BEACoN Network

What is the BEACoN Network?

The BEACoN Mentor Network is composed of all the students and faculty that participate in the BEACoN mentor program. Participation in the program can involve multiple activities: attending mini workshops, attending lunchtime network connection meetings, or being in a mentor/BEACoN scholar (mentee) relationship. The profiles presented are the help faculty get to now other members of the network and to allow students to identify possible mentor. If you are a student feel free to suggest a possible mentor when you fill out the form to join the network.

 

 

 

 

To join the BEACoN Mentor Network 

Students click here!     Faculty click here!    

 

 

 

 


Agricultural Education and Communication 


Dr. Ann DeLay

sample image for placement onlyContact Info:

Phone: 805.756.7272

adelay@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"As a first generation student myself, a university environment can be a challenging one to navigate.  I was blessed to have a lot of support and I look forward to sharing that with others."

Research Interests:

  •  the recruitment, professional growth and retention of quality agriculture teachers
  • the experiences of first generation students
  • the perspectives of underserved and underrepresented populations in agricultural education

 

 

Dr. Robert A. Flores

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Phone: 805.756.2169 

rflores@calpoly.edu

Website

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"As a first generation student and the first one to move away from home, I somehow was able to progress in the university environment when I went away to college. After much reflection, I realized that it was not only because of family support back home that I was able to survive and prosper, but it was mentors on campus that took the time to let me know that I was valued and on the right track toward a degree."

Research Interests:

  • Leadership development
  • Program development in Career Technical Education

Agribusiness


Dr. Neal MacDougall

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Phone: 805.756.5034

nmacdoug@gmail.com

Website

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I want to help build a broader and more inclusive community -- regardless of position/situation at Cal Poly"

Research Interests:

  • Teaching
  • Organic Agriculture
  • Water Issues
  • Immigration Issues

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Architecture

 


Humberto L. Norman

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Phone: 805.756.1793

hnorman@calpoly.edu

Website

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I felt the struggle of being a first generation college student. I now teach beginning design and 2nd year practice in the same department I graduated 10 years ago. I think my experience can be of help in mentoring students facing similar challenges"

Research Interests:

  • Residential Design
  • Cultural Institutions
  • Drawing as a mode of Thinking and Representation
  • Construction Documentation, Permitting, and Detailing Anthropometry

Biology


Dr. Benjamin Ruttenberg

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Phone: 805.756.2498

bruttenb@calpoly.edu  

Website

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I have been teaching the 1st quarter intro bio course for freshmen bio majors. While I have generally seen many of them succeed, some have not. Since success in the 1st quarter can translate to success throughout college, I'd like to help these students succeed. In addition, I have lived in Latin America for many years and I am fluent in Spanish, so I may be particularly helpful for students from multicultural backgrounds."

Research Interests:

  • Marine Ecology
  • Marine Conservation 
 

Dr. Cameron Shields

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Phone: 805.756.2906 

cshields@calpoly.edu  

Website

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I am very interested in becoming a BEACoN mentor because I would like to help promote more underrepresented Cal Poly students that are interested in pursuing careers in health professions."

Research Interests:

  • Anatomy & Physiology
 

Dr. Candace Winstead

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Phone: 805.756.2899 

cwinstea@calpoly.edu  

Website

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I am a first generation college graduate.  I have personal experience with having serious financial impediments to attending school and would like to give back to those who might also be facing similar hardships.  In addition, I believe that a diverse student population is a healthy one and would like to help however I can to promote retention of underrepresented students, as I feel that we have issues here at Cal Poly with campus climate and support of underrepresented students."

Research Interests:

  • Immunology
  • Virology
  • Pre-health professionals
  • Public Health
 

Dr. Elena Keeling

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Phone: 805.756.2175

ekeeling@calpoly.edu  

Website

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"Interacting with students is one of my favorite parts of this job! I am very supportive of the idea of providing more mentorship and guidance to students. I think all of our students have the potential to succeed here, but some of them need more help. I think Cal Poly is a welcoming and comfortable place for many students but not all; I would like to be part of this program as a way to try to improve the atmosphere and sense of community for all students."

