Both California MESA National Engineering Design Competition teams took home second place in creating a solution to help their communities.

Costa Mesa High School and Costa Mesa Middle School — both from the UC Irvine MESA center — teams bested other teams locally, regionally and statewide to get the chance to compete in the national contest.

MESA’s National Engineering Design Competition Designing for Equity Championship was held virtually this month. The contest is a culmination of teamwork and engineering acumen by middle school and high school teams in the nine MESA USA states to create a solution to a real-world problem using a microprocessor.

Thi Nguyen, Audrey Nguyenhuu, Aubrey Spallone and Kayla Stanley of Costa Mesa Middle School make up the winning middle school team.

They created Active Tracking Air Knowledge, a mobile app that analyzes air to help people in underprivileged communities and people with disabilities to identify poor air quality. The team recognized that people in underserved communities are more likely to be exposed to harmful air.

Sophia Catania, Lucero Islas and Lena Nguyen of Costa Mesa High School make up the winning high school team (pictured above). Both teams are led by MESA teacher advisor Quang Nguyen and the UC Irvine center is run by director Marvin Maldonado and associate director Nicole Patterson.

That team devised MonitorMe, a portable, low-cost health monitor that benefits low-income communities who have less access to doctors due to lack of healthcare. It also acts as a personal device for those who are hesitant to leave their homes due to COVID-19.

“We are so incredibly proud of these young ladies and everything they accomplished this year in the NEDC competition,” Maldonado said. “They continue to amaze us, but quite frankly, I’m not surprised. An incredible work ethic, commitment, and positive energy throughout this challenging year manifested in second place finishes for both teams. MESA Advisor Quang Nguyen needs to be praised as well, because he guided both teams to this pinnacle and has been an inspirational presence every step of the way.”

Congrats, teams!