Cal Poly Faculty and Alumni Coauthor Economics Research on Organ Donation Markets

Two Cal Poly economics graduates have collaborated with Professor Eduardo Zambrano on research examining reforms to the current kidney donation model in the United States, including compensating donors while protecting those with low ability to offer such compensation. K.C. Eames and Patrick Holder, who both graduated with undergraduate degrees in economics in 2011, contributed to the project with Zambrano. The research was recently published in the Journal of Health Economics, one of the field’s most prestigious publications.

The idea for the research came from Eames’ Cal Poly senior project in 2011, where she explored the idea of a paid market for kidneys to remedy the existing shortage of donated organs.

“I don’t have any personal connection to organ donation, but I remember wanting to do something different from what others were doing,” said Eames, who is now a CPA, about her motives for the Learn by Doing project. “I like the behavioral and incentive side of economics, how we can change people’s behavior by incentivizing them in various ways, and finding those incentives while still taking into account potential unintended consequences.”

Zambrano approached Eames about extending her initial set of results. Eames said she felt honored to have one of her favorite professors validate her idea. Zambrano, who has conducted valuable research on welfare economics and the measurement of human development, began by pulling data from the National Kidney Foundation as Eames left Cal Poly for a job in industry. Holder, who is earning his PhD in economics at UC Santa Barbara, joined the project in 2016 to aid on revisions to the initial draft after it had been submitted for peer review.

Despite the seriousness of the kidney shortage, potential reform to kidney markets faces opposition because a paid system could put less wealthy patients at a disadvantage or motivate donors who don’t understand the risks. The research team proposed a cooperative method that would potentially increase donations while protecting those at risk of being isolated in in a paid market.

“It wasn’t a surprising outcome necessarily — when you pay people for things, you get more of it,” said Eames of the results. “​I guess what was surprising to me is that you could calculate a scenario that would provide a benefit to more people than the status quo. At the same time, I understand that many people would have a hard time adapting to reforms such as the ones we’re examining.”

Eames and the team hope the research pushes the boundaries of how people think about what practical reforms could save lives, even if they challenge cultural norms.

Find the paper “Solving the Kidney Shortage Via the Creation of Kidney Donation Co-operatives” in the Journal of Health Economics:

Cal Poly Students Sweep National Packaging Design Competition

Four teams of Cal Poly students took home first-, second- and third-place awards and an honorable mention in this year’s Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) Ameristar Student Packaging Awards Competition

The interdisciplinary teams combined industrial technology and packaging students with art and design students to create packaging solutions for a variety of consumer needs. Each team developed a physical prototype of their product complete with branded graphics.

“[Cal Poly’s] work is truly inspiring to our student community and packaging professionals,” said Jane Chase, chair of the AmeriStar competition judging panel and IoPP board member. “It gives students at the other packaging schools something to shoot for when we conduct our AmeriStar Packaging Awards 2017.”

The teams will be honored at IoPP’s industry conference PackExpo in November.

The first-place team created Jimmy Hats, a new approach to traditional condom packaging. Jimmy Hats feature a new design of the condom wrapper itself, and a sleek, branded box that differentiates it from competitors on the store shelf. The concept was created by industrial technology and packaging students Nacho Montez, Nick Kriley and Sean Gorman with graphic design students Remy Miller, Jade Zuspan and Pedro Rodriguez.

Another Cal Poly team took second place for The Merry Seedsters. The product featured seeds embedded in compostable paper strips to make planting easier. The design also doubled as garden labels to identify the planted vegetables. It was created by industrial technology and packaging students Emily Mallett, Nicholai Busch and Wilson Packard with graphic design students Skye Rainey, Ally Bender and Allison Freeman.

A third Cal Poly team earned third place for its sushi packaging concept, Oishi. Made of low-cost, biodegradable materials such as paper-molded pulp, Oishi is a convenient and sustainable package that protects the sushi roll and doubles as a stackable tray with compartments for sauces and chopsticks. It was designed by graphic design students Doug Huynh, Mari Eguchi and Mariana Lopez as well as industrial technology and packaging students Alex Yeo, Tom Hickel, Jack Hoffmann and Eric Findley.

Cal Poly students also received an honorable mention for their product, Cowler, which provides a convenient and easy way to spread cream cheese on the go with single-serving packages of different flavors. The lid of the package doubled as a disposable spreading tool. Industrial technology and packaing students Rebecca Kisch, Sarah Ma, Ben Bassett and Austin Turner collaborated with graphic design students Lauren Miller, Chris Ross and Jenna Castillo on the design.

The student projects were developed in Professor Javier de la Fuente’s IT 435: Packaging Development class and Professor Mary LaPorte’s ART 437: Graphic Design III class. De la Fuente, LaPorte, and industrial technology and packaging instructor Irene Carbonell served as student advisors.

For more information about this year’s teams, visit IoPP’s website at

Senior Spotlight: Gannon Daynes

Gannon DaynesEntrepreneurship senior Gannon Daynes is finishing his career at Cal Poly on a strong note, despite encountering several challenges along the way.

When Daynes first arrived at Cal Poly, he was ranked top 50 in the nation for men’s tennis in his age group; however, despite his successes after 15 years of playing tennis, he struggled to adjust to the dynamic of college athletics.

“I struggled to connect with my peers during my first two years of college due to the diminished confidence that I had in myself — it felt like I had lost my identity for a period of time there,” said Daynes. “Prior to college I perceived myself as an elite student and athlete, but during those first two years I felt like I had lost many attributes that were special to me, I was truly lost.”

