Learn by Doing Fund

Donate to the Political Science Department

Notes from Alumni

Roshanne Bakhtiary (B.S., Anthropology and Geography, 2013) has been working as a full-time archaeologist at Albion Environmental Inc., an environmental consulting firm in San Luis Obispo. Working extensively in the field and lab, she has gained experience and insight into the professional world of cultural resources management. This fall, she is attending UC Davis, enrolled in the evolutionary anthropology doctoral program to study archaeology and human behavioral ecology.

After Cal Poly, Daniel Galván (B.A., Sociology, 2012) went on to New York University to pursue a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs. While pursuing his master’s, he also worked at Stevens Institute of Technology in student affairs. Galván completed his degree in May 2014 and started a doctoral program in urban education policy at the University of Southern California this fall.

Since completing an archaeological field school with Terry Jones, Chris Folsom (B.S., Social Sciences, 1987) went on to work as an archaeologist, cultural resource specialist, and wilderness instructor for at-risk youth, and is working as an artist, creating monumental sculptures. He is currently working on a commissioned sculpture in Bakersfield, Calif., his third in that area. Most of his other sculptures are in Oregon, where he resides the majority of the time.

Kevin Harrison (B.S., Social Sciences, 1992) works as a supervisory staff law enforcement ranger for the Bureau of Land Management at the Mother Lode Field Office in El Dorado Hills, Calif. He is married with two children, ages 17 and 14, and plans to travel to Peru this fall. 

Mike Hibbard (B.S., Social Sciences, 1968) is professor emeritus in the Department of Planning, Public Policy & Management at the University of Oregon. Among other things, he is currently conducting a national study of rural planning issues and practices, and he continues his long-time economic development planning work with the Tlingit village of Kake in southeast Alaska. He recently co-edited the fifth volume of “Dialogues in Urban and Regional Planning,” a selection of the best scholarship in urban and regional planning from around the world. Hibbard also co-authored a book chapter, “Culture and Economy: The Cruel Choice Revisited,” in “Reclaiming Indigenous Planning,” and an article, “The New Natural Resource Economy: Environment and Economy in Transitional Rural Communities,” in the journal Society and Natural Resources.

Since graduating, Emily Hill (B.S., Social Sciences, 2010) has turned her anthropology focus into a marketing career. She lives and works in the Bay Area, enjoying an exciting new gig as marketing programs operations manager for TCI Marketing Services — a technology marketing startup. Her favorite part of the job is working with smart, motivated people, and seeing the results of her work in real time as the company grows. Hill is also happy she was able to apply her interest in learning about people to marketing.

Davida Hutchins (B.S., Social Sciences, 1981) is working for the Columbia River Mental Health agency. She works mostly in the field, assisting high-needs clients, the majority of whom are schizophrenic, with daily living skills to help them stay out of the hospital and jail. Previously Hutchins worked for 14 years as a social worker for the State of Washington in the welfare office and as a mental health assistant at a private psychiatric hospital. 

Following graduation Cathy Jain (B.S., Social Sciences, 1992) served a one-year internship at the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, primarily working for then-supervisor David Blakely. Eventually she decided to follow her passion and enrolled in the graduate program at San Diego State University, where she earned a Master of Arts in geography in 2000. After graduate school, Jain was hired as a tenure-track faculty member at Palomar College and has been at Palomar ever since, teaching physical geography, meteorology and field courses. Jain was recently appointed chair of the Earth, Space & Aviation Sciences Department.

Since graduating from Cal Poly, Danielle Krause (B.S., Anthropology and Geography, 2011) went to work for AmeriCorps for two years in the Napa County Office of Education, where she helped develop a volunteer program for county preschools. During her time with AmeriCorps, Krause decided to continue her schooling and enrolled in an online master's certificate program in public health. Krause is now working for the Sonoma County Department of Health Services on obesity prevention. She plans to go on to a master's degree in public health in the near future.

From 2010-12, Lauren May (B.S., Anthropology and Geology, 2011) worked as a research assistant at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, where she learned museum collections care management, laboratory analysis, and database management. She also assisted museum archaeologists on research projects, including archaeological survey and excavation in the Society Islands during the summer of 2012. In 2013, May worked for the University of Hawaii Manoa as a teaching assistant for the Kauai Archaeological Field School, helping to teach archaeological field and laboratory methods to undergraduate students. From 2012 until recently, she was employed as a field assistant in cultural resources management companies based on Oahu where she assisted in archaeological survey and excavation, edited field reports and monitored various sites in the Hawaiian Islands.  

