been shown to reduce math anxiety and close the gender achievement gap in math classes.

Three Education Graduates Hail from Same Family

Aug 19, 2015

From left to right: Nancy, Malinda and Hailey Maytubby


A family of Cal Poly graduates put a dent in the nation’s STEM teacher shortage this spring. Mom Nancy Maytubby (B.S., Liberal Studies, 2015) and her daughters Malinda Klinchuch (B.S., Liberal Studies, 2011; Single and Multiple Subject Credentials, 2012; M.A., Education, 2015) and Hailey Maytubby (B.S., Liberal Studies, 2014; Multiple Subject Credential, 2015) all received education degrees or a credential in June.

Nancy worked as a teacher at a private school in Bakersfield, Calif., while her daughters were growing up. Her example instilled a love of education in them. “I think teaching was a destiny for me and my sister,” said Malinda, who now teaches math at Mt. Whitney High School in Visalia, Calif. “Watching so many wonderful teachers, including my mom, impact students' lives created a shared passion in us.”

Malinda was the first Cal Poly graduate in the family, completing her bachelor’s degree in 2011. This spring, she earned her master’s in educational leadership and administration.

Hailey followed Malinda both to Cal Poly and into the math minor. She finished the Cal Poly credential program in June and will begin teaching seventh grade math at Judkins Middle School in Pismo Beach, Calif., in the fall. “They've always liked math,” Nancy said.

“And in general liked kids,” Hailey added. “Teaching is something I’ve always loved to do.”

When Hailey was a freshman, her dad was transferred to Templeton. Nancy hadn’t needed a bachelor’s degree at the private school she’d taught at for years, but the requirements were different on the Central Coast. She missed teaching and so applied for the liberal studies program and enrolled in 2013, Hailey’s senior year.

“I didn't want to infringe on Hailey’s college experience,” Nancy said. “I thought, when I see her on campus, do I say, 'Hey Hailey?’ I didn’t want to cause that awkward that's-my-mom moment.”

“At first it was like, uh oh, my mom’s coming to campus, but this is something she wanted and teaching is her passion,” Hailey said.

All three are excited about how Learn by Doing in the liberal studies and credential programs prepared them for the classroom. “At Cal Poly, you're not just memorizing things, you're experiencing them,” Nancy said.

“In so many classes, we actually go out to the schools and put what we've learned into practice, even before the credential program,” Hailey said.

Malinda confirmed what her mom and sister are looking forward to. “Cal Poly's Learn by Doing approach enabled me to start my career teaching with confidence and excitement.”

And these three have something not every teacher has — a built-in support network. “I love having a family full of teachers,” Malinda said. “We know exactly what joys and frustrations teaching brings to our lives and are able to understand one another.”

Newsletter 2015

Aug 19, 2015

Featured Articles

Cal Poly Leads Preparation for Next Generation Science Standards

In May, Cal Poly hosted 130 teachers from local school districts for Super STEM Saturday, a conference designed to give teachers tools for applying new science standards in their classrooms.

Three Education Graduates Hail from Same Family

A family of Cal Poly graduates put a dent in the nation’s STEM teacher shortage this spring. Mom Nancy Maytubby and her daughters Malinda Klinchuch and Hailey Maytubby all received education degrees or a credential in June.

Read more about the Maytubby graduates ›

Cal Poly Liberal Studies Alumna Awarded Fulbright in Malaysia

Cal Poly alumna Trisha Huynh was awarded a Fulbright student grant to serve in the English Teaching Assistant Program in Malaysia during 2015. She assisted local seventh, eighth and 10th grade English teachers in the rural town of Setiu.

Read more about Trisha Huynh ›


More News

Letter From the Department Chair

Lola BerberWe are so proud of our liberal studies students, who not only do it all but truly do it all well. On behalf of these talented students and the department faculty, thank you for so thoughtfully supporting the department.

Read the letter ›


Thank You to Our Generous Donors

Private support from alumni, parents, friends, businesses and agencies enables the department to continue to provide exceptional Learn by Doing projects and opportunities for today’s students.

View the list of donors ›

Continue reading Newsletter 2015...

Cal Poly Leads Preparation for Next Generation Science Standards

May 12, 2015

Sample main imageSAN LUIS OBISPO — In May, Cal Poly hosted 130 teachers from local school districts for Super STEM Saturday, a conference designed to give teachers tools for applying new science standards in their classrooms.

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are coming to K-12 schools in 2016, and Cal Poly is helping the Central Coast get ahead of the curve in putting them into practice. NGSS is a set of education benchmarks establishing what K-12 students need to know and be able to do.

Cal Poly faculty and industry and educational partners conducted a variety of workshops showcasing ideas for incorporating technology, math and literacy into science classes. These include: methods for teaching sustainability, led by local company iFixit; active learning science kits produced by the Cal Poly Liberal Studies Department; and digital media demonstrations by the YMCA Youth Institute Tech Teach/Film Crew.

“We’re giving teachers the opportunity to be well-trained in the Next Generation Science Standards before they have to implement them,” said Lola Berber-Jimenez, chair of the Liberal Studies Department.

The conference, the only one of its kind on the Central Coast, closed the first year of the Math and Science Teacher Leadership Collaborative. Funded by a $1.5 million grant from the state Department of Education, the program offers three years of intensive training for 60 third- through fifth-grade teachers from the Atascadero Unified, Lucia Mar Unified, San Miguel Joint Union, Paso Robles Unified and Templeton Unified school districts.

