The CIE Faculty Fellows are growing the entrepreneurship culture at Cal Poly. Within each of Cal Poly’s six colleges, CIE Faculty Fellows incorporate innovation and entrepreneurship into their coursework, serve as CIE ambassadors within the college they represent and help guide students through entrepreneurial career paths.
Computer Science and Software engineering, College of Engineering
Paul Anderson, an associate professor of computer science and software engineering and the director of Cal Poly’s Data Science Research Group, which specializes in developing and applying data mining, artificial intelligence and machine learning in the biomedical field.
Anderson’s research focuses on the foundations of data science with a current focus on machine learning and explainable ranking algorithms. He also has multidisciplinary projects underway in areas such as genomics, metabolomics, toxicology, marine biology, cancer informatics and biomedicine.
Anderson graduated in 2004 from Wright State University with a B.S. degree in Computer Engineering. He received his Master of Computer Science in 2006 and his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering in June 2010.
As a CIE Faculty Fellow, Paul looks forward to imparting his students with an entrepreneurial skill set that will help them navigate rapidly evolving technology institutions.
Biological Science, College of Science and Math
Jean Davidson is an assistant professor in the the Department of Biological Sciences at Cal Poly. She is also the co-director of the Computational Molecular Sciences Center, as well as the Bioinformatics Research Group.
Anderson has extensive experience in the areas of genomics, bioinformatics and data science — especially in relation to applications in biotechnology and biomedical sciences. Her current research interests are in non-model organism de-novo genome sequencing and machine learning algorithms in breast cancer subtype clustering.
She has taught a variety of courses at Cal Poly, from first-year Cell and Molecular Biology, to upper-division Principles of Genetics and Applications of Bioinformatics. She also co-runs the Bioinformatics Minor and Capstone projects.
Along with her collaborators and students, Davidson publishes in the areas of genomics and bioinformatics and presents at national conferences such as the American Society of Human Genetics.
Anderson is excited to expand her interdisciplinary collaboration through her role as a CIE Faculty Fellow and looks forward to introducing her students to entrepreneurship.
Economics, Orfalea College of Business
Dr. Katya Vasilaky is an assistant professor in the Economics Area of the Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly. She is an applied microeconomist by training, with a focus on development economics.
Vasilaky’s interest in entrepreneurship began while living in Uganda and working for the World Bank and the Clinton Health Access Initiative on separate projects related to her dissertation on social networks and technology adoption in rural Uganda. This work spurred her interest in developing her own tools and applications without having to rely on engineers.
After completing her Ph.D., she joined Id.me (formerly Troopswap), a relatively unknown startup at the time, as their VP of Data and Strategy. Today, Id.me is used as the identification platform for the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Motor Vehicles nationwide.
In her position with Id.me, Vasilaky learned how to work with teams of engineers and business leaders in sprints, present to investors and pivot quickly.
As a CIE Faculty Fellow, Vasilaky is excited about the possibility of continuing to innovate across disciplines to address economic inequities across the globe. Her perspective is that the world’s problems are collectively our problems and that they can be solved by motivated and clever minds, using the expertise that comes from multiple disciplines.
English Literature, College of Liberal Arts
Deb Donig is an assistant professor of English literature at Cal Poly. She is the co-founder of the Cal Poly Ethical Technology Initiative and the host of “Technically Human,” a podcast where she talks with major thinkers, writers and industry-leading technologists about the relationship between humans and the technologies we create.
She has taught and published in a wide variety of areas, including comparative genocide studies, science fiction and African and Caribbean literature.
Outside of academia, she consults on film and television projects, including the forthcoming anthology series “Weight of the World,” and the Amazon Prime Series “Hunters,” produced by Jordan Peele and starring Al Pacino. In 2020, she was featured as an expert in the documentary “Hunters: Behind the Scenes,” where she discussed the role of fiction in and the ethics of representing the Holocaust.
Multimedia Journalism, College of Liberal Arts
Kim Lisagor Bisheff teaches multimedia journalism, public affairs reporting and media entrepreneurship in the Cal Poly Journalism Department, where she has worked as an adjunct professor since 2004.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from UCLA and a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley. She worked at the Los Angeles Times and Outside magazine before becoming a freelance writer, author and lecturer. Her most recent book, “Disappearing Destinations” (Penguin Random House, co-authored with Heather Hansen) won the Outstanding Book Award for General Nonfiction from the American Society of Journalists & Authors.
