MESA Programs | Spotlight

At the Capitol: Harris, Lopez dialog with California leaders

Two CSULA students invited to a statewide student leadership conference

MESA is a statewide program that supports educationally-disadvantaged students so they can excel in math and science and go on to college to study in math-based fields. Cal State L.A. is home to two MESA programs:

MESA Engineering Program (MEP) focuses on students enrolled at Cal State L.A. in two majors: engineering and computer science. Cal State L.A.’s MEP fosters a supportive academic environment by providing guidance and counseling in academics, financial matters, and career placement, among many other services. Peer interaction is at the core of MEP. Students are clustered together in courses from the first day of classes, making it possible for them to build relationships and grow academically with their peers. For more on MEP, go to /

MESA Schools Program (MSP)—celebrating its 30th anniversary at Cal State L.A. this year—is a pre-college program designed to spark interest in math, science, and engineering among elementary, middle, and high school students. MESA pre-college students gain a distinct advantage over other students by participating in MESA-sponsored activities, such as enrichment programs, career exploration opportunities, and academic and financial aid advisement. MSP works with 18 secondary schools in the Los Angeles, San Gabriel and Pasadena School districts. For more on MSP, go to /

Pictured (l-r): Bayron Lopez and Willie Harris.
Pictured (l-r): Bayron Lopez and Willie Harris.

Cal State L.A.’s Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Center students Willie Harris and Bayron Lopez recently returned from Sacramento, after rubbing elbows with legislative members and aides.

Harris, Lopez, and more than 40 other select MESA students walked the halls of the State Capitol during the MESA Statewide Student Leadership Conference, where they learned about developing a “legislative voice” and involvement in state government.

The MESA student representatives also took in inspirational speeches by California State Assembly Majority Whip Fiona Ma (D-12) and Max Espinoza, senior advisor to California Speaker of the Assembly Karen Bass (D-47), at the two-day conference.

T. Fox, director of Cal State L.A.’s MESA Engineering Program, said, “We wanted to provide our students an opportunity to meet with elected officials and share how MESA supports their academic goals.”

Lopez, a mechanical engineering major, said, “California has always been a state of innovation, and this conference provides the tools to help merge the innovators and policymakers to produce a path for the future.”

Harris, an electrical engineering major, said, “I am making a striking impact in everything I do because of the leadership skills and knowledge MESA has instilled in me.”

Cal State L.A.’s MESA was named as one of the five most innovative public programs in the nation in 2001, and honored with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring in 2000.

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