Campus: CSU Office of the Chancellor -- December 21, 2001

MESA Program Among Top Five Innovation Leaders in Nation

The California Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program, which operates on 13 California State University campuses, has been named one of the five most innovative public programs in the country. MESA won the award following a nationwide competition sponsored by the Ford Foundation, the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Council for Excellence in Government.

The Innovations in American Government award winners were announced at a press conference held in Washington, D.C. The Innovations competition identifies public programs that demonstrate outstanding problem- solving skills and creativity. This year, 1,200 programs were nominated for the award. MESA's nomination was submitted by Gov. Gray Davis.

The five winning programs were selected by a national committee of prominent public policy figures including David Gergen, who has held posts under Presidents Clinton, Reagan, Ford and Nixon; Jack Kemp, former vice presidential candidate and former secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Lee Hamilton, former congressional representative; Susan Hammer, former mayor of San Jose, CA.; Antonia Hernandez, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; David Osborne, author of Reinventing Government; and Patricia Saiki, former congressional representative.

The winning programs each receive a $100,000 grant.

The CSU campuses hosting the MESA program are Bakersfield, Chico, Fresno, Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Northridge, Pomona, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and San Luis Obispo.

MESA helps more than 32,000 educationally disadvantaged students at pre-college, community college and university levels to excel in math and science and graduate with baccalaureates in math-based fields. The program operates over 90 sites throughout California. Administered by the University of California, it is a partnership between UC and California State University campuses, community colleges, school districts, individual schools, education centers, and the private sector.

"I'm delighted that MESA has been named a winner of the award," said California Assembly Member and MESA alumnus Tony Cárdenas. "MESA has helped thousands of our state's young people from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds, including myself, to attain degrees in math and science fields. The program proves that with the proper support, students can overcome substantial barriers to succeed academically."

MESA has a strong track record of success in supporting students academically. Of MESA high school graduates, 85 percent go on to college, compared with 50 percent of all California high school graduates. In the last three years, 100 percent of MESA community college students who transferred to four-year institutions entered a math-based field. Of the nation's engineering degrees awarded to underrepresented students, over 12 percent are earned by California MESA graduates.

"Being an Innovations winner is a great honor," said MESA Executive Director Michael Aldaco. "We've always known that MESA's ability to support student success was outstanding. It is gratifying for our work to be acknowledged through such a prestigious national award."


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