2024 Outstanding Faculty Advisor

May 14, 2024

Dr. Katie Kinkopf, assistant professor for the Department of Geography and Anthropology, was named this academic year’s outstanding faculty advisor for the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences at an awards reception on April 23rd. 

Katie Kinkopf holding a skullDr. Kinkopf teaches general education classes based on her background as an anthropological skeletal biologist and bioarchaeologist. She researches how disability, as an identity and embodied experiences, influences bone health and skeletal biomechanics. Dr. Kinkopf currently serves as the co-president of the Access and Disability Alliance on campus with Dr. Shayda Kafai (EWS). Off-campus, she coordinates the Disabled Archaeologists Network and the Disability Initiative for Biological Anthropologists, two international professional communities for disabled anthropologists to network and find support from other disabled mentors. 

Each year, Cal Poly Pomona recognizes one faculty member from each academic college, one staff advisor, and one advising program with an Outstanding Advisor Award for their passion, dedication, and commitment to student success. They acknowledge individuals who encourage students to establish goals and objectives, find practical and innovative solutions to assisting students, and seek opportunities to grow professionally. 

You can learn more about how Dr. Kinkopf landed at Cal Poly Pomona, why she is passionate about helping students, and her advice for graduating students down below!

Can you share a little bit about your background and journey to Cal Poly Pomona? 

Before coming to Cal Poly Pomona, I completed my PhD at UC Berkeley in Anthropology. I was incredibly lucky at UC Berkeley and as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan to benefit from the support of so many amazing mentors who understood me and my needs in my academic journey. I don’t come from an academic family, so I wouldn’t be here without them! I feel honored to be that mentor and advisor for the students at Cal Poly Pomona. 

What made you want to work at Cal Poly Pomona?

I love the mission of the Cal State Universities to serve our communities first and foremost. Meeting students when I visited campus during my interview was a highlight of that process. 

How long have you been at Cal Poly Pomona? 

I have been a professor in the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Cal Poly Pomona since 2020. 

What do you enjoy most about advising and mentoring students? 

I love meeting students and hearing their stories. It is gratifying to participate in students’ journeys, which have started before they get to Cal Poly Pomona and continue for years afterwards. I love working with students to define their career and life goals and then come up with a plan to make those happen. Whether it’s celebrating or commiserating, I’m here for it all, nowand in 5, 10, or 20 years!

What advice do you have for the Class of 2024?  

I’m so proud of all our graduating students! This year is my fourth year at Cal Poly. Some of our graduating students started at CPP when I did in 2020– and wow it has been a tough four years, first through the pandemic and now as we recover from that time. One piece of advice that I’m giving to my students (and myself!) in 2024 is to be kind and gentle to yourself. So much of our lives these days is filled with crisis and difficulty, and it takes a toll on us mentally and physically. This is especially true when we are engaged in current events and advocating for justice. Slowing down and caring for yourself with the kindness you show your friends can help you build a sustainable life but is also easy to forget or ignore. You can’t fight for justice or enjoy your life if you are burnt out– don’t neglect yourself. 

Written by Vanessa Fuentes