CSU, Chico News

Local Students to Compete in Annual MESA Day

Date: 02-26-2015

Ernesto Rivera, Editorial Assistant
Public Affairs
Diana Parra-Villaseñor, Project Director
MESA Schools Program

California State University, Chico’s MESA Schools Program will host its annual MESA Preliminaries Day on March 7, when more than 120 local middle and high school students will to campus to compete with their prepared projects including gliders, airplanes, bridges, mousetrap cars and prosthetic arms. Students will arrive at CSU, Chico at 8 a.m., with competitions and events taking place across campus.

CSU, Chico’s MESA (Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement) Schools Program serves underrepresented and disadvantaged students in Glenn, Colusa and Sutter counties by working to increase their enrollment at four-year universities with an emphasis in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The day will begin with a welcome message, icebreakers and guest speakers before the competitions begin. Judging the competition will be CSU, Chico students, staff and alumni.

The program pairs MESA students with eight student mentors from CSU, Chico who visit with them every week to help prepare for the competition. Mentors start as coaches for the competition but often become role models to the students in the program.

Diana Parra-Villaseñor, project director of MESA Schools Program, said the goal of the competition is to provide a positive experience for students and introduce the idea of college to them.

“The competition is important, but it’s really about imagining yourself at this university,” she said. “When these students from all over Northern California come to Chico State, I want them to feel comfortable here and to feel welcomed and imagine themselves coming to Chico State and majoring in engineering or something STEM related.”

For the first time in five years, CSU, Chico will host MESA Schools Program’s Northern California’s regional competition on April 27. More than 450 students who won at their preliminary competitions and advanced to regionals will compete at CSU, Chico, where they will vie for top spots to enter the statewide competition.