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20 February 2001
For Immediate Release

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab Wins 2001 Pre-College Program of the Year Award

For its Maryland MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) Program, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., has won the 2001 Pre-College Program of the Year Award of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).

The award, voted by NSBE's National Executive Board and the 2001 Golden Torch Awards Selection Committee, recognizes excellence among African American technical professionals; corporate, government and academic leaders; and university and pre-college students. The award will be given at the 4th Annual Golden Torch Awards Ceremony on March 16, in Indianapolis, Ind.

"Our program is having a big impact on minority achievement," says Robert Willis, director of the Maryland MESA program at APL. "MESA students are getting higher SAT scores and a growing number of Maryland school officials are looking closely at our program to see how it can close achievement gaps in their schools."

Maryland MESA is modeled on a California-based program. APL started the program in two Baltimore schools in 1976, and today oversees its operation in 110 schools throughout the state. Maryland MESA motivates and prepares elementary, middle, and high school women and ethnic minority students to enter college to study mathematics, engineering and related technical fields. The program includes academic tutorials, counseling, field trips, incentive awards, development of communication skills, science fairs and engineering projects, math competitions and computer training.

"Ninety-one percent of our students continue to college," says Maryland MESA Deputy Director Norma Boyd. "And about 80 percent of them major in math or science fields."

Maryland MESA is supported by universities and industrial, civic and education organizations and administered through a partnership of Maryland school systems, local colleges and universities, business and industry, government agencies, community organizations, parents and alumni. For more information visit http://www.jhuapl.edu/mesa/content.htm.


The Applied Physics Laboratory is a not-for-profit laboratory and division of The Johns Hopkins University. APL conducts research and development primarily for national security and for nondefense projects of national and global significance.

Media contact:

JHU Applied Physics Laboratory
Helen Worth
Laurel, MD 20723
Phone: 240-228-5113