• University

    University

    our university

    Virtual Tours
    Student Origins
    Question: Where are Cal Poly students coming from?
    Answer: Everywhere!
    Our students come from across the world and bring their diverse perspectives to add to the Cal Poly community. However, from wherever our students originate, their paths merge to graduating from one of the finest universities on the west coast.
    Campus
    The main campus’ 4,000 acres holds a mixture of historical testaments to the past and monuments of efficient design for the future. Explore our campus through a 360 degree perspective.
    History
    Beginning with an idea in the mid-19th century to today, Cal Poly’s legacy is filled with thousands of successful alumni. Watch our retelling of Cal Poly’s history from its important origins to today. Read more here.
    Downtown
    The hub of the city where students study, hang out, bike, run and come to appreciate a big-city feel in a small-town setting. SLO is big city that curls around two mountaintops, but you can cross downtown from one end to the other in 10 minutes. Come for a visit and see for yourself!
    Applying
    Applying to Cal Poly is a simple process that involves deciding on a major and submitting an application by the appropriate deadline. However, gaining admission to Cal Poly is competitive. All applicants are comprehensively reviewed as we look for students who have strong academic records and are active in and outside the classroom. Watch a short video discussing this topic.
    Beaches
    We do not have to exaggerate the campus' promixity to the Pacific Ocean. What most people don't always stop and realize is the impact that promixity can have on your college experience. Flying down the freeway and hitting the beach in 10 minutes makes it easy to study or hang out there. Any visit to Cal Poly has to include a stop at one of four beaches along the coastline!
    Location
    Much is written about Cal Poly’s amazing location and a mild climate that maintains all year. But words pale in comparison to an actual visit to Cal Poly and California’s Central Coast. With its small-town feel in an urban setting, the city provides the perfect backdrop to a classic college-town experience. Visit us soon and experience the SLO life for yourself.
    Neighborhoods
    SLO neighborhoods offer a combo of students and city residents that make for good mix! The city residents teach students to respect the community while students keep our city young and vibrant. Anyone driving through SLO will see a mix of living environments!
    Surroundings
    San Luis Obispo sits in a valley and curls around two mountaintops and stretches throughout the valley. When you visit Cal Poly, visit SLO! Because where you live...helps to make your college experience the most amazing time of your life!
  • Colleges
  • Student Life

    Student Life

    living on the central coast

    The Support
    Student Life
    Financial Aid
    Each year, Cal Poly's Financial Aid Office helps hundreds of students realize their goal of attending our university. For vital information about Financial Aid offered to students at Cal Poly, explore financialaid.calpoly.edu.
    ASI
    ASI provides student-focused programs and manages student facilities that supplement the university's academic environment and positively impacts the lives of students. The programs, services and facilities are operated with the goal of enrichment, inclusivity and development of student potential. Consistent with the core value of student success, ASI offers leadership development through student government, student-led programming, student employment and student involvement within a broad array of program and service offerings.
    Housing
    University Housing works to provide an environment that offers more to students than just lodging. Students who live on campus, are part of a community from day one. Explore all that University Housing offers our students through their site: housing.calpoly.edu or visit the campus and take a tour, offered Monday through Friday.
    Athletics
    An exciting part of the Cal Poly Experience, our intercollegiate sports programs offers students a variety of games, matches, meets and other events to show their campus spirit. Our Cal Poly athletes work hard, both on and off the field.
    Orientation
    Student Life and Leadership makes our students' transition to college life as smooth as possible with programs led by student volunteers. Our Week of Welcome program is nationally recognized and often used as a model for universities to follow when orienting new students to a university.
    ROTC
    Cal Poly's ROTC program offers more than classes in Military Science, it opens a door to another path our students can consider after graduation. Participants of the program are eligible for different scholarships and training. But the opportunities that await graduates are filled with success as the cadets we interviewed talk about.
    Study Abroad
    The Cal Poly International Center offers Cal Poly students the opportunity explore beyond Cal Poly's borders. Their programs take our students around the world and allow them to experience other cultures, languages and worlds. As a Cal Poly student, studying abroad can enhance the Cal Poly Experience by taking it to the next level.
  • Gallery

    Gallery

    our campus in photos

    Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, four-year, comprehensive public university located in San Luis Obispo, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on California's Central Coast. It is a distinctive learning community offering academically focused students a hands-on educational experience that prepares them for today's scientific and technical world.