Bisheff is passionate about teaching media literacy concepts on campus and in the community, and she speaks and writes frequently about the spread of misinformation through social networks. As a CIE Faculty Fellow, she aims to develop multidisciplinary partnerships to promote media training among STEM students and STEM literacy among journalism students. She also hopes to shepherd her entrepreneurship students through the CIE programs as they turn their classroom news innovations into real-world media solutions.
Psychology and Child Development, College of Liberal Arts
Dr. Laura Cacciamani is an assistant professor of cognitive neuroscience in the Department of Psychology and Child Development in Cal Poly’s College of Liberal Arts. Cacciamani earned her Ph.D. in psychology with a minor in neuroscience from the University of Arizona, after which she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco.
Cacciamani’s research focuses on the neural underpinnings of perception and memory, as well as the interactions between the senses. She has published papers that have used behavioral, neuroimaging, and neurostimulation techniques to investigate these topics in young adults, older adults and people who are blind.
Although studying brains is her passion, she has always had an interest in innovation. As a CIE Faculty Fellow, Cacciamani is excited to merge the seemingly disparate fields of entrepreneurship and cognitive neuroscience. In doing so, she hopes to show students, both in the classroom and research lab, that thinking about the brain can provide insight into entrepreneurship, and vice versa.
Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering
Dr. Alzraiee is an assistant professor of construction engineering in Cal Poly’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is also the co-director of the interdisciplinary heavy civil minor, which he created in collaboration with faculty from the departments of Civil and Environmental and Engineering and Construction Management.
Before joining Cal Poly in 2018, Alzraiee spent 17 years working in the design and construction of different projects, including commercial buildings, highways, bridges, and oil and gas plants. He received his Ph.D. in building engineering from Concordia University in Canada.
Alzraiee’s research interests focus on developing and leveraging advanced tools for optimizing construction safety, cost and schedule. His research is focusing on automation and technology applications in the construction sector by using advanced virtual design and construction platforms.
As a CIE Faculty Fellow, Alzraiee aspires to create a mechanism that supports Cal Poly students working on innovative projects that have visibility for funding, implementation and success.
Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Science and Math
Dr. Javin Oza is an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the Cal Poly College of Science and Mathematics. Oza received his Ph.D. from the UC Santa Barbara in biomolecular science and engineering. He completed his postdoctoral work at Northwestern University in bioengineering.
Oza works at the interface of biochemistry and biological engineering. His research group is innovating ways to manufacture and engineering proteins with the goals of better understanding nature’s design rules and applying these design rules to the development of new biotechnologies and biomaterials.
Oza is excited about working with students interested in entrepreneurship to bring ideas to the market. He believes the path from ideation to product truly integrates discovery, development and business in a way that solves problems for society. Oza looks forward to helping students along the way.
Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering
Christopher Heylman holds a B.S. in general engineering with a concentration in biomedical engineering from Cal Poly, as well as a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University. He performed his graduate research on the transport limitations in engineered tissue constructs for orthopedic defects at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute.
Following his graduate studies, Heylman was a George E. Hewitt Foundation for Medical Research Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Irvine. There, he worked as part of both the Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiac Technologies and the Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics developing microphysiological systems (vascularized tissues and organs on a chip) for high throughput drug screening. His current research is focused on the further development of these tissue on a chip systems for drug testing.
Prior to joining Cal Poly, Dr. Heylman founded and served as CEO of Velox Biosystems, a clinical diagnostic startup developing rapid tests for the detection of pathogens in clinical samples that utilize a combination of microfluidics, fluorescent microscopy and droplet based chemistry
Western Coating Technology Center, Chemistry & Biochemistry Department, College of Science & Math
Dr. Erik Sapper is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at Cal Poly. Prior to joining Cal Poly in 2016, Sapper was a group leader, project manager and materials engineer in the aerospace industry, where for six years he led international research teams in the development of novel polymeric materials and coatings for aerospace applications.
Now at Cal Poly, Sapper’s research focuses on the autonomous and computationally-driven discovery and design of new materials for coatings applications and polymeric materials. He and his research team are based out of the Kenneth N. Edwards Western Coatings Technology Center in the College of Science and Mathematics.
Sapper’s work has been published in the Journal of Coatings Technology and Research, Progress in Organic Coatings, Coatings, and Materials & Design, in addition to multiple trade journals, book chapters and international patents. His work on the modeling, performance prediction and computational design of new coating materials have received multiple recognitions from the American Coatings Association.
