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Imperial Valley MESA students receive visit and help from San Diego Gas & Electric engineers

A miniature working windmill from last year’s MESA group sits on display while behind it groups of students work on their windmill designs. (Eric Miller)

BY ROMAN FLORES Imperial Valley Press Staff Writer

Full story can be found at The Imperial Valley Press.

All it takes to build a windmill is construction paper, rubber bands and batteries.

At least that’s what 40 Imperial Valley students in the Math Engineering Science and Achievement program in three middle schools and two high schools attempted to do at the San Diego Gas & Electric Windmill presentation at the SDG&E Resource Center on Wednesday in El Centro.

Five SDG&E engineers were on hand to give students an outlook on their career choice.

“For the most part, this is the first time any of them get to meet engineers,” said Jeanette Ramos, Imperial Valley MESA program director.
“A lot of our students thought engineers look like Einstein and then they met these engineers who are all so young,” she said, adding that the students were very receptive to the engineers during the presentation.

The students agreed.

“It was interesting because they told us about all the various forms of energy,” 16-year-old Calexico High School junior Adrian Ortiz said.
Ramos said the presentation is supposed to help students in the MESA USA National Engineering Design Competition Wind Energy Challenge.
In the national competition, high school and middle school teams research, design, build, test and compete using their own team windmill to use wind energy to complete certain tasks, according to MESA’s competition overview.

Though schools from the Imperial Valley have scored as high as third place in the Southern California section of the MESA competition, Ramos said their goal is to have the local team place first in order to move on to the state competition.

But first the students have to best each other.

“Yes, we’re going to beat the other groups because we’re from Imperial,” said ninth-grader Debbie Kim.

Staff Writer Roman Flores can be reached at 760-337-3439 or

MESA Wind Energy Challenge road to victory

Local: Imperial Valley competition March 5 at Imperial Valley College

Regional: Middle school competition April 2 at Chapman University, Orange
High school competition April 9 at University of California Irvine

State: California MESA Competition at University of California Santa Barbara in May

National Engineering Design Competition to be announced in June

Copyright © 2010, Imperial Valley Press

Published in MESA Activities MESA Day News Volunteer