Cal Poly New Student & Transition Programs' Professional Staff are the professionals that oversee and manage the entirety of New Student & Transition Programs' different components. Together, they plan Cal Poly's Open House, SLO Days and Week of Welcome orientation programs and work with several different teams of students to create programs that foster connections between Cal Poly, the community, current students and families, and Cal Poly alumni and celebrate all that the Cal Poly community has to offer.
Andrene Kaiwi-Lenting, Director
Arranger, Deliberative, Belief, Strategic, Responsibility
Director of New Student & Transition Programs, Andrene is a proud Mustang with a bachelor’s degree in Home Economics/Interior Design (HE, 1991) and master’s degree in Counseling & Guidance in Higher Education (ED, 2006). She is product of the very programs she is now directing. While she was a student, Andrene was involved with the Week of Welcome and Poly Royal. In 1994, she joined the Cal Poly staff as coordinator of orientation programs. Today, she is the director of orientation and transition programs for new students and their family members. Orientation at Cal Poly includes three major programs -- Open House Preview Weekend, summer orientation sessions, and the Week of Welcome (WOW). Working on these events and building her team of staff and students to create these large scale events is the highlight of her time at Cal Poly. Her favorite quote by Walt Disney is an indication of her commitment to her work.
"You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality." - Walt Disney
Andrene has been a part-time faculty member for the School of Education Graduate Program in Counseling & Guidance for Higher Education. In addition, she works closely with Aware, Awake, Alive, a non-profit organization that educates college students about the signs of alcohol poisoning, encourages peers to intervene when they see a person that needs help. She is an active member and leader of NODA, the Association for Orientation, Transition & Retention in Higher Education where she has served the association in many leadership roles -- including association consulting, annual conference host, on the board of directors, as regional coordinator of four states, as faculty for the Orientation Professionals Institute and as the association's president. She is a recipient of Cal Poly’s Student Affairs Chandler Award; was recently awarded the Outstanding Orientation Professional award for her region of NODA; and a 2016 Diamond Honoree Award from ACPA – College Student Educator’s International.
When she is not leading, planning or mentoring, she is the “most favorite Aunty” to Emma, Mailey, and Jaxxon Kekoa. She is very passionate about her Hawaiian culture and dances the hula to keep “aloha” in her life.
Brandon Martin, Program Coordinator
Achiever, Futuristic, Strategic, Competition, Input
“Today You are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” -Dr. Seuss
Brandon Martin has been in his official role as a Program Coordinator with New Student & Transition Programs since September 2014. Brandon’s areas of responsibility include serving as the department contact for the Week of Welcome (WOW) fall orientation program, co-advisor to the Orientation Board, advisor to the Transitions committee (awareness topics), co-advisor to the Campus and Community Life committee (academics and community outreach), resource advisor to the Open House Logistics, Outreach, and Communication committee (University Welcomes, transportation, Friday Nite Invite, event logistics), academic department liaison, and reservation system management.
Brandon started his career at Cal poly as an undergraduate student in Animal Science. Through his time at Cal Poly he began volunteering for then working the New Student & Transition Programs department. Working in several different student leader roles he developed a passion for student development and large event programming. After graduating with his Bachelors Brandon worked for AmeriCorps in the Volunteer Infrastructure Project (V.I.P.) position. Working at local alcohol and drug prevention organization (Friday Night Live!) he focused his efforts on education and alternative programs at local high schools and Cal Poly. He then entered and received a Master’s Degree in Counseling & Guidance in Higher Education. Throughout his Master’s program he worked with New Student & Transition Programs in various roles advising specific student groups. After finishing his Master Program in June 2014 he entered into his current position as a Program Coordinator.
Brandon enjoys spending his time outside of work looking from new experiences. Travel is one of his favorite pastimes visiting every continent but Africa and Antarctica. Outside of travel Brandon spends his free time catching up with old friends or going on snowboarding or scuba diving trips. His favorite scuba diving trip was to the Galapagos Islands to see the whale sharks and hammerheads.
Nate Alcorn, Program Coordinator
Futuristic, Restorative, Responsibility, Arranger, Context
Nate Alcorn began at Cal Poly in May 2015 and serves as a Program Coordinator for New Student & Transition Programs. In his role, Nate serves as a Co-Advisor for the Open House Committee and the department contact for Open House, co-advises the Orientation Board, and directly advises and supervises the Promotions, Marketing, and Communications committee. Additionally, he coordinates all assessment, marketing, promotions, and communications for the department.
Nate received his BSJ in Journalism: News Editorial from Northern Arizona University in 2012. As an undergraduate at NAU, Nate worked for three years as an Orientation Leader and served for one year as a senator for the Associated Students of NAU. Post-graduation, he worked full-time as an Admissions Officer for NAU. Nate then graduated from Clemson University in 2015 with a Masters of Education in Counselor Educations, Student Affairs where he worked for two years as a Graduate Community Director in University Housing & Dining working in a First Year Experience residential community. Nate is a member for NODA: the Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education. He served on the annual conference planning committee for NODA in 2014.
