Information Systems Students Partner with NetApp

students on computersA group of Professor Barry Floyd’s information systems students recently partnered with NetApp to Learn by Doing as they participated in a user acceptance test (UAT) for the storage and data management company.

NetApp turned to Floyd’s students to glean constructive feedback on the company’s most important software suite — Clustered Data ONTAP. Five information systems students agreed to serve as a set of early adopters for NetApp, surveying the course’s content and design of its new, under-development, cloud-focused version of the software suite. The review required a pre-assessment, five course modules and a final assessment, making it technically rigorous and time-consuming to complete.

“Our curriculum developers were very impressed with the feedback from the Cal Poly students,” said Mark Conway, senior program lead for NetApp’s academic alliances. “It struck me that this was one of those win-win collaborations. The students got to take some cutting edge software training, Professor Floyd was able to bring in an innovative learning opportunity for the students, and NetApp was able to get some great, candid and in-depth feedback on our curriculum design.”

NetApp’s curriculum developers combined Cal Poly’s feedback with that of their own employee users. Suggestions from the students and have already put it to use making adjustments and updates for the end customer.

Preparing for the Workforce Event Targets Diversity and Inclusion

Preparing for the Workforce 2016In January, Cal Poly’s Information Systems Association hosted Preparing for the Workforce 2016 — Making a Difference, a student-centered event that brought together successful female alumni working in the technology sector with students preparing for their careers to effect change in Cal Poly’s campus climate.

In the past, the Preparing for the Workforce (PFTW) event served to inform and excite the students about the future, but this year PFTW decided to take a different approach. This year’s event aimed to empower the students to take the knowledge they gained from the presentations and challenge them to use that to build a better Cal Poly and ultimately a better world. The students—who were all members Orfalea College of Business and College of Engineering clubs—encouraged to become active participants in the event, taking what they learned and applying it to their clubs as well as their interactions at Cal Poly and in the workplace.

Preparing for the Workforce 2016This event featured discussions lead by industry leaders, including Gina Roldan from Microsoft, Avital Arora from NetApp, Christine Songco Lau from Google, and Heather Bunyard from Amgen. All of the companies represented are all passionate about improving workplace inclusion and diversity. Each professional met with small groups of students, sharing personal stories regarding inclusion and the strategies that their specific company uses. Professor Barry Floyd, the faculty advisory for the event, spoke at the event as well.

After the students heard from each of the businesses, they attended a short session that discussed inclusion initiatives and resources that were offered at Cal Poly. From there, students were then charged to take all the information they had learned today and come up with their own plan for making a difference at Cal Poly.

Each of the different clubs was asked to create their own unique plan to create change on campus that would be submitted in mid-May for evaluation based on which plan had the greatest impact on the campus.

The change of pace for PFTW was met with tremendous success as students began to engage and think critically about the issues that are present on their campus and in their lives. The proposals created by each of the clubs have the potential to create change on campus and continue encourage discussions about inclusion in the future.

The event was coordinated by a team of Orfalea College of Business students — Jillian Zdepski, Shelby Sly and Shae Lamb — and sponsored by the Information Systems Association, Women in Business, and co-ed business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi.

Information Systems Vet NetApp Certifications


During winter quarter, 10 information systems students partnered with NetApp to test resources for its Certified Storage Associate certification, a foundational certification offered to colleges and universities worldwide. The students thoroughly vetted materials through hours of reading and tutorials before giving detailed feedback to NetApp’s developers. Their feedback and comments were used by NetApp’s technical content developers’ quality assurance process to finalize the new guides, which went live in early March.

“There’s no better way for us to know if the content is hitting the mark than having our target audience give us direct feedback,” said Linda Moss, vice president of NetApp University. “We were really impressed with the great job, diligence and detail that Cal Poly’s students put into the exercise –– and I believe their input will lead to a far more effective learning guide!”

Students in information systems Professor Barry Floyd’s BUS 393: Database Systems in Business course earned extra credit for their work with NetApp. Floyd orchestrated the collaboration through to his role on NetApp’s Academic Advisory board.

Executives in Residence Visit Management Classrooms

Executives in Residence Steve Giusto_5Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business has recently launched its Executives in Residence program to bring industry experts and successful Cal Poly alumni back to campus to work with students for a day.

This year, management students have enjoyed time with several executives, including Shari Moore (B.S., Business Administration, 1989), NetApp’s vice president of human resources for product delivery organizations worldwide. She discussed the challenges of managing a global HR department in a fast-paced industry with strong competition for human capital.

Steve Giusto (B.S., Business Administration, 1985) also lectured in organizational behavior classes regarding his experience as CEO of Purposely Inc. He talked about managing teams during expansive growth phases, like the one he experienced as president of Apollo Education Group.

“Students benefit from hearing candid accounts of industry challenges and making valuable connections to some of the industry’s biggest leaders,” said Orfalea College of Business Dean Scott Dawson. For more information on the Executive in Residence program, visit