General Engineering Students

Linnea Skinner – Class of 2023

I grew up on a family farm in Arroyo Grande and moved to Santa Barbara during high school, so I’ve been fortunate to call the Central Coast home thus far. I enjoy playing beach volleyball, surfing, being submersed in nature, and creating art in many forms.

A memorable experience from General Engineering was the first time I met Liz Thompson and finally felt understood in my qualms with traditional engineering education. I am grateful for the perspectives Liz has shared with me and the engaging conversations we have had about the importance of empathy in the realms of technical engineering. 

After graduation, my plan is to do volunteer work in Colombia with a non-profit called One Thread Collective. I will be assisting with a community-led project in an indigenous village in La Guajira.  

I’m not sure how long I will be there or what I’ll be doing exactly, but that’s the best part for me, being open to the opportunities that arise along the way and enjoying the journey. I may return to California eventually and look for an interesting job where I can be creative and work to maximize equity and efficiency of systems in some way. For now, I’m excited to be finishing school and heading off to the next adventure of life! 

Kory Byquist – Class of 2023

I’m from Seattle WA, I’m interested in everything in my spare time, and I’m looking forward to exploring life with no assignments after graduation. 


My most memorable moment of GENE was switching from ME to GENE. It was very relieving to switch majors and finally be able to graduate.


I have no plans for employment after graduation. I’m going to start doing what I want to whenever I want to and enjoy my time away from school.



Claire Dossey – Class of 2023

 I am from Covina, CA, which is near LA. I like to listen to and make music, and I also have been getting more into hobbyist electronics this last year.  

I loved the flexibility of the GENE program, as well as how many people from different majors I was able to meet from CENG and even other colleges. I didn’t know many GENE students, but the ones I did know were some of my best friends.  

I am starting full-time at an engineering consulting firm I previously interned for called HMMH. I will be an associate consultant. I am looking forward to working at my dream job! Part of my work includes a lot of travel as well, which is super exciting for me. I am considering getting a master’s degree after a few years of working, but for now, it will just be work! 

Pablo Arriola RomeroClass of 2023
I was originally born in Guatemala, but my family moved to the Los Angeles area when I was 7. I’ve always been interested in engineering, and I am very much looking forward to pursuing those interests in my career after graduating. In my free time, I volunteer at my church very regularly and at the local Juvenile Hall. I have been able to do both of those things for the past four years while at Cal Poly, so I am sad to have to let those things go. I also enjoy hanging out at local coffee shops, (Banner Coffee is my favorite) and playing chess. 


What I liked about the General Engineering program was that it allowed me to pick fun classes I was interested in, even if it wasn’t directly related to engineering. I think a lot of students can’t pursue a wide range of their passions, but this program allowed me to do that.  

I will be working as an Engineer for Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, CA starting in September 2023. 


Tommy Xu – Class of 2023

I am from Alameda, California. In my spare time, I play French Horn for local orchestras, and I am looking forward to continuing that after I graduate. Also, I am looking forward to getting a job.

I really liked the GENE program because it allowed me to pick what classes I wanted to take. I could not have taken so many classes as a double major in another engineering program.

I plan to get a job in SLO after graduation. 


Michaella Ochotorena – Class of 2022


Michaella Ochotorena – Class of 2022
My hometown is Elk Grove, CA. Outside of school and work, I enjoy rollerblading/rollerskating, spending time with friends, and listening to music!

I like the GENE program because it allows students flexibility in what classes they take. In a way, it gives students more power in what they learn about!

After graduation, I plan to work as a Design Engineer at Revamp Engineering, working on large-scale solar power projects. Postgraduation, I am looking forward to spending more time with friends and family, traveling, and being able to apply my education and passion for renewables into my career.

Joshua Bardwell – Class of 2022


Joshua Bardwell – Class of 2022

 I was born in Amsterdam, grew up in DC, and went to high school in Southern California. I love surfing, hiking, designing clothes, and writing lyrics to new songs. I enjoy learning about science, philosophy, and religion. I look forward to exploring new parts and meeting new people. 

Coming to Cal Poly, I did not know what I loved but I knew that this school had a lot to offer in terms of figuring out where my passions lied. Learning very late that I had a love for STEM in my third year, GENE gave me the opportunity to explore those interests without starting all over. The GENE program, with the Independent Course of Study (ICS), allowed me to absorb my business credits while pursuing a technical degree. Without GENE I would have never been able to find my passions and explore them. I am very thankful for this program and the unique curriculum it gives students the opportunity to discover.

Over the summer I will be interning for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center doing cometary analysis and program development. In the fall, I will be pursuing my Master’s in Astronomy and Astrophysics at SDSU. My current dream is to acquire a PhD in astrophysics and do research in computational cosmology. I hope to continue doing research in an exotic place like Belize! 



James Lavelle – Class of 2022


James Lavelle – Class of 2022

I grew up in Auburn, California and started attending Cal Poly in Fall of 2017. In my spare time I enjoy fishing, spending time on the golf course, watching/playing sports, spending time with my friends and family, and barbecuing. After graduating, I am really looking forward to having some more free time to enjoy my hobbies and getting my first actual paycheck.

One aspect of the General Engineering program here at Cal Poly that I really appreciated was the freedom during my last few years to choose courses that best fit my interests. It was very beneficial to my educational experience being able to decide what courses would best suit my degree, and not being locked into classes that were not focused on my career plans like the other college of engineering majors.

After graduation, I plan on moving up to the Auburn area of NorCal to be closer to my family while I continue my job search in that area.



Ani Svadijian – Class of 2022


Ani Svadijian – Class of 2022

I’m from Anaheim, California, (and yes, before you ask, I did go to Disneyland all the time as a kid but now it’s too expensive) and I’m interested in any sort of crafting, cooking, or learning. I discovered my enjoyment of creative non-fiction through some of the communication classes I took here at Cal Poly, and I look forward to reading more and writing my own post-graduation. With tech writing (which is the field I hope to enter) I’ll be able to learn for the rest of my life, and that really excites me.

I think the most memorable thing about being a General Engineering major is the breadth of classes and the variety of people I got to work with. I’ve learned to really appreciate other people’s strengths and to work with people who have a variety of methods to get a job done.

After graduation I plan to tutor in Math and Physics while taking care of some health concerns and looking for technical writing jobs.



Alexander K. Dunn – Class of 2022


Alexander K. Dunn – Class of 2022

I am from a small town just 10 minutes south of Seattle, Washington. In my spare time, I enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and surfing and sports. As a freshman, I joined the Cal Poly Triathlon Team and completed my first triathlon and I have continued triathlon as my main sport since then. Yesterday I completed my first official half Ironman event in Victoria BC and I am training to complete my first full Ironman in Lake Placid, New York in July. I am looking forward to this race and getting to travel over the summer. I also look forward to learning more about mechatronics and mechanical design in grad school next year.

I enjoyed the freedom to develop in my engineering studies and as a student through the GENE program. Originally, I planned to pursue an engineering degree and then go directly to law school to study patent law. By the end of my junior year and the beginning of this year, I realized my interests lay more in mechatronics and design. I wanted to pursue these topics more closely, which the GENE program allowed me to do. Had I been a student in the ME undergraduate program, I would not have been able to experience the “prelaw and political science” side of Cal Poly to the same extent I did in the GENE program and I would not have been able to decide for myself that I wanted to stick with engineering.

After graduation, I plan to work and travel for the summer. I am doing an Ironman triathlon in New York at the end of July and then I am going backpacking through the Balkans for the last month of the summer. After that, I will be returning to Cal Poly in the Fall to begin the ME master’s program, which I hope to complete by Spring quarter the same year.