Cal Poly's Agribusiness Department is well known for producing future agribusiness leaders. Our graduates have a global perspective and are exposed to the world's dynamic environmental, political, economic and social environments. Upon graduation, students have the interpersonal, communication, critical thinking, problem-solving and applied business skills that are required for successful careers with regional, national and international agribusiness industries and the firms and organizations that support those industries.
If you are excited about agriculture and want to let others know about it, Agricultural Education is right for you. Our graduates come from a wide variety of backgrounds and share a passion for communication and teaching. Some go on to teach students about the application of science, management, leadership and technology of food, fiber and natural resource systems. Others enter the workplace, sought after by the agriculture industry who look to our graduates to tell the story of agriculture and to help shape public opinion about California’s most important industry. Our mission is to contribute to the improvement of agricultural instruction in the state of California and prepare agricultural communicators who will promote agriculture and serve the needs of the agriculture industry. We are proud of our long history of leadership and service to the college, the university, the agriculture industry and the agricultural education profession in California.
More information about Agricultural Science coming soon. Please link to our website for more information. Click HERE.
With the Agricultural Systems Management (ASM) major, students combine hands-on experience in agricultural technology with practical training in the business and management aspects of agriculture within a curriculum that is recognized by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. In addition to the hands-on courses in the department, students may take enough business and management classes to earn a minor in Agribusiness.
The Agricultural and Environmental Plant Sciences major at Cal Poly offers you an opportunity not just to learn, but learn-by-doing. Prepare to get your hands dirty, work outdoors and in our labs and greenhouses, and enjoy some of the most beautiful California sunshine in the state.
Cal Poly's Animal Science Department boasts one of the most comprehensive "hands-on, learn by doing" programs in the United States, as students work with several species of animals on a regular basis. Extensive facilities provide the resources for students to learn the principles required for success in areas such as veterinary medicine, animal biotechnology, animal facility management, animal nutrition and animal food manufacturing. Additionally, the department engages with current animal industry through faculty involvement research and educational programs.
The BRAE Department's BioResource and Agricultural Engineering (BRAE) major offers answers for students who want to be problem solvers. Today's high-tech agricultural industries are looking for graduates who can engineer solutions to the problems of resources and systems as well as for those who can manage advanced technologies.
The Cal Poly Dairy Science Department is one of the best in the nation. Housing its own dairy herd and also home to the Dairy Products Technology Center and the Cal Poly Creamery. Through our hands on education philosophy, Cal Poly is making waves and setting new standards of education throughout the country. Staying true to Cal Poly's motto of "Learn by Doing", the Dairy Science Department gives students the chance to gain hands-on experience in many areas of production, processing, and products technology, including research and development at the graduate level, while teaching the history, science, theories and recent developments in the classroom. With a solid group of young people and one of the most knowledgeable faculty teams around, the Dairy Science Department is a wonderful place for anyone to obtain a bachelor of science or master's degree.
The B.S. degree in Environmental Earth Sciences provides a strong foundation for understanding the natural environment and improving the utilization and stewardship of land, water, and atmospheric resources. The program emphasizes a wide range of disciplines in natural resources and in the cultures that use and modify them. The core of the earth sciences curriculum is composed of geology, geography, and soil science, and is strengthened by a diverse array of related technical specialties or concentrations.
The Environmental Management & Protection program is an undergraduate, interdisciplinary course of study integrating the biophysical and social/economical/political sciences. The curriculum emphasizes management and protection of ecosystem structures and processes that sustain uses of environmental resources. The major will provide students with the science and management background in natural resources that, when properly integrated, can guide consumptive uses of resources in a sustainable manner.
With a Food Science degree, you can influence food choices and possibilities. The average supermarket carries more than 20,000 items, most of which were developed into safe, affordable, and tasty products by food scientists. Imagine walking down the grocery store aisle and knowing YOU had an important role in bringing a product from farm to fork! You might work for a large multi-national corporation, with opportunity for traveling the world. You might work for a government agency or a non-profit foundation. You might start your own business or work with a small start-up company. Whichever route you choose, there's a career waiting for you. Depending on your personal interests, we'll help you choose the right concentration within the Food Science major to prepare you for your career goals.
The B.S. degree program in Forestry & Natural Resources prepares students for careers in the protection and management of our forest and natural resources. Concentrations include: Forest and Environmental Practices, Wildland Fire and Fuels Management, Urban Forestry, Natural Resources Recreation, Environmental Planning & Assessment, Watershed Management and Hydrology, and an Individualized Course of Study. Graduates qualify for such positions as forester, environmental interpreter, natural resource manager, urban forester, park administrator, park ranger, resource planner, watershed manager, hydrologist, fire and fuels manager, and many other related environmental career areas. Cal Poly graduates are employed throughout the world: establishing, managing and sustaining forests and urban wildland areas; providing opportunities for a full range of uses; teaching; extension; research; and protecting and managing the environment.
Nutritionists focus on food from the chemistry to the cooking; from eating for wellness to prescribing diets for health and disease. With a Nutrition degree, you'll make a difference in people's lives. The Nutrition major offers three concentrations: Applied Nutrition, which is a Didactic Program in Dietetics approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Nutrition Science; and Nutrition and Food Industries.
The Recreation, Parks, & Tourism Administration major is an interdisciplinary degree program with a mission to advance leadership and knowledge in recreation, parks, and tourism. The curriculum focus is on the development of appreciation, knowledge, understanding, and skills in leadership, planning, and administration of park, recreation and tourism programs and services. Students are prepared for professional employment in public, non-profit, private, and commercial recreation, parks, and tourism organizations. Students select a concentration in hospitality and tourism management; outdoor, adventure, and resource recreation; event planning and management; and sport management. In addition, students may select a course of study in community services management.
The B.S. degree in Environmental Soil Science provides fundamental knowledge and skills needed for field, laboratory, management, and teaching positions. Three-fourths of the world's food and nearly all of its fiber come from the fragile, thin skin of the land's surface - the soil. Also, soil absorbs and transmits rain and snow melt which replenish our groundwater; and it captures great quantities of environmental wastes. Soil scientists are the most knowledgeable and best trained people responsible for the management of soil, one of our most precious natural resources.
The College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences at Cal Poly offers a distinctive interdisciplinary major in Wine and Viticulture designed to prepare students for careers in the complex 21st century wine business environment. The Wine & Viticulture major focuses on blending viticulture, enology and the business aspects of the wine industry. The major is based on fundamental and applied sciences, modern agribusiness principles, and appropriate social sciences, plus it encompasses grape cultivation, enology and wine business. The curriculum fosters an academic alliance among production agriculture, food science and agricultural business interests and provides an academic understanding of the "vine to glass" opportunity. Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture is renowned for its unique interdisciplinary learning experience encompassing lessons from three departments – Horticulture and Crop Science, Food Science and Nutrition, and Agribusiness – combining an understanding of grape cultivation, wine making and wine business. Upon graduation, students are industry-ready, having mastered fundamental and applied sciences, modern agribusiness principles, social science, grape cultivation, enology and wine business principles
The architecture department offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. The undergraduate Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) program leads to a five year accredited "first professional degree". The Masters of Science in Architecture (MS-Arch) is not an accredited professional degree program. It is a second degree for those who already have a BArch or related Bachelor degree.
Cal Poly's Department of Architectural Engineering's (ARCE) curriculum focuses on the structural engineering of buildings. By focusing on building design students are able to take many more structural engineering courses than is possible in a traditional civil engineering program. Beyond structural engineering courses, students take several architecture and construction management, giving them an appreciation for these disciplines.
The BSCRP program prepares students for professional careers in the design of human settlements in harmony with the natural environment and the needs of society. Practicing planners work in public agencies and private consulting firms, preparing comprehensive plans for projects, neighborhoods, cities, and entire regions. They deal with the use of land, housing, transportation, public facilities, and open space. In addition, they are responsible for finding the means to make their plans become a reality by budgeting for public projects and programs and by reviewing and regulating private development.
The Construction Management Department at Cal Poly is a tight knit group of faculty and staff working to provide the students in our department the best possible education and the help they need to progress to graduation and to leave Cal Poly ready for the challenges they can expect in the professional world. Students take a variety of classes, join one or more of our professional student organizations and frequently intern with one of the many companies that visit the campus over the course of each year. Upon graduation, the department has virtually 100% placement in the construction industry.
The Landscape Architecture curriculum at Cal Poly prepares students for professional careers dedicated to planning, designing, and managing landscapes essential to the well-being of a healthy society and natural environment. The curriculum is structured to help students develop the values, knowledge, and skills necessary to address human and societal needs within a broad range of project types and environmental scales. The Landscape Architecture Department is one of five departments in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design.
The mission of the Aerospace Engineering Department is to educate students for professional aerospace careers of technical responsibility and leadership in a modern, multidisciplinary, system-based environment. This will be achieved through a lab-based, hands-on approach, integrated with a systems view of engineering and team-based capstone design experience. The Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering prepares students for engineering work related to aerodynamics, flight testing, structures, propulsion, control systems, vehicle dynamics, stability and control, flight simulation, and design for both fixed and rotary wing aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft.
Biomedical engineering is an interdisciplinary field in which the principles and tools of traditional engineering fields, such as mechanical, materials, electrical, and chemical engineering, are applied to biomedical problems. Engineering plays an increasingly important role in medicine in projects that range from basic research in physiology to advances in biotechnology and the improvement of health care delivery. By its very nature, biomedical engineering is broad and requires a foundation in the engineering sciences as well as in physiology and other biological sciences.
The Civil and Environmental Engineering Department was officially formed in 1981, though transportation and environmental engineering degree programs had been in place at Cal Poly for some time. Since its inception, the department has continued to grow. Currently there are approximately 750 undergraduate students enrolled in the Civil Engineering Degree Program. Approximately 120 undergraduates are currently enrolled in the Environmental Engineering Degree Program. In addition, the department supports about 25 graduate students who are working toward Master of Science (M.S.) degrees.
The Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering prepares students interested in the design and application of computers and computer-based systems. The program incorporates a firm foundation in both electrical engineering and computer science, with a focus on the integration of hardware and software systems. The curriculum provides a sound theoretical background along with current, practical engineering knowledge. Our aim is to produce highly skilled practitioners of Computer Engineering.
Computing, including computer science and software engineering, is the fabric of modern engineering and science and key to the advancement of fields such as medicine, economics, finance, and the many forms of arts and humanities. Indispensable to modern society, the field is seeking passionate, out-of-the-box thinkers. If you like to be creative with computing technology, Cal Poly's Computer Science Department is for you. Our "learn by doing" philosophy means that we provide you with a variety of practical, hands-on experiences. You may work with faculty mentors on individual, team-based, or industry-sponsored projects. You can gain real life professional experience through our co-op and internship programs. If you have a competitive streak, join one of our student clubs and compete in regional and national contests.
The department objective is to prepare students for finding engineering solutions to urgent problems by reshaping the environment to meet human needs, while being responsibly aware of all implications. The curriculum provides a sound theoretical background along with current, practical engineering knowledge. The student begins the major in the first quarter with an orientation course and is generally enrolled in one or more major courses each quarter until graduation. The many laboratory courses provide practical experience and lead to design courses, which begin in the third year.
The Civil and Environmental Engineering Department was officially formed in 1981, though transportation and environmental engineering degree programs had been in place at Cal Poly for some time. Since its inception, the department has continued to grow. Currently there are approximately 750 undergraduate students enrolled in the Civil Engineering Degree Program. Approximately 120 undergraduates are currently enrolled in the Environmental Engineering Degree Program. In addition, the department supports about 25 graduate students who are working toward Master of Science (M.S.) degrees. Both the Civil and Environmental Engineering Programs are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The programs stress teamwork, communication, problem solving, and state-of-the-practice analysis and design techniques. Each program is laboratory intensive, with hands-on student learning stressed in support of the University's "learn by doing" motto. The faculty is comprised of 24 tenured and tenure-track faculty, all with extensive qualifications. These full-time faculty are supported by over 20 full- and part-time lecturers, most of whom practice engineering in the local community.
The GENE mission is to provide students with the highest quality technical and professional engineering education, with a particular emphasis in new or evolving interdisciplinary areas. The primary educational goal is to provide students with a theoretically rigorous and a laboratory-centered, practice-oriented, hands-on education that will allow them to immediately participate and to excel in the complete spectrum of professional environments, industrial or academic. Graduates will have engineering, design and problem-solving skills requisite to develop and market competitive products and services for human benefit.
Our Industrial Engineering graduates are ready to work anywhere. With a BS in Industrial Engineering you can work in a variety of industries. Some students work in manufacturing, while some enjoy jobs in consulting or entertainment. Our Industrial Engineering program offers opportunities to work with a diverse group of people. Industrial Engineers usually enjoy working with people. Students often work on teams that prepare them for interactions with individuals in upper management and on the shop floor. Our program is a business oriented engineering program. Our IE's will learn a lot about engineering, math, and science, as well as the business side of problem solving.
US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT ranks the Cal Poly Manufacturing Engineering program as one of the absolute best in the country - US News & World Report ranks Cal Poly in 3 of the last 5 years as the top undergraduate program not offering a Ph.D program (as of 2012.) Our program is one of the most hands on programs at a school known for hands-on learning. It allows for an outstanding level of interaction with talented faculty members on courses, projects, club activities, and more. This is made possible due to our small class sizes. Our program provides a challenge as it draws on virtually every other discipline. Check out our state of the art equipment and awesome lab facilities with a real or virtual visit
In Materials engineering, the engineer works to understand the relationships between materials' microstructure, their properties, processing, and performance. These qualities are intertwined and connected as indicated in the figure at the right. Often the aim is to use processing to change the structure and properties to get desired performance. Performance can mean a number of things: low-environmental impact, corrosion resistance, strength, fatigue resistance, elasticity, thermal conductivty, electrical resistance, benign toxicity...you name it. Materials engineering involves wisely balancing the many influences in engineering designs.
The profession of mechanical engineering is directed toward the design, manufacture, and system integration of a very wide variety of equipment ranging from manufacturing machinery and power generation equipment to consumer goods. Of central concern to mechanical engineers is the sound application of basic principles of solid mechanics, fluid mechanics and thermal sciences in the design, manufacture, and application of this equipment. Mechanical Engineering graduates obtain employment primarily with manufacturers, energy companies, consultants, and government agencies. Types of work performed by graduates include product design, mechanical design, testing, engineering management, engineering sales, design of manufacturing systems, and development of maintenance procedures. Mechanical Engineering graduates also often enhance their careers through graduate study in engineering, and some students also study engineering to build a scientific and technical foundation as a prelude to enrollment in medical, law, and business schools.
The Computer Science Department educates students in the discipline of computer science and teaches them to apply their education to solve practical problems in a socially responsible way. Software engineering students get a strong technical preparation in computer science fundamentals. The program emphasizes a combination of technical and team management skills. A graduate of the program is expected to understand the challenges of large-scale systems development and to be equipped with the necessary technical, process and people skills to be productive in a team environment immediately upon leaving Cal Poly
The Anthropology and Geography major provides students with the skills for understanding and examining patterns of human activity and resource utilization across space and time, as well as the interactions between humans and the natural environment. Interdisciplinary in nature, this program focuses on the applied areas of cross-cultural studies, international development, ecological research design and method, the evolution of humans, environmental assessment, and sustainability. Courses in Anthropology and Geography train students to examine human ecology from the ancient past to the modern present through courses in biological evolution, cultural adaptations, behavioral ecology, environmental impacts, and the ecology of human health and disease. In addition, students gain an understand-ing of the physical environment in which humans are placed, through courses in physical geography, resource management, biogeography, and climatology. Students are trained in relevant skills, including Geographic Information Systems, remote sensing, and quantitative methods. Students interested in this major should be curious about the relationships between humans and the environment (including biology, behavior, climate and landscapes) from a broad hands-on perspective. Our students typically have particular interest in study abroad and involvement in international opportunities. The program offers a four-year curriculum leading to a BS degree that prepares students for careers in environmental and regional planning, cultural resources management, archaeology, international development, climatology, science education, international health research, and federal government work in behavioral analysis.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (BFA) program in Art and Design offers a major with concentrations in graphic design, photography, and studio art. The BFA in Art and Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. The department has made a commitment to cultural diversity. Wherever possible, this commitment is evidenced by the inclusion of material which identifies significant multicultural influences on the content of the courses in our curriculum. Courses are available for all students to enrich their creativity, understanding, appreciation, and practical skills in art.
The undergraduate program in Child Development is designed for students who wish to gain a solid understanding of development from conception through emerging adulthood. Particular emphasis is given to helping students appreciate the broad ecological contexts in which development occurs, including family, school, technology, community and culture. A strong focus on hands-on experiences throughout the program provides students with a rich set of opportunities to enhance their understandings of child development.
The Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies degree prepares students for careers in the various communication professions, as well as a wide variety of occupations that place a premium on excellent communication skills. In addition, many Communication Studies graduates go on to earn advanced degrees in disciplines such as communication, psychology, sociology, and law. The Communication Studies curriculum draws from the traditions of both the humanities and the social sciences, and includes a wide array of courses investigating the nature, processes and effects of human communication.
The Ethnic Studies curriculum provides students with unique forms of critical inquiry that advance their analysis of race, ethnicity, and cultural difference in an increasingly heterogeneous and complex world. Courses in Ethnic Studies examine how social hierarchies frame access to political power, allocate economic resources, and influence cultural expression. By critically exploring such issues, students develop not only a greater understanding of the legacy of racism, discrimination, and injustices in the United States, but also a greater appreciation for new and emerging knowledge about diverse American peoples and their global and transnational connections.
The English Department at Cal Poly awards a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree. At the undergraduate level, the department offers classes in American, British, and world literature, creative writing, film, linguistics and TESL, and composition/rhetoric. At the graduate level, the department offers classes in American and British literature, historical and contemporary literary theory, composition theory/practice, and linguistics. The department also offers a post-baccalaureate English credential program for aspiring secondary teachers. Outstanding students and award-winning faculty make Cal Poly's English Department one of the best in the state.
The Graphic Communication Department offers a curriculum leading to the Bachelor of Science degree, yet the discipline is both an art and a science. It appeals to students having an interest in creativity, science, technology and management. The field of graphic communication represents a large profession, one of the largest in the world. The profession embraces change, requiring those pursuing graphic communication careers to learn new and diverse skills. Graphic communication includes electronic and traditional printing, publishing, packaging, digital imaging, computer graphics, website development, digital photography, printable electronics and related areas. The discipline includes media and mass communication involving the creation, production, management and distribution of advertising, marketing, web-sites, books, magazines, newspapers, catalogs, packages and other media in printed and digital form. Graduates are in high demand by leading national and international corporations.
Historians study the past in its variety and complexity. With such an analysis, students of history gain multiple perspectives on the present and an aptitude to plan intelligently for the future. Although the lessons to be learned from the past are rarely simple, solutions to present-day problems rest on comprehension of historical forces and events. History deepens our understanding of other peoples and cultures. All courses offered in the History Department seek to examine the issues of race, gender, class, and cultural diversity. A degree in history is excellent preparation for students interested in a teaching career, the legal profession, or advanced work in the discipline. Students wishing to become business executives, administrators, and public servants profit immensely by gaining the methodological skills of the historian. Historians learn to gather, synthesize, analyze, and interpret evidence; they become skilled in presenting their conclusions to a general audience in a lucid and logical manner.
At Cal Poly, Journalism majors prepare for their careers by completing a core of required courses, then branch out to focus in media specializations of their choice. The Journalism courses comprise 60 units of the 180 units required for a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism. The remaining units of general education and electives offer insight into government, natural and social sciences, economics, history, philosophy, the arts and other fields, helping to prepare graduates to meet assignments in the world community.
The Modern Languages and Literatures Department offers a Bachelor of Arts which requires the study of Spanish, along with either French or German. The department also offers comprehensive minors in French, German, and Spanish. Elementary and intermediate coursework in Mandarin Chinese is available and elementary coursework is offered in Japanese and Italian. The Modern Languages and Literatures Department offers coursework in beginning, intermediate, and advanced French, German, and Spanish, as well as coursework in beginning and intermediate Mandarin Chinese, Italian, and Japanese. Instruction at all levels emphasizes communicative competence and the use of authentic media to prepare students for cultural, educational, literary and professional needs in California, throughout the United States, and abroad.
The Bachelor of Arts in Music introduces a student to the role of music in today's world, helps form personal goals, and provides the discipline, skills and knowledge to accomplish those goals. The program develops musical skills, encourages creativity, and cultivates vision for the future. The University's polytechnic emphasis also provides an excellent opportunity to explore music in conjunction with a wide range of other fields. Graduates are prepared to begin specialized study at the graduate level and to enter a wide variety of professional careers. Designed for the student who wants a broad education in music, the Bachelor of Arts degree offers a balanced program of study in a wide range of subjects. In addition to the traditional emphasis on music theory, history and performance, Cal Poly's program includes American music, music of non-Western cultures, and the application of sound design. The program provides a large number of elective courses which allows the student to concentrate in a particular area or combine music with other subjects.
Students can pursue a curriculum leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, including an optional concentration in Ethics and Society, and a curriculum leading to a minor in Philosophy. The department also offers courses and a minor in Religious Studies. An unusually large number of courses is offered in the history of philosophy, as well as courses in specific areas of philosophy (logic, ethics, metaphysics, epistemology), and courses that deal with the philosophical issues arising in other disciplines (e.g., philosophy of art and philosophy of science)
The major provides students with insights into the behavior of countries, individuals, and groups as they pursue their interests. Students considering work in related fields such as law, education, administration, government, and business gain basic knowledge of principles and practices in those areas. Additionally, students who are planning graduate work can establish a sound foundation for advanced studies in political science, law, public administration, business administration, urban planning, and other related fields.
The Psychology major offers a broad preparation in the science of psychology, with concentrations in Applied Social Psychology, Counseling and Family Psychology, and Developmental Psychology. Theoretical approaches, research techniques, laboratory experiences and internships are hallmarks of the psychology program. Graduates often pursue careers in mental health programs, social services agencies, public health settings, education institutions, and personnel-related settings. Many majors go on to graduate work in such fields of psychology as: counseling, developmental, family, social, clinical or experimental.
Sociology explores the nature and dynamics of human society and the interrelationship between individuals and their social groups. The goal of sociological study at Cal Poly is twofold. The first objective is to develop a sociological imagination that enables students to see their personal circumstances and problems in context of the broader, local, national, and global forces that shape their lives. The second objective is to prepare students for graduate studies and careers in such fields as criminal justice, law, social services, complex organizations, and teaching. Sociology also offers general education courses that provide an understanding of the complexity and diversity of the world’s peoples and their problems. Some courses focus on American society, emphasizing issues of class, race, ethnicity and gender. Other courses have a global orientation dealing with both the past and present diversity of the world’s societies, economies, politics and religions.
The courses offered by the Theatre and Dance Department provide students with well-balanced programs of study, integrating practical production work with classes that examine the principles, theoretical aspects, and historical development of theatre and dance. A full range of studio dance courses are offered. They include ballet, modern, jazz, ballroom, and folk. Composition and dance production are available, as well as courses designed for future elementary and secondary teachers of dance. The department also provides general education and breadth courses in the areas of dance history and dance appreciation. Students who major in theatre study dramatic literature, technical theatre, design, playwriting, acting, and directing. Participation in main-stage productions, as actors and members of the production staff, is a major aspect of each student's training. In addition, the department offers general education courses in introductory theatre, theatre history and literature, and specialized study of theatre such as Women’s Theatre, Theatre in the United States, Global Theatre and Performance and Topics in Diversity on the American Stage.
Our students are learning to become the scientists, teachers and consumers of tomorrow, ready to step into the workplace and become leaders. Our graduates are hired in traditional as well as growing science fields -- from biotechnology to polymers to pharmaceuticals to medical technology and beyond. Our students are also bringing science to minds across the nation as middle and high school teachers. And they are accepted into prestigious master's and doctorate degree programs that will place them in positions of innovation and education. We offer bachelor of science degrees in chemistry and biochemistry, and a master of science degree in Polymers and Coatings. Click here to find out more about our degree programs.. Many faculty members are involved in research funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, U.S. military, or private industry. That means their students -- both undergraduate and graduate -- have the opportunity to work on real-world problems using the latest equipment in a professional lab setting. But above all, our focus is on teaching and learning -- and providing a supportive environment for our students.
This degree program offers students a broad education in biology -- from molecules to ecosystems. It prepares students for the biomedical fields, for teaching, for certification as an Associate Ecologist, Fisheries Biologist, or Associate Wildlife Biologist. The B.S. in Biological Science degree gives students technical competency in the six concentrations outlined below, and is an excellent base for graduate school studies. Our students chose from among these six concentrations: Anatomy and Physiology; Biology Teaching, Ecology, Field & Wildlife Biology, Marine Biology & Fisheries, Molecular & Cellular Biology.
Our students are learning to become the scientists, teachers and consumers of tomorrow, ready to step into the workplace and become leaders. Our graduates are hired in traditional as well as growing science fields -- from biotechnology to polymers to pharmaceuticals to medical technology and beyond. Our students are also bringing science to minds across the nation as middle and high school teachers. And they are accepted into prestigious master's and doctorate degree programs that will place them in positions of innovation and education. We offer bachelor of science degrees in chemistry and biochemistry, and a master of science degree in Polymers and Coatings. Click here to find out more about our degree programs.. Many faculty members are involved in research funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, U.S. military, or private industry. That means their students -- both undergraduate and graduate -- have the opportunity to work on real-world problems using the latest equipment in a professional lab setting. But above all, our focus is on teaching and learning -- and providing a supportive environment for our students.
The B.S. in Kinesiology is a broad-based program offering students training in the multiple sub-disciplines of Kinesiology (Biomechanics, Exercise Physiology, Health, Motor Behavior, and Sport and Exercise Psychology/Sociology). As such, the curriculum and coursework in the Kinesiology B.S. degree program is designed to meet the mission of preparing students to be leaders in the fields of physical activity, health, and disease prevention and treatment.
The Department of Liberal Studies ensures that prospective elementary teachers have excellent content foundations in all subject matters, deep understanding of effective teaching methods and multiple opportunities to reflect on their learning and teaching. The department does this by providing students the opportunity to develop:
(1) broad-based proficiencies in multiple fields including, but not limited to: science, mathematics, language arts, social studies, technologies, and the fine and performing arts;
(2) a sophisticated appreciation of the inter-relatedness of multiple disciplines as they are brought to bear on large historical and contemporary themes.
The mathematics major at Cal Poly will provide you with a rich and rigorous mathematics education. The low student/faculty ratio affords you the opportunity to really get to know your professors, and to work closely with them in classes and on projects. Interested students may also take part in national competitions. Each year, teams from Cal Poly compete in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition and in the International Mathematics Modeling Competition. Great faculty coaches and good preparation pay off--our teams always place among the best in the nation. Students with degrees in mathematics from Cal Poly are well prepared for a wide variety of career opportunities. Math graduates typically pursue careers in the teaching of mathematics at the secondary level, gain entrance into top-notch doctoral programs, or take lucrative positions in business and industry. Our graduates are actively recruited by many companies and have taken entry level jobs as systems engineers, operations research assistants, computer programmers, software engineers, and as financial and data analysts.
Cal Poly is one of the few California State University or University of California campuses offering a laboratory-intensive Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology.The Microbiology major prepares students for graduate school, professional studies or post-baccalaureate careers in industrial microbiology, food and dairy microbiology, and biotechnology, as well as in public health microbiology, epidemiology, or clinical laboratory scientist programs. The major consists of a core of freshman courses that provide students with a basic foundation in key biological principles, including an introduction to organismal, cellular, and molecular biology, as well as evolution, ecology and biodiversity. In their sophomore year, students receive hands-on training in manipulation of microorganisms, as well as an understanding of microbial cell structure and function, metabolism, genetics, and ecology. In their junior and senior years, students take specialized courses in medical microbiology, immunology, microbial physiology, genetics, virology, and cell biology. Under the direction of their faculty advisors, students also choose elective courses related to their career goals or plans.
The BA in Physics provides the student with a solid foundation in physics. Its primary purpose is to serve students who plan to pursue careers teaching science at the high school level and in science related fields for which a physics background is an asset. Students considering a career in teaching should consult with the department advisor early. The BS in Physics is the appropriate choice for those students planning a career involving physics in industry or government laboratories, as well as those seeking a strong foundation in physics for graduate study.
The statistics degree program requires students to have a solid foundation in mathematics and computer science. With this basis the students take courses in the following areas: analysis of variance, regression analysis, statistical computing, sampling methods, experimental design, analysis of categorical data, multivariate analysis, time series and forecasting, survival analysis, probability, and mathematical statistics. Throughout the program faculty encourage students to work on practical, realistic problems that require the understanding of all aspects of the data acquisition and analysis process.
The undergraduate Business program provides students with the knowledge and the analytical skills essential for employment in all sectors of business, industry, governmental and non-profit organizations. Graduates of the Business program will understand the fundamentals of how a successful enterprise operates, and will have sufficient depth in an area of study to begin a successful career by providing immediate value to an organization.
The Economics program prepares students for employment in the private and public sectors of both the domestic and international levels as economists, analysts, and general managers. The teaching of Economics in high school is another occupational field for the economist. The program prepares students to undertake graduate study in economics, law, business administration and related fields in the social sciences. The Economics Area supports the concept of international education and encourages its students to investigate opportunities for overseas study.
The Industrial Technology (IT) Area prepares individuals to be effective managers and entrepreneurial leaders in a rapidly changing technological and global economy. The undergraduate curriculum includes instruction in electro-mechanical systems, industrial materials and processes, and quality and safety management that are then applied to technology-based business problems in packaging, value chain management, and technology entrepreneurship. Students take complementary courses in physics, chemistry, calculus and statistics. The curriculum also includes a business core with accounting, economics, marketing, and information systems.
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Dr. Christiane Schroeter

Reason for entering teaching field:
I am passionate about helping and communicating with others. To me, teaching is more than just conveying the material. My ultimate goal is to make a difference in my students' lives.
Reason for entering the field:
Before college, I worked for Kellogg's and Kraft Foods as a merchandising assistant. Consumer demand and marketing fascinated me.
Favorite Quote:
You learn something every day if you pay attention. -- Ray LeBlond
What(Who) inspires you?
My husband and children.
Last reason to explode in laughter:
My colleague lost a bet with me and she decided to invite me to a delicious smoothie at Lucy's on campus.
Biggest challenge:
Having enough hours in the day to get everything done!
Description by students:
Challenging and fun.
Favorite part of the day:
Enjoying a delicious breakfast while reading the Wall Street Journal.
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
Opportunity to work in a strong agribusiness program at a beautiful location.
Favorite weekend activity:
Spending time with my family, especially going on a hike or bike tour.
Favorite part of the central coast:
I love Avila Beach. Whenever we sit at the beach on a Farmer's Market night and eat our fish tacos, I feel so lucky to LIVE where tourists love to VISIT!
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Gary Weisenberger

