Riverside, Ca –
Scott Moura, UC Berkeley Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Scott Moura (B.S.’06 ME) is the oldest of four boys, all of whom aspired to attend a four-year university. But early on, Moura’s parents made it clear that they wouldn’t be able to afford to send all of their kids to college. They would need to cobble together financial aid and scholarships to make that happen.


After doing some research, Moura decided the most cost-efficient way to get a great education and a four-year college experience was to go to a University of California school.


“It was obvious to me that if you look at the quality of education normalized to tuition, UC schools are off the charts,” said Moura. “If you’re a California resident, it’s ridiculous not to apply.”


Inspired by his father, Moura always knew he wanted to be an engineer. Even though he never went to college, Moura’s dad could build or fix anything, once even building a car from parts that came through the mail. But his mom had gone to UCLA, and she encouraged her kids to pursue that opportunity.


So when Moura was accepted to a UC College of Engineering, he went. The summer before college, he participated in the UC Berkeley's bridge program, then called Bootcamp. This two-week program – now known as PREP – aimed to give students that are unfamiliar with the rigor of college work an accelerated version of the first half of their fall semester. Today, PREP and T-PREP, a summer bridge program for transfers, aims to get students from historically underrepresented groups in the field of engineering, as well as those from low-income or first-generation backgrounds, prepared for their first semester of college. 


“With Bootcamp, I could really feel that these are the people of California. I could see how the UC system is an engine for social economic mobility,” said Moura. “We had people from all walks of life. Not all engineering programs can say that. This diversity really creates a different dynamic, you get a diverse set of interests and perspectives, which is necessary for engineering societal solutions.”


After earning his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from a UC school, Moura continued his education at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, earning his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. Eventually, he made his way back to UC Berkeley, where he is now an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.


“Having been a student and now a professor, I really believe that the UC system does create knowledge and educate leaders. We teach our engineering students to be community leaders and to develop solutions to service society,” said Moura.