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MESA: Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement

The purpose of MESA is to attract and support underrepresented youth, young women, and ethnic minorities on a pathway to college and careers in science, math, and engineering. 

MESA Utah Four Pillars

1.      Active Learning – During regular meetings and special events, students participate in challenging and engaging hands on projects and activities designed to explore the MESA Engineering Design Process.

2.      Exposure to STEM – Design competitions, STEM events on university campuses, and connections with industry and career mentors.

3.  Peer Support – Collaboration and leadership are emphasized at all MESA events throughout the K-16 pipeline.

4.     College Readiness – Through activities, resources and events developed in cooperation with our higher education partners.

MESA supports the national science and mathematics educational agenda by ensuring that MESA students develop a high level of literacy in mathematics, engineering, and science so they can play a leading role within an increasingly technology-based world.

Services and activities for MESA students are targeted for those who need academic support as well as those who currently achieve at high levels and need additional opportunities.  MESA strives to reach the populations that are underrepresented in higher education and professions related to math, engineering, and science: girls and minorities. 

MESA is the pre-college component of the MESA/STEP Consortium, a nonprofit organization comprised of public school districts, charter schools, higher education institutions, STEM businesses and industries, and community organizations.

The MESA Team

Dana Ricketts

MESA Programs Coordinator

(801) 402-5162

Julie Sargent

MESA Office Professional

(801) 402-5128

Tyson Grover

STEM Director

(801) 864-8604


MESA Schools List

Elementary Schools


MESA clubs can be found in 8 Davis elementary schools. 


Secondary Schools

MESA Clubs can be found in 8 junior high schools and 5 high schools.

School Advisor(s)
Centerville Jr. High Delia Bayna
Central Davis Jr. High Lance Powell
Legacy Jr. High Jeff LeBaron
North Davis Jr. High Ben Elmer
North Layton Jr. High Rose Mitchell; Megan Mott
Sunset Jr. High Chelsey King
Syracuse Jr. High Amy Smith
West Point Jr. High Selina Hoffman
Clearfield High School Debra Titmus
Layton High School Jarom Stewart
Mountain High School Kristina Yamada
Northridge High School Kael Harris
Syracuse High School Geoff Warren





Activities in MESA meetings are as varied as the teachers who serve as the advisors.

In Debra Titmus' MESA Club at Clearfield High School, students enjoy a hands-on approach to chemistry,

Another popular topic is biology as shown here.

The microscope is an essential tool for study of biological samples.  When connected to an I-pad, the images can be saved, edited, and shared.  .







Microscope Work
  • MESA schools hold two or more MESA "meetings" each month with most of the meetings occurring after school. 
  • Some advisors like a thematic approach such as clean energy or aeronautics; others may break up the year into technologies such as robotics, arduinos, and biomedical.  Some MESA clubs combine with other organizations in the school such as TSA (Technology Student Association).
  • MESA traditions include KRYPTO, building roller coasters and towers out of a wide variety of materials, and Barbie Bungee Cord Contest!  
  • MESA clubs often participate in service projects at their schools.  
  • Students prepare for competitions such as the Science/Math Olympiad, Sea Perch, Rube Goldberg, and Physics Day.  
  • The variety of activities helps to show students the variety of careers available to them if they continue on a pathway through math, engineering, and science.  
  • Parents and family members are always welcome!

What's Happening in MESA Schools

Clearfield High School

High school MESA students often participate in school wide events such as Homecoming Week and holiday events. Pictured below are MESA students applying a science theme to chalk drawings.  Studying the science behind Ice cream, using dry ice to create cool Halloween tricks, and using chemistry to create ornaments for a Christmas tree are some of the fun and creative activities students at Clearfield High School enjoy. 

Chalk Drawing of Elements

Students use chemical elements in chalk drawing for homecoming events.

Chalk drawing team

 The MESA chalk drawing artists.

Chalk Drawing for Club Competition

The MESA Logo in chalk.

Pumpkin Chemistry

 Preparing for Trunk or Treat activities.

