Victor Glover is all about giving back. He has a long history with MESA that began as a fifth grader when he competed in MESA Day contests. Applying the math and science concepts gave him early interest in being an engineer, but he gained even more as an engineering major at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He would visit local middle schools to tutor MESA students. “Tutoring made me like school that much more and it was a good resource for me,” he said. “It sounds selfish, but it made me a better student because I began to follow the advice I gave to them.” Victor continued on the road of serving when he joined the Navy in 1998 through a program that allowed him to complete college first. He earned a bachelor’s degree in general engineering from Cal Poly in 1999. After Officer’s School he later earned master’s degrees in military operational arts and science, flight test engineering and systems engineering. He flew 24 combat missions over Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, as a U.S Navy Lieutenant Commander and F-18 pilot. He is once again among the elite in STEM, by being named a 2013 NASA astronaut candidate. He is one of eight selected from more than 6,100 applicants. Legislative fellow for John McCain’s office.
Constructing and racing mousetrap cars for MESA Days opened Andres’ eyes to engineering. As a student at Hudson Middle School, he competed at the CSU Long Beach competitions. I liked the competitions because there as a goal,” he said. “You aren’t just doing it for a grade, but to see how it actually works.” Andres has a degree in structural engineering from UC San Diego and is now a structural designer for Critical Structures, Inc. The son of a pipefitter father and cafeteria worker mother, Andres is the first in his family to go to college. Now he pushes his little brother to follow in his footsteps. “MESA gave me a space to be creative, the time to think about engineering and the resources to do so. Now I can help my brother do the same.”
Naming all of Isis’ awards and accolades would be an exercise in futility. But let’s give it a shot. She is a 2014 Jack Kent Cooke transfer scholarship recipient, a NASA Minority University Research and Education Program participant, a NASA Aerospace Community College Scholar, a biogeochemistry and climate change research fellow for the University of Irvine, just to name a few. Isis completed an Associate’s degree in Chemistry from College of the Sequoias where she was a MESA student and tutor. She attended Sequoias after her family fled a small town in Zacatecas, Mexico what was plagued by drug cartel violence. Now she’s a chemistry major at UCLA with dreams of going to medical school (but she’s also fascinated by astronauts, so the sky’s the limit). “MESA gave me the self esteem and confidence to get through all the math classes,” she said. “They told me you can do this.”
Sergio started with MESA at San Joaquin Delta College. That’s when things started looking up. “To say the least, nothing was stable,” he said. Sergio overcame family and financial struggles, eventually transferring to San Diego State University. He awarded the prestigious California State University Trustee’s Award for Outstanding Achievement and will graduate in 2015 with a degree mechanical engineering. Attending the MESA Student Leadership Conference and other MESA events connected him with great contacts that led to internships and other opportunities. He gives back to MESA by judging middle school and high school MESA day competitions. I’m a firm believer of MESA, it has change my life professionally academically and emotionally.”
Edward, who’s the first in his family to go to college, always had an interest in math, but thought a math major could only become a math teacher.
That’s where MESA came in.
Edward attended a summer calculus refresher course before his freshman year through MESA at San Diego State University. During his freshman year he took MESA study skills and career building classes that helped him plan a career in math. It solidified his interest in math. He earned a bachelor’s in mathematics with an emphasis in computational science from San Diego State.
As an undergrad he became a MESA tutor and mentor, and continues to help disadvantaged students in his community.
His community service was a key contributor to being named a 2014 Great Minds in STEM HENAAC awardee for Most Promising Engineer or Scientist Advanced Degree PhD.
Edward completed a PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Arizona in 2013. Now he’s a senior research and development scientist at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. He works primarily on algorithm development and high performance computing.
After having been a student for over a decade, Edward looks back to his early college years as a key to his success.
“MESA taught me how to study, how to collaborate, how to better communicate,” he said. “MESA taught me how to be a college student.”
Erenis always had a knack for math, but lacked the support and motivation to put a priority on her education. In high school, she Erenis was a habitual truant, and enrolled at College of the Sequoias after graduating with a 2.0 GPA.
She didn’t have a clear path in mind and figured she’d earn a technical degree and get a job.
One day she walked past a door with the MESA logo on it and decided to walk in.
“That started everything.”
Erenis, who is the first in her family to go to college and the daughter of immigrant field workers, said the support system and sense of community she got with MESA helped her get through challenging math courses.
She completed an associate’s degree in mathematics in 2011 and transferred to UC Santa Barbara. She’d visited UCSB and other university campuses during MESA-led campus tours.
While at UCSB she was involved with MESA activities through the campus MESA center, including a series of company tours. One tour was Materia, Inc.
“I really liked it there, so I applied for a job and got it. I had it lined up before graduation.”
Now Erenis is an engineer at Materia working on project development.
“As long as you have a good support system you can achieve anything,” she said. “MESA gave me that.”
A graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe in engineering sciences, Felicia was introduced to engineering from her MESA teacher at Kennedy High School in Richmond “Through MESA, I learned about the different fields within engineering, attended seminars and learned from professionals, attended a summer program at UC Berkeley, received tutoring, prepped for college entrance exams, and landed a great summer job at the Chevron Refinery.” Felicia spent 14 years in the telecommunications industry working for Bell South Corporation in Atlanta on projects such as the 1996 Summer Olympics telecom infrastructure and Bell South’s launch of internet services. She realized, though, that her calling was to help students. She returned to school, became a middle school math and is now the principal at Bella Vista Elementary School in Oakland. I’m now a consumer of technology rather than a creator, but now I’m trying to raise the next generation of technology creators.