Alumni Updates

News and notes from your friends and classmates
An archive black and white photo of two students in a dorm room with photos and a Cal Poly pennant hung on the cork board
A student from 1965 shows some school spirit in the Red Brick residence halls with a Cal Poly-branded pennant, jacket and hat. Image courtesy of University Archives Photograph Collection, Special Collections and Archives, Cal Poly

Orfalea College of Business


Michael Willis stands at a podium near the NASDAQ logo

Michael Willis (MBA ’90) recently took the Cyber Hornet S&P 500® and Bitcoin 75/25 Strategy ETF (ZZZ) to its initial public offering and rang the closing bell for the NASDAQ on January 5. He cofounded ONEFUND, a Wall Street fintech company, and has been the lead portfolio manager for ONEFUND S&P 500 (INDEX) mutual fund since its inception in 2015.


Alumna Krista Berger, holding a pink Barbie box in front of a colorful wall with Barbie written on it in pink

Krista Berger (Business Administration ’06) was recently promoted to senior vice president for Barbie and global head of dolls marketing at Mattel.

College of Engineering


Bashar Kellow

Bashar Kellow (M.S. Electronic and Electrical Engineering ’98) is now an AI business manager at Entergy, a leading electric utility company. He leads a team dedicated to revolutionizing utility operations through the use of big data modeling and machine learning. Kellow says he is proud that his team is driving significant advancements in the industry.

Kevin Desrosiers wears safety glasses as he works on a mechanical component

Kevin Desrosiers (Environmental Engineering ’99) is celebrating 20 years at H2 PowerTech. He has worked on hydrogen fuel cell and reformer systems from 500 Watts to 100 kW, and with teams from Mexico, Canada, Taiwan, China and South Africa.


Jeanne McFall with her children and family as she accepts the SBA award

Jeanne McFall (Environmental Engineering ’00), president and founder of RIVHAB Engineering Design, was selected as Idaho’s 2024 Small Businessperson of the Year by the United States Small Business Association. She traveled to Washington, D.C. to receive the award. Her company, headquartered in Eagle, Idaho, specializes in professional engineering and science-related services focusing on water resources.

College of Liberal Arts


Aron DiFerrari

Aron DeFerrari (Political Science ’01) was named the 2022 Prosecutor of the Year for the State of California for his work as Contra Costa deputy district attorney. DeFerrari is part of a Cal Poly family, including his parents, Amanda (Home Economics ’70) and James (MBA ’73).


Katie Ryan stands with the Heisman Trophy and football player Caleb Williams

Katie Ryan (Journalism ’14) is the director of football communications at the University of Southern California, where she works with many of America’s top athletes, head coaches, broadcasters and journalists. She was recognized in a December 9, 2022, Los Angeles Times article for her successful public relations and media campaign to promote Caleb Williams for the Heisman Trophy.

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences


Gina Leguria

Gina Leguria’s (Agricultural Management ’89) law practice was recently voted as the Best Estate Planning Law Firm in Modesto. The firm focuses on estate planning, probate, trusts, wills, power of attorney, Medi-Cal planning and elder law. Leguria is an active member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, president of the Stanislaus County Estate Planning Council, and serves on the Board of United Cerebral Palsy in her community. She has been married to her husband, Jack, for over 30 years, and they have two adult daughters.


Toni Toledo

Toni Toledo (Nutritional Science ’91) is a registered dietitian-nutritionist with a 30-year career in nutrition and health promotion. She is an instructor at San Jose State University and has a private practice in the SF Bay Area. She previously worked at Palo Alto Medical Foundation and Stanford University. After graduating Cal Poly, Toledo earned her master’s degree in public health from the University of Minnesota where she earned the Ruth Stief Leadership Award.  She also serves as a volunteer peer reviewer for the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) program which ensure academic standards for nutrition programs around the world. Her most recent endeavor is her award-winning health promotion podcast, PATH: Positive Approaches to Health.


Megan Elcombe stands with a brown horse

Megan Elcombe (Animal Science ’16) is a 4th year veterinary student at UC Davis studying equine medicine. She was selected as a recipient of the AEP/Foundation for the Horse Coyote Rock Ranch Scholarship, a prestigious scholarship awarded to equine veterinary students.

Bailey College of Science and Mathematics


Paul Caron (Environmental and Systematic Biology ’90) is an environmental scientist at Caltrans, working interesting projects like major riparian restorations and monitoring bat species’ use of bridges. He says his highlight was the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing over Route 101 in Los Angeles County. He says, “I’ve been rewarded with this career because of Cal Poly and Learn by Doing gave me an edge in getting started!”


Emily Phillips in blue and gold graduation regalia

Emily Phillips (Psychology ’13) earned her Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Northern Colorado. Her dissertation focused on school psychological practice throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She works as a school psychologist for Northwest Board of Cooperative Educational Services in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.


Maya Valree

Maya Valree (M.S. Higher Education Counseling and Student Affairs ’23) went from leading Cal Poly’s Students with Dependents program as a graduate student to co-leading the California Alliance for Student Parent Success, a statewide alliance that unites student parents, education leaders and advocates to advance solutions for the postsecondary success and comprehensive well-being of the state’s 400,000 parenting students.

College of Architecture and Environmental Design


Jennifer Minichiello wears a chef's coat and uses a knife to chop a vegetable in a kitchen

Jennifer Minichiello (City and Regional Planning ’91) started fall semester as a full-time, tenured associate professor at Chaffey College teaching in the School of Culinary Art and Hospitality Management.


Alex Alvarez

Alex Alvarez (Architecture ’16) was promoted to project architect and building information manager to lead digital design efforts at Relativity Architects in Los Angeles. He joined the firm in 2020 and has managed and supported major projects, including affordable housing apartment complexes and production studios for movie and TV shows.


Annie O'Brien stands by a mountain lake

Annie O’Brien (Landscape Architecture ’21) accepted a new position as a landscape designer for a small firm focusing on public park and school design in Colorado. During the interview process, she connected with a fellow alum, and they bonded by talking about the Central Coast. She says, “Moving to a new state has been a big transition, but the friendships I made through Cal Poly and the San Luis Obispo community still pop up in many ways, even all the way out here in Colorado.”