Sonoma State Students Chosen for Leadership Conference

sonoma.JPGA select group of California State University, Sonoma students honed leadership skills for the future during a special conference for engineering and computer science majors.

The Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Student Leadership Conference offers extensive professional and leadership development through direct interaction with industry mentors and speakers. The hand-picked MESA students, engineering or computer science majors, are from 25 universities and community colleges across the state, including Sonoma.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) sponsored the event with a $60,000 grant that allowed 152 students to attend. More than 18 PG&E employees volunteered their time to work closely with the students during the conference October 6-8 at the Oakland Convention Center.

PG&E has supported MESA since 1979 and will be recognized for the extensive assistance in helping educationally disadvantaged MESA students graduate in math-based fields. Joel Dickson, director of pipeline safety and partnerships at PG&E, encouraged students to continue on their educational paths.

Other sponsors include San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Gas Company, East Bay Municipal Utilities District, Sacramento Municipal Utilities District and Vanir Construction Management, Inc.

MESA is one of the largest programs in the state to support educationally disadvantaged students so they can graduate from college with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees.

"We know that California's economy needs more STEM workers to stay competitive," said MESA Executive Director Oscar F. Porter. "These students provide the solution to industry's need for well-trained professionals.

"They were selected to attend the conference because these students have strong leadership skills. This event gives them a chance to interact extensively with STEM professionals currently working in the field," said Porter.

MESA, an academic preparation program that each year serves about 20,000 California pre-college, community college and university students who are educationally disadvantaged, is an awarding winning program with a model that works. Seventy percent of MESA high school graduates statewide went directly to college after graduation compared to 48 percent of all California graduates. Sixty percent of MESA students go on to math, science or engineering majors.

For more information about MESA visit

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