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The importance of afterschool programs

October 29, 2014 | Danielle McNamara

California was recently named the top state in the country at providing top-quality afterschool programs. According to the Afterschool Alliance report, after-school participation in California had increased to 25 percent in 2013, up from 19 percent in 2009.


MESA understands the importance of after school programs, especially for educationally and economically disadvantaged students. According to Ed Source:


  • About 20 percent of the country’s children – 11.3 million – are unsupervised between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • The need is greatest for low-income, African-American and Latino students
  • About 47 percent of low-income children in California are participating
  • The average cost of after-school programs was $114 per week in 2013-14, more than twice as much as 10 years ago


MESA offers high-quality, enrichment programs, free of charge to 228 schools throughout California. These students receive hands-on project-based learning that reinforce the core concepts they learn in math and science classes. They curriculum is New Generation Science Standard and Common Core aligned and introduces students to the possibility of STEM majors and careers.


Find out if a MESA center near you offers after school programming, with our map tool





Leadership at its best

October 28, 2014 | Danielle McNamara

Sure there’s reading, writing and arithmetic. But what about communications, leadership and networking? Not as catchy, but just as important.


Soft skills are large part of one’s career success, but often STEM students don’t see the importance or have the opportunity to build those skills.


But through MESA, each year, more than 200 computer science and engineering students are brought together for the Student Leadership Conference (SLC).


This industry-sponsored, invitation-only event gives students a chance to hone interviewing skills, network with industry leaders and enhance their oral, written and online presence through intensive workshops.


Industry supports SLC because they recognize the need to identify and develop future leaders in their organizations.





What is MESA?

October 27, 2014 | Danielle McNamara

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education is hot topic these days. Everyone from President Obama to Grammy-winner will.i.am are investing in the future of STEM education. And for good reason. California currently has almost 900,000 STEM jobs and that is expected to increase to 1.1 million – or 19% — by 2018.


Yet, before STEM was a catchphrase, MESA was helping students earn those degrees. MESA is one of the most successful STEM programs in California and is the model for programs in more than a dozen states. For 44 years, MESA has provided academic support and preparation for tens of thousands of educationally disadvantaged students, equipping them to excel in SETM fields. MESA seeks to empower participants to achieve academic excellence, thereby increasing their chances for success in college, career and community life.


MESA provides a unique combination of enrichment activities, hands-on competitions, counseling, academic support, industry involvement and a supportive community environment to middle school, high school, community college and university students.


I ask you to join me in supporting the next generation of MESA graduates and, in turn, California’s technical workforce.


~ Dr. Oscar Porter, MESA Executive Director





Welcome to MESA!

| Danielle McNamara

Welcome to the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement blog. Our blog is a forum to share trends in STEM education, higher education access and the amazing things happening with MESA across California.


This blog and the redesigned website are just one result of a year-long strategic planning process that sets the structure for MESA’s future. An emphasis on collecting and sharing key data about student success, increase the number of MESA graduates, and furthering MESA’s stock as a national STEM education leader.


To find out more about MESA’s new direction read the strategic plan Executive Summary (pdf). We’re confident in executing this plan to continue MESA’s long history of student success in STEM and preparing the nation’s future technical professionals.


~ Dr. Oscar Porter, MESA Executive Director