CENG Student Athlete Spotlight: Emily Lieber

Student athlete posing in front of the Cal Poly logo

Major: Aerospace Engineering

Hometown: El Dorado Hills, CA 

What made you choose engineering? 

Since elementary school, I have wanted to study the universe. As I worked my way through high school, it was obvious that math and science just made sense to my brain. I loved seeing how numbers on paper could have real-world applications. When I started looking into majors, aerospace engineering immediately felt right. Further research encouraged me to pursue engineering, and I’ve never looked back. 

What is your favorite place in San Luis Obispo County and why? 

San Luis Obispo Public Market holds a special place in my heart. After church on Sundays, my friends and I usually go out to lunch. Nine times out of 10, we’re going to SLO Public Market. I have countless peace-filled memories of hanging out and building community with great people and great food. 

What was your earliest engineering project?    

My earliest engineering project was the paper glider in AERO 121, Aerospace Fundamentals. My group had absolutely no idea what we were doing, but we messed around with different designs and had a blast. It was especially cool to see the creativity of my peers; we all learned a lot from each other. 

Where do you like to hang out on campus?  

I will hang out anywhere with some grass and lawn chairs. The spot in front of Mott Athletics Center is one of my favorites. 

What are your hobbies?

I’m a big sci-fi/fantasy reader. During preseason when classes haven’t started yet, all I do after practice is sit around and read Brandon Sanderson novels. They are amazing. I also love movies, board games and good quality time with friends. 

What has been your favorite class and why?    

AERO 121, Aerospace Fundamentals, is my favorite class so far. The class introduced me to different careers in the aerospace industry, new classmates I would spend the next few years with and engineering basics I hadn’t seen before. The class was low stakes and aimed at getting us excited about the major. It worked! 

What’s your dream job after graduation?

My dream job is working on interstellar satellites and/or probes. I believe one of my greatest contributions in life would be sharing the wonder of discovery of the cosmos with others. 

What do you think engineering’s biggest impact on the world will be in the future? 

I think engineering’s biggest impact will be bringing people together. So many of our conflicts revolve around a lack of resources and/or solutions to problems that face our world. A huge part of engineering is discovering and implementing those solutions. That kind of work has the power to bond people through cooperation and success. 

Do you have a scholarship to help with your Cal Poly education?

I have a scholarship to play soccer while earning a degree from Cal Poly. 

Why did you choose to attend Cal Poly, and what was the path that brought you here?

When my older brother was touring colleges, Cal Poly was one we visited as a family. I stepped on campus and felt at home. The energy from students was positive, the weather was beautiful and it wasn’t too far away from home. After that, I kept hearing great things about the college – especially from engineers. Even so, I wanted to play soccer in college, and I knew it would be hard to sign with a Division I school. After lots of emails, phone calls and visits, I was overjoyed when I was offered the opportunity to come here. 

Describe your experience as an athlete at Cal Poly.

Playing soccer at Cal Poly has been one of the hardest yet most rewarding experiences of my life. Most days, I get maybe five minutes of free time before bed. Life is a constant string of practices, classes, games, homework, clubs, meals, recovery and more. It’s tiring but so fulfilling. I’ve met incredible people and experienced the highs of my sport. Of course, there have been lows too, but I have a great support system. All in all, I’ve grown stronger in all areas of my life.  

What are the challenges of being a student-athlete and how are you overcoming them?  

Time management is huge. There are a million things that I should be doing each day but nowhere near enough time to accomplish them all. Deciding which activities to prioritize and cut out is a skill I’m always working to improve. 

What is your favorite part of being a student-athlete?

My favorite part is getting to see some of my closest friends every day. My teammates are so genuine and kind, I can’t help but want to be around them. 

How do you support the college’s commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion?  

I support the college’s commitment by spreading kindness. Every day, I make my own commitment to love my neighbor. We all come from different walks of life and have very different values and opinions. I have no right to judge anyone else. Instead, I try to understand their perspectives and build meaningful relationships.