Research Interests:

  • Biology Education
  • Development and regeneration in colonial ascidians
  • Algal lysis with pulsed electric fields for biofuel applications
 

Dr. Francis Villablanca

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Phone: 805.756.2200 

fvillabl@calpoly.edu  

Website

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I was an undergraduate at Cal Poly and know first hand what the student experience is like.  I now have professional experience at Poly and some cultural capital that I would love to share with students. In particular, I enjoy engaging students in research in ecology and evolution and working towards a diverse workforce that is empathetic and cross-culturally competent"

Research Interests:

  • Evolution (Molecular and Organismal)
  • Population Ecology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Population Genetics
 

Dr. Grace Goshke

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Phone: 805.756.2454 

ggoschke@calpoly.edu  

Website

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I think that I could help encourage students to be successful at Cal Poly. "

Research Interests:

  • IN/A
 

Dr. Lisa Needles

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Phone: 805.756.28.96 

lneedles@calpoly.edu  

Website

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I believe it is important for students who are under represented in STEM to have mentors that they can identify with. While I myself am Caucasian, my daughter is African American and I am highly aware of the lack of diversity in my field and some of the issues that under represented students face to overcome the barriers to success. I want to be a part of helping to promote diversity in my field and to help students of diverse backgrounds succeed."

Research Interests:

  • Marine Ecology & Conservation
 

Dr. Sandi Clement

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Phone: 805.756.2154

slclemen@calpoly.edu 

Website

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I was a first generation college student, and I realize in retrospect that the college I attended invested time and resources into helping their first generation students succeed.  I still keep in touch with several of those professors, and they have continued to serve as mentors to me.  I want to be that mentor for students here at Cal Poly to help them succeed."

Research Interests:

  • Cell signaling
  • Genetics
  • Mammalian cell culture
  • Molecular Biology 
  • Epigenetics
  • Gender, Race, Culture, Science & Technology

Dr. Marie Yeung

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Phone: 805.756.5199

pmyeung@calpoly.edu

Website

Reason for Joining BEACoN:

"I believe the greatest, positive impact to students can be achieved through close, personal interactions.  A support network is crucial for some students to succeed."

Research Interests

  • Food and dairy microbiology
  • Food safety and protection
  • Pathogenesis of foodborne pathogens
  • Molecular detection and epidemiology

Biomedical Engineering 


Dr. Micheal Whitt

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Phone: 805.756.6400

mdwhitt@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

 

Research Interests:

 

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City and Regional Planning


Adrienne Greve

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Phone: 805.756.1474

agreve@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I have benefited from wonderful mentors and find I enjoy returning the favor now that I am older."

Research Interests:

 

 

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Communications 


Amy Ward

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Phone: 805.756.7552

award10@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I want to be part of Cal Poly's mission for inclusivity. This is something that is very important to me in my classroom but I'd like to be involved in every way that I can to make sure underrepresented students feel empowered and are successful."

Research Interests:

  • Intercultural Communication
  • Cultural Studies

 

 

Dr. Lisa Kawamura

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Phone: 805.756.2569

lkawamur@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I have been a full-time faculty member at Cal Poly for 17 years.  I have institutional knowledge and experience from my almost-30 years of experience in higher education.  I already, informally mentor several students that are seen as "at risk" and try to meet with them at least once per quarter to see how they are doing.  I believe that some students need support beyond the typical classroom interaction and enjoy being able to provide that for them.  "

Research Interests:

  • Performance studies 
  • Argumentation and Debate

 

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Education


Dr. Oscar Navarro

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Phone: 805.756.6553

osnavarro@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I am interested in supporting undergrad and post-bac students in doing research in education, if possible in diverse schools.  I have a background in collaborative research and would love to work alongside young minds."

Research Interests:

  • Social Justice Teaching
  • Youth Participatory action
  • Urban Secondary School
  • Students of color in secondary school

 

 

Ethnic Studies


Dr. Denise Isom

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Phone: 805.756.7388

disom@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I have always felt as if it was my responsibility as a first generation college student myself. The mentoring of women and people of color was the topic of my masters thesis, so it is a commitment I hold dear."

Research Interests:

  •  Racialized Gender Identity 
  • African-American Studies 
  • Race, Culture and Schooling

 

 

Dr. Grace Yeh

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Phone: 805.756.6229

disom@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"In the past, I have had people who informally were mentors and they (without probably realizing it) had such a positive impact on me and guiding me toward my future. I may not be the perfect mentor, but I think I've been around the block within academia that I could offer insight, perspective, and support for a student or others."

Research Interests:

  •  Race/Ethnicity in US
  • Cultural Studies
  • Asian American Studies
  • Public & Oral History 

 

History


Dr. Tom R. Trice

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Phone: 805.756.2724

ttrice@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"While not officially "out" as an undergrad, I benefited immensely from faculty who knew me better than I knew myself, yet who knew that what I needed most was someone to listen.  They helped me to discover that I could not only survive hatred and rejection, but thrive in spite of or perhaps because of it.  I've also been "teaching" since junior high, as a result of my rural southern school's short-lived program for self-directed exploration and learning.  And from that time onward I never ever wanted to do anything else once I realized how the mutual exchange of ideas can enrich, heal, and liberate even amidst the most unfavorable circumstances.  Finally, thanks to a handful of teachers in my own life, the desire for social justice, in its broadest sense, informs every class I teach and every research project I pursue.  Indeed, it is the primary lens through which I see my world.  I'd especially like to help other LGBTQIA individuals find their own self worth, self confidence, passions, and purpose as well, although my door is open to everyone."

