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Young students showcase math, science, engineering skills

Mesa Day invites students to showcase skills in math, science and engineering

500 students come to UCR to take part in fun, competition

(February 28, 2005)

Building land yachts, dropping eggs from high places and constructing miniature bridges may sound like fun, but it’s serious stuff for the approximately 500 local middle and high school students who will visit UC Riverside on March 5 for an opportunity to strut their mathematical and engineering skills.

It’s all part of the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) Day preliminary competition. MESA is a statewide outreach program that serves disadvantaged students in grades seven through 12 who are interested in majoring in math, science or engineering in college.

The day’s top competitors will advance to the regional competitions, which will be held at Cal State University, Fullerton on March 19 for high school students and at UC Irvine on April 9 for middle school students.

“The event is designed to enrich the math and science experiences of these students,” said Rod Smith, director of the UCR’s MESA program, which is housed in the Bourns College of Engineering. “This gives them an opportunity to showcase what they have learned and to test their skills against students from other schools.”

The day starts at 9 a.m. with a brief introduction and overview. At 9:20 a.m. the students head out for the first two-hour competitions. The second session is at noon.

During that time, students will have the opportunity to choose from several events, including:
• designing a container to keep an egg safely cushioned for a long drop
• constructing a balsawood glider that flies the farthest
• building an original model of a bisected heart from non-perishable food items and other resources
• assembling sturdy bridges out of file folders,
• building towers from straw

For a complete listing of events and their locations, contact Mesa Director e-mail Mesa program Director Roderick Smith or call (951) 827-2887.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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