2019 MESA Student Leadership Conference

Sheraton Grand Hotel, Sacramento | October 25 – 26


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.

2018 sponsors and partners  included

  PGE_Logo cisco 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, priority is given to junior and senior 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.

Idea Accelerator Challenge

Ten teams of MESA students participating in the MESA Idea Accelerator pilot will attend SLC and present their Accelerator pitch before peers, alumni and industry.  Live voting will identify four semi-finalists who will have the opportunity to receive coaching from key industry volunteers before making a final pitch to an exclusive group of industry representatives at the Industry and Alumni Reception.  A winner will be selected and announced at the Saturday Awards Banquet.

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.

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)


Emotional Intelligence: The Other Kind of Smarts

Oftentimes, college students enters the workforce uncertain how to effectively manage themselves among older, more experienced (though potentially less sophisticated peers). Understanding the nuances of Emotional Intelligence better prepares a student for the realities of the workplace. 


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.


Personal Branding: 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 their performance. They’ll earn tips on interviewing etiquette, how to best prepare a resume, and how to improve their confidence in future interviews.


Technical Interview Skills Workshop

During this workshop you will learn about different types of technical interviews companies conduct for intern, co-op and new hires.  Learn from engineers who will role-play phone, virtual and in-person interviews with you.  Walk away with a template and the key steps you need to ace your technical job interview!


Tips on Professionalism/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.




2019 schedule is coming soon. Here’s a look at last year’s activities:

FRIDAY, October 5, 2018

Time Activity
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm Registration
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm Conference Kick-off
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm General Session – Tips on Professionalism/Interview Techniques
5:15 pm – 6:15 pm Entrepreneurial Panel Discussion
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 6, 2018

Time Activity
7:30 am – 9:00 am Breakfast/Lego Man Challenge
9:15 am – 10:25 am Workshop Rotation I
10:35 am – 11:45 am Workshop Rotation II
11:45 am – 1:15 pm Lunch
1:25 pm – 2:35 pm Workshop Rotation III
2:35 pm – 4:00 pm Career Info & Networking Session
4:30 pm – 6:00 pm General Session – LinkedIn
4:30 pm – 6:00 pm Industry & Alumni Reception
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Awards Banquet and Closing Ceremony



Support the Student Leadership Conference

Sheraton Grand Hotel, Sacramento, October 25 – 26

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

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


For more information view our 2019 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