Research Interests:

  •  Modern Social and Cultural History
  • Cultural Studies

 

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Kinesiology


Dr. Christine Hackman

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Phone: 805.756.1363

chackman@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I want to do my part in closing the achievement gap that exists at Cal Poly. I also recognize the positive impact that good mentoring can have on student success. "

Research Interests:

  •   Interpersonal Violence

 


Dr. Camille O'Bryant

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Phone: 805.756.1787

cobryant@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"My ultimate goal is to empower students to take responsibility for their experiences in the classroom."

Research Interests:

  •  Intersection of Psychology & Sociology in sports and Physical Activity

 

 

Materials Engineering


Dr. Jean Lee

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Phone: 805.756.6571

jlee473@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"As a first generation college student, I wish that I had a trusted, knowledgeable, and accessible mentor who could help me with my academic, career, and life decisions.  I hope to use my experience to help other first generation college students achieve academic, professional, and personal success. "

Research Interests:

  • Nano-materials
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Materials Characterization

 

Mathematics


Dr. Elsa Medina

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Phone: 805.756.2244

emedina@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I am the first of my family to attend college. As a Latina in mathematics, I can relate to some students with a similar background who may need guidance in terms of college success. "

Research Interests:

 


Dr. Anthony Samuel

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Phone: 805.756.5189

ajsamuel@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I strongly believe that as an academic, I am not only responsible for disseminating knowledge, but also for caring and taking an active role in student welfare. "

Research Interests:

  • Fractal Geometry

 


Dr. Stan Yoshinobu

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Phone: 805.756.2287

styoshin@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I was a first generation college, and grew up working class. My father was a gardener and landscaper. Neither of my parents went to college, and I personally understand the challenges students face as first generation college students. "

Research Interests:

 

 

Mechanical Engineering


Dr. Brian Self

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Phone: 805.756.7993

bself@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"STEM fields, especially engineering, have difficulty recruiting and sometimes retaining those from under-represented fields.  Sometimes retention issues can be due to students feeling that their professors do not take an interest in them.  This program can help to solve this problem."

Research Interests:

  •  Biomechanics
  • Aerospace Physiology
  • Engineering Education

 

Music


Dr. Craig Russell

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Phone: 805.756.1547

crussell@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I was born in New Mexico and have spent a good deal of my life living in Spain and Latin America.  I can think of times when I felt "far from home," and I can imagine my students experience similar bouts of isolation.  It might help if there were someone who spoke the language, ate the food, sang the songs, and identified with the culture of some of our students.  If I could be a friendly face, a sort of "uncle," it would be wonderful.  As it is, many students hang out during office hours already, because they feel welcome. "

Research Interests:

  •  Colonial Era Latin American Music
  • Popular Music & Folk Music in Latin America

 

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Philosophy

Dr. Eleanor Helms

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Phone: 805.756.7295

ehelmszo@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I believe that engaging in and understanding academic research is essential for students in all majors, and I am committed to facilitating research opportunities for all students. I have extensive travel and international experience (I have lived over 10 years overseas) and know what it is like to belong to a different culture than the dominant one."

Research Interests:

  •  

 

Physics


Dr. Stamantis Vokos

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Phone: 805.756.2306

svokos@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I am committed to the idea that institutional racism/sexism/classism in our society can be addressed not just by policy but also by person-to-person authentic connection. "

Research Interests:

  •  

 


Dr. Louise Edwards

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Phone: 805.756.7674

ledwar04@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"To better understand and support the current study body. To share my experiences as a woman of color in physics with the aim of helping those now coming up."

Research Interests:

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • The formation and Evolution of Brightest Cluster Galaxies
  • Galaxies in Cluster Cores and in Filaments

 


Dr. Colleen Marlow

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Phone: 805.756.2065

camarlow@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I would like to increase the diversity on campus overall and specifically I would like to increase the diversity in Physics. Interpersonal relationships are very powerful in supporting underrepresented students and increasing the likelihood of them continuing on. I, myself, was the lucky recipient of faculty reaching out and mentoring me while I was an undergraduate student at Cal Poly in Physics. While none of those mentors were women their sincere support and presence kept me in the major and ultimately changed the course of my life. Which is a main reason I came back to Cal Poly to do the same for other women and underrepresented groups in Physics. I want to acknowledge, encourage and empower them in Physics and in their life."