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Wyatt Brown

Field: Postharvest technology and vegetable production
Reason for entering teaching:
Enjoy teaching and transferring knowledge. It is very satisfying to see the "light bulb" turn on one a student finally understands a concept.
Reason for entering the field:
Postharvest technology is an integral part of food production. It is both a technical and quickly evolving field, which makes it exciting to teach and to practice through research. Vegetables are fascinating and highly varied in appearance, taste and use. I am constantly amazed that I can grow what I eat.
Favorite quote:
You only get out as much as you put in.
Continued inspiration:
Cooking
Last reason to explode in laughter:
Doesn't happen often enough for me to remember!
Biggest challenge:
Inspiring students to love learning
Favorite part of the day:
Early morning as the sun is rising
Perfect day:
Sailing on the ocean in a sailboat
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
One of the few institutions in the US the primary mission of which is teaching
Favorite weekend activity:
Getting 8 hours rest!
Favorite part of the central coast:
My home.
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Dan Peterson

Field: Molecular nutrition and genomics - how nutrients and other signals influence gene function and cellular/organismal physiology.
Reason for entering teaching:
I was realizing how important the next generation of scientists will be to the future of our world.
Favorite quote:
"Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they're yours." -Richard Bach, ILLUSIONS
Continued inspiration:
Comes from all of the good people in the world.
Last reason to explode in laughter:
Involved a good friend and a dolphin...
Biggest challenge:
Is limiting my appetite for more challenges!
Favorite part of the day:
Involves a surfboard.
Perfect day:
Would be spent either surfing or fly fishing, both with my closest friend.
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
Was the combination of a great job with great people in an even greater place.
Favorite part of the central coast:
Is just west of the land
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Mark Zohns

Field: BioResource and Agricultural Engineering, Specialty: Mechanical Systems, Fluid Power (Hydraulics)
Reason for entering teaching:
What other profession is so widely varied, where you get to help younger people succeed?
Reason for entering the field:
Agriculture and Engineering are in my blood …
Favorite quote:
"Winners never quit and quitters never win."
Continued inspiration:
A new bunch of freshmen, eager to learn by doing, and of course, my very supportive wife.
Last reason to explode in laughter:
Probably a good joke.
Biggest challenge:
Staying one step ahead of my students.
Description by students:
Many say I look like Al Borland (old episodes of Home Improvement).
Favorite part of the day:
Sunrise/sunset
Perfect day:

Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
Because of the integrity exhibited in the program, by the faculty, staff, and students!!
Favorite weekend activity:
Must be Tractor Pulling…
Favorite part of the central coast:
The weather, of course!
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Amy Lammert

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Chip Appel

Field: Earth and soil sciences
Reason for entering teaching:
To positively interact with students and to share with them the amazing processes that take place on the earth allowing for life to exist as we know it.
Reason for entering the field:
To continuously have the opportunity to learn about the earth and its incredible properties.
Favorite quote:
By Charles Swindoll, "Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do."
Continued inspiration:
My wonderful wife, Beth.
Last reason to explode in laughter:
Discussing the intricacies of our toilet's operation with my wife.
Biggest challenge:
To live a life consistent with my beliefs.
Description by students:
Who's that guy with the funny beard.
Favorite part of the day:
Reading the Bible in the morning with my wife.
Perfect day:
Reading the Bible with my wife in the morning, surfing great waves, discussing the purchases my wife made at garages sales, eating lunch, taking a nap, either hiking, biking, or going surfing again with my wife and brothers, and then thinking about doing the same thing the next day.
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
C'mon, who wouldn't want to come to the best undergraduate university in the nation and get to learn about the earth. I love this place.
Favorite weekend activity:
See perfect day.
Favorite part of the central coast:
My friends, the beaches, and the mountains.
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Amanda Lathrop

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Scott Sink

Field: Forestry & Natural Resources
Reason for entering teaching field:
To share in the discovery of the natural world with future generations
Reason for entering the field:
To make a career in the forest environment that I love
Favorite Quote:
"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research" -Albert Einstein
What(Who) inspires you?
Anyone who follows their dreams
Last reason to explode in laughter:
Watching the easily agitated elephant seals at San Simeon beach
Biggest challenge:
Work-life balance
Description by students:
Approachable and always willing to take time to answer questions
Favorite part of the day:
When it gets dark enough to see the Milky Way from my backyard
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
Wide open spaces
Favorite weekend activity:
Camping and hiking with my awesome wife
Favorite part of the central coast:
The variety of wildlife
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Aydin Nazmi

Field: Nutrition epidemiology
Reason for entering teaching:
The academic environment
Reason for entering the field:
Chance to impact the public's health
Favorite quote:
"A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it." (Albert Einstein)
Continued inspiration:
Students' "a-ha" moments
Last reason to explode in laughter:
Fizzy drink went down the wrong way
Biggest challenge:
Maintaining balance
Description by students:
Intimidating
Favorite part of the day:
Yoga class
Perfect day:
Exercise, eat, play outside, cook, eat some more, relax
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
West coast lifestyle and environment
Favorite weekend activity:
Road trips
Favorite part of the central coast:
Beach
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Marni Goldenberg

Field: Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration, specifically outdoor and adventure leadership and education.
Reason for entering teaching field:
To make a difference.
Reason for entering the field:
Love the outdoors and adventure and want to share that passion with others.
Favorite Quote:
"You can learn more about an individual during an hour of play, than a year of conversation." Plato
What(Who) inspires you?:
When the "light bulb goes on" either for myself or others! Especially for students!
Last reason to explode in laughter:
Hanging out with a very good friend!
Biggest challenge:
Balance of work and life.
Description by students:

Favorite part of the day:
Morning! I am a morning person and love to hike or do yoga in the morning!
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
I was born and raised in San Luis Obispo and I knew this was an incredible place to live and work.
Favorite weekend activity:
Anything outdoors.
Favorite part of the central coast:
Love it all… we have great trails, beaches, mountains, and people. It is an incredible location.
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Scott Johnston

Field: Geology
Reason for entering teaching:
I enjoy learning and helping other people learn.
Reason for entering the field:
I spent a lot of time in the mountains when I was growing up, and geology seemed like a good way to spend more time in the outdoors as well as learn how mountains form and evolve.
Favorite quote:

continued inspiration:
understand how things work
Last reason to explode in laughter:
it is always good to laugh
Biggest challenge:

Description by students:

Favorite part of the day:
morning; getting up and drinking coffee
Perfect day:
too many options!
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
Cal Poly has a good balance of teaching and research with excellent students.
Favorite weekend activity:
anything active: surfing, biking, climbing, skiing
Favorite part of the central coast:
marine terraces north of Cayucos.
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Michael Costello

Field: entomology, acarology and viticultural pest management
Reason for entering teaching:
When one becomes an expert in a field, you want to share what you know. Not to mention that I get to ham it up in the classroom
Reason for entering the field:
I was wowed by a professor from UC Berkeley who gave great, inspirational talks
Favorite quote:
"We can't go on too much longer, maybe, without considering the likelihood that we humans are not intelligent enough to work on the scale to which we have been tempted by our technological abilities."-- Wendell Berry
Continued inspiration:
Thom Hartmann
Last reason to explode in laughter:
The last time I listened to the Stephanie Miller radio show (this morning)
Biggest challenge:
Publishing scientific papers when I have a full time teaching position
Description by students:
(from recent student evaluations) "Excellent, enthusiastic, and extremely intelligent in his subject"
"Very good, entertaining, knowledgeable"
"Very knowledgeable, cares about students learning the material"
"Very enthusiastic, makes class interesting and fun! I learned a lot!"
Favorite part of the day:
At home after an afternoon of energy-expending laboratories, having a glass of wine
Perfect day:
I go for a morning run, then clean out the garage, chicken pen and duck house, move the sheep up the hill with ease, plant new seeds for the garden, my students show up on time for class and hang on every word, and get my latest manuscript submitted for publication
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
To have a job in academia, and in one of the most liveable towns in my home state of California. What more could I ask for?
Favorite weekend activity:
Hang out at home and work on my hobby farm
Favorite part of the central coast:
The Santa Lucia Range and the Big Sur Coast.
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Ed Saliklis

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Vicente del Rio

Field: City and Regional Planning
Reason for entering teaching:
I was a teaching assistant during the last year of my undergrad, and was invited to stay as an instructor after I graduated.
reason for entering the field:
I got my undergrad degree in "architecture and urbanism" in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is a five-year professional degree, in the sense that you automatically get a professional license. In Brazil, all architecture degrees are also in urbanism because there is a lot of planning and urban design in the curriculum. I got more in love with the planning and urban design aspects than with mere architecture because they deal more with the human, social and psychological aspects of cities and community life. I was interested in how to plan and design better cities for people. I just thought I could make more of a difference in society by going into planning and urban design.
favorite quote:
"Don't look for the right answer, but for the right question" (Confucius)
continued inspiration:
I guess that I get my inspiration into different ways. The first is just by having learned how to observe the environment around me, and to learn from that: how does it function, how people use it, how does it look like, etc. My second source of inspiration is teaching and doing research; it's like having a continuous "carrot" in front of you: you want to help the students add to their knowledge, get the necessary problem-solving skills and critical thinking… and this keep you going.
last reason to explode in laughter:

biggest challenge:
My biggest challenge will always how to be a good teacher… it is not easy…you have to "tune in" to every class, present the curriculum in an interesting and appealing way, and get students interesting in learning as a continuous process that does not with the class but should always go on, with life itself.
description by students:
Good teacher, funny, very attentive and dedicated, brings in lots of experience.
favorite part of the day:
For me the best part of the day ts the end of the afternoon, because of that feeling of "mission accomplished" but you still have time to go and do something before you body starts to fail and you gotta sleep….
perfect day:
When I manage to do all I planned for that day, or if I finished a project or a report at the deadline, and I am able to go play tennis while there is still sunlight!
reason for coming to Cal Poly:
I taught at the School of Architecture and Urbanism of the Federal University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 1979 to 2001, when I moved to Cal Poly's City and Regional Planning Department. I needed some change in my work environment and more challenges in an inspiring university environment. I am also a strong believer in Cal Poly's approach of learn-by-doing and in community outreach. The other reason is that I had spent time in the US before, as a visiting scholar at the University of Cincinnati and as a visiting planner with the City of Baltimore, and me and my family felt it was time to leave Rio, a large stressful city of 6 million people.
favorite weekend activity:
To tell you the truth, it is not unusual to find me doing some Cal Poly related work during the weekend, normally on Sundays: grading, writing an article, preparing a class… and I like to do that in my office; its quieter. But I try not to do that too often or too much… Saturdays as more for relaxing, playing tennis, choruses at home, a movie. We don't travel that much for the weekends.
favorite part of the central coast:
We love it here. We also love the Big Sur… the whole California cost is very pretty. The mix of beaches and mountains is what make the landscape so unique. San Luis Obispo is a great town, about the right size, and still within easy driving distance from Los Angeles and San Francisco, two of the most interesting cities in the US, with a lot of cultural, social, and professional activities.
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Scott Kelting

Scott Keting
Field: Construction Management
Reason for entering teaching:
Educating future construction managers is a rewarding career.
Reason for entering the field:
Both of my parents worked in the construction field when I was growing up.
Favorite quote:
"Work hard, play hard"
Continued inspiration:
Collaborative project teams and sustainable building practices
Last reason to explode in laughter:
My wife and two kids make me laugh everyday.
Biggest challenge:
balancing work, family and personal time.
Description by students:
Enthusiastic about Construction Management.
Favorite part of the day:
Mornings
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
The "Learn by Doing" philosophy and the location.
Favorite weekend activity:
Spending time with my family at the beach.
Favorite part of the central coast:
I love it all!
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Christy O'Hara

Field: Landscape Architecture
Reason for entering teaching:
I wanted to help people and have a job where I would always continue to learn
Reason for entering the field:
The dynamic challenge of designing an ever-changing landscape
Favorite quote:
"Enjoy the little things, for one day you might look back and realize they were the big things." Robert Brault
Continued inspiration:
Andrea Cochran, Dan Kiley
Last reason to explode in laughter:
my children make me laugh every day
Biggest challenge:
going back to grad school with 4 small children
Description by students:
kind and available
Favorite part of the day:
morning
perfect day:
coffee, the newspaper, a walk with the dog, day spent reading, dinner with family and friends
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
national prominence of the program and beautiful place to live
Favorite weekend activity:
anything outside
Favorite part of the central coast:
love the variety of beautiful landscapes, from sea to mountains
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Kira Abercromby

Field: Aerospace Engineering (Astronautics)
Reason for entering teaching field:
Helping to shape the minds of future engineers is exciting!
Reason for entering the field:
I wanted to work for NASA growing up and I figured the best way was to be an aerospace engineer. It was the best choice I could have possibly made.
Favorite Quote:
"The earth is the cradle of humankind, but one cannot live in the cradle forever." - Tsiolkovsky
What(Who) inspires you?:
I'm inspired by the thousands of people that work endless hours for the safety and success of the human spaceflight program. It is awe-inspiring the levels people go to for others.
Last reason to explode in laughter:
My daughters were putting on their best, fake mad face. It was a sight to see.
Biggest challenge:
To be honest, most days it is finding my keys!
Favorite part of the day:
Right before the sun sets. The world seems to stop and take a breath.
Perfect day:
Hanging out with my family doing just about anything.
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
I really like the Cal Poly philosophy in teaching and learning.
Favorite weekend activity:
Running, Beaching, Hiking, and Reading
Favorite part of the central coast:
Being close to the beach and the mountains.
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Kristen O'Halloran Cardinal

Field: Biomedical Engineering with a focus on Tissue Engineering
Reason for entering teaching field:
I love my field, and so I love sharing it with others. Especially in course labs, it is so much fun to teach students new skills.
Reason for entering the field:
The cardiovascular system has always intrigued me. As a kid, I thought I wanted to be either a basketball coach or a surgeon. In college I discovered biomedical engineering, and found that I can contribute to the medical field from the engineering and research side of things. I was fortunate to have some great professors that ignited my interest in this field.
Favorite Quote:
Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.
What(Who) inspires you?:
Many different people inspire me. My husband, my sister, my parents, my students, my colleagues, my friends - I am lucky to be surrounded by people that make life exciting and that guide me and push me to do what I do. And my dogs inspire me to have more fun.
Last reason to explode in laughter:
My friends' 3 year old - too many great quotes to list, in just a few hours of playing.
Biggest challenge:
My biggest life challenge to date was my husband's battle with cancer. But we both made it through with the help of family and friends, and it reinforced my desire to contribute to the medical field. My biggest daily challenge is trying to find a good life balance, that doesn't involve working too much.
Description by students:
Students have noted that I am "knowledgeable, nice, passionate about my field, and a good teacher"
Favorite part of the day:
In the evening, making dinner with my husband and going for a walk with our dogs.
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
Great engineering program and great students, beautiful location, and an environment that allows me to teach, do research, and stay involved with industry.
Favorite weekend activity:
Going to the beach with the dogs and watching a movie.
Favorite part of the central coast:
Home and the beach.
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Robb Moss

Field: Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering, Engineering Risk Analysis, and Engineering Seismology
Reason for entering teaching:
I enjoy breaking down difficult concepts and then seeing the "lights go on" when students get it.
Reason for entering the field:
Like the thought process of engineering, enjoy a field that allows me to serve society, earthquakes I find fascinating, like the balance of analytical work and field work.
Favorite quote:
"Academia would be the ultimate challenge if the stakes weren't so small" paraphrasing Churchill.
Continued inspiration:
Students who overcome big hurdles in life to arrive at and make it through college.
Last reason to explode in laughter:
Spongebob square pants, my older boy watches it regularly.
Biggest challenge:
I like to throw myself at big earthquake engineering research challenges; grappling with several of those at any one time.
Description by students:
"Entertaining, challenging, engaged, devoted to the education of students."
Favorite part of the day:
I peak mid-morning, before and after that I'm pretty much on autopilot.
Perfect day:
Get the kids off without much fuss, bike commute to work, successfully accomplish some research task, interact with students in office hours, teach a great lecture, bike home to have dinner with my family, get kids to sleep, and read something engaging as I fall asleep.
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
Great school, great students, great location, great job.
Favorite weekend activity:
Surfing, climbing, backcountry skiing, trail running, which ever suits the weather and the amount of free time I have.
Favorite part of the central coast:
San Luis Obispo.
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Lynne A. Slivovsky

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David Janzen

Field: Computer Science/Software Engineering
Reason for entering teaching field:
First and foremost, I love having the opportunity to make a difference in students' lives. Second, I was drawn to the freedom and flexibility of teaching and research. I spent some time "in industry" working on some great projects for Sprint, but I even more enjoy the opportunity to work on projects of my own choice.
Reason for entering the field:
You get to build stuff that people use. I started in math, but moved to software engineering because I really enjoy working in teams to create interesting applications that make life better for people.
What(Who) inspires you?
As a Christian, my desire is that everything that I do is grounded in my faith in Jesus Christ.
Last reason to explode in laughter:
Dancing with my family in the kitchen to music from "my generation".
Biggest challenge:
Saying "no" to all the great opportunities that come my way.
Description by students:
Students tell me that I have a good mix of expecting a lot from them, but giving lots of help and encouragement.
Favorite part of the day:
Dinner with my family.
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
The CSC/SE department is great. The faculty are smart, excellent teachers, kind, and they care about their students. The department has great relationships with companies which creates wonderful opportunities for students and faculty.
Favorite weekend activity:
Saturday morning pancakes. Or a hike. Or a family movie. Or Sunday lunch out after church...
Favorite part of the central coast:
My regular bike ride to the bluffs in North Morro Bay.
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Art MacCarley

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Nirupam Pal

Field: Biochemical and Environmental Engineering
Reason for entering teaching field:
At the age of 15, I used to teach my juniors. I just love it. In sanskrit language there is a proverb that means " As you distribute knowledge- more it grows". I am always facinated by feats of science and Engineering. Strongly believe that we have hardly harnessed the potential for science and Engineering. So we must properly educate the human race to improve the life style.
Reason for entering the field:
I was a pure science student and loved chemistry and math. After finishing Engineering, I got married and my wife turned out to be a biologist and through our discussion, I feel in love with Biology and started taking courses in Biology and Biochemistry. Being a Chemical Engineer, I found a perfect niche to work on. I found out that this area of biochemical Engineering is very new and a lot of things can be done and that made me a Biochemical Engineer
Favorite Quote:
"The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence" Rabindranath Tagore - Read more
What(Who) inspires you?:
nature
Last reason to explode in laughter:
Send you soon
Biggest challenge:
Strech 24 hours into 25.
Description by students:
Ask a student
Favorite part of the day:
Research Labs
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
Fits my philosophy "Learn by doing" Great place to live.
Favorite weekend activity:
ping pong
Favorite part of the central coast:
My backyard- my garden.
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Scott Hazlewood