Sapper is passionate about creating industrial and entrepreneurial project opportunities for students. Activities and assignments in his chemistry courses include design thinking sprints, flipped classrooms, student-proposed and -managed research projects, patent application lab reports,and business plan drafting.
Sapper is eager to further encourage interdisciplinary entrepreneurship across the Cal Poly community by serving as a CIE Faculty Fellow.
Biomedical Engineering Department, College of Engineering
Dr. Michael D. Whitt teaches in Cal Poly’s Biomedical Engineering Department. He holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from Purdue University, a Master of Science and Doctorate of philosophy in biomedical engineering from Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UNDNJ), and a Masters in Business Administration from UCLA. While at Rutgers and UMDNJ, Whitt focused his studies in the areas of biomechanics and biomaterials while simultaneously performing research in the areas of medical instrumentation and hemodynamics.
Whitt’s academic and industrial experiences include academic positions with the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame, Miami Dade College and Purdue University, as well as experiences with Fortune 500 pharmaceutical and medical device companies. He is a founder of a medical device startup, Cordex Systems, Inc., which developed a noninvasive early detection method for cardiovascular disease.
Whitt holds US and international patents and has carried the importance of product development into his involvements with the nonprofit organizations Center for Leadership Development (Indianapolis, IN) and Academy of Business Leadership (Rosemead, CA), where he helps facilitate the success of each group’s missions to help youth make change and excel as professional, business, and community leaders. Whitt also received the 2008 Center for Leadership Development Achievement in Science and Technical Disciplines Award.
He is committed to the development of opportunities to contribute to students, healthcare clinicians and community members.
BioResource and Agriculture, College of Engineering
Dr. Bo Liu is an assistant professor in the BioResource and Agricultural Engineering Department at Cal Poly. He received his doctoral and master’s degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia.
He teaches coursework in the areas of electronics, sensors, data acquisition systems and robotics. He also conducts research in emerging information technologies and mechatronics applications in agricultural production and processing.
Liu believes that entrepreneurship plays a very important rule in the foundation of Cal Poly’s “Learn by Doing” philosophy. He wants to teach courses that can provide Cal Poly graduates with the knowledge, skills and motivation to encourage entrepreneurial success and shift their mindsets from being job seekers to job creators.
Industrial Technology & Packaging, Orfalea College of Business
Dr. Ahmed Deif is an assistant professor of operation and process improvement in Cal Poly’s Industrial Technology and Packaging department. Before joining Cal Poly, Deif was an assistant professor at the Universities of Regina and Windsor in Canada. Deif received his Ph.D. and M.S. in industrial and manufacturing systems engineering from the University of Windsor, Canada.
Deif’s current research interests are in value chain management, optimal manufacturing, service planning and control, lean and green manufacturing and service systems and dynamic analysis of clustering systems.
Deif has a diverse portfolio in his industrial experience, ranging from automotive industry where he worked at the research and development center at Chrysler Canada, to steel industry, to electronic industry and finally assembly industry at various engineering and consultancy capacities. As a lean and six sigma certified expert, Deif helped various industries in improving their production performance in different countries.
As a CIE Faculty Fellow, Deif is planning to create interest in innovative value chains as an emerging entrepreneurial field. He will also employ his gamification approach in teaching various CIE activities.
Marketing, Orfalea College of Business
Stern Neill is a professor of marketing in Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business. He offers project-based courses in customer research and new product development and launch.
Neill received his PhD in Business Administration from Louisiana State University. He joined the Cal Poly faculty in 2008 after eight years at the University of Washington, Tacoma.
His research is on marketing insights and innovation and examines how individuals (entrepreneurs and executives) and organizations (new ventures and businesses) develop new insights and engage in innovative behaviors in complex, ambiguous and uncertain situations. This research is published in academic journals, including Entrepreneurship Research Journal, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, and Journal of Business Research. He also conducts field research in China and the South Pacific.
Neill aims to guide students in developing and applying competencies that support insight and innovation.
Computer and Electrical, College of Engineering
Lynne A. Slivovsky is professor of electrical and computer engineering at Cal Poly. She received her Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2001. Her work examines design learning in the context of engagement and the interplay between technology and society.
