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PBS to Broadcast Documentary Featuring Pacific’s MESA Center

Oct 24, 2007

(Stockton, Calif.) – University of the Pacific’s Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Center is featured in a new half-hour documentary that is airing on PBS stations across the country. The center is part of California MESA, an acclaimed statewide program designed to help educationally disadvantaged students excel in math and science and go on to college.

The PBS program, titled The Innovators: Designing the Future, will air locally for the first time at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 25 on Sacramento’s KVIE Channel 7. The program focuses on new developments in science and technology and features a 10-minute segment on Pacific’s center, including interviews with a Pacific student and a local high school teacher who works as a MESA instructor under Pacific’s MESA Center.

The center serves about 1,000 fourth through twelfth graders in the Stockton area while more than 21,000 students throughout the state are involved in the 37-year-old MESA program. Founded in 1993, the center sponsors numerous activities, including workshops on financial aid and the college admission process and a Shadow Day, which allows high school students to attend class with college students at Pacific.   

Pacific freshman Jessica Ortiz, a bioengineering major and former MESA student, and Andrew Walter, a Stagg High School teacher and long-time MESA instructor, both will appear in the documentary, which first aired in Seattle last month. The program will air locally at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday and at 1:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. on Friday, October 26 on KVIE Channel 7. The program was produced by Creative Expansions, Inc. and distributed by American Public Television.

More than half of MESA high school graduates go on to college as math, engineering or science majors despite the fact that seventy percent of schools served by MESA are among the lowest-performing in the state. Serving as a model for similar programs in more than a dozen states, the program has been named one of the most innovative public institutions in the country by Innovations in American Government and was honored by the White House for its mentoring activities.

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