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Parent Advisory Council

The Parent Advisory Council is a group of Cal Poly parents/supporters, students and faculty members who provide programming direction to Parent and Family Programs and advises the university's administration on matters involving student development and success.


Parent Advisory Council members are university ambassadors who share their experiences and perspectives with others and foster communication between parents and the university. Members serve three-year terms and students/faculty serve one-year terms.

Parent Advisory Council meetings are held three times annually on campus and are open to all Cal Poly parents and supporters. Parents interested in membership are invited to observe one meeting. The application processes consist of a questionnaire and telephone interview with the Parent Advisory Council Chair or Vice Chair with final approval made by the Cal Poly Vice President for Student Affairs.

If you would like to attend an upcoming meeting or learn more about the council, please email

Member Roster

Parent Advisory Council members are available to answer questions and share their experiences and perspectives with other Cal Poly parents. Please feel free to reach out to any member by clicking on the email address in their bio below.

Marla Nakaso, Chair

Term: 2017-2020

Career Services Liaison

Hometown: San Ramon, CA

Cal Poly Student: Kelly - Business Administration '20, Orfalea College of Business


I’m a marketing professional who is so proud to be part of the Mustang family and serve on the PAC. I’m active with my local church and enjoy playing the ukulele, jazzercise and spending time with family and friends. 

Jim Pirkle, Vice Chair

Term: 2018-2021

College of Engineering Liaison

Hometown: Monterey, CA

Cal Poly Students:

Geri, Experience Industry Management '21 - College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences

Scott, Aerospace Engineering MS '20/BS '19 - College of Engineering


Fort Ord brought me to Monterey in 1982 and after serving 2 terms there I didn’t want to leave so I opened a small insurance brokerage in 1990 and in 1993 married a local nurse, Beth (Fresno State).   We love having our two kids just 2 hours away making it possible to see them both play lacrosse (A Club Sport at CalPoly) and visit the wonderful SLO area.   I’ve been very impressed with the support the CalPoly community has given my kids, as they have both had some ‘bumps’ in their roads to maturity/graduation.  Geri changed majors (and colleges, M&S to CAFES) after her 2nd quarter and studied abroad during the Fall 2018 quarter.  She’s worked multiple years with the WOW program and other activities around the school/SLO area.  Scott took 5 years to get his undergrad degree, plus 3 minors and then took advantage of the Blended Plus 1 program to get his Masters in Aerospace in just one more year.  Both kids worked at CalPoly and in the SLO area.  We are an ‘All-In’ Mustang Family and want to help any future/current families feel as confident about this school as we do.

Laura Ambrose

Term: 2016-2020

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Cal Poly Student: Cole, Agribusiness '19 - College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences


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!

Brian Barrett

Term: 2019-2022

Hometown: Valencia, CA

Cal Poly Students:

Andrew '23 - College of Engineering

Daniel '20 - College of Engineering

Jennifer Britton

Term: 2016 - 2020

Pride/LGBTQ+ Liaison

Hometown: Sunnyvale, CA

Cal Poly Student: Liam - Architecture '21, College of Architecture and Environmental Design


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 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!  

Stacy Flaherty

Term: 2018-2022

Disability Resource Center Liaison

Hometown: Ballard, CA

Cal Poly Students:

Lauren - Agricultural Communication '22, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

Keegan - Agricultural Business '19, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

Taylor - Animal Science '17, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences


I’m a newly retired teacher and I have always been very active in my children's school. I’ve always enjoyed my decades of involvement in PTSA, School Site Council and leadership roles both as a teacher and parent. I’m excited to continue my relationship in my kids’ education at the collegiate level. I’m hoping to bring my experiences to Cal Poly’s PAC which include: Sorority and Fraternity Life, Quarter Plus Program, DRC (disability resource center), CP Men’s Lacrosse, CP Rodeo/Rodeo Booster & having 3 children with different majors & minors.  During my first year of empty nesting, I’ve kept busy horseback riding and traveling along with business trips with my husband of 25 years. I’m also very true to my sorority, Delta Gamma; as I’m an advisor at the UCSB chapter. The DG house of 283 girls has kept me young and active!

Bill Hanna

Term: 2018-2021

Orfalea College of Business Liaison

Hometown: Los Gatos, CA

Cal Poly Student: Matt '21, Orfalea College of Business


As a Parent Advisory Council member, my goals are to contribute useful information and thoughtful insights from the perspectives of a parent and CSU professor with 44 years in education and to help parents and students know “Learn By Doing” curricular and co-curricular Cal Poly opportunities.  I candidly, clearly, and humorously offer to share my parenting experiences from helping my son throughout his Mustang journey to assist fellow CP parents. 

