October 25, 2016
A select group of University of California Santa Barbara students confirmed they have what it takes to be leaders in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers during a special invitation-only conference.
The 13th Annual Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Student Leadership Conference, themed "The New Face of STEM," was held October 14-15 at the Santa Clara Marriott.
Students engaged in a number of creative activities designed to sharpen their professional skills. They competed in an elevator pitch challenge styled after the hit show "The Voice." Audience members voted by live polling during this PG&E hosted competition. SoCalGas led a team-building Lego Challenge. And a networking social event included improv games geared toward enhancing social and emotional skills.
Students also 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.
The MESA's 2016 Student Leadership Conference delivered:
The event was fully sponsored by industry donations. Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Gas Company, Edison International and San Diego Gas & Electric were the top sponsors with additional funding from CHC Consulting, Intel, Applied Materials and Jabil. Other partners included NASA, Tesla and AT&T. The CSU Long Beach conference attendees were sponsored by SoCalGas and Edison International.
NASA astronaut Commander Victor Glover was named the 2016 MESA Distinguished Alum. He participated in MESA while middle school and undergrad and credits the program with being a driving force behind his success as an engineer. He encouraged students to stay committed to STEM education.
"What you're doing is so vital, so important to California and the planet," he said. Student attendees are from the following campuses: CSU Chico, CSU Fresno, CSU Long Beach, CSU Los Angeles, CSU Sacramento, San Diego State University, San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, CSU Sonoma, UC Berkeley, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, University of the Pacific, American River College (Sacramento), Butte College (Oroville), CaÃ±ada College (Redwood City) , Chabot College (Hayward), City College of San Francisco, College of Alameda, College of the Canyons (Santa Clarita), College of the Sequoias (Visalia), Cosumnes River College (Sacramento), Diablo Valley College (Pleasant Hill), Gavilan College (Gilroy), Los Medanos College (Pittsburg), Mission College (Santa Clara), Napa Valley College, Sacramento City College, San Joaquin Delta College (Stockton), Solano Community College (Fairfield), Ventura College, and Yuba College.
MESA promotes STEM success for more than 25,000 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.