In a region better known for agriculture, the Fresno Science and Engineering Academy is sowing seeds of interest in studying science and technology among middle and high school students so they can take advantage of increased career opportunities.
A two-week invitational academy for 100 Fresno-area teens is collaboration among Fresno State’s MESA program and its College of Engineering, the Fresno Unified School District, Caltrans and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.
MESA (Math Engineering Science Achievement) is an academic enrichment program that supports educationally disadvantaged students in math and science studies.
The academy convenes June 18-29 at Fresno State. Applications still are being accepted.
“California is witnessing a dramatic increase in career opportunities in technology, engineering and technical science jobs, but the pool of qualified candidates is seriously lacking,” said Dr. Jerry Valadez, K-12 science coordinator for Fresno Unified and co-director of the academy. “In fact, most engineers and technicians hired for open jobs in California are recruited from other countries.”
Hernan R. Maldonado, director of the MESA Engineering Program at Fresno State and also an academy co-director, said the academy represents a true collaboration between industry, a school district and higher education.
Staffed by science teachers, professional engineers from Caltrans and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and Fresno State engineering professors, the Fresno academy promises to be a “unique academic experience” in the region and, possibly, the nation, Maldonado said.
“Students will learn the basics of various engineering and science disciplines taught in the rigorous two-week academy, covering Fresno State’s five engineering majors and other math and science career opportunities,” said Maldonado.
Academy students will work in teams to solve real-world problems, constructing working models, studying difficult science and engineering concepts and working on engineering software programs and projects. They also will study solar energy and air-quality —environmental issues important to the central San Joaquin Valley.
At the end of the academy, students present their projects and research to parents and the public.
For more information and applications, contact Valadez at 559.248.7181; Louie Lopez at the Fresno State MESA Office, 559.278.2976; or Allyson Robison at arobisoncsufresno.edu.
Science and Engineering Academy: ‘ http://www.science.fresno.k12.ca.us/divdept/science/SummerEngineeringAcademy2005. htm