Field: Biomedical Engineering with an emphasis in bone mechanics.
Reason for entering teaching field:
Working with students, to help them learn and to think critically.
Reason for entering the field:
Bone is a tissue that can withstand substantial forces yet repair itself and I found it fascinating to study the complex biological processes that allow it to do this. It would be great if we could ever design a man-made structure like bone.
Favorite Quote:
Truth may be not a sword with only two sides to the blade, so you look upon one and then the other. Rather it is like a faceted jewel with many faces. You may think you know one well, and another, then you discover a third, a fourth. Still they are all truth, or truths. (Andre Norton)
What(Who) inspires you?:
My wife (for the amount of work she does in raising the kids) and children (who at young ages want to learn everything they can).
Last reason to explode in laughter:
Pretty much anything by Wayne Brady.
Biggest challenge:
Balancing family and work.
Description by students:
You'll have to ask the students.
Favorite part of the day:
Interacting with students during the day and relaxing with my family in the evening.
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
To help build the Biomedical Engineering program, which was in its infancy when I arrived. Also because Engineering at Cal Poly is very strong and nationally ranked.
Favorite weekend activity:
Hiking, going to the beach, softball.
Favorite part of the central coast:
The weather, beaches, peaceful living.
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Sema Alptekin

Former chair of the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering department, Sema Alptekin, has had a diverse background in the field of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. Alptekin has a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a Ph.D in Industrial Engineering. She has worked extensively in industry, having taught in Missouri and Istanbul, consulted, created patents, worked on a number of principal publications, organized conference sessions, and is a member of several scientific and professional societies.
Alptekin brings her expertise to the Cal Poly community through her coursework in manufacturing automation, manufacturing processes, simulation and artificial intelligence, as well as serving as an advisor to undergraduate students, co-ops and master's candidates. She is a member of numerous University committees and engineering councils.
Alptekin stays involved with local developments related to industrial and manufacturing engineering through her constant efforts in procuring grants used to benefit the local IME community and its students. Among other endeavors, she recently received a $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a Central Coast Manufacturing Center in collaboration with both Cuesta and Allan Hancock community.
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Liz Schlemer

Field: Industrial Engineering
Reason for entering teaching:
I love the challenge of facilitating learning of complex technical subjects. I really enjoy working with students in a mentorship or coaching role. I enjoy the hopefulness that college students have about their future and the future of the world. It makes me remember we all can make a difference.
Reason for entering the field:
I became and engineer because I was good at math and s cience and not so good at English and social studies, little did I know it is necessary to integrate all the topics.
Favorite quote:
To avoid situations in which you might make mistakes may be the biggest mistake of all. - Peter McWilliams
Continued inspiration:
I am an alumni of this department and one of my professors from long ago is a great inspiration to me: Dr, Donald Morgan always made me believe I could accomplish something and I hope to communicate that to my students.
Last reason to explode in laughter:
I laugh myself silly when I watch Candid camera.
Biggest challenge:
I was always a terrible speller and to this day, although I have achieved much success, I don't know how to spell some words. This sometimes seems so ridiculous, and other times I welcome this imperfection.
Description by students:
I really enjoy my students, even love them. They all have helped me to be a better person and teacher. I feel privileged to hold in this place in their lives
Favorite part of the day:
I always look forward to visiting with students in my office.
Perfect day:
Slowly wake up, have coffee, walk my dog then spend a long day at work talking to students and working with my colleagues creating new ways of learning.
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
I cant imagine being anywhere else. I was an undergrad here, and now have been here 20 years. I have spent almost half my life here. I don't think there is any place better. What an honor!
Favorite weekend activity:
I love hiking Bishops or Madonna Mt with my dog.
Favorite part of the central coast:
The beach. My dog loves the waves and the ocean. The weather here is pretty close to perfect.
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Richard Savage

Field: Materials Engineering
reason for entering teaching:
Working with students to explore new ways of solving problems that benefit society.
reason for entering the field:
Always wanted to understand how things work right down to the atomic level and love designing and building devices.
favorite quote:
"The universe displays the fingerprints of God."
continued inspiration:
The creativity and ingenuity of the human mind and spirit.
last reason to explode in laughter:
Watching my dog eating peanut butter.
biggest challenge:
Not taking life too seriously.
description by students:
Passionate and caring and loves to tell stories about his experiences in industry.
favorite part of the day:
Early morning.
reason for coming to Cal Poly:
It was time to give back to the technical community and share my experience with others.
favorite weekend activity:
Taking my dog for long walks on the beach.
favorite part of the central coast:
The beach.
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Charmaine Martinez

Field: Graphic Design
reason for entering teaching:
I was a T.A. in graduate school and I discovered that I really enjoyed working with students.
reason for entering the field:
I loved art as a child and discovered graphic design in college. When I realized that I could channel my creative skills into a viable career, I became very excited about becoming a graphic designer.
favorite quote:
"Make it work." – Tim Gunn
continued inspiration:
My children, the ocean, and delicious food.
last reason to explode in laughter:
Watching my daughter do her crazy legs dance down the hallway.
biggest challenge:
Balancing work life and home life; trying to do everything well when there is never enough time.
description by students:
I'm not sure how my students would describe me. I hope they would use adjectives like: demanding, tough, motivational, and funny.
favorite part of the day:
When dinner is on the table, everyone is at their seat, and I am attempting to get my kids to tell me about their day.
perfect day:
Hmm, that's a hard one. Can a day really be perfect? In some ways, I think perfect days only happen when you are young and free of responsibility. I remember being in my early 20s, living in Chicago and having an entire weekend to just do whatever: sleep in, walk along the lake, go shopping for some random thing with friends, watch bad t.v., go out for delicious Vietnamese noodles, etc. I don't really have days like that any more and I don't remember realizing that they were perfect at the time.
reason for coming to Cal Poly:
In academia one often does not have much of a choice: you need to find a job at a university that happens to be hiring when you are looking for a teaching position. I got lucky. I was unhappy at my previous institution and saw the job listing for a graphic design position at Cal Poly. I had never been to the Central Coast and knew very little about Cal Poly. During the interview, I decided it was definitely the place I wanted to live and work.
favorite weekend activity:
Going to the beach with my kids.
favorite part of the central coast:
It is beautiful here and I have always wanted to live close to the ocean. I love that there are microclimates. I also love that the growing season is year-round and fresh fruits and vegetables are always available. I love that I have two big orange trees in my front yard. I did not grow up in California, so I appreciate it more.
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Denise Daniels

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Richard Besel

Field: Communication Studies
Reason for entering teaching field:
I enjoy teaching. I hope to be to my students the kind of mentor my teachers were to me.
Reason for entering the field:
During my sophomore year in high school I needed to take an elective class to complete my schedule. I was fortunate enough to attend an institution that had an active debate program and could offer it as a class. I enjoyed the activity so much I eventually majored in Political Science and Speech Communication as an undergraduate while competing in speech and debate activities. The people I met and the experiences I had early in my life all influenced my decision to pursue this line of work.
Favorite Quote:
"I would rather be ashes than dust." --Jack London
What(Who) inspires you?
Good movies, good books, and the memory of my mother.
Last reason to explode in laughter:
My wife, Renee', probably said something I misunderstood. We both probably laughed.
Biggest challenge:
Taking on too many projects.
Description by students:
I think they would describe me as relaxed, but serious. They might even note that I like playing card games and don't eat meat.
Favorite part of the day:
Not the morning.
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
Who doesn't want to go to Cal Poly?
Favorite weekend activity:
Watching movies or playing games.
Favorite part of the central coast:
The weather is great.
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Aaron Rodrigues

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Kathryn Rummel

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Lorraine Donegan

Field: Design Reproduction Technology
Reason for entering teaching:
"…it's never boring. I can always learn more...knowledge is endless. My goal is to teach them the basics...the rules. Once they know the rules, it's fun to watch them throw them out the window! I have the luxury of watching, listening and learning from them."
Reason for entering the field:
"I always had a passion for good design whether its a beautiful window display or creative advertisement. I love watching how a piece could take shape with beautiful typography."
Favorite quote:
"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." - John Wooden (former UCLA basketball coach)
Continued inspiration:
"…my students and their work. They change every year and so does technology... they both keep getting better. I miss my students when they graduate and move on, but the emails they send me after graduation is a wonderful source of inspiration."
Last reason to explode in laughter:
"...this happens daily...in class, in lab, at home. Watching and listening to my kids and my students. Life is good."
Biggest challenge:
"…keeping up with technology. I stay up nights learning software, reading about technology. I would love to read a novel instead of a software manual!"
Description by students:
"...she is very serious about her classes. She is picky, detail oriented, silly, energetic, expressive, into coffee (therefore perky), and she will keep you awake in lecture."
Favorite part of the day:
"…when the day is done, I'm sitting on the couch with my husband and I can hear my daughters chatting and giggling in bed...I can't even tell them to go to sleep--It's just too darn cool!"
Perfect day:
"…usually falls on a day without work, hanging with family and friends. I love to play golf with my husband, but those days are rare. Someday soon it'll be fun to play golf with my husband and both my daughters."
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
"I'm able to teach the best of the best and live in one of the most beautiful areas in the world. I also love the people I work with, we all work well together."
Favorite weekend activity:
"…watching my daughters play softball, soccer, basketball (or whatever the sport of the season happens to be)."
Favorite part of the central coast:
"…my newly remodeled home. We live near the beach, which I love. I have my dream kitchen and home office. I love driving up to my house, working in my yard, entertaining and enjoying family and friends."
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George Cotkin

Field: U.S. Intellectual and Cultural History
Reason for entering teaching field:
Did not know what else to do. And I found that I enjoyed it immensely.
Reason for entering the field:
It was challenging in terms of complexity of ideas and invigorating because I could follow my interests into a variety of areas.
Favorite quote:
Flaubert, be directed and careful in your life like a good bourgeois so that you can be daring and creative in your art.
What(Who) inspires you?:
Too many to name.
Last reason to explode in laughter:
hmmmm.
Biggest challenge:
Recognizing how much there is to know, even in your own subject area, and settling for less.
Description by students:
I don't know how to answer this. They seem to like my oddly colored and patterned socks and quirky sense of humor
Favorite part of the day:
Morning, when it is quiet and I can get work done.
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
It was the only job that I was offered.
Favorite weekend activity:
Doing my research and writing
Favorite part of the central coast:
Just walking around town
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Bill Loving

Field: Journalism
Reason for entering teaching:
I flunked beginning reporting three times under the professor who was my mentor and eventually brought me into teaching. I figured as I had done about everything a student could do wrong, I would be in a good place to help other students avoid my mistakes.
Reason for entering the field:
There is little to compare with the notion that you've told people information they need in order to be informed voters, especially when the information reveals the truth about folks who enjoy the privileges of power.
Favorite quote:
"When in doubt tell the truth" Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
Continued inspiration:
Persons. Not people. People can be the damnedest bunch of knuckleheads to come down the pike especially when they stop thinking for themselves and follow like sheep. Persons, on the other hand, have a better chance of having common sense and actually using it.
Last reason to explode in laughter:
I co-author a textbook on media law. I sent my acquaintance a copy of the book and she wrote back that not only was it "brilliant," it was good for killing rattlesnakes, especially when dropped from hip height.
Biggest challenge:
Finding the time to enjoy all that life has to offer.
Description by students:
Tough and demanding
Favorite part of the day:
When I get to sit down after being on my feet walking talking with students for the better part of 8 hours
Perfect day:
Being with my wife and traveling to new places, enjoying each other's company and trying new things.
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
I applied in 1991 after graduating from law school. I didn't get the job but I fell in love with the place. In 2008, I realized my goal.
Favorite weekend activity:
Going to farmers market with my wife.
Favorite part of the central coast:
I ride a big v-twin and I like the coast roads.
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Brian Kennelly

Field: Modern Languages and Literatures (French)
Reason for entering teaching field:
Inspirational teachers
Reason for entering the field:
I was originally a Biological Sciences major at UC, Davis. But it soon became clear to me that questions rehearsed in the cutting-edge French literature I was also studying (as a French minor) were potentially more relevant to my life and interesting to me than assembling plastic molecular structures and memorizing chain reactions.
Favorite Quote:
"Do you really not see it, life, life the whore, all round you?" --J.M.G. Le Clézio, The Interrogation
What(Who) inspires you? :
Sunrises
Last reason to explode in laughter:
I don't explode in laughter.
Biggest challenge:
Accepting (confronting) mortality.
Description by students:
Ask them. Tough but fair?
Favorite part of the day:
Walking my dog shortly after I get up and before breakfast.
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
Location, climate, quality of students (and to escape the midwest, where I had taught for 9 years before relocating)
Favorite weekend activity:
Kicking back at Pirates' Cove
Favorite part of the central coast:
The beaches
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Craig Russel

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Stephen Lloyd Moffett

Field: Religious Studies
Reason for entering teaching field :
The realization that the path to a better community and society begins with education.
Reason for entering the field :
Religion is something that deeply shapes our society and people care passionately about, yet know so little.
Favorite Quote :
Margaret Mead - "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has."
What(Who) inspires you?
Intelligent and talented people who refuse to conform.
Last reason to explode in laughter :
Watching my colleagues dance to Lady Gaga.
Biggest challenge :
Finding time to do all the things I want to do.
Nicknames by students :
Lord-Muffin, Pro Lloyd-Mo, Prof Lloyd-Moff...
Favorite part of the day :
Before sunrise when it is all quiet.
Reason for coming to Cal Poly :
The opportunity to build a program with students who take religion seriously.
Favorite weekend activity :
Wine tasting and playing with my kids, not necessarily in that order.
Favorite part of the central coast :
The road up to Big Sur.
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Craig Arcineaux

Field: Comparative Politics: Latin American Politics, democratization, and civil-military relations
Reason for entering teaching:
Because I never want to stop learning
reason for entering the field:
Comparative Politics introduces us to a mélange of places, people, cultures, but the task of Comparative Politics is to uncover patterns and generalizable standards within that diversity. I get to play detective every day!
favorite quote:
"So it goes"- Kurt Vonnegut
continued inspiration:
Jerry Brown
last reason to explode in laughter:
Last time I studied American voting behavior.
biggest challenge:
My ten year old daughter.
description by students:
"Tough but fair"
favorite part of the day:
2pm- when a fresh cup of coffee gives me my second wind.
perfect day:
An afternoon at Dodger Stadium- and a win for the home team, of course. Or alternatively, and afternoon at a SF Giants game- and a defeat for the home team, of course.
reason for coming to Cal Poly:
I take pride in its reputation, and- location, location, location.
favorite weekend activity:
Cycling through wine country
favorite part of the central coast:
I'm not giving that away!
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Lisa Sweatt

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Thomas Joan Bernard

Thomas John Bernard
Field: Theatrical Costume Design
Reason for entering teaching field:
I started teaching because I found I loved it while I was in graduate school. It is exciting for me to see the light bulb of discovery go on for students.
Reason for entering the field:
I became a costume designer because It is exciting to see things I design come to life.
Favorite Quote:
"Life is what you make of it!"
What(Who) inspires you?
Beauty found in everyday life inspires me. It is all around you, you just have to stop and take a look!
Last reason to explode in laughter:
A goofy answer to a goofy question. I guess you get what you ask for.
Biggest challenge:
Dyslexia
Description by students:
"An out-going, ambitious, nice guy!" (wow, thanks for making me ask!)
Favorite part of the day:
Midnight on the beach!
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
Great reputation and it's near the beach!
Favorite weekend activity:
Saturday nap on the couch or the beach!
Favorite part of the central coast:
Paso Robles - wine country
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Eric Olsen

Field:
Operations Management
Reason for entering teaching:
I enjoyed facilitating manufacturing training classes at Hewlett Packard and wished to make teach a larger part of my vocation.
Reason for entering the field:
I had extensive experience in engineering and engineering management. As I moved forward in my career, I became increasingly interested in the interface between engineering product development and manufacturing. Understanding the team dynamic and human element in all types of operations is an on going passion.
Favorite quote:
"If you can't grow corn, I don't want to hear your philosophy." – Grandfather of Winona LaDuke, Native American activist.
Continued inspiration:
People working together.
Last reason to explode in laughter:

Biggest challenge:
Building community.
Description by students:
Taking Professor Olsen's class I learned that a 4-hour evening class really is 4 hours.
Favorite part of the day:
Morning just before dawn. You know you have a jump on the day.
Perfect day:
Finishing a project that takes all day.
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
Cal Poly's reputation and the quality of life in Central California.
Favorite weekend activity:
Wine tasting with friends and family.
Favorite part of the central coast:
Madonna Mountain.
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Candace Winstead

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John Marlier

Field: Organic Chemistry
Reason for entering teaching:
have a career that had the possibility to inspire.
Reason for entering the field:
pure scientific curiosity.
Favorite quote:
"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." – Albert Einstein
Continued inspiration:
my colleague, Jan Simek, the most gifted organic chemistry teacher I have ever known.
Last reason to explode in laughter:
my blunders; it keeps me grounded with the rest of humanity.
Biggest challenge:
trying to be the best teacher and scientist that I can be.
Description by students:
tough, demanding, but fair.
Favorite part of the day:
early morning, when it is only me, the golden retriever, a quiet house and coffee!
Perfect day:
when my lecture inspires, my students say "thanks," and my paper is accepted for publication.
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
the collegial group of faculty in the Chemistry/Biochemistry department.
Favorite weekend activity:
exercise with family and friends.
Favorite part of the central coast:
downtown SLO, the coast, and the mountains
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Robert D. Clark

Field: Kinesiology (Biomechanics and Motor Control)
Reason for entering teaching field:
It allows me to transfer knowledge and skills to those who could really do more with that information/skills than myself.
Reason for entering the field:
Originally interested in health promotion. I was originally interested in engineering my first years in college, but I took some time off worked in a couple of corporate settings in which I encountered many people who were not very fit and engaged in unhealthy lifestyles. Some of these people were my age. I knew there had to be a better way. But once back in school, I was hooked on Biomechanics.
Favorite Quote:
Sometimes not getting what you want is an incredible stroke of luck (Dalai Lama)
What(Who) inspires you?:
My students. they are really smart. Funny too.
Last reason to explode in laughter:
I was chased by a pretty mean looking dog while on the way home from work (I was on my bike). As soon as he caught up to me, I slammed on the brakes and came to a sudden stop. We stood there looking at each other for about five seconds. He had this look on his face like he didn't know what to do. Then he trotted away.
Biggest challenge:
creating learning environments in which students have to really think. They are really smart, but our educational system often turns students into "memory storage devices"... I try to get them to see the big picture... connect the dots... it's not always easy.
Description by students:
My students have said my classes are sometimes like a cross between the Twilight Zone and Cirque du Soleil. they also say that I expect them to actually know something, and to be able to think. They also say that being in class is very important.
Favorite part of the day:
Besides teaching, it would have to be riding my bike to or from work (I do cycling research, so I always bring and take home work with me)
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
There was a job here and I applied (it was good timing.... just got my PhD and the there was an opening).
Favorite weekend activity:
Walking unshod (barefoot) on the beach.
Favorite part of the central coast:
The beaches, especially north Morro Bay.
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Lola Berber-Jimenez, Ph.D.

