Lurline Ortiz just receiving her new laptop
One hundred and nine students at Napa Valley College received free laptops as part of a state-wide effort to help address the digital divide that exists in many areas of California.
The students enrolled in the college’s MESA program (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement program) will be eligible based on computer training/certification and community service criteria as part of the “California Connects” effort just announced.
(MESA) is part of the California Connects program, funded by a $10.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration for Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). The program was announced in Sacramento.
“Napa Valley College’s MESA program is delighted to participate in this program which will help our students succeed,” said José Hernández, MESA director.
California Connects is administered by the Foundation for California Community Colleges in partnership with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the Great Valley Center to begin increasing state’s digital literacy. California Connects will help increase the state’s broadband users by more than 61,000 through deploying community college MESA students and representatives from the Great Valley Center to teach members of the community how to access and navigate the Internet for educational, health, and economic purposes.
What is MESA?
By José Hernández, MESA director
The Napa Valley College Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program was initiated in Fall 1999 to serve educationally underrepresented students. It encourages them through a wide range of services to develop the necessary academic and leadership skills to successfully transfer and later graduate from a four-year university with a degree in mathematics, engineering, science or computer science. MESA currently serves 109 participants who will be tomorrow’s math instructors, doctors, engineers, viticulturists, biotech, computer science and STEM researchers in their specific majors.
MESA has a proud tradition of achievement including five All-USA Community and Junior College Academic Team members, and two New Century Scholar awardees. The Napa Valley College Foundation has awarded scholarships to 226 MESA participants for a total of 462 scholarships since 2002, and 112 participants had paid research/internships from 2004 through spring 2011.
Since 2002, 176 MESA students have transferred to a four-year college/university. Twenty three MESA participants transferred to a college/university last year including University of California (Davis, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Merced), California State University (San Francisco, San José), University of Washington, Cal Maritime Academy and Pacific Union College. While some of our participants are today’s professionals, others are completing their incredible dream.
Former MESA student, Arturo Ayala-Navarrom, a transfer student from Napa Valley College to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, recently wrote: “Summer 2007 - Jose Hernandez helped me find my first internship in Chico State (the BASTAR program). Summer 2008 - Dr. Booth selected me to continue the BASTAR program at the Center of Environmental Research and Technology in UC Riverside. Summer 2010 - My experience allowed me to land an internship at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Fall 2010 - My team and I won 1st place in a national design competition: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2010/12/16/1411778/cal-poly-team-wins-engineering.html. Now, my greatest accomplishment thus far - I have been admitted into a program called MSRP (Massachusetts Institute of Technology Summer Research Program). I will be working in the Nonlinear Dynamics Laboratory at MIT! Thank you all for providing me with the foundation essential to my success.”
Other past participants include: Maria Sanchez, (MESA) class of ‘07 graduate from UCLA ‘10, BS in psychobiology, who will begin her advanced work at UC Irvine Interdepartmental Neuroscience program or Uniformed Services University Neuroscience program (Washington DC); Ivan Gonzalez MESA‘07 graduate from UCLA ’10, BS in biochemistry and currently being interviewed for medical school; Alex Franceschi MESA ‘07, graduate from UCLA ’10 in engineering and completing his MS in engineering at UCLA, and Aurora Gomez MESA ‘03, graduate from UC Berkeley ‘07 in psychology and in her second year as a medical student at UCSF.
MESA’s successful grant proposal record includes: US Department of Transportation’s Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program, in which NVC is one of four community colleges in the nation participating in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. These ten (10) participants receive a $5,000 fellowship which includes a yearlong research project on a specific topic pertinent to transportation and they demonstrated their knowledge at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting held in Washington, DC. MESA has also received the Hewlett-Packard Community College Pre-Engineering/Computer Science Grant award of an HP Wireless Mobile Classroom, amongst other funded proposals.
MESA has also co-facilitated the NSF sponsored second and third Basic and Advanced Science and Technology Academics of Research Symposiums: 2006 UCLA and 2008 CSU-Sacramento.