High School Affiliated with UC Irvine’s MESA Program Wins National Competition

Garden Grove High School team won five of six categories

The Garden Grove High School team was recognized by the California State Assembly floor this summer in recognition of their being named national champions at the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) National Engineering Design Competition at the University of Colorado-Denver in June.

Garden Grove High School team members Steven Chau, Scott Nguyen and Kalin Zaluzec were led by advisor Sunny Costello and are served by the MESA center housed at The Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine.

The national competition required participating student teams to build a windmill from household objects and put their project through a series of rigorous tests.  The teams were judged based on windmill performance, technical paper, academic display and oral presentation.

The students and their advisor had breakfast with Assembly member Tom Torlakson, met with their local legislators and were presented with certificates of achievement on the Assembly floor during legislative session. Asm. Torlakson and the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies (CEERT) co-sponsored and organized the trip.

“These projects teach students to understand design principles such as torque, generating and storing wind energy as well as how to think like environmental scientists,” said MESA Executive Director Oscar Porter.

The wind energy design competition is part of MESA Days, a yearly showcase of students’ math and science know-how. Through MESA and MESA Day competitions, students can explore future careers in science, engineering and other technical fields.

MESA USA, which is based on the California MESA model, is a partnership of eight statewide programs: Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

MESA is an academic preparation program that serves more than 20,000 California pre-college, community college and university students who are educationally disadvantaged. Seventy percent of schools served by MESA are among the lowest-performing in the state. Almost two-thirds of MESA high school graduates go on to college as math, engineering or science majors. In 2001, 14,000 California jobs requiring science or engineering degrees went unfilled, making award-winning programs such as MESA an imperative. MESA is administered by the University of California.