Lee Faraca - Cal Poly


As my graduation date rapidly approaches, I can’t believe how fast college has gone by. Senior project is in full swing and companies are having workplace showcases almost weekly. Friends and colleagues have already begun signing letters of intent with various companies. As I look back on my college experience and how much I’ve learned, I realize that I’d like to continue my education. I hope to take my Professional Engineers (PE) Exam next year as well as enroll in a Master's program.

Cal Poly offers a 4+1 “Blended” program that I may apply to. I’d like to concentrate on Water Resources and Hydraulics Engineering. Growing up on the Vineyard has fostered a strong connection to nature,  specifically water. I’ve found fluid mechanics and water management to be my favorite classes. Part of the “Blended” program involves completing a Master’s thesis, which I would focus on water conservation.

Another option is to enroll in an MBA program. My dream is to own or run a firm and a MBA would be a good catalyst. It became quite apparent when I arrived at Cal Poly that the college is filled with many intelligent, high achievers. In my internships and classes, I learned that I’m not nearly the smartest or the best engineer, but that my strengths lie in project management, leadership, and client service/interaction. My engineering degree coupled with an MBA may open many exciting employment opportunities for me.

Lee Faraca - Cal Poly

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Junior year at Cal Poly is the most challenging, but also the most enjoyable year at school. For the past 2 years I’ve been learning all of the mathematics and physics behind engineering. This year, I get to take major classes and explore more of the civil engineering field. So far my interests lie in the water resources and geotechnical engineering fields. Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is an organization I’m heavily involved with. Currently our chapter of EWB is working on designing a water distribution system for Cuachillo, a small village in Nicaragua. These next couple quarters I’ll work with the projects team to research and design pipelines for the installation. In August, I hope to travel with some of the EWB team to Nicaragua to build and implement our design. A couple weeks ago, our department had a meeting about senior projects and graduation requirements. College has seemingly flown by. It’s remarkable how much progress we the recipients, and MVYouth as an organization have made. The impact MVYouth makes is huge, with college expenses rising, it’s becoming much harder to get a collegiate education. Thank you so much for your compassion and generosity.

Lee Faraca - Cal Poly

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I'm greatly indebted to MVYouth, and I honestly don't know what I would do without it. The engineers at Cal Poly have a saying "Friends, grades, or sleep... choose 2". While it's a joke, there's an element of truth to it. The financial aid I've received makes college a lot less stressful and lot more enjoyable. Instead of needing a part time job, I can explore different clubs and focus on school. I'm working with the club "Engineers Without Borders". We're designing and installing a water sanitation and transportation system for a village in Nicaragua. It's a really fun experience, learning the design process and aspects of building, all of which will benefit those in need. On the weekends, there are plenty of National Parks to explore and soccer games to be played. Academically, this year is dedicated to the math and physics behind engineering. I still have absolutely no idea what an Eigenvector is (or how to cook something besides pasta), but I'm super excited to continue my college experience, made possible by MVYouth.

Lee Faraca - Cal Poly


First and foremost, let me thank you again for your generosity. Transitioning from 18 years in a small community to a 20,000+ college across the States has been a huge change. There’s some adjustment, but I’m meeting new people and experiencing so much. Engineering is a lot more work than I thought it would be. Cal Poly’s motto is “learn by doing”, and they focus heavily on concepts and hands on learning. Yesterday I did some engineering surveying in a cow pasture, which was a nice break from hours of calculus homework. And yes, engineers do have social lives. The week is busy: class, homework, and a little pick up soccer, but the weekends are open for trips to Yosemite, Avila Beach, and LA. All of this has been possible because of MVYouth, an organization I’m deeply grateful for and indebted to.