Field: Chemistry, Elementary School Education, Science Education
Reason for entering teaching:
love to learn
Reason for entering the field:
insatiable curiosity
Favorite quote:
"Education is a business; Leaning is a process" Jonathan Wilson
Continued inspiration:
my children
Last reason to explode in laughter:
listening to the latest podcast of NPR's Wait Wait don't Tell me
Biggest challenge:
keeping up with the 21st century challenges
Description by students:
always available
Favorite part of the day:
mornings
Perfect day:
coffee, check the garden, work, come home to a nice dinner & family time
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
it was the California cheese! (following my husband's career)
Favorite weekend activity:
gardening, hiking
Favorite part of the central coast:
open spaces
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Dylan Retsek

Field: Mathematics
Reason for entering teaching:
To give back to the system that gave me so much.
Reason for entering the field:
It is beauty and utility epitomized.
Favorite quote:
Don't have one.
Last reason to explode in laughter:
My son exploding in laughter.
Biggest challenge:
Balancing work and family.
Description by students:
Clear but hard.
Favorite part of the day:
Office hours (work day, anyway).
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
Students and faculty.
Favorite weekend activity:
Playing basketball.
Favorite part of the central coast:
The natural beauty.
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Pat Fidopiastis

Field: Microbiology
Reason for entering teaching:
I was a whimsical kid that had a hard time picking up information that did not seem practical or relevant to the world around me. For example, we learned about π in 6th grade. However, it was merely presented to us a 3.14.. and then we used it to solve some problems. "But what exactly is it?" I wondered. Thus, it became just another meaningless thing to memorize. For a long time I thought, "maybe I'm just stupid". However, as I encountered professors in college that were more engaged in teaching, and that were excited about similar things as me, I excelled. By my junior year in college, I decided that I was not just going to teach, but I was going to use my insight to reach students from all backgrounds, not just the top 2% that always "get it" right away.
Reason for entering the field:
Like most interested in biology, I entered college as a "pre-med major", but had my epiphany after taking general microbiology during my sophomore year. By the end of this class, I discovered an amazing field with dramatic influence over all other fields of biology and medicine and many outside fields as well (e.g. chemistry, geology, art history, etc). The biomedical implications of microbiology are obvious; pathogenic microbes have killed more humans than all wars together. But few appreciate that without microbes, the vast majority of which are beneficial, plants and animals simply could not exist. For example, gut microbes aid in digestion, synthesize essential vitamins, and have profound influence on our development from birth to death. Microbes are better chemists than humans, are involved in many geologic phenomena (e.g. rock erosion, etc), and as I type this, are slowly degrading precious works of art.
Favorite quote:
"An expert is just some guy from out of town." Mark Twain (the point is to always question, always think critically, don't just immediately accept what someone says, especially someone claiming to be an expert)
Continued inspiration:
My father and mother, who devoted their entire existence to providing the best they could for my siblings and me. The only way I can return the favor is to do the best I can for my children.
Last reason to explode in laughter:
I am a parent of two small children (a 3 year old and a 9 month old) who vehemently fight going to sleep. Anyone who has children, and who therefore knows what lack of sleep does to a person, must read "Go the F#%$ to Sleep by Adam Mansbach. I was literally crying with laughter the first time I read this book a few months ago.
Biggest challenge:
Raising two small children with all the love and support that my parents gave me, staying connected with my wife, and maintaining excellence in professional development and teaching at work.
Description by students:
Based on 6 years of evaluations from the 10 or so different courses that I teach at Poly my "Overall Performance" rating is a 3.75/ 4.0 (a solid "A"). One thing that students routinely say in my evaluations is that they really enjoy stories of my personal experiences that are relevant to a particular topic (which is often how I convey the reason for why they should learn something). Another frequent comment is that students really appreciate my passion for microbiology. Without microbes, there would be no life on earth. Period. That underlying theme fuels the passion in everything I say!
Favorite part of the day:
When I get home from work, we pack up and walk to a local park.
Perfect day:
Any day at the beach with my family or any day that we can go for a hike.
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
The Cal Poly Biology Department allows its faculty to decide on the perfect blend of teaching and research to suit their needs. This is unusual for an institution with such a great reputation. To every university I applied to other than Poly, teaching was something you had to do while focusing on getting big grants and publishing a steady stream of papers. These are important pursuits, and I always work towards those goals, but there is reasonable pressure to achieve them at Poly, making having a family and a large teaching load easier to manage.
Favorite weekend activity:
It's a toss up: surfing, hiking, biking, running…. Anything active!
Favorite part of the central coast:
It is the perfect combination of great weather, beautiful coastline, and wide-open spaces.
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Tom Bensky

Field: Physics
Reason for entering teaching:
I love physics and love explaining it to other people, particularly when it requires cool laboratory equipment to be used.
Reason for entering the field:
Physics is so complicated and so comprehensive in what it explains, and so rewarding to even understand a small part of it all.
Favorite quote:
"The harder I work, the luckier I get."
Continued inspiration:
Always finding new ways of teaching physics, particularly with new technology.
Last reason to explode in laughter:
reading Bill Bryson's blurb about parking a car in England.
Biggest challenge:
instilling a "work-hard" ethic in my 11-year-old son and my Cal Poly students.
Description by students:
"keeps me awake in class, but grades too hard, talks too fast, assigns too much homework."
Favorite part of the day:
an early (8am) quantum laboratory session, when all of the equipment is on and humming and students are quietly taking their measurements.
Perfect day:
Wouldn't know...never had one!
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
I didn't want to live in a big city, and the physics department here is very lively and healthy, with lots of majors and a large variety of teaching opportunities.
Favorite weekend activity:
a hike (or bike ride) with my wife and son, a stop by In-n-Out burger, then having nothing to do for the rest of the weekend.
Favorite part of the central coast:
the open space and going to downtown SLO with my wife on a weekday evening during the summer.
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Soma Roy

Reason for entering teaching:
I had always wanted to be an educator. When I was a kid, I would pretend that my parents' living room was a classroom, and the chairs were students. I would walk around the room teaching these "students" what I had learnt at school that day. There has always been a part of me which loves being able to share knowledge with others, to help them understand and learn.
Reason for entering the field:
I loved mathematics as a kid, but some of the abstract material did not appeal to me. I wanted to be able to apply mathematics to finding out how the world works. Hence, Statistics! Statistics lets me use numbers to explore various fields, such as, health, psychology, education, and sociology.
Favorite quote:
"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..." – Dr. Seuss.
Continued inspiration:
My mother
Last reason to explode in laughter:
A really bad statistics joke. Yes, I know… weird!
Biggest challenge:
Trying to get 25 hours' worth of work done in 24 hours
Description by students:
You'd have to ask them… I don't want to take liberties here :)
Favorite part of the day:
Night… it's a time to reflect on the entire day, and look forward to a new one.
Perfect day:
Pancakes for breakfast, nice long hike, sit by the ocean and read a book, watch the sunset - all while surrounded by the ones I love.
Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
I really wanted to be involved in undergraduate education, and the Cal Poly Statistics Department is one of the best in the nation, probably the best – so when I was offered a job, I did what any sensible person would do – took the offer.
Favorite weekend activity:
Hanging out with friends, going to the SLO Botanic Garden to volunteer at activities, and meeting up with a low-vision person for whom I read.
Favorite part of the central coast:
Montana de Oro – I love to sit on the rocks by the water, and watch the waves.
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J. Michael (Mike) Geringer

Field: International Business and Strategy Reason for entering teaching field: I just love helping people to learn and better understand the world in which they live. There is nothing as satisfying as seeing the proverbial light bulb go on above a student's head as she or he finally "gets it" and is able to finally see the world through a new set of eyes. Reason for entering the field: I love international business - I am never bored in this field, because the world has so much diversity of people, plants, animals, cultures, geography, political and economic systems, history, and so forth. It is exciting to meet new people and visit new places, to constantly see different ways of thinking about problems, different ways of living life and doing business, different ways to learn and to enjoy life. I don't know how I could NOT love international business! Favorite Quote: "Doing is honest philosophy - talk is cheap." Maybe that's why I like Cal Poly's learning-by-doing philosophy? Continued inspiration: I don't want to sound corny, but I really do get my inspiration from my students. It is their excitement to learn and to better understand the world around them, their passion for helping to effect change in this world and to help improve the human condition that is so refreshing and invigorating. We will not achieve relevant change by trying the same approaches that caused problems in the first place, so the new ideas of my students have the potential to generate creative, valuable new approaches. I just hope that I can have a bit of a positive impact on their efforts in this regard. Last reason to explode in laughter: I love animals, and watching one of my cats trying to hang upside down by her back legs from a tree limb this morning while trying to catch a bird that was teasing her ... well, they are a constant source of bemusement! They also remind me that we all need to be humble and be able to laugh at ourselves and our actions - it is a critical survival skill if one wants to travel internationally. Biggest challenge: My biggest challenge is trying to keep the content of my courses sufficiently interesting so that my students will be motivated to come to class fully prepared and wanting to participate and explore the issues. Description by students: You'd have to ask them ... Favorite part of the day: I love the transition times of the day - dawn and dusk, moving between lightness and darkness, the time when some animals awaken and others prepare for sleep. It can be a very magical and spiritual time of the day, and it reminds me to take a bit of time from a busy day and enjoy these transitions that are occurring around me. Reason for coming to Cal Poly: I came to Cal Poly because I wanted to live in a beautiful place, with a full-time "college town" environment, and work with students who are bright, fun, willing to work hard (especially if it is not just busy work), and who have a positive and friendly attitude toward life, mixed in with just a bit of idealism. I haven't been disappointed on any of these dimensions! Favorite weekend activity: Being outdoors on the Central Coast, doing just about anything - especially with my wife and our various critters. Favorite part of the central coast: It's all paradise! Avila Beach and the pier, Montana de Oro, Big Sur, Pozo, the wineries, the hills and woods, Live Oak Music Festival ... I love it all!
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Sanjiv Jaggia

Field: Economics and Finance Reason for entering teaching: I just love it Reason for entering the field: quantitative, logical, practical Favorite quote: I do not have a single favorite quote Continued inspiration: my dad Last reason to explode in laughter: too silly to explain Biggest challenge: writing a 1000 page book on Business Statistics Description by students: enthusiastic about teaching Favorite part of the day: dusk Perfect day: lazy cup of morning tea, walk/hike, cook, eat, work, listen to music, have a glass of wine, be with close friends, late night walk and chat Reason for coming to Cal Poly: great weather, expansive landscape, reminded me of my hometown in India Favorite weekend activity: cooking, listening to music, hiking Favorite part of the central coast: Montana De Oro
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Eric Olsen

Field:Operations Management Reason for entering teaching: I enjoyed facilitating manufacturing training classes at Hewlett Packard and wished to make teach a larger part of my vocation. Reason for entering the field: I had extensive experience in engineering and engineering management. As I moved forward in my career, I became increasingly interested in the interface between engineering product development and manufacturing. Understanding the team dynamic and human element in all types of operations is an on going passion. Favorite quote: "If you can't grow corn, I don't want to hear your philosophy." - Grandfather of Winona LaDuke, Native American activist. Continued inspiration: People working together. Last reason to explode in laughter: Biggest challenge: Building community. Description by students: Taking Professor Olsen's class I learned that a 4-hour evening class really is 4 hours. Favorite part of the day: Morning just before dawn. You know you have a jump on the day. Perfect day: Finishing a project that takes all day. Reason for coming to Cal Poly: Cal Poly's reputation and the quality of life in Central California. Favorite weekend activity: Wine tasting with friends and family. Favorite part of the central coast: Madonna Mountain.
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Kristen Bender

What are you doing now?
Living and working in San Luis Obispo for Coast National Bank, a local community bank. I work in the Small Business Lending department as a loan officer.
How did your program of study at Cal Poly prepare you for your current role?
My current role as a loan officer was directly influenced by the concentration I chose to study within the Agribusiness major at Cal Poly. Finance and Appraisal allowed me to explore different aspects of the business world, from farm appraisal to ag lending. I am able to apply nearly everything I learned in my finance and lending classes to what I am doing today.
What did you do when you first graduated from Poly?
In deciding what I wanted to do after graduation, I ultimately felt that my degree and concentration best prepared me for the field of lending. Being born and raised in San Luis Obispo, I knew I wanted to find a career within this community to apply what I'd learned at Cal Poly. Like most people, I submitted a handful of resumes to employers and practiced my interview skills, until I got a bite! Lucky for me, Coast National Bank has been the perfect career fit for me.
How long were you at Poly?
2001-2006 (5 years)
Did you have any co-ops or internships while at Poly?
No I didn't, I worked part-time throughout my college career to make money. But, looking back, I wish I had done an internship of some kind.
What are your three strongest memories of Cal Poly?
1. The very hands-on classes that the Agriculture department offers! I believe every Cal Poly grad should be able to say that they've milked a cow!
2. Throwing my cap in the air at graduation! Best feeling in the world when you're finished and have that degree.
3. Lastly, of course, was meeting my future husband :)
When you think of Cal Poly you immediately think of this...?
The view! Cal Poly is such a beautiful campus, as is San Luis Obispo.
What brought you to Cal Poly?
My parents are both Cal Poly Alum's. I'm lucky that they were able to stay in San Luis and raise my brother and I here!
Was your goal to stay locally after graduation? Can you talk about that?
Yes, definitely! You'd think that having been born and raised in SLO, I'd be ready to get out of the bubble! But I love it here and my family's here. It's amazing how many friends from college I talk to that moved away after graduating; they all miss San Luis and would love to move back. Unfortunately, it's a known fact that the job market here is not the job market you'd find in a bigger city. I consider myself super lucky to be able to work and play in my hometown.
When you are not working, what do you find yourself usually doing?
Spending time with my family barbequing and enjoying a margarita OR at the beach or park with my husband and our golden retriever puppy!
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Salvador Hurtado

What are you doing now?
I work as the Technical Sales and Customer Service representative for US Agriseeds in Central/South America and the Caribbean.
How did your program of study at Cal Poly prepare you for your current role?
My program at Cal Poly always prepared me to work with what I had, make the best of it, and anticipate. Cal Poly preparing me to be a teacher was probably the best training I could have received to go into business and sales. Having the opportunity to travel and teach about the products we offer, anticipate grower questions and work with the tools you have when you travel have allowed me to adapt quickly to a setting outside the classroom. The rest of the training about product knowledge, industry etiquette and understanding the business came from my mentors at US Agriseeds.
What did you do when you first graduated from Poly?
When I graduated from Poly I was still and still not done with school. I had already been accepted to the Agriculture Education and Communications Master's program at Cal Poly. After graduating I had the opportunity to student teach at Le Grand High School. A perfect way to realize that I was not in school no more, yet still learning.
How long were you at Poly?
I was at Cal Poly for 6 years
Did you have any co-ops or internships while at Poly?
Yes while I was at Cal Poly I had the following interships:
Helena Chemical Company—Field Scout Cotton Industry
Orange County Fair—Livestock Department Crew
US Agriseeds – Customer Service Intern
Jamba Juice—Healthy Kids English/Spanish instructor
Le Grand High School—Agriculture Department Student Teacher
What are your three strongest memories of Cal Poly?
When I visited the campus for the first time as an FFA member and competing in the State FFA Judging Finals.
Living with the same 8 Cal Poly students for 6 years in San Luis Obispo and growing unbreakable friendships with each one
Helping Dr. Flores with Latinos in Agriculture and speaking at the 26 hours conference. Seeing the students there reminded me of who I was before I left for Cal Poly and the journey/path i took through my college career
When you think of Cal Poly you immediately think of this...?
A well worth education
What brought you to Cal Poly?
My Calexico High School agriculture advisor was a Cal Poly Alum and I visited Cal Poly several times participating in the State FFA Finals. When I came for the first time in 2000, I met Dr. Robert Flores who motivated me to apply, the year I applied I received a call from Dr. Bill Kellogg to make sure that I had everything I needed. The decision was simple.
Was your goal to stay locally after graduation? Can you talk about that?
My goal was to go out and teach at the high school level at Calexico High School as soon as I graduated. That was the plan after I had left Calexico in 2003 and I had spent 6 years working towards that goal. Then sometimes when you aren't expecting it, opportunities show up that you have to take advantage of. Mr. Larry Fernandez, president of US Agriseeds, made me an offer I could not refuse. He offered me the opportunity to learn more about the agriculture industry. I have learned how a seed has the potential to influence the fresh produce market and what we eat day to day on a global level learned first‐hand from growers all across Central and South America. These growers even exporting product to the USA while still feeding their own countries. This is a knowledge that I know I can pass on to my students when I think it is time to go back to teaching.
When you are not working, what do you find yourself usually doing?
I am a very passionate fan of futbol (soccer), I follow almost every league and play whenever I have a chance. My world stops for 1 month every 4 years to follow Mexico in the world cup competition and I am already making plans to attend the World Cup in Brazil 2014. I enjoy cooking, and would not mind opening a restaurant at some point in my life that focuses on Mexican/Thai/Japanese cuisine. I was recently introduced to cycling by a friend, and I really enjoy how it lets your thoughts wonder freely. I am now realizing how great of an area San Luis Obispo is for jumping on a bicycle and just going for miles.
Having this freedom allows me to rest my mind and come into the office every day and learn about new markets. My goal after a day in the office is to find out as much information as possible regarding these markets to see what US Agriseeds can do to help farmers have a better crop. How can I improve agriculture in Latin American countries by sending our products to those farmers? The end goal of agriculture is to feed the world, to adapt and react with a growing population while protecting the environment. Thanks to soccer, cooking, cycling and the support of my mentors at US Agriseeds, friends and family, I am able to answer these questions and strive to help the agriculture industry.
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Alumni spotlights are coming soon for this major. Please link to our website for more information about our department. Click Here
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Alumni spotlights are coming soon for this major. Please link to our website for more information about our department. Click Here
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Alumni spotlights are coming soon for this major. Please link to our website for more information about our department. Click Here
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Alumni spotlights are coming soon for this major. Please link to our website for more information about our department. Click Here
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Alumni spotlights are coming soon for this major. Please link to our website for more information about our department. Click Here
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Alumni spotlights are coming soon for this major. Please link to our website for more information about our department. Click Here
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Alumni spotlights are coming soon for this major. Please link to our website for more information about our department. Click Here
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Alumni spotlights are coming soon for this major. Please link to our website for more information about our department. Click Here
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Alumni spotlights are coming soon for this major. Please link to our website for more information about our department. Click Here
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Laura Hall, PhD, RD

