Our Impact

Plain and simple, Oregon MESA works.

Over the course of 35+ years, Oregon MESA has earned a track record of improving student achievement — including better grades, improved test scores, and higher graduation rates. Our programs also increase students’ pride, confidence and sense of belonging, and inform the academic and career choices they’ll make for themselves in the future.

From the personal growth that comes with STEM-related abilities, to connections made within the STEM community, to a deeper, more tangible understanding of the value of post-secondary education, the student’s entire family benefits. And in the business world, racially diverse teams outperform non-diverse ones by 35%, and companies with higher diversity also report better profitability and more innovation.

Explore Oregon MESA’s impact by the numbers:

Who We Serve

Most MESA students are first-generation college bound and 88% of MESA students are underrepresented in at least one category in STEM:

Race - 60% Students of Color, 43% White (not Hispanic or Latino), 8% Did Not Report

Boosting Academic Success

The MESA experience helps students develop greater focus and purpose, leading directly to higher achievement in high school and beyond. MESA students had higher grades in science and mathematics classes than their peers1 — and they are 3.13 times more likely to graduate from high school in four years than those who don’t participate in MESA.2 Over 65% of MESA students who declare a STEM major in college actually graduate with a STEM degree, versus the national average of 40%.3

Making Learning Connections

In the most recent Oregon MESA survey4, 90% of students reported that MESA was a place where they felt they belonged. Overwhelmingly, they believed MESA is fun (96%) and that their confidence in using invention skills — problem solving, working on a team, product development — had improved (98%). Looking ahead to their futures, 92% affirmed that MESA taught them about careers in STEM.

Erasing the Poverty Deficit

According to a 2019 Education Northwest analysis5, low-income students come to school at a graduation likelihood deficit of approximately 20% versus their non-low income peers. Participation in MESA has approximately the same magnitude of positive effect on these students, effectively overcoming the poverty-related deficit.



1 Oregon MESA: Improving Grades in Science and Mathematics, Education Northwest, October 2016
2 Oregon MESA: Increasing the odds of high school graduation, Education Northwest, March 2020
3 Internal Analysis of National Student Clearinghouse. https://sites.nationalacademies.org/cs/groups/dbassesite/documents/webpage/dbasse_088834.pdf
4 Oregon MESA: Findings from 2019 Student, Mentor, and Advisor Surveys, Education Northwest, August 2019
5 Education Northwest analysis of MESA (2009–10 to 2013–14) and ODE data (2008–09 to 2017–18); Acaira et al., 2010; Berger et al., 2013.

girl on shoulders of student

Learn More

Download these recent reports for more about how Oregon MESA impacts underserved, underrepresented students every day.

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