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Alumni Updates

Alumni Update


  • Lanz Nalagan (Political Science, ‘11) — I am honored to serve the LGBTQ community in the greater Sacramento region in my capacity as development coordinator for the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. I also serve as political director for West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon and finance director for Sacramento City Unified School Boardmember Mai Vang.
  • Michael “Mike” Melzer (Political Science, ’11) — After graduating, I taught English in Korea for one year. Then, I returned to earn my teaching credential at Cal Poly. Now, I will be a fourth-year teacher at Atascadero High School (AHS). I currently teach U.S. history and AP European history; I have taught government and economics in the past as well. I’m also the Interact Club advisor for AHS.
  • Brian Podzius (Political Science, ’12) — In 2015, I graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law. In May 2017, I joined Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ New York office as an associate in the Business Finance and Restructuring Department. I know I’m all the way in New York, but I would be more than happy to assist any students who are interested in law school or potentially working for a very large law firm. I would love to help the department and its students in any way I can.
  • Melissa Sparks (MPP, ‘12) — I recently changed job positions — I was with the California Department of Water Resources for almost four years after graduating with my Master of Public Policy. I was a project manager in the Financial Assistance Branch, working with local public agencies, non-profit organizations, tribes, and disadvantaged communities in administering grant funding for water infrastructure projects to improve local water supply. About eight months ago, I transitioned to the Association of California Water Agencies. I am now a policy analyst for ACWA, representing over 430 local public water agencies on both legislative and regulatory issues. I am involved with the Greater Sacramento chapter of the Active 20-30 Club. I am currently the vice president of the organization. We host fundraising events and participate in hands-on activities with other  nonprofit organizations to support the needs of children and youth services in our community. I am also recently engaged and will be getting married in the Sacramento area in September of 2018! 
  • Lauren Feuerborn (Political Science, ’13) — After Cal Poly, I went to graduate school at University of San Francisco and earned my Master in Public Affairs degree in May 2017. I spent most of 2016 working on the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and found that I could actually make a career out of doing what I love most. I am currently working for a political start-up called Democracy Labs, which aims to leverage innovation in technology and storytelling to serve grassroots movements and progressive campaigns.
  • Alex Kagarakis (Political Science, ’13) — I have just earned my Master of Business Administration from IESEG School of Management in Paris, France and am currently working as a communications manager. I am grateful for my education and experience at Cal Poly, and in particular, the Political Science Department.
  • Adriana Hidalgo (Political Science, ’13) — Upon graduation from Cal Poly, I moved to Washington, D.C., and began working on Capitol Hill for Congresswoman Lois Capps. I worked in Capps’ office for three years and built a wonderful network in the D.C. area. Upon Congresswoman Capps’ retirement at the end of 2016, I finished my time with her as a member of her legislative team handling a portfolio of policy issues. This past June, I joined the Office of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco. I am the leader’s scheduler and executive assistant on the West Coast and am thoroughly enjoying my time with her thus far.
  • Chloe Cruz (Political Science, ’15) — After two years of being a labor union organizer for SEIU Local 2015 and traveling throughout the state to unionize non-union nursing homes, I will be attending law school at Santa Clara University to pursue a career in being a lawyer for immigrant rights. Aside from a career change, I will also be marrying my fiancé prior to starting school, both of us were members of Cal Poly’s Mustang Band/all the bands.
  • Daniel Wasta (Political Science, ‘15) — I managed a successful special election in Davenport, Iowa, electing Jim Lykam to the Iowa State Senate. I am currently managing a school bond campaign in Iowa City to fund $191.5 million in improvements to the Iowa City Community School District. And, I was inducted into the Iowa Democrats Hall of Fame as the 2017 Edward Campbell Rising Star. 
  • Sara Feldman (Political Science, ’16) — I graduated in 2016 and went on to Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University on a full merit scholarship. I am now a rising 2L. I placed in the top 16 percent of my class and am on the board of three groups on campus. I plan on trying out for two competition teams this upcoming year: mock trial and alternative dispute resolution. I also have an internship at a law firm in Santa Clarita this summer.
  • Kennedy Poe (Political Science, ’16) — Since graduating from Cal Poly, I now attend law school at Pepperdine University School of Law. I am a 2L preparing to study abroad with Pepperdine in London in the fall. I am a member of the Journal of Business, Entrepreneurship, and the Law and a member of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society.