Reason for entering teaching:
I've always seen myself teaching ever since I was a kid
Reason for entering the field:
When I first learned about biochemistry in high school I was inspired to pursue nutrition because I wanted to learn more about which foods make you healthy and why
Favorite quote:
"Life is a gift and what you do with it is your gift back"- my mom
Continued inspiration:
My continued inspiration includes my faith, my family, and my friends
Last reason to explode in laughter:
You have to be able to laugh at yourself, know that you're not perfect and then learn a little something about yourself in the process.
Biggest challenge:
My biggest challenge is not having enough time in the day but I make the most out of what I do have!
Description by students:
I really care about my students and getting them on the path to a successful career.
Favorite part of the day:
Seeing my son!
Perfect day:

Reason for coming to Cal Poly:
When I graduated from Cal Poly I was ahead of the game because of all of my "Learn by Doing" experience so when I had the opportunity to come back, I knew that it was my turn to help students get the same wonderful education that I receive
Favorite weekend activity:
I enjoy going on walks with my husband, son and 2 dogs
Favorite part of the central coast:
I love living on the central coast because the weather is always great and so are the people!
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Lori Jordan

What are you doing now?
I am in the new media and digital distribution space for entertainment. I'm currently functioning as a Digital Entertainment Professional.
How did your program of study at Cal Poly prepare you for your current role?
My Cal Poly education is invaluable to me. The "learn by doing" approach at Cal Poly prepared me for the ever changing world of business. I'm able to adapt and change on a daily basis, if needed, because I look at each new challenge as a learning experience and a chance to broaden my skill set.
What did you do when you first graduated from Poly?
My first job as a Cal Poly graduate was as the Promotions Manager at a group of local radio stations. It was a fun, demanding, and hands on role, and is one that I still pull from years later.
How long were you at Poly?
I was at Cal Poly for four years with a change of major mid-way through (Industrial Engineering to Recreation Administration). I did do one summer quarter (which I highly recommend, it is a great time of year to be on the Central Coast), which allowed me to stick with my four year plan.
Did you have any co-ops or internships while at Poly?
My job at the radio stations started as an internship (which is a graduation requirement of the REC program) and turned into a full time position. Throughout my education I did over 1,000 hours of community service, which included many projects with local Chambers, the Wildflower Triathlon, and the Morro Bay Harbor Festival (which also became my Senior Project).
If you could describe your co-op/internship experience, what was the biggest thing that made an impression on you?
All of the experiences I had as an intern or volunteer were key in my career development. I was given great responsibility in each role, and still use many of the skills I gained from each project. Some examples of projects I worked on:
- Morro Bay Bird Festival: I worked closely with the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce to develop the business plan for what is now an annual event for Bird Watchers around the Globe.
- Wildflower Triathlon: I worked on the Public Relations team for two years which included writing Press Releases, organizing the motorcycle motorcade for filming and assuring that all press had details about the participating athletes.
- Morro Bay Harbor Festival: Conducted an exit survey with over 500 respondents which, in addition to serving as the basis for my Senior Project, provided Harbor Festival organizers with detailed feedback for use in planning future events.
What are your three strongest memories of Cal Poly?
1. Moving into the dorms. I could not wait! I was in Yosemite Tower 8, third floor, room J. I got a great roommate, luckily, and met many of my dear friends who I still see to this day.
2. My professors. The professors at Cal Poly are incredible people who are dedicated to helping students get a great education. Switching majors and navigating all of the avenues it took to get there was made much easier by great professors in both majors.
3. Senior Year. I was the President of the Recreation Administration Club, completing my Senior Project, and worked on Wildflower as the head of the Public Relations Team. It was one of my busiest years at Cal Poly, and one that I attribute to my ability to prioritize and juggle multiple things every day.
When you think of Cal Poly you immediately think of this...?
The Poly 'P' and late nights! But really... I think of the community that is Cal Poly, both during and after my time there. It is an extremely tight bunch, and when I meet someone who went to Cal Poly, there is an immediate bond.
What brought you to Cal Poly?
My entire family seems to have passed through the Cal Poly doors. Both my father and mother attended, as well as some second cousins. My Mom took me with her to visit the campus when I was in seventh grade, and I knew that it was the University I wanted to attend
Was your goal to stay locally after graduation? Can you talk about that?
I wanted to move to Washington D.C. and work around Government in a Special Event capacity. I always loved the East Coast, so thought I would eventually end up there. As it worked out, I did stay local for almost two years, and then moved up to San Francisco, which turned out to be a fantastic path for me. Of course now, my husband (who is also a Cal Poly grad, '89) and I would love to get back to the Central Coast one day. It really is a piece of paradise.
When you are not working, what do you find yourself usually doing?
Traveling is my favorite thing to do. Local, overseas, as long as I get to see something new, I'm happy. If I'm grounded, then you'll find me swimming with my Masters team, creating tote bags and working on "geeky" things.
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Gaylene Ewing

Alumni spotlights are coming soon for this major. Please link to our website for more information about our department. Click Here
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Alumni spotlights are coming soon for this major. Please link to our website for more information about our department. Click Here
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Randy Dettmer

What is your title and current role? I am currently principal architect and owner of Dettmer Architecture. The San Luis Obispo based firm has been providing architectural and construction services for projects throughout the western United States for the past 35 years. As a licensed architect in five western states, I am involved in projects in Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Hawaii and throughout California. New projects on the boards will include Utah and New Mexico. Along with commercial and residential projects, for the past twenty years I have also specialized in projects in the healthcare industry including hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.
Can you briefly describe your day-to-day? My work day typically begins at 6:30AM and ends around 5:30 to 6PM. For the past 15 years I have worked primarily as a sole-practitioner, so I perform all of the roles in the office including architectural design, preparation of CAD construction documents, bookkeeping, filing, and answering the phone. I spend considerable time coordinating with my consultant team of civil, structural, mechanical and electrical engineers. With over twenty years of experience as a general building contractor, I also like to spend much time in the field working with the contractors and builders of my projects.
How did your program of study at Cal Poly prepare you for your current role?The architectural program at Cal Poly provided me with an incredibly valuable education that included “hands on” experience with actual building projects and real life knowledge of how buildings go together. The hard work required by the architectural program helped me develop the time-management and perseverance skills needed to be successful in starting and maintaining my own business for the past 35 years. Cal Poly’s “Learn by Doing” approach to education helped me land my first job out of school working for the architectural division of the County of San Luis Obispo.
Why did you first choose Cal Poly? Cal Poly was a natural choice for me, as an aspiring architect. The program has been consistently ranked among the top schools of architecture in the nation, and I have been proud to have had the opportunity to teach as a member of the part-time faculty for over 30 years.
Did you have any co-ops or internships while at Poly? No co-ops or internships.
What are your strongest memories of Cal Poly? I became very active in extra-curricular activities at Cal Poly, including my role as the General Superintendent of Poly Royal (now named “Open House”). This university leadership role was a valuable learning experience and a tremendous amount of fun. However, the most memorable and strongest experiences are the “all-nighters” that all of us architecture students pulled on a regular basis during the 5 plus years of my college experience. These all night experiences of working together on projects to meet a deadline developed into bonds and friendships that have lasted a lifetime.
What would be your message to prospective students who are considering applying to your former program? My message to prospective students of architecture is to find part-time work or summer jobs in the construction industry. The experience of being part of the process of constructing a building is an amazing educational experience. Watching a building come out of the ground and evolve into a structure with materials of construction and building systems will make you into a better designer and architect. This construction experience will assist in your ability to be successful in your college education and in your career after graduation.
When you are not working, what do you find yourself usually doing? Two passions in my life are “architecture” and “aviation”. I became interested in flying soon after graduation from Cal Poly and dreamed of combining aviation with my career in architecture. The opportunity to work on projects in other locations opened a door that has allowed me to pursue my love of architecture and aviation. I am a commercial pilot with instrument, multi-engine and instructor ratings, and own & operate a twin-engine aircraft that transports me, engineers and clients to projects throughout the western United States. I have also done extensive ocean sailing up and down the California and Mexico coast, through the Panama Canal, in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and across the Atlantic Ocean. My wife Kip and I also enjoy scuba diving, tennis, and skiing with our grown kids Todd, Jacke and grandson KC. Our latest adventure has been making wine from the grapes grown in our two small vineyards – “The Sleeping Dog Vineyards”.. I am a strong believer in the phrase – “Life is a journey, not a destination”.
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Kelsey Parolini

What are you doing now?
I am a Project Engineer for Lampman and Smith, Structural Engineers in San Luis Obispo and a part time lecturer for the ARCE department. My focus, as with our entire firm, is structural design and consultation, (i.e. designing the skeleton of buildings). Since graduating I have received my Professional Civil Engineering license and hope to one day take it a step further and obtain my Structural Engineering license.
How did your program of study at Cal Poly prepare you for your current role?
The ARCE program is designed to give students the engineering tools necessary to begin a career in the field of structural engineering. Whether it is research, design, proprietary companies, forensics, evaluation or construction related, the ARCE program is for those interested in Structures. It is well known by potential employers in California that students from the Cal Poly ARCE program are well prepared to begin careers in this field, and I felt myself to be no exception.
What did you do when you first graduated from Poly?
I was actually working at Lampman and Smith part time while finishing school, and then transitioned into a full time engineering position after graduation. I have been here ever since.
How long were you at Poly?
Almost 5 years.
Did you have any co-ops or internships while at Poly?
The summer after my third year of Poly, I took an internship with an engineering firm in Kalispell, Montana. The following summer I spent traveling. And then during my final year of school I worked part time for my current employer.
If you could describe your co-op/internship experience, what was the biggest thing that made an impression on you?
Both experiences were wonderful. My time in Montana was a little bit selfish, as I really wanted to live up there on the lake for the summer. It took a few weeks to find my role, as the company had never had anyone apply for an internship before. Because of this, I think I was given a much larger role than what may have been the case back home in California. This was my first opportunity to actually design, coordinate with clients, and be out in the field. I came away knowing I wanted to be in design and not research. Because it was such a positive experience, it steered me toward similar size firms here in California. My approach to my second experience was much different as I was looking for a company that I could begin my full time career with.
What are your three strongest memories of Cal Poly?
Friends... I made some lasting friendships, that although we have moved all over the state, begun families, and careers we still maintain a close friendship. Freedom... the first chance to be on my own. I was responsible for my own choices (both the good ones and the bad ones). Fun... although everything seems to run together in my mind. I look back, and I had a great time. Any lasting memories bring a smile to my face.
When you think of Cal Poly you immediately think of this...?
The beautiful campus! Although is has undergone some wonderful new growth since I graduated, it still maintains the beauty and quaintness that brought me here. Surrounded by the central coast hills, there is moderate beautiful weather all year round.
What brought you to Cal Poly?
The ARCE program. Cal Poly was the only California school I even applied to. If it weren't for the program I would have been headed to a Civil Engineering program out of state, and far away from home. I felt then, and still believe now, that it is a one of a kind program here in the western United States.
Was your goal to stay locally after graduation? Can you talk about that?
I was engaged during my final year and Cal Poly, and married soon after graduation. San Luis Obispo was the one and only California town that both my husband and I were excited about living. We consider ourselves blessed that we had the opportunity to stay and make a life for ourselves here. Neither of us grew up here, but both came here for Cal Poly.
When you are not working, what do you find yourself usually doing?
Well, we have a home here in San Luis that takes up much of our time. We also have a little four-legged family member that keeps us on our toes and enjoys, hiking, the beach, and anywhere where the ball can be chased. In the summer we enjoy occasional waterskiing and fishing outings. And for my alone time I like to read and quilt.
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Arlin Singwald

What are you doing now?
I'm currently working as a land use planner for the County of San Luis Obispo. My responsibilities include processing land use and coastal development permits and conducting environmental determinations for development proposals throughout the unincorporated areas of the county. Basically, I review development projects for consistency with the County General Plan (blueprint for future development and growth) and Local Coastal Program (if the project is in the Coastal Zone) and then make recommendations to the County Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors to either approve or deny the project. I work a lot with the California Environmental Quality Act (more affectionately known as CEQA). This is a law passed in 1970, which basically makes local governments accountable for the effects that their decisions to approve projects or carryout certain actions have on the environment. So if the County wanted to approve a new subdivision that would result in the construction of 100 new homes, then the County would have to do a study (known as an "Initial Study") to determine the environmental impacts of that decision. The County then makes the developer "mitigate" (this is planner-speak for "reduce") the project's environmental effects to a level of insignificance. I also oversee the permitting of all wireless telecommunications facilities in the County of San Luis Obispo. This is a very challenging responsibility. I must ensure that wireless carriers (e.g. Verizon, Sprint, Cingular, etc.) are able to construct facilities, while minimizing adverse environmental effects (particularly aesthetic concerns) of these facilities. Many people are also concerned with the possible health effects that could result from these "cell sites;" unfortunately, the federal government does not allow local government to consider health concerns when deciding to approve or deny a communications facility. These are the types of dilemmas that planners deal with. The typical planning agency will be divided into two distinct divisions. One division is responsible for actually managing (or "processing") individual development proposals (this is usually called "current planning" or "development review"); and the other division is responsible for actually writing the planning documents, such as the zoning ordinance, general plan, specific plans, design guidelines, etc. (this is usually called "advanced" or "long range" planning). In reality, long range planners often hire consultants to prepare these plans. Then the long range planner's job is to manage the consultant, review their work products, and communicate with the public and decision makers about the plans. I work in current planning. On the surface current planning may seem a little redundant and boring (you're processing projects every day and reviewing planning documents that some other planner got to write), but the truth is that it's an exciting job; it's very fast-paced and you're always negotiating with developers and mediating disputes between groups with very different interests (environmentalists, developers, etc.). The way I think of current planning is that we are on the front lines where things get done. I think all planners (regardless of their interests) should spend at least a couple of years in current planning for a public agency before doing anything else in the planning profession. Last year, the San Luis Obispo City Council appointed me to the City Planning Commission. This is sort of a surreal experience to sit next to my former professors and previous planning directors on the planning commission. It's also a very different perspective on the planning process because I'm now in a decision making role and I'm allowed to actually express my opinions rather than just making objective recommendations. One of my primary goals as a planning commissioner is to advocate for policies and programs that will result in the construction of more affordable housing in the city of San Luis Obispo. Before graduating from college, I was in a position where I could not afford decent shelter for my family. Now it's a very rewarding experience to help create policies that will help other single parents and low income families attain the safe and decent housing that they deserve.
How did your program of study at Cal Poly prepare you for your current role?
Cal Poly provided me with the academic foundation for my career as a planner. The CRP curriculum is very relevant to my day-to-day work as a planner. The classes gave me the practical experience to more or less hit the ground running when I started working as a planner. For example, at Cal Poly I learned about the environmental review process of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). This knowledge about the CEQA process is essential for my job. Perhaps most importantly at Cal Poly I learned to speak "planner" which is a language all of its own. Most words in planner-speak aren't even words but are rather acronyms; so when I started working in a planning office I understood the terms that everyone throws around, like CEQA, NEPA, ND, IS/MND, EIR, CUP, APCD, NOA, NOP, NOD, DA to name a few. To be successful at any job you have to know the "language" of the profession.
What did you do when you first graduated from Poly?
I was lucky enough to be offered a great job during my senior year, before even graduating. By the time of my senior year, I decided that my passion was to work on affordable housing projects and programs. I believe that society has an inherent responsibility to provide decent housing for all people, regardless of their economic means. If we as a society believe that it's appropriate to pay our service employees a wage of eight or nine dollars an hour, then we should provide housing that is affordable to people on such a limited income. So I was offered the perfect job as a housing planner/analyst for a consulting firm that provides services to public sector clients. I worked for this firm for almost three years and got to work on many great projects. I remember one of my first tasks was to prepare the loan and deed restriction documents for the sale of an inclusionary (i.e. affordable) housing unit. It was actually an emotional experience to sit in this conference room at the title company and watch this couple with their young child beaming with pride and excitement as they signed documents to own their first home. Probably my biggest accomplishment at this job was developing and managing a multi-jurisdictional low-income housing rehabilitation program. My team successfully rehabilitated about 30 homes for low-income families. These were mostly elderly Hispanic households. The families were very gracious to be receiving this assistance. These were fairly major rehabilitation projects; we replaced windows, siding, doors, flooring, dry root, and even were able to add on rooms in cases where there was overcrowded conditions. In total, we invested over $1 million dollars in these rehabilitation projects. The projects were financed by state and federal low or no interest, deferred-payment, second mortgages on the properties.
How long were you at Poly?
Three years.
Did you have any co-ops or internships while at Poly?
I started an internship with the San Luis Obispo County Department of Planning and Building during my second quarter at Cal Poly and continued this internship until I graduated. When I got my offer for this internship I was very excited and also surprised. Surprised because during my interview I conceded that I really didn't know anything about planning; I think at that time, I had only taken one very basic introduction planning class. I remember telling the interviewers that all I knew about county planning was that it involved planning for the unincorporated areas of the County. My internship was a very successful and rewarding experience. I made it a point to get the most of the internship. I took the initiative to work on as many projects as possible and asked questions constantly. This experience also helped me excel academically because from an early point in the CRP program I was learning real world, on the ground, practical experience that served as constant reinforcement of the knowledge that I learned in class. In my environmental law class I was learning about CEQA, and then after class I would go to work and write actual CEQA documents for actual projects. I remember having an exam on CEQA. One question said to name three CEQA exemptions. I issued CEQA exemptions every day at my internship, so I was able to respond to this section by citing the actual CEQA guidelines section numbers for several exemptions. Also, during my senior year, I had a class on "public sector planning" where we had to give a presentation on a project at a "mock" planning commission meeting. By this time, as an intern, I had presented at least 5 projects to the actual County of San Luis Obispo Planning Commission. The best advice I could give any college freshman is to get an internship as soon as possible, and make the most of that internship by taking on as many projects that you can get your hands on. This is an investment that is certain to pay off when you graduate and are looking for a job. It's because of my internship that I had four job offers during my senior year at Cal Poly.
If you could describe your co-op/internship experience, what was the biggest thing that made an impression on you?
I realized: wow, when I graduate, I'm actually going to use all of the stuff that I learn in school.
Was your goal to stay locally after graduation? Can you talk about that?
After graduating, my goal was to get a job wherever I could. I interviewed as far north as Sacramento and as far south as Riverside. My first job was in Monterey, and then I came back to San Luis Obispo. This is a great place to raise my seven year old son. I feel blessed to live in such a beautiful and safe area.
When you are not working, what do you find yourself usually doing?
When I'm not working, I'm usually spending time with my son.
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Jeff Martin

