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June 18, 2008

Media Contacts:

Rotunda Floyd-Cooper, Maryland MESA
240-228-7132 or (678) 778-3443 (cell)

Jennifer Huergo
Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
240-228-5618 or 443-778-5618

Aspiring Engineers Come to Maryland for National MESA Competition

Students from middle and high schools across the country are coming to Maryland to show off their engineering skills and compete in the 2008 MESA USA National Engineering Design Competition, June 19-22. MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) is a K-12 program that prepares students for academic and professional careers in mathematics, engineering, science and technology.

The students have spent the last several months designing trebuchets—medieval devices for hurling heavy objects, writing technical papers describing their work and honing their presentation skills. One middle and one high school team will represent each of the eight states with a MESA program. From Maryland, Calvert County's Northern High School in Owings and Howard County's Cradlerock Middle School in Columbia will compete.

"Maryland MESA is excited to host this national event for the second year in a row," says Rotunda Floyd-Cooper, the organization's director at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., where Maryland MESA is headquartered. "It's a great opportunity for the students to test their skills in engineering design principles and it's an amazing opportunity to network with other MESA students from around the country who share their passion and promise in science and mathematics."

On Friday, in Baltimore, judges will rate the teams on their academic displays and oral presentations. On Saturday, students will bring their trebuchets to the University of Maryland College Park's Ritchie Coliseum where teams will be judged on the distance and accuracy of their devices' throws. High school students will participate in an additional component which includes the assessment of trebuchet strength and design efficiency.

MESA's goals are to increase the number of engineers, scientists, mathematicians and related professionals at technical and management levels, and to serve as a driving force in encouraging and assisting minorities and females in achieving success in these fields. For information on the program, visit www.jhuapl.edu/mesa.

What: 2008 MESA USA National Engineering Design Competition
When: Friday, June 20, Academic Displays & Oral Competition, 2:30 — 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 21, Trebuchet Performance Competition, 12:45 — 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 22, Closing Ceremony & Awards Breakfast, 8:30 — 11:30 a.m.
Who: Middle and high school students from participating MESA programs
Where: Friday — Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards
  Saturday — University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum — To attend, please contact Bruk Berhane at (301) 405-8106 or (301) 655-2806 (cell), or bberhane@umd.edu.
  Sunday — Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards


The Applied Physics Laboratory, a division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit www.jhuapl.edu