Megan Nellis (B.S., Social Sciences, 2009) started her career with Intrax, a cultural exchange company, where she learned about project management, conflict resolution, and customer service. After spending a few years in the “real world,” she knew she was ready for a new adventure — one that would take her to the rural community of Kamhlushwa, South Africa. Since that decision two-and-a-half years ago, Nellis has joined the management team of a grassroots, nonprofit educational organization called Imagine Scholar South Africa. Imagine Scholar is a highly intensive mentorship and leadership development program for youth across the disadvantaged Nkomazi region of South Africa. 

Andrew Ovenden (B.S., Social Sciences, 1990) settled in Durham, N.C., where he is transitioning from a position as a health science researcher for the Department of Veterans Affairs to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, to pursue a master’s degree in public health with a global health concentration. He also enjoys being a part-time EMT and stay-at-home dad to his 4-year old daughter. Ovenden earned a doctorate in sociology from the University of Hawaii in 2002 and has focused his research on substance abuse, disaster management, terminal illness, and public health. He is married to Paula, a therapist and eating disorder specialist at Duke University.

Since graduating in June 2013, Hanna Panno (B.S., Anthropology and Geography, 2013) has already moved to the East Coast and back. In September 2013, she began an internship with the National Geographic Society, at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., where she worked in the maps division with the production team, mainly on Geo-Tourism Map Guides and the 10th Edition Atlas. She returned to San Luis Obispo in December 2013 to work as a GIS intern for Cal Fire. In July, she accepted an offer as a GIS technician with Dudek, an engineering and environmental consulting firm in Encinitas, Calif. 

Vanessa Pollitt (B.A., Sociology, 2013) has been working full time at Albertsons and coaching the San Luis Obispo Swim Club. In September, Pollitt began a master’s program at the University of Oregon. She plans to graduate in June 2016 with a master’s in business, concentrating in sports business. 

Since graduating, Lillian Sorheim (B.S., Social Sciences, 2002) has been with the San Luis Obispo County Probation Department as a supervising deputy probation officer assigned to Juvenile Hall. Her daughter, Vanessa Castellanos, is currently a senior at Cal Poly, also studying social sciences.

Marty Tweed (B.S., Social Sciences, 1981) graduated from Cal Poly and then went on to complete a master’s in social work at Sacramento State University in 1984 and a clinical license in 1986. She worked for the Monterey County Department of Social Services in public child welfare for 10 years before transitioning to teaching. She worked with bachelor’s and master’s programs in social work at San Jose State University from 1994 to 2000. Currently Tweed is employed at CSU Monterey Bay in the Health, Human Services & Public Policy Department, where she teaches social work courses and coordinates the undergraduate field education program.

Since graduating in 2013, Marisa Wishart (B.S., Social Sciences, 2013) has been working and living as a regional community outreach worker with the nonprofit Sacramento Covered. Wishart is responsible for connecting individuals and families in Sacramento and the surrounding regions to health insurance and other social support programs. 

Clayton Whitt (B.S., Social Sciences, 2004) is a doctoral candidate and Vanier Scholar in sociocultural anthropology at the University of British Columbia, studying with Professor Gaston Gordillo. Since October 2013, Whitt has been pursuing his dissertation field research on how climate change is affecting people in the western highlands of Bolivia. When he's not working in Bolivia, he lives in Vancouver, B.C., with his partner, Liz, and two dogs.

Following graduation, Paige Wopschall (B.S., Social Sciences, 2011) served at the Women's Shelter Program of San Luis Obispo as an AmeriCorps VIP Fellow. From 2012-13 she created and coordinated a pro-bono legal clinic for victims of domestic violence. Wopschall was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in Bulgaria for the 2013-14 academic year. While in Bulgaria, she taught English as a foreign language, provided academic counseling, created an English Drama Club, volunteered with the Red Cross, and practiced Bulgarian folk dance. Currently Wopschall is the administrative support coordinator for the Women's & Gender Studies Department at Cal Poly.

Related Content