4:01pm | Two teams of Long Beach Unified School District students won a statewide engineering contest held in Santa Barbara this past weekend and will represent the state of California at a national championship competition in Washington next month, district officials announced on Wednesday.
According to information provided by the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement spokeswoman Danielle McNamara, the two teams walked away as state champions of the "grueling" engineering design competition held on Saturday, may 14, at UC Santa Barbara.
The groups, one consisting of local high school students and the other, middle school students, beat out 14,000 other students at preliminary and regional competitions held across California before emerging the victors at the MESA Engineering Design Competition’s state championship, McNamara said.
Members of the middle school team from Hudson International Magnet School are Christina Le, Michelica
Balajadia, Kyrene Aganon and Rose Chelsea Lubang.
Members of the high school team from Long Beach Polytechnic High School are Breanna Nery, Rae Jillian Rivera and Kimberly Ventura.
The teams have advanced to MESA's National Engineering Design Competition set for June 23 - 25 at the Microsoft Conference Center in Washington state, where they will represent the state of California.
McNamara said that the wind energy design competition falls in line with MESA’s goal of staying current with science, engineering and technology trends.<
"The project teaches students to understand design principles such as torque, generating and storing wind energy and how to think like environmental scientists," she said in a media release.
The project is part of MESA Days, a yearly showcase of students’ math and science know-how.
Through MESA and MESA Day competitions, students can explore future careers in science,
engineering and other technical fields, McNamara said.
MESA is an academic preparation program that serves more than 20,000 California pre-college,
community college and university students who are educationally disadvantaged. Seventy percent
of schools served by MESA are among the lowest-performing in the state.
Hailed as one of the nation's most innovative and successful academic achievement programs, MESA was launched 40 years ago. Statistics provided by MacNamara reveal that nearly two-thirds of MESA students go on to pursue college degrees in math, engineering and science.
The Long Beach teams' wins are that much more meaningful because the members of each team are all girls. By being introduced to and mastering engineering principles now, the likelihood that these female students would consider pursuing college degrees in engineering is increased.
In 2007, women represented just 9 percent of the engineering workforce. The male-dominated field is cause for concern, experts say, because this lack of diversity in the engineering industry threatens the ability of the nation to remain competitive in today's global economy.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the national competition is being held in the nation's capitol. It is actually being held in Washington state.