About 500 students from 22 central San Joaquin Valley schools will participate in the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement Program Saturday Academy on Feb. 21, at California State University, Fresno, part of National Engineers Week (Feb. 15-21).

The students — from 6th to 12th grade — have an opportunity to try hands-on math and science projects — robotics, rockets, propeller airplanes, earthquake engineering, windmills, bioengineering and hot air balloons. High school students also will attend presentations on college admissions and careers in engineering.

The academies are designed to introduce students to projects they may not see in their regular classrooms and excite them about science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

MESA hosts four Saturday academies each school year, thanks in large part to an Innovation Generation Grant from the Motorola Foundation. MESA also receives support from the Lyles College of Engineering at Fresno State and from numerous student organizations whose members volunteer as college mentors at the event. The upcoming academy is the final one for this school year.

The MESA Schools Program helps motivate and prepare disadvantaged students, especially those from underserved populations, to pursue courses leading to professions requiring degrees in engineering and other math- and science-based fields.

Fresno State’s program began in 1980 and continues to expand — both in the number of students and the number of schools served.

For additional information on Fresno State MESA, contact Louie Lopez or Kristin McCoy at 559.278.2976 or lolopez@csufresno.edu or krmccoy@csufresno.edu.