October 28, 2010
Danielle McNamara
 (510) 987-0230

Press Release


A select group of 150 engineering and computer science college students from across California were chosen to participate in a special leadership conference.


The Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Student Leadership Conference offered extensive professional and leadership development through direct interaction with industry mentors and speakers. The hand-picked MESA students, all science, engineering, or math majors, were from 24 universities and community colleges across the state.


Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) sponsored the event and more than 25 PG&E employees volunteered their time to work closely with the students during the 2-day event in October.


PG&E was recognized for the extensive support the company has provided to assist educationally disadvantaged MESA students to graduate in STEM fields. PG&E has supported MESA since 1979. William Harper, PG&E vice president and chief diversity officer and MESA board member, addressed the students and encouraged them to continue.


“I see the future in this room, that is why PG&E is committed to building a workforce that reflects the diversity of our customers of the future by working with organizations like MESA,” he told the attendees.


NASA astronaut and MESA alumnus Jose Hernandez spoke to MESA students during the event.


The astronaut motivated students to continue through tough engineering and math courses with stories of his upbringing as a farm worker in central California. He went on from that humble background to fly aboard the Discovery space shuttle in 2009. He participated in MESA while a student at the University of the Pacific and UC Santa Barbara.


“It’s very important what MESA is doing to support you to stay in these fields,” Hernandez said. “I’m a product of MESA, so you see good things come out of the program.”


Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, MESA is one of the largest programs in the state to support educationally disadvantaged students so they can graduate from college with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees.


For more information about MESA please visit