By Richard Stone
Students working on a degree in science, technology, engineering or math may want to check out the MESA Center.
While MESA, which stands for Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement, is a national program that started in California in 1970, the MESA Center at this college started in 2007.
The center is funded by a Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program grant, funded by the National Science Foundation, which focuses on recruiting and retaining under-represented minorities into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.
It is also funded by a Hispanic-Serving Institutions Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (HSI STEM) Title III grant from the Department of Education. A Hispanic-serving institution has a full-time, undergraduate student body that is 25 percent or more Hispanic according to federal law.
The center offers tutoring, STEM scholarship assistance, degree planning and advising and transfer help.
It also offers peer mentors who can help with creating résumés, finding jobs, selecting classes, and organizing field trips.
“The MESA Center is like a community. When I go there, I feel like I am at home with my friends. The new people, who come in, are made to feel right at home,” Eleida Webb, a sophomore working on an Associate of Science in Engineering, said March 3.
Webb is on the Motorsport Team, which is working on a car that they were going to showcase April 1- 4 at the Eco-marathon Americas 2020 competition in Sonoma, California, run by Shell Global. The trip has been canceled by the district.
The car is started by a battery that shuts off after hydrogen and oxygen are blended to produce a mixture that powers the car. The team is working to make the car exceed its last Eco-marathon achievement of traveling 1286 miles per gallon of fuel April 4-5 last year.
The team is one of the larger organizations at the center with 12 students, three faculty advisers, and three staff advisers.
Using the center can lead to students learning academic skills outside the classroom.
“Working on the Motorsport Team in the MESA Center helped me to learn AutoCAD, which helped me in my Engineering Graphics 1 class later,” Webb said.
AutoCAD is a graphic design program used for making schematics.
The center can also help students learn what are known as soft skills.
“Being on the Motorsport Team teaches me time management and will help on my résumé,” Webb said.
Klaus Bartels, electrical faculty adviser for the Motorsport Team, said his work in the center helps students apply theory in practice.
“That is what’s satisfying,” Bartels said.
The center gives students a sense of community and a place for STEM-related organizations to meet.
“The MESA Center is a place for like-minded STEM students to network, get tutoring and attend meetings of student chapters of national organizations,” Alfred Alaniz, faculty adviser for the Motorsport Team, said.
Students can become MESA Center members, free of charge, by signing into their Alamo ACES account, clicking on the “Student” tab, and clicking on the “AlamoEXPERIENCE Access” link. Email MESA Center Coordinator Dee Dixon at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The Society of Physics Students meets 3:30-4:30 p.m. every Tuesday in the center. Anyone interested can call Alaniz at 210-486-0060.
The MESA Center is in Chance Academic Center 204, and is open to all students 7 a. m.-5 p. m. Monday though Friday.
For MESA Center members, the center is available until 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and is available to them 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturdays.