As a student with a disabled parent and also a brother of a University of Arizona student, I have watched my family’s first hand struggle to make ends meet while trying to provide financial assistance for my brother’s college education. My hope is that MESA will consider helping to support my goals with a tuition waiver or scholarship. With the organizations help I would be better able to concentrate on studies without having to be concerned about adding to my family’s financial worries.

    Education is of paramount importance for me, regardless of the any challenges I may face. My parents were always active during my childhood, taking an interest in what I did by spending hours taking me to libraries, museums, zoos and community events. By the time I was eight my mother became disabled and had less time to guide my education or contribute financially, so my father began working twelve-hour days. I was left on my own to forge my own path in life. I am proud to say that with the assistance of many incredible teachers and due to my hard work my, grades are excellent.

    Another test that I faced was the severe lack of exposure to even the basics of engineering. I had always wondered what tasks an engineering career encompassed, but never really had the opportunity. That’s when my counselor suggested I look into MESA and I’m glad she did. MESA introduced me to all of the interesting programs, classes towards my major and friendly students at the University of Arizona. MESA has been important in laying the groundwork for my future career in engineering. After enrolling in Mr. Campbell’s MESA class at Flowing Wells High School, I was offered hands on experiences with real engineers and establishing lasting friendships while gaining invaluable insights through brainstorming and collaborating on projects. I was able apply what I’ve learned about engineering to the following competitions: Siege Saturdays, MESA Regionals, and MESA Days.

    On Siege Saturday, 2002, our team arrived with our trebuchet only to discover, to our dismay, that we had interpreted the instructions of eight-- 8 foot two by fours to mean we could use sixty-four linear feet in our construction. Disqualified, we took the trebuchet off to the side and after a few quick measurements determined a way to meet the criteria was to remove lengths of wood from the base so that it would not reduce the overall efficiency. We asked Dr. Ortega if he would please reconsider our project for the competition and were ecstatic when he said we qualified. It was very gratifying to win in several categories and it was an incredible experience it was to learn how to handle unpredictable conditions. By rethinking and rebuilding the trebuchet, our team achieved great success at the competition.

    Since we did so well at Siege Saturday, the same competition in 2003 became battle to beat our previous records. We did not take home any trophies this year we still believed we succeeded. We had gained so much confidence from the previous year’s experiences that we looked for a novel way to improve distance and accuracy by adding rockers to the trebuchet. Many of the engineers at Siege 2003 applauded our ideas commenting, that it was an innovative design and well worth exploring.

    Siege Saturday competition is just one example of how MESA has motivated me to try my best in life through projects and to mingle with not only my teammates, but also professional engineers. One of the finest benefits of the MESA competitions is that I have regained lost time with my mother, who is now able to attend all of the events. This time has allowed us to grow closer in a way she and I have deeply missed.

    Today, my aspirations are to study at the University of Arizona in one of my three fields of interest-- chemical, optical or material engineering. I would also like to expand my social horizons through campus life at the University of Arizona. As a student of a disable parent I am trying my best to find several scholarships because I desire to earn an internship through the University of Arizona with a company such as Raytheon or Honeywell, so that I can go on to become productively employed. After I get established as a student, I look forward to joining the MESA organization at the University of Arizona and to promote the MESA program. Through MESA, one day I want to help junior high and high school students achieve their academic and career goals, by showing them that I could overcome life’s difficulties and reach my dreams.*

MESA is a national organization designed to attract students to industries based on mathematics, science or engineering skills. This is the essay my son wrote as part of the application process. Today he received a one-time award for a tuition wavier from the Office of Early Academic Outreach at the University of Arizona. Mr Leon writes:

    Your academic achievements and future goals are commendable and we are proud that you were a Mathematics, Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) student. As a college bound senior you are an excellent role model for other program participants.

*Used with permission.

Sons are a heritage from the LORD , children a reward from him.
-Psalm 127:3