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Among Giants

Explore the unique biodiversity of the Pacific Northwest with your peers

At Cal Poly Humboldt, you’ve got the unique opportunity to live near the Pacific Ocean, coastal redwoods, and landscapes of mountains, dunes, marshes, and rivers. You’re in the perfect place to immerse yourself in the ecological diversity of the Pacific Northwest—welcome to the Among Giants Place-Based Learning Community! 

Among Giants is a program where budding scientists can explore the gorgeous landscape around Humboldt. Students have the opportunity to work with several Tribal Nations—including the Wiyot and Yurok tribes—to learn how to interact with the native species and ecosystems specific to this area. 

The Among Giants program is available to first-year students majoring in Biological Sciences, including Biology, Botany, and Zoology. As a freshman you will automatically join this year-long, hands-on program and connect with students who share the same passion for science and life’s diversity.

At Humboldt,
we learn in and from the environment around us.

Interact with the Exceptional Life of the Pacific Northwest

You’ll venture into the forests to study animals in their natural habitat, examine soil, identify plants, sample microbes—and much more. This immersive learning experience helps you relate your degree to the place where you are choosing to live and study for the next four years. 

Connect Western Science to Indigenous Cultural and Value Systems

All students will take a Native American Studies course, where they’ll learn how the Wiyot and Yurok tribes have interacted and coexisted on this land for generations. You’ll connect Western scientific perspectives and approaches with Indigenous environmental knowledge and cultural perspectives. 

Learn What it Means to be a Biologist

Learn broad scientific perspectives and approaches when studying topics ranging from ecosystems and biodiversity to gene expression in underlying diseases and microbiology. You’ll learn that solving the biggest social and environmental problems require good science, critical thinking, effective communication, and a strong commitment to social justice.

Among Giants Students in Forest

What You’ll Gain from Among Giants

We focus on the ways biological scientists contribute to understanding and protecting biodiversity both in Humboldt and around the globe and why that is important for both ecological and human health.  

In Among Giants, you’ll begin the semester with a survey of plants, animals, and microbes in Prairie Creek in the Redwood National Park.

You’ll learn how Yurok People have managed these resources since time immemorial, and explore the impact of environmental and human factors on the microbial richness and abundance. 

At the end of the semester you’ll select a region you’re interested in and research a current  biodiversity topic there, looking at environmental, cultural, and civic impacts, as well as recommendations on how to address issues of concern.

Among Giants Students at Prairie Creek, Redwood National ParkAmong Giants Students in Forest

Guided Enrollment

As part of guided enrollment, PBLC students have the opportunity to enroll into a deliberate selection of courses based on their PBLC. Guided Enrollment alleviates the pressure of finding spaces in courses and will set students on the best path to graduation.

Fall Courses for Among Giants

Students in Among Giants will have the opportunity to enroll in:

  • SCI 100 (Becoming a STEM Professional in the 21st Century)
  • CHEM 109 or BOT 105 (General Chemistry or General Botany)
  • MATH (dependent on preparedness)
  • NAS 104, ENGL 102, or ENGL 104 (Introduction to Native American Studies or Composition and Rhetoric)

These courses are selected in collaboration with the Among Giants faculty team and are relevant to Among Giants specific programming.

Spring Courses for Among Giants

The courses students enroll in for spring semester will depend on what students enrolled in for fall semester. Students in Among Giants will have the opportunity to enroll in:

  • COMM 100 or NAS 104 (Fundamentals of Speech or Introduction to Native American Studies)
  • CHEM 110 (General Chemistry II)

Students will work with their advisor to fill out the rest of their spring schedule.

Meet The Among Giants Faculty Coordinator

Amy Sprowles

Amy received a B.A. in Biology from Clark University and a PhD in Biochemistry from Vanderbilt University. She was a postdoctoral researcher at the UC Davis Cancer Center and in the Animal Genomics Laboratory.
(707) 826-5946

Photo of Amy Sprowles