400 middle and high school students from 40 schools will display their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) projects.
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon chapter of MESA (Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement) is excited to host their annual Demo Day community showcase event February 21st – February 26th, 2022. MESA is an after school STEM program which equips public school teachers to help underserved, underrepresented, and low-income middle and high school students excel in STEM through hands-on invention education.
This school year MESA students have been challenged to create innovative solutions for clients in Oregon who bring food to our communities. Guided by this year’s theme, ‘From Harvest to Table’, students will interview a client within the food industry and develop a solution to empower their client using the principles of human centered design and invention education.
“Issues of justice are at the center of this year’s theme,” says Kelly Cousineau, Assistant Director at Oregon MESA. “Our agricultural and food systems are heavily influenced by socioeconomic factors such as racism, classism, ableism and sexism, issues which continue to impact our communities’ access to healthy, affordable, and sustainable food choices. Our MESA students, historically underrepresented in STEM fields, bring diverse, necessary, and innovative perspectives to an industry still heavily marked by systemic inequity.”
During the Demo Day event, as many as four hundred sixth through twelfth grade students will pitch their invention projects to a group of industry volunteer judges.
“The amount of thought and creativity students put into their inventions always blows me away,” remarks Elizabeth Andanen, a volunteer judge who works for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
With MESA’s emphasis on educational equity and removing geographic barriers, most student presentations will happen virtually from schools in Multnomah, Clackamas, Marion, and Washington counties. An in-person Demo Day event will be hosted by the Oregon Institute of Technology on February 25th for students in the Klamath county region.
“Our team is excited to present our project design,” says Amanda D., an eleventh grade MESA student in Salem. “Receiving feedback to improve our design is one of the major aspects we are hoping to gain from this event.”
The Demo Day ceremony will be held virtually on Saturday, February 26th from 12:30pm-1:30pm, and will be open to the public. Registered guests are also invited to attend the virtual student showcase from 10am-12pm, held in Gather.Town.
MESA’s Demo Day event is strategically being held during Engineers Week (February 20–26, 2022). Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers, Engineers Week is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers.
About Oregon MESA
The Oregon chapter of MESA is dedicated to helping students who have historically been underrepresented in STEM not only graduate from high school, but also enroll in post-secondary studies and enter the workforce with STEM skills and invention skills for the 21st century – fueling the innovation economy with diverse, talented leaders. This year, MESA has expanded its geographic reach to include four new schools in Klamath county thanks to grants from the Lemelson Foundation and the Meyer Memorial Trust. More information about Oregon MESA can be found at oregonmesa.org.