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Thursday, December 13 , 2018, 5:07 pm | Fair 62º


Three SBCC Friends/STEM Students On Way to Cal Poly

Three good friends and Santa Barbara City College engineering majors gave each other the support they needed to get into their dream school, Cal Poly.

Daniel Gonzalez, 23, a chemical and environmental engineering major; Celina Lazaro, 22, a computer engineering major; and Fernando Estevez, 22, a computer engineering major, all learned they have been accepted to Cal Poly and are making plans to move in together.

The three became friends in their classes and all joined the MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) program, which gave them a place to find the tutoring and mentorship they needed. They agreed their success is due to the support network from MESA.

“If you’re part of MESA, you’re part of the MESA family; it’s wonderful.” said Gonzalez. “You can go in there and get anything you need from tutoring to moral support, to talking to a friend and having a safe space. I love it.”

However, academia didn’t always come easy for these three friends. Lazaro and Gonzalez struggle with dyslexia and Estevez, a DACA student, said before he had a support system at SBCC he was anti-social and didn’t think about doing extracurricular activities.

“People think, ‘oh it’s all about succeeding and that’s how you’re going to make it,’ but I think it’s more about the progress of not giving up, that’s when you’re actually going to make it,” said Lazaro.

After hard work and late nights studying at Denny’s, engineering students have collectively worked on projects that include solar panel construction, drone construction, portable entry systems, robotics, NASA flight research and programing for the 777 Boeing plane.

They have each been involved in numerous internships and are active in SBCC’s chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

Estevez, Lazaro and Gonzalez will continue studying together as they transition to Cal Poly and find a home suitable for the three of them in San Luis Obispo.

“We have a really strong friendship,” said Lazaro. “I could picture myself starting a business with them. They both have the same motivation and the same thirst and drive to move forward. It’s really nice knowing that you’re not alone.”

— Luz Reyes-Martin for SBCC.


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