Delivering California's Future STEM Workforce

The mission of the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program is to provide educationally and economically disadvantaged students opportunities to engage with these fields in ways that inspire them and to support our students in their higher education and career goals. 

The statewide California MESA program was started in 1970 and has since grown to a number of other states. Through their 19 6th-12th grade programs, 40 community college programs and 13 university-level programs (including Pacific MEP) MESA serves more than 25,000 under-served students each year.

The 6th through 12th grade MESA Schools Program engages student interest in STEM primarily through project-based team competitions and events, field trips, and short courses. MESA teams are based at school sites and are guided by a teacher that serves as the MESA Advisor. MESA students meet together at least once a week either as a club, after school program or daily elective to work together on their projects and other activities. The biggest event of the year is Pacific MESA Day, which usually takes place in early March. This event brings approximately 650 students to Pacific to participate in a number of different competitions including gliders, bridges, prosthetic arm and others.

MESA Students
Key MESA activities include:
  • College preparation including college tours, panels and activities
  • Individual academic planning support
  • Industry involvement in activities and strategic planning
  • University engagement with students through faculty, staff and students
  • Mentorship through Pacific college student liaisons that visit each MESA classroom every other week
  • Professional development for teachers
  • Leadership training for students
  • Networks of parents, educators, industry leaders and community resources to support students

California leads the nation in science and technology advances, but we are not preparing enough new young professionals to fill these positions. This creates a great opportunity for our students to pursue successful careers in these fields. Students graduating with 4-year college degrees in science, technology, engineering and math-based fields have an average mid-career yearly salary more than double those of high school graduates. MESA succeeds in retaining and building STEM career interests among middle and high school students through our programs.  84% of all our Pacific MESA students who stated a career interest, declared a desire to work in a STEM field.

Our MESA programs also aim to motivate and prepare students to continue on to institutions of higher learning. In 2019 91% of this year's MESA School program graduates will be going on to a higher education institution next year.

MESA participation also opens student up to scholarship possibilities, such as the Pacific MESA scholarship, and improves student's chances of acceptance to 4-year universities. These selective institutions view MESA participation as a testament to a student's ability to work with a team and overcome hardships, which are both critical skills in higher education. 

The Pacific MESA Schools Program started in 1994 and now works with approximately 1200 6th-12th grade students and 30 teachers from among 20-25 of the highest-needs schools in Stockton in both Stockton and Lodi School Districts. Together with state financial support, these school districts partner with MESA to provide financial and logistical support to make MESA possible. 

The MESA program serves a diverse student body. The demographics within our MESA Schools Program is comprised of 37.9% Hispanic students, 21.6% Asian, 10.6% Filipino, 7% African American, 4.6% East Indian/ Pakistani, and the remaining 17.8 % is a mix of mixed ethnicity, White,  American Indian/ Alaskan Native, as well as those who declined to state their ethnicity.  Approximately 35% of MESA students' primary language is a language other than English. 

MESA currently operates at 21 middle and high schools. Each school MESA chapter works a little differently. Some meet every day and others just once a week. Each chapter has one or two advising teachers and a student leadership committee. Each chapter is also assigned a specific Pacific MESA liaison each semester, who meets with their chapter every other week and helps them with their projects. MESA chapters compete in local events and activities through the local program at University of the Pacific and have school site chapter events as well.   If you would like particular information about a given MESA chapter, please click the school's link below. If you'd like to join a MESA chapter at your school, contact the student leaders or the advisor. 

Bush Elementary Delta Sierra Middle School Merlo High School Middle College HS Stagg HS
Chavez High School Edison HS  Christa McAuliffe Middle School Monroe School Stockton Early College Academy
Cleveland School Van Buren Elementary McKinley School Pittman School Tyler Elementary
Commodore Stockton Skills School Lottie Grunsky Elementary McNair High School Rio Calaveras School Washington Elementary


If you are part of Stockton or Lodi Unified school district and your school is not listed, but you'd like to start a MESA Chapter at your school please email the MESA director, Elana, at Each MESA Chapter should have at least 25 students by the October 31st enrollment deadline.  

The main local events this year are:  MESA Leadership Academy, Science Bowl, Pacific MESA Day, Spring Challenge. Up-to-date Pacific MESA day rules can be accessed here.

Pacific MESA also compiles student enrichment and scholarship opportunities, which can be accessed through your Student Leadership MESA Drive

Each MESA chapter is led by between one and three MESA advisors. Each advisor is a current teacher and acts as a liaison between the Pacific MESA program and their students. Advisors interact with their students in different ways, but the always work to inspire leadership, creativity and exploration. Starting in 2019 advisors will also be supported by a Pacific student MESA employee, who can support them with materials, information and classroom support. All resources for current MESA Advisors including upcoming deadlines, material ordering forms, meeting summaries and PowerPoints can be found at the MESA Advisor Google Site. All updated versions of the MESA day competition rules can be found here. They can also be searched through the Statewide MESA Website, which contains additional resources for advisors.