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MESA Volunteers Reach Out to Encourage Technical Careers

APL and MESA are passionate about encouraging young engineers and scientists.

Will staffWill is an electrical engineer in the National Security Technology Department.

"I think a lack of encouragement and role models are two big things that are obstacles to students going into science and engineering. I became involved with MESA soon after I started at the APL in 2007. I've participated at conferences, at state and national competitions, and as an instructor and co-founder of the MESA College Prep Program (CPP). I had been involved with education outreach previously and was really excited to discover that APL and MESA are passionate about encouraging young engineers and scientists. I think that many students, especially those from under-served and under-represented backgrounds, may need positive role models, information, and encouragement to overcome barriers and achieve success in STEM fields."

Dawnielle staffDawnielle earned a doctorate in materials engineering and works in APL's Milton Eisenhower Research Center.

"It's important to support MESA's efforts because the program is a positive investment in our future generations. I've been a volunteer for about 8 years. I first became involved with MESA during my sophomore year of high school when I chose the MESA club as one of my after-school extracurricular activities. It was a great way to get involved with other students interested in science and/or engineering and try new science-related activities. Back then, I was not completely aware of all the other benefits that were available through the MESA program. After being employed at APL for about a year and learning of our affiliation with MESA, I decided to volunteer my time to assist and encourage other young people interested in STEM."

Niguia staffNiquia is an information technology specialist in the Information Technology Services Department. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County in 1999 and received her master's degree in Information Systems and Technology from The Johns Hopkins University in 2004.

Niquia participated in the MESA program while she was a student at the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. She first came to APL as an undergraduate student, through the summer intern program. Blending her professional skills and her personal interests, Niquia volunteers for various MESA events, such as serving as a chaperone for trips or as a judge for MESA Day competitions. She enjoys sharing her knowledge with youngsters and helping them figure out what career paths may interest them.

Kalpesh staffKalpesh earned a B.S. in computer science from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. At APL, he works on a wide range of web application projects. He was involved in the MESA program in high school, which helped him focus his interest on math, engineering, and science. MESA also helped open the door to an internship with a local university (Kal interned at the University of Maryland School of Medicine).

"We practiced many problem-solving exercises throughout the year, which helped us get ready for the MESA Day activities. Thanks to the great team and teachers, we were Maryland State Champions from 1997 to 1999. It may not come easily, but the importance of math and science in your life is absolute. Math, science, and engineering directly influence of all facets of our lives. Students who are interested in those fields should join after-school activities like MESA. Science, math, and engineering open many doors, and students should focus on a particular subject or topic when they pursue higher learning. This focus will give them opportunities to tackle exciting challenges and the ability/skill set to solve problems."