Taking Chances for a Brighter Future: Jamie’s Story
When Jamie Fields joined MESA in 2012 it was no coincidence: her dad, Frank Fields, was a champion MESA advisor. He suggested she join the program, and still to this day, Jamie is so grateful for the opportunity. She instantly fell in love with the hands-on learning experience, and embarked on a seven-year journey of invention and discovery.
Through the years, Jamie and her MESA team worked on inventing a prosthetic arm. The process was all about persisting, learning from mistakes, and adapting to new challenges. Jamie shared how each year they learned from the previous prototype, iterating and implementing solutions in order to try to make the invention lighter, stronger, and more affordable. Equity was always at the forefront, and MESA’s focus on human-centered design made Jamie realize the true impact of engineering on people’s lives.
Collaborating with a team through the setbacks and the breakthroughs of the invention journey was one of the most valuable aspects of her experience in the program. In fact, Jamie’s fondest moments in MESA are tied to creating memories with her team.
Her favorite anecdote was from her freshman year of High School, when the team got to travel to Utah for the National Engineering and Design Competition. During this trip, Jamie recalls visiting an amusement park where their roller coaster got stuck mid-ride: “So there we were–a group of student engineers, our engineering club’s teacher, and some Oregon MESA leaders–and we just kinda had to hang out and wait to be rescued. We made so many jokes about how silly it was for a group of engineers to be stuck on a roller coaster and unable to do anything.”Besides the comical adventure, Jamie also shared a fun fact: it was during this trip that the team helped MESA staff create the Oregon MESA Instagram account. If you scroll all the way to the first posts, these amazing memories with her MESA team are all documented!
The invention journey and the sense of camaraderie with her teammates aren’t the only things that Jamie holds close to her heart when thinking about the impact that MESA had on her. She shares that during her years in the program, she applied for a MESA internship program offered at the time that paired her for a two-week internship with BlueVolt. The small tech company recognized her amazing talent, so much that she ended up staying for the consequent four summers and then working there part time in college. After graduating from Whitman College, Jamie was offered a full time position with BlueVolt as Director of HR & Copywriter. When reflecting on the journey that led her here, Jamie shared:
“This internship and job allowed me, a working class student, to graduate college debt-free. I never would have ended up here if I hadn’t joined the MESA program when I was 11!”
Now, at 22 years old, Jamie has a powerful message for current MESA students:
“Utilize the resources around you and always take a chance. Getting involved in MESA allowed me the chance to apply for an internship, and because of that internship, I was able to pay for college and I have a job now. There were scholarships that I didn’t think I had a chance at, but I applied and they helped me afford college. I would not have what I have today without the help of those around me and without having taken chances applying for the opportunities that came to me.”
Every chance taken can be a step toward a brighter future, and Jamie’s MESA experience is a testament to how the program keeps inspiring and propelling future generations of innovators and dreamers.