Nate was raised in Fort Collins, Colorado and has grown up loving the outdoors. He loves backpacking trips to the Grand Canyon with friends, playing hockey, Clemson Tiger and Denver Bronco Football and spending time with his fiance, Maddie.
Kari Howell, Administrative Support Coordinator
"A goal is a dream with a deadline." - Napoleon Hill
Kari Howell began at Cal Poly in April 2017 and serves as Administrative Support Coordinator for New Student & Transition Programs.
Kari received her BS in Sociology and German from Sonoma State University in 2008. As an undergrad, Kari was captain of the club volleyball team and president of the German Club. During her senior year, she studied abroad in Tübingen, Germany and it was during this time abroad that she knew she would work in higher ed following graduation. Her first foray into education was teaching Kindergarten at a German-immersive school in the North Bay Area. While singing and crafting with five-year-old's was fun, higher education was calling. In 2012, Kari began working at Hult International Business School, a small, private business school with a uniquely international student body. For two years, Kari managed admissions for Hult and in 2014 for two more years, served as Student Services Manager assisting with clubs and organizations, student government, orientations and campus events. Since 2014, Kari is a member of NASPA, a leading association for student affairs professionals in higher education. Kari is excited to be at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the New Student & Transition Programs and is looking forward to learn from the best in the field.
Kari lived in Heidelberg, Germany with her family until she was 10 years old and grew up in Southern California until college. She has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last ten years and is excited to be back in the Central Coast. She enjoys hiking, playing volleyball, and spending time at playgrounds with her son, Max and husband, Scott.
Chad Zoller, Graduate Assistant
WOO, Includer, Positivity, Strategic, Competition
“Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good” – Mr. Feeny
Chad Zoller started as the Graduate Assistant of New Student & Transition Programs in June 2016 upon acceptance into Cal Poly’s Masters Program for Counseling & Guidance with specialization in Student Affairs/Higher Education. In his role, Chad works under the Program Coordinators to assist with NSTP’s three pillar events: Open House, SLO Days, and WOW while advising specific student groups among each one of them. Additionally, he is the Graduate Coordinator for Community Connections that is housed under New Student & Transition Programs and a Career Advisor for Cal Poly Career Services.
Chad received his Bachelors of Science in Agricultural Business from Cal Poly in 2016. As an undergraduate he was heavily involved in NSTP, holding a variety of student leadership roles within the program that fostered his passion for working with college students. In the final year of his undergraduate career, Chad was a Lead for the Campus & Community Life Committee which allowed him to become exposed to NODA: the Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention and attend the 2016 Region II Conference. As a Graduate, Chad would expand his NODA involvement attending the 2017/2018 Annual Conference, being on the planning committee for the 2017 NODA Region II Conference, and completing a NODA internship at the University of Alabama in their First Year Experience & Retention Initiatives program.
Chad was raised in the small Northern California farm town of Princeton and has always held a deep love for agriculture. In his free time his hobbies include country line dancing, scuba diving, recreational sports, and watching Alabama/Dallas Cowboys football. Go Mustangs.
Kendra Lutes, NODA Intern
Achiever, Focus, Discipline, Restorative, Activator
“Hobbies? Organizing my agenda. Wait. That doesn't sound fun. Jammin' on my planner!” – Leslie Knope
Kendra Lutes is a graduate student at Ohio University studying College Student Personnel with an intention of pursuing a career in higher education and student affairs. This summer, she will be serving as a NODA Intern with New Student & Transition Programs at Cal Poly. She is excited to work with the amazing NSTP professional and student staff, and hopes to immerse herself in the full experience of being a Mustang!
At Ohio University, Kendra works in the Career and Leadership Development Center with a group of first-year students, the Pepsi Scholars. Her main role is to develop students and their leadership skills throughout their time in the scholarship program. After graduation, she hopes to pursue orientation, transition, and retention to continue her love of working with first-year students.
She is originally from Perry, a small town northeast of Cleveland, Ohio along the shores of Lake Erie. When she's not celebrating a Cleveland Cavaliers win, she can be found cooking up delicious vegetarian food, checking out a film, or hiking a new trail. Go Mustangs!
Abby Pieger, NODA Intern
Developer, Empathy, Arranger, Individualization, Relator
“The most wasted of all days is the one without laughter.” – e.e. cummings
Abby Pieger is a graduate student studying College Student Development and Counseling at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. This summer, she will be serving as one of the NODA Interns within the New Student & Transition Programs office at Cal Poly. Abby can’t wait to join NSTP in welcoming this year’s incoming Mustangs!
Abby currently works as an Assistant Resident Director at Wentworth Institute of Technology and interns in Student Activities at Tufts University. She hopes to find a job that incorporates her passion for New Student Orientation and programming for first-year students into her post-graduation jobs to come!
Abby grew up in Trumbull, Connecticut and has lived primarily in Massachusetts since 2013. In her free time, she can be found reading a book, playing the ukulele, or watching videos of sloths. Abby has a four-year-old cat named Holly and loves all things Disney. If you see her around, be sure to say hello!