What are you doing now?
For the past 14 years, I've had the privilege to serve and grow with Specialty Construction, Inc. in San Luis Obispo. My current title and position is Senior Vice President. Although I wear a lot of hats and have different responsibilities, I primarily serve by directing the company's general construction division in addition to co‐managing total company oversight for policy, procedure, staff and management training, and administration. I also serve as chairman for the company's manager safety advisory committee and participate in the investment oversight committee. I work for an amazing boss and friend. I also have the privilege to work side by side with some of the most talented construction professionals in the region. In addition to my duties at Specialty Construction, I'm an active board member for the San Luis Obispo County Builder's Exchange, AYSO soccer coach, and active leader at Grace Church in San Luis Obispo.
How did your program of study at Cal Poly prepare you for your current role?
Before answering this question, I should give some background on what happened before entry to Cal Poly. I did not enter college directly from high school. I worked several different construction roles from underground utility construction, site work and light civil construction, and eventually field supervision/superintendence. At the age of 23, I entered college with the desire to become an architect/builder without a complete idea of what was to come. Frankly, I really did not understand the very professional nature of the construction industry and my upcoming experience would change my view of what I needed to succeed. My study at Cal Poly prepared me with the basic tools to be a higher level construction professional. While my previous experience may have provided some of the tools I needed, Cal Poly's Construction Management program refined it and gave me an understanding of what a real construction professional should be. Notwithstanding the wholeness of my education including general education, I learned many new tools critical for advancement in my chosen field: broad study of construction management fundamentals; broader experience towards the design and build environment; improved time management and task management; corporate level communications; lots of writing experience; learning to work with teams (even dysfunctional ones!); and experience the famous Cal Poly "learn by doing." Without this experience and education, I would not possess the career track that I have. In fact, I don't think it would have been attainable without this experience. I have no doubt that my Cal Poly education was a critical factor for shaping my career outcome. And that process continues always…
What did you do when you first graduated from Poly?
At graduation, I chose to maintain my career progression with a Santa Maria based construction company. Although I worked with this company part time during my academic endeavors at Cal Poly, my post graduation work experience there was like drinking from a fire hose of construction management education. Timing and interest landed me directly in the middle of new and exciting contracting deliveries with the US Navy and US Army Corps of Engineers and I had the fortunate opportunity to manage marketing, bid efforts, and manage construction deliveries for a broad level of regional construction projects throughout the state of California from San Diego, CA to Reno, NV. The first 3 years post graduation, next to Cal Poly, was likely the most advanced learning experience in my 25 year construction career.
How long were you at Poly?
I completed the remainder of my degree at Cal Poly in 2 academic years plus one quarter. This short time frame is a result of enrolling in a junior college with a transfer specific curriculum. Thanks LA Pierce College!
Did you have any co-ops or internships while at Poly?
No formal co‐ops or internships. My first year I worked a mix of construction opportunities in San Luis Obispo and southern California primarily consisting of concrete, grading, and carpentry/framing projects. I even worked weekends and the summer season for the Los Angeles County Lifeguards. My second year I worked for the Santa Maria based construction company mentioned above, which became my first employer out of Cal Poly.
If you could describe your co-op/internship experience, what was the biggest thing that made an impression on you?
Meeting my future wife Jennifer is a standout non academic memory. She was a classmate and architecture student. We attended many classes together and studied as a team making the most of our effort. Our friendship simply grew into much more. Jennifer (Nance) Martin is a local Architect, my wife, friend and a wonderful mother for my two children. While I may not have understood it then, the challenges financially and academically shaped my character and made me stronger and more self confident. Working my way through college encouraged simpler living, and showed me how to make the most out of my resources. This also helped to provide the needed focus that I needed when I arrived at Cal Poly. This was the college experience for me… Appreciating my family and friends more, who I missed dearly during my first year on the central coast.
What are your three strongest memories of Cal Poly?
Getting there was a long road and a challenge. Finishing there was a dream come true…
Was your goal to stay locally after graduation? Can you talk about that?
Staying on the central coast was not a goal initially. My circumstances with a wife in school and an excellent local career made it stick and I began to grow roots in the community. At this point in my life, the central coast and San Luis Obispo is my family's root bed…
When you are not working, what do you find yourself usually doing?
When I am not working, I am devoted to everything family and lots of outdoor activities. I am trying my best to provide my children with a good education and centering our activities with family as much as possible. Our family loves cycling, team sports, fishing, running, surfing, camping, and experiencing occasional road trips. We feel fortunate to live in an area where we are able to enjoy the outdoors every day of the year. My family and I are committed to living out our faith in Jesus Christ and we enjoy the many friends we have made by sharing in that fellowship. My life is very full, chaotic at times, but simply one big blessing. I am so glad that I came to Cal Poly and I love reflecting on this journey I've experienced since that time.
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Jeff Ferber

What are you doing now?
I am living in Arroyo Grande with Jennifer, my wife, who is also a 1985 graduate of the landscape architecture program at Cal Poly. We have a son, Carl 15 and a daughter, Grace 11. I have been working the past 20 years at RRM Design Group in San Luis Obispo with many other Poly grads. My position is Principal -in-charge of Planning and Landscape Architecture. I am currently a member of the Landscape Architecture Department Advisory Council at Cal Poly.
How did your program of study at Cal Poly prepare you for your current role?
I think Cal Poly helped me to learn to be balanced and well rounded. My position at RRM requires me to wear several hats, with a different emphasis in each area of responsibility. I also do a lot of public speaking in my job and Cal Poly was the first place that really required me to get comfortable with presenting myself and my projects to an audience. Cal Poly also helped me to become disciplined with my time, which is an important aspect for any business owner.
What did you do when you first graduated from Poly?
Immediately following graduation I moved to Laguna Beach and went to work for the Landscape Architecture firm, Woodward Dike just a short walk from the beach. I did a lot of drawing that first year and learned much about the technical aspects of the profession.
How long were you at Poly?
I enjoyed four great years at Cal Poly. I transferred after one year of Moorpark Community College in Ventura County.
Did you have any co-ops or internships while at Poly?
Yes. I worked during the summer for a couple of Landscape Architects in Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village. They were small offices and though the time was short, I learned what it was like to be in an office.
If you could describe your co-op/internship experience, what was the biggest thing that made an impression on you?
I think the experience impressed me with the reality of working on a client's project meant that I had a responsibility to do things correctly. The project was real, the deadline was real, and someone was spending money.
What are your three strongest memories of Cal Poly?
Meeting my wife Jennifer as well as life-long friends is my most important and vivid memory. We met in the text book section of the El Corral book store. After that I would say my best memories include walking the campus, which I still love doing today, and playing soccer for the men's team in Mustang Stadium. Every time I attend a game in Mustang Stadium I tell my kids stories about great games we played.
When you think of Cal Poly you immediately think of this...?
A great start to my career and the gateway to my grown-up life.
What brought you to Cal Poly?
I had been researching Landscape Architecture when I was in high school and at the community college and Cal Poly really seemed like a fit for me. I fell in love with the school my first hour on campus.
Was your goal to stay locally after graduation? Can you talk about that?
I really didn't think there was much of an opportunity to stay in San Luis Obispo. Jennifer and I both moved to Orange County to start our careers and we married one year later. Living in beautiful Dana Point, we often visited the Central Coast on weekends. I started graduate school at Cal State Fullerton, thinking I might be able to secure a teaching position at Poly. Before I completed the advanced degree we had the opportunity to return via my position at RRM Design Group. We thought this would be a great place to raise a family.
When you are not working, what do you find yourself usually doing?
Jennifer and I love to work in the garden. We always have a couple of projects going. I also have been active with my kids, coaching youth soccer for the past 11 years
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Daniel Ochoa

What is your title and current role?
My title is Mechanical Engineer. Currently I am in a project engineering role for Astro Aerospace Northrop Grumman in Santa Barbara, California where we are building a deployable mechanism called AstroMesh. Astromesh will fly on a NASA satellite called SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) in the near future (http://smap.jpl.nasa.gov/).
Can you briefly describe your day-to-day?
Currently we are in the build phase of a flight program so my day usually starts by attending a status meeting to address the challenges of the day. I then spend my time providing CAD design support, engineering analysis, and documentation to address the challenge and move towards a successfully completed build. Every day is different though and I get the chance to work on many different aspects related to space flight hardware. I also always try to spend my lunch hour outside playing basketball, running on the beach, riding my bike or swimming.
How did your program of study at Cal Poly prepare you for your current role?
The Cal Poly Aero department was directly responsible for prepping me for my job now. As an aero student with an astronautics concentration I took several spacecraft design courses that relate directly to the kinds of things I’m doing today. Also the Cal Poly hands on philosophy I learned is incredibly valuable in giving me confidence to jump right into any new challenge I’m presented with at work.
Why did you first choose Cal Poly?
I chose Cal Poly because of the strong reputation for engineering, the beautiful location, and the affordable price tag. Also, when my family and I visited for a tour of the Aero department it just sounded and felt like a fun place to be.
What are your strongest memories of Cal Poly?
All nighters in the design lab during aero senior design, mountain biking Poly Canyon , surfing Montana De Oro with my friends, and working with a great team of people in the Cal Poly admin office.
What would be your message to prospective students who are considering applying to your former program?
Aerospace Engineering can be extra challenging, it was for me, but the labs can be really fun and everything you’ll learn in the department and at Poly will be rewarding. You’ll be learning and doing things almost no one else gets to do. Be sure you apply knowing that you want a career in engineering and technology and be prepared to work hard.
When you are not working, what do you find yourself usually doing?
I like to snowboard as much as possible in the winter, cycle, travel, take photos, and surf but mostly I spend my free time studying and taking classes towards a Masters of Business Administration.
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Brad Stirling

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Kyle Weins

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Patricia "Tricia" Compas-Markin

What are you doing now?
I founded a company, DayOne Response, Inc., based on my Civil/Environmental Engineering graduate research at Cal Poly. DayOne Response is addressing the global need for emergency water through the DayOne Waterbag, providing water collection, treatment, transport, and hygienic storage in a personal backpack.
How did your program of study at Cal Poly prepare you for your current role?
Academically, my engineering classes that focused on group work and projects allowed me to gain experience working with teams, strategizing, and setting goals/time schedules in order to meet a deadline. Additionally, my involvement with Cal Poly's Engineers Without Borders and master's thesis research exposed to me to design based on real world issues, building diverse teams, raising funds, and working with partners to reach a common goal.
What did you do when you first graduated from Poly?
When I first graduated in Dec. 2009, I was getting focused on finding a regular civil engineering consultant job. However, I decided to start DayOne Response, Inc., to commercialize the technology I developed during my master's at Cal Poly.
How long were you at Poly?
I finished a blended master's program at Cal Poly in Civil & Environmental Engineering. Undergrad (4 years) and graduate work (2 years), (6 years total).
Did you have any co-ops or internships while at Poly?
I interned at San Luis Obispo's Central Coast Water Quality Control Board. I worked part time during the school year and full time during the summers for a total of three years.
If you could describe your co-op/internship experience, what was the biggest thing that made an impression on you?
As an intern I worked with environmental engineers and environmental scientists on water quality regulations of wastewater treatment facilities and wineries, including assisting in high profile water quality enforcement cases. I was impressed by the passion my bosses had for their work. That was something I wanted to emulate – having passion for my work and working hard while still maintaining a work/life balance.
What are your three strongest memories of Cal Poly?
Strongest memories: Co-founding the Cal Poly Engineers Without Borders chapter and traveling to Thailand to work on water treatment systems with the hill tribe communities. Working with Professor Dr. Tryg Lundquist on the Waterbag technology; that is now the basis for my company, DayOne Response, Inc. Meeting some of my best friends who shared the same perspectives of why we were pursing engineering as a profession.
When you think of Cal Poly you immediately think of this...?
A university that has the tools and support system that enables students to find their passions academically and professionally.
What brought you to Cal Poly?
As an out-of-state applicant, I chose Cal Poly due to smaller class sizes and the "learn by doing" mentality. I appreciated the idea that professors actually took the time to get to know you and were genuinely interested in your progress as a student.
When you are not working, what do you find yourself usually doing?
I enjoy being outside including running half marathons, backpacking with friends, and traveling internationally.
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Jodi Colli

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Melinda Venable

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Jesse Englert

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Missy Titus

What are you doing now?
I am a Summer Associate with The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems. My current position is a summer fellowship through Education Pioneers, an organization that places emerging leaders in education organizations to ensure a thriving public education system. Outside of this summer, I am a doctoral student at University of Pennsylvania studying Educational Leadership. My dissertation is researching the intersection of health and education, recognizing that students in urban and rural areas benefit both physically and academically from school-based health centers.
How did your program of study at Cal Poly prepare you for your current role?
Cal Poly taught me to write. This sounds simplistic, but by learning how to coherently and concisely express my thoughts, I was able to write grants as a Program Coordinator that brought in over $150,000 to take my eighth grade students from South Los Angeles to Washington, DC. My writing is also my strongest academic ability, which I credit for my admission to Harvard's master's program and Penn's doctoral program. Now as a doctoral student, it seems like all I do is write policy briefs and research papers. But Cal Poly was definitely my launching pad for where I am today. One other notable point about Cal Poly is that I felt fully supported as a student with a physical disability. For instance, Cal Poly's Disabled Student Services provided services for me my freshman year that allowed me to focus on my academics, instead of spending that time trying to navigate the terrain between the Business classes and the dorms.
What did you do when you first graduated from Poly?
I was a substitute teacher in South Los Angeles and worked for film festivals screening submissions. I found that I actually liked going to work in the classroom more than I liked the screening room. While I had every intention of becoming a film editor and writing on the side, I just loved teaching. The longer I was in the classroom, the more I recognized the impact I could have that would live beyond me. I ended up staying in the Florence neighborhood of LA for eight years as a teacher and literacy coach before to pursue my academic career. To this day, I still get emails and text messages from former students; it's the best job I've ever had.
How long were you at Poly?
I came to Poly in 1995 as a Business major. I minored in English, but with only three quarters left, I switched my major to English. It pushed my graduation date back a couple years, but I don't regret it for a minute. I graduated in 2001.
Did you have any co-ops or internships while at Poly?
Technically, no, but I was the General Manager for KCPR in 2000-2001. It taught me how difficult it is to motivate and organize a group of volunteer students, even those who were passionate about music and radio.
What are your three strongest memories of Cal Poly?
Next to switching majors, joining KCPR was the best decision I ever made. So my strongest memory is sitting in the master control room at all hours of the day or night playing music. Of course, my favorite show was "Shaken, Not Stirred," a lounge/cocktail hour I co-hosted as Tom Collins with my partner, Dr. Martin Rossi. My sophomore year, I was a Resident Advisor in Trinity Hall, which is where I met a few of my closest friends to this day. Being an RA was overwhelming, but in the end, a great experience. Finally, the coursework. I remember great professors in my department like Mark Roberts, Dr. Inchausti, Jimm Cushing, Dr. Rummel, Dr. Keesey, and Dr. Fitzhenry. This list goes on for a while... When you think of Cal Poly you immediately think of this...?
The green hills above campus, KCPR, and (old) McCarthy's.
What brought you to Cal Poly?
I came to Open House and toured campus as a senior in high school, and I liked that it was a reputable university in a (back in 1995) small town. At the same time, it didn't feel like I was in the middle of nowhere; I was four hours from LA or San Francisco.
Was your goal to stay locally after graduation? Can you talk about that?
No, I had aspirations of becoming a filmmaker, and at that time, it meant moving to Los Angeles. While I love heading to visit San Luis Obispo on vacation, I've also come to realize that I really like working in big, metropolitan areas, so living in SLO wasn't as much an option.
When you are not working, what do you find yourself usually doing?
I like to travel, most often to see friends from Poly who are living all over the world. Most recently, I was in Tokyo visiting a friend of mine who was an RA with me at Trinity Hall. Other than that, I try to stay politically active in my community, working with local city politicians or advocacy groups. And I still love movies.
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Aaron Rodrigues

