CSU, Chico News

MESA Students Attend Leadership Conference

Date: 11-03-2011

Joe Wills
Public Affairs
Danielle McNamara

A select group of 10 California State University, Chico students honed leadership skills for the future during a special conference for engineering and computer science majors.

The Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Student Leadership Conference offered professional and leadership development through direct interaction with industry mentors and speakers. The MESA students, all engineering or computer science majors, were from 25 universities and community colleges across the state.

MESA is an academic preparation program that each year serves about 20,000 California pre-college, community college and university students who are educationally disadvantaged. Seventy percent of MESA high school graduates statewide go directly to college after graduation, compared to 48 percent of all California graduates. Sixty percent of MESA students go on to math, science or engineering majors.

The CSU, Chico students participating were freshman Diego Abad, computer engineering, from Orland; freshman Jorge Alvarado, mechatronic engineering, from Compton; freshman Emmanuel Jimenez, mechanical engineering, from Paso Robles; freshman Neymi Madrigal, mechanical engineering, from East Palo Alto; Senior Taylor Malone, applied computer graphics, from Chico; freshman Mayra Melgoza, mechanical engineering, from Bakersfield; freshman Stacy Rios, mechanical engineering, from Calexico; freshman Saira Soriano, mechanical engineering, from El Centro; sophomore Angel Torres, civil engineering, from Ventura; and Nathaniel Turner, mechanical engineering, from Sacramento.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company sponsored the event with a $60,000 grant that allowed 152 students to attend the conference, which took place Oct. 6-8 at the Oakland Convention Center.

Other sponsors included San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Gas Company, East Bay Municipal Utilities District, Sacramento Municipal Utilities District and Vanir Construction Management, Inc.

MESA is one of the larger programs in the state to support educationally disadvantaged students so they can graduate from college with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees.

“We know that California’s economy needs more STEM workers to stay competitive,” said MESA Executive Director Oscar F. Porter. “These students provide the solution to industry’s need for well-trained professionals. They were selected to attend the conference because these students have strong leadership skills. This event gives them a chance to interact extensively with STEM professionals currently working in the field,” said Porter.

Student attendees represented the following campuses: CSU campuses at Chico, East Bay, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Sonoma; UC campuses at Riverside, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz; American River College, Butte College, Cañada College, City College of San Francisco, Cosumnes River College, Los Medanos College, Mission College, Napa Valley College, Sacramento City College, San Diego City College, San Joaquin Delta College, Skyline College, Southwestern College and Yuba College.