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Staff - Who to Call and What they Do

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Department Office Staff 

Ellen Calcagno

Budget Analyst, Department Office


See Ellen for financial details related to department expenses, college-based fees (CBF), projects and faculty research grants. She also takes care of student assistant matters, student field trip release forms, and CBF applications.

Melanie Gutierrez

Administrative Support Coordinator, Department Chair Office


Melanie makes appointments and provides general clerical support for the department chair and department faculty. She routes and responds to students, alumni and the public who email the department. She coordinates faculty recruitments and personnel matters, organizes part-time teaching assignments, and coordinates Open House activities and other special department events.

Amber Nichols

Operations Analyst,


Amber oversees the Department's technical staff, physical space, computers, equipment, supply procurement, maintenance, and all safety and resource use policies. Amber is the primary contact for all technical needs or problems in the Department. 

Kristin Reeves

Administrative Support Coordinator, Department Office


Kristin is responsible for the front office, issuing/managing department keys, maintaining the department website, making Biology and university room reservations, ordering supplies, handling telephone issues, and managing the BioSci email address.

Technical Staff

Doug Brewster

Equipment Technician III, Electromechanical

756-2701 or 235-2017

Rob Brewster

Equipment Technician III, Electromechanical


Rob is responsible for repairing and installing new and used scientific equipment.

Michael Curto

Information Technology Consultant, Technical Staff


Dave Clendenen

Instructional Support Tech II, Technical Staff


Dave supports classes in botany, plant taxonomy, general biology and physiology.  He is also Lands Manager for Morro Coast Audubon Society, managing Sweet Springs Nature Preserve and other conservation lands, and is a consulting biologist as well, working on habitat conservation and restoration in the Tulare Basin.

B.S., Natural Resources Management, with a concentration in Wildlife Biology, Cal Poly, 1981

Alice Hamrick

Instructional Support Tech II, Technical Staff


Alice is the molecular biology support technician and is responsible for the molecular and cell biology lab setups and working with students doing senior or individual projects.  Alice is responsible for training students on equipment and chemical safe practices, and she manages the stockroom.  Getting to use her creative side, she designs and installs educational and promotional displays for the museum cases in the department.  She is a University of California trained Master Gardener and loves plants. 

B.S., Biochemistry, Cal Poly, 2002

John Merriam

Instructional Support Tech III, Technical Staff


John oversees the microbiology prep room and is responsible for the daily output of media, bacterial cultures, and equipment for all microbiology laboratory sections. He maintains a large culture collection for both teaching and research use. Most of the department's lab media, reagents and stains are made in-house.

B.S., University of Colorado

Eduardo Valle

Instructional Support Tech II, Technical Staff


Grant & Research Staff

Ian Robbins

Senior Research Scientist, Center for Coastal Marine Sciences


Ian's research interest is the ecology and dynamics of harmful algal blooms; his thesis focused on the red tide species Karenia brevis and the ecology of this species on the West Florida shelf. He writes the Cal Poly Remote Adventures blog about CCMS projects around the globe.

B.A. Marine Science, University of Hawaii, Hilo, Hawaii, 2000
M.S. Biology, Cal Poly, 2006

Grant Waltz


Research Assistant, Center for Coastal Marine Sciences and Dean Wendt Laboratory

Grant focuses on collaborative fisheries, biological testing of anti-fouling and foul-release boat hull paints, and measuring oceanographic parameters.  He earned a master’s of science degree in biological sciences from Cal Poly where he studied the effects of foot traffic to rocky intertidal organisms.

B.S. Conservation Biology, University of California, Riverside, 2005
M.S. Biological Sciences, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, 2012

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