• Janiene Langford

Cal State East Bay MESA Day 2020

"My favorite part of MESA Day is that it brings together tons of bright and driven kids from all over the region" -- Max, 12th grade

On Saturday, March 7th, five-hundred middle and high school students from across the East Bay competed in the annual MESA Day Preliminary competition at CSU East Bay's Hayward campus. The event is an opportunity for students to showcase the work they have been doing throughout the year in their after school MESA programs and see what other students have been designing and building. While the event did have students competing in nine different areas - ranging from computer science to civil engineering to biomechanics - the energy of the day was one of collaboration, learning, and fun. Jenny, an eighth grader from Chavez Middle School said that her favorite part of MESA Day was "exploring and seeing the creations of others. It's great to see others' hard work come together." That sentiment was echoed by many students including Josh, an eleventh grader from Hercules High School, who commented that "the excitement and overall friendliness in the competitions makes MESA unique. Even though we were strangers, we gave constructive advice on the presentations and designs."

Competitions were judged by local community college students; CSU East Bay undergraduate and graduate students; and professionals from Chevron, Delta Electronics, Marathon Petroleum, and the Port of Oakland. Students also had an opportunity to explore the campus in between competing and engage in exciting activities hosted by Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, CSU East Bay's Math Lab staff and students, the pre-dental club Students United for the American Toothfairy, CSU East Bay's Library faculty and staff, the American Chemical Society, and CSU East Bay's Kinesiology staff and students. All of these experiences were designed to remind students that STEM is fun and diverse. In the words of Chloe, a tenth grader from Hercules High School, "I learned that many people come from different backgrounds and experiences in STEM."

The CSU East Bay MESA College Prep Center is run by the Institute for STEM Education with generous support from Chevron and the Lesher Foundation. A big thank you to the dedicated teachers who make this program a success by providing guidance and support to their students!

Clockwise from top: Closing awards ceremonies at the end of MESA Day; A competing middle school team displays the final product of their yearlong design process; Two high school students try their hand at the Prosthetic Arm Challenge.

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