Two female students with instructor working on a chemistry project
Teaming up to fuel innovation at the MESA Science and Technology Day
Student during MESA workshop
Student feedback - MESA is cool
Two MESA student build their own motor
A playful approach to conveying engineering concepts in MESA

Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA)

MESA logo

For over 40 years the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) has strengthened math and science skills for underrepresented students and expanded access to higher education and productive careers. MESA's innovative and effective programs for students from elementary school to college are nationally recognized and serve as a model for others. Across California and several other states, MESA engages thousands of students in academic programs, helping them excel in school and eventually earn degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. The MESA program's success lies in on-going partnerships with higher education and K-12Kindergarten-Grade 12 institutions, supporting students through the education pipeline.

MESA Schools Program (MSP)

MESA–MSP, an academic preparation program of the University of California, Office of the President, that has provided academic enrichment and college preparation to first-generation middle and high school students in schools since 1970. UCSB’s MSP programs are delivered to students at Santa Barbara and Ventura County partnership schools where teachers serve as MESA Advisors, offering students support in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subject areas through hands-on, problem-solving projects and challenges. To encourage innovation and peer mentoring, MSP conducts STEM focused competitions. With a core goal of increasing college-going rates, MSP also provides academic and college preparation and career education to MESA students and their families, a strategy that has proven effective at preparing students for college admission and STEM careers.

"We appreciate all that you do at UCSB to reach out to students, not just on MESA Day, but all throughout the year…these are the things that inspire students at a young age!"

–Maria Elena Plaza, Principal, RJ Frank Intermediate School

Partnering Schools

La Cumbre Junior High School, Santa Barbara Junior High School, Fremont Intermediate School, Isbell Middle School, Richard B. Haydock Intermediate School, RJ Frank Intermediate School.

Dos Pueblos High School, San Marcos High School, Santa Barbara High School, Channel Islands High School, Fillmore Senior High School, Hueneme High School, Oxnard High School, Pacifica High School, Rio Mesa High School, Santa Paula High School.

View Partnering School Map

Other Program Partners


Individual Academic Plans–These plans help 6-12&supth; grade students map their courses and academic goals, with MSP staff and counselors advising and monitoring individual MESA students' progress.

SAT/PSAT Preparation–Students review and prepare to succeed and score high on these challenging college entrance tests.

Study Skills Training–Students learn the essential skills needed for ongoing academic achievement and college preparation.

MESA Day Competitions and Academies–Hands-on math and science competitions progressing from local MESA Center to Regional, then on to Statewide levels. MESA Days provide students a chance to prepare for and compete in interactive STEM projects and academic challenges with opportunities to earn awards and recognition. Students practice teamwork, develop research and presentation skills, meet other MESA students and mentors, and visit college campuses (including UCSB).

Career and college exploration–Guest speakers, college research and college visits introduce students to a range of college and major options and clarify the education requirements for interesting STEM careers.

Parent Leadership Development–Parents are welcomed into MESA and are given tools and support by staff and MESA Advisors to become more effective at advocating for their child's academic success.

MESA Periods–MESA classes and sessions, held during regular hours in some schools, that allow Advisors (usually math or science teachers) to work with students on study skills, homework, group projects, and related math and science lessons that include problem solving and interactive MESA activities.

Teacher Training–Professional development sessions and biennial institutes allow MESA Advisors (teachers) to share their skills and learn interactive activities, cutting edge curricula as well as new techniques for teaching math and science. MSP Centers are based at universities and have ties with faculty members. MSP sites are located throughout California, where faculty and academic resources are available. Tied directly to schools and school districts, MSP programs broadcast other professional development opportunities.

MESA Engineering Program (MEP)

UCSB student teaches how to build their own engine to high school students

MESA–MEP is a UCSB undergraduate retention program for students who are first generation college students within STEM field majors. Coordinated by the University of California, Office of the President, MEP maximizes undergraduate students' academic potential to prepare them for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Staff and faculty work together to increase students’ awareness and access to graduate degree programs, and to promote community service through outreach events and mentoring.

Other Program Partners

"After 40 years, MESA remains a model on how to "get it right" for students in the fields of mathematics, engineering and science."

–Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction


Academic Excellence Workshops–Students at a university/college campus are offered workshops and group study sessions covering core math and science classes, curricula and concepts to sustain high levels of academic achievement.

Clustering–Peers are encouraged to enroll in the same course sections of core math and science classes, and follow up sessions are facilitated to review course material and raise students’ performance levels.

Orientation Sessions–MESA leaders imparts college survival skills to incoming students majoring in math, engineering or computer science who are first generation -offering an overview of personnel, processes and key resources.

Career Advising–Students are exposed to engineering and other STEM fields thorough industry mentors, job shadowing, career fairs, national conferences, internships opportunities and visits to industry sites.

Professional Development Workshops–Students participate in job fairs; engage in resume preparation and review, mock interviews and mentoring for career preparation and employment opportunities.

Links to Networks–Campus-based and international networks that provide access to partner chapters, mentors, professional organizations, leadership training, professional guest speakers, MESA and UCSB Alumni and tours of STEM companies.

Student Center–At UCSB, the MESA Center has “multipurpose space”, with other affiliated sites, which is used for study sessions, workshops, volunteer meetings and information sharing.

Click Here to Fill Out the MESA Application

Download the MEP Scholarship Application

For Statewide MESA Information, including MESA Community College Program (MCCP) see:
Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA)
University of California's Office of the President

2013 S & T Day Student Volunteer Survey

MESA Alumni information


For more information, please contact the MESA Program Director.

Program Contact

Phyllis Brady, MESA Director
Phone (805) 893-8333