By Jannelle Dang
Members of the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) club represented Gabrielino High School in the preliminary MESA Day event held at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) on March 11.
The events that the club competed in include EggXpress, Model Science – The Human Heart, Mousetrap Car, Balsawood Airplane, and Speak Out. Each event had unique guidelines and goals, but universally required a creative application of math and science concepts.
In EggXpress, the two teams of Britney Gallego and Danielle Ramirez and Jordi Bouffard and Jaden Raymundo won second and third place, respectively. Wesley Chu and Charles Dworschak earned the creative design award in Mousetrap Car.
Esperanza Garcia and Veronica Sifuentes were awarded second place for their original balsawood airplane. First place in Model Science – The Human Heart went to Jasmine Alfaro and her partner, Nancy Santiago. All of the students mentioned above will move on to the next level of the competition, Regional MESA Day, on April 15 at CSULA.
“I give them supplies and… rules and they’re off on their own,” stated Marisela Aguilera, club advisor and teacher of Honors Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus, “so I’m very proud of their achievements.”
Participants started the day by completing an SAT-level math test before splitting up into their individual events, which were held at various locations throughout the campus, such as the gym and library. Intermediate activities were held to keep students engaged as they waited for all events to finish before the awards ceremony.
This year, MESA faced a new challenge. In the past, Aguilera partnered with Andres Diosdado, Algebra 1 and Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus teacher, as club advisors.
However, after Aguilera became the sole teacher in charge of the club, students had to step up and become leaders for their fellow classmates.
Co-presidents and seniors Alejandro Diosdado and Azalea Orozco took the lead in MESA meetings. Although it may be difficult to balance the demands of this club with other commitments and extracurricular activities, students remain dedicated to exploring their interests in math, science, and engineering.
Students are required to take calculus and physics courses in order to maintain membership in the club.
“It can be tough sometimes because physics can be a mess, to say the least,” said Alejandro, “[but] understanding concepts in physics can actually help you… when you’re building [a] project.”
Since its establishment in 1994, MESA has continued to provide educational opportunities and interactive experiences to students who are underrepresented in STEM fields.