Ask a Parent

The Parent Advisory Council includes twenty-four parents, one faculty member and one student representative who serve as ambassadors to the university. They are available to answer questions and share their experiences and perspectives with other Cal Poly parents. Please feel free to e-mail them (by clicking on the e-mail icon next to their name) with questions.

 

Mercedes Abluton   

Significant Other's Name: Joe Abluton
Home City, State: Carmel Valley, CA

Term: Fall 2015 - 2018

Cal Poly Student’s name(s), major and graduation date: Elizabeth Kinesiology, College of Science and Math, June 2018

Special interests: I have a BS in Kinesiology from UCLA and a MS in Physical Therapy from the University of the Pacific. I have been in practice specializing in orthopedics and Geriatric Rehabilitation for the past 27 years. I enjoy hiking, cycling, camping, skiing and doing Zumba. I currently volunteer for the SPCA.

 

Laura Ambrose   

Significant Other's Name: Jeff Ambrose

Home City, State: San Diego, CA

Term: 2016-2019

Cal Poly Student's name(s), major and graduation date: Cole - Agribusiness, College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, June 2019

Special Interests:  I grew up in Kansas, received my BA from Ottawa University and earned an MBA from San Diego State. I've worked in strategic planning, organizational development and marketing for the last 30 years. I've served on several boards, and currently serve on two community boards in Pacific Beach where we live. We are also very active in our church. We own Woodstock's Pizza, which has been a part of downtown SLO since 1980. Over the years we've hired well over a thousand Cal Poly students, and we have always been impressed by the wholesomeness of these students. Most of our success can be attributed to them!


Kim Barkis   

Significant Other's Name:  Bruce Barkis

Home City, State: Westlake Village, CA

Term: 2016-2019

Cal Poly Student's name(s), major and graduation date: Riley Jane - College of Architecture & Environmental Design, June 2020

Special Interests: I graduated from University of Nevada, Reno with a BS in Business Administration (marketing major). My husband and I have been married 27 years and have two daughters; Kelsey is a senior at Pepperdine University and Riley is a freshman at Cal Poly. Both girls are nejoying Greek life on campus (Gamma Phi and Alpha Phi respectively). I am currently Director of Parents Programs at Pepperdine University. For the past four years we've been host parents to two Chinese high school girls who have enriched our lives beyond measure. In my free time I love, love, love yoga, reading hiking, traveling, and volunteering. 

Rosemary Boncich   

Cal Poly Alum, Civil Engineering ’86

 

Significant Other's Name: John Boncich, Cal Poly Alum, BS Mechanical Engineering '86
Home City, State: Chatsworth, CA

Term: Fall 2015 - 2018

Cal Poly Student’s name(s), major and graduation date: Katherine  Agribusiness, College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, June 2012; Matthew  Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, June 2014; Samantha  Agribusiness, College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, June 2019

Special interests: We are a Cal Poly family and love to share the value and benefits of the Cal Poly experience. My husband and I are both Cal Poly alumni; along with our older two children, who both have careers in their field of study from Cal Poly.


Jennifer Hanlon   

Home City, State: Sunnyvale, CA

Term: Spring 2016 - 2019

Cal Poly Student’s name(s), major and graduation date: Liam - Architecture, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, June 2020

Special interests: I'm interested in becoming more grounded in how things are connected at Cal Poly and how things can "cross pollinate." I have been involved in parent/school communications in two different schools over the last decade and love to help "connect the dots" and make things more user-friendly and accessible. I enjoy working as a leadership and organizational consultant and coach and that often supports almost every volunteer position I have held. I also love to add the personal touches, where possible, to large group efforts so that engagement with new people at a new school isn't too overwhelming. There is so much spirit at Cal Poly and I hope to be part of keeping that spirit contagious and alive!  


