CSU, Chico News

Chico STEM Student Leaders Connect with Silicon Valley Industry

Date: 11-02-2015

Joe Wills
Public Affairs
Danielle McNamara

A select group of 12 California State University, Chico students honed their leadership skills at a special invitation-only conference for math-based majors in the country’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) innovation hub.

The 12th annual Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Student Leadership conference, themed “Celebrating 45 Years of STEM Success,” was held October 2-3 at the Santa Clara Marriott in Santa Clara. It offered students extensive professional and leadership development through direct interaction with industry mentors and speakers. The hand-picked MESA students, all science, engineering, or math majors, represent 38 universities and community colleges from across the state.

The conference was fully sponsored by industry donations. Edison International is the lead sponsor with additional funding from AT&T, Pacific Gas and Electric, San Diego Gas and Electric and Southern California Gas.

The Chico conference attendees are Jorge Alvarado, Cintia Amador, Shelby Angel, Marcus Battraw, Avery Esteen-Taylor, Daniel Gamez Resendiz, Diana Garcia, Zachary Marin, Paola Montoya, Federico Palofox and Jorge Romero Derrick Williams. They were sponsored by PG&E.

Students participated in mock interviews, connected with industry representatives, heard guest speakers and attended workshops. This focus on so-called “soft skills” is a key to shaping well-rounded STEM professionals. Actor and scientist Christina Ochoa and Pixar also gave presentations.

“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 industry,” Porter said.

MESA promotes STEM success for more than 28,000 educationally disadvantaged secondary, community college and four-year college students in California through project-based learning, academic counseling and exposure to STEM careers, 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. Ninety-seven percent of MESA community college transfer students go to college as STEM majors.

For more information about the SLC, visit http://mesa.ucop.edu/student-leadership-conference/

For more information about MESA, visit http://mesa.ucop.edu/home.html.