Spring Newsletter

April 2019
MESA Day Finals is almost here! This year MESA students have an amazing opportunity to be exposed to another Silicon Valley company! Google! Our students will compete against the Northern California MESA region! Participating MESA Centers:
  • California State University, East Bay
  • California State University, Fresno
  • Resources for Indian Student Education-RISE
  • San José State University
  • University of California, Davis 
  • Ukiah Field Station
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • University of the Pacific 
  • University of California, San Francisco 
"Google will host more than 500 middle and high school students who will create machines, crush bridges, and code robotics arms in hopes of capturing a win during MESA's hands-on math, engineering and science competition championships...at the tech giant's campus in Sunnyvale." -MESA Statewide Office
After MESA Day Finals, all competitions end except for the National Engineering Design Competition (NEDC). Those who place 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in NEDC move onto State Championships which will be hosted by UCLA. UCLA is the birth place of the internet and is celebrating the 40th anniversary this year! The NEDC Competition involves using a small computer to solve a problem in their community, and what better place to do that than in UCLA!!

NEDC: Arduino Based Solutions for Humans asks students to implement the Human-Centered Design approach to find a client in your community who has a need, engineer a solution for this need using Arduino as the key component, and present your solution and recommendation(s) for next steps at the MESA USA National Engineering Design Competition.

Looking Forward

The MESA State Championships will be held at UCLA on May 4th, 2019 and the National Engineering Design Competition (NEDC) winners of the MESA Day Finals will be able to attend. These students have already come a long way and will be able to go to UCLA to present their ideas to a panel of judges. These ideas are designed to help their community with an Arduino. An Arduino is like a small computer that can be programmed to do many different things, such as being a smoke detector or opening your door for you with the right tools.  

These ideas are designed by middle school and high school students and they have the opportunity of advancing to the State Championships at UCLA and eventually the National Event in Arizona! These students have been working on their designs for months are able to show off their ideas. 

Students must present their idea(s), host a symposium, interview, and demonstrate their project report (the development of their prototype) in front of a panel of judges. These students have been working on their projects since the beginning of the school year, and some even earlier. If they win at MESA Day Finals, they will have the opportunity to go to UCLA and present their ideas. 

MESA Spotlight

Rebecca Balster - Ocala STEAM Academy

Rebecca Balster has always been dedicated to MESA and her students. She takes advantage of the additional programs that we offer like our IBM Shadow Day that took place on November 7, 2018. Her students were able to see how IBM works, what employees do on a day to day basis, and ask any questions they have about the job. Rebecca exposes her students to STEM careers. MESA would like to acknowledge her passion and dedication to her MESA students.
We wanted to find out how she feels about certain things. So she gave us the opportunity to interview her. 

What is your vision for education into the future? How do you think you can make a difference in the years to come with respect to the education of not only the students you’re in charge of, but also the community in which you live?
  • My vision for education into the future is that learning can be more student driven and that future generations have greater voice and choice in their education. I want students to engage in authentic real-world problem solving that positively impacts their surrounding communities. Ocala is implementing cross-curricular project based learning that is engaging students more, while also better preparing them for life beyond middle school. 
Are you involved in any other organizations that benefit students or the community? If so, please share names of the organizations and roles?
  • Along with MESA, I work with The Tech Museum to help teachers incorporate engineering lessons into all content areas. Ocala is a Tech Academy of Innovation and for the past three years I have also coached teachers from various districts during The Tech Academies Summer Institute. 
How long have you taught both at your school, and in your career?
  • This is my 13th year in education. I began teaching 6th grade at Pala Middle School, before moving to 8th Grade at Ocala STEAM Academy 9 years ago. 

Industry Corner

SJSU Biology Shadow Day

On March 15th, some of our MESA Students were able to visit SJSU's Biology Department to see what some of the professors are working on. Our Biology Department at San Jose State University covers a wide variety of areas. Students were exposed to more science!

The College of Science, more specifically, the Biology Department opened their labs, Entomology Museum, Neurophysiology Lab, Neurogenetics Lab, Cell Biology Research Lab, and Behavioral Genetics Lab!

Here are some descriptions of what our MESA Students were able to visit. 

The J. Gordon Edwards Entomology Museum at San Jose State University was established in 1948 originally to house insects collected by noted entomologists J.W. Tilden, Carl. D. Duncan, and J. Gordon Edwards. Since that time, the museum’s holdings has grown to contain over 1 million described species and a number of type specimens which have been cataloged and placed on the SJSU Biology website. The collection remains one of the largest university insect collections on the West Coast and is a source of material for numerous researchers who come to study the collection. 

The Wilkinson Neurophysiology Lab studies sensory plasticity. Our lab is interested in understanding how these neurons transduce muscle stretch into action potentials and what causes these neurons to malfunction..

The Soto Cell Biology Lab investigates the potential anti-cancer properties of recombinant mojastin mutants. Soto's research students are making great strides in the discovery of a novel apoptotic pathway.

The VanHoven Lab, is interested in neural circuit formation and function of the phasmid sensory circuit. These studies may help us to understand neurological disorders such as autism and schizophrenia
We want to thank the SJSU Biology department for making this possible. We also want to thank Elaine Collins, Kim, Shelley Cargill, Susan Lambrecht, Dan Corral, and Lars Rosengreen for making it a great experience for our MESA Students. 

Ultimate Disc Competition

On Saturday, March 30th, Yerba Buena High School hosted the MESA Program and we had our first Ultimate Disc Competition. MESA Students had to create a cement disc and toss it to for accuracy and then for distance. The students had to make their own designs and make sure that they were durable enough to be tossed more than once. Points were also given to the teams that had a creative design. 

Congratulations to all the winners of our first Ultimate Disc Competition!
6th Grade
1st Place - Fischer MS
1) Hilary Hurtado
2nd Place - Joseph George MS
1) Julia Delgadillo
2) Mia Arjon Garcia

7th/8th Grade
1st Place - Joseph George MS
1) Juan Flores
2) Jose Cervantes
3) Max Barrientos
2nd Place - Fischer MS
1) Catherine Saechao
2) Lesly Luna
3) Irania Hernandez
3rd Place - Fischer MS
1) Julissa Deanda
2) Linsymay Valdez
3) Zayda Jaimes
11th/12th Grade
1st Place - Yerba Buena HS
1) Brian Dao
2) Nathan Dav
3) Michael Disalvo
2nd Place - Yerba Buena HS
1) Vi Phan
2) Thuy Dwang
3rd Place - Mt. Pleasant HS
1) Perla Mendoza
2) Crystal Gali
3) Chrystelle Elaine Garcia


Congratulation to the UCMC Officers who placed at our Ultimate Disc Competition. 

Joseph George - 1st Place
-Juan Flores
-Jose Cervantes

Joseph George - Creativity 1st Place
-Addie Fay


New Interdisciplinary Science Building

The SJSU College of Science will be getting a new Science Building. Construction is set to start this year, 2019, and the anticipated completion date will be 2021. The new building will contain 8 floors and bring new labs and collaboration spaces for students in the College of Science. SJSU already has two building for the College of Science, the Science Building and Duncan Hall. However, both these buildings are over 50 years old and have older labs. The new science building will allow for modern and cutting edge labs and resources for SJSU students that will allow them to better compete in STEM careers but also work collaboratively with other students and enhance their findings. 

"San Jose State University's new Interdisciplinary Science Building will provide essential teaching, research and collaboration space for our STEM student, extending learning beyond the classroom." Michael Kaufman, Dean, College of Science

The new building will be built next to Duncan Hall and MacQuarrie Hall and where the Associated Student (AS) House now used to be. To be able to accommodate the new building, the AS House had to be moved across campus and into the parking lot on 10th Street and San Carlos next to the Boccardo Business Complex. The move took months of planning and SJSU was able to do so without any damage to the house. 

Upcoming Events


13th - MESA Day Finals @ Google, Sunnyvale
18th - MESA Robotics Competition

Important Dates


7th - Senior Recognition and Awards Ceremony
At our Senior Recognition and Awards Ceremony we celebrate all the accomplishments that our Seniors had at their time with MESA. Our students have worked so hard and they are finally ready to move onto college, but not without a proper ceremony! The Senior Recognition and Awards Ceremony will be held at San Jose State University, while it may be their last moments in high school, they will be taking their first steps into college! Seniors from all our high schools will be in attendance and they will be able to congratulate each other. They can also see if they may attend the same college and start creating a connection. 

Not only will seniors will attending the event, but also some 8th-grade students will also be there. These students will be able to see where they will be in 4 years with all their friends. 8th-grade students will also have the chance to talk with the seniors and ask them any questions about high schools and their experience. These students are also moving up into a new school like the seniors and we want to make sure that they get the same experience as the seniors. 

We're only 1 month away from the big day!


Looking for a free summer program that also gets you free college credits? Look no further than here!
Young Women in Bio (YWIB) is hosting an event on April 18th to learn more about antibiotics and their affects on the brain. This is a free event so make sure to apply!
Interested in Volunteering? Click Here.
© 2018 | MESA SJSU | All Rights Reserved

San Jose State University
MESA Schools Program/MSP
One Washington Square
College of Science, Duncan Hall 241
San Jose, CA 95192

 Phone: 408.924.3798
Fax: 408.924.4026

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

This email was sent to *|EMAIL|*
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences