What would our world look like if 100% of Oregon students graduated from high school? What if they had STEM skills too?


We believe more students would enroll in university, community college, trade school and certificate programs.

We believe furthering their education would increase the number of diverse and qualified applicants entering the workforce. We believe that increasing the diversity of a qualified workforce would produce the ideas needed to solve our most pressing global issues.

Unfortunately, this isn’t our reality.

Oregon continues to have one of the nation’s worst high school graduation rates. This gap is even more exaggerated in minority and low-income student populations, resulting in inter-generational poverty. The reality is that we are not keeping pace with the need for diverse and qualified applicants entering the workforce and we are not producing enough of the ideas needed to solve our most pressing issues.

Oregon MESA was founded in 1989 on the belief that access to a STEM education and exposure to successful role models can irrevocably change the course of an underserved student’s life. From the beginning we knew we needed to meet these students where they already were: at school. We knew we had to not only show them the paths available, but also instill in them the confidence that their educational pursuits would be successful.

For 25 years we have tackled the issue of access to STEM education for student populations historically underrepresented in these fields, including minority, low-income and female students. We have proven time and time again that the most powerful tool we can give to underserved students is the opportunity to try unique approaches without the fear of failure.

That, combined with the camaraderie students experience through working together on intricate projects, creates a culture of inventive minds eager to solve complex societal problems.  We believe that with the right network of support, our youth are capable of unlocking solutions to the world’s toughest problems, such as eliminating poverty and disease, conserving finite resources, and creating renewable energy sources.