Lynwood – Lynwood High School senior Carlos Henriquez is getting a jumpstart on his dream of researching and developing renewable energy thanks to an engineering certification program he completed at Cerritos College even before he received his high school diploma.

Henriquez has been part of Lynwood Unified’s Project Lead The Way engineering pathway for four years, earning a college-level certificate of achievement in engineering design and technology and learning to use software such as SOLIDWORKS to create detailed blueprints and designs.

He is the sixth Lynwood High student to complete the college engineering certification program.

Henriquez specialized in computer-integrated manufacturing, learning about manufacturing processes, product design, robotics and automation. He will take that knowledge to UC Merced in the fall where he plans to pursue a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering.

Henriquez said his pursuit of renewable energy is driven by his love of camping in Yosemite and Sequoia national parks and a desire to preserve the environment by reducing dependency on fossil fuels.

“These pathways are so valuable for our students and help them determine what they might want to study in college,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Paul Gothold said. “Partnerships like the one we have with Cerritos College strengthen our commitment to providing college and career preparation for all students, and Carlos has taken full advantage of what we have to offer.”

Among the courses Henriquez completed to receive his Cerritos College certificate are Introduction to Engineering Design, Principles of Aerospace Design Technology, Principles of Engineering, blueprint reading and design fundamentals.

Students in the engineering pathway at Lynwood and Firebaugh high schools complete regular high school requirements while concurrently earning college credit. Students like Henriquez work after school and on Saturdays at Cerritos College to complete the balance of credits needed to earn the engineering certificate.

Henriquez was introduced to the engineering pathway through his ninth-grade biology teacher, who handed him a pamphlet about high school pathways featuring photos of a Mars rover, cars and motorcycles. He quickly discovered he enjoyed the problem solving involved in creating a mechanical device, and said the experience has prepared him to study engineering in college.

“I talked with, worked with and helped older classmates at Cerritos College,” Henriquez said. “I feel confident that I have a head start in completing my college goals.”

Henriquez looks forward to helping his university peers navigate the software he constantly used throughout Project Lead The Way’s engineering pathway.

“I already feel like I belong in engineering,” Henriquez said. “So I’m excited to start classes at UC Merced.”

Besides the college credits he has earned, Henriquez is also certified to use SOLIDWORKS for mechanical design by the software’s manufacturer. He is currently studying for exams to get an advanced certification this summer.

“We want to help all students find their passions and reach their goals early on so they don’t get lost when they get to college,” Lynwood Unified Board President Alma-Delia Renteria said. “It makes us so proud to know students like Carlos are leaving our high schools prepared for all their future endeavors.”


CERRITOSGRAD: Senior Carlos Henriquez stands with his Lynwood High engineering teacher, Christian Munguia, after he graduated from Cerritos College with a certificate of achievement in engineering design and technology.