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California Engineering Champions

May 17, 2017 | Roman

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!

And the Winner Is…

May 12, 2017 | Roman

California’s best and brightest future engineers will compete for top bragging rights and the title of state champs for creating the best code-powered prosthetic arm this weekend.

The top four middle school and top four high school teams have already beaten thousands of other MESA students out during preliminary and regional competitions.

This competition bridges classroom learning with real world application and encourages students to think beyond what they learn in physics, calculus or geometry. These experiences are particularly poignant for MESA students are they all attend low-performing schools, come from low socio-economic background and are typically the first in their families to attend college.

UC Irvine will not only host this weekend’s event, but two teams competing are from the UCI center. Student teams have to perform several tasks with the arm, give an oral presentation and submit a complete R&D report during the day-long event.

Judges for the contest are MESA alumni from Compton and Imperial Valley who are now professional civil, manufacturing and software engineers.

Middle school teams:

  • UC Davis/Sacramento State center – Sutter Middle School
  • Fresno State center – Mendota Junior High School
  • Long Beach State center – Hudson Middle School
  • UC Irvine center – Markham Middle School

High school teams:

  • UC Irvine center – Costa Mesa High School
  • Long Beach State center – California Academy of Math and Science
  • Fresno State center – Pacheco High School
  • University of the Pacific center – Stagg High School

The winning middle and high school teams will move on to the national championship June 21-24 in Philadelphia.

If you can’t make it down to Irvine, stream the competition on Facebook Live or stay up to the minute on by following on Twitter.

Students Drop Serious Aero-Design Knowledge

May 1, 2017 | Roman

If you ever wondered how to make the perfect balsawood glider, talk to Matthew Suzuki and Niravroh Laha. The Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy seniors had a hands down win at the CSU Long Beach MESA Day recently.

Those engineering chops will come in handy this fall. Niravroh will be attending UCLA to study Mechanical Aerospace. Matthew is still choosing between UCSB and UCSD, and intends to study Electrical Engineering.

We sat down with them to school us on the design, build and testing it took to make their gold medal plane.

MESA Days Season in Full Swing

April 10, 2017 | Danielle McNamara

Hands-on learning and project-based learning have become buzz terms in the STEM education world. But MESA students have been using the math and science concepts they learn in the classroom to create engineering projects for decades. 


MESA Days — yearly hands-on engineering competitions — are a core piece of MESA’s 47 years of success. The competitions are grade-specific, continually updated and reinforce California State Board of Education math and science standards.


MESA Days show students how what they learn in the classroom translates to real world engineering problems. Oh, and it’s a ton of fun.


Students spend the good part of the school year designing, testing and competing in preliminary, regional and state competitions before the top middle and high school teams from California are named in May. Those state champs move on to the MESA National Engineering Design Competition in June. Teams of students create a prosthetic arm that will complete a series of tasks. 


This year’s challenge tasks students with designing and creating a prosthetic arm with a functioning “hand” powered by a circuit board. Student teams participate in the full R&D experience by preparing a technical paper and academic display, defending their process and product before a panel of professionals and compete with teams from the other ten MESA USA states in performance.


The MESA National Engineering Design Competition will be held June 21-24, 2017 and hosted by Pennsylvania MESA at Temple University in Philadelphia.