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Introduction to MESA

Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) is a low-cost program designed to increase access to Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) pathways and encourage college readiness for low-income, minority or first-generation college-bound students in grades 6-12. Arizona MESA’s approach is based on four pillars:

  • Active Learning – students learn and implement the MESA Engineering Design Process through numerous highly-engaging, relevant, hands-on activities in which their experience of project-based learning, while supported by the teacher, is driven mainly by student teams. Such learning reinforces Common Core and NGSS practices like:
    • Collaborative problem solving
    • Building and testing of prototypes
    • Collecting and analyzing data
    • Consideration of design variables
    • Communicating design choices
    • Visual models, both hand drawn and computer-aided
  • Exposure to STEM - through college and career mentors and university campus events.
    • Mentoring –students meet and learn from university students and STEM professionals who can share their experiences and strategies on pursuing a STEM major and career. Our partners from Higher Education and Industry include but are not limited to: Raytheon, Salt River Project, General Motors, Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies (QESST), American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).
    • Campus Events – students explore unique STEM fields/majors like computer engineering, civil engineering, and aerospace and mechanical engineering while connecting with undergraduate and graduate students.
    • Competition - MESA annually provides 9 unique design challenges to provide students an opportunity to collaborate on a long term project implementing the Engineering Design Process in order to compete in our statewide competition, MESA Day.
  • College Readiness – through activities, resources and events developed by the UA Office of Early Academic Outreach as part of its Start Now college knowledge campaign (http://startnow.arizona.edu) including:
    • College Knowledge Resources – our Start Now website provides various resources including our popular 3-Minutes for College video series which offers short summary videos in Spanish and English about the paths to college, the Sweet 16 courses required for admission, and how to pay for college.
    • College Knowledge for Parents - a high school transition event for 8th grade families
    • College Knowledge for Counselors – a one-day conference to assist k-12 staff in creating a college going culture
    • Unique Scholarship Opportunities – access to the College Success Arizona Scholarship program and dedicated UA scholarships for MESA participants.
    • School-Wide Impact. While MESA supports teachers in effective methods for growing college-bound cultures within MESA, MESA also works with interested schools to support school-wide approaches.
  • Peer Support – by supporting the development of college-minded peer groups that support and encourage each other throughout the K-16 pipeline.

Participating schools select a MESA Sponsors, aka Advisors, to be the program facilitators at the school and our access point to students. The primary responsibilities of the advisors are to:

  • Recruit 15 or more students to join MESA
  • Hold weekly meetings to introduce the Engineering Design Process and provide time for students to work on their STEM projects
  • Encourage and support college and STEM exposure
  • Facilitate use of Engineering Design Process and Engineering Design Notebooks
  • Share best practices with the MESA community
  • Register students for competitions
  • Incorporate college access monthly during meetings
  • Have students fill out Student Information Form (SIF) and return them to MESA office
  • Maintain communication with MESA office

If you are interested in starting MESA at your school please contact us at azmesa@email.arizona.edu. If you are ready to start a MESA program at your school complete the Memorandum of Understanding and forward it and any fees due to our office.

Advisor Resources:

Program Administration and Support Documents

Follow the links to see

  • Administration Documents - includes the MOU, SIF, Activities, Design Notebooks, and more
  • School Support Documents - information to help implement MESA including sample club constitution, attendance roster, and recruitment flyers.

Administration Documents School Support

Engineering Websites

Some helpful sites for exploring the Engineering Design Process

Engineering Websites

Tool Usage

MESA students can use a variety of tools.  Here are some links to help teach them proper usage of some of the most common tools.

Tool Usage Links