Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions about Oregon MESA.

If your question isn’t answered here, please contact us and we’ll get back to you shortly.

What is MESA and who do you serve?

Q: What does MESA stand for?
A: MESA stands for Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement. Learn more about our mission and what we do.

Q: What is the MESA Schools Program?
A: The MESA Schools Program is a 6-12 grade academic program that is offered to underrepresented middle and high school students in select schools in Oregon. It is typically held after school, but we do have some schools that utilize MESA curriculum in an elective class. MESA programs are taught by teachers, known as advisors, within the schools who have been trained in MESA curriculum. Learn more about our programs.

Q: What do students do in MESA?
A: MESA students work in teams to research, design, and build hands-on projects that attempt to solve a global issue. We also offer seasonal programs and workshops to MESA students and their families to prepare students for college, professional workforces, and various career fields.

Q: How do you define “underrepresented” students?
A: Underserved or underrepresented students are those who are not largely represented in science, technology, engineering, or math fields. This includes people of color, girls, undocumented citizens, and impoverished populations. Our mission is to serve these students so that they may achieve their postsecondary aspirations in STEM fields. Therefore, we only offer our programs to schools with large populations of underrepresented students.

Q: What is MESA Day?
A: MESA Day is our annual state competition for the MESA Schools Program. Student teams compete at MESA Day to test and demonstrate their engineering projects, which they have developed throughout the school year. Learn more about MESA Day.

Q: How is MESA managed?
A: MESA is managed by program staff at Portland State University and is overseen by an advisory board that meets regularly. Learn more about our staff and board members.

I’m not currently part of MESA; how can I get involved?

Q: How can I bring MESA to my school?
A: Our mission is to serve historically underrepresented students in middle and high schools across Oregon. If you do not attend one of the schools that we already serve, you can learn more about the requirements for bringing MESA to your school.

Q: How do I get involved in MESA if I’m not a student?
A: We always have short term and long term opportunities available to volunteer for MESA. If you’re a former MESA student, connect with other alumni!

Q: How can I donate money?
A: If you are interested in contributing financially to the Oregon MESA, visit our donation page.

Q: How can my organization collaborate with MESA?
A: We are always looking for opportunities to partner with community organizations to bring new programs to our students. Learn more about our resources, needs, and partnering opportunities.

Q: How do I join MESA at my school?
A: If MESA is already offered at your school, you can contact the advisor who runs your MESA chapter by visiting the MESA Schools page for contact information.

Where is MESA and how do I find out about events?

Q: Where is the MESA located?
A: Our administrative office is housed at Portland State University in the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science. However, because we bring programs to our students in their schools, our programs are held at many different schools and locations.

Q: Where do I find out about current MESA events?
A: Because we frequently partner with community programs and organizations, we offer seasonal workshops and programs throughout the year in topics ranging from computer science to college access. Learn more about what we are currently offering.

Q: Who do I contact for questions about MESA Day, the MESA Schools Program, or other events?
A: Visit our contact page to ask questions and share comments or concerns with us via our contact form. You can also send an email directly to We frequently check this email and try to get through all responses within one week. If you need to contact us for a pressing matter, please call our office phone number at 503-725-4665.

Resources for MESA board members, volunteers, advisors, and mentors:

Q: I’m an advisor or mentor. How do I access my resource portal?
A: Access the Resources for Teachers & Mentors page here.

Q: I’m a volunteer. How do I access important forms and resources?
A: Access the Resources for Volunteers page here.

Q: I’m a board member. How do I access documents and resources?
A: Access the Resources for Board Members page here.