Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Students from Watts are National Engineering Champions
By Sentinel News Service
Published July 11, 2013

Markham Middle School and Los Angeles High School

On June 21-23, four Markham Health Careers Magnet students competed in the 2012-2013 MESA USA National Engineering Design Competition – Prosthetic Arm Challenge at Portland State University in Oregon and won 1st Place overall in the middle school division. The team competed against eight other student teams from various states around the country. This is the first time a student team from Watts competed in this national competition. The students beat hundreds of other middle school teams through preliminary, regional and statewide competitions to reach the National competition.

Julio Romero, Danae Tousant, Ashley Baker and Jacqueline Sanchez are the students who competed in the MESA USA National Engineering Competition held in Oregon this year. Their MESA teacher advisors during this competition were Mr. Philip Gerlach and Mr. Oscar Espinoza. This team of 8th grade Markham students have been working on developing a low-cost prosthetic device that can perform multiple tasks. In addition to creating their device, this middle school team wrote a 5-15 page technical paper, created an academic display highlighting their device and gave an oral presentation explaining their device.

This Markham team won 1st Place in Oral Presentation, 1st Place in Design Efficiency, 1st Place in Academic Display, 1st Place in Distance Accuracy, 3rd Place in Technical Paper and 3rd Place in Object Relocation. Their combined scores in these categories provided enough points to win 1st Place overall in this competition. The state of Utah came in second place and the state of Maryland came in third place in the middle school division. In the high school division, Los Angeles High School took 2nd Place overall. Two Los Angeles Unified School District Schools took top prized in this National MESA Competition.

The MESA Program works with thousands of educationally disadvantaged students so they excel in math and science and graduate with math-based degrees. MESA is nationally recognized for its innovative academic development programs. The Markham MESA Program is based from the UC Irvine MESA Center, which is managed by Ms. Nicole Patterson.

Markham Middle School and the Health Careers Magnet are located in the heart of the Watts Community in South Los Angeles. The MESA Program has existed in Markham Middle School for two years and this is the first time a Markham team competed and won in the MESA National Competition. Mr. Espinoza, Health Careers Magnet Coordinator commented, “This accomplishment proves when students are given the proper resources and opportunities that all students can succeed. With hard work and commitment, these students performed extraordinarily well in this competition. The community of Los Angeles and Watts should be proud of these students and what they accomplished this school year.”



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