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Monday, September 25, 2023

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Students in the MESA Schools Program at O’Farrell Charter School visited SDSU for the event. Students in the MESA Schools Program at O’Farrell Charter School visited SDSU for the event.

Young Women of STEM

An event at SDSU introduced young women to various career opportunities in the STEM fields.
By SDSU News Team

The Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement program at San Diego State University recently hosted an event to encourage young women to explore the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

On Thursday, Feb. 25, thirty middle school girls from the MESA Schools Program at O’Farrell Charter School spent the day at SDSU.

The day's events included a look at several student engineering projects led by MESA undergraduates:

  • Rocket Project: led by Jennifer Martin Velazquez, aerospace engineering major
  • SDSU Formula SAE Car: led by Natalie Robertson, mechanical engineering major
  • Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering — Prosthetic Skateboard Project: led by Alberto Perez Jr., mechanical engineering major and Sonia Fisher, computer engineering major.

Students also experienced 3D Printing, Google Glass, Google Cardboard and 3D scanner stations, in partnership with SDSU’s buildIT Center, led by STEM Librarian Jenny Wong-Welch and her team.

There was also an open discussion with a panel of female STEM undergraduates and professionals, including:

  • Iryna Dzieciuch — SPAWAR, SDSU alumna
  • Daisy Galeana — Solar Turbines, SDSU alumna
  • Rachel Shrum — SPAWAR, SDSU alumna
  • Bianca Contreras Sanz — mechanical engineering undergraduate
  • Jennifer Martin Velazquez — aerospace engineering undergraduate
  • McKenzie Melcher — aerospace engineering undergraduate

“If we are to bridge the gap and increase the number of females entering STEM fields, we must start early and we must provide living examples that can share their experience and provide guidance,” said Natasha Celise, SDSU MESA program director.

As part of the MESA Schools Program at O’Farrell Charter School, students receive STEM awareness, work on STEM projects, compete in local and regional STEM competitions and engage with STEM undergraduates and professionals.


MESA promotes STEM success for more than 28,000 educationally disadvantaged secondary, community college and four-year college students in California.