Traci Henegar

Term: 2018-2021

Campus Health and Wellbeing Liasion

Hometown: Lantana, TX 

Cal Poly Student: Davis '20, Orfalea College of Business


I'm a Cal Poly Grad (SPC 1990) as well as a proud Cal Poly Out-Of-State parent to our 4th-year BUS son!  I'm a Realtor in the DFW area where we make our home, however, my true passion lies in advocating for and supporting college students that face substance addiction challenges and/or are in recovery.  Our son is one of those students, and we have become very involved with helping start Cal Poly Campus Health & Wellbeing start our new collegiate recovery community, Mustangs for Recovery.  I work closely with CH & W administration on not only Mustangs for Recovery but also in being as informed as possible on everything Cal Poly does to help support and address student health issues on all levels.  I am absolutely delighted to be able to give back to my beloved Cal Poly community by serving on the PAC--without a doubt the best college in the country!

Joss Maas

Term: 2019-2022

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Cal Poly Student: Matthew '22 - College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

Jackie Mann

Emeritus Parent Advisory Council Member

Term: 2015-2018

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Cal Poly Student: Ian - Electrical Engineering '18, College of Engineering


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. A 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.  

Cassandra Ornelas

Term: 2018-2022

University Housing Liaison

Hometown: Santa Barbara, CA

Cal Poly Students:

Carleigh '22 - College of Science and Mathematics

Jenna '14 - College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences


I have always been an active parent in our children's education this continued when they attended  Cal Poly. I had the pleasure of serving on the PAC from 2010-2014 when our oldest daughter was enrolled in the Animal Science Program. I love attending the Cal Poly events. My strengths are welcoming parents, being an attentive listener, mentoring Cal Poly parents by providing current accurate information or referring to pertinent campus resources. I am currently serving as the housing liaison and our youngest daughter is fortunate to be enjoying the new dorms. I also have experience with the Red Brick dorms, Poly Canyon Village and off-campus options. I  have a unique perspective professionally. I am a credentialed School Nurse with 22 years of experience advocating for children. I am currently working at Montecito Union School which has challenged my out-of-the-box thinking, organizational skills, and problem-solving skills as we have faced the challenges of the Thomas Fire and the Debris Flow. I am grateful to have the opportunity to contribute my time and expertise to PAC as our youngest daughter attends this extraordinary university studying Liberal Studies.

Roxanne Rogers

Term: 2017-2020

College of Architecture and Environmental Design Liaison

Hometown: Thousand Oaks, CA

Cal Poly Student: Joshua - Construction Management '20, College of Architecture and Environmental Design


In the legal field since 1987 with a focus on business law and intellectual property, but my true calling is to pursue causes that make a difference. Currently active in food ministries and local sustainability projects with my husband of 21 years, we're now looking forward with great anticipation to channeling our energy towards serving Cal Poly students and the Mustang community. Any Mustangs in the Ventura County and West Valley areas needing an assist, please feel free to reach out and if I can't help, I'll do my best to find someone who can.

Lorna Sheridan

Term: 2017-2020

Hometown: Sonoma, CA

Cal Poly Student: Quinn - Agricultural Business '20, College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


I grew up on the East Coast and graduated from Princeton University. My husband and I moved to California ten years ago for his job in the wine business. I am the education editor and columnist for the Sonoma Index-Tribune. In addition to our son at Cal Poly, we have a daughter at Princeton, and comparing and contrasting the two experiences has been fascinating. Cal Poly absolutely holds it's own!

Shirley Sigmund

Term: 2017-2020

College of Liberal Arts Liaison

Home City, State: Templeton, CA

Cal Poly Student: Jade - Communication Studies '20, College of Liberal Arts


I have a Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Communicative Disorders from Cal State Fullerton. I have been practicing as a licensed speech language pathologist for the past 26 years in many settings such as acute care, school based therapy, outpatient services, skilled nursing, home health, and now, I work full time with the mentally disordered and incarcerated men at Atascadero State Hospital. The work is challenging and rewarding. I look forward to supporting the Mustang students and families as a member of the Parent Advisory Council.

Ellen Solum

Emeritus Parent Advisory Council Member

Cal Poly Home Economics/Dietetics and Food Administration ‘79

Term: 2012 - 2018

Hometown: Cayucos, CA

Cal Poly Students:

James – Forestry and Natural Resources Management '16 and Forestry Sciences '20, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

Erica – Software Engineering, '17, College of Engineering


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.


Tom Bensky, Faculty Rep

Term: 2017-2020

Mark Borges, Student Rep

Term: 2019-2020

Kenia Alba, Student Rep

Term: 2019-2020

Council Meeting Minutes and Documents

View past Parent Advisory Council meeting minutes:

Fall 2019 Meeting Minutes: October 27, 2019

Spring 2019 Meeting Minutes: April 14, 2019

Winter 2018 Meeting Minutes: February 3, 2018

Fall 2017 Meeting Minutes: October 22, 2017

Spring 2017 Meeting Minutes: May 6, 2017

Winter 2017 Meeting Minutes: February 26, 2017

Fall 2016 Meeting Minutes: October 23, 2016

Spring 2016 Meeting Minutes: May 7, 2016

Winter 2016 Meeting Minutes: February 21, 2016

Fall 2015 Meeting Minutes: October 25, 2015


View the Parent Advisory Council Bylaws.

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