May 26, 2015
Danielle McNamara
(510) 987-0230


Press Release


Two Manuel Dominguez High School students are now high school state champions in the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Statewide Prosthetic Arm Engineering Design Challenge.


After months of designing, creating and competing, they beat out hundreds of other students throughout California to build the most effective prosthetic arm. The project is part of MESA Days, an annual showcase of students’ math and science know-how. Through MESA and MESA Day competitions, students explore future careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.


MESA teacher Emmanuel Ikeokonta leads the team: 12th graders Azucena Castro and Jennifer Barrientos. They now move on to the MESA National Engineering Design Competition June 17-20 at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.


Dominguez MESA students are served by the MESA center housed at University of California Irvine Henry Samueli School of Engineering. MESA serves educationally disadvantaged students in low-performing schools in California; ninety-three percent of Dominguez students received free or reduced meals.


The competition requires a team of students to develop a prosthetic device to complete pre-defined tasks. The focus on bioengineering reflects MESA’s goal to involve students with the hottest science, engineering and technology areas. The project teaches students to understand design principles, implement problem-solving techniques and think like mechanical engineers.


MESA is one of the largest programs in California 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 18,000 K-12 students and more than 7,800 community college and 4-year college students each year. Most MESA students are economically disadvantaged, the first in their families to attend college and attend underperforming schools.


For more information about the Dominguez students, contact UCI MESA Director Marvin Maldonado at For more information about MESA, visit or on Twitter @MESASTEM.