What is Mesa?

Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) is a low-cost program designed to increase access to Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) pathways and encourage college readiness for low-income, minority or first-generation college-bound students in grades 6-12.  Students involved in MESA experience:

  • Active Learning – students learn and implement the MESA Engineering Design Process through numerous highly-engaging, relevant, hands-on activities in which their experience of project-based learning, while supported by the teacher, is driven mainly by student teams. Such learning reinforces Common Core and NGSS practices like:
    • Collaborative problem solving
    • Building and testing of prototypes
    • Collecting and analyzing data
    • Consideration of design variables
    • Communicating design choices
    • Visual models, both hand drawn and computer-aided
  • Exposure to STEM – through college and career mentors and university campus events.
    • Mentoring –students meet and learn from university students and STEM professionals who can share their experiences and strategies on pursuing a STEM major and career.
    • Campus Events – students explore unique STEM fields/majors like computer engineering, civil engineering, and aerospace and mechanical engineering while connecting with undergraduate and graduate students.
    • Competition – MESA USA hosts a nationwide competition for MESA students and their supporters. This year, the National Competition is in Arizona and is entitled Arduino Based Solutions for Humans.
  • College Readiness – Rocky Mountain MESA students have the opportunity to meet and work with peers at institutions of higher education, as well as professors and scientist researchers.
  • Peer Support – by supporting the development of college-minded peer groups that support and encourage each other throughout the K-16 pipeline.
The Rocky Mountain MESA Jamboree is coming to town!

To be held Saturday, April 30th on the Mines campus. This is a state competition and showcase celebration for teams that have a prototype completed, accompanied by a design brief and poster. Teams will participate in a judged prototype pitch, technical interview. These teams will vie for a berth to nationals (in June). About 150 Colorado middle and high school students, parents, teacher advisors, graduate students, Mines faculty and staff are expected to attend in this exciting event.

For more information about the NEDC competition search here https://nedc-mesausa.org/nedc-overview/

Intro to Rocky Mountain MESA Click to lean more about our current outreach efforts! 

Rocky Mountain MESA History

Read more in the link below about the history of MESA in Colorado!


Past Events:

April 13-15, 2021- MESA Days Competition 2021 

April 20-22, 2021 – NM MESA State Competition 2021 (RM MESA participates) Congratulations to our amazing participants! Winners announced here.

May 11 – RM MESA End of Year Celebration and Awards show! 3:30-5PM, Virtual 

June 22, 2021 – MESA National Competition – Full details here.

July 29 – RM MESA Mentor Social and Training; 4:30-6PM CSM campus, HH300

August 9 – RM MESA Campus Social! 5-6:30PM; CSM campus, Kafador Commons 

August 28 – RM MESA Mentor Training Workshop

Our Staff

Dr. Cynthia Howell

Dr. Cynthia Howell

Director, Rocky Mountain MESA

Since July of 2019 Cynthia has served as Executive Director for Rocky Mountain MESA.  Her commitment to MESA began during her Education Directorship at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)  where she served as a past CO MESA Industry Board Member (2006-2010). During her current tenure with the Colorado School of Mines (Mines), she vied for the Colorado state MESA office to reside at Mines, a fully integrated engineering university.  Cynthia comes to Rocky Mountain MESA with over 20 years of non-profit work and STEM education outreach experience including: teaching middle to high school in NM and CO, directing teacher licensure for the U. of CO Denver, directing Education Outreach for NREL; to currently serving as Research Faculty at Mines where she leads energy workshops, hosts teacher researchers, and serves as Education, Training and Outreach manager for the National Critical Materials Institute Center while leading the RM MESA effort for the NEXUS Research Center.  Growing up and teaching in rural New Mexico,  she became keenly aware of how opportunities for students and resources for the classroom can change lives. Throughout her career she has been working with and providing outreach experiences for underserved populations.

Dr. Danielle Ladd

Dr. Danielle Ladd

Lead Teacher Mentor

Danielle Ladd holds a PhD in chemistry as well as a MA in Education and Human Development with a focus on teaching in diverse contexts. Her commitment to supporting and mentoring underrepresented populations in STEM led her to the high school chemistry and physics classroom where she has worked with first-generation, bilingual, and socioeconomically disadvantaged students for the past 6 years. She is actively partnered with the Colorado School of Mines and the Critical Materials Institute to bring innovative and cross-cutting activities and labs into K-14 classrooms.

Danielle joined Rocky Mountain MESA in the spring of 2020 as a MESA Advisor.  She is leading curriculum development and planning, website review and will help deliver the RM MESA “Kick-off” for teachers this fall.

Dr. Christian Beren

Dr. Christian Beren

Graduate Intern Coordinator

Christian is a teaching faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at Colorado School of Mines, where he teaches a combination of general chemistry, physical chemistry and biochemistry courses. He earned his PhD at UCLA, focusing on using physical tools to better understand single-stranded RNA viruses. While at UCLA, he got involved in community outreach through the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) to bring cutting-edge science into K-12 classrooms. After moving to Mines, Christian joined Rocky Mountain MESA in the spring of 2021 as a Graduate Intern Coordinator so that he can continue to extend awesome science experiences to K-12 students.