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Parent Advisory Council Member Biographies

Barbara Belfield (Irvine, CA) joined the Parent Advisory Council in December 2010. She and her husband Mike are the proud parents of Eric who is majoring in aerospace engineering and Robert who attends the California Maritime Academy, majoring in marine transportation.

Barbara is a graduate of Cal State Fullerton and currently works for the City of Irvine in the Child Care Coordination office. Barbara and Mike have both been active volunteers during their boys’ school careers participating in PTA, Little League, Boy Scouts, and Music Boosters, holding leadership positions in all.  They really enjoyed their involvement with the Northwood High School Timberwolves Instrumental Music Boosters for the last 6 years and are glad Eric has joined both the Cal Poly Marching Band and Wind Ensemble.  They have already made several trips to Cal Poly to hear some really incredible performances from both groups. In their spare time, Mike enjoys photography and woodworking and Barbara likes to read, garden, knit and visit San Luis Obispo.

Barbara volunteers for the Parent Council because she feels it is a great way to learn about Cal Poly, meet other parents and be an ambassador and advocate for Cal Poly’s unique learn by doing philosophy. 

Laura Casuga (Clovis, CA) joined the Parent Advisory Council in April 2010. Her oldest son, Adam, is an aerospace engineering major. Her younger son, David, is a junior at Fresno Christian High School in Fresno, CA and hopes to attend Cal Poly as a computer science major in 2012.

Laura is a medical transcriptionist for Community Regional Medical Center Fresno and works out of her home. She also helps out with projects for the Health Information Management department that interface with the Information Systems department since she has experience as a network administrator. 

Laura enjoys reading, crochet and playing oboe/flute/clarinet in various groups throughout the Central valley. Until recently, she was the "show mom" to both boys, who rode American Paint horses in competition, and who were very successful, with numerous State, National and World titles to their credit. 

Laura is also fluent in American Sign Language, and utilizes her skills interpreting at Riverpark Bible Church in Fresno, CA, where she and her family are members.

Laura has found the Parent Advisory Council to be a rewarding experience because of the opportunity it affords to directly impact other parent's experience at Cal Poly in a positive way. She enjoys meeting with the parents on the Council several times a year, and looks forward to forming lasting friendships through that interaction.

Gail Ginell (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) joined the Parent Advisory Council in April 2012. Her son, Brian, is a mechanical engineering major. He’s lived in the Yosemite dorm and is currently living in Poly Canyon. He is a discussion leader for math and science and is a student member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Sales Engineering Club. In addition, he is a member of the Cal Poly Men’s Soccer Club and Hillel. Gail and her husband, Cary, have another son, Adam, who is a senior in high school.

Gail works part time as an accountant and has done so for many years. She is also the longtime editor for the class notes section of the quarterly alumni magazine for Occidental College, her alma mater. She received her MBA from UCLA.

Gail is the school site council chairperson at Thousand Oaks High School and is a board member of the Thousand Oaks High School Boys’ Soccer Boosters. She is also an active member of the PTSA and frequent high school volunteer. She has also been a volunteer with Boy Scout Troop 761, from which both sons earned their Eagle Scout rank.

Gail and Cary enjoy theater, especially musical theater. Cary is a reviewer for the local newspapers and so they see a lot of shows. Gail also enjoys traveling, scrapbooking, needlework, and visiting with friends and family. She is an active member of Temple Etz Chaim and is on the parent committee for the youth group.

Gail has always been a member of the school site council at her sons’ schools and felt that joining the Cal Poly Parent Council was a natural thing to do.  It has been a rewarding experience so far. Gail has enjoyed learning more about the Cal Poly experience and also helping parents through their children’s transition to college.  Gail had the opportunity to speak at the April 2012 Cal Poly Open House for Admitted Students. While a little nervous in front of 3000 prospective parents and students, she enjoyed sharing the reasons that her son chose Cal Poly. He is very happy at Cal Poly and Gail is happy to be a part of Cal Poly as well. As a member of the Parent Advisory Council, Gail feels that it is important to represent the views of all parents. She looks forward to meeting with other parents.

Lloyd and Eileen Lenson (Irvine, CA) joined the Parent Advisory Council in 2010.  Their daughter Rachel is majoring in Animal Science.  Rachel is a dedicated horse lover and barrel racer with the Cal Poly intercollegiate rodeo team. She hopes to get involved in the equine and cattle industry. A highlight of Rachel’s freshman year was her equine enterprise class, which allowed daily hands-on experience in her major.

Eileen is a life coach in Orange County, California. She was a psychotherapist in private practice for over 20 years. She has taught ethics, presented internationally and authored a book and several articles on mental health related topics. 

