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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

MESA brings home three champions

    By Jannelle Dang

    Features Editor

    On April 21, Gabrielino High School’s Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) club competed at the MESA Regionals competition held at University of California, Los Angeles, with three students achieving a first place win in their team event.

    Seniors Jasmine Alfaro, Elizabeth Campos. Elvis Menjivar, Sara Romero, and Nancy Santiago; juniors Skyler Hudson, Melena Lopez, and Noli Thai; and freshman Bianca Lua advanced to the regional level after winning first, second, or third place in their respective events at the preliminary competition.

    At Regionals, two groups of students competed in MESA Think Tank, an event that mimics the reality television show, Shark Tank. Members pitched MESA competition ideas that engage math and science skills, using visual aids and a physical prototype to demonstrate their suggestions.

    Alfaro, Menjivar, and Santiago were victorious in claiming first place in this event, making all three regional champions.

    “MESA is important to me as a club that attempts to encourage underrepresented students to take interest in STEM-based fields,” stated Santiago, who is president of the MESA club, “It makes me happy seeing such interest flourish in students, knowing that they can make great contributions one day.”

    Hudson and Lopez brought their Balsawood Plane to Regionals, and it was both of their first times competing at the higher level.

    “I like making things in general,” Hudson stated, “It was a fun and productive thing for all of us to do. I like teamwork.”

    Campos and Lua qualified to Regionals in the SAT-level math exam.

    In total, the MESA team brought 25 members to compete at the preliminary competition, which took place on March 10 at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA). The events students participated in were Civil Structures, also known as Balsawood Bridge, MESA Think Tank, The MESA Machine: Ball Launch, and Wright Turn Glider.

    Participants started the day by completing an SAT-level math test before splitting up into their individual events, which were held in the science and math buildings.

    Intermediate activities and lectures on STEM topics were held so students could keep themselves engaged in between competing in events before the awards ceremony. In one activity, engineering students of CSULA discussed their work and showcased robots that they constructed.

    In previous years, current club members had to reach out and offer memberships in order for new people to join, but that requirement was eliminated this year. MESA was able to open its doors to a new, wider group of prospective members.

    Marisela Aguilera, teacher of Honors Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus, is the club’s advisor. She continues to provide a place for underrepresented students to explore their interests in math and science through MESA.

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    MESA brings home three champions