Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies Program

Freedom to Choose / Freedom to Create / Freedom to Travel

Alumni of 2009-2012

CONGRATULATIONS to all of our Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies graduates!

To view recent LAES grads, return to Alumni & Friends.

LAES 2012 Alumni

Fall 2012 LAES Graduates

Pictured at the 2012 Fall ceremony from left is Co-Director, David Gillette, Andrew Mai, Jeffrey Franklin, Tyler Whipple, Brigit Hawley, Spencer Ellsworth, and Co-Director, Michael Haungs. Not pictured is Griffin Davis.


LAES 2012 Graduates

Pictured at the 2012 Spring ceremony from bottom left are Vanessa Panchal, Molly Schiff, Emily Swift, Jessica Riccio, Director Michael Haungs with dog Diesel, Jacob Stringfellow, Nathan Hughes, and Director David Gillette. Not pictured are Sydni Nicolici and Chris Torres.


Andrew Mai

  • Graduation Ceremony: 2012
  • Personal Statement: I graduated LAES in Fall 2012 with a focus in film and online media. My engineering classes consisted of mostly mechanical engineering, since that was my strength and because it is useful to understand rigging and camera design. Because of the courses offered through LAES, I was able to obtain my current internship through the CSU Media Internship Program. I am now interning at Lost Planet in Santa Monica, a post-production house specializing in editing TV commercials for name brands. I also occasionally assist Wong Fu Productions, a leading filmmaking group on YouTube, shooting behind-the-scenes footage and helping with production.
  • Career Focus: Theatre/Film Studies
  • Internships: Fullscreen, Inc. as Content Acquisition Intern, Summer 2012. Lost Planet, commercial editing house based in Santa Monica, Winter 2013.
  • Senior Project on Cal Poly's Digital Commons:

Sydni Nicolici

  • Graduation Ceremony: 2012
  • Personal Statement: I graduated the LAES program in 2012 with a Pre-Law and Environmental Engineering focus. Because of my concentrations, I was able to get an internship at the County Assessor's Office and at Superior Court . In addition to this, the program gave me the flexibility to make a decision between going to law school or an MBA program. After much consideration, I am attending CSUB's MBA program. I wouldn't have been able to get where I am at without LAES and the diversity it offers.
  • Career Focus: Environmental and/or Engineering Management
  • Internships: San Luis Obispo County Assessors Office, San Luis Obispo Superior Court
  • Senior Project on Cal Poly's Digital Commons:

Jessica Riccio

  • Graduation Ceremony: 2012
  • Personal Statement: When I arrived at Cal Poly, I was a Computer Science major.  In my second year, I started to reassess my major choices and found the Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies program.  I really liked that LAES allowed me to combine other interests, including Political Science, with my engineering background. After graduation, I plan on perusing a career with law enforcement and eventually working my way toward a job in government security with either the FBI or NSA. 
  • Career Focus: Computer Forensics, Computer Science, Criminal Justice and Public Policy
  • Senior Project on Cal Poly's Digital Commons:

Tyler Whipple

  • Graduation Ceremony: 2012
  • Personal Statement: The LAES program has allowed me to combine my artistic talents and technical know-how in projects that expand my knowledge and improve my leadership and communication skills. I have always enjoyed "putting on a show" and the projects I've participated in have given me experience that will be valuable in my eventual career. I love that I know and have worked with most of the students in our department, and I know I'll be calling on their talents in the future.
  • Concentrations: Mechanical Design (ICS) and Interactive Communication-Theatre
  • Career Focus: Themed Entertainment Industry
  • Internships: Walt Disney World - Summer 2010, 2012
  • Senior Project on Cal Poly's Digital Commons:


LAES 2011 Alumni

LAES Fall 2011 Graduate

Pictured at the 2011 Fall ceremony is Christina Hernandez with Director David Gillette. Not pictured is Ryan Alletag.


LAES Spring 2011 Graduates

Pictured at the 2011 Spring ceremony from bottom left are Thomas LaPoint, Ryan Macdonald, Ryan Inouye, Jacqueline Turlik, Michelle Khuu, Jason Stine, Daniel Bussone, Brandon Koca, Eric Davis, Co-Director David Gillette, and Co-Director Michael Haungs. Not pictured are Shannan Balzer, Kyle Banfield, and Deb Go.