Ken Hovden   

Significant Other's Name: Laura Hovden

Home City, State: Woodside, CA

Term: Spring 2016 - 2019

Cal Poly Student’s name(s), major and graduation date: Taira - Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, June 2019

Special interests: As a non-Cal Poly alum I have been very impressed with the humanistic model being used at the University and decided to become involved. I look forward to helping alums other non-alums find ways to volunteer to help make Cal Poly an even better university for our children. My daughter has been a member of the Women's Club Water Polo Team, and has joined the Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority. This next year she plans to become a member of some of the engineering club.s I am a practicing dentist, having graduated from UOP School of Dentistry in '81 and Stanford University in '78. I enjoy snow skiing, teaching, being invovled in my son's Boy Scout Troop and managing my micro vineyard of pinot noir, where I produce a barrel of wine a year. 

Davina Isackson   

Significant Other’s Name: Bruce Isackson

Home City, State: Hillsborough, CA
Term: Winter 2014 - 2017

Cal Poly Student’s name(s), major and graduation date: Evan – College of Liberal Arts, June 2018

Special interests: I received my BA in Math and Psychology, as well as my MS in Biomedical Engineering, both from University of Miami in Coral Gables. During my PhD studies in Biomedical Engineering, I was involved in research and development of emergency medical training, orthopedics, prosthetics as well as sales of orthopedic implants and pharmaceuticals. I have been a stay at home for the past 20 years, and have recently decided to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Design and Architecture. 


Tawny James  

Cal Poly Alum, Business Accounting ’89

 

Significant Other’s Name: Ron “Buzz” James, Cal Poly Alum, Ornamental Horticulture '88

Home City, State: Woodland, CA

Term: Winter 2014 - 2017

Cal Poly Student’s name(s), major and graduation date:

Brayden Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering, June 2016

Lucas Industrial Technology, Orfaela College of Business, June 2017

Special interests: I was in the sorority Sigma Kappa, while at Cal Poly, and held the office of President my senior year. I’m still very involved with Sigma Kappa. Serving as an advisor to collegiate officers, I hold positions on two corporation boards and chair the National Audit Committee. I’m a partner at Smith & James, where I work with my long-time business partner.

Tammy Kent   

Significant Other’s Name: Don Kent

Home City, State: Millbrae, CA

Term: Winter 2015 - 2018

Cal Poly Student’s name(s), major and graduation date: Shane – Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, June 2018

Special interests: I am a Cal Poly Alum (Business/Marketing, 1988). I am Vice President of Operations for a new biotech start-up in the SF Bay Area. 


 

Jackie Mann   

Significant Other’s Name: Charlie Mann

Home City, State: San Diego, CA

Term: Spring 2015-2018

Cal Poly Student’s name(s), major and graduation date: Ian - Electrical Engineering with a Philosophy Minor, College of Engineering, June 2018.

Special interests: Avid organic vegetable, fruit tree and flower gardener. I love cooking and farmers markets and farm to table food. The Cal Poly veggie stand is amazing. Love skiing (moguls especially), walking, running, yoga, tennis and sailing. Great love of hiking. Particularly enjoy getting to know the peaks surrounding Cal Poly, Montana De Oro and Big Sur. I do a lot of photography, especially of people and their kids. A great education along with reading and outdoor activities is I believe, the most important activities for our Cal Poly students.  

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Janis Mendenhall 

Home Cities, States: Iowa City, Iowa and Taft, California

Term: 2016-2019

Cal Poly Student's name: Kate-Biology with an emphasis in anatomy and physiology, June 2018

Special Interests: Former out of state family from Iowa who moved to California after many wonderful visits to the central coast! Seems we have navigated many of the ups and downs of being a first year, second year and out of state student.  I am currently the Coordinator and Counselor for services for students with disabilities as well as an adjunct instructor at Taft College,  a small community college located a few hours east of San Luis Obispo.  I enjoy exploring California, trying to run as far as I can in the shortest amount of time (this is a very, very long term goal) and have recently realized that I love kayaking. ​


Claire Mendonca   

Significant Other's Name:  Wade Mendonca

Home City, State: Tulare, CA

Term: 2016-2019

Cal Poly Student's name(s), major and graduation date: Trent - Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, June 2014 and Brook - Agribusiness, College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, June 2018

Special Interests: I have a BS in Business / Marketing from Fresno State. I was a Delta Gamma and am currently the President of Tulare County Panhellenic. I am also President of our rental property HOA, so I am very familiar with student housing. We love the Central Coast and spend most of our vacation time here. 

