Joseph Pinheiro, Mechanical Engineering
I spent three years at Allan Hancock College, and when it came time to transfer, I applied to Cal Poly, Long Beach State, and UCSB and chose UCSB because, as a UC, it has more research opportunities. Also, because the College of Engineering here is small, there are more research opportunities for undergraduates; I knew I could get opportunities here that I couldn’t at bigger UCs.
I like that classes are small and are taught by faculty so I have that chance to be one- on-one with them and get their expertise directly. There’s a lot of top-of-the-line research going on here, and you’re being taught by the people who are leading that research and who really want to get to know you. You can’t beat that.
As a transfer student, I was surprised at how welcoming my classmates were. In my first quarter here, I was a little nervous. I didn’t know anyone, and they had all been through two years of classes together already. I didn’t know if they’d be cliquish or what, but it wasn’t like that at all. They were all very helpful and welcoming and friendly. Now, whenever we’re in the CAD lab, we’re always bouncing ideas off each other. That was a big surprise: it’s not a competitive environment here like at some schools. It’s very cooperative.
I feel I’m getting the right preparation. There’s a good mix of faculty members who have done industry work and those who have done more research, so, you get both sides. I feel that prepares you really well whether you want to go into research or industry. If I had to sum up my experience here, I’d say that the students are very friendly and helpful, the professors are always there for us, and I’m learning a lot of great things from a lot of really smart people.