MESA Day and SIP

April 06, 2018

By Alexandria Leckliter, MESA Director 

Sumo-wrestling robots, gliders turning to hit a target, functioning prosthetic arms, and chain reactions resulting in a ball catapult, were some of the student-engineered projects featured at UC Santa Cruz’ (UCSC) Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Day this March.

Middle and high school students from across UCSC’s outreach service area gathered to compete against their peers in one of 14 hands-on STEM competitions ranging from bridge building to video game design, as a part of the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) Schools Program. With 250 student competitors, the competition was fierce for the coveted 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place medals in each event. Winners from the event in March will advance to the Regional Final MESA Day at UC Santa Barbara on April 21st, for the next round of competitions against other winners from over 50 middle and high schools across the state.

The engagement in open-ended Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) challenges like MESA Day, college-going peer groups, exposure to role models, and college knowledge that MESA provides helps motivate, and level the playing field for underrepresented and underserved students. MESA’s college-going rate is twice the rate of California students at large, and most of our students go on to pursue STEM majors in college.

For high school students who are prepared to engage in more advanced and immersive STEM programs, the Science Internship Program (SIP) offers students a unique opportunity to work directly with UCSC graduate students in labs in 16 academic departments ranging from biomolecular engineering to astronomy to psychology. During the summer-long program, university researchers mentor high school interns who participate in cutting-edge research as it unfolds. Alumni of the SIP program have had great success in college and beyond. The Educational Partnership Center (EPC) is pleased to welcome SIP into its collection of STEM outreach programs as of summer 2018.

The EPC is a part of the Division of Undergraduate Education and houses multiple programs that provide outreach on behalf of the university to build college-going communities in underserved areas of UCSC’s geographical region. In addition to MESA and SIP, the EPC is home to eight other programs including: The California Reading and Literature Project (CRLP), California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal SOAP), Educational Talent Search (ETS), Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP), Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS), Girls in Engineering (GIE), and GIRLS Paving the Way. Together, the programs of the EPC help meet the public service mission of the university.

April 2018 Newsletter