Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement Program (MESA)

Academic Level
Issue Area
Academic Program
Key Personnel
Program Focus


Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement Program (MESA) goal is to provide the support for historically underrepresented students to develop academic and leadership skills, increase educational performance, and gain confidence in their ability to compete professionally in the STEM fields.

Program Description

Since Fall 2008, the MESA Program at Rio Hondo College has enabled disadvantaged students to prepare for and graduate from a four-year college or university with a calculus-based degree in STEM. MESA students must declare a major in STEM, intend to graduate with an AA/AS degree and transfer to a four-year institution, and establish an educational plan that includes calculus, physics, chemistry, and/or biology courses. In 2010, the TRiO Student Support Services-STEM Program was implemented in conjunction with the MESA Program since most MESA students are eligible for TRiO services.

Program services include enrichment in mathematics, physics, and chemistry; academic advising by a dedicated counselor; peer group support; priority registration; MESA tutors; help with applications for financial aid, scholarships, four-year schools, and internships. Additionally, students have access to the MESA Center, a place to gather, study, and get information and are provided with networking opportunities through field trips, conferences, and industry mentors. 


Of the 171 students participating:

  • 81% are Hispanic or Latino and 30% are female.
  • In the 2011-12 academic year, 44 MESA students earned AA/AS degrees, and 39 transferred in STEM majors to four-year colleges.
  • Further, in that same year, 70%, 88%, and 70% of MESA students passed transfer-level mathematics, physics, and chemistry courses compared to 59%, 79%, and 67% of non-program participants, respectively.