ENGINEERING FEAT - Students Alejandro Lopez, Stephanie Navarro, Eliana Portillo and Aureliano Garcia, all juniors at CAMS, pose with their national trophy.
Students from the California Academy of Mathematics and Science won second place in a national engineering design competition held in Denver from June 25 to 28. The winning CAMS team was part of California State University, Long Beach's Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) college prep program.
The students from CAMS - Alejandro Lopez, Stephanie Navarro, Eliana Portillo and Aureliano Garcia - beat teams from throughout the nation to earn second place in the high school division of the MESA National Engineering Design Competition. The event was held at the University of Colorado, Denver.
Teams designed and then built a trebuchet, a siege engine similar to a catapult, which was judged for distance, strength and accuracy. The students also were evaluated on their knowledge of the math and physics principles behind the device.
The CAMS students beat out dozens of other California teams in a grueling set of preliminary and regional competitions before winning the state run-off so they could represent California. The team members traveled to Denver with their MESA teacher from CAMS, Charise Williams. CAMS is a 600-student regional high school at Cal State Dominguez Hills and is run by the Long Beach Unified School District. The school is widely recognized for sending its graduates to top math, science and engineering college programs.
Sponsors of the recent competition included Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, United Launch Alliance, IBM and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Technical professionals from Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, Northrop Grumman and the University of Colorado judged the competition.
CAMS is part of the MESA Schools Program at Cal State Long Beach, which is overseen by Director Saba Yohannes-Reda. The program provides academic preparation in math and science to educationally disadvantaged students from local middle and high schools. This assistance prepares students to go on to college as majors in math-based fields. MESA also provides support to CSU Long Beach engineering and computer science majors through its MESA Engineering Program, located in the College of Engineering.
The Cal State Long Beach program is part of California MESA, which serves more than 17,600 students throughout the state at pre-college, community college and university levels. More than 80 percent of MESA's high school graduates go directly to college, compared to 47 percent of California graduates. MESA centers are located at CSU, UC, community college and independent university campuses across the state.