A select group of eight Los Medanos College students recently honed their leadership skills at a special invitation-only conference in Sacramento for math-based majors. The event was sponsored by PG&E and six other companies.
The Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Student Leadership Conference held last weekend offered extensive professional and leadership development through direct interaction with industry mentors and speakers. The hand-picked MESA students, all science, engineering, or math majors, represented over 30 universities and community colleges from across the state, including Los Medanos College.
Participating Los Medanos students were: Cindy Nguyen, Cesar Moreno, Matt Palamos, Oscar Avila, Daniel Verschoor, Maxfield Krause, Angel Jimenez and Kelsey Ballesteros.
Students participated in mock interviews, connected with industry representatives from seven national and California companies and heard guest speakers such as former NASA astronaut Tammy Jernigan, who also led a women in STEM panel discussion. California Public Utilities Commissioner Tim Simon was named the 2012 MESA Champion for the commission’s longstanding support of the program. Students also participated in a MESA Business Case Challenge in which they presented a business solution to a panel of energy and utility industry leaders.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) was a major sponsor of the event. The company’s $40,000 grant allowed students from 20 Northern California campuses to attend. PG&E employees volunteered their time to work closely with the students during the conference.
PG&E Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Bill Harper encouraged students to continue in their educational pursuits and awarded winners of the MESA Business Case Challenge. PG&E has supported MESA since 1979 and was recognized its the extensive support in helping educationally disadvantaged MESA students graduate in math-based fields.
Other sponsors included Edison International, Southern California Gas Company, Vanir Construction Management, Inc., Lawrence Livermore National Lab, San Diego Gas & Electric and the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District.
“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 these students have strong leadership skills. This event gives them a chance to interact extensively with STEM professionals currently working in industry,” said Porter.
Student attendees represented the following campuses: CSU Chico, CSU Fresno, CSU Long Beach, CSU Los Angeles, CSU Sacramento, San Diego State University, San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, Sonoma State University, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, University of the Pacific, American River College (Sacramento), Butte College (Oroville), Cañada College (Redwood City), City College of San Francisco, Cosumnes River College (Sacramento), East Los Angeles College, Los Medanos College (Pittsburg), Mission College (Santa Clara), Napa Valley College, Rio Hondo College (Whittier), Sacramento City College, San Diego City College, San Joaquin Delta College (Stockton), Santa Rosa Junior College, Skyline College (San Bruno), Southwestern College (Chula Vista), and Yuba College (Marysville).
MESA is one of the largest academic preparation STEM programs in the country and supports over 21,000 educationally disadvantaged students 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.
For more information about LMC’s Mesa Program, visit www.losmedanos.edu/mesa.