Competition and Computation

  • BY Cal State East Bay
  • March 4, 2020

California needs scientists and Cal State East Bay has a plan to meet that need.

This Saturday, the university will host around 600 middle and high school students along with their teachers for the annual MESA Day preliminary competition. This is the 50th year of the MESA program and Cal State East Bay’s largest event to date. 

Students from Antioch, Pittsburg, Hayward, Fremont, and West Contra Costa school districts will participate in a variety of competitive events all related to science, technology, engineering and math concepts. 

In between competitions, students and their families will have a chance to explore the Cal State East Bay campus, learn more about the various degree programs offered at the university and participate in science-related activities. 

“MESA has a goal of 100 percent of its students going to college after high school,” Bruce Simon,  executive director of the STEM Institute said. “So, in addition to hosting the event, we want to help students become better prepared for post-secondary education and get a taste of what college will be like.” 

And it’s working. Many of the volunteers expected to help with this year’s program participated in MESA programs in high school or while they were at junior colleges in the area. 

The annual event is made possible with support from Chevron Richmond Refinery and is the culmination of learning squeezed in between their regular classes and schoolwork. Winners of this year’s challenge will head to the regional championships hosted at the Google campus and potentially onto the statewide and national championships. 

“These are students who have been working on projects during their lunch or after school for the past year,” said MESA Director Janiene Langford. “They are young people who may not have access to STEM activities outside of the classroom are curious to learn more. MESA is a way for them to expand their STEM learning and develop skills that will benefit them in college and beyond.