November 14, 2013
Danielle McNamara
 (510) 987-0230

Press Release


MESA is involved on many levels with the 1st Annual California STEM Symposium, November 18-19 at the Sacramento Convention Center.


In a continued effort to advance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in California, the symposium will bring together 2,000 teachers, administrators, students, program providers and representatives of higher education, industry and philanthrophic organizations to provide strategies and resources.


The Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, organized the event.


MESA will present two workshops during the symposium. University of California Riverside MESA Director Carlos Gonzalez will present “STEM for Disadvantaged Students: The MESA Program Model,” which will illustrate how MESA champions STEM success for middle and high school students.


Another workshop will highlight MESA’s continued successful partnerships with industry in “MESA/Cisco Mentor & Shadow Project: Matching Students with Industry Professionals.” MESA Statewide Office Marketing and Resource Development Manager Mae Cendaña Torlakson, Mission College MESA Director Dr. Char Perlas and Cisco US Public Sector Executive Education Advisor, Cynthia Temesi will share how to replicate a mentoring program for STEM students in community college and university systems. Cisco and MESA started a program last year which resulted in MESA students interviewing for full time Cisco STEM positions.


Keynote speakers include STEM education advocates actor Geena Davis and NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as well as MESA alumnus and former NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez. Hernandez was involved in MESA while at University of the Pacific and UC Santa Barbara. He has shared the inspirational story of his life journey from a migrant farm worker family to becoming a space shuttle flight engineer.


MESA Executive Director Dr. Oscar Porter is also a member of the California Department of Education STEM Conference Workgroup, the body that helped plan the symposium.


“MESA has a 43-year history of providing STEM support for educationally disadvantaged students in California. We are excited to be involved in the symposium and sharing best practices from both pre-college and university-level endeavors,” said Dr. Porter. “This is a wonderful opportunity to bring together such a diverse group committed to advancing the state’s STEM students and future professionals.”


The symposium’s sponsors include longtime MESA supporters Chevron, PG&E and Intel.


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. MESA provides academic support and enrichment to more than 17,000 K-12 students and more than 7,800 community college and four-year college students each year.