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“Illuminate. Motivate. Launch.”

Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles October 27-28


The Student Leadership Conference (SLC) brings together hand-picked engineering and computer science students with industry professionals to develop the next generation of diverse STEM leaders. These MESA leaders are the new face of STEM.

2017 sponsors and partners  include: 

  cisco logo  
PGE_Logo  SDG&E Connected Logo small


SLC Purpose

The Student Leadership Conference is an opportunity for STEM students to develop “soft skills” necessary to successfully transition from college to professional careers. During the conference students:

  • Explore career opportunities
  • Practice their collaboration and problem solving skills
  • Enhance their oral, written, presentation and communication skills
  • Develop interviewing skills

Industry partners provide workshops, event speakers, conduct mock interviews and identify candidates for internship and full time STEM positions.

SLC Attendance

The MESA SLC is attended by:

  • 200 selected MESA computer science and engineering undergraduate students
  • More than 30 MESA center directors from throughout the state
  • MESA alumni from throughout the country
  • Industry and government agency representatives
  • Various national, state, and local government representatives

Students are selected by their MESA directors based upon demonstrated potential to be future leaders for their college, the MESA program, their community and ultimately, their professional field.

All undergraduate levels are invited; however, a preference is given to sophomore and junior students.





Students attend a series of six workshops focused on leadership and its importance. Industry-provided facilitators work with students during 45-minute sessions on a leadership topic of their choice. See the conference agenda for this year’s workshop descriptions and content.

Mock Interviews

Each student participates in a mock situational interview facilitated by industry representatives who provide feedback and coach the students on successful strategies.

Video Challenge

Students will present a video designed to highlight creativity, professionalism, and presentation skills before industry judges. Competing for a $1,000 cash award, each student will develop a 60-second ‘pitch’ video, creating a memorable impression of themselves in under a minute. This is an exciting event to drop in on Friday afternoon and see the students in action as they show their video, discuss their process and take questions from the judges.  Click here for guidelines for the 2017 Video Challenge.

VIP Industry & Alumni Reception

An invite only VIP event for MESA alumni, industry representatives and elected officials to gather for an update on MESA’s partnerships and future plans.

General Sessions

Designed as a vehicle for industry, graduate schools and government agencies to discuss opportunities with current undergraduates.
Champion Award Banquet

MESA Champion Award

Each year, MESA recognizes an industry, government agency or collaborator who exemplifies and advocates the organization’s vision and mission.




(Note: subject to change)


From Communicating to Connecting

Effective communication is a core competency of leadership. In this workshop participants will learn ways to communicate more effectively in their professional relationships. They will learn about assertive speaking skills, active listening skills, communication barriers and resolution techniques.


Financial Literacy: Budgeting and Credit

Beginning your career potentially includes many new things: moving to a new city, securing housing and handling your household finances. This workshop will help you understand budgeting, credit and building credit and other financial basics to set you on the path for success.


LinkedIn: Finding Internships and Jobs

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site with over 500 million members worldwide. It’s a powerful platform used by hiring managers, recruiters and professionals to find candidates, showcase their company, network or gain industry knowledge. LinkedIn is creating new opportunities for students. But, few people are maximizing LinkedIn’s power. Workshop topics will include:
1.Personal Branding
2.Building Your Profile
3.Video Resumes
4.Finding & Applying for Internships/Jobs


Mock Interviews: Sharpen Your Interview Skills

In this individual workshop session students will participate in a mock interview with an industry or program administrator. Interviewers will simulate questions most often asked at actual interviews and provide feedback based on theirperformance. They’ll earn tips on interviewing etiquette, how to best prepare a resume, and how to improve their confidence in future interviews.


Successful Interview Techniques

A successful interview is a gateway to your career. How you prepare, execute, and follow-up on your interview will make or break your opportunity at that new job. During this session you will learn specific techniques to help you prepare for your future job opportunities.


Understanding Your Offer: The Bottom Line

Gain a better understanding how an offer letter is composed and all of its elements in order to make the best decision on a job offer & ultimately your career.


Who’s the Boss: Entrepreneurial Panel

Many dream of being their own boss, but what does that entail? Hear from successful entrepreneurs as they share best practices, challenges, failures and successes in the realm of launching a business.





FRIDAY, October 27, 2017

Time Activity
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm Registration
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm MESA Challenge (semi-finals)
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm VIP Industry & MESA Alumni Reception
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm Welcome Dinner
8:30 pm – 9:30 pm Photos
9:00 pm – 11:00 pm Friday Night Live! Student Social


SATURDAY, October 28, 2017

Time Activity
7:00 am – 9:15 am Breakfast
9:30 am – 10:30 am Workshop Rotation I
10:45 am – 11:45 am Workshop Rotation II
11:45 am – 12:45 pm Lunch
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Workshop Rotation III
2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Workshop Rotation IV
3:45 pm – 4:45 pm General Session
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm MESA Champion Banquet
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Photos



Support the Student Leadership Conference

Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, October 27-28

Sponsorships include myriad opportunities for branding, student impact, talent recruitment and access to the highest caliber MESA students.

2016 sponsors and participating companies included NASA, Applied Materials, Edison International, Intel, SDG&E, Tesla, AT&T, PG&E

Sponsor benefits:

  • Access the best and brightest MESA students, hand-picked to be the leaders of tomorrow’s diverse STEM workforce
  • Demonstrate thought leadership in your industry
  • Engage employees through a tangible opportunity for your company to give back
  • Make a strategic investment in your company’s talent pipeline by helping to foster the next generation of engineers and technologists
  • Catch the creative spark and energy of young scientists
  • Inspire and be inspired

View the 2017 SLC sponsor packet.

If you are interested in supporting the Student Leadership Conference, or to find out more information, please contact:

Mae Torlakson
Corporate Partnerships Liaison