Trunk or Treat

Tricks with dry ice or treats?

Microscope Activity

Students study biological slides with a scope aided by an I-pad.

Holt Elementary

Holt Elementary was one of the first elementary schools in Davis District to create a MESA program.   For 2018-2019, sixth grade teachers Laura Prouty and Kimberly Barker have stepped into the advisor position with some creative ideas.  Below, students conduct a mathematical pumpkin challenge where they hypothesize about the pumpkin's dimensions and the number of seeds contained within.  

Mathematical Pumpkin Challenge


Northridge High School

At Northridge, engineering teacher Kael Harris has combined MESA with the TSA (Technology Student Association.)  As engineering and technology are a primary focus for both clubs, it's a perfect combination.  Student leadership skills are also emphasized.

Pringles Challenge

Students build sculptures out of pringles potato chips in a team building exercise.

More pringles

Keeping girls engaged in science, math, and engineering is an important goal for the MESA program.  Statistics show that girls lose interest as they advance through secondary school and into college. 

Having fun with materials

Taking "hands-on" learning to a new level.  

Air powered rockets

Students design air powered rockets out of simple materials.

More rockets

More fun with air powered rockets.

Costume party

 Costume contest at the schools Halloween Trunk or Treat.

Centerville Junior High School

Kick Off to a Great Year

Centerville Tower






MESA Schools throughout Davis have kicked off their year with a variety of activities designed to increase student interest, build teams, and get students thinking critically.

Students at Centerville Jr High started the year with a simple problem solving activity -- building towers out of nothing but index cards and tape strong enough to hold the frog.  This is the first year Centerville has had a MESA program.  Teacher Delia Bayna had taught MESA at the elementary school and when she moved to the junior high, she brought her love for science and hands-on learning with her.

Another popular activity at the beginning of the year is building rockets which can be made from a variety of materials including straws, paper, and PVC pipe.  Students evaluate variables such as rocket length and width, shape and placement of fins, and shape and weight of nose cones.  Some schools will eventually extend these activities into preparation for competition.

Tower Building

Tower 2
Tower 1

Tower designs range a great deal.  Students learn which basic shapes work best for support and balance, and  how well the shapes interconnect.

Tower 3


Catapult Design
Catapult 2
Catapult 3

Crestview Elementary

Crestview's MESA program started in 2014 and has been going strong since.  Advisors Kathy Johnson and Emily Tanner have a knack for keeping things fun and lively as they teach students basic engineering concepts and how to use the engineering design process.

Crestview starts the year with a variety of activities.

Crestview 5

 At the opening family event, students worked on building towers and shared designs with family members.

Crestview 7

Students test straw rockets on several variables. 

Crestivew 8

Students display their "longest paper" ideas. 

More Tower Designs

Crestivew 2
Crestview 4

Sunset Elementary

At Sunset Elementary, advisor Trisha Glenn has students busy preparing to host a school wide STEM Fair.  Students were responsible for creating their own STEM activity and will serve as mentors to younger students who come through the fair.  Below are a few of the activities that the students have created for their school's big STEM night.

STEM Fair Activities

LEGO Gravity Rollers

Students designed these gravity rollers to display the properties of gravity and to challenge participants to use the gravity to complete tricks.


Students built a model town out of LEGOs including a damn to keep the residents safe from floods. 


Students will use this design to challenge participant's maze running abilities. 

South Clearfield Elementary

At South Clearfield, advisor Cathleen Gilbertson uses an inquiry approach to challenge students.  In one of the activities so far this year,  students created "density jars" with various liquids and determined which liquid or object was more dense.

PH Investigations

PH Investigations
PH Testing


Equity Night

As part of the district's yearly Equity Celebration, MESA participates with a booth offering information to interested students and parents and hands-on activities for guests.  This year, advisors Trisha Glenn, Kathy Johnson, Bethany Carlton, and Emily Tanner all helped out.  We had a Krypto table and a bubble making table -- these were not your ordinary bubbles though.  Students built three dimensional shapes that when dipped into the bubble solution resulted in "tensile" bubbles.  These were a hit!



