MESA offers scholarships to increase transfers

By Ivan Cazares

The MESA (Math, Engineering and Science Achievement) program offers eligible freshmen STEM scholarships of $3,000 and $4,000 to those who advance to the sophomore level of the program.

MESA’s goals are to increase the number of students who transfer and at minimum earn a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field.

“We accept anyone, but focus on groups that are underrepresented like Latinos,” Director of MESA Dr. Armando Rivera said.

Out of 246,732 students who received a bachelor’s degree in 2010, 18,613 of them were Hispanic, according the United States Department of Education and National Center for Education Statistics.

Applicants must meet the criteria of financial aid need set by the Department of Education.

They must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident, and must have declared a STEM major.

These majors include Biology, Computer Sciences, Mathematics, Chemistry and other sciences.

A full list of qualifications and other requirements can be found in the Academic Programs section of the East Los Angeles College website, as well as an attachment containing the application located on the right side of the STEM home page.

“We work with students who show interest in the program. We push them to see a tutor and a counselor. STEM courses take up a lot of time,” Rivera said.

Applicants must print the application and turn it into Shahriar Sharifi in E7-210B on Friday.

According to U.S. News/Raytheon, STEM Index High School student interest in STEM fields reached an all time low in 2004, however, a 2014 report by the college testing organization ACT showed that almost half of ACT-tested graduates showed interest in STEM fields.

The results of the international survey PISA conducted in 2012 showed that U.S. students scored below average among those of participating countries.

President Barack Obama initiated the “Educate to Innovate” campaign in 2010 with  the purpose of having American students outperform their competitors.

The number of Elans receiving STEM scholarships has increased from 15 during the program’s first year to 32 during its fifth year.

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) is a new initiative with the goal of promoting the appreciation of art through a scientific point of view, and science through an artistic point of view, in order to increase the number of students pursuing degrees in STEM fields.

Careers in STEM can directly affect the technological advancement of the country, and many believe that student proficiency in these subjects is necessary in order for the U.S. to be competitive in the global economy.

Mathematics are applied to every science and is widely considered the most important subject taught in schools.

A survey conducted by Gallup in 2013 shows 34 percent of Americans graded math as the most valuable school subject to them in their lives.

Science, Physics and Biology were graded as the most important subjects to 12 percent of Americans opposed to 4 percent in 2002.

“The key to succeeding in the global economy will be reaffirming and strengthening America’s role as a word engine of scientific discovery and technical innovation, and that leadership tomorrow depends on how we educate our students today, especially in those fields that hold the promise of producing future innovations, and innovators, and that’s why education in math and science is so important” President Obama said during a speech in 2009.

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