Cal Poly Internal Student Research & Creative Activity Competition

On February 22-24, Cal Poly will host an internal competition to select the ten research/creative activity projects that will represent Cal Poly at the CSU Research Competition -- hosted by Cal Poly in April 26-27, 2024.

At the internal competition, projects will be presented by Cal Poly undergraduate students, graduate students and recent alums from across the colleges. All members of the campus community and supporters are invited to attend. 

The format of this year's competition is in-person.

Cal Poly Internal Competition Schedule (2/22-2/24/24)

A detailed schedule is available at





Th 2/22

9:18-10:45 am

Bailey College of Science & Mathematics (primarily)


Fri 2/23

9:00-10:30 am

10:45-11:18 am

College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences (primarily)


Fri 2/23

11:21-11:57 am

12:45-2:14 pm

2:30-2:45 pm

College of Liberal Arts (primarily)


Fri 2/23

2:48-3:03 pm

College of Architecture & Environmental Design


Fri 2/23

3:24-4:15 pm

Bailey College of Science & Mathematics


Sat 2/24

9:00-9:33 am

College of Engineering


Sat 2/24

9:36-9:51 am

College of Architecture & Environmental Design


Sat 2/24

9:54-11:00 am

Bailey College of Science & Mathematics 


Sat 2/24

11:03-11:54 am

College of Engineering


Sat 2/24

11:57 am-12:12 pm

12:45-2:15 pm

2:30-3:57 pm

Bailey College of Science & Mathematics (primarily)



Info Sessions

  • Th 12/7/23, 1:10-2pm (Zoom Meeting ID 883 6250 1116)
  • Th 1/11/24, 11:10am-12pm (Zoom Meeting ID 883 6250 1116)

How do I participate?

Submissions for the Cal Poly internal competition are due by noon on Sunday January 21, 2024. NEWS! EXTENDED TO M 1/22/24 AT MIDNIGHT!

To apply, go to the Cal Poly InfoReady home page, and select "2024 CSU Student Research & Creative Activity Competition" at the bottom of the page.

How can I learn more?

Please explore materials available on this page and email or DM us on Instagram (@calpolystudentresearch) with any questions. See information on connecting with staff and peer advisors in the Office of Student Research here: 

Who can apply to participate?

Undergraduate or graduate students currently enrolled at Cal Poly and alumni who received their degrees in Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall 2023 are eligible to apply.

Note: You are welcome to submit projects completed with a faculty or staff member. You may also submit projects with multiple student authors. 

Please note: An individual student is limited to the submission of two projects to the 2024 competition - one as primary author and one as a secondary author or two as secondary author.

What disciplines can participate?

Presentations from all disciplines are welcome! The CSU Research Competition categories are:

  • Behavioral, Social Sciences & Public Administration
  • Engineering and Computer Science
  • Biological and Agricultural Sciences
  • Health, Nutrition, and Clinical Sciences
  • Business, Economics, and Hospitality Management
  • Humanities and Letters
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Education
  • Physical and Mathematical Sciences

How are projects evaluated?

  • Clarity of purpose
  • Appropriateness of methodology
  • Interpretation of results
  • Value of the research or creative activity
  • Ability of the presenter to articulate the research or creative activity
  • Organization of the material presented
  • Presenter’s ability to handle questions from the jury and general audience


What do we need to submit by the noon on January 21, 2024?

You will submit:

