Designing inventions that would advance equity by minimizing or eliminating barriers for people was the goal of students participating in the MESA Competition held Tuesday, April 12, at New Mexico Tech.
Middle and high school students from across the state competed both virtually and in person in the event that draws teams who employ human-centered design practices to engineer a solution to the inequity challenge.
New Mexico MESA — Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement — competitions aim to empower and motivate New Mexico’s students from culturally diverse backgrounds with science, technology, engineering, and math enrichment to prepare them for college and careers in mathematics, engineering, science or technically related fields, according to Ling Faith-Heuertz, the organization’s executive director. Students also learn “soft skills” by participating in the competitions, such as public speaking and preparing presentations.
NM MESA is part of a larger 10-state MESA consortium called MESA USA. For most of the MESA projects, students work on their inventions during their lunch break or after school, although some do have classroom time to prepare for the competitions. The April 12 competition held at the New Mexico Tech campus determines which teams advance in June to the national competition, where New Mexico has historically fared well. This year and next year New Mexico will be the host for the national competition, which draws students from 10 states.