Jackie Turlik

  • Graduation Ceremony: 2011
  • Personal Statement: LAES is not your typical major, which is exactly why I went into it. It fosters independence for motivated students who aspire to follow their dreams and passions in life. In LAES I was able to mold my major and take the courses that directly correlated with my ultimate career goals. After graduating from LAES I was confident that the skillset that I had gained helped me achieve the beginnings of my future.
  • Career Focus at Cal Poly: Film/TV Production Management
  • Current Career Work: Production Coordinator at LeslieIwerks Productions, Inc.
  • Personal: IMDb (opens in new window)

Kyle Banfield

  • Graduation Ceremony: 2011
  • Personal Statement: The Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies program dared me to approach education in a different light and challenged me to design my own major. I haven't looked back since! In today's job market, technical creativity and innovation is rewarded above all else. LAES helped guide my passions into skill-sets I use daily while forging my career path. I was able to craft a flowchart for myself but not by myself, because collaboration and variety should be encouraged!
  • Career Focus at Cal Poly: Sound Design/Recording Arts and Electrical Engineering
  • Current Career Work: During my senior year I interned at THX Ltd. in San Rafael, California as an Engineering Technician. I currently work in R&D as an Acoustics Lab Technician, helping test and design micro-electronic sound technologies for Knowles Electronics LLC in Cupertino, California.

Deb Go

  • Graduation Ceremony: 2011
  • Personal Statement: When I came to Cal Poly, I knew I wanted to help people in the developing world, but there was no one major in which I felt I could learn the range of skills necessary to really make a difference. LAES granted me the freedom to take a more holistic approach to development and pursue internships that provided invaluable field experience. Moreover, the program has given me the support and confidence to choose my own path, aim high, and grow.
  • Career Focus at Cal Poly: International Development, Appropriate Technology
  • Senior Project on Cal Poly's Digital Commons:
  • Personal Websites: (opens in new window)

Michelle Khuu

  • Graduation Ceremony: 2011
  • Personal Statement: The LAES program really let me follow my own path, instead of following the designated course flows of other majors. I got to work on projects I was passionate about, which really helped when job-hunting.
  • Career Focus at Cal Poly: Information Technology & Interactive Design
  • Current Career Work: Game Developer at 5th Planet Games

Brandon Koca

  • Graduation Ceremony: 2011
  • Personal Statement: I am Brandon Koca, a graduate from the LAES program class of 2011. The LAES program provided the flexibility and customization abilities that helped me grow both as a student and as an intellectual. The coursework and team projects that I participated in through the LAES program gave me invaluable experience with other individuals from numerous different fields of study.
  • Career Focus at Cal Poly: Project management, System Design
  • Current Career Work: Industrial Engineer Technician at Farmer John (Hormel)

Jason Stine

  • Graduation Ceremony: 2011
  • Personal Statement: Hi everyone! I'm someone who loves to go on adventures and experience the unknown, and the LAES program allowed me to do just that. It allowed me to combine my great interest for engineering and the cultures/languages of other countries. LAES worked out for me because as a previous engineering major I felt I was missing the ability to use the "right side" of my brain - the liberal arts side, as some call it. I was able to balance two distinctly wonderful academic subjects that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to do.
  • Career Focus at Cal Poly: For my LAES degree, I studied a unique combination of Chinese (LA) and Computer Science (ES). I also minored in computer science with an emphasis on graphics programming. To provide an example of how my degree is applicable to the real world, one only needs to view my graduating senior project. I wrote software that allows a Chinese person who knows little or no English to "generate" an introductory cover letter in good English. The user could then put the generated passage into an email and send it to someone who speaks English. I was trying to find middle ground between human translators and full-fledged translation software, which in 2010 still had the weakness of not being accurate translation tools. I studied abroad in Shanghai, China during fall 2010. I had a great time and the trip convinced me that I ought to return there for work. I wanted to find a job that would utilize my my engineering expertise and Chinese language abilities.
  • Senior Project on Cal Poly's Digital Commons:
  • Current Career Work: I am currently working as a technical writer in Shanghai, China for a Swedish company called Sigma Kudos. Sigma Kudos provides technical writers to companies who need help with their technical product manuals or documentation. Through Sigma Kudos I am currently working on several projects for Ericsson, the telecommunications company. While all the documentation I write and edit is in American English, I must work with the Chinese engineers and product designers at Ericsson to understand what exactly the documentation should contain, and many of them have very poor English. There are many cases when my ability to speak Mandarin and read Chinese come in handy for these responsibilities, and my company appreciates having a native English speaker around who can effectively communicate with the Chinese staff.
  • Personal Websites: My Project Portfolio (opens in a new window)


LAES 2010 Alumni

Fall 2010 LAES Graduates

Pictured at the Fall 2010 ceremony from left are Ryan Alba, Alicia Johnson, and Michael Robotham.

LAES Spring 2010 Graduates

Pictured at the Spring 2010 ceremony from left are Paul Cha, Daniel DeKlotz, Justin Alvarez, Vicki Lindem, and Director David Gillette. Not pictured is Derek Okimoto.


