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MESA Blog

Computer Science Education Week

December 6, 2017 | Danielle McNamara

As Computer Science Education Week winds down and more than 480 million people have participated in the Hour of Code, we still know this topic is much too important to embrace for just seven days. We know that coding and other computer science literacy, particularly for historically underserved students can make a huge difference in job preparedness and opportunity.

 

Here are some ways you can contribute to the growth of the computer science for all movement.

 

Get familiar with the challenge

Computer science and other STEM education are paramount to keeping our workforce productive, yet there is a shortage of qualified talent:

 

  • 69,025 is the number of unfilled computing jobs in California.
  • 71% of new STEM jobs are in computing, yet only…
  • 8% of STEM graduates obtain degrees in computer science. Meanwhile…
  • 64% of MESA high school grads enter as STEM majors and…
  • 97% of MESA community college students transfer as STEM majors

 

Support computer science education policy

Governor Brown signed AB 2329 that plans for expansion of CS education for all public school students beginning as early as kindergarten. California Department of Education is currently developing its K-12 2018 Computer Science Standards.

 

Get your code on

There are increasing resources for learning to code at all age levels and in many languages. For example, a partnership with Oracle Academy provides professional development training to MESA educators who teach coding in middle and high school.

 

Support STEM programs like MESA

Computer science literacy is a key tenant of MESA’s approach to creating the future technical workforce California and the nation need. Each year, MESA touches the lives of more than 25,000 students. Our students use coding and computer science to relate real world problems with what they learn in the classroom. Computer science curriculum i a key tenant to MESA’s success.

 

Most of those students are or will be the first in their families to attend college, and will go on to be the computer scientists, astronauts and engineers of the future. Find out how you can change the future of STEM today and contribute to computer science education for all movement.

 

Watering the Future – A MESA Story

November 28, 2017 | Loren Crippin

MESA Fuels Tech Talent

October 5, 2017 | Danielle McNamara

Solving the diversity problem in the tech world is a complicated problem.  Many tech companies have committed to improving their hiring practices but there’s still much progress to be made.  In fact, most companies have yet to move the needle by any meaningful degree.

 

Next 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 leave as winners: students network and gain the soft skills needed to be well-rounded employees; companies gain access to talented 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, and Oracle.

 

Unlike job fairs or speaker-only conferences, our 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.

 

That’s a big step in the right direction to diversifying tech and strengthening the state’s economy. Here’s to the future of STEM success in California.

 

Oracle Summer Programming Camps Were A Hit

September 15, 2017 | Loren Crippin

Thanks to funding from Oracle, MESA recently concluded 6 JAVA summer programming camps for middle and high school students throughout California.

Over 250 MESA students participated in the summer camps where they received hands-on experience about the various ways computer science can be applied, from building websites, to coding applications, to creating video games, to writing code that interacts with Arduino devices.

Teachers told us that there were floored by the enthusiasm they saw in their students as they made their way through the programming camps and slowly saw their code come to life. They were especially surprised as how eager students were to help each other get through the material, often asking for extra take-home work and volunteering to teach other students who were struggling.

Students attending summer coding camps at the UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara MESA centers also got the opportunity to spend the day touring a college campus and experience firsthand the educational path required to become a computer scientist. Students got to speak with undergraduates about their path to college, visit dorms, and participate in STEM and college readiness activities.

These summer programming camps build on years of support and collaboration between MESA and the tech giant. Oracle Academy has also supported Java trainings for teachers, summer coding camps for MESA students and Alice and Greenfoot coding competitions.

Follow up programming academies are planned at each of the locations throughout the fall targeting additional middle and high school students, as well as workshops for parents and teachers. These academies will focus on linking skills gained during JAVA, Alice, and Greenfoot trainings to the MESA Virtual Competition in November 2017, the MESA Robotics Invitational in November 2017, and the MESA Hack held during the “Hour of Code” in December 2017.