CSU, Chico News

CSU, Chico Students Chosen for Leadership Conference

Date: 10-31-2012

Joe Wills
Public Affairs
Danielle McNamara
MESA Statewide Office

A select group of 10 California State University, Chico students recently honed their leadership skills at a special invitation-only conference in Sacramento for math-based majors. The event was sponsored by PG&E and six other companies.

The Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Student Leadership Conference held Oct. 19-21 offered extensive professional and leadership development through direct interaction with industry mentors and speakers. The hand-picked MESA students, all science, engineering or math majors, represented more than 30 universities and community colleges from across the state, including CSU, Chico.

Participating CSU, Chico students were Henry Sanchez, Antonio Apodaca, Olga Leal Bazan, Katherine Valencia, Cherelle Sprewell, Jose Frias, Angelica Perez-Delgado, Juan Diaz, Ulysses Martinez and Juan Gonzalez.

Students participated in mock interviews, connected with industry representatives from seven national and California companies and heard guest speakers such as former NASA astronaut Tammy Jernigan. California Public Utilities Commissioner Tim Simon was named the 2012 MESA Champion for the commission’s longstanding support of the program. Students also participated in a MESA Business Case Challenge in which they presented a business solution to a panel of energy and utility industry leaders.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) was a major sponsor of the event. The company’s $40,000 grant allowed students from 20 Northern California campuses to attend. PG&E employees volunteered their time to work closely with the students during the conference.

“We know that California’s economy needs more STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) 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 industry,” said Porter.

MESA is one of the largest academic preparation STEM programs in the country and supports over 21,000 educationally disadvantaged students so they can graduate from college with math-based degrees. Seventy percent of MESA high school graduates statewide went 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.