CALIFORNIA – MiraCosta College announced the launch of its new MESA Program, which aims to support underrepresented and underserved students in STEM.
The program, made possible by a grant from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, will welcome its first cohort of students in spring 2024 and open the MESA Center in fall 2024.
Participants in the MESA Program receive academic advising, internship opportunities, as well as workshops and other professional development supports while enrolled. The vision is to emphasize that California’s STEM workforce reflects the diversity of the state’s population.
To help launch and grow the new program, MiraCosta College has hired Jessica Perez-Corona as Director of MESA Program Activities. Perez-Corona is a first-generation college graduate with a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego, and a master’s degree in education from San Diego State University. She has more than 15 years of experience in higher education, working to support students in their academic journeys.
“Our goal is to support students not only academically, but professionally and personally,” Perez-Corona said. “As a woman of color and a first-generation student when I started college, I know firsthand what it means to have a program like this on campus. Without the support of a program like MESA my experience was incredibly difficult, and I don’t want that to happen to students today. Everyone deserves to feel like they belong in STEM.”
Perez-Corona will work with MESA faculty sponsor Professor Angela Beltran-Aguilar and Academic Services Coordinator Theresa Romano to develop a holistic program that will help MiraCosta College students succeed in various STEM majors. Together, the three leaders will help provide advising, mentoring and other critical services that will enable students to advance in their academic and career paths.
“As a MESA Faculty Sponsor, I look forward to creating a community where underrepresented and underserved students in STEM feel they belong and can succeed in their major and at MiraCosta,” said Professor Angela Beltran-Aguilar.
“Our students face additional obstacles and challenges to succeed in a space that was not originally created for them to access, let alone participate and learn in,” said Theresa Romano, MiraCosta’s academic services coordinator.
The MESA Program has a rich history of changing the face of science, technology and engineering by developing a new generation of STEM leaders.
Each year, MESA serves thousands of students from across California at the pre-college, community college and university levels.
By bridging classroom learning with real-world applications and employing rigorous academic methods, leadership preparation, a community of peers, and collaborative problem-solving training, MESA produces highly skilled college graduates who meet the needs of the 21st century STEM workforce.