The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Unlocking success: El Camino presents path of academic resources, professional opportunities for STEM students

Students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math will now have an opportunity to receive financial and educational support at El Camino College.

The Mathematics, Engineering & Science Achievement (MESA) program at El Camino offers academic resources, professional opportunities and a helpful community for students on campus.

With a focus on helping underserved and underrepresented students in these career paths, the MESA program helps students transfer from El Camino to four-year universities.

To be eligible to join the program, students need to meet certain criteria and be committed to program responsibilities after they are accepted.

MESA Program Director Arturo Hernandez has been a part of the program at El Camino for about 21 years. Hernandez said being a part of MESA has given him “opportunities to work with students” and provide help they may need.

Hernandez highlighted the personal resources for students and the professional networking the MESA program offers.

“Alumni who now work in [in their respective industries] come back to El Camino to connect with current students and share their experiences,” Hernandez said.

In addition to these benefits, Hernandez said “MESA students can be recipients of scholarships from the El Camino College Foundation” and have summer internship opportunities at universities.

Hernandez focused on the MESA program as being able to “support low-income students and represent the diversity” of the student population at El Camino.

“MESA gives students an opportunity to work with each other and bond together,” Hernandez said.

An area designed for MESA and STEM students to work together is the MESA | STEM Center which is located on the lower level of the Natural Science Building.

The center provides an area for students to be around each other, study in groups, receive counseling and attend workshops.

The Union spoke to 19-year-old computer science major Usman Tahir, who was studying at the MESA | STEM Center.

Tahir said he is pursuing a degree in computer science because of the financial opportunities the career offers and joined MESA because he is “looking for internships” in his major.

One aspect of being in the MESA program that Tahir said he enjoys is “networking with students” and getting help from others while he is in the MESA | STEM Center.

Industrial engineering major Yesenia Orozco joined the MESA program after she enrolled at El Camino in the 2019 fall semester.

At a young age, Orozco knew she had an interest in STEM and saw MESA as a way to learn with other STEM majors.

Orozco said she likes the “opportunity and platform that [MESA] offers” such as scholarships, workshops, counseling and tutoring.

Orozco underlined the reason why more STEM students should join the MESA program, explaining it is an “opportunity for students to open more bridges” in their career paths.

“As a first-generation college student, MESA has helped me see the STEM world better and have a platform to pursue my career,” Orozco said.

More information on program eligibility criteria and how to apply can be found on the MESA Program’s support page.

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