June 25, 2012
Danielle McNamara
 (510) 987-0230

Press Release


Both the middle and high school California MESA teams emerged as national champions of a competitive engineering contest held this past weekend in Washington.


After months of designing, creating and competing, Isbell Middle School and Stagg High School teams were named the top middle and high school teams respectively of the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) National Engineering Design Competition. The student teams came out on top by designing the best wind energy device.


The groups beat out student teams from other states during the contest, held June 22-24 at the Boeing Assembly Facility in Renton, WA. The students previously bested thousands other California MESA students at preliminary and regional competitions, to triumph at the California championship in May.


The wind energy design competition falls in line with MESA’s goal to stay current with science, engineering and technology trends. The project teaches students to understand design principles such as torque, generating and storing wind energy as well as how to think like environmental scientists.


The Isbell team members are sixth graders Tobin Fincher, Nathan Rabago, Carlos Gomez and Carson Gray. Isbell students are served by the MESA center housed at University of California, Santa Barbara College of Engineering. Thirty-nine percent Isbell Middle School students are English language learners and eighty percent are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program.


The Stagg team members are 10th grader Brooklyn Omstead, 11th grader Emily Cornelison, and 12th graders Sean Ferguson and Julian de Los Santos. They are lead by MESA advisor Andrew Walter. Stagg students are served by the MESA center housed at University of the Pacific School of Engineering and Computer Science. Sixty-eight percent of Stagg students are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program.


The wind energy project is part of MESA Days, a yearly showcase of students’ math and science know-how. Through MESA and MESA Day competitions, students can explore future careers in science, engineering and other technical fields.


MESA is an academic preparation program that serves more than 21,000 California pre-college, community college and university students who are educationally disadvantaged.


Seventy-four percent of MESA high school students go to college after graduation compared to 41 percent of all California students. Sixty percent of MESA high school graduates go on to college as math, engineering or science majors.


For more information about the Isbell students, contact UCSB MESA director Mario Castellanos at or 805-893-4026.


For more information about the Stagg students, contact Pacific MESA director Maria Garcia-Sheets or 209-946-3057.

For more information about MESA visit