Professional Staff

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.


Administrative Staff

Andrene Kaiwi-Conner, Director

Andrene K. Kaiwi-Conner, 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.

Chad Michael Zoller, Coordinator

Chad Michael Zoller, Program Coordinator

WOO, Includer, Positivity, Strategic, Competition


Program Coordinator for New Student & Transition Programs, Chad is a proud two time graduate of Cal Poly graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness and master’s degree in Counseling & Guidance in Higher Education. As an undergraduate student, Chad found his passion for transitioning new students and their supporters to college through his involvement in all pillars of Cal Poly Orientation including Week of Welcome (WOW), SLO Days/Soar, Open House, and PolyLive. Loving Cal Poly and NSTP, he decided to stay at Cal Poly for his Masters and served as the Graduate Assistant for NSTP while also holding internships with Career Services and Community Connections.


"Believe in yourself. Dream. Try. Do Good." - Mr.Feeny


Chad is re-joining the Cal Poly community after spending 3 years on the east coast at Virginia Tech where he coordinated the orientation and transition experience for new Hokies. Outside of his work, Chad enjoys being involved in Special Olympics, spending time with his cat Momo, and being outdoors in the beautiful San Luis Obispo community.

Kelci Goss, Coordinator

Kelci Goss, Program Coordinator

Input, Restorative, Empathy, Developer, Futuristic


Kelci Goss is a proud alumna of the CSU with her undergraduate degree of Media, Communication, and Journalism from Fresno State. She received her Master's Degree in Education from University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. During her time as an undergraduate student, she was involved with orientation, housing, and advising. Her time in graduate school provided her with experience in Greek life and athletics. Upon receiving her Masters degree she returned to Fresno State as a professional staff member and created a first-year mentoring program, transfer experience, and a parent & family class for supporters of the university. She is a member of NODA and was awarded Outstanding New Professional in Region II in 2019.


My favorite word - Meraki: To do something with soul, creativity, or love; to put something of yourself into your work.


When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends. She also enjoys traveling and the first trip she took abroad was to Egypt in 2019! She enjoys writing, sending snail mail and loves to bake sweets!

Nicolaza Owens, Administrative Support

Nicolaza Owens, Administrative Support Coordinator


Nicolaza Owens is our Administrative Support Coordinator for New Student & Transition Programs. She was born and raised here on the Central Coast studying a variety of different degrees, such as dental hygiene, chiropractic care, physical therapy, and nutrition. Her educational background majorly consists of Nutrition and Kinesiology which she had studied at Cuesta College, and she does plan on continuing her education.


She was involved in her High School’s Associated Student Body division from sophomore year to her senior year, organizing large events for the school. Nicolaza grew up playing several sports but the two that were prominent were volleyball as a middle blocker and basketball as a forward which she was able to continue participating through Cuesta College.


Her culture background is half Danish and half Hispanic, where her name comes from. It is a mixture of both cultures that stands for strength, which she ties into everything she does. In her spare time you would find her hiking around Montana De Oro, Bishops Peak, or along the Big Sur Coast with her husband, Justin and her Rottweiler, Kona.


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