Field Trips

MESA sponsors many field trips each year; some field trips are sponsored by the district while others are set up by individual schools.  Below is a list of the field trips that have become a MESA tradition as well as others where schools arranged their own inspirational experiences.

  • The STEM Action Center's STEM FAIR
  • STEM at BYU
  • the University of Utah's Engineering Department
  • Utah State University's Innovation Campus and Spider Silk Laboratory
  • Weber State University's COAST: College of Applied Science and Technology; Weber State University's Automotive Department
  • The Leonardo
  • The Living Planet Aquarium


Holt Elementary

Holt Elementary Visits Cornerstone Aviation

As part of their study of aeronautics, Holt students were treated to a visit to the Ogden airport and to a flight school there.  Students learned about careers in aviation and the use of flight simulators in pilot training programs.



Mountain High School

One of the favorite activites for the high school MESA programs is attending the Northern Utah STEM EXPO.  At the EXPO students hear from experts in three pre-selected career pathways and then browse the EXPO Hall where they can network with local companies and industries as well as local post graduation schools and universities.

Mountain High School has developed a very popular and successful program under the leadership of advisor Kristina Yamada.  Below are glimpses of just a few of the fun yet educational experiences the students from Mountain High enjoyed at the 2017 EXPO.



expo 2017
expo 2017
expo 2017

Syracuse Jr High School


STEM at BYU is a popular field trip each year.  Students from North Layton and Syracuse Jr. High Schools enjoyed the math challenges and other activities conducted by current BYU students.




Rube Goldberg

Rube Goldberg Competition:  

A Rube Goldberg Machine is an overly complex contraption, designed with humor and a narrative, to accomplish a simple task.  The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest (RGMC) is an annual international competition that challenges teams of students from middle school to college age to compete in building the most elaborate and hilarious Rube Goldberg Machine.

The competition is named after Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) who was a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist best known for his zany invention cartoons.  It’s estimated that he did a staggering 50,000 cartoons in his lifetime.

In 2017, the machines were designed to apply a band aid.  For 2018 the task was pouring a bowl of cereal. 

Syracuse Jr. High's MESA team won first place in the 2017 Utah tournament sponsored by the AFA Aerospace Education Foundation and went on to compete at the national tournament in Columbus, Ohio.  In 2018 the team came in second place.

See the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest website for more information.

Rube goldberg
Rube goldberg
Rube Goldgerg

Sea Perch

Sea Perch Underwater ROV Competition:

In this competition, students build Remotely Operated Vehicles out of PVC Pipe, cut up pool noodles, and ties; create water proofed motors with toilet rings, film canisters, and nylon tape; and build control boxes complete with toggle switches and directional controls using a variety of electronic components.  Students then bring their ROV's to a pool where they compete against other teams to complete underwater tasks.

Sea Perch is sponsored by the U.S. Navy.  Its main goal is to teach the unique skills in ship and submarine design and to encourage students to explore naval architecture.  Students learn about marine science and marine engineering concepts, tool safety, and basic technical procedures. Students are also exposed to all of the exciting careers that are possible in naval architecture and naval, ocean, and marine engineering.

In 2018, teams from Crestview, Doxey, Sunset, and Valley View Elementary schools, North Davis and Central Davis Junior High Schools, and Syracuse High School participated at the event held at Weber State University. 

North Davis Jr. High students practiced for the competition at the Clearfield Aquatics Center.  A team from North Davis went on to win the Grand Prize!



See the link below for coverage of the 2018 Sea Perch Competition:


 For the 2017 competition:  https://youtu.be/JcR6QI8Kq2I

Teacher of the Year


2017-2018 MESA Teacher of the Year

Geoff Warren
Syracuse High School

Geoff stands out for his incredible energy, his willingness to pursue and share new opportunities, and his genuine desire to achieve the MESA vision for all minority and female students.  Geoff's love of science and his desire to share this energy with others brought Geoff into teaching.  Geoff has a make-it-happen attitude and has provided much appreciated technical support to other MESA advisors. This community service orientation is visible in all of Geoff's activities.  Geoff's students enjoy his sense of humor and his willingness to help both inside and outside of school.    


