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Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA)

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Oscar Porter

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One of the country’s most successful programs of its kind, Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) provides academic support for thousands of educationally disadvantaged students so they can excel in math and science and graduate with baccalaureate degrees in science, engineering, computer science, and other math-based fields.

MESA works closely with industry partners and the University of California, the California State University, the California Community Colleges, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the California Department of Education, school districts, and individual schools. MESA is nationally recognized for its innovation in academic development. MESA was founded in 1970 and is administered by the University of California.

MESA provides rigorous academic development that includes math and science curriculum based on the California Math and Science Standards. MESA also offers individualized academic planning, study skills training, peer group learning techniques, career exploration, parent involvement, professional development, transfer assistance, and special orientation classes and services for students in community college and four-year institutions.

MESA serves students through three programs. The MESA Schools Program supports pre-college students throughout the state to excel in math and science and go on to higher education. The MESA Community College Program assists community college students academically so they can transfer to four-year institutions as majors in math-based fields. The MESA Engineering Program supports students at major California universities to attain degrees in engineering and computer science.

MESA enjoys strong support from companies because they recognize MESA’s success in producing technical professionals needed by industry to stay competitive. Leaders such as AT&T, Bayer, General Electric, HP, IBM, Intel, PG&E, Southern California Gas Company and Verizon have provided funding, in-kind contributions, scholarships, and internships to assist MESA students. Corporate representatives serve on state and local MESA advisory boards.

MESA has been named as one of the most innovative public programs in the nation by Innovations in American Government, a project of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and the Ford Foundation. MESA also is a winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

California MESA is the model for similar programs operating in over a dozen other states.