The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program’s Regional MESA Day competition took place on the UCSB campus on April 21, 2018. The top teams from the Preliminary MESA Day (called Science and Technology MESA Day) competitions at UCSB, UC Santa Cruz and California State University, Fresno all competed at the Regional MESA Day competition at UCSB.
The MESA USA National Engineering Design Competition (NEDC) is the only competition that has a State Championship, and the MESA Arduino STEM Solutions competition is the MESA NEDC for 2017-2020. For this competition, students had to speak with members of their local community to determine a challenge they were facing and develop a solution to solve the problem. Our Isbell Middle School team discovered that overfilling trashcans on the street were a problem for their community, so they brainstormed ideas and developed the “SmartCan”. They created the SmartCan to measure a pre-determined load and then alert the client, via a red LED light, when the can had to be emptied. The load weight can be adjusted, so that people with injuries who could not lift as heavy a trash bag, would have the SmartCan alert them when the load was within a weight they could lift. Their SmartCan was developed with some key aspects in mind, such as efficiency and low cost.
Our SmartCan team – 7th Graders Samantha Ivanez and Brandon Arana – from Isbell Middle School took first place and will be competing against the top teams from all the MESA Centers in California at the State Championship on Saturday, May 12 at UC Irvine. We are very proud of our team and below is a quote from their MESA Advisor who works closely with them throughout the academic year.
"It's such a privilege to mentor students like Samantha Ivanez and Brandon Arana. Their enthusiasm is evident in every aspect of their MESA Arduino STEM Solutions project as well as their willingness to share their human centered design solution with school staff and students. Congratulations on a job well done!"
Winners at the State competition will then head to the National Championship in Philadelphia, PA in June 2018.