MESA Program Supports STEM on the Sidelines Competition

Jan. 23, 2020 - STEM on the Sidelines, a competition that uses football to teach high school students about science, technology, engineering and math, held the finals in its second annual competition on Dec. 8, 2019, at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Sponsored by the Los Angeles Chargers and aerospace, defense and industrial manufacturer Ducommun Inc., the outreach program is supported by UC Irvine’s MESA (Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement) program.

The competition challenged high school teams of six to eight students to build and program mini football launchers, which were tested for length of launch and accuracy. This year, UCI MESA was represented by 10 teams, while an additional seven teams represented schools from sister MESA campuses at CSULA, USC and UCLA.

Thirty-four teams comprising nearly 200 high school students entered the competition; 23 teams made it to the final round. Tustin High School, under the guidance of teacher and UCI electrical engineering alumnus Ed Hernandez ’91, won the competition for the second consecutive year, while Costa Mesa High School, which is affiliated with UCI MESA, