Student Leadership Conference



The Student Leadership Conference (SLC) brings together hand-picked engineering, computer science, and various other STEM students with industry professionals to develop the next generation of diverse leaders. These MESA leaders are the new face of STEM.

The conference is an opportunity for STEM students to develop “soft skills” necessary to successfully transition from college to professional careers. During the conference students:

Explore career opportunities

Practice their collaboration and problem solving skills

Enhance their oral, written, presentation and communication skills

Develop interviewing skills

Industry partners provide workshops, event speakers, conduct mock interviews and identify candidates for internship and full time STEM positions.


SLC Attendance

Students are selected by their MESA directors based upon demonstrated potential to be future leaders for their college, the MESA program, their community and ultimately, their professional field. All undergraduate levels are invited; however, priority is given to junior and senior students. Student attendance is by invitation only, please check with your local MESA Center Director to see if you are selected to attend this years event. 

200 selected MESA computer science and engineering undergraduate students

More than 30 MESA center directors from throughout the state

The MESA SLC is attended by:

MESA alumni from throughout the country

Industry and government agency representatives

Various national, state, and local government representatives


Conference Highlights

Workshops & Webinars

Students attend a series of pre conference webinars and on site workshops focused on developing emotional inteligence and leadership skills and its importance. See the conference agenda for this year’s content.

Mock Interviews & Technical Interviewing Skill Training

Each student participates in a mock situational interview facilitated by industry representatives who provide feedback and coach the students on successful strategies. Technical interivew training will also be a focus of this years conference.

Idea Accelerator Challenge

Teams of MESA students participating in the MESA Idea Accelerator pilot will attend SLC and present their Accelerator pitch before peers, alumni and industry.  Live voting will identify semi-finalists who will have the opportunity to receive coaching from key industry volunteers before making a final pitch to an exclusive group of industry representatives at the Industry and Alumni Reception.  A winner will be selected and announced at the Saturday Awards Banquet.

Industry & Alumni Reception

An invite-only event for MESA alumni, industry representatives and elected officials to gather for an update on MESA’s partnerships and future plans.

Career Networking Sessions

Designed as a vehicle for industry, graduate schools and government agencies to discuss opportunities with current undergraduates.

Ray Landis Impact Award

For the second year, MESA will award the Ray Landis Impact Award. This distinguished honor is bestowed upon a visionary in diversity and STEM education.  At the 2018 MESA Student Leadership Conference, we commemorated the life and impact of Ray Landis with the inaagural award given to Rick Ainsworth.

Understanding Dr. Landis’ life and work is to understand a blueprint for how to have impact.  His legacy is all around us: from the 250,000 MESA alumni to the over 45 MESA college program sites to the over 7,000 college students currently enrolled in MESA programs here in California alone.  We believe, however, that it is critically important for us to preserve his legacy by continuing to tell the story of his life and his work.  This year the award will be given out to another incredible STEM leader, Madeline Fish. 


The MESA SLC is a great example of an event that helps to develop our next generation of STEM leaders

Diversity & Workforce Management Director,

San Diego Gas and Electric

2019 Conference Schedule (tentative)

Friday October 25

•       12 PM – Registration desk opens

•       2:00 – Conference Kick Off/Idea Accelerator Pitch

•       3:00 – Team Meet Ups/Challenge

•       4:30 – Room Key Distribution

•       6:00 – Welcome Dinner

•       8:00 – Photos

       9:00 – Social hour & Team Meet Ups

Saturday October 26

•       8:00 AM – Breakfast

•       9:15 – Team Project/Workshop Rotation I/Mock Interviews

•       10:30 –  Team Project/Workshop Rotation II/Mock Interviews

•       11:45 – Lunch

•       1:20 PM – Team Project/Workshop Rotation III/Mock Interviews

•       2:35 –  Team Project/Workshop Rotation IV/Mock Interviews

•       3:45 – Career Fair & Networking

•       3:45 – Team Meet Ups/Afternoon Refreshment

•       4:30 – Industry & Alumni Reception (for non-students only)

•       6:00 – 50th Anniversary Kickoff Awards Banquet

Workshops & Event Programming

Mock Interviews: Sharpen Your Interview Skills

In this individual workshop session students will participate in a mock interview with an industry or program administrator. Interviewers will simulate questions most often asked at actual interviews and provide feedback based on their performance. They’ll earn tips on interviewing etiquette, how to best prepare a resume, and how to improve their confidence in future interviews.

Non-Verbal Nuances: Influence Without Words

Even more than words, non-verbal communication can influence your audience tremendously.  These non-verbal nuances can entail physical objects, clothing, body language and external surroundings.  Learn how to leverage these non-verbal elements to boost your persuasion skills.  This fun and interactive session opens doors that will increase your influence and improve your non-verbal communication skills.

Learn the dos’ and don’ts of workplace conversations. From negotiation of salary, to inappropriate workplace behavior, students will engage with each other and corporate representatives on how to navigate through difficult workplace situations.

Please check back for conference project details in the coming weeks!


Support the Student Leadership Conference

Sponsorships include myriad opportunities for branding, student impact, talent recruitment and access to the highest caliber MESA students.

Sponsor benefits:

  • Access the best and brightest MESA students, hand-picked to be the leaders of tomorrow’s diverse STEM workforce
  • Demonstrate thought leadership in your industry
  • Engage employees through a tangible opportunity for your company to give back
  • Make a strategic investment in your company’s talent pipeline by helping to foster the next generation of engineers and technologists
  • Catch the creative spark and energy of young scientists
  • Inspire and be inspired

For more information, view our SLC 2019 Sponsor Packet.

If you are interested in supporting the Student Leadership Conference, or to find out more information, please contact:

Mindy Rieger, Director of Development


2019 Confirmed Sponsors

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Oakland, CA 94612-3550 

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