Kathy Johnson
Crestview Elementary School

Kathy has been a MESA advisor for four years and has worked diligently to provide many opportunities to the MESA students at Crestview Elementary.  Her cheerful and supportive nature sets the perfect tone for inspiring students to stretch themselves a little more and to work a litle harder.  To ensure her students have a great learning experience, she has been willing to dig in to unknown territory and learn new skills and concepts as she goes.  Not afraid of hard work, she is a great model for her students and for the entire MESA team.



MESA Utah is a statewide consortium of people in K-12 public education, higher education, and STEM based industry working to attract underrepresented youth to college programs and careers in science, math, and engineering.  Underrepresented youth includes girls and ethnic minorities who typically do not pursue education and careers in these areas.  

The K-12 Districts and Charters with MESA programs include 

  • Ames Academy
  • Cache School District
  • DaVinci Academy
  • Davis School District
  • Granite School District
  • Jordan School District
  • Providence Hall Academy
  • Salt Lake School District
  • Weber School District

Colleges and Universities with MESA programs include

  • Utah State University
  • Utah Valley State University
  • Weber State University
  • University of Utah
  • Salt Lake Community College

For more information on MESA Utah, please see their webpage at MESAut.org

MESA Utah is a member of the 11 state consortium MESAUSA.  

See article on the national MESA Engineering Competition which was held at Temple University in Pennsylvania in June 2018.

Student Resources


Programs Available for High School Students at Local Universities

Weber State University

Office of Access & Outreach:  Its mission is to increase the participation through access and outreach partnerships that encourage underrepresented students to pursue and complete a secondary education.  This division of WSU offers the following programs:

Student to Student: This program provides college access resources and academic support services to to underrepresented students.  This program is available for students at Clearfield, Layton, Northridge, Syracuse, and Woods Cross High Schools.

Gear-Up:  This is a federally funded program designed to help students succeed in high school and achieve college graduation.  The program helps students with financial aid awareness, college campus visits, ACT Preparation, and assistance with FAFSA completion.  It is available for students at Clearfield, Layton, and Mountain High School.

Upward Bound:  Upward Bound is a college preparatory program for high school students designed to help build academic and social skills and generate a positive attitude toward success in their education.  Students participate with the Upward Bound program for the duration of their high school enrollment.  Part of Upward Bound is the availability of computer labs for students enrolled in the program.  In Davis, the computer lab is located at 2750 University Park Blvd. 

Native American Scholarships:  One-year (two-semester) award waivers for 50% of in-state tuition and general fees at Weber State University only. This is open to new freshmen and transfer students to Weber State University.


University of Utah

Office for Equity and Diversity:  This office is committed to enhancing student success, recruiting future leaders, and engaging with key community members on and off campus.  Programs include the following:

First Year Diversity Scholars: First Year Diversity Scholars program supports students through a personalized campus orientation, regular interactions with faculty and staff of color, academic advising, multiple mentoring relationships, and off-campus community engagement opportunities.

Advising, Scholarships, Student Groups, and more!

The Refugees Bridge Program: The REFUGES Bridge Program, launched in 2013, is designed for incoming University of Utah freshmen who are interested in majoring in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) field. The program provides young people with a supportive peer group and a unique summer opportunity to live on campus, attend classes, and jumpstart their college experience. Students from underrepresented backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

TRIO Programs:  The TRIO Programs, through a supportive environment, empower underrepresented students to access postsecondary education & to achieve academic success leading to a postsecondary degree.

Scholarship and Financial Aid

Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

SWE Scholarships support women pursuing ABET-accredited bachelor or graduate student programs in preparation for careers in engineering, engineering technology and computer science in the United States.

