By Robert Pellenbarg
The Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) program at College of the Desert provides many unique opportunities for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students. During the academic year, STEM majors at COD work toward excellence in STEM courses, plan for their future in the STEM field, and participate in exercises designed to apply their STEM knowledge.
Specifically, STEM students apply for paid internships nationwide in research institutions, prepare applications for transfer to 4–year institutions, and, if desired, join a small group of fellow STEM students for the Winter break. This Internship offers a chance to design and complete an original research project in a time frame with minimal distractions, as there are no classes in session. Additionally, the Winter groups receive a stipend for their research efforts.
Four Winter break students worked on projects funded by the US Department of Transportation (DOT). These Eisenhower Scholars are required to attend the annual Transportation Research Board (TRB) meeting in Washington, DC. At the TRB meeting, the students present their research results, network with fellow Eisenhower Scholars from across the US, and meet the DOT officials who work to support the Eisenhower program.
The four students from COD who traveled to Washington for the TRB meeting used the opportunity to meet with Congressman Raul Ruiz in his office on Capitol Hill. The students spent about 45 minutes with Representative Ruiz, and discussed a variety of STEM topics, their specific experiences with STEM education, and how College of the Desert has supported them via the MESA program at COD. Congressman Ruiz was very pleased to learn of the success of the MESA program in the Coachella Valley, and strongly encouraged the four to continue their focused efforts in STEM education.
The COD MESA program/Club is open to any College of the Desert student majoring in a STEM field (e.g. Chemistry, Math, Computer Science, Physics, and many others) with a 2.5 or higher GPA. Interested students are encouraged to explore MESA online, or at their meeting site on the first floor of the new Math and Science Technology Center (Room 146).
The MESA program thanks the Department of Transportation for supporting the 4 Eisenhower Scholars, and NASA/CPAR and the COD Alumni Association for funding in support of 18 Internship students.