Engineering know-how can take MESA students big places — namely, this weekend’s prosthetic arm challenge state championship at UC Irvine.


Eight teams have successfully demonstrated their engineering skills in preliminary and regional competitions, and now will compete for top bragging rights and the title of state champs for creating the best code-powered prosthetic arm. The winning middle and high school teams will move on to the national championship June 22-25 in Ogden, Utah. 


This competition bridges classroom learning with real world application and encourages students to think beyond what they learn in physics, calculus or geometry. And while “project-based learning” has been a hot term in recent years, this hands-on learning has been a key part of MESA’s award-winning model for decades.


So, let’s meet our contestants!


Middle school teams:


  • CSU Fresno center, Los Banos Junior High School
    • Erick Lara, Carol Garcia (7th graders), Daniel Baerwaldt, Ernesto Castro (8th graders)
  • CSU Long Beach center, Hudson Middle School
    • Ab Tudayan (6th grader), Marygrace Gliane, Giannka Picache, Julienne Quides (7th graders)
  • San Jose State center, Joseph George Middle School
    • Joshua Caslib, Jonathan Ergino, Hannah Le, Erika Marquez (7th graders)
  • UC Irvine center, Fleming Middle School
    • Diego Castillo (7th grader), Priya Bhavsar, Margarete Furlanetto, Shelby Respicio-Evans (8th graders)


High school teams:

  • UC Irvine center, Costa Mesa High School
    • Sarah Catania, Nancy Le  (11th graders), Sylvia Catania, Keiser Ruiz (12th graders)
  • UC Los Angeles center, Los Angeles High School
    • Andrew Auh, Elisah Mendoza (11th graders), Willie Contreras, Javier Martinez  (12th graders)
  • UC Santa Barbara center, Rio Mesa High School
    • Angela Calderon, Ryan Espinosa, Luis Perez, James Patrick Ventura (12th graders)
  • University of the Pacific center, A.A. Stagg High School
    • Kevin Phan, Roberto Torres, De’Lilah Vega (10th graders), Samuel Cornelison (11th grader)


Good luck to all of our hard-working teams!