Yuriy 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.
In many ways, entrepreneurship student Stacey Aragon is like any other Cal Poly students. She grapples with a full course load every quarter in addition to working part-time as a human resources assistant for Student Academic Services on campus. The first-generation student is passionate about bringing a voice to underrepresented groups on campus, at church, and volunteering for causes she believes in.
But she has another passion that most students don’t — her son. After Aragon transferred to Cal Poly in 2014, she noticed a lack of resources on campus for students raising children while earning their degree. During the summer of 2015, Aragon took it upon herself to start the Student Parent Alliance. The organization connects “Cal Poly’s biggest hustlers,” as Aragon likes to call them, to other students with children and the resources they need to succeed during their time here.
“I was fueled by my beloved son and this community of parents who have such a profound passion for their families and their education,” Aragon said. “I will continue to fight for their voice on campus far past my graduation in the hopes that the next generation’s Cal Poly experiences are enhanced and that Cal Poly is building and upholding a more supportive reputation toward diversity.”
Aragon continues her fight for a more inclusive campus that welcomes and supports all students. She and her son took part in the #IAMCALPOLY campaign from Cal Poly’s Multicultural Center this year. She feels it sends an important message for the next generation of the university’s students and leadership.
“In order to be heard by the university we need to speak to them with one a strong, unified voice,” Aragon said. “Participating in events — such as #IAMCALPOLY — gives me personal fulfillment as I know I am contributing to changes in the future.”
All in all, Aragon has been wildly successful during her time at Cal Poly. She will graduate cum laude this spring with a degree in business administration with a concentration in entrepreneurship.
“My journey at Cal Poly has been the most challenging season of my life,” Aragon said. “It took all of me: all of the sacrifice, perseverance and faith that I have. It would have been impossible to achieve this without the army of supporting friends, family, faculty and staff that I have been blessed with.”
In reflecting on her time at Cal Poly, Aragon had this to say. “The experiences I’ve had at Cal Poly truly exemplifies what life requires from ambitious people — finding opportunities in the midst of all chaos, making fast mistakes, taking chances, proactively adapting, discipline, perseverance, and so much more beyond that! It isn’t easy, but all great things are grown from the heart, carried out, and shared with the world!”