Paul Cha

  • Graduation Ceremony: 2010
  • Personal Statement: LAES has been such a unique and valuable experience for me and propelled me to embrace the mesh of technical and creative challenges that come in the marketing and creative tech industries. The more I experience these creative collaborative work environments, I appreciate the kind of collaboration LAES projects provided even more.
  • Internships: Aspect Studios and Level Studios (Rosetta).
  • Career Focus: Audio Engineer in film, theater, music, and broadcasting industry.
  • Current Career Work: I am currently working at Apple as a Senior Motion Graphic Designer. Prior to Apple, I worked at Level Studios/Rosetta as a Motion Graphic Designer for 2 years. I've worked on motion graphic projects that range from retail environment to a product UI prototyping. While at Aspect Studios, I worked on a SLO local feature film: "More Than Stars" as a Sound Engineer.
  • Study/Work Abroad: I have been planning for a potential work abroad in Korea.

Daniel DeKlotz

  • Graduation Ceremony: 2010
  • Personal Statement: Besides my studies in LAES, I am also pursuing fluency in Japanese and German, the continuing development of my musical/compositional, artistic and programming skills, and the business skills necessary to succeed in the entrepreneurial environment of independent video game development.
  • Career Focus: Independent Video Game Development
  • Study Abroad Work: Japan

Vicki Lindem

  • Graduation Ceremony: 2010
  • Personal Statement: This program has helped me realize my passion for television and film. Through LAES, I have been able to move towards my goals of working in the television and film industry while still studying engineering and sciences. I hope this program can do for others what it has for me because college should be about exploring your educational opportunities and passions.
  • Internships: I worked with the 'Celebrity Fit Club: Season 7' reality TV show for Vh1, which aired February 14, 2010. My job title is 'Talent Production Assistant,' which means I assist the 'Talent Associate Producer' with things that pertain specifically to the cast. Since I am on set everyday, I am able to do a variety of small jobs, which makes it easier to learn and take in everything that is going on around me.
  • Career focus: Film and Television

Michael Robotham

  • Graduation Ceremony: 2010
  • Personal Statement: During my time at Cal Poly, I received a technical background without compromising my creativeness. This helps me everyday in everything I do. I am very proud to be a Mustang and to have a degree in LAES.
  • Current Career Work: Technical Sales at Meraki (recently acquired by Cisco Systems).
  • Career Focus while at Cal Poly: Industrial Design.


LAES 2009 Alumni

LAES Spring 2009 Graduates

Pictured at the 2009 Spring ceremony from left are Donovan Loomis and Bill Trammel.


Donovan Loomis

  • Graduation Ceremony: 2009
  • Personal Statement: Finding challenges in all parts of the world takes a willingness to explore. Through exploration I learn about new cultures, places, cuisine, people, and about myself. I learn from them and try to help others explore new challenges. I love the challenges that life in another country provides and the skills that develop through these challenges.
  • Study Abroad Internship: South Korea
  • Senior Project on Cal Poly's Digital Commons:
  • Career Focus: I wish to contribute to the South Korea TaLK program my ideas and abilities to teach the new scholars how to be teachers. I want to bring together companies and universities from both countries in an effort to further develop the relations between our counties.

Bill Trammel

  • Graduation Ceremony: 2009
  • Personal Statement: I am an entrepreneur. I do not like conforming to fixed career expectations, so LAES was the perfect way for me to create the right education for me. I learned what I wanted to learn, learned things I was passionate about, learned things that would actually be useful to me in the future. LAES is a breeding ground for creativity and innovation, and I count myself privileged to be a founding student.
  • Career Focus: I am a founding partner in two companies: Exclusive Lighting Solutions and Audible Tangents. Exclusive Lighting Solutions is bringing the efficiency of the web to lighting control system design. Audible Tangents is bringing international hi-fi audio to American consumers. I own another design company, Trammel Design, which creates brand identities for new startups.
  • More Info: Read an article about Bill's company from the Mustang Daily at and view his web portfolio at (opens in a new window)


Related Content

LAES 301 Class

Engineering and Art unite in LAES 301 project-based introductory course.

The class is open to all second year and above Cal Poly majors and provides innovative hands-on work, in a team setting, for real-life projects.

Contact us for a permission number.

Class Info (pdf)


The LAES Club exists to bring together students interested in creative technologies, to collaborate on interdisciplinary projects and learn about and network with members of the industry.

Stay tuned for their Fall 2016 meeting schedule.

About the Club

About LAES

The B.A. degree program in Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies (LAES) is jointly offered by the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Engineering.

The program prepares students for a wide range of innovative careers in emerging professional fields that combine skills and interests in the arts, technology, and culture.

About LAES

Give to LAES

Please help LAES continue to provide quality interdisciplinary education for our students.

Your gifts will help foster this unique program and extend its impact by enabling more students to collaborate with each other and faculty, in innovative ways, in the area of expressive and emerging technologies.

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