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“Illuminate. Motivate. Launch.”

Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles October 27-28


The Student Leadership Conference (SLC) brings together hand-picked engineering and computer science students with industry professionals to develop the next generation of diverse STEM leaders. These MESA leaders are the new face of STEM.

2017 sponsors and partners  include: 

  cisco logo  
PGE_Logo  SDG&E Connected Logo small


SLC Purpose

The Student Leadership Conference is an opportunity for STEM students to develop “soft skills” necessary to successfully transition from college to professional careers. During the conference students:

  • Explore career opportunities
  • Practice their collaboration and problem solving skills
  • Enhance their oral, written, presentation and communication skills
  • Develop interviewing skills

Industry partners provide workshops, event speakers, conduct mock interviews and identify candidates for internship and full time STEM positions.

SLC Attendance

The MESA SLC is attended by:

  • 200 selected MESA computer science and engineering undergraduate students
  • More than 30 MESA center directors from throughout the state
  • MESA alumni from throughout the country
  • Industry and government agency representatives
  • Various national, state, and local government representatives

Students are selected by their MESA directors based upon demonstrated potential to be future leaders for their college, the MESA program, their community and ultimately, their professional field.

All undergraduate levels are invited; however, a preference is given to sophomore and junior students.





Students attend a series of six workshops focused on leadership and its importance. Industry-provided facilitators work with students during 45-minute sessions on a leadership topic of their choice. See the conference agenda for this year’s workshop descriptions and content.

Mock Interviews

Each student participates in a mock situational interview facilitated by industry representatives who provide feedback and coach the students on successful strategies.

Video Challenge

Students will present a video designed to highlight creativity, professionalism, and presentation skills before industry judges. Competing for a $1,000 cash award, each student will develop a 60-second ‘pitch’ video, creating a memorable impression of themselves in under a minute. This is an exciting event to drop in on Friday afternoon and see the students in action as they show their video, discuss their process and take questions from the judges.  Click here for guidelines for the 2017 Video Challenge.

VIP Industry & Alumni Reception

An invite only VIP event for MESA alumni, industry representatives and elected officials to gather for an update on MESA’s partnerships and future plans.

General Sessions

Designed as a vehicle for industry, graduate schools and government agencies to discuss opportunities with current undergraduates.
Champion Award Banquet

MESA Champion Award

Each year, MESA recognizes an industry, government agency or collaborator who exemplifies and advocates the organization’s vision and mission.




(Note: subject to change)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, October 27-28

Effective Communications

Modern technology and conveniences have brought with them new means of communicating and sharing ideas. We are now more connected than ever due to email, cell phones and social media. As a result, effective communication skills are now seen as invaluable, not only in our social lives but in academic and professional environments as well.. The ability to effectively and efficiently convey our ideas and perspectives to others is critical to a leader’s success. It reduces confusion, maximizes time, strengthens relationships, and leads to desired outcomes. Although commonly associated with verbal queues, the majority of effective communication involves nonverbal elements, preparation, physical gestures, etc. This workshop will present the various forms and techniques associated with effective communication relevant to those in academia and to those beginning their professional careers in STEM fields.

Emotional Intelligence

Oftentimes, college students enter the workforce uncertain how to effectively manage themselves among older, more experienced (though potentially less sophisticated) peers. Understanding the nuances of Emotional Intelligence better prepares a student for the realities of the workplace.

From Communicating to Connecting

Clear, effective, and powerful communications is a core competency of leadership — especially for knowledge workers who are responsible for leading without authority, not to mention collaborating on complex issues that require creativity and courage.

Interview Techniques

Description coming soon!

Personal Branding

Description coming soon!

Road Map to Leadership

The importance of leadership in the STEM fields is critical for our country and the utility industry. Effective leadership begins with understanding what leadership means and the qualities that make a leader. This session will differentiate leadership from management and give you, our future work force, tools to be your own leader.

Sharpen your Interviewing Skills

In this individual workshop session, you will participate in a mock interview with an industry or program administrator. Interviewers will simulate questions most often asked at actual interviews and provide feedback based on your performance. You will earn tips on interviewing etiquette, how to best prepare your resume, and how to improve your confidence in future interviews.




FRIDAY, October 27, 2017

Time Activity
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm Registration
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm MESA Challenge (semi-finals)
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm VIP Industry & MESA Alumni Reception
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm Welcome Dinner
8:30 pm – 9:30 pm Photos
9:00 pm – 11:00 pm Friday Night Live! Student Social


SATURDAY, October 28, 2017

Time Activity
7:00 am – 9:15 am Breakfast
9:30 am – 10:30 am Workshop Rotation I
10:45 am – 11:45 am Workshop Rotation II
11:45 am – 12:45 pm Lunch
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Workshop Rotation III
2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Workshop Rotation IV
3:30 pm – 4:30 pm General Session
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm MESA Champion Banquet
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Photos



Support the Student Leadership Conference

Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, October 27-28

Sponsorships include myriad opportunities for branding, student impact, talent recruitment and access to the highest caliber MESA students.

2016 sponsors and participating companies included NASA, Applied Materials, Edison International, Intel, SDG&E, Tesla, AT&T, PG&E

Sponsor benefits:

  • Access the best and brightest MESA students, hand-picked to be the leaders of tomorrow’s diverse STEM workforce
  • Demonstrate thought leadership in your industry
  • Engage employees through a tangible opportunity for your company to give back
  • Make a strategic investment in your company’s talent pipeline by helping to foster the next generation of engineers and technologists
  • Catch the creative spark and energy of young scientists
  • Inspire and be inspired

View the 2017 SLC sponsor packet.

If you are interested in supporting the Student Leadership Conference, or to find out more information, please contact:

Mae Torlakson
Corporate Partnerships Liaison