Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

June 22, 2011

Washington MESA Hosts National Engineering Design Challenge June 24-26

Middle and high school student delegates representing eight states will converge in the greater Seattle area to compete in the 2011 MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) USA National Engineering Design Challenge, Fri., June 24, through Sun., June 26.

The event is hosted by Washington MESA, a statewide STEM program that builds a pathway to college and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields for underrepresented students including African American, Native American, Latino/a, and female students.

The pinnacle of the three-day event will be the Wind Energy Challenge to be held at the Microsoft Conference Center, in Redmond, Wash., Sat., June 25, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Teams from Jason Lee Middle School and Mountain View High School in Vancouver, Wash., will be among those designing and building their own wind generators. Middle school students will be judged on mechanical power and wind-to-vehicle transfer, while high school students will be judged on those tasks as well as electrical power and wind direction response. Saturday’s activities also include a networking opportunity with Microsoft mentors and an awards presentation.

In addition to building their devices, teams are required to give an oral presentation, prepare an academic display and write a technical paper. The oral presentations and academic displays will take place at the Courtyard Seattle Bellevue/Downtown Hotel on Fri., June 24.  A closing breakfast at the hotel and a student field trip to the University of Washington and a visit to downtown Seattle will close out the weekend on Sun., June 26.

“Washington MESA is honored to host the 2011 National Engineering Design Challenge,” Washington MESA director James Dorsey said. “MESA Day is a rare science challenge event that has a lasting impact on the minds of the student participants, volunteers and teachers.”

MESA students work throughout the academic year to prepare for the design challenge. The top design team from each state is determined by regional and statewide MESA Day competitions. The eight teams who have earned the opportunity to participate in the nationwide competition represent the following middle and high schools from across the country:

  • Washington: Jason Lee MS (Vancouver), Mountain View HS (Vancouver)
  • Arizona: Amphitheater MS (Tucson), Tucson HS (Tucson)
  • California: Hudson Magnet MS (Long Beach), Long Beach Poly Technic HS (Long Beach)
  • Colorado: Heaton MS (Pueblo), Pueblo East HS (Pueblo)
  • Maryland: Cradlerock MS (Columbia), La Plata HS (La Plata)
  • New Mexico: Taylor MS (Albuquerque), Socorro HS (Socorro)
  • Oregon: Ockley Green MS (Portland), Franklin HS (Portland)
  • Utah: Granite Park MS (Salt Lake City), Cottonwood HS (Murray)

About Washington MESA

Washington MESA was founded on the University of Washington campus in 1982. MESA is a leader in STEM education programs for over 4,000 students, 96 teachers, and 75 schools through six MESA Centers statewide (Seattle, Southwest Washington, Spokane, Tacoma/South Puget Sound, Yakima Valley/Tri-Cities and First Nations). MESA provides year-round academic enrichment in mathematics, engineering, science, and technology (STEM) for African American, Latino, Native American and female students in grades K-16. MESA accomplishes this by offering activity-based teacher professional development, innovative STEM enrichment curriculum, university access and preparedness, leadership development, and active industry mentors.


MESA USA is a partnership of MESA programs from nine states that have joined together to support disadvantaged and underrepresented students to achieve academically in math, science and engineering and go on to attain math and science based degrees. Serving over 45,000 students, member states include Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah and Washington.


For more information about the 2011 MESA USA National Engineering Design Challenge, visit the event web page or contact Phyllis Harvey-Buschel, Washington MESA Curriculum Director, at or 206-897-1714.