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October 31, 2008

Local community college students present research at national conference

Local community college students present research at national conference
Gavilan College MESA program highlighted

GAVILAN COLLEGE, CA - Several students from Gavilan College's Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement Program (MESA) are gaining experience in presenting their research at national conferences, something few students of their age and background can claim.

Irene Lona, Donaldo Salas, and Joshua Sanchez presented research they had conducted to over 1000 people at the National Conference for the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in the Sciences (SACNAS), at their October conference in Salt Lake City. Prior to presenting at SACNAS Irene Lona and Joshua Sanchez had presented their research at a MESA Research Symposium at Cal State Sacramento.

Irene Lona participated in a summer research internship at U.C. Merced through the Basic and Advanced Science and Technology Academies of Research, a sub-program of the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement program funded by the National Science Foundation. She studied and presented on the The Effects of Acute TSH Infusion on Glucose Metabolism in Steller Sea Lions.

Donald Salas and Joshua Sanchez participated in a research internship through University of California's Santa Cruz's ACESS Program. Donaldo Salas did research and presented on the cell reproduction cycle and the Regulation of E2F Protein by the Retinoblastoma Protein (Rb) Pocket Domain. Joshua Sanchez's research focused on critically endangered California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) and whether lead exposure in condors is causing them harm

MESA's community college program helps educationally disadvantaged community college students to succeed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) studies and transfer to four-year institutions as math-based majors. MESA was selected by Hewlett-Packard in 2004 to be replicated across the country to help increase the number of community college engineering transfers from underrepresented communities. Excelencia in Education recently named MESA as a semifinalist winner in its 2008 Examples of Excelencia which identified MESA as a national community college model in its ability to strengthen Latino student success.

In 2006-07, MESA served 2,580 students at 29 California community college campuses. Nearly 50 percent of the students served by were Latino. That year:

467 MESA students transferred to four-year institutions.
Of these students, 95 percent transferred as majors in science, technology, engineering or math fields.
41 percent (191)of MESA students who transferred were Latino
At Gavilan College, MESA provides students with a study center, workshops in academic excellence, advising, transfer assistance, career development activities, and the opportunity to meet and network with other students with similar interests. The MESA Director, Eduardo Cervantes, is himself a graduate of Gavilan College who transferred to U.C. Santa Cruz before earning his Masters Degree at Stanford University.

MESA services are free to Gavilan College students. For information call (408) 846-4887 or go to


Last modified: August 17, 2011
Gavilan College Red Diamond 5055 Santa Teresa Boulevard Red Diamond Gilroy, CA 95020 Red Diamond (408) 848-4800