Empowering students with automation and cloud tech at Cal Poly Pomona

This is a guest post from Awesome Chef Jessica DeVita, who is also a technical evangelist at Microsoft.

On May 1st, nearly 50 students and faculty gathered at Cal Poly Pomona for a cloud computing workshop to mark the beginning of the student-run data center project sponsored by the Mitchell C. Hill Center for Applied Business Information Technology. If you’d like to learn more and contribute to the initial use cases, take a look at them here.

Our goal was to empower the students and faculty with automation and cloud computing tools. The students learned the basics of the Microsoft Cloud and building virtual machines in the Azure GUI. They heard about DevOps culture and tools, and a guest speaker from Ticketmaster talked about how Chef is being used in production. All the students then built a web server on virtual infrastructure in Microsoft Azure using Chef to create and deploy the infrastructure and software.


This project was especially meaningful for both Chef and Microsoft, as Mitch Hill was a revered member of our industry and a distinguished leader at both companies. Mitch graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a B.S. in Economics, eventually becoming a senior partner at Arthur Andersen (now Accenture). In 2000, he became founding CEO of Avanade, a joint venture between Accenture and Microsoft. Most recently he was the CEO of Opscode (now Chef). Prior to his passing, Mitch was selected as a Cal Poly Pomona Distinguished Alumni, accepting the award posthumously on April 25, 2014.

As Mitch said in his 2013 ChefConf keynote,

“Get it right, make it repeatable.”

Our hope is by working with the students at Cal Poly, these principles will be ingrained in their education and serve them well throughout their careers.

Cal Poly Pomona is an amazing supporter of STEM events for kids, for example the CyberGirlz Summit, and is also doing its part to produce a skilled cybersecurity workforce, making the university a premier partner in technology-based education and diversity programs. We were proud to partner with them and our friends at Chef for this workshop and look forward to many more opportunities in the future.

Lucas Welch

Former Chef Employee