Oregon MESA Expands Equitable STEM Education Statewide

MESA Receives $1.1 Million in Grants to Expand Equitable STEM Education Statewide


Oregon MESA, which has operated out of Portland State for 36 years, is expanding thanks to new funding.

MESA trains middle and high school teachers to help underrepresented students excel in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) through after school classes, invention competitions, family engagement, community outreach events and experiences connecting with industry and college partners. Until now MESA has predominantly served students in the Portland metro area and Salem, but is now poised to take its proven STEM teaching model to even more teachers and students.

“MESA is such an important program to address the issue of underrepresented students in STEM. By addressing the problem earlier in the pipeline, MESA is able to both increase awareness of STEM degree opportunities, and, more importantly, provide students with the confidence and motivation to pursue STEM in college,” says Wu-chi Feng, Interim Dean of PSU’s Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science. “This expansion is great for both Portland State University and the state of Oregon.”

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This effort was made possible by the generous support of The Lemelson Foundation ($981,500 over 3 years), Meyer Memorial Trust ($179,251 over 2 years), and The Collins Foundation ($72,000 over 1 year). We are deeply grateful for their leading support on this work. Their contribution will be fundamental for our mission to reach more students and families in all of Oregon.

Oregon Tech helps expand MESA programming to Klamath County School District

Oregon Tech’s Educational Partnerships and Outreach (EPO) team is helping expand MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement) programming to the Klamath County School District (KCSD) this year. MESA is an after-school program to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) exploration for underrepresented student populations.

“More opportunities that give space for students to create and innovate builds confidence and allows students to see themselves as the inventors and leaders of our future economy,” said Carleen Drago, director of EPO at Oregon Tech. “Programs like MESA infuse levels of exploration while creating supports that build self-efficacy for local students. Oregon Tech is committed to supporting the Southern Oregon community and our educational partners by collaborating and facilitating programming that meets the needs of local students.”

The MESA program model originated in California and made its way to Oregon, where it has been hosted at Portland State University’s Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science since 1985. As a strong STEM university, Oregon Tech has been partnering with Oregon MESA since 2014. Oregon Tech also hosts the South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership out of the Portland-Metro campus, and EPO’s efforts will expand early STEM education to Brixner Junior High School, Mazama High School, Chiloquin Junior/Senior High, and Lost River Junior/Senior High.

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