Special Populations Collaborative

Economically Disadvantaged/All Special Populations

Sacramento City College MESA Program

Mai-Gemu Johnson

916-558-2490 or johnsom@scc.losrios.edu

Target population: The target population is educationally and economically disadvantaged students pursuing math, science, and engineering.

Goals: To enable students to succeed in math, science, or engineering, and to be ready to transfer to a four-year institution to receive a Bachelors, Masters, or Doctorate degrees.

Description: Each MESA applicant is required to meet certain criteria that include educational and financial disadvantage and various academic and program criteria. The program serves approximately 125 – 150 students annually. The MESA Center is open extended hours to allow for maximum use by students. The hours are 8:00 am to 8:30 pm Monday through Friday and 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturdays.

The MESA program functions in several feeder high schools and sends many students to Sacramento City College to focus on careers in math, science, and engineering. Each MESA student must complete certain tasks and participate in a variety of activities annually. Some of the activities include having an annual academic plan on file, meeting with a MESA counselor (one of eight specialized MESA counselors) once or twice a year to complete a counselor contact form, completion of an Early Alert Program. The Early Alert Program requires the student to obtain signature from each math, science, engineering, and English instructor to provide feedback and show grades halfway through the semester. Participants also attend facilitated workshops weekly.

Much of the program is centered on providing support to the students through one on one contact with program coordinators, peer volunteers, and workshop facilitators. This contact takes place through:

·         Study Center – The “Study Center” is the hub of all activities and includes tutors for groups and individuals, facilitators (current students and faculty members) for workshops and on-site field trips, as well as other events and activities.

·         A 9-week MESA orientation course is mandatory for all MESA students. The course includes the writing of a personal statement, the development of an electronic portfolio, instruction on the use of graphing calculators, an introduction to research component, mock interviews, and a general program and college introduction.

·         The MESA program coordinators encourage MESA students to enroll in the same classes and sections so they can form “Student Clusters” which develops a stronger sense of community and facilitates the formation of study groups. The MESA program coordinators work with faculty to enable the formation of these “Student Clusters.”

·         Academic Excellence Workshops – Six to ten workshops are held annually and involve students who form a small community to work collaboratively to master the course material with the guidance of a MESA facilitator. The facilitators work to reinforce concepts learned in classes. Prior to the workshops, the facilitators meet with faculty who review the topics discussed and the skills they are learning. The facilitators then develop worksheets to reinforce this information. The workshops are held twice a week, for two to four hours weekly.

·         Faculty sponsored fieldtrips both on and off campus that include topics such as employment recruiting, employment opportunities in fields that use math and science skills, and an Academic Excellence Boot Camp (see below). Past field trips have included HP, Intel, Cal Trans, Industry speakers, UC, CSUs, as well as private institutions. Additionally, the MESA coordinators assist students in securing internships during the summers.

·         Bi-annually a three-day “Academic Excellence Boot Camp” provides tutors to assist the students in brushing up on the skills they learned during the previous semester.

Activities are provided to enable students to gain confidence and a sense of mastery of the world around them. These activities include an annual student leadership retreat hosted in Santa Cruz where 5-10 students attend for four-days of activities, and the BA Star program that allow students to take part in advanced science research, and summer research academies each year. Students who participate in these activities are expected to take part in the mentoring of new MESA student as well as work as Student Coordinators.

In order to allow MESA students to hone their leadership skills, Student Coordinators help plan and run activities hosted by the:

·         American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE),

·         Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS),

·         Society or Women Engineers (SWE),

·         National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE),

·         Society for the Advancement of Native American and Chicano Engineers

·         Other math, science, and engineering career conferences

·         A MESA scholars program – This program honors all students with a 3.0 – 4.0 GPA in math, science, and engineering. As students are honored in consecutive semesters, they are given additional recognition with stars, bags, gifts, etc.

·         A MESA transfer reception – This reception is for all Los Rios MESA students who are transferring as well as those who have received a scholarship.

Staffing: The staffing at the MESA Center includes a Director, two temporary (MESA students) clerks, tutors, facilitators, and instructional assistants who coordinate the center at night and on Saturday.

Facilities, equipment, materials: There are five IBM compatible computers in the center as well as one Macintosh computer, two computers are in the in office. The computers are loaded with a variety of computer programs including, TASK COW, engineering programs, C++, and Auto-CAD.

Costs, funding source: The MESA center is funded by a grant from the CCCCO for $81,500 annually.

Outreach and marketing: The marketing for the MESA Center includes sending out letters to all Sacramento City College students with a declared major in science, math, or engineering. Additionally, a great deal of marketing is via word of mouth from past or current students as well as referrals from math, science, and engineering faculty.

Evidence of effectiveness: The MESA program also operates in the high school encouraging students to attend community and four-year colleges. 74% of Mesa high school seniors attend college, compared to 49% of other students. 20-25 Sacramento City College students transfer annually, and 99% of CCC of MESA students will transfer to a four-year college.

Suggestions for replication: The MESA programs are fairly well structured and a RFA is available through the Chancellor’s Office website at www.cccco.edu . The only other component for success that is mandatory is strong campus and community support.