Slivovsky received the Frontiers in Education New Faculty Fellow Award in 2003. Her work in service learning led to her selection in 2007 as a California Campus Compact-Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Faculty Fellow for Service-Learning for Political Engagement. In 2010, she received the Cal Poly President’s Community Service Award for Significant Faculty Contribution.
Communication Studies, College of Liberal Arts
David Askay joined Cal Poly as an assistant professor in the Communication Studies Department in 2013, after earning an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in organizational science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. With an educational background spanning organizational communication, industrial-organizational psychology, management and human-computer interaction, he teaches on topics including teamwork, creativity, leadership, organizational control, digital labor, and sociotechnical design.
Askay’s research primarily focuses on sociotechnical design that enables and constrains participation in crowd-based platforms.
His experience with innovation began as a participant in the Teams in Engineering Service (TIES) program at UC San Diego, in which he joined an interdisciplinary team to develop a technological system to improve the workflow of nurses. Inspired by this experience, he later helped to initiate a second TIES project to create a digital vision screening system for quickly and accurately identifying eye problems in children.
Management, Orfalea College of Business
Dr. Taryn Stanko is an assistant professor of management in Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business. She currently teaches organizational behavior and negotiation at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Stanko received a Ph.D. from the UC Irvine and an M.B.A. from New York University.
Prior to joining Cal Poly, Stanko was an assistant professor at the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business.
Stanko’s research focuses on virtual work, work and non-work boundary management, and negotiation and gender and has been published in outlets such as the Academy of Management Journal and Organization Science.
Before launching her academic career, Stanko worked as a manager at a startup that created customized business solution software, then for several years at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles.
Through her past work experience, research and time consulting with startups, Stanko has recognized that a negotiation is a critical tool for entrepreneurs. As a CIE Faculty Fellow, her goals are to help founders become more effective negotiators through workshops and one-on-one mentoring. She will also be designing and teaching a new course on negotiation for entrepreneurs to students from across the Cal Poly campus.
Architecture, College of Architecture & Environmental Design
Clare Olsen is an assistant professor in Cal Poly’s Architecture Department and teaches design, materials and digital technology courses. Olsen has also taught at Tulane University, Cornell University and Syracuse University. In her studio courses, she strives to expand students’ understanding of design methods, representation and research, and she encourages her students to endeavor to make contributions to the practice of architecture through innovative approaches to design problems.
Olsen is a licensed architect and has worked in firms in Los Angeles, Stockholm and Salt Lake City. Since beginning her teaching career, she started her practice, C.O.CO., which has focused on installation and furniture design projects. Her installation, PROJECTions hovers in a lightwell in the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, and Reflection glows in the stairwell at the Robert E. Kennedy Library at Cal Poly.
Olsen’s recent research has focused on interdisciplinarity, computation, materials and design pedagogy. Her book, Collaborations in Architecture and Engineering, co-authored with engineer Sinead MacNamara has received international acclaim. Through interviews with architects and engineers all over the world, Olsen and MacNamara learned about innovations in working methods and design that were achieved through collaboration.
Olsen is excited about working with the faculty and students across many departments in the university through the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She recognizes the huge rewards of interdisciplinary partnerships and is eager to collaborate with faculty and mentor students through as a CIE Faculty Fellow.
Her plans for the CIE Faculty Fellows program will center on the development of a major and a set of co-curricular courses on sustainable product design.
Physics, College of Science & Mathematics
Brian Granger is an associate professor of physics at Cal Poly. He has a background in theoretical physics, with a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado.
His current research interests include quantum computing, data science and interactive computing environments. He is a leader of the IPython project, co-founder of Project Jupyter and an active contributor to a number of open source projects focused on data science in Python, R and Julia. He is aloso a board member of the NumFocus Foundation.
His time as a CIE Faculty Fellow focuses on building interdisciplinary courses and activities that combine data science with innovation and entrepreneurship. In particular, he will work to bring data science to a broad campus audience and work with CIE staff and students to develop a topic for one of the CIE entrepreneurial forum series.
Find him @ellisonbg on Twitter and GitHub.
Agribusiness, College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences
Dr. Christiane Schroeter works as a professor in Cal Poly’s Agribusiness Department, where she teaches Food Marketing, Global Agricultural Marketing and Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Agriculture.
Schroeter graduated with her Ph.D. from Purdue University in agricultural economics. Her dissertation, which was the recipient of the Outstanding Dissertation Award, employed a microeconomic framework to determine the impact of food price and policy changes on obesity.
