On Saturday, May 4, 2019, high school teams from Northern and Southern California Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program regions came to the University of California, Los Angeles to compete in the State Championship for the California MESA Middle and High School National Engineering Design Competition (NEDC). We are pleased to announce that the high school winners of this year’s California State Championship are Oxnard High School MESA students, Sara Centeno, Carl Cuyos, David Pulido and Jenna Huynh. Our Oxnard High School team developed the "Re‐LAQS" device, which stands for Respiratory Local Air Quality Sensor. They created the Re‐LAQS device to be a personal and mobile air quality system to warn when air quality is a health hazard. They were inspired by the poor air quality the Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties experienced during the various wildfires in 2018 and wanted to come up with a viable solution to better inform their school district’s students, parents, and community members when they should stay indoors due to poor air quality. The team’s MESA Advisor, Oxnard High School teacher, Nicholas Peterson said, "This year has been a great experience working with four great young students who are also part of our Robotics and Mechatronics programs at the high school and three of the four students will be moving on to engineering majors at various universities in the fall."
Our students had the following to say about their winning project.
"The project is meant to improve one’s quality of life and potentially the environment. Make sure everyone is able to inform themselves and understand the way they live has impacts on everyone else. The project is meant to help people understand the quality of the air they are breathing and to help people understand the weather and air quality. There are steps we can take to improve that."
‐Sara Centeno, 12th grade at Oxnard High School who is heading to CSU Channel Islands for a Mechatronics Engineering major fall 2019
"This project has taught me a lot by applying what I have learned in school, such as how to use CAD and create what the device would look like mechanically and design our device. I learned from our mechatronics class how to use the Arduino Pro Mini. We were working on a project using an Arduino Uno, which was quite big for its usage; however, we were able to miniaturize our prototype by using an Arduino Pro Mini, which was something I would not have known if I had not taken that course. Lastly, I had a club called Mock Trial which helped me with speaking and this club helped me improve my presentation skills and apply it to this project."
‐Carl Cuyos, 12th grade at Oxnard High school who will be attending UC Santa Cruz for a Robotics Engineering major in fall 2019
"Our project is an example of young people and the younger generation taking greater interest in the world around them and taking action in regards to what they want to see in terms of change in that world. In our case, we are using our passion and interest in the STEM technology to make our change and our impact on the world."
‐David Pulido, 12th grade at Oxnard High School who will be going to the University of Michigan for an Electrical Engineering major in fall 2019
"I really enjoyed our project about an air quality sensor because it was focused on empowering the individual as opposed to empowering a wide group of people and it was more focused on the individual level instead of a community or the state. It targeted the individual and empowered them directly."
‐Jenna Huynh, 10th grade at Oxnard High School
We are very proud of our high school team and excited that they will move on to the National Championship at the University of Arizona where they will compete with other top MESA teams from across the country on June 19‐22. We wish all the MESA middle and high school teams the best of luck at the National Championship. We also want to thank the parents, MESA Advisors, MESA staff, and school and district administration who encourage and work with our MESA students throughout the year.