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.

Nicolaza Owens, Administrative Support Coordinator

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.

Program Staff

Bri Pechacek, Program Coordinator

Bri Pechacek,Progam Coordinator

Maximizer, Empathy, Connectedness, Adaptability, Intellection


Bri joined the Cal Poly team in June 2019 as a Program Coordinator within the office of New Student and Transition Programs. In her role, Bri serves as the Advisor for the Week of Welcome Board, and also co-advises the SLO Days Summer Operations Managers and Open House Committee. As a professional, Bri is passionate about creating welcoming environments, providing developmental leadership experiences for college students, supporting people through times of transition, and helping others discover what they are passionate about. “Believe the best” is a mantra Bri uses to guide her work, and credits the phrase to her mentors in grad school.


Originally from Ohio, Bri graduated from Ohio State University in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Analysis and Practice and a minor in Leadership Studies. During her time in undergrad, she was involved in a variety of student affairs offices on campus, but found her home working in the Rec Center where she was a student staff supervisor and Facilitator of the Emerging Leaders Institute for three years. Ready to escape the Midwest winters, Bri then moved to Waco, Texas where she received her MS.Ed from Baylor University in Higher Education and Student Affairs in May 2018. While at Baylor, Bri served as the Graduate Apprentice within the university’s New Student Programs department, which solidified her interest in working with incoming students and their supporters. After grad school, Bri worked as the Assistant Director for Student Engagement within the University Unions at TCU in Fort Worth, TX before making the move to California for her current role.


When she’s not at work, Bri can be found spending time with her husband, Sam, and their cat, Toast. She enjoys practicing yoga, watching live music, trying out new restaurants, eating donuts, and being outdoors.

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Madison Beine, Assistant Program Coordinator

Madison Beine, Assistant Program Coordinator

Restorative, Belief, Individualization, Responsibility, Developer


Madison Beine joined the team as the Assistant Program Coordinator for New Student & Transition Programs in October 2019. In her role, Madison serves as the advisor for the Open House committee and manages marketing for the department. 


Originally from Saratoga, CA, Madison graduated from Cal Poly in June 2019 with a degree in Psychology. During her time as an undergad, Madison was involved with NSTP in various roles. She served on the SLO Days Summer Crew, as a two-time Week of Welcome Leader, as a two-time WOW Team Facilitator, and on the 2019 Orientation Board as the chair of the Promotions, Marketing & Communication Committee. 


Madison is planning to pursue a Master's in Student Affairs and is looking forward to continuing her career working with students! When she's not at work, Madison enjoys visiting family in the Bay Area and exploring all that SLO has to offer!

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