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MESA Blog

Stars Align for MESA Alum

August 9, 2018 | Danielle McNamara

Things keep looking up (way up) for MESA alumnus Victor Glover.

NASA announced this month Glover is one of the crew set to fly on SpaceX and Boeing spaceships. These will be the first major flights on commercial craft by NASA astronauts and the first time astronauts have traveled to space from American ground since the Space Shuttle program ended. 

This will be Victor’s spaceflight debut, but as a Navy commander, Naval aviator and test pilot he’s got almost 3,000 hours flying in more than 40 different aircraft, 400 carrier landings and 24 combat missions under his belt.

“Every moment in this experience is going to be the first so I’m really looking forward to it,” Victor said after the announcement. 

Crewed flight are scheduled to begin in 2019. Victor will be aboard the SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft atop the Falcon 9 rocket headed to the International Space Station for a long-duration mission. 

Victor launched his career with MESA as a fifth grader when he competed in MESA Day contests. Applying the math and science concepts gave him early interest in being an engineer, but he gained even more as an engineering major at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He would visit local middle schools to tutor MESA students in physics concepts through projects like mousetrap cars and egg drops. Helping students understand “Why do I need to learn this?” solidified his love for both math and giving back. 

He continues to be an inspiration to MESA students. He was named the 2016 MESA Distinguished Alum and addressed students about MESA’s impact and the need for diversity in STEM fields. 

“The New Face of STEM? That’s you guys — it’s all you. And from where I stand, you guys look great.”

We’re so proud Victor is part of the MESA family! We’ll stay posted on his cosmic course.

Oracle Opens Door to Computer Science Careers

August 1, 2018 | Danielle McNamara

Oracle continues to expose students to computer science skills and careers through its longtime relationship with MESA.

 

This summer MESA conducted 4 JAVA programming camps at UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, and Imperial Valley thanks to a generous grant from Oracle. Students learned the basics of JAVA and put their newfound knowledge to use in fun ways such as creating video games, designing websites, and making music. Students also got a chance to tour UC campuses, meet MESA alumni and current college students pursuing degrees in computer science, as well explore career options by visiting local companies that rely computer science graduates, including Procore and Lockheed Martin. 

 

Overall, fifty-four percent of the students were female, 64 percent qualified for free/reduced lunch and 78 percent would be the first in their family to go to college. 

 

The coding fun will continue into the fall. Camps will be held at CSU Fresno and San Diego State as well as follow up Saturday Academies at all five sites throughout fall 2018, targeting additional middle and high school students, as well as workshops for parents and teachers.

 

Saturday Academies will focus on incorporating components on robotics, cybersecurity, other programming languages such as Python, in addition to exposing students to a variety of career options by connecting students with MESA alumni who have computer science careers. 

 

The grant builds 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. Oracle has funded MESA teachers attending computer science education conferences and the Oracle Education Foundation organized web-based problem-solving competitions for MESA students. 

 

Since 2013, Oracle has awarded MESA more than $130,000 and furthered the commitment to uplift computer science education for underserved students. 

 

A focus on computer science exposure in low-performing schools is a key tenant of MESA’s mission to provide high-quality science, technology, engineering and math curriculum to educationally disadvantaged students. We thank Oracle for their commitment in helping us achieve that goal.

Students Bring Home 2nd in National Competition

July 13, 2018 | Danielle McNamara

Congrats to the California MESA National Engineering Design Challenge winners! 

The California teams won second place overall in both middle and high school divisions.

Isbell Middle School seventh graders Samanta Ivanez and Brandon Arana of the UC Santa Barbara MESA center beat out dozens of other middle school teams to compete in the national championship in Philadelphia in June. 

The high school winners are Bolsa Grande High School eleventh grader David Chuong and twelfth graders Duy Pham and Danny Vo of the UC Irvine MESA center.

The teams had spent the better part of the school year designing, developing and building electronic devices that solve real-world problems. These hands-on competitions help MESA students connect the math and science principals they learn in the classroom to real-world application.

May 11, 2018 | Danielle McNamara