[Source: Arizona Wildcat Online] — Students from Tucson’s Amphitheater Middle School and Pueblo High School will represent the Southern Arizona Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) program in a national engineering design competition. The Southern Arizona MESA student teams, administered by the University of Arizona’s Office of Early Academic Outreach, took first place in their respective statewide competitions to go onto the MESA USA National Engineering Design Competition to be held at University of California-Irvine and California State University-Fullerton.
The national program aims to increase the number of low-income, minority and first-generation college bound students that are prepared to enter a university degree program. The national competition, which is held June 23-25, requires the teams to not only develop a vehicle powered by mousetrap springs, but to create a poster and research paper and to present their design to a panel of judges. Student-participants involved in the program can gain skills that they may not receive in their general education, said Mary Grace Salamon, assistant coordinator for Amphitheater’s team and 8th grade language arts teacher. “They get opportunities to compete with their peers and learn how to speak in public,” said Salamon. “These are life-long skills that they can use.”