Students compete in statewide math conference

From math equations to science experiments, being in a math-based major has its perks, including the chance to be invited to an annual leadership conference. That is what happened to Sonoma State students Jeronimo Hernandez and David Tran, who both received invitations to the tenth annual Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Student Leadership Conference. 

Hernandez, who is a junior and an engineering major, and Tran, who is a senior computer science and mathematics major, participated in mock interviews as well as listened to guest speakers from national and California companies and representatives. The two-day event was held last weekend in San Diego and sponsored by the California Utilities Diversity Council.

The invitation-only competition is an annual event that incorporates industry representatives and college students from all over the state. This year there were 16 national and California companies that joined the Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement Conference. 

The industry representatives held mock interviews that the students would partake in and they would later receive feedback. Following the mock interviews were 45-minute workshops that each student attended. Each student attended at least five various workshop sessions which focused on leadership and various projects helping with leadership skills. 

To test the leadership knowledge that each student acquired there was a video challenge. The video challenge incorporated research, question and answer sessions how well the team worked together, and great presentation skills. This two-minute video gave students a chance to win $1,000.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company helped to sponsor Hernandez and Tran, and also helped to support other students attending the conference. This leadership conference had multiple sponsors that helped students participate, including AT&T, San Diego Gas and Electric, Oracle Education Foundation, Cisco Systems Inc., California Water Association, Chevron Corporation, Yahoo!, Texas Instruments Incorporated and many more corporations and industries. 

At the end of the two-day event, there was an awards banquet and closing ceremony held to acknowledge all the students who both participated and won challenges. Not only were students given recognition for their achievements, but so were their sponsors. The Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement Conference recognized a company that exemplified their motto and helped students with their leadership skills throughout the two-day competition.

The Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement program introduced a new program 16 years ago called Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement USA that reaches a bigger audience.  Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement USA is not only a California program. This program reaches seven other states: Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Founded in 1997, this program has begun to flourish and help the leaders of the future. Their open motto is “to impact diverse populations to contribute to a competitive global workplace.” Students starting in kindergarten all the way up to college can be involved with the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement programs.

Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement’s goal is to promote success in science, technology, education and mathematics (STEM) fields throughout the world. 

According to the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement’s Executive Director Oscar F. Porter, Hernandez and Tran were both chosen to attend the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement Student Leadership Conference because “these students have strong leadership skills.”

Having helped over 28,000 students nationally, Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement has become one of the biggest programs that gives students an opportunity to excel through academics using their knowledge of mathematics, engineering, and science. This academic development program strives for excellence in the STEM world while helping the leaders of tomorrow.