  1. Presentation Title
  2. Author Name(s) & Contact Information
  3. Project Summary/Abstract (100-200 words)
  4. Project Narrative/Description about the scholarly research/creative project and findings
    • Different disciplines have different approaches for the organization of the project narrative/description (or "body" of the paper). One common approach is the IMRaD format, but this may not be the format most common in your discipline. 
      • Introduction – what is the topic; why study it? (may include a thesis statement and/or research question)
      • Materials & Methods – how was the research conducted?
      • Results – what was found in the research?
      • Discussion & Conclusions – what do the findings mean?
    • All students are encouraged to use headings and sub-headings in their submission whether utilizing the IMRaD format or another format.
    • The project narrative must include the name(s) of the student(s) and the title of the presentation and
      • Utilize a font size of 10 or above
      • Have margins of at least 0.75”
      • Should be a minimum of one page and not exceed two pages in total (1-2 pages)
      • Appendices (bibliography, graphs, photographs, or other supplementary materials) are optional, may not exceed three pages total, and will be uploaded separately from the written narrative.
  5. Bibliography & Other Supplemental Materials
    • Appendices (bibliography, graphs, photographs, or other supplementary materials) are optional, may not exceed three pages total, and will be uploaded separately from the written narrative.
    • Use the citation and bibliography format appropriate for your discipline.
  6. Affirmation (as applicable) that any project that involves human and/or animal subjects has undergone appropriate institutional review and the IRB or IACUC number.
  7. The CSU Research Competition category (or categories) that are relevant to the project

What happens next after we submit?

Cal Poly will host a virtual internal competition February 23-24 2024 to select the 10 projects that will represent our campus at the 2024 CSU Research Competition. Members of the Academic Senate Grants Review Committee will serve as judges. 

Students will present their work orally before a jury and an audience. Students will compete by discipline category and, typically, by division (undergraduate/graduate). 

Student presenters will have 10 minutes for an oral presentation of their work and five minutes to listen and respond to juror and audience questions. It is expected that a student will not make a presentation by simply reading directly from the written summary. In cases in which entries are multi-author, we recommend that oral presentations be made by no more than two students, with any additional group members, as relevant, responding to juror and audience questions. 

All entrants may use audiovisual materials as appropriate, and presenters are encouraged to use delivery techniques that promote interaction with the audience. 

Entrants in the Creative Arts and Design category may present an audio and/or visual recording of a performance they have given or a work they have created; their oral presentation should focus on the rationale and historical context underlying their interpretation of the material.

More information about the format of the Cal Poly internal competition will be provided after submissions are due in January 2024.

Where can we learn more about research/creative projects selected to represent Cal Poly at prior CSU Research Competitions?

Below, you can watch recordings of the projects that represented Cal Poly at the 2020 CSU Research Competition. 

Prior CSU Research Competitions

The 2020 CSU Research Competition was hosted by CSU East Bay and held virtually on April 24, 2020. Ten projects (and 12 student/alumni researchers) were selected to represent Cal Poly following an internal competition in February 2020.

See the pre-recorded presentations below. We are excited to announce that six projects received awards! 

The accomplishments of these students attest to the excellence of our undergraduate and graduate programs and the commitment and quality of our faculty. All of the students who competed deserve our praise and appreciation of their efforts.   

Cami Christopher (Undergraduate): Impact of Physical Activity Trajectories on Colon Cancer Risk (2020)

First-place award in the Undergraduate Health, Nutrition, and Clinical Sciences category


Kelly Condron (Graduate): The Impact of CalFresh Outreach on Food Security Status among Cal Poly Students (2020)

First-place award in the Graduate Health, Nutrition, and Clinical Sciences category


Fionna Fahey (Undergraduate): (Re)membering Legacies of Sex Worker History in San Luis Obispo (2020)

First-place award in the Undergraduate Humanities and Letters category


Joshua Grassel & Ryan Kohl (Undergraduate): Production Planning in Integrated Circuit Supply Chains (2020)

Second-place award in the undergraduate and graduate Engineering and Computer Science category


Elide Herrera Valdez (Undergraduate): Evaporation-Driven Capillary Flow in Paper-Based Microfluidic Devices (2020)


Kat Ivey (Graduate): Thermal Ecology of the Federally Endangered Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia sila) (2020)

First-place award in the Graduate Biological and Agricultural Sciences category

Maddie Roman (Undergraduate): Banksy - A Conversation Beyond the Wall (2020)


Jenna Williams and Tracy Doan (Graduate): Assessment of Modeling Strategies for Lightly Reinforced Concrete Structural Walls (2020)


Nicole Zeltser (Undergraduate): High-fat Fructose Diet is Associated with Neuronal Loss in Juvenile Iberian Pigs (2020)

First-place award in the Health, Nutrition, and Clinical Sciences Undergraduate and Graduate category

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