Alumni Stay in Touch

Student Awards & Accomplishments

Luana Mello, Cal Poly Political Science


2017 Outstanding POLS Student from the College of Liberal Arts

Although my time at Cal Poly has flown by, the growth and experience I have gained through the Political Science Department is exponential. As early as possible, I got involved with the department’s Model United Nations (MUN) program. In July 2017, I was fortunate to travel with Professor Arceneaux and nine other students to Brazil to attend the Americas Model United Nations XIX Conference in the nation’s capital, Brasilia. As a child of two Brazilian immigrants, I was thrilled to return to Brazil and meet hundreds of other students from South America. My background and recent visit to Brazil led to my research on political corruption in Brazil. With the help of Professor Zhang, I discovered that in Brazil, while there are many political, cultural and legal factors that work to deter corruption after it occurs, there are no factors to deter corruption before it occurs. I was honored with the John H. Lynn Award for Best Senior Project Paper from the Political Science Department and hope to one day further my research on political corruption in Brazil and other parts of the world. Finishing my senior project early allowed me to devote my time to the political science academic journal, “Paideia,” where I served as one of the five editors of the journal for the 2016-17 school year. My essay, “The Road to Brexit,” was selected to be in “Paideia,” and I worked one-on-one with the executive editor to polish my essay for publication. I was recently awarded the 2017 Political Science Outstanding Senior of the Year award and am extremely grateful for this honor from the Political Science faculty. I hope to keep making them proud as I continue my endeavors following Cal Poly.

I am very thrilled to be a June 2017 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in political science, concentrating in global politics, and a minor in sociology. While I managed to graduate in only three years, I still feel more than prepared to start my next journey due to the help of the faculty in the Political Science Department. Starting in September, I will begin my fellowship in the Judicial Administration sector of the Capital Fellows program. I was selected to be placed in the Superior Court of Los Angeles to work on a variety of judicial administration, analysis, and case management work. I am forever thankful for the guidance and commitment to teaching from my professors and will continue to use them as my inspiration in the future.

Nicole Angelini, Cal Poly Political ScienceNICOLE ANGELINI

2017 Cal Poly Outstanding Graduate Student MPP Outstanding Student from the College of Liberal Arts

In my time in the Master of Public Policy Program here at Cal Poly, I have not only developed my skills as a policy analyst, but also have had the opportunity to learn and grow through a myriad of opportunities. Two things that I am the proudest of include my work with the Cybersecurity Case Library and my POLS 590 project.

In my capacity as a graduate intern with the Cybersecurity Case Library, I worked with Bill Britton, Cal Poly's interim chief information officer and director of the Cal Poly Cybersecurity Center, and Paul Jurasin, director of new programs at Cal Poly. Together, we developed the first ever interdisciplinary case study journal dedicated to cybersecurity.

My POLS 590 project focused on trying to better understand cybersecurity stakeholder perspectives both in the public sector and private industry. I looked at how researchers in the field define cybersecurity threats and problems and then compared them to the actual beliefs of cybersecurity stakeholders and practitioners. I found that cybersecurity practitioners from both private industry and the public sector strongly believed that the U.S. government does not have the tools or skillset to handle the cybersecurity problem as it exists today. I presented my findings at the Western Political Science Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, in April.

I am eternally grateful for the people I have worked with, the opportunities I have been blessed with, and all that I have learned at this institution. I feel incredibly humbled by the support and mentorship I have received from the Political Science Department faculty. It is with their help that I received the John H. Lynn Award for Best POLS 590 Paper, the Master of Public Policy Outstanding Graduate Student Award, and Cal Poly’s Outstanding Graduate Student Award.


Two political science seniors, Emily Matthews and Sayaka Tsugai, advanced to the state level at the 31st Annual CSU Student Research Competition. Every year, approximately 200 students from across the 23 CSU campuses present their original research to panels of judges from industry, public service and universities. Matthews presented her work on the domestic influences on international climate change policy in the Undergraduate Behavioral and Social Sciences section under the guidance of Shelley Hurt. Tsugai presented her work on the potential for collaborative learning experiences overcoming collective memory in the Undergraduate Humanities and Letters section under the guidance of Associate Professor Ning Zhang. The research projects reflected the varied and important contributions political science students are making to university and community.

Student Awards

Cal Poly Outstanding Graduate Student

  • 2017 — Nicole Angelini

CLA Outstanding POLS Senior

  • 2016 — Cameron Hallin
  • 2017 — Luana Mello

CLA Outstanding MPP Student

  • 2016 — Nestor Veloz-Passalacqua
  • 2017 — Nicole Angelini


MPP Seminar Paper

  • 2016 — Nikki Chen 
  • 2017 — Carol Janssen

590 Paper

  • 2017 — Nicole Angelini

Senior Project: Paper

  • 2016 — Morgan Rothenbaum
  • 2017 — Luana Mello

Best Senior Project (Project) 

  • 2017 — Sarah Howland

Undergraduate Research Paper 

  • 2016 — Sayaka Tsugai 
  • 2017 — Matt Klepfer and Katie Tinder

Undergraduate Non-Research Paper 

  • 2016 — Troy Gabriel and Olivia Grob Lipkis 
  • 2017 — Emily Veith

Academic Excellence, MPP

  • 2016 — Nestor Veloz-Passalacqua
  • 2017 — Jason Colombini

Academic Excellence, Undergraduate

  • 2016 — Cameron Hallin
  • 2017 — Ali Gonsman

Outstanding Service, MPP

  • 2016 — Morgan Boyd
  • 2017 — Danielle Veatch

Outstanding Service, Undergraduate

  • 2016 — Mick Bruckner and Matt Klepfer
  • 2017 — Emily Matthews


George and Janice Clucas Scholarship

  • 2016 — Sayaka Tsugai
  • 2017 — Philip Goodwin

George and Janice Clucas Awards

  • 2016 — Elisabeth Grove and Nicole Angelini 
  • 2017 — Lindsey Wallace, Sayaka Tsugai and Abigail Ahlgrim

Cal Poly Political Science Students Study AbroadThis year, the department helped an unprecedented number of students travel for conferences and symposia:

  • Nicole Angelini — 2017 Western Political Science Association, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Danielle Veatch — 2017 Western Political Science Association, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Nicole Chen — 2017 Policy Sciences Annual Conference, Claremont, Calif.
  • Mick Bruckner — 2017 DC Queer Studies Symposium, Washington, D.C.
  • Matt Klepfer — 2017 DC Queer Studies Symposium, Washington, D.C.
  • Alexis Sheffield — Global Policy Seminar, Public Leadership Education Network, Washington, D.C.
  • Juan Ortiz Salazar — 2017 Congressional Visit Days, Washington, D.C.

For Angelini and Veatch, this was the first time the department has been able to support international travel for students to present their research projects. Veatch’s work on human sex trafficking and Angelini’s work on cybersecurity policy were well received and both are currently investigating options for publication. Ortiz Salazar, a double major in Political Science and Materials Engineering, was the only student from the state of California invited to participate in Congressional Visit Days. 

These experiences are not possible without your financial support. Thank you for making this possible!

Related Content