WSU To Host National MESA Competition

MESA1OGDEN, Utah — Weber State University, in partnership with Utah MESA (math, engineering, science, achievement), will host the MESA USA National Engineering Design Competition June 17-20. MESA students from middle and high schools across nine states will attend.

The competition will be held in the Shepherd Union Ballrooms June 19 at 9 a.m. for middle-school students and 11 a.m. for high-school-aged students. The awards ceremony begins at 8 a.m. on June 20.

“WSU is thrilled to host the 2015 MESA USA competition,” said Rainie Ingram, event coordinator and WSU Science Technology Engineering Programs (STEP) director. “MESA USA’s mission aligns with WSU’s mission core theme of providing access and opportunity to all students.”

The national MESA competition, hosted by WSU’s College of Applied Science & Technology, is meant to help students use critical thinking, creativity and teamwork to deliver an engineering-based solution to modern problems.

This year’s competition will have students design a prosthetic arm that can complete a variety of tasks, including:

  • Distance accuracy (tossing bean bags into a designated area)
  • Object relocation (picking up 10 objects of varying sizes and shapes, such as a 2-liter bottle or a penny and moving them back and forth

“It will be inspiring to watch the teams prove usability of the low-cost prosthetic arms they design with the intention of increasing availability to prosthetics in developing countries,” Ingram said.

MESA2Andrea Hess will travel from Washington State with her son James for the event. She said she likes the challenge the MESA competition has provided her son and his teammates.

“The competition is important because it demonstrates a real-life scenario where amputees would actually need to use prosthesis in order to continue life as normally as possible,” she said. “The competition demonstrates the prosthetic arm’s ability to function like a real arm.”

In addition, students must submit a 5-15 page technical paper describing the scope of their project. They also must prepare a presentation board along with an oral presentation to a panel of judges from the engineering field.

“A lot of research, design, teamwork, cooperation, and practice are put into this project,” Hess said. “The student participants enjoy their time spent in MESA competitions.”

Utah MESA was established in 1985 and is celebrating its 30th year helping students excel in science, technology, engineering and math-based subjects. These STEM fields are a large part of the future job market in Utah and the U.S.

“MESA is closing the achievement gap for minorities and is one of the best advocates for equity and access in education,” said Rita Brock, MESA Education Specialist for the Utah State Office of Education.

For a complete schedule for the MESA competition, visit

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Rainie Ingram, Academic Advisor & STEP Director 801-626-7785 •

Rita Brock, Utah State Office of Education MESA coordinator 801-538-7761 •

This is a cross-post from Weber State University’s News and Archives.

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