A select group of UCSB Engineering undergraduate students participated in the 13th annual MESA Student Leadership Conference, held October 14-15 in Santa Clara, California.
Four undergraduate students attended the invitation-only conference:
- Fernando Mendoza, Computer Engineering major
- Miguel Flores, Mechanical Engineering major
- Stephanie Pernett, Mechanical Engineering major
- Benjamin Flores, Mechanical Engineering major
Students engaged in a number of creative activities designed to sharpen their professional skills. They competed in an elevator pitch challenge styled after the hit show “The Voice.” Audience members voted by live polling during this PG&E hosted competition. SoCalGas led a team-building Lego Challenge. And a networking social event included improv games geared toward enhancing social and emotional skills. Students also participated in mock interviews, connected with industry representatives, heard guest speakers and attended workshops. This focus on so-called “soft skills” is a key to shaping well-rounded STEM professionals.
The event was fully sponsored by industry donations. Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Gas Company, Edison International and San Diego Gas & Electric were the top sponsors with additional funding from CHC Consulting, Intel, Applied Materials and Jabil. Other partners included NASA, Tesla and AT&T.
NASA astronaut Commander Victor Glover was named the 2016 MESA Distinguished Alum. He participated in MESA while middle school and undergrad and credits the program with being a driving force behind his success as an engineer. He encouraged students to stay committed to STEM education. “What you’re doing is so vital, so important to California and the planet,” he said.
Special thanks to MESA for this story.
MESA promotes STEM success for more than 25,000 educationally disadvantaged secondary, community college and four-year college students in California through project-based learning, academic counseling and exposure to STEM careers, so they can graduate from college with math-based degrees. Seventy percent of MESA high school graduates statewide went directly to college after graduation compared to 48 percent of all California graduates. Sixty percent of MESA students go on to math, science or engineering majors. Ninety-seven percent of MESA community college transfer students go to college as STEM majors.