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Pacific MESA students connect with industry leaders to launch STEM careers

Four talented University of the Pacific students gathered in downtown Los Angeles in a step towards becoming the diverse leaders of tomorrow's tech and engineering workforce.

MESA's Student Leadership Conference brings together hand-picked engineering and computer science students with industry professionals to develop the next generation of STEM leaders.  Held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel Oct. 27-28, this year's conference theme was Illuminate. Motivate. Launch.

 Pacific MESA students and MEP Director pictured with Disney executives.

The Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program guides diverse students from underrepresented backgrounds into STEM careers.

Unlike job fairs or speaker-only conferences, MESA students got the unique opportunity to interact one-on-one and in small groups with company executives, engineers and recruiters. Many often leave the conference with internship offers that lead to full time employment. Students participated in mock interviews, communications, team building, emotional intelligence and financial literacy workshops.

"MESA's Student Leadership Conference provides an incredible opportunity for our community college and university students to gain invaluable career development skills and network with leading industry professionals to kick-start their STEM careers," said MESA Executive Director Thomas Ahn. "Our students represent the skills, passion and potential that our state desperately needs to enrich our workforce and strengthen our communities.  MESA students are among California's most precious resources for diverse talent in the STEM fields."

Companies recognize the importance of engaging with and supporting our students - so much so they fully fund the conference with donations.  These enlightened corporate partners understand these are not simply underserved and underrepresented students, they are an underutilized pool of talent that has been long overlooked.  Companies simply cannot afford to ignore this talent pool.

This year's partners and sponsors included: Edison International and Southern California Gas Company as top sponsors and Pacific Gas and Electric, Applied Materials, ecmc Foundation and San Diego Gas and Electric. Other participating companies were: AT&T, Blast Motion, CHC Consulting, Disney, Northrup Grumman, Jet Propulsion Labs, Boeing, Oracle, Crane Aerospace and Wells Fargo.

Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) has a 47-year history of changing the face of science, technology and engineering by developing a new generation of STEM leaders. Now with a network of more than 250,000 alumni, MESA fuels diversity by propelling historically underrepresented students toward STEM degrees and professional careers.  

Each year MESA serves over 25,000 students at the pre-college, community college and university levels across California. We bridge classroom learning with real-world applications, and employ rigorous academics, leadership preparation, a peer community and collaborative problem-solving training to produce highly-skilled college graduates who meet 21st century STEM workforce needs.  

The White House, the Ford Foundation, and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation have all recognized MESA for its innovative and effective academic development model.  

MESA high school students have a 92% college-going rate, as compared to the statewide average of 42%. MESA's UC acceptance rate: 70% (vs 60% for all CA students); Community college transfer rate into STEM majors: 97%; Graduates with STEM bachelor's degrees: average of 500 per year.

Irene Camy | Interim MEP Director | | 209.946.2539
Danielle McNamara | Strategic Communications, MESA | | 510.987.0230