October 19, 2017
Danielle McNamara


This month, more than 200 diverse and driven undergrads descend on downtown Los Angeles in a step towards becoming the diverse leaders of tomorrow’s tech and engineering workforce.

MESA’s Student Leadership Conference brings together hand-picked engineering and computer science students with industry professionals to develop the next generation of STEM leaders.  Held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel Oct. 27-28, this year’s conference theme is Illuminate. Motivate. Launch. 

Both students and companies benefit from the conference: students network and gain the soft skills needed to be well-rounded employees; companies gain access to talented, diverse candidates for internships and employment.

Companies recognize the importance of engaging with and supporting our students — so much so they fully fund the conference with donations.  These enlightened corporate partners understand these are not simply underserved and underrepresented students, they are an underutilized pool of talent that has been long overlooked.  Companies simply cannot afford to ignore this talent pool.

This year’s partners and sponsors include: Applied Materials, Cisco, CHC Consulting, Disney, Southern California Gas Company, San Diego Gas and Electric, PG&E and Edison International. Also participating will be companies such as AT&T, Blast Motion, Northrup Grumman, Jet Propulsion Labs, Boeing, Oracle and Crane Aerospace.

Unlike job fairs or speaker-only conferences, MESA students get the unique opportunity to interact one-on-one and in small groups with company executives, engineers and recruiters. Many leave the conference with internship offers that lead to full time employment. Students participate in mock interviews, communications, team building, emotional intelligence and financial literacy workshops.

Student attendees are from the following campuses: CSU Chico, CSU Fresno, CSU Long Beach, CSU Los Angeles, CSU Sacramento, San Diego State University, San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, CSU Sonoma, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UC Los Angeles, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, University of the Pacific, University of Southern California, Allan Hancock College, Bakersfield College, Butte College (Oroville), College of the Canyons (Santa Clarita), College of the Desert (Palm Desert), College of the Sequoias (Visalia), Diablo Valley College (Pleasant Hill), East Los Angeles College, El Camino College, Los Medanos College (Pittsburg), Pasadena City College, Rio Hondo College, San Diego City College, Santa Ana College, Santa Barbara City College, Ventura College.

Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) has a 47-year history of changing the face of science, technology and engineering by developing a new generation of STEM leaders. Now with a network of more than 250,000 alumni, MESA fuels diversity by propelling historically underrepresented students toward STEM degrees and professional careers.

Each year MESA serves over 25,000 students at the pre-college, community college and university levels across California. We bridge classroom learning with real-world applications, and employ rigorous academics, leadership preparation, a peer community and collaborative problem-solving training to produce highly-skilled college graduates who meet 21st century STEM workforce needs.

The White House, the Ford Foundation, and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation have all recognized MESA for its innovative and effective academic development model.

MESA high school students have a 92% college-going rate, as compared to the statewide average of 42%. Other indicators of program impact and student success:

UC acceptance rate: 70% (vs 60% for all CA students)

Community college transfer rate into STEM majors: 97%

Graduates with STEM bachelor’s degrees: Average of 500+/year


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For more information about MESA visit