A group of 24 San Diego State University Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) students honed their leadership skills at an invitation-only conference for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors in San Diego last month.
The 11th annual MESA Student Leadership Conference is sponsored by industry donations. Edison International is the lead sponsor with additional funding from San Diego Gas and Electric, Southern California Gas Company, Pacific Gas and Electric and AT&T.
SDG&E sponsored the SDSU students and the company’s employees volunteered their time to work with the students during the conference.
The conference — titled “Today’s STEM Students, Tomorrow’s STEM Leaders” — offered extensive professional and leadership development through direct interaction with industry mentors and speakers.
The students — all science, engineering or math majors — represent more than 27 universities and community colleges from across the state.
Noemi Aguiar, freshman, computer science
Kaye Balfour Kawasaki, junior, civil engineering
Valeria Ceron Santiago, junior, civil engineering
Kevin Cruz, sophomore, mechanical engineering
Des’Jon Dixon, senior, civil engineering
Adriana Garcia, junior, mechanical engineering
Noel Garcia, junior, electrical engineering
Allan Gausin, Junior, aerospace engineering
Fadee Kannah, senior, computer engineering
Daniel Lopez, sophomore, civil engineering
Jennifer Martin Velazquez, freshman, aerospace engineering
Alexandro Martinez, junior, mechanical engineering
Andreas McColley, freshman, computer science
Israel Morado, junior, mechanical engineering
Alberto Perez, junior, construction engineering
Edwin Perez, sophomore, computer science
Mai Xee Pha, senior, mechanical engineering
German Pineda, senior, aerospace engineering
Sergio Sarmiento, senior, computer engineering
Edward Siu, senior, aerospace engineering
Working toward the future
During the conference, students participated in mock interviews, connected with industry representatives, heard guest speakers and attended workshops.
SDG&E has been named the 2014 MESA Champion for the energy company’s longstanding support of the program. Marvin Lopez, global university relations manager at Advanced Micro Devices, was named this year’s MESA Distinguished Alumnus.
“We know that California’s economy needs more STEM workers to stay competitive,” said MESA Executive Director Oscar F. Porter. “These students provide the solution to industry’s need for well-trained professionals.
“They were selected to attend the conference because they have strong leadership skills. This event gives them a chance to interact extensively with STEM professionals currently working in industry,” Porter said.
MESA promotes STEM success for more than 28,000 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.