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Summer 2006

California MESA captures the gold in national engineering competition

California mesa swept first place in the MESA USA National Engineering Design Competition, capturing the gold in both middle school and high school categories.

Teams from Stagg High School (University of the Pacific MESA Center) and Roosevelt Middle School (UC Irvine MESA Center) produced the winning Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) entries, besting MPVs submitted by seven other states.

California's first place high school team members are Timothy Baldwin, Angel Lam, Alexis Oliva and Bao Tran Vo from Stagg High School in Stockton. Teachers Andrew Walter and Bill Lorentz are the MESA advisors for the Stagg team and Maria Garcia-Sheets is the MESA director for the University of the Pacific MESA Center. Garcia-Sheets oversees MESA activities in the region.

The state's winning middle school team members are Danial Ceasar, Leonelly Diaz, Alejandro Lopez and Bryan Elenes from Roosevelt Middle School in Compton. Philip Gerlach and Oscar Espinoza are the teachers who also serve as MESA advisors for the students. UC Irvine MESA Director Jaime Del Razo administers the MESA program at Roosevelt and other schools in the area.

The MPVs are cars built from common household mousetraps. Under a strict set of rules, students design and construct the cars, which are tested for speed and power. High school entries are also tested for accuracy. Other aspects of the competition require a display preparation, a technical paper and an oral presentation to a panel of engineers. The curriculum behind the competition is mapped to the appropriate California state subject matter grade level standards.

Industry representatives from AT&T, Boeing, Engineering Resources of Southern California, Hensel-Phelps and Jet Propulsion Lab were on hand to help judge the competition. Representatives from the Buena Park Unified School District, CSU Fullerton, the Santa Ana School District and UC Irvine also helped judge the competition.

The event was co-sponsored by the MESA programs at CSU Fullerton and UC Irvine.

Last year Stagg won second place in the competition. This year the team came back with a vengeance to capture the gold.

Participants came from MESA programs in Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington. The MESA programs in these states have formed a partnership called MESA USA, which organizes the National Engineering Design Competition.

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