MESA Chapter Team
Wins JPL Invention Challenge Competition
December 11, 2003 :: No. 119
Representing the Cal State Fullerton
MESA chapter, a Costa Mesa High School team led by teacher
Steve Nelson (third from left) won the JPL Invention Challenge
competition. Winning team members are (from left) Ted Lee,
Joe Powers, Nelson, Khoa Mai, Peter Pham, Canh Mai, Hoa Duong,
Raffi Kidikian and Josh Paik.
Photo by Vonna Hammerschmitt
A team of students from Costa Mesa High School
representing the Cal State Fullerton Mathematics, Engineering, Science
Achievement (MESA) program flew to victory in the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory 2003 Invention Challenge competition held Dec. 5 at JPL
The Costa Mesa students not only were the winners
of the student division in the Wright Turn Glider Contest, but also
beat teams of JPL technicians in the employee division.
Their mission was to design and build a glider that
when launched from the officially supplied launcher, flies through
the air, makes a right-hand turn and lands on a target 40 feet away.
Cal State Fullerton and USC were chosen by JPL as
the two Southern California regional competition sites. The Costa
Mesa team qualified for the finals at JPL by winning the competition
hosted Nov. 15 by Fullerton’s MESA chapter.
The Costa Mesa team was headed by teacher and MESA
adviser Steve Nelson. Team members are: Joe Powers, Ted Lee, Hoa
Duong, Khoa Mai, Josh Paik, Canh Mai, Peter Pham and Raffi Kidikian.
“I am one proud teacher,” said Nelson.
“Our students finished ahead of all 20 student teams and all
11 teams of professional engineers from NASA. On Dec. 17, we will
try to fly our glider on a straight flight for 120 feet, the distance
the Wright brothers flew 100 years ago. It will be a fitting tribute
by our students.”
Fullerton’s MESA chapter is one of the most
active college and university chapters of the statewide program
designed to help educationally disadvantaged students to excel in
math, engineering and science. More than 90 MESA centers throughout
California provide services to more than 30,000 students from elementary
through university levels. A total of 85 percent of MESA high school
seniors go on to attend college.
Two years ago, the statewide MESA program received
one of the $100,000 Innovations in Government Awards from the Institute
for Government Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government
at Harvard University. “MESA was nominated for the honor because
of the program’s excellence in outreach in preparation of
students to pursue advanced studies and careers in the fields of
science and engineering,” said Vonna Hammerschmitt, CSUF MESA
The campus MESA chapter is one of several outreach
programs of the university’s College of Engineering and Computer
Science. “We are pleased to be a longtime participant in this
program to encourage students to become engineers and scientists,”
said Raman Unnikrishnan, dean of ECS.
||Vonna Hammerschmitt, Cal State Fullerton MESA
director, at 657-278-3195 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Nelson, Costa Mesa High School, at (714) 424-8700 orsnelson@nmusd.K12.ca.us
Dave Reid, Public Affairs, at 657-278-4855 or email@example.com
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