Eileen has served on the board of directors for two homeowners associations.  She also volunteered for the public school system for 13 years. Eileen is thrilled to have the opportunity to be a resource to other Cal Poly parents who are sending their children to college and hopes her understanding of family dynamics will be of help.

Lloyd is excited about the opportunity to participate on the Parent Advisory Council.  He is the Chief Operating Officer of CORT, a division of Berkshire Hathaway company. Lloyd has been with CORT for 33 years. He oversees operations in the US and UK and has held various positions in corporate and field levels across the country.  He looks forward to leveraging his personal and business experiences on the Parent Advisory Council.    

Empty nesters, Lloyd and Eileen spend most weekends relaxing at their beach home with Rachel’s geriatric dog.

Kim Loquaci(San Jose, CA) joined the Parent Advisory Council in Spring, 2010. Kim has been a Special Education teacher for Santa Clara Unified School District for 31 years. Kim's husband Steve, is a lawyer and youngest son Kevin, is a senior at Bellarmine College Preparatory.

Her son Mitchell, is a second year biology major. He is a member of Pike, and enjoys football and volleyball. He has a summer job working at a sports camp. He enjoyed dorm life as a freshman, and will be live off campus next year.

As a parent council member, Kim enjoys the opportunity to assist parents and provide student success resources to other Cal Poly families.

Cassandra Ornelas (Santa Barbara, CA) joined the Cal Poly Parent Advisory Council in July 2010. Her daughter, Jenna Larson, is an Animal Science major. Jenna wants to be a veterinarian. Jenna attended the Polycultural Weekend and looks forward to become active in the clubs and activities on the Cal Poly campus. Besides her love for animals, Jenna is passionate about music. She has participated in a competition Jazz choir as the Alto section leader and loves the piano. She has a younger sister, Carliegh, age 10, who aspires to become a future Cal Poly Student.

As a Registered Nurse, Cassandra is a District Nurse for the Santa Barbara School District with 15 years school health experience. Professionally, Cassandra is an advocate for students in the educational system. She has always been an active parent, who is currently the President of Monte Vista Elementary School’s School Site Council and has served on the council for 5 years. Cassandra has also been the Travel Coordinator and Health Expert for the Dos Pueblos High School Jazz A Choir and Combo for the past 2 years. She enjoys reading, spending time on the beach, scrap booking, spending time with family and friends, and traveling.

Cassandra looks forward with working with other parents and members of the Cal Poly Parent Advisory Council. In addition, Cassandra looks forward to meeting with Cal Poly students to explore strengths and frustrations students are experiencing and act as a voice for positive changes when appropriate. She looks forward to sharing both her personal and professional experiences when advocating for Cal Poly students and families.

Lynne Preisser (San Diego, CA) joined the Parent Council in April 2011. Her son Alex is a materials engineering major. He is active in the student/professional society and has enjoyed conventions and field trips. Lynne enjoys hosting his Cal Poly friends.

Lynne is in sales for Neiman Marcus and has an MS in social science research and is currently working on a certificate in arts and the creative process. The Preisser family enjoys kayaking in Moro Bay. Lynne is excited to be part of the Cal Poly Parent Advisory Council and support the university during a time of great changes.

Ellen Solum (Bakersfield, CA) joined the Parent Advisory Council in July, 2012. Her son James is a Forestry and Natural Resources major and daughter Erica is a Software Engineering major. Both kids are active in the Greek System, James in Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity and Erica in Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority. The residence hall experience in the red bricks has been great for both of them, as well as Poly Canyon Village for James.

Ellen graduated from Cal Poly in 1979 with a double major in Home Economics, as well as Dietetics and Food Administration. She became a registered dietitian after earning a Master's Degree from Cal State Northridge. Ellen spent 11 years working with Los Angeles Unified School in school food service and has been with Kern County Senior Nutrition Programs for the past 21 years. Husband Eric graduated from USC in 1978 with degrees in Petroleum Engineering and Geology. It was challenging for him to make the transition from Trojan to Mustang, but he has really learned to appreciate the accessibility of the faculty to the students, as well as the many opportunities for collaborative hands-on projects.

Ellen is passionate about Cal Poly's "Learn by Doing" philosophy and enjoys helping other families to have the best possible college experience, as well as sharing all that San Luis Obispo has to offer. She also loves being involved with the continued growth and development of the university with the chance to give back.