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Scott Cody

What are you doing now?
I am a Summer Associate with The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems. My current position is a summer fellowship through Education Pioneers, an organization that places emerging leaders in education organizations to ensure a thriving public education system. Outside of this summer, I am a doctoral student at University of Pennsylvania studying Educational Leadership. My dissertation is researching the intersection of health and education, recognizing that students in urban and rural areas benefit both physically and academically from school-based health centers.
How did your program of study at Cal Poly prepare you for your current role?
Cal Poly taught me to write. This sounds simplistic, but by learning how to coherently and concisely express my thoughts, I was able to write grants as a Program Coordinator that brought in over $150,000 to take my eighth grade students from South Los Angeles to Washington, DC. My writing is also my strongest academic ability, which I credit for my admission to Harvard's master's program and Penn's doctoral program. Now as a doctoral student, it seems like all I do is write policy briefs and research papers. But Cal Poly was definitely my launching pad for where I am today. One other notable point about Cal Poly is that I felt fully supported as a student with a physical disability. For instance, Cal Poly's Disabled Student Services provided services for me my freshman year that allowed me to focus on my academics, instead of spending that time trying to navigate the terrain between the Business classes and the dorms.
What did you do when you first graduated from Poly?
I was a substitute teacher in South Los Angeles and worked for film festivals screening submissions. I found that I actually liked going to work in the classroom more than I liked the screening room. While I had every intention of becoming a film editor and writing on the side, I just loved teaching. The longer I was in the classroom, the more I recognized the impact I could have that would live beyond me. I ended up staying in the Florence neighborhood of LA for eight years as a teacher and literacy coach before to pursue my academic career. To this day, I still get emails and text messages from former students; it's the best job I've ever had.
How long were you at Poly?
I came to Poly in 1995 as a Business major. I minored in English, but with only three quarters left, I switched my major to English. It pushed my graduation date back a couple years, but I don't regret it for a minute. I graduated in 2001.
Did you have any co-ops or internships while at Poly?
Technically, no, but I was the General Manager for KCPR in 2000-2001. It taught me how difficult it is to motivate and organize a group of volunteer students, even those who were passionate about music and radio.
What are your three strongest memories of Cal Poly?
Next to switching majors, joining KCPR was the best decision I ever made. So my strongest memory is sitting in the master control room at all hours of the day or night playing music. Of course, my favorite show was "Shaken, Not Stirred," a lounge/cocktail hour I co-hosted as Tom Collins with my partner, Dr. Martin Rossi. My sophomore year, I was a Resident Advisor in Trinity Hall, which is where I met a few of my closest friends to this day. Being an RA was overwhelming, but in the end, a great experience. Finally, the coursework. I remember great professors in my department like Mark Roberts, Dr. Inchausti, Jimm Cushing, Dr. Rummel, Dr. Keesey, and Dr. Fitzhenry. This list goes on for a while... When you think of Cal Poly you immediately think of this...?
The green hills above campus, KCPR, and (old) McCarthy's.
What brought you to Cal Poly?
I came to Open House and toured campus as a senior in high school, and I liked that it was a reputable university in a (back in 1995) small town. At the same time, it didn't feel like I was in the middle of nowhere; I was four hours from LA or San Francisco.
Was your goal to stay locally after graduation? Can you talk about that?
No, I had aspirations of becoming a filmmaker, and at that time, it meant moving to Los Angeles. While I love heading to visit San Luis Obispo on vacation, I've also come to realize that I really like working in big, metropolitan areas, so living in SLO wasn't as much an option.
When you are not working, what do you find yourself usually doing?
I like to travel, most often to see friends from Poly who are living all over the world. Most recently, I was in Tokyo visiting a friend of mine who was an RA with me at Trinity Hall. Other than that, I try to stay politically active in my community, working with local city politicians or advocacy groups. And I still love movies.
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Zach Brenner

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Allison Mahavier

What are you doing now?
I just accepted a position to a company called the Backplane. Backplane aims to connect people around interests, affinities, and movements. Our goal is to become the place where you can interact in a meaningful, authentic manner, with people who share the same passions as yourself. My position is that of a Community Manager. As a Community Manager for Backplane, it is my responsibility to act as the liaison between the company, our clients, and their consumers. I work closely with several branches of the company, including product development, marketing, and customer service to guide clients through the process of building interaction and creating community on the web. I'm also responsible for the general welfare of these communities, using and testing the most innovative programs in existence to limit spam, police for offensive content, and nurture the community to both grow in size and interactivity. I am thrilled to begin work with such a dynamic, innovative company.
How did your program of study at Cal Poly prepare you for your current role?
Without a doubt, Cal Poly's mantra of "Learn by Doing" is what best prepared me for my role within the Backplane. My education within the Journalism department was based largely on working with real clients in the community who used the department for complimentary Public Relations services. I had the unique opportunity of working legitimate clients who had real expectations for the projects I created for them. Because of this, my education instilled in me the value of hard work, the importance of customer service, and being a quality team player. These skills, among the many others I gained from being a Journalism student, have helped me succeed in my position.
What did you do when you first graduated from Poly?
I immediately started my position as a Resource Development Coordinator with the Family Care Network upon graduating. I garnered incredible experience in social media, event planning and overall non-profit Public Relations strategies. During my time at the Family Care Network, I oversaw and managed three of the agency's fundraisers, the most significant being Miracle Miles for Kids, a 10k walk/run that had over 2,150 participants. I was also lucky enough to play a significant role in the strategic planning of the Family Care Network's social media usage and orchestrated multiple social media campaigns for the agency. I am grateful for the experiences and mentors I had at the Family Care Network and for the chance to learn about the local foster and high-needs children and families they serve.
How long were you at Poly?
I was at Cal Poly from September 2006-June 2010. Best four years of my life!
Did you have any co-ops or internships while at Poly?
I interned at the Family Care Network from January to June in 2010. Working at the Family Care Network was the ideal opportunity to combine my passion for Public Relations and my interest in being a part of the human services field. I was able to gain valuable foundation knowledge on non-profit Public Relations and how to manage successful events, as well as learning more about the issues involving Central Coast foster and high-needs children and families.
What are your three strongest memories of Cal Poly?
My strongest memory of Cal Poly was my study abroad experience to Valladolid, Spain. I studied abroad during fall of 2008 and had an absolute life-changing experience there. Having the chance to live abroad was a dream come true and since I was working towards a minor in Spanish, Valladolid seemed like the ideal fit since it was through Cal Poly and because it was in Spain. I fell in love with Spanish culture and made memories and friends that will last a lifetime. Another strong memory is of my freshmen year dorm experience. I lived in Sierra Madre and became close with the people in my tower. For the most part, everyone seemed to click and we had a lot of fun together. I greatly appreciate having a positive freshmen year experience because I know that it helped to shape what the rest of my college experience would be like. My final strongest memory of Cal Poly is of enjoying all the local activities in San Luis Obispo. It was easy to find fun things to do around town whether it be buying fresh local produce at the famous Farmers' Market on Thursday evenings, watching live music at SLO Brew, enjoying Taco Tuesday at The Cliffs, or trying out the plethora of sandwich and coffee shops in town.
When you think of Cal Poly you immediately think of?
When I think of Cal Poly, I immediately think of my study abroad experience in Valladolid, Spain. The three months I spent living in Spain made a significant impact in my life and I appreciate having had the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible program. One of my Spanish professors told us on the first day "Abra sus ojos y coma la cultura," telling us that during our time in Spain it was imperative that we open our eyes and absorb the culture. I took this mantra with me throughout my travels and carried it back with me to the States when I came home. Studying abroad made me value the differences and similarities our global community shares.
What brought you to Cal Poly?
I was born and raised in San Diego and was ready to be out of Southern California. The first time I visited Cal Poly I was only a junior in high school and loved the campus and surrounding community. Being that I had been surrounded by the beach my entire childhood, I was in complete awe of the rolling green hills of San Luis Obispo. It still offered the laid back, beachy community attitude that I knew and was comfortable with, but there was something about the San Luis Obispo area that made me feel like I had found another home away from home. With the combination of feeling like a SLOcal after visiting my senior year and recognizing the significance of a degree from Cal Poly, I knew I was in the right place.
When you are not working, what do you find yourself usually doing?
San Luis Obispo offers a plethora of opportunities for people interested in outdoor activities. I love running on the Bob Jones trail and ending in Avila Beach, wine tasting at one of the many incredible wineries in Paso Robles, going to the Avila Valley Barn, and exploring Big Sur. Since San Luis Obispo is equidistant between Los Angeles and San Francisco, weekend trips to either city are a great escape as well.
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Katherin Theumer

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Emma Levine

What are you doing now?
I'm currently studying musicology in the PhD program at UCSB. I work as a TA for UCSB's Music Appreciation course, so I lead weekly discussion sections for about 90 students, and I grade papers and assignments. I still drive up to SLO every other weekend to continue teaching piano lessons to 11 of my students who I've been teaching since my sophomore year at Cal Poly.
How did your program of study at Cal Poly prepare you for your current role?
The music program at Cal Poly definitely prepared me for life in grad school. The department is fairly small so each student receives a good amount of individualized attention from all the faculty members. The small classroom setting not only provides you with this opportunity, but it also instills in you a sense of accountability. It's virtually impossible to get lost in the crowd in the music department, and when your teachers invest so much time and effort in to your learning, you can't help but take pride in what you do. The quality of teaching within the department is exceptional, and I am proud to say that as a direct result I was one of the few students to pass the music theory and history portions of the UCSB entrance exams.
What did you do when you first graduated from Poly?
I began looking at graduate programs within the first few months of graduation and spent much of fall quarter submitting applications. Since I stayed in SLO during my year off I was able to perform with the Cal Poly Symphony, work with Festival Mozaic, teach piano lessons, and continue to give presentations in the music history courses at Cal Poly. Dr. Alyson McLamore, one of the history teachers, worked with me for the last two years on researching and fine-tuning my presentation and teaching skills. It is truthfully because of her that I now feel so prepared and comfortable in my role as a TA. Again, I don't think I would have had such amazing opportunities had I gone to a different school.
How long were you at Poly?
I somehow managed to graduate from Cal Poly in 4 years!
What are your three strongest memories of Cal Poly?
My strongest memory of Cal Poly has to be the time I spent with my friends, hanging out at the beach, going to farmer's market, hiking, and even studying together in the library. Another great memory would have to be presenting my senior lecture-recital. The recital consisted of a brief lecture on the history and evolution of the piano and its music, and performances on the harpsichord, a duet on an early forte-piano with my good friend and fellow music major, Paula Womble, and a final piece performed on a modern grand piano.
When you think of Cal Poly you immediately think of this...?
When I think of Cal Poly I immediately think of how happy I was during my four years at school! It sounds totally corny but it's so true. I don't think I've ever met anyone who has attended Cal Poly and has anything negative to say about it.
What brought you to Cal Poly?
I chose Cal Poly for many different reasons. I fell in love with San Luis Obispo the first time I ever visited. I loved the college-town feel, the weather, and the people. When I drove up for my audition the faculty and students were so welcoming. I loved the sense of community and it just felt like I was in the right place. I'll never forget this day during the summer of 2006 before I started school. I was walking around in the mall in Thousand Oaks wearing a Cal Poly SLO t-shirt. A guy approached me and said, "Hey! You go to Cal Poly too?" I told him that I wasn't a student yet, but that I was going to be starting in the fall. He said, "Oh man, you're gonna love it." And he was right.
When you are not working, what do you find yourself usually doing?
When I'm not working (which isn't very often in grad school) I love doing yoga, cooking, playing piano, and hanging out with friends in downtown Santa Barbara. I also drive up to SLO on the weekends to visit as often as I can.
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Austin Odell

What are you doing now?
I am the Transit Service Manager for the City of Santa Maria. I administer the public transportation program for the City.
How did your program of study at Cal Poly prepare you for your current role?
I hate to say it, and undergraduates are probably tired of hearing, but I have to say "Learn by Doing." My experience at Cal Poly provided me the necessary skills and foundation that I apply every day at work. My job is demanding which requires me to knowledgeable in many disciplines ranging from bus operations, to finance, to legislation on local, state and federal levels.
What did you do when you first graduated from Poly?
The economy was on a down turn (sounds familiar), so I continued with my education. I earned my Masters in Public Administration. I also had an internship at a transit authority.
How long were you at Poly?
I attended Cal Poly from Summer 1985 through Spring 1988.
Did you have any co-ops or internships while at Poly?
Yes. During my participation in the London Study Program, I had an internship at Peace through NATO in London. It was a great experience.
If you could describe your co-op/internship experience, what was the biggest thing that made
an impression on you?
My internship made two impressions. The first impression is that Peace through NATO an organization that was purpose that was for bigger than me. In those days, the Cold War was ever so present and NATO had a greater role of maintaining the balance of power. The second impression is the introduction into the office culture, which is far different that the dorm and class. The "NATO experience" was a great environment to development professional conduct for the office.
What are your three strongest memories of Cal Poly?
The reputation of Cal Poly, life long friends, London study abroad during 1986, and seeing U2 in Dublin, Ireland.
What brought you to Cal Poly?
The reputation of Cal Poly.
Was your goal to stay locally after graduation? Can you talk about that?
No. Soon after I got married, my wonderful wife and spent a weekend in SLO. That was her first time in SLO. We went to Farmers Market, rode our bikes to Avila, and enjoyed several wineries. From that time, we both wanted to move to SLO. The main obstacle, of course, is work. In 2000, our dream came true. We have been enjoying living in Pismo Beach.
When you are not working, what do you find yourself usually doing?
We enjoy running, bicycling, wine tasting, and outrigger canoeing. We also enjoy traveling.
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Brian Nosek

What are you doing now?
I am a professor in Psychology at the University of Virginia. (http://briannosek.com/). I direct a research network called Project Implicit (https://implicit.harvard.edu) that investigates implicit social cognition - thoughts and feelings that exist outside of conscious awareness or conscious control. You can try out some of our methods at our website.
How did your program of study at Cal Poly prepare you for your current role?
I started in Computer Engineering. In my 4th year diversified and wound up graduating with a Psychology major and minors in Computer Science and Women's Studies. All three degrees have been very relevant to my scientific career. I study how implicit biases influence behavior. This research is technologically intensive – I have a staff of computer scientists in my laboratory in addition the PhD students that are pursuing psychological science. My women's studies background prepared me to pursue my research interests in stereotyping, equality, and social justice. My psychology training made me a good scientist.
What did you do when you first graduated from Poly?
I went to Yale to get a PhD in Psychology.
How long were you at Poly?
Five and a half years. I did not want to leave. I tried to stay one more quarter to finish a statistics minor, but my parents said "enough is enough!" They knew if they let me continue, I would keep finding excuses to stay.
Did you have any co-ops or internships while at Poly?
No, I did a research track with Prof. Shawn Burn in Psychology. She (and many others in the department) inspired me to pursue my career, and modelled how to do it well.
What are your three strongest memories of Cal Poly?
(1) Meeting many peers and faculty that I admired. (2) Developing friendships with many of them that helped me figure out what kind of person I wanted to be. And, (3) being a complete and total failure on the dating scene.
When you think of Cal Poly you immediately think of this...?
Did I mention not being good at dating? Can we stop talking about this?
What brought you to Cal Poly?
I applied because it is a renowned public university and because the engineering programs in particular are so good. I attended because, after visiting, I knew that I would love being there. It was my best decision ever. One ahead of "marrying my wife." Please don't tell her! (If you are her, sorry dear! At least you are ahead of "buying an iPad" (cause that's pretty awesome, right?)
Was your goal to stay locally after graduation? Can you talk about that?
No. While I love San Luis Obispo, staying and getting a PhD in Psychology are not compatible. I had to go elsewhere.
When you are not working, what do you find yourself usually doing?
I have two kids: 4.5 (Haven) and 2 (Joni). My life these days is either working or playing with them. Not much else!
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Carrie Dimaggio

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Serra Hoagland

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Kristina Wong

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Kim Carey

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Chad Silva

What are you doing now?
I am doing financial consulting for several hundred clients at a 50 year old family run investment firm in Santa Maria.
How did your program of study at Cal Poly prepare you for your current role?
It gave me a broad base of knowledge to springboard from. I was also able to customize my concentration to build a plan that suited my current profession perfectly.
What did you do when you first graduated from Poly?
I took less than a year to thoroughly investigate my choices of a career path.
How long were you at Poly?
5 years
Did you have any co-ops or internships while at Poly?
No
What are your three strongest memories of Cal Poly?
Honestly; Friends, College Lifestyle, and High Standards of the Education.
When you think of Cal Poly you immediately think of this...?
The SLO Life
What brought you to Cal Poly?
Location, Quality and Price of Education
Was your goal to stay locally after graduation? Can you talk about that?
Yes, I have family locally and wanted to be close to them. The central coast is paradise
and I wouldn't want to leave this climate.
When you are not working, what do you find yourself usually doing?
I enjoy spending time with my wife, children, parents and friends. I like to be outdoors and stay active.
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Adam Stephens

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