Press Releases


Luz Reyes-Martin, Director of Communications
(805) 730-4107

STEM Students on Their Way to Cal Polly
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  Celina Lazaro  Fernando Estevez
Pictured above, from left to right: Daniel Gonzalez, Celina Lazaro, Fernando Estevez

Daniel Gonzalez, a twenty-three year old chemical and environmental engineering major, Celina Lazaro, a twenty-two year old computer engineering major, and Fernando Estevez, a twenty-two year old computer engineering major, all found out they have been accepted to Cal Poly and are making plans to move in together.

Daniel, Celina and Fernando befriended each other in their classes and they all joined the MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) program, which gave them a place to find the tutoring and mentorship they needed. They all unanimously agreed that their success is because of the support network that MESA has given them.

“If you’re part of MESA, you’re part of the MESA family – it’s wonderful!” said Daniel. “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. Celina and Daniel both struggle with dyslexia and Fernando, 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 Celina.

After hard work and late nights of studying at Denny’s, these fourth and fifth year 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 also extremely involved in SBCC’s chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

Celina, Fernando and Daniel will continue studying together as they transition to Cal Poly and find a home suitable for the three of them in San Luis Obispo. Daniel said they will give Celina her own room and him and Fernando can share.

“We have a really strong friendship,” said Celina. “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.”

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