At the end of his sophomore year, Daynes knew he had to make a change and resign from his tennis career.

“This was an extremely emotional decision for me,” said Daynes. “I came to the conclusion that I had to take ownership of my life and realized that tennis was a driving negative factor of my happiness.”

After leaving the tennis team, Daynes’ life turned around completely. Throughout his junior year, he began to regain his confidence both socially and academically. He began to set — and achieve — goals he had never before thought were possible.

After his junior year, Daynes had the opportunity to intern for Gothic Landscape Inc. – the largest privately owned commercial landscape company in North America. His work that summer gave him the drive to not only succeed academically but to set out to leave a lasting impression on Cal Poly during his last year here.

Now, in his senior year, Daynes is thriving. He has made Dean’s list both quarters this year — a goal he has always struggled to achieve — and is actively involved in the marketing mentors program.

The Marketing Mentor Program is a new program at Cal Poly that pairs elite students with freshman and sophomore marketing students to help advise and guide them through the development of a marketing plan. Daynes is currently the only entrepreneurship student who is a mentor in the program, but that hasn’t held him back; this past year he spent months writing the training manual that will be used for years to come.

“I attribute all of my success to finally taking charge of my life and making decisions that made me happy and fulfilled instead of focusing on others,” Daynes said. “Although that may sound selfish, I believe that if you are not happy and confident with yourself you will never be able to help anyone else.”

After graduation, Daynes will be participating in the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s Summer Accelerator Program to further develop his startup Sectrvm. Spectrvm is a wearable bass shaker geared toward committed Electronic Dance Music (EDM) fans that will improve the communal and immersive experience of EDM music festivals.

Daynes’ final note the he would like to leave for all readers is, “I hope everyone who reads my spotlight will take away that it does not matter where you start, but where you finish. I am a living representation of that and I am only getting started.”

Senior Spotlight: Cole Estrada

Cole EstradaOnly 15 miles separates master’s student Cole Estrada from his hometown of Atascadero and Cal Poly’s campus in San Luis Obispo. But his journey to Orfalea’s Master of Science in Economics program took him around the world first on a trip full of unexpected adventures.

Estrada began his pursuit of higher education at Cuesta College in 1992. After graduating high school and spending the summer backpacking Europe, he discovering his love of travel and adventure. But, quickly, he learned that this was not the right time nor place for him to be in school.

In 1995, Estrada moved to San Francisco and began to work on completing his general education units while still trying to determine what the right major was for him. After studying Japanese for two years, Estrada knew that he wanted to pursue a degree in linguistics. He ended up attending UCLA on a full scholarship studying general linguist theory, specializing in Semitic languages and minoring in Arabic and Islamic studies.

After he graduated from UCLA in 2002, he spent the next few months traveling to places like India, Pakistan, and western China with his friends from UCLA. Then, on his own, Estrada travelled to Tibet and Nepal, deciding to settle down somewhere in the Middle East and fully immerse himself in his Arabic studies. Estrada found the perfect place to do so in Sana’a, Yemen where he spent the next eight months living, exploring and learning.

He returned to Santa Monica, Calif. for a short period of time before returning to Yemen in 2006 to live permanently. There, Estrada worked at an English-language publishing house, serving as a copy-editor and eventually as the managing editor of a twice-weekly newspaper.

At the end of 2010, the political atmosphere in Yemen began to shift towards a revolution, and Estrada made his way back to California one more time. While looking back at his time in Yemen, Estrada began to see the importance of economic development, which encouraged him to pursue a degree in the field.

Estrada moved back to his childhood home in Atascadero where he started all over at Cuesta College. He spent two years there studying calculus and linear algebra before he began to take upper division economics courses at Cal Poly in the Orfalea College of Business.

While he was unable to pursue another bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly, he was able to enroll in classes with empty seats with instructor permission. After taking more than 10 economics courses at Cal Poly, Estrada knew that he wanted to earn his master’s degree. As luck would have it, the Orfalea College of Business was just launching its M.S. Quantitative Economics program. “I was over the moon,” said Estrada, “I felt like it was created just for me.”

Estrada is now one of 12 individuals participating in the program. He will be graduating this spring and plans to work for the United Nations, with hopes of taking an assignment somewhere on the Horn of Africa or in the Middle East.


Senior Spotlight: Yuriy Kalbov

Yuiry at the senior awards banquetYuriy Kalbov, a senior accounting student, came to the United States from Russia just six years ago and is already well on his way to having a successful career in accounting.

Before coming to Cal Poly, Kalbov attended Los Angeles City College for two years. There he met his favorite professor, Elenita Ayuyao, who encouraged him to pursue accounting and laid the foundation for him to succeed at Cal Poly.

Though 2014 was a competitive year to transfer into Cal Poly, Kalbov got in and chose to attend because of Cal Poly’s high academic rankings.

During his time here, Kalbov worked as a tutor in the Cal Poly Accounting Club and volunteered as a tax preparer in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. His time as a CPAC tutor taught him how to work with diverse individuals and helped to improve his problem solving skills.

Throughout his academic career Kalbov has completed more than 225 units, allowing him to qualify for his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license without having to complete a master’s program.

Thanks to the help of Orfalea Student Services and the support of students and faculty, Kalbov has been able to thrive during his time at Cal Poly. “Everything has been pretty smooth,” Kalbov said, “with all of the resources Cal Poly has to offer it is hard not to succeed.”

After graduation Kalbov will join the federal tax practice at KPMG, where he interned this past summer.