On a sunny Saturday in March, Miguel Arellano took part in MESA Day on the Chico campus. As a volunteer event leader, he was coaching students from six local middle and senior high schools in engineering, math, and science competitions. While there was serious science at work, there was also serious fun—including dropping eggs from tall buildings, racing miniature cars built from mousetraps, and launching projectiles from trebuchet devices.
The event was part of the MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) Schools Program (MSP), a statewide initiative that assists educationally disadvantaged students in achieving academically and preparing for competitive entry into college. Arellano, a 2006 CSU, Chico computer engineering graduate and an information-technology specialist for Chevron, received invaluable support from programs like the university-level MESA Engineering Program (MEP) when he was going to school.
“I come from a migrant farm-working family,” says Arellano. “I knew firsthand how hard farmwork was, and I didn’t want to live that life. My dad has worked in different farms his entire life. My mother has the equivalent of a high school education. They always wanted their children to get educations and find jobs that made use of our intelligence and skills.”
In 2001, Arellano moved from Yuba City to Chico. “I was very interested in technology, and I knew that CSU, Chico had a very strong engineering program,” he says.
At CSU, Chico, Arellano belonged to several organizations, including the MESA Engineering Program, the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), Latinos in Technical Careers (LTC), and Alliance for Minority Participation (AMP). “MESA, LTC, and AMP were like a home away from home to me,” says Arellano. “MESA provided me with a positive atmosphere to study, personal tutors, lab access, academic advice, personal advice, financial support, and many other opportunities. With the support of MESA, I was able to complete my technical degree.”
And now Arellano is giving back, driving regularly from his home in Fairfield to support MESA Schools Program students. “I know how useful and important it is to have role models who have attained what you are working for,” he says. “By helping students, I get an opportunity to show them that goals are attainable.”
Arellano has worked at Chevron since 2006. In March 2008, he accepted a position at Chevron’s San Ramon office with the company’s Application Server Design team.