MESA Fuels Tech Talent
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.
Linking MESA from 6th grade through bachelor’s
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”
– Helen Keller
Teamwork and collaboration are critical in all facets of life. In MESA, a connection between segments strengthens the continuum for students.
Building a strong link between regional pre-college, community college and university level MESA programs makes for a richer experience for students. Middle school and high school students can see the MESA program first hand at the university or community college level; community college students participate in research opportunities through the university MESA campuses. So MESA centers collaborate with their neighbor centers to form regional alliances.
One of the first successful MESA alliances was born in San Diego. The San Diego MESA Alliance began in 2000 and is made up of the Imperial Valley and San Diego State University pre-college programs, the community college programs at San Diego City College and Southwestern College, and the undergraduate program at San Diego State University. The alliance combines its resources and relationships by employing a joint industry advisory board, applying for grants together and holding joint events.
Alliances strive to enhance the pipeline of MESA programs in a particular region. The alliance goals are to establish best practices, strategic partnerships, effective coordination of services, and development of core curriculum for MESA programs.
Recently, the East Bay MESA Alliance coalesced to strengthen the Bay Area pipeline. The alliance is made up of the pre-college program at California State East Bay and the community college programs at Chabot, Diablo Valley and Los Medanos Colleges.
The alliance debuted with “Exploring Your Future Day” at the Chabot Space and Science Center, bringing together community college students, high school students and parents for a day of workshops on financial aid, university transfer and hands-on science demonstrations.
MESA programs in other parts of the state also have reaped the benefits of close collaboration including the Capitol Corridor Alliance in the Sacramento area, the Santa Barbara area alliance as well as the partnership between East Los Angeles College and the pre-college and university programs at CSU Los Angeles.
Through these close, regional relationships, MESA can provide students with a clear path when transitioning through their educational journeys.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
Fresno National Champs
The Mendota Junior High School team is national champions of the MESA Engineering Design Competition!
8th graders Yousef Ali, Isabela Hamasaki, Sergio Mejia and Samed Obaid made the best robotic prosthetic arm in the nation. They claimed those top bragging rights (and a huge trophy) yesterday at competition held at Temple University in Philly. The Mendota team is led by MESA advisors Dave Sackrison, Max McDougal and Carlos Tamayo.
California MESA teams showed up in force, also claiming second place overall for the high school group. Pacheco High Team is made up of 9th graders Ernesto Castro and Kevin Ramirez and are led by advisors Tim Burns and Cruz Flores.
All teams had to perform several tasks with the arm, which is powered by a programmed coding board, as well as give an oral presentation and submit a complete R&D report. Both schools are served by the MESA center at the Fresno State Lyles College of Engineering.
Mendota is a small agricultural town in the California Central Valley and 97 percent of the population are Latino. The median household income is $25,800 and 62 percent of residents work in agriculture.
Our students have proven that with drive, vision and support anything is possible. The teams mothers sold tamales and held other fundraisers to raise money for the trip to nationals.
Congrats to our national champions!
California Engineering Champions
The Golden State Warriors aren’t the only teams who can sweep a competition.
CSU Fresno’s MESA center grabbed both middle and high school titles and are headed to the National Engineering Design Competition in Philadelphia next month.
The teams rose to the top, making the best robotic prosthetic arms in the state. Now they hope to keep the winning streak going.
These teams beat out hundreds of others in California during preliminary and regional contests. This hands-on learning approach is an important part of MESA’s success by bridging the classroom to the real world.
The Mendota Junior High Team is made up of 8th graders Yousef Ali, Isabela Hamasaki, Sergio Mejia and Samed Obaid. They are led by MESA advisors Dave Sackrison, Max McDougal and Carlos Tamayo.
These teachers helped the team apply the math and science concepts they learn in the classroom to the engineering design techniques needed to create a functioning robotic arm.
The Pacheco High Team is made up of 9th graders Ernesto Castro and Kevin Ramirez and are led by advisors Tim Burns and Cruz Flores.
Both schools are served by the MESA center at the Fresno State Lyles College of Engineering.
Congrats to our state champs and good luck in Philly!