Research Interests:

  •  Nanophysics
  • Neuroscience

 

 

Psychology & Child Development 


Dr. Kelly Bennion

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Phone: 805.756.2674

kbennion@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"Although I was very fortunate to have loving and supportive parents, as a first-generation college graduate, it is hard for me to imagine where I would be today if not for the one-on-one mentorship of my college professors. I am thrilled to now be in their shoes, giving tangible advice to students about how to pursue their academic and career goals, and inspiring students to believe in themselves — not only in the pursuit of scientific knowledge, but in all areas of their lives."

 

Research Interests:

  • Memory
  • Sleep
  • Emotion and stress
  • Education implications of memory research

 


Dr. Julie Garcia

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Phone: 805.756.1603

jgarci13@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"As a first generation college student, I relied on faculty guidance to help me navigate academia and identify a path to obtaining a PhD.  Although I am fortunate enough to have the support of family for my career goals, they didn't have the experience to provide me with tangible steps to succeed academically.  I see it as a critical role for my job to give back and help mentor students to ensure that they meet their academic objectives.  As a product of a CSU education, I wanted the opportunity to help out other CSU students--which is why I love working at Cal Poly.  I look forward to helping you succeed at Cal Poly and beyond."

 

Research Interests:

  • Social Stigma
  • Self-Esteem and Self-Concept
  • Stereotyping and Prejudice
  • Multiple Social Identities
  • Ally Indentification and Behavior
  • Stereotype Threat
  • Underrepresentation in STEM

 


 

Dr. Jay Bettergarcia

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Phone: 805.756.6178

jbetterg@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"As a first generation biracial Latinx student, I had support from my family, but so much of my mentorship came from underrepresented faculty and staff who helped me navigate my way through college, graduate school, and into academia. I hope to inspire and support students as they explore and navigate their own paths-- just as my mentors did for me."

 

Research Interests:

  • LGBTQ mental health and wellness
  • Transgender affirming therapy
  • Interventions to reduce internalized stigma and minority stress
  • Evidence-based teaching and training about diversity

 

 

Dr. Jennifer Teramoto Pedrotti

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Phone: 805.756.2644

jpedrott@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"As a second generation college student, I see how different my path has been in comparison to my father's first generation experience.

I believe that all students should have the opportunity to develop their strengths and pursue their goals in life. My work with intergroup dialogues and various diversity committees and groups on campus allows me to see some of the difficulties underrepresented students sometimes face. My work with positive psychology allows me to see the resilience and coping skills they develop to make it through. I know it can be difficult to find your way when you have more questions than answers about the future, and enjoy using knowledge I have had the opportunity to gain to help students to find their own way."

Research Interests:

  • Intersection of Positive Psychology and Multiculturalism
  • Multicultural Education 
  • Hope and Well-being
  • Biracial Identity Development 

 


Dr. Debra Valencia-Laver

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Phone: 805.756.2359

dlvalenc@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"I would like to help support students as they navigate through Cal Poly. I am a first-generation Latina student who was a single mom who started at the community college before going on to earn my bachelors and graduate degrees. I think this experience might be helpful for students who might be facing their own challenges or questions about their futures. "

Research Interests:

 

Sociology


Dr. Stacey Rucas

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Phone: 805.756.1371

srucas@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"This program is a wonderful opportunity to work together to ensure the success of all students. As a first generation college student who grew up woefully underfunded, I can relate to the difficulties that many first-generation students face and those that struggle with trying to pay for college.  Also, my anthropological training affords me the skills and knowledge required to understand the different cultural backgrounds that people come from and to appreciate the great diversity in human behavior and lifeways that we see here at Cal Poly and around the world.  It would mean a lot to me to be of service in the capacity of this mentorship program. "

Research Interests:

 

 

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Statistics


Dr. Prince Afriyie

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Phone: 805.756.2715

pafriyie@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

" I am an immigrant, a first generation college student and a man of color. By virtue of the aforementioned qualities, I have learnt so much by doing and I am happy to help mentor students either through research or any capacity, especially underrepresented students here at Cal Poly."

Research Interests:

  • Cancer research using statistics
  • Data anaylsis
 

Women & Gender Studies


Dr. Jane Lehr

sample image for placement onlyContact Info:

Phone: 805.756.6442

jlehr@calpoly.edu

Website 

 

Reason for Joining BEACoN

"As LSAMP Faculty Director, I know that a mentoring relationship with a student that is focused on working with the student to identify and make explicit her existing strengths can be transformative for the student and faculty member, even if the faculty member is outside of the student's discipline."

Research Interests:

 

 

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Related Content

Resources

Resources for Mentors and Mentees!

BEACoN Resources

Office of Diversity & Inclusion

OUDI

CTLT

Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology

CTLT

LSAMP

Learn more about LSAMP

LSAMP