Please log in to continue!

Enter your username and password to access the program specific resources

1960 science fair

Late ’60s

A group of concerned Berkeley educators launched a study to determine why so few African Americans, Latinos, and American Indians are enrolled in the UC Berkeley College of Engineering. They developed a solution based on pre-college intervention.

1970 young women in class


The MESA program is founded at Oakland Technical High School with 25 students. MESA’s goal is to develop academic and leadership skills, raise educational expectations, and instill confidence in California’s students historically underrepresented in engineering, physical science, or other math-based fields, in order to increase the number of African American, Latino American and American Indian graduates from a four-year university.

1973 students and teachers


Concerned about issues of retention, CSU-Northridge engineering faculty member Ray Landis establishes the Minority Engineering Program (MEP) at his campus.

1977 presentation


Impressed with MESA’s success, the Hewlett and Sloane foundations provide $1 million to expand the Berkeley model and develop pre-college programs throughout the state.

1978 speach


With major support from Roger Heyns, president of the Hewlett Foundation, and Stephen Bechtel, Jr., president of Bechtel Corporation, the Industry Advisor Board (IAB) is established to mobilize corporate support for MESA. Richard Collins, a Bechtel vice president, is the first IAB chair. Other participants include the president of ARCO and the chairpersons of Chevron, Fluor Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, Lockheed, Northrop, PG&E, Pacific Telephone, Rockwell, Southern California Edison and TRW.

1979 learning in class


The state legislature allocates $250,000 to MESA, conditional upon dollar-for-dollar matching donations from industry.  The match is accomplished.

1982 career in science sign


The state legislature approves a proposal to expand the MEP from three sites to nine and authorize funds for MESA to lead the project. 


The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation provides seed money for programs based on MESA to be established in Colorado, New Mexico and Washington. Since then, programs based on California MESA have been set up in several other states.

1984 early computer work


A Carnegie Foundation grant allows MESA to expand to junior high schools.  The number of pre-college students served by MESA doubles over the next four years.

1988 mixing a drink experiment


PG&E sponsors a statewide conference for all MESA teachers, which later becomes the MESA Advisors Training Institute (MATI). PG&E sponsors MATI from 1988 through 1992. Currently known as the MESA Academy for Science and Mathematics Educators (MASME), the training conference continues to provide professional development for hundreds of math and science teachers.

1991 students in class


Through a partnership with the state Department of Education, the MESA Success Through Collaboration (MSTC) is established to reach underserved American Indian pre-college students.


MESA programs are established at American River, Cosumnes and Sacramento City community colleges to help their students succeed in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses and transfer to four-year institutions as STEM majors.

1993 all award winners


The state legislature allocates $489,000 in Proposition 98 monies to expand MESA into community colleges. A formal MESA Community College Program (MCCP) is established.

1994 graduates


The state legislature augments MESA’s budget by $1.75 million to increase the number of secondary students in MESA.

1996 teacher shows pamphlets


MESA alters its targeting language to focus the program on serving disadvantaged and underrepresented students in math-based fields.

1996 teacher shows pamphlets


Proposition 209 passes in November, banning affirmative action in California.

1997 women celebrate


MESA adopts a new targeting statement: “MESA serves educationally disadvantaged students and, to the extent possible by law, emphasizes participation by students from groups with low rates of eligibility for four-year colleges.”


MESA USA is founded, representing programs in eight states: California, Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

1998 trophy winner


MESA receives a $4.65 million state augmentation to expand three programs.

2000 award ceremony


The fourth program, MEP, receives a $1 million boost in state funding.

MESA is honored as one of the nation’s top mentoring programs by the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM), an award created by the White House and administered by the National Science Foundation.

2001 men building inventions


MESA is named among the five most innovative public programs in the nation by Innovations in American Government, a project of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the Ford Foundation, and the Council for Excellence in Government.

2005 awards


MESA is selected by Hewlett-Packard to serve as the model for the corporation’s national engineering diversity pilot program for low-income, underrepresented community college students in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey and New York.

2007 graduates


California MESA is featured in a national PBS documentary, The Innovators, as a solution to developing the next generation of innovative engineers and scientists.


Bayer Corporation names California MESA among 21 top national programs proven to help K-12 students, especially minorities and girls, to achieve in STEM fields.

2008 clapping man


California MESA is named a national semifinalist by Excelencia in Education (a national organization that identifies and assesses higher education practices that impact Latinos) for its outstanding community college work.

2010 People


In an updated compendium, Bayer reaffirms MESA as a top national program that supports minorities and girls to achieve in STEM studies.

MESA celebrates its 40th anniversary.



MESA named the Silicon Valley Education Foundation STEM Innovator in math.

Milestones in MESA History

Click the Timeline Below for More Information by Year