• MHCC designated as regional center for Oregon Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA)

    Program aims to provide STEM educational opportunities to underrepresented students in the MHCC district

    Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) is now designated as a regional center for the Oregon Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program.

    Credit: PhotosByKim

    As a MESA regional center, MHCC will leverage the program to better equip historically underrepresented students with educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as invention and 21st-century skills.

    The MESA program model originated in California and made its way to Oregon, where it has been hosted at Portland State University’s Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science since 1985. MHCC demonstrated potential as a regional center due to its commitment to transforming lives and building communities, as well as the college’s ongoing involvement in the East Metro STEAM Partnership (EMSP), which aims to build equitable access to STEAM learning in East Multnomah County.

    “At MHCC, we are committed to empowering all students with the opportunity to succeed in the pursuit of their academic journey. Becoming an official Oregon MESA regional center reaffirms this commitment and will greatly benefit students who are underrepresented in STEM professional careers,” said Dr. Alfred McQuarters, vice president of instruction at MHCC. “This is an exciting opportunity to engage and inspire students in our districts using strategies that have been proven across the country.”

    Students from the following area schools will be served by MHCC’s MESA regional center with more to be added soon:

    • Centennial High School
    • Centennial Park School
    • David Douglas High School
    • Dexter McCarty Middle School
    • Parkrose Middle School
    • Parkrose High School
    • Reynolds High School

    As a MESA regional center, MHCC will service about 135 students from these schools in its first year with plans to expand the program every year. Under the MESA program, these students are charged with creating an invention with a different theme ever year that will then be entered into the MESA Day competition and potentially the MESA Nationals competition.

    “We look forward to incorporating MESA’s work with our partnership efforts throughout the region by bringing on MHCC student mentors, encouraging industry visits and advancing inter-district collaboration,” said Landen Zernickow, director of EMSP and the MHCC Maywood Park Center.

    A regional coordinator at MHCC will be responsible for building and maintaining relationships with students and advisors at these schools so they are able to make progress building their inventions. Current MHCC students will also be recruited to serve as mentors for the MESA program.

    In addition to building students’ confidence in STEM and direct experience in designing an invention, the MESA regional center at MHCC will introduce the college as a potential academic pathway for students who might not have considered it previously.

    “We see MHCC as a critical partner in our work. Our partnership will allow more underserved students in the region to gain the experience and preparation necessary to become the future leaders of our economy,” said Dr. Tong Zhang, Executive Director, Oregon MESA.

    Join us at the MESA Regional Center Meet and Greet to celebrate the launch of our Regional Center, supporting students and schools in the East Metro region to achieve equality in engineering. RSVP here.

    Learn more about Oregon MESA, the East Metro STEAM Partnership and MHCC.

    Credit: PhotosByKim