 

Patrick O'Meara   

Significant Other's Name: Sandy O'Meara

Home City, State: Avila Beach, CA

Term: 2016-2019

Cal Poly Student's name(s), major and graduation date: Cady - College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, June 2013, Meaghan - College of Science & Mathematics, June 2014 and Mitchell - Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, June 2019

Special Interests: As a person who loves the outdoors, I am excited to be back on the Central Coast and look forward to the many activities that this area has to offer. My wife and I are both alumni of Cal Poly (1984). I have  a BS in Crop Science and am self-employed in the produce packaging industry. During my time at Cal Poly, I was a 4 year member of the Men's Swimming and Diving team and served 2 terms as the Cal Poly Crops Club President. We have been blessed to have all three of our children attend Cal Poly for their college education. I have very fond memories of my college experiences here and I am excited to help others have a great experience as a Mustang parent. 


Sandy O'Meara   

Significant Other's Name: Patrick O'Meara

Home City, State: Avila Beach, CA

Term: 2016-2019

Cal Poly Student's name(s), major and graduation date: Cady - College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, June 2013, Meaghan - College of Science & Mathematics, June 2014 and Mitchell - Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, June 2019

Special Interests: My husband and I are both Cal Poly alumni (1984) and I have a BS in Ag Business Management. We have our own business providing packaging and labeling supplies to the produce industry. My two oldest children are alumni and they were involved in various activities including Cru, volunteering in the community and collegiate athletics. With our youngest and third Mustang starting Fall of 2015, we decided to build our empty nest right back here on the Central Coast and look forward to being active in the Cal Poly community once again. 


Jeannie Petithomme   

Significant Other's Name: Rod Petithomme

Home City, State: San Luis Obispo, CA

Term: 2016-2019

Cal Poly Student's name(s), major and graduation date: Catherine - Wine and Viticulture, College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, June 2017

Special Interests: I have a BS in early childhood education from Valdosta State University. I enjoy hiking, cycling, traveling and wine tasting. My daughter is active in Greek life, Vines to Wines, and just finished her internship working a harvest at Edna Valley Vineyard fall quarter of 2015. 


Rod Petithomme   

Significant Other's Name: Jeannie Petithomme

Home City, State: San Luis Obispo, CA

Term: 2016-2019

Cal Poly Student's name(s), major and graduation date: Catherine - Wine and Viticulture, College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, June 2017

Special Interests: After 30 years, I'm excited to be back on the Central Coast, closer to our daughter who's studying Wine & Viticulture! I left Cal Poly in 1986 with a BS in Architectural Engineering and spent 27 years defending our Nation as an F-16 pilot/ instructor in the United States Air Force, retiring in September 2014. Being back in SLO gives us an opportunity to volunteer and support Cal Poly on a regular basis. As often as I can, I put in hours in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design Support shop. My wife and I are excited about helping Cal Poly students and their parents get the most out of their experience at this amazing University. 

Cynthia Pretzel   

Home City, State: Pismo Beach, CA

Term: Winter 2014 - 2017

Cal Poly Student’s name(s), major and graduation date: Jesse College of Engineering, June 2014

Special interests: I’m a third grade teacher in Santa Maria.


Ellen Solum    

Cal Poly Alum, Home Economics/Dietetics and Food Administration ‘79

 

Significant Other’s Name: Eric Solum

Home City, State: Tehachapi, CA

Term: Fall 2012 - 2017

Cal Poly Student’s name(s), major and graduation date:

James Forestry & Natural Resources Management, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, June 2016  (5 year plan)

Erica Software Engineering, College of Engineering, June 2017  (5 year plan)

Special interests: Topics I’m familiar with include: student housing; Greek life; student special needs; support; graduating in 5 years vs. 4 years; and, women in Computer Science.


Bob Stephens   

Cal Poly Alum, Construction Management ‘86

 

Significant Other’s Name: Monica Stephens

Home City, State: Torrance, CA

Term: Fall 2013 - 2016; Vice Chair 2015 - 2016

Cal Poly Student’s name(s), major and graduation date:

Ashley Political Science, College of Liberal Arts, December 2015

Matthew Construction Management, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, June 2017

Special interests: I’m a Senior Manager at Morley Builders overseeing major concrete construction projects in the Los Angeles area.


Audrey Ticktin   

Significant Other's Name: Neil Ticktin

Home City, State: Westlake Village, CA

Term: Spring 2016 - 2019

Cal Poly Student’s name(s), major and graduation date: Jordan - Industrial Technology Major with a Computer Science Minor, Orfalea College of Business, December 2017 and Erin - Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration - College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, June 2019

Special interests: I graduated from UC Davis with a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics, and am a Registered Dietitian. I enjoy kayaking, hiking, road biking and mountain biking. Both of my kids are here at Cal Poly, and have taken advantage of all the school has to offer - from job fair (landing internships with large companies) to joining Greek life and service oriented clubs. We're thrilled to be a part of the Cal Poly family. 


Monica White   

Significant Other’s Name: Bruce White

Home City, State: Pleasanton, CA

Term: Spring 2014 - 2017

Cal Poly Student’s name(s), major and graduation date:

Zach Agricultural Business, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, June 2012

Katelyn Business, Orfalea College of Business, March 2015

Special interests: Both of my children have been active in Greek Life at Cal Poly. Zach was also a member of the National Agribusiness Marketing Association, which was very helpful in developing skills in his current career in sales. Katelyn was a member of the Dance Team at Cal Poly this past year.

Toni Trujillo Vian   

Significant Other’s Name: Corey Vian

Home City, State: Redwood City, CA

Term: Fall 2015-2018

Cal Poly Student’s name(s), major and graduation date: Christian - Chemistry, College of Science and Mathematics, June 2018.

Special interests: I'm an ex-Apple employee who enjoyed leading software development teams to deliver Developer Tools. I also had the pleasure of launching the iPhone with carriers around the world. While working at Apple, I enjoyed hiring interns from Cal Poly to work on projects within my division and speaking to the League of Women Engineers at a number of colleges. For the last 5 years, I have been working for a company in Bangkok, Thailand. My focus has now turned to a project much closer to home as I formally retire and start taking classes to better understand the wine industry. My other hobbies are travel and photography.

Patty Vignolo   

Significant Other’s Name: Stephen Vignolo

Home City, State: Bakersfield, CA

Term: Fall 2015-2018

Cal Poly Student’s name(s), major and graduation date: Andrew - Agribusiness, College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, June 2018.

Special interests: I am a Liberal Art major from Cal State University, Bakersfield (a "Jacqueline" of all trades!) and I enjoy travel of (almost) all sorts! I like sporting events, concerts, time outside, and throwing the ball to our dogs Roxy and Cowboy. As a proud Cal Poly, SLO parent, I am excited to be a part of this wonderful community and the Parent Advisory Council team effort. Go Mustangs!  


 

Steve Rein   

Significant Other’s Name: Kateri Rein

Home City, State: Los Osos, CA

Term: Faculty Representative, Spring 2015 - 2016

Special interests: Professor, Department of Statistics (College of Science and Mathematics). Education: B.A. in Economics, UCLA; M.A./Ph.D in Statistics, UC Berkeley. Professional Interests: time series analysis and statistical applications in the biological sciences. Personal Interests: computers, television, nature stuff (hiking, etc.), and NPR. 

 

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