Open Science Café

Interdisciplinary Student Leadership Program

Photo of Open Science Cafe about RFID

RFID: Living with an Internet of Things was one of two Open Science Cafes delivered in 2015.

Kennedy Library hosted Open Science Cafe in 2014-2015. Inspired by Cal Poly Science Cafe, one of the library’s public programs, Open Science Cafe empowered students to design an informal learning experience for the Cal Poly community with the researcher, professional or artist of their choice. Students worked closely with a mentor at the library to gain program design experience from start to finish. Faculty mentors were often also closely involved. The programs students designed related to any discipline, not just science. Students were awarded a generous program budget and $500 stipend for their leadership.

How would you describe your experience in one word?

Fulfilling. – Robert Garlinghouse (IE ’15)

Educational. – Nasim Delavari (MCRO ’15)


What did you learn?

This experience has heightened my knowledge of leadership, project management, communication, and collaboration. – Ali Albiani (Art and Design ’14)

Read more first-hand accounts from student leaders on our blog and watch interviews with featured experts on our Vimeo.

2015: Two Open Science Cafes!

Open Science Cafe on appropriate technologies

Nasim Delavari with Lonny Grafman (2015).

Nasim Delavari (MCRO ’15) hosted Appropriate Technologies, Near and Far to create a model experience of the co-design community process with Lonny Grafman, founder of Appropedia.

Robert Garlinghouse (IE ’15), in partnership with the RFID Technology Alliance Club and Dr. Tali Freed, brought Mark Roberti, a leader in the RFID industry, for a conversation about Living with an Internet of Things.

2014: Inaugural Open Science Cafe!

Ali Albiani (Art+Design, 14), in collaboration with Professor Charmaine Martinez, designed an experience with Steve Duenes, the graphics director for The New York Times: How to Use Data and Design to Tell Stories.

Read more about Ali’s experience planning and leading the first ever Open Science Cafe on our blog.


Open Science Cafe FAQ

Open Science Cafe was offered in AY2013-2014 and AY2014-2015. The library is not currently accepting applications.

What is Cal Poly Science Café?
It’s a fun series that brings the campus and community together for interdisciplinary Learn by Doing experiences. They last about an hour and can cover any topic, not just those relating to science. Ideally, they are hands-on. See what we’ve done on Vimeo and join us on Facebook.

Where and when does Cal Poly Science Café happen?
It is usually held in the Robert E. Kennedy Library, on the second floor, near Julian’s. We’ve found the best time to hold the events is on a Thursday, 11:00AM-12:30PM, but there is some flexibility.

How does Open Science Cafe work?
You will be empowered by a library team and generous budget to bring your vision to life as the leader of your own Cal Poly Science Café. The budget is designed to cover event expenses like speaker fees, workshop materials, travel arrangements and food. All expenses are reviewed, approved and processed by the library. Any budget not spent will be returned to library funds. Students will also receive a $500 stipend for their leadership.

Do you write me a check?
No. We set aside a budget for you to spend on creating your dream event. We will process the expenses. Your stipend will be processed through Financial Aid and be applied to your Cal Poly account.

What do I get out of this?
In addition to the support, infrastructure and budget to make your vision a reality, the hands-on experience of making a program happen from start to finish will be valuable in your professional life. There will be lots of documentation of your collaboration that will look great on your resume. Of course, there is also the $500 stipend.

Can I work with friends?
Applications will be accepted from individual students only, but we understand that you may be working with a team.