Faculty Bios


Dr. Daniel Almeida

Dr. Daniel J. Almeida is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and Coordinator of the Master’s program in Counseling & Guidance in Student Affairs/Higher Education. Dr. Almeida teaches courses on Student Development Theory, Multicultural Counseling, Career Counseling, & Assessment in Higher Education. He received his BA in Psychology from Dartmouth College, MA in Higher Education Administration from Boston College, and PhD in Urban Education Policy – Higher Education concentration at the University of Southern California.

During his professional career Dr. Almeida worked in Student Affairs at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo as a Coordinator of Student Development, and worked in Career Services at Cal State Long Beach and Loyola Marymount University. Dr. Almeida’s research includes issues relating to first-generation college students and using Social Network Analysis to study networks of relationships of faculty, staff, and students on college campuses. He is currently using qualitative methods to examine the intersection of various aspects of social identity and individuals results on the Gallup Strengths Finder.

Dr. Almeida has published articles the Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, and the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education. Dr. Almeida also has two chapters included in the edited book The Problem of College Readiness and a chapter in Qualitative Inquiry in Higher Education Organization and Policy Research in the Core Concepts in Higher Education series.


Dr. Ramrakhiani

Dr. Sonia H. Ramrakhiani

Dr. Sonia H. Ramrakhiani is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where she teaches Introduction to Educational Inquiry in the Master's Program in Counseling and Guidance in Student Affairs. She received her B.A. in Psychology from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai; M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Syracuse University, NY; Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Old Dominion University, VA.

She started her journey, as a teaching assistant at a school for children with special needs, called ADAPT - Able Disable All People Together (formerly known as The Spastic Society of India). Due to a lack of a counseling focus in India, she decided to apply to graduate programs in the United States for higher education. As a counselor, she has served in various roles and settings, including, outpatient, in-home and residential. She also worked with high school students in the Syracuse City School District, and helped in college readiness and preparation.

Dr. Ramrakhiani's research agenda focuses on social justice, advocacy and multicultural issues for minorities on college campuses. She has given voice to international students' needs on campuses in America. She recently conducted an exploratory factor analysis of the experiences and perceptions of campus safety among international students in America. Her research has also focused on examining ways in which counselor educators in our field can incorporate social justice/advocacy in their pedagogical practices. In addition, she has experience with grant writing and has assisted in securing a grant for expanding masters level experiential learning in Integrated Behavioral Health Settings.



Dr. Andrew M. Byrne

Dr. Andrew M. Byrne (he, him, his) is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where he teaches counseling theories, counseling techniques, and foundations in education and contemporary issues, in the Master’s program in Higher Education Counseling and Student Affairs. He is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), a Certified Career Counselor Educator (CCCE) and Gallup-certified Strengths Coach.

Dr. Byrne earned master’s degrees in Substance Abuse & Clinical Counseling and Rehabilitation Counseling, and later a PhD in Rehabilitation Counseling and Administration from East Carolina University. He has worked in vocational rehabilitation in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, working mainly with college-bound, college-attending, and newly graduated students. Dr. Byrne has also been a therapist to youth, adolescents and adults in inpatient and outpatient settings. Prior to coming to Cal Poly, Dr. Byrne taught at Ohio University and University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

Dr. Byrne’s research focuses on technology, game design, social support, and adventure-based learning; and their impact on counseling and career development among students and faculty of underrepresented and minoritized backgrounds. He is a Co-PI on a $2.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professorate along with PI Dr. Daniel J. Almeida and Co-PI Dr. Sonia Ramrakhiani.

Recent Publications:

Falkenthal, E. & Byrne, A. M. (2020) Distributed leadership in collegiate esports. Simulation & Gaming. https://doi.org/10.1177/1046878120958750

Chavez, M. & Byrne, A. M. (2020) Promoting the promotore role in higher education. Journal of Latinos and Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/15348431.2020.1809417

Byrne, A. M. (2020) Using Esports to Teach Bystander Leadership and Collaboration for Students in STEM. About Campus. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1086482220906286

Falkenthal, E. & Byrne, A. M. (2020) It’s not the player, it’s the game: A pilot study of bullying experiences in campus gaming communities. The Journal of Campus Activities Practice and Scholarship. https://www.naca.org/JCAPS/Documents/JCAPS_Spring_2020_Falkenthal.pdf

Almeida, D. J., Byrne, A. M., Smith, R. M., & Ruiz, S. (2019). How relevant is grit? The importance of social capital in first-generation college students’ academic success. Journal of College Student Retention Research Theory and Practice. https://doi.org/10.1177/1521025119854688

Byrne, A. M. & Kim, M. (2019). The exergame as a tool for mental health treatment. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health. https://doi.org/10.1080/15401383.2019.1627263

Kim, M., Byrne, A. M., & Jeon, J. (2019). Predictors of treatment participation rate of substance use disorders among Whites and African Americans. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse. https://doi.org/10.1080/15332640.2019.1612300

Byrne, A. M. (2019). Applying game design principles to career counseling and assessment. Vocational Evaluation and Career Assessment Professionals Journal. http://vecap.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/2019-VECAP-Journal-1.pdf

Op-Ed, invited:

Byrne, A. M. (2020) Academic disaster elasticity is necessary now more than ever. Mustang News. https://mustangnews.net/academic-disaster-elasticity-is-necessary-now-more-than-ever/



Dr. Steven Kane

Dr. Steven Kane is a Professor Emeritus of the Counseling & Guidance program in the School of Education at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Dr. Kane holds a BA degree in Behavioral Sciences from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and MA and PhD degrees in Counseling and Educational Psychology from UCLA. He began his educational career as a community college student and is the first college graduate in his family. He is a licensed clinical psychologist (California) and a Nationally Certified Counselor. At Cal Poly, he teaches courses in counseling theory, counseling techniques, group counseling, student development in higher education and research and professional development. Dr. Kane has held a variety of staff, faculty and research positions at UCLA, Colorado State University, California State University, Long Beach and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. At Cal Poly, he taught undergraduate and graduate courses for the Psychology and Human Development Department (1995-2003) and served as Assistant Director/Learning Disabilities Psychologist at the Disability Resource Center from 1996-2006. He continues to serve as a consulting psychologist and coach to various community organizations and non-profit groups. Dr. Kane has also been a counselor at three of the most diverse community colleges in California: Allan Hancock College, Cerritos College, and Long Beach City College.

Dr. Kane’s research focuses on adult learning disabilities, ADHD, college student mental health and helping women and underrepresented individuals excel in STEM careers. He has published research articles in many venues including the Journal of Learning Disabilities, the Journal of College Orientation and Transition, the Journal of Post-Secondary Education and Disability, the Journal of Employment Counseling, and the Journal of Counseling and Development. He is the author of the Kane Learning Difficulties Assessment, published by Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc. (https://www.parinc.com/Products/Pkey/212).

In collaboration with his colleague Dr. Jodi Jaques, Dr. Kane produced an ACPA and NASPA grant-funded video documentary entitled: Making the grade: A focus on helping college women excel in science, technology, engineering and math majors. A former research fellow at UCLA, Dr. Kane has been featured on NBC-affiliate KSBY News and was a script consultant to the PBS television series The Career Advantage. Dr. Kane was promoted to Full Professor in 2013.

Related Content

School of Education
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407