December 30, 2015

Contact: Jay Thompson

Three Cal Poly Students to Ride on California Milk Advisory Board’s
First-Ever Tournament of Roses Parade Float

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Three Cal Poly agriculture students will ride aboard the California Milk Advisory Board’s inaugural Tournament of Roses Parade float on Friday, Jan. 1, in Pasadena.

They will join two other riders in representing the state's more than 1,400 dairy families on “Adventures in Real Food,” a 60-foot long entry featuring a flowing river of refreshing milk rapids cascading over the Golden State’s rolling hills and valleys, which will show how the best culinary adventures begin with real milk.

The riders, who will maneuver the milk rapids with ease, include Jordan Dunn, a 21-year-old agricultural communication major, Natalie Massa, 20, who is studying agricultural business, and 21-year-old Katie Migliazzo, a dairy science major who is minoring in agribusiness.

Although seating assignments haven’t been made on the animated float, two students will ride on a pizza-pie paddleboard, topped with mozzarella and provolone cheeses. Another will stand atop a succulent and gooey grilled cheese sandwich, while a fourth will float in a savory baked potato topped with butter and sour cream.

The fifth rider will be at the front of the float in a banana split “satellite” unit featuring two scoops of California ice cream and whipped cream with cherries on top.

Cal Poly students and alumni regularly play a part is the annual parade that is watched in person by more than 500,000 and an international television audience of 100 million.

In addition to the Cal Poly universities’ entry that has rolled down Colorado Boulevard every year since 1949, some graduates work with the four professional float-building companies that construct the other Tournament of Roses Parade floats.

Having Cal Poly dairy students ride on a Rose Parade float is unique, however, and harkens back to 1903 when agriculture was a cornerstone of the curriculum of the then-polytechnic high school.

All five of the float riders are active members of youth agriculture organizations who look forward to future careers within the state's dairy industry.

Dunn of Visalia was selected based on a 30-second video he created. The member of the California Junior Holstein Association and the California Future Farmers of America plans to pursue a public relations or marketing career in the dairy industry.

“I think it’s going to be a really cool experience to get to see behind the scenes of the parade,” said Dunn, who is the fourth generation in his family to live on a California dairy farm.

Massa, a Cal Poly senior, plans to return to her hometown of Willows, Calif., to get a job in agriculture and help on her family’s farm. CMAB’s District 4 dairy princess, who does public outreach in an area stretching from Sacramento to the state line, described riding on the float as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“The California Milk Advisory Board float will be a great way to promote the dairy industry, dairy products, the Real California Milk seal, as well as Real California Cheese seal to consumers,” Massa said. “When they see us drive by, everyone will be able to put a face to the future of the California dairy industry.”

Migliazzo, whose family owns 800 Holsteins in Atwater, Calif., is a former dairy princess from District 6, which includes Alameda, Mariposa, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties.

“I’m just honored to have been chosen as one of five people riding on this float,” said the Cal Poly junior who is the third generation in her family to be involved in the dairy industry. “It’s an industry that I love and has allowed me to be in front of thousands of people to answer questions. It means a lot to me that they trust me to represent their industry.”

All three have never seen the Tournament of Roses Parade in person.

“We watch it every year on TV, “Migliazzo said. “My mom and I have always said someday we’re going to go. This year we were really excited that CMAB was having a float.

“Then, I got a call, ‘You want to be on the float?’ Now, mom and I have to go. I’m pretty excited.”

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