Jeanne Stone (Irvine, CA) joined the Parent Advisory Council in January 2009. She is a Cal Poly alumnus (LS ’78) and is the alumni board member representative to the Parent Advisory Council. She and her husband Ken (ARCH ’80) are the parents of two, and soon to be three, Cal poly students: Michael, Architecture, Andrew, Civil Engineering with minor in Watershed Management, and Daniel who will enter the Architectural Engineering program in Fall 2009.  Ken has been actively involved in the Cal Poly Alumni Association for almost 20 years, serving as its President twice.  He is currently President-elect of the CSU Alumni Council, representing all 23 campuses of the California State University. All those trips to Cal Poly for alumni activities, Homecomings, and Open Houses ultimately “brainwashed” their sons into thinking that there is no other university worth attending. Even their many activities at UCI with Mom could not sway them.

Jeanne is a lecturer at UC Irvine in the Department of Education. She is actively involved in her sons’ high school Instrumental Music Boosters and local church. When not busy with her sons, Jeanne enjoys reading, scrapbooking, family activities and cooking. Ken is Vice President and General Manager for The Austin Company’s Western Region.  Austin is an architecture, engineering, and construction company. In addition to his work with the alumni groups, he is involved with the music boosters, high school youth ministry at church and has just “retired” from serving as Chaplain of Boy Scout Troop 36 for the past 12 years.

All three of their sons have been active in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts all having reached the rank of Eagle Scout. They enjoy backpacking and camping and have all hiked through the backcountry of Philmont Scout Ranch with their father. In addition to their interest in the outdoors, all were involved with music in high school, but unfortunately, have not found time to continue formally while at Cal Poly. Michael spends all his free time in his architecture labs or bike riding. Andrew spends his all free time in the Vista Grande kitchen as a student crew leader doing meal preparation and inventory management. Daniel still enjoys (if possible) the daily high school schedule which he surrounds with as many music activities as possible: pit orchestra for the school musical, marching band, jazz band, orchestra, and state and district honor orchestras.

The Stone family considers Cal Poly their home away from home and continuously looks for ways to give back to the university where Jeanne and Ken first met (thank goodness for the dorms!) and found their vocations. Jeanne looks forward to meeting new parents and sharing with them the wonders they can find at Cal Poly with their student.

Pat Thompson (San Juan Capistrano, CA) joined the PAC in the fall of 2010 when his son, Connor, entered his first year at Cal Poly in the College of Business. Connor enjoys the small, family-like atmosphere at Cal Poly as well as the large availability of outdoor activities in the SLO area when he is not studying.
A native southern Californian, Pat lives in San Juan Capistrano with Janette, a non-practicing nurse and a full-time mother to Connor and his three siblings: Cassandra, Cameron, and Cortland. A graduate of UCSD Revelle College and UCI School of Medicine, Pat has maintained a medical practice in Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine in Orange County, California, since 1983. He has been involved in teaching as a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at UCI for over 25 years and is also a Professional Services Reservist with the Orange County Sheriff's Dept.
Pat was initially attracted to the concept of the PAC where students' parents have the opportunity to input ideas to the University administration, hopefully to enhance the overall college experience and to encourage lifelong education of Cal Poly graduates. It is Pat's endeavor to help guide other Cal Poly families through their college years by his participation in the PAC's numerous activities.

Jackie Caplan Wiggins (Long Beach, CA) joined the Parent Council in October 2012. Although she did not attend Cal Poly (she graduated from San Diego State in 1980 with a degree in Business Administration), she has a family “history” with the school.  Her husband Doug is a Cal Poly graduate (’82) with a degree in Agricultural Business Management.  Her sister-in-law Colleen Childers not only graduated from Cal Poly, but taught at the school’s Animal Science Department.  And finally, Jackie’s sister and business partner Karen sits on Dean Wehner’s CAFES (College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences) board of advisors.

Both of Jackie’s children are currently studying at Cal Poly.  Frankie is a 4th year Mechanical Engineering major and will graduate in 2014.  He is very involved in the Cal Poly Triathlon Team (he was President in 2011- 2012) and through his Cal Poly connections, will be working as an intern at the Phillips 66 refinery in the summer of 2013.  Rachel is a 1st year Communications Studies major with a minor in Photography.  She is a recent pledge in the Omicron Mu Chapter of Chi Omega and plans to graduate in 2016.

Jackie is the Vice President and COO of Frieda’s, Inc.; a specialty produce company started by her mother (Frieda) over 50 years ago!  In addition to her “day job”, she is the VP of Operations for her Temple Board and is a member of the United Fresh Produce Association Wholesaler-Distributor Board.  When she is not working or volunteering, you can find her working out at the gym.

As a recent breast cancer survivor and mentor to other women in various stages of their diagnosis, Jackie has found helping others quite rewarding.  She looks forward to being a mentor to other Cal Poly parents; especially those “new” to being the parent of a college student. 

Jackie looks forward to working with the other council members as ambassadors to help support the goals and mission of the University.