MESA is a system-wide, inter-segmental outreach and retention program started in 1970, and governed by an Intersegmental Steering Committee (UC, Cal States, Ca Community Colleges, Independent colleges, and Ca Dept. of Education). MESA’s purpose is to prepare and motivate educationally disadvantaged students, especially those from groups with low rates of participation in college, including first-generation college bound and/or low-income students. The goal is to prepare and motivate students for college degrees and to enter professions requiring degrees in engineering and other mathematics-based scientific fields.
Currently, the UCSB MESA Schools Program Center serves approximately 800 middle and high schools students from 16 schools in 7 districts within Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, primarily in the Oxnard region and Santa Paula. Program activities are specifically designed to encourage students’ scientific inquiry and curiosity, problem solving skills, teamwork and leadership, and knowledge and pursuit of the requisite educational preparation so students attain baccalaureate degrees and careers in STEM.