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MESA is an academic enrichment program that connects underrepresented students with jobs, internships, professional development and educational opportunities in the STEM fields.
Seattle Central MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) is a program that gives underrepresented students the confidence, skills and experience needed by industry to prepare for careers in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) field.
MESA helps students:
• Transfer to four-year universities
• Search for internships and help through the application process
• Connect with mentors and research projects.
MESA also provide textbooks, calculators, tutors and other resources and support to encourage their success in the STEM field.
Below are a few ways on how MESA contributes to student success.
1. MESA is diverse
MESA serves historically underrepresented students in STEM, including African American, Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander students, and female students of all ethnicities. Currently, less than 10 percent of people employed in the STEM field are from these underrepresented groups. MESA students are given the support and resources needed to prepare for and pursue STEM degrees and careers which will be key to the success and diversity of Washington State’s future STEM workforce.
2. MESA creates a supportive learning community
At the beginning of Winter Quarter, MESA moved from North Plaza into a new, larger facility in the Broadway Edison (BE) building, which can serve more students. The center allows students to:
• Receive free tutoring in STEM courses
• Create study groups
• Keep accountable for each other’s success help each other with class assignments
• Work on hands-on projects and group learning
• Borrow textbooks
• Find information on internships, scholarships, and other STEM resources
• Access to a microwave, coffee, tea, and a quiet space to study
MESA also assists students with resume and cover letter writing. Each quarter, industry leaders come to the MESA center to discuss their research and give advice to students. MESA Program Director Marilyn Saavedra-Leyva connects students to mentors from organizations such as National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).
3. MESA and their partners provide students with research opportunities
MESA’s success in fulfilling its mission is due in large part to the partnerships it has cultivated. On campus, MESA partners include TRiO’s Project Finish Line and Student Leadership to promote each other’s events, recruit students for different initiatives, and discuss best practices to help students succeed.
Community partners include Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Microsoft and more. Some partners offer internships to MESA students where they can gain valuable experience and references. In addition, students can volunteer for the MESA K-12 program by helping to mentor students in specific subjects, or provide tutoring in after school programs. .
“I strongly believe in connecting students with hands on projects because they are not easy to come by at the community college level,” said Marilyn. “I work with industries to create projects and research specific to a community college student.”
The MESA Center is organizing an Open House on Apr. 7 at 1 p.m. in BE3221 for interested students, faculty and community members, where student research projects will be on display. Students who would like to join MESA can fill out an application online and learn more about MESA. Staff/faculty who would like to become involved can reach out to Marilyn directly.