  • Kathryn Mulholland (Political Science, ’03) — I graduated from Cal Poly in June 2003 with a concentration in international affairs and a minor in French. Two months later, I moved to Brussels, Belgium, where I completed a one-year master’s program in international relations at the University of Kent’s postgraduate school, Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS). Upon my return to the U.S. (2004), I began a brief teaching assignment (eighth-grade English) with the Los Angeles Unified School District, which gave me valuable insight into the teaching profession. Shortly thereafter, Cuesta Community College offered me a part-time lecturer position in political science, and I have been teaching there ever since (2005-present). I initially taught a course at Cal Poly in 2006 and began teaching here consistently in 2014. I recently married my sweetheart, Kevin Mulholland, who is also a former Cal Poly student (1975-77). I am thrilled to be back at Cal Poly and in the Political Science Department! I am truly inspired by my colleagues and my students. 
  • Andrew J. Dean (Political Science, ’05) — After graduating from Cal Poly in 2005, I was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy. Effective June 1, 2017, I was promoted to the rank of lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves. In 2014, I graduated from The George Washington University Law School, and I am currently a commercial litigation attorney with the law firm Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein, L.C. in Newport News, Virginia. My wife and I are expecting our first child, a baby girl, due at the end of August. 
  • Dan O’Leary (Political Science, ’05) — I recently accepted a new position at Facebook where I’m working on building the global service partnerships program for Workplace by Facebook, a new software product that was launched last October. It’s a fascinating mix of business development, technology, social science and program management and is giving me exposure to companies all over the world. I’m learning by doing every single day, and leveraging my skills in writing, research, statistics and policy to make an impact. On the personal side of life, I also just bought my first home in San Jose. It’s been a monumental last few months.
  • Jessica Tabarez (Political Science, ’06) — I am currently working at Palo Alto Networks, which is a network security company in the Bay Area. I have been doing trade compliance for the past six years and really enjoy the career path. It is a mixture of current events, legal, and keeping up with United States trade regulations. I also got married this past April in San Luis Obispo – no better place to say “I do”! Life has been good!
  • Jeff Porto Jr. (MPP, ’06) — Since my undergraduate and graduate experience at Cal Poly, here are a few things I would like to share: I worked in the private sector for a few years in political consulting and campaigns. A highlight; I helped the San Francisco 49ers build robust political and community support for their move to build a new NFL stadium in the city of Santa Clara. I reconnected in 2009 with a girl that was a classmate in junior high in Modesto, through Facebook’s “People you may know.” I re-met this girl, Leslie Teixeira, in 2009 at SLO Brew. She is (unfortunately, just kidding) a UCSB Gaucho alumna. We have been married since November 2014. Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg! We both work at University of California, Merced and live in Merced. I am a development director for student affairs and athletics, and Leslie works in research compliance and manages the IRB. Go Poly!


  • Danielle Walters (Political Science, ’90) — Just celebrated my 13-year anniversary with Sanofi US as senior director of federal reimbursement. Sanofi is a French bio-pharmaceutical company where I oversee our work in Medicaid and state government programs. I recently made a big life change, selling my house in Sacramento and buying a 48-acre ranch in Amador County in the heart of the California Gold Country. The area is filled with great history, beautiful scenery and really good local wines. Also, my 20-yearold son is a mechanical engineering major at Quinnipiac University. Cheers! 
  • Michelle Shoresman (Political Science, ’95) — I graduated in 1995 with a Political Science degree and minor in Women’s Studies. In 1998, I received my Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Washington. In 2001, I moved back to San Luis Obispo and have been working for the San Luis Obispo County Health Agency for 15 years. I have a 9-year-old son and am happily married to social sciences graduate Jonathan Roberts.
  • Matthew Ceppi (Political Science, ’98) — I recently joined CliftonLarsonAllen LLP as a principal in the higher education practice. I was previously with the California State University for 18 years, including at Cal Poly, the CSU Chancellor’s Office and, most recently, Cal State San Marcos. I completed my doctorate at Creighton University.
  • Melissa Fraser (Political Science, ’99) — A quick update on post-Cal Poly life. After finishing at Cal Poly, I graduated from the Masters International Program with the Peace Corps and Rutgers University at Camden, which combined Peace Corps service in Lesotho with my graduate degree (MPA) studies. As this was about 15 years ago, I’ve spent years in non-profit work, another year volunteering with Peace Corps Response, and am now working with the U.S. Agency for International Development in food security and resilience programming. This requires a fair amount of overseas travel. Thanks for the updates — it’s nice to have a tie back to San Luis Obispo.
  • Nick Kosla (Political Science, ’99) — I recently started my own land entitlement and venture capital firm called Kosla Ventures LLC ( Under this entity, I entitled over 50 homes in Walnut Creek for my client Pulte Homes out of Pleasanton. This was the first “farm-totable” subdivision in the San Francisco Bay Area and sets the new standard for sustainable real estate development in Northern California. I have also been busy raising my incredible daughters, Audrey and Grace, with my beautiful wife, Larissa.


  • Robert R. "Bob" Burnett (POLS '80) — I am still employed with Citizens

    Business Bank in Arcadia, Calif., having just passed my 34th year of employment as vice president service manager. Still living in Sierra Madre. My wife, Rosemary, works for AT&T; my daughter, Amanda, is employed with Huntington Hospital; and my daughter, Paige, is finishing her last year at Cal State Long Beach. I retired last year from the Sierra Madre Fire Department after 35 years as a battalion chief, but continue to be very active in several organizations in Sierra Madre. Rosemary and I travel often as we are now “empty nesters.” We visited Cal Poly this past March on the way up the coast and were very impressed with the changes on campus. The very best to all my friends from the past and those to come.


Cal Poly Alumni Center

The Cal Poly Alumni Association is now located right in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo. 

Find us at 854 Monterey St., on the corner of Monterey and Chorro streets.

We know you consider the city of San Luis Obispo to be just as much a part of your college experience as the Cal Poly campus! Now you can reconnect with your alma mater within steps of your favorite hotels and downtown traditions. Join us for Homecoming November 2-5 or anytime you are back in town!

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