For Monica Noori-Saghar MESA means progress.

As a first generation college student, she began her STEM journey at Diablo Valley College. She was active in MESA and the program led her to transfer to San Jose State University which also has a MESA center.

Monica was accepted to the MESA Mentorship Program with Western Digital and gained another leap in her goal to become a professional engineer.

She said her mentor Ryan Schultz helped her in the classroom and beyond.

“He was extremely supportive and helpful throughout the program. He not only helped me study for technical interviews but he was there every step of the way from providing me materials to study, to the application process, and even helping me choose the right internship from the offers that I received,” Monica said.

The MESA mentor program matches employees with engineering and computer science students for six months to one year. Mentor pairs meet monthly to discuss student areas of study and interest as well as non-academic topics that will prepare students as they launch their careers.

For Monica the program ended in an internship at Western Digital this summer as a Quality Assurance Engineer.

Students get an insider’s look into STEM careers and the workplace culture of the host company. It helps them make more informed decisions on where they might like to focus, and encourages them toward their career goals. Employees enhance their own career development, specifically in coaching, leadership and recruiting skills. Companies benefit exposure it to an emerging talent pool of diverse individuals with a high success potential, and by getting to know these prospective employees in a more intimate and longitudinal manner than traditional hiring practices.

The MESA Mentorship Program has been active for more than five years. Cisco, Western Digital and PG&E are current partners and each company has hired interns or full time employees through the program each year.

Pablo Garcia who had an internship with PG&E this summer after being in the mentorship program said the experience made him more confident and makes him want to be a mentor one day. Pablo was in MESA while at Mission College and continues now at San Jose State.

“I encourage other students to get a mentor as early as possible. As a first gen (college student) I feel like I have to guide my (younger) siblings on their path,” he said. “A lot of the info I gained from (my mentor Buba Jallow at PG&E) I bring back to my siblings.”

If your company is interested in creating a mentorship partnership with MESA please contact us.