Graduate Student Spotlight

Outstanding Student Awards Group Photo

The Office of Graduate Studies wants to recognize Cal Poly Humboldt’s outstanding graduate students. To nominate a graduate student for a graduate student spotlight, email More nomination details can be found here at 

The McConkey Awards are given in Memory of Patricia McConkey and her many years of service to Graduate Studies, and to graduate students, at Cal Poly Humboldt.

The McConkey Award recipients are selected by the faculty of their graduate programs, in recognition of excellence in their fields. McConkey Award recipients graduate with distinction on their transcript and are recognized in their commencement program.

Headshot Romel Robinson

Romel Robinson
MA in Engineering & Community Practice
Thesis Title: Indigenizing Engineering at Mouralherwaqh: An engineering project with the Wiyot People
Advisor: Dr. Qualla Jo Ketchum

Headshot of Sydney Sawyer

Sydney Sawyer
MA in Psychology (School Psychology)
School Psychology Professional Portfolio
Advisor: Dr. Francis J. DeMatteo

Headshot of Crystal Mckinney

Crystal Mckinney
MS Kinesiology
Thesis Title: Intergenerational Yoga Intervention On Mind Body Spirit Connection
Advisor: Dr. Whitney Ogle

Headshot Nathan Boone

Nathan Boone
MA in Psychology (Academic Research)
Thesis Title: Testosterone Reactivity and Parental Care Motivation as a Function of Parental Status in Men
Advisor: Dr. Amanda Hahn

Headshot Jae Smith

Jae Smith
MA in Public Sociology
Project: Cannabis and Labor in Humboldt County
Advisor: Dr. Joshua Meisel



Arianne Nova
Project Title: K-12 Educator Experiences with Whole-Child Education: A Survey of Teachers in Northern California
Advisor: Dr. Mary Virnoche

Headshot Sophia Effa

Sophia Effa
MA in Psychology (Counselling Psychology)
Advisor: Dr. Carrie Aigner

Headshot Emmett McMahon

Emmett McMahon
MS in Kinesiology
Thesis Title: Evaluating Critical Speed as a Predictor of Performance in Collegiate Cross-Country Athletes
Advisor: Dr. Justus Ortega

Headshot of Ali Pickering

Ali Pickering
Thesis Title: Gender Affirming Care Resources for Behavioral Health Clinicians: Open Door Community Health Centers
Advisor: Dr. Yvonne Doble

Headshot of Mark Taylor

Mark Taylor
Thesis Title: System-Impacted Students’ Experiences and Supports
Advisor: Dr. Yvonne Doble

headshot of Emily Lavrador

Emily Lavrador
MA in Applied English Studies
Project Title: Teaching Dystopia in Dystopian Realities: Trauma-informed Pedagogy and the Dystopian Novel after COVID-19
Advisors: Dr. Janelle Adsit and Dr. Marianne Ahokas

Environment and Community

Josefina Barrantes
Project Title: Food Justice and Edible Landscapes at Cal Poly Humboldt
Advisor: Dr. Nicholas Perdue

Spring 2024 Graduate Student Spotlights

Each semester, the Graduate Studies Office highlights nominated students and thier current research. Here are our Spring 2024 Graduate Student Spotlights!

Photo of Pricilla Ceja. She is wearing a brown sweater and black framed glasses and is holding a squirrel bone.                                                                                                                                

M.S. Biological Sciences

Pricilla Ceja (she/her) is focusing her research on comparing external, cranio-dental, and baculum morphology on closely related species of South American Neotropical tree squirrels, specifically those in the "Microsciurus" flaviventer group: "Microsciurus" flaviventer, "Microsciurus" sabanillae, and a putative new species referenced to as "Microsciurus species 2". The goal of this project is to assess morphological variation in this group and contrast it with genetic variation to determine how many species are supported using an integrative taxonomic approach.

 Advisor: Dr. Silvia Pavan

Photo of Karley Rojas wearing a black suit with a black tie, and white dress shirt underneath.

M.A. Environment and Community

Karley M. Rojas (they/elle) of the Environment and Community Graduate Program has been selected as an ARI-NEXTGEN Fellow (USDA NIFA NEXTGEN grant to the California State University Agricultural Research Institute) for the 'Place-Based Learning Practices Project' in the amount of $25,000. This joins additional funding for the project from Save the Redwoods League, Humboldt Energy Independence Fund, and the Sustainability Department.

Advisor: Dr. Cutcha Risling Baldy

Photo of Seth Bradley. He has a red beard, and is wearing layered tee-shirts.

M.A. Public Sociology

Seth Bradley (he/him) is researching sustainability literacy in higher education, specifically at Cal Poly Humboldt. This research aims to help inform our understanding of what sustainability knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors students enter the institution with, what sustainability knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors students exit the institution with, and ultimately how Cal Poly Humboldt structures sustainability-related education moving forward.

Program Advisor: Dr. Mary Virnoche