ABET stands for the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.  ABET, Inc., is a non-governmental organization that accredits post-secondary education programs in applied and natural science: computing, engineering, and engineering technology.

AISES Chevron

AISES stands for American Indian Science and Engineering Society

American Indian, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, First Nations and other indigenous peoples of North America who are students in higher education are eligible for these scholarships. The scholarship supports students with technical and leadership accomplishments, as well as a commitment to and passion for the energy field. The scholarship is open to both undergraduate and graduate students persuing STEM degrees, as well as business related studies.

Affordable ONLINE Colleges offers assistance with scholarships and financial aid:

  • directory of undergraduate and graduate scholarships
  • tips on how to apply
  • student organizations
  • advice from education experts 
  • general resources

Click here to find a guidebook geared toward the African-American student. The guide includes a directory of undergraduate and graduate scholarships, offers tips on how to apply, and has advice from education experts in the black community.

Professional Associations


NACME:  National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering

NAMEPA:  National Association of Multicultural Engineering Programs Advocates

AISES: The American Indian Science and Engineering Society

NSBE:  National Association of Black Engineers

SHPE:  Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

SWE:  Society of Women Engineers

WEPAN:  Women in Engineering ProActive Network

The Engineer Girl:  Sponsored by the National Academy of Engineers


SACNAS:  Society for Advancing Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science

MAES:  Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists


"Mentoring Is the Key to Increasing Minority and Women’s Participation in STEM Education, Researchers Say at the Emerging Researchers Network Conference" O'Neil, Kathleen. (2016, March 8). AAAS NEWS

"5 Ways to Support Minority STEM Students" Lou, Nicole. (2015, September 17).  Popular Science

"Supporting Minority Students in Science" Hrabowski, Freeman A.  (2012).  VUE:Voices in Urban Education

"Her Scientific Discovery: Support" Gonzalez, Angela. (2017, February 25).  New York Times

"Promoting Minorities in STEM Fields:  A Success Story" Mock, Geoffrey  (2016, February 24).  Duke Today

Advisor Resources

Advisor Resources

Meeting Dates for 2018-2019

Meeting 1, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018, 4:00, PDC East 

Meeting 2, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, 4:00, PDC East 

Meeting 3, Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 4:00, PDC East 

Celebration, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 7:00-8:30 pm, PDC East and West

Tri-Yearly Report Dates for 2018-2019
  • Report 1:  September to November 9: Due November 9
  • Report 2:  November 10 to February 8: Due February 8
  • Report 3:  February 9 to May 9:  Due May 10
End of the Year Outstanding Students Recognition and Celebration
  • Wednesday, May 15, 2019
  • 7:00 to 8:30 pm
  • PDC East and West, Kendell Building
  • Please nominate two students and provide descriptions;  due dates to be determined
  • Please bring your family!


Helpful Files

Club Information


Student Registration Forms

Encore Help


Physics Day

Helpful Files for Students Competing in Arduino Clean Air Competition (National Engineering Design Competition) 2017-2018:

Arduino Poster Template

Cut and Paste Template

Product Pitch Template

MESA USA National Engineering Design Rules and Judging Rubrics 

For information on MESA Utah events at Physics Day 2019:  https://mesaut.org/physics-day/

MESA Utah Mousetrap Car Rules and Judging 2017-2018

Draft Proposal Mousetrap Car 2018-2019

Draft Proposal Arduino Car 2018-2019

2018 Schedule

2018 Teacher Letter

Curriculum Manual



National Engineering Design Competition

MESA Utah's National Engineering Design Competition is "Arduino Based Solutions for Humans Living in Utah."   Students implement the Human Centered Design Approach to find a client in their community with a need, engineer a solution for this need using Arduino as a key component, and present solutions and recommendations at the MESA Utah Engineering Design Competition.   This competition will be held at an indoor venue during the month of April.

Registration for the state event: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/arduiosolutions19

Information on the competition: https://mesaut.org/resources/nationalcompetition/

Click here for information on the theme, rules, rubrics.