Like many high school graduates, Redwood City’s Christian Rodriguez found the financial obstacles to attending college daunting. He was accepted into several universities after finishing at Summit Preparatory High School but enrolled at Cañada College to begin his engineering studies.
|Rodriguez at UC Davis graduation|
“Enrolling at Cañada was one of the best decisions I have ever made,” he said. At Cañada, Rodriguez met Amelito Enriquez, professor of engineering and mathematics, and Cathy Lipe, director of the school’s Math, Engineering, Science, Achievement (MESA) Program. “Dr. Enriquez and Cathy Lipe were two of the most influential people in my life. Dr. Enriquez is not only an engineering professor, he is a mentor who genuinely takes an interest in his students and their personal development. Cathy encouraged me to apply for scholarships and attend university tours which led to my decision to apply to UC Davis.”
Rodriguez said the courses he took at Cañada prepared him for the rigorous nature of the UC system and allowed him to transition seamlessly into his upper division courses at UC Davis. He also spent a fraction of the cost compared to his classmates who spent their first two years at Davis.
“At Cañada, I not only obtained the knowledge, I also developed the skills to be successful at a four-year university,” Rodriguez said. Rodriguez not only grew as a student at Cañada, but also as a leader. He served in leadership positions in student government, the school’s Robotics Club, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). “Chris is a student who takes full advantage of opportunities to get the most out of his academic experience by participating in a number of enrichment programs like the Summer Engineering Institute where I first met him when he was a freshman, as well as the NSF (National Science Foundation) scholarship and the NASA summer research internship,” Enriquez said. “He has a genuine desire to give back to Cañada and help others succeed, serving as a student assistant in the Summer Engineering Institute every summer, even after he transferred to UC Davis”
This past summer, Rodriguez graduated from UC Davis with an engineering degree and is currently applying for entry level mechanical engineering positions. He aspires to become a project director in the automotive or manufacturing industry. Lipe said he continues to stay engaged with the Cañada College STEM Center to encourage current students on their path to become engineers. “Cañada is a great option to begin your academic career,” he said. “I would tell students to take advantage of the resources at Cañada. The staff and faculty are knowledgeable and prepared to help you get ahead in your career.”