Space Science and Engineering Outreach through the MESA Schools Program

The MESA Schools Program at UCR operates a number of outreach initiatives to schools in Riverside and San Bernardino counties designed to increase the number and diversity of students pursuing studies and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. MESA works with individual students, their families, teachers, schools, and school districts to increase enthusiasm for math and science, and to enhance student skills in these areas. Major MESA initiatives and services include the following:

•  Individual Academic Plans. The plans help MSP counselors to monitor individual student progress.

•  SAT/PSAT Preparation. Students review and prepare for these important tests.

•  Study Skills Training. Students learn the most effective techniques for academic achievement.

•  MESA Day Academies. Hands-on math and science competitions at local and regional levels give students a chance to meet like-minded students and vie for awards.

•  Career and College Exploration. Guest speakers and field trips show students different college and career options.

•  Parent Leadership Development. Parents learn how to become effective advocates for their children’s academic success.

• MESA Periods. These classes, held during regular hours in some schools, allow Advisors (usually math or science teachers) to work with students on academics and MESA activities.

•                    Teacher Training Opportunities.  Annual institutes are offered for MESA pre-college Advisors (teachers) to learn hands-on curriculum and new techniques to teach math and science. Most MSPs are housed at universities and have ties with campus faculty members. MSP sites are located throughout California and serve hundreds of schools and school districts.

UCR has support from the California Space Grant Consortium for an outreach project to expand the number of schools that it serves. With this grant, MESA will be able to (1) fund at least one undergraduate student mentor to work with K-12 students in the area, (2) support more teachers in professional development, and (3) sponsor more school groups in competitions such as the robotics competition.