University Honors Program

Live, Learn, Achieve

Honors Ambassadors

Our Honors Ambassadors are available as a resource to all Honors students to share about their experiences in Honors (e.g., balancing Honors & major requirements, requirements of the Honors program) and as Cal Poly students more generally. Please feel free to reach out to any of our ambassadors via email if you have any questions and/or would like to meet a new friend within Honors! They are here for you!

Meet the Ambassadors

Samantha Avalos (she/her)

Major/Year: Psychology Major. Child Development and Biology minors; 3rd Year

Hometown: Clovis, CA

Campus Involvement: I am a supplemental workshops in science facilitator where I lead a BIO 161 workshop. I am also an undergraduate research assistant for Dr J's relationships lab.

Career Interest: Psychology professor and researcher

Why is Honors valuable to you? "I think that Honors is such a great resource to have. You are surrounded by so many like minded people that are always willing to support you. Honors also encourages you to get involved and take advantage of your time at Cal Poly!"


Ellie Conlin-Day (she/her)

Major/Year: Food Science; 4th Year

Hometown: Kennett Square, PA

Campus Involvement: In the FSN department, I work on the JARS Crew, making Cal Poly Jam and BBQ sauce, and the Sensory team, running Corporate and Research testing. I also am a CAFES Ambassador, taking time to represent my college to prospective students and communities throughout and way beyond Cal Poly.

Career Interest: Consumer Insights or Product Development

Why is Honors valuable to you? "The Honors program is so valuable to me because of the community it creates. I have friends and acquaintances I never would have met had we not all been in the honors program."


Madeleine Goertz (she/her)

Major/Year: Mathematics, Postbaccalaureate

Hometown: Kirkland, WA

Campus Involvement: Active member of Math Club, Association for Women in Mathematics, Simple Group, Country Line Dancing Club. Tutor at Learning Support Center

Career Interest: Mathematician

Why is Honors valuable to you? "Honors has allowed me to build valuable connections and relationships with others. In particular, the honors calculus classes helped me successfully launch into my major."


Ryan Hoskins (he/him)

Major/Year:  Agricultural Business; 2nd Year

Hometown: Denver, CO

Campus Involvement: Agribusiness Management Club, Cal Poly Investment Banking Club, Sigma Nu Fraternity Treasurer

Career Interest: Venture Capital

Why is Honors valuable to you? "Honors is valuable to me because the Honors specific housing gives me a place to make friends but also come back to an environment that is chill and good for studying. Another major perk for Honors to me is the priority class selection. The priority class selection allowed me to craft a winter quarter schedule that gives me lots of freedom with how I utilize my time during the week. Finally, my Honors peers have so many skills that they are willing to share with me, and I have learned so much outside the classroom from my peers."


Emma James (she/her)

Major/Year: Business Administration major, Accounting minor; 3rd year

Hometown: Monterey, CA

Campus Involvement: CPA Licensing Advisor, Mustang Consulting, Cal Poly Accounting Club, Volunteer Note Taker, Mustang Media Group, Intramural Softball

Career Interest: Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Why is Honors valuable to you? "The Honors Program is valuable to me because it surrounds me with a community of like-minded, ambitious peers. Honors is an invaluable resource that opens the door to research, mentoring, and leadership roles. My college experience would not be the same if it wasn't for the friends, classes, and extracurriculars the Honors Program brought me!"


Samuel Kaplan (he/him)

Major/Year:  Computer Science, Concentration AI/ML; 2nd Year

Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Campus Involvement: oSTEM, Cal Poly Magic Club, Cal Poly Robotics Club

Career Interest: Software Engineering

Why is Honors valuable to you? "Honors has given me a community of diverse and innovative thinkers. It's this community that has constantly driven me to push my limits academically and socially, giving me new and interesting opportunities to expand my horizons."


Shane Townsend (she/her)

Major/Year: Political Science; 3rdYear

Hometown: Orange County, CA

Campus Involvement: Undergraduate Law Association, Alpha Chi Omega

Career Interest: Lawyer

Why is Honors valuable to you? "Honors has provided me with numerous opportunities to personalize my academic career and build community at Cal Poly. I have found many like minded students that motivate me to care about my future and truly learn by doing. The Honors program is extremely valuable to me as it has been a place for me to work in many interdisciplinary settings and expand my own skillsets."


Lizzy Velthoen (she/her)

Major/Year: Political Science major, Sociology minor; 3rd Year

Hometown: Ventura, CA

Campus Involvement: Political Science Club, Women Empowerment Club, Ceramics and Jewelry making

Career Interest: Lawyer

Why is Honors valuable to you? "Honors has provided me with an amazing community of faculty and students who are dedicated and passionate individuals that encourage both my academic and personal goals. This program has given me access to so many amazing resources and opportunities that would not have been possible otherwise."



Zachary Wallpe (he/him)

Major/Year: Environmental Management and Protection, Planned minors in Environmental Studies and Economics; 2nd Year

Hometown: Lake Tahoe, NV

Campus Involvement: Cal Poly Club Ultimate Frisbee B Team, Association of Environmental Professionals Club (AEP)

Career Interest: Environmental Consulting, Clean Energy, Wildfire Management

Why is Honors valuable to you? "Honors is valuable because it: creates a community of fellow high achievers to work and live with, provides opportunity to engage with rigorous course material in small group settings, provides additional resources and support, and pushes me to engage with leadership, service, and research."


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