Schroeter has published peer-reviewed articles in journals such as the Journal of Health Economics, the International Journal of Consumer Studies, and the Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education.
As the first CIE Faculty Fellow from Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES), she has inspired many students to pursue entrepreneurial pathways. In her class, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Agriculture, students identify business opportunities based on current issues in food and agriculture, then work on customer development by going out to collect consumer insights based on their initial idea for the business opportunity.
Schroeter aims to connect any interested students to CIE innovation programs so that they further immerse into the entrepreneurial process and launch their business ideas.
Journalism, College of Liberal Arts
Mary Glick is an associate professor and former chair of the Journalism Department. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the State University of New York, College at Oswego, and a master’s in communications from California State University, Fullerton.
Glick coordinates the department’s internship program, working to ensure that students are prepared to enter the rapidly changing world of news media and public relations.
She began teaching journalism at California State University, Long Beach and was named Outstanding Journalism Educator by the California Newspaper Publishers Association. Mary held editorial positions for daily newspapers in Southern California and worked in marketing and public relations.
Before coming to Cal Poly in 2012, she was associate director for the American Press Institute, where she designed and moderated innovative training seminars for newspaper executives during a time of great upheaval in the newspaper industry. She also helped organize a landmark study of women in newspaper leadership, followed by a series of retreats that focused on women’s authentic leadership styles.
Mary has worked with other CIE Faculty Fellows to create an integrated marketing communications minor and develop a course in media innovation and entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship, Orfalea College of Business
Lynn Metcalf is a professor of entrepreneurship in Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business. She received her Ph.D. in marketing from the University of South Carolina, a Masters in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a B.A. in business from the University of Oregon.
She serves as co-academic director for the CIE and is also a consultant with the Cal Poly Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
As a CIE Faculty Fellow, Metcalf conducted research revealing what’s needed to support students’ entrepreneurial aspirations on campus.
Metcalf spearheaded the development of the integrated marketing communications minor with Faculty Fellow Mary Glick. In collaboration with Faculty Fellow David Askay, Metcalf developed an entrepreneurship elective course, Solving Big World Challenges, which they co-teach. Metcalf and Askay have also collaborated to publish research on the use of artificial swarm intelligence in business decision making contexts.
She has also collaborated with CIE co-founder Jonathan York and CIE co-academic director Tom Katona to publish research on university accelerator programs.
General Engineering, College of Engineering
Bob Crockett is a professor of biomedical engineering and the director of the general engineering program at Cal Poly. Crockett received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in materials science and engineering. He also holds an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley.
Crockett is a specialist in technology development and commercialization of advanced materials and manufacturing processes. Prior to joining Cal Poly, he was the founder and president of Xeragen, Inc., a San Luis Obispo-based biotechnology startup company.
In addition to his academic work in innovation and entrepreneurship, Crockett is currently involved in 4 technology-based startup companies.
His CIE Fellows activities focus on developing the Innovation Sandbox, a physical and programmatic environment where students of all academic levels and majors across campus can come together to explore and develop their early-stage ideas.
Art & Design, College of Liberal Arts
Enrica Lovaglio Costello is an associate professor in the Art and Design Department at Cal Poly, specializing in media arts and technology, with an emphasis in visual narrative construction, creative content development and cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural models. She practices an exploratory use of technology for storytelling and stimulates interdisciplinary efforts and collaborations to strengthen the understanding of global culture and develop innovative ideas for pedagogical practice.
Costello has been freelancing in the fields of multimedia, architecture and graphic design for the last 20 years.
She has long been an advocate of art careers that hinge less on working for others, versus a more self-directed entrepreneurial approach that encompasses both expertise in business knowledge and alterations in mindset. She attempts to convey this entrepreneurial spirit to her students in every class.
Architecture, College of Architecture & Environmental Design
Umut Toker teaches architectural design and urban design and studios at Cal Poly. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture, a Master of Urban Design and a Ph.D. in Architecture. His experience covers architecture, visualization, urban design and design research in diverse environments.
Toker’s research interests include architectural design, design of environments for research and development, computer applications in architectural and urban design, visualization and research methods in architectural and urban design.
His research on the design of research and development spaces to support innovation processes has been published in a variety of journals.
Toker has been a CIE Faculty Fellow since 2012. His CIE Faculty Fellow related activities to date have been focusing on bringing entrepreneurship topics into the design curriculum, with a focus on connecting design students with local designers who run their own businesses.