MESA Day is a festival of learning, discovery, competitions, activities, and fun events that encourage camaraderie and spark interest in careers related to the fields of Math, Science, and Engineering. The event for participating schools is an opportunity for students to compete for awards at local and regional levels. Rules and curricula for these events are grade-specific and reinforce the California State Board of Education Math and Science standards.
During preliminary MESA Day, middle and high school students compete on hands-on MESA day projects while competing to advance to the regional, state, and national levels. The day begins with required math examinations, followed by participation in MESA projects such as EggExpress, mousetrap cars, and the Windmill Energy Challenge. At the end of the competition, students are awarded with medals and/or ribbons for innovative design, accuracy, efficiency, report-writing skills, and more. The top three winners of every project advance to Regional MESA Day, a competition that involves all of the MESA Centers within Southern California.
Regional MESA Day is held for the top three winners of each Preliminary MESA Day project. The competitions for both middle and high schools are held separately. Since CSULB belongs to the Southern California region, our Regional MESA Day includes winners from MESA centers at California State University Los Angeles, University of California Los Angeles, and University of Southern California. This is the final competition for all projects, except the Wind Energy project, whose winners advance to the Statewide Engineering Design Competition.
The MESA National Engineering Design Competition is for high school and middle school teams who beat hundreds of other teams in California for the honor of going to nationals, held at Microsoft headquarters in Washington State. In June 2011, the National Champions were from Hudson Magnet school served by the CSULB MESA Center.
At the end of the academic year, parents, outstanding 8th Grade students, and graduating high school seniors are invited to CSULB for an awards banquet honoring outstanding student achievement, participation, and leadership. In addition to trophies, medals and certificates, graduating seniors are also awarded a MESA sash to commemorate their hard work and dedication. Outstanding seniors are rewarded with a Texas Instruments TI-83 Graphing Calculator, while outstanding 8th Graders are presented with a Texas Instruments TI-34 Scientific Calculator. These gifts are given as an incentive for the students to continue their studies in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science.
Southern California MESA Students attend the annual College Day event at the University of Southern California, hosted by the USC MESA Center. The five-hour event features activities and workshops geared towards preparing high school students for college success. Students are informed about college admission procedures, financial aid options, and campus life. Almost two dozen presentations are offered, covering a myriad of college-related topics. Students also go on campus tours and have opportunities to meet with 75 university representatives from across the country.
The CSULB MSP offers Paramount Unified School District MESA students the opportunity to attend four Saturday Academies. Held at CSULB, the academies give students a chance to experience hands-on activities, learn about higher education and careers, and interact with college student and professional mentors. Activities include building a rollercoaster, mousetrap cars, bottle rockets, and more.