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University of California Santa Barbara
Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA)

MESA Schools Program

MESA–MSP, an academic preparation program of the University of California, Office of the President, that has provided academic enrichment and college preparation to first-generation middle and high school students in schools since 1970. UCSB’s MSP programs are delivered to students at Santa Barbara and Ventura County partnership schools where teachers serve as MESA Advisors, offering students support in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subject areas through hands-on, problem-solving projects and challenges. To encourage innovation and peer mentoring, MSP conducts STEM focused competitions. With a core goal of increasing college-going rates, MSP also provides academic and college preparation and career education to MESA students and their families, a strategy that has proven effective at preparing students for college admission and STEM careers.

"We appreciate all that you do at UCSB to reach out to students, not just on MESA Day, but all throughout the year…these are the things that inspire students at a young age!"

– Maria Elena Plaza, Principal, RJ Frank Intermediate School

Partnering Schools

La Cumbre Junior High School, Goleta Valley Junior High School, Fremont Intermediate School, Richard B. Haydock Intermediate School, RJ Frank Intermediate School, Isbell Middle School, El Camino Junior High, McKenzie Junior High.

Dos Pueblos High School, San Marcos High School, Carpinteria High School, Channel Islands High School, Hueneme High School, Oxnard High School, Pacifica High School, Rio Mesa High School, Santa Paula High School.


Individual Academic Plans – These plans help 6-12th grade students map their courses and academic goals, with MSP staff and counselors advising and monitoring individual MESA students' progress.

SAT/PSAT Preparation – Students review and prepare to succeed and score high on these challenging college entrance tests.

Study Skills Training – Students learn the essential skills needed for ongoing academic achievement and college preparation.

MESA Day Competitions and Academies – Hands-on math and science competitions progressing from local MESA Center to Regional, then on to Statewide levels. MESA Days provide students a chance to prepare for and compete in interactive STEM projects and academic challenges with opportunities to earn awards and recognition. Students practice teamwork, develop research and presentation skills, meet other MESA students and mentors, and visit college campuses (including UCSB).

Career and college exploration – Guest speakers, college research and college visits introduce students to a range of college and major options and clarify the education requirements for interesting STEM careers.

Parent Leadership Development – Parents are welcomed into MESA and are given tools and support by staff and MESA Advisors to become more effective at advocating for their child's academic success.

MESA Periods – MESA classes and sessions, held during regular hours in some schools, that allow Advisors (usually math or science teachers) to work with students on study skills, homework, group projects, and related math and science lessons that include problem solving and interactive MESA activities.

Teacher Training – Professional development sessions and biennial institutes allow MESA Advisors (teachers) to share their skills and learn interactive activities, cutting edge curricula as well as new techniques for teaching math and science. MSP Centers are based at universities and have ties with faculty members. MSP sites are located throughout california, where faculty and academic resources are available. Tied directly to schools and school districts, MSP programs broadcast other professional development opportunities.