Teachers in the program have been working together to develop groups of lessons — called modules — that address the new standards and include hands-on activities. They also test these modules in the classroom, refining them to improve student learning. These teachers instruct other teachers how to implement the new standards and serve as leaders in the teaching community.

"By participating in this program, I'm gaining a huge amount of content knowledge that will help me better convey scientific concepts to my students," said Charlie Berry, a fourth grade teacher at Kermit King Elementary School in Paso Robles. "The students in my class have been able to do a variety of hands-on STEM activities and put their ideas to work by developing new inventions."

“We’re excited to provide a platform for teacher collaboration and leadership,” Berber-Jimenez said. “It’s so important for the people who will be teaching the next generation of scientists to have the resources they need to become experts. This group is at the forefront of a tremendous reform in science education.”

Trisha Huynh

Cal Poly Liberal Studies Alumna Awarded Fulbright in Malaysia

Jan 29, 2015

Cal Poly alumna Trisha Huynh was awarded a Fulbright student grant to serve in the English Teaching Assistant Program in Malaysia during 2015. She assisted local seventh, eighth and 10th grade English teachers in the rural town of Setiu. Huynh is only the second Cal Poly student Fulbright recipient in 20 years.

The prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program promotes cultural exchange through individual interactions and community engagement. The grant provides transportation, room, board and incidental costs. Of those who applied to serve in Asia in the 2014-15  application period, about one-quarter were accepted. 

Huynh, a Liberal Studies alumna, applied to the Fulbright program in her senior year because it combined her interests in teaching, travel and international exchange, which were piqued during a study abroad program.

"While volunteering as an English teaching assistant in a preschool in Madrid, I got to  apply teaching methods I had learned at Cal Poly to a classroom of non-English-speaking students," Huynh said. “Studying abroad in Madrid opened my eyes to other cultures and how much I enjoy exploring them.”

Huynh chose Malaysia because its mix of cultures sparked her curiosity. "Malaysia has Chinese, Indian and Malay populations. I really wanted to learn more about how those cultures meld into one country and how they make it work," she said.

"Trisha is so excited about learning," said Anne Marie Bergen, a liberal studies professor and Huynh's senior project advisor. "She never just scratched the surface as a student. Instead, she dug in and found all sorts of opportunities."

Huynh plans to pursue a career in elementary education when she returns. "What's exciting for me is thinking of her being an elementary educator after the Fulbright," said Bergen. "The experiences she'll have that she can then bring to the classroom and the children — it will be extraordinary."

Students using high tech recording equipment

Empowering Students with Digital Media

Jan 15, 2015

Tech/Teach Film Crew working with students

When: Saturday, January 31 from 8:30 – 1 pm (lunch included) 
Join us for coffee and donuts at 8:00am!
Where: Cal Poly; The New Baker Center Building 180-0112 (New Location)
Who: PK-16 teachers & Pre-service students 
Bring: Your iPad/Tablet (Install free apps Photospeak, Touchcast, and Quick Scan - QR)

RSVP to:

Workshop description

Presenting Dan Hartzell and the Cambria Youth Institute Tech Teach/Film Crew. The presenters are local Middle School and High School students that have mastered the skills needed for this workshop.

The Youth Institute Tech Teach/Film Crew will provide project-based training where participants will apply technology to lessons that would be taught to youth. Projects will be cross-curricular STEM lesson focused. Examples of lessons may include creating a stop animation video, making an infomercial, and/or creating a tutorial video. 

Each topic covered will provide ways to extend on concepts and skills learned, how to relate these skills to state standards, STEM, Common Core, and enhance classroom learning. Time will be allowed for individual questions following each session. Sessions will be facilitated with help of High School and Middle School Tech Crew students.


  • Become familiar with the use of video production, podcasting and tablet use in the classroom.
  • Experience cross-curricular STEAM project-based training that applies technology to lessons that can be used with any learner.
  • Experience examples of lessons that may include creating a stop animation video, making an infomercial, and/or creating a tutorial video.

Liberal Studies Majors Connect Kids with Books

Nov 12, 2014

Cal Poly students holding children's books and art work
Janine Hsieh (left), Alexandria Grant and Hannah Loth display the book
"Smelly Socks" along with sample art projects based on the book. In March,
Cal Poly students visited Mary Buren Elementary School in Guadalupe, Calif.,
to read the book, lead an art project, and give away copies of the book.

June 6, 2014

Over 150 second-graders took home their own copy of a popular children's book thanks to Cal Poly's chapter of the Student California Teachers Association (SCTA) and a $1,000 National Education Association CLASS grant. The grant funded a book donation and reading program in high needs elementary schools and read-alouds at the San Luis Obispo Children's Museum.

The Books in Schools program brought Cal Poly liberal studies and child development majors to local, high-needs elementary schools for a day of reading and craft activities. At the end of the day, all elementary students received a copy of the book they read.

In March, volunteers visited all the second grade classrooms at Mary Buren Elementary School in Guadalupe. Calif. "You could tell that for some of the children, this was perhaps the only book they had ever had to themselves," said Hannah Loth, one of the liberal studies volunteers. "It was refreshing to see so many students showing their appreciation for reading and learning."

In May, volunteers visited Oceano Elementary School in Oceano, Calif.

SCTA also used the grant funds to run Children's Museum Read Alouds. Once a month, the San Luis Obispo Children's Museum got an influx of literary energy as liberal studies students brought their enthusiasm along with a book to read and an activity based on the book. The program featured books that aligned with the museum's monthly theme.

In addition to serving the community, the volunteers got a taste of their future life as elementary school teachers. "These programs give the volunteers an experience of how they would engage their students on the first day of class," said Janine Hsieh, SCTA president.


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