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MESA Conference Connects Napa Valley College Students with Industry Leaders to Develop the Next Generation of STEM Leaders

Two talented Napa Valley College (NVC) student leaders were hand-picked to attend an invitation-only STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) conference sponsored by MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) on November 5 and 6 at the Hayes Mansion in San Jose, California. Luz Robles, a civil engineering major, and Jorge Alejandre-Martinez, a computer science major, were selected to represent Napa Valley College at the annual student leadership conference.

“MESA’s Student Leadership Conference provides an incredible opportunity for our community college and university students to gain invaluable career development skills and network with leading industry professionals to kick-start their STEM careers,” said MESA Executive Director Thomas Ahn.

“Our students represent the skills, passion and potential that California desperately needs to enrich our workforce and strengthen our communities. MESA students are among California’s most precious resources for diverse talent in the STEM fields.”

“The MESA/STEM Center at Napa Valley College has some of the brightest and hardest-working students in the community college system, with very busy schedules,” said Rene Rubio, NVC MESA/STEM Center student affairs specialist. “It was an honor to have Luz and Jorge represent our NVC MESA Program at this statewide MESA Conference.”

“My first thought when I arrived at the conference was that I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect. I hardly talked to my teammates,” shared Alejandre-Martinez. “Over time, we started gaining confidence in each other, started to meet everyone and hear their stories. I’m glad I went. It’s something that will motivate me as a student and a professional in the future.” 

“This conference taught me collaboration and communication skills that are extremely valuable to me, especially while inching towards a post-pandemic life,” added Robles. “When working on a group project, I learned how to collaborate efficiently with the designation of roles, active listening, compromise and the facilitation of ideas to keep the project cohesive. This conference didn’t just teach me to have confidence in myself, but also in my STEM community! After attending this event, I knew that our generation was on its way to change the world.”

Unlike job fairs or speaker-only conferences, MESA student attendees had the unique opportunity to interact one-on-one and in small groups with company executives, engineers and recruiters. Students participated in mock interviews, communications, team building, emotional intelligence and financial literacy workshops. The conference is an opportunity for STEM students to develop “soft skills” necessary to successfully transition from college to professional careers.

Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) has a 51-year history of changing the face of science, technology and engineering by developing a new generation of STEM leaders. Now with a network of more than 250,000 alumni, MESA fuels diversity by propelling historically underrepresented students toward STEM degrees and professional careers.

Each year MESA serves over 20,000 students at the pre-college, community college and university levels across California. We bridge classroom learning with real-world applications, and employ rigorous academics, leadership preparation, a peer community and collaborative problem-solving training to produce highly-skilled college graduates who meet 21st century STEM workforce needs. The White House, the Ford Foundation, and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation have all recognized MESA for its innovative and effective academic development model. Find more information about the conference.

About Napa Valley College (NVC) MESA/STEM Center
The Napa Valley College (NVC) MESA/STEM Center serves as a hub for our Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) students. Our Math, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program is the heart of our MESA/STEM Center. It was established on our campus in the fall of 1999 to serve educationally underrepresented students and encourages them through a wide range of services to develop the necessary academic and leadership skills to successfully transfer and later graduate from a four-year university with a degree in mathematics, engineering, science or computer science.

About Napa Valley College
Napa Valley College prepares students for evolving roles in a diverse, dynamic, and interdependent world. The college is an accredited open-access, degree- and certificate-granting institution that is committed to student achievement through high-quality programs and services that are continuously evaluated and improved. The college serves students and the community in the following areas:  transfer courses, career-technical education and training, basic skills, and self-supporting contract education and community education classes. Napa Valley College is located at 2277 Napa-Vallejo Highway in Napa. Learn more at

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