CSU, Chico News

Hand-Picked Group of High-Potential CSU, Chico Students Attend Leadership Conference

Date: 11-04-2016

Joe Wills
Public Affairs
Danielle McNamara
MESA Statewide Office

A select group of 12 California State University, Chico students confirmed they have what it takes to become the next leaders in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers during a special invitation-only conference.

The 13th Annual Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Student Leadership Conference, themed The New Face of STEM, was held Oct. 14-15 at the Santa Clara Marriott.

Students participated in mock interviews, heard guest speakers, attended workshops and connected with 75 industry representatives from 28STEM-related companies.

Students also engaged in a number of creative activities designed to sharpen their professional skills. They competed in an elevator pitch challenge styled after the hit television show The Voice. Audience members voted by live polling during the competition, which was hosted by Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Southern California Gas Co. led a team-building LEGO Challenge. And a networking social event included improvisational games designed to enhance the students’ social and emotional skills.

The conference drew 200 engineering and computer science students from 33 colleges and universities. The CSU, Chico students who attended were Janette Calvillo Solis, Jozzel Esqueda, Mackenzie Flowers, Brian Harris, Noah Macias, Claudia Martinez, Bryan Montes, Kianixa Soto Carrillo, Luis Teran, Josue Viveros, Mia VonBargen and Luis Zelaya.

The event was fully sponsored by industry donations. Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Gas Company, Edison International and San Diego Gas & Electric were the top sponsors, with additional funding from CHC Consulting, Intel, Applied Materials and Jabil Circuit. Other partners included NASA, Tesla and AT&T. The CSU, Chico conference attendees were sponsored by PG&E.

NASA astronaut Lt. Commander Victor Glover was named the 2016 MESA Distinguished Alum at the event. He first participated in MESA while in middle school and credits the program with being a driving force behind his success as an engineer. Glover encouraged students to stay committed to their STEM education. “What you’re doing is so vital, so important, to California and the planet,” he said.

MESA promotes STEM success for more than 25,000 educationally disadvantaged students from secondary schools, community colleges and four-year colleges in California through project-based learning, academic counseling and exposure to STEM careers to help prepare those students to graduate from college with math-based degrees. Statewide, 70 percent of MESA high school graduates go directly to college after graduation, compared to 48 percent of all California graduates. Once in college, 60 percent of MESA students become math, science or engineering majors.

For more information about CSU, Chico’s MESA programs, go to http://www.csuchico.edu/mesa/index.shtml.