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Pacific MESA team takes national championship

Jul 11, 2014

Four Stagg Senior High School students emerged as national engineering champions at the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) National Engineering Design Competition, held June 19-22 at Portland State University in Portland, Ore. The competition is part of MESA Days, an annual showcase of students' math and science know-how. Through MESA and MESA Day competitions, students explore future careers in science, engineering and other technical fields.

The competition required the team to develop a prosthetic device to complete pre-defined tasks, which requires them to learn design principles, implement problem-solving techniques and think like mechanical engineers. Teams are judged in design efficiency, dexterity, object relocation, distance accuracy, technical display, technical paper and oral presentation. After months of designing, creating and testing their prosthetic arm, the team made up of seniors Dellanira Alcauter, Anthony Nichols and Brooklyn Omstead and junior Gabriel Zuniga prevailed over hundreds of other students from MESA teams throughout California and nine other states. The Stagg team, led by Stagg MESA teachers Andrew Walter and Kathy Sady, is served by the University of the Pacific School of Engineering and Computer Science MESA center, directed by Maria Garcia-Sheets.

MESA is one of the largest programs in California to support educationally disadvantaged students studying in STEM subjects. MESA provides academic support and enrichment to more than 18,000 K-12 students and more than 7,800 community college and 4-year college students each year. Most MESA students are economically disadvantaged, the first in their families to attend college, and attend underperforming schools.