The MESA USA National Engineering Design Competition will kick off its 13th annual event Friday, June 21, 2013. Hosted by Lemelson Foundation partners Oregon MESA, the competition brings together the top 72 student inventors from across the nation to showcase their prototype solutions to a real-world problem. This year, students are using inventions to help address the unavailability of low-cost prosthetic arms for young amputees in developing countries.
MESA — which stands for math, science, engineering and achievement — engages underserved middle and high school students through weekly in-school and afterschool programs where they form teams that work together to develop inventions. These projects culminate in MESA Day competitions at the state level, which qualify teams for the national competition. The program’s goal is to develop students’ skills through a type of STEM instruction known as “invention education,” which emphasizes learning by doing. Students develop innovative solutions to real-world problems ranging from clean power sources to cost-effective limb replacement.
In addition to the inventions solving a pressing problem, the process influences the students on a deeper level. The successes and knowledge that result from participation in MESA often spur students on to attend college and, ultimately, to pursue a career in STEM. As a result, students have the opportunity to improve lives with their inventions of products and processes while also fueling their personal successes and having a positive impact on the U.S. economy.
Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) is nationally recognized for its innovative and effective K–16 academic development program. Since 1970, MESA has engaged thousands of educationally disadvantaged students so they excel in math and science and graduate with math-based degrees. MESA partners with all segments of higher education as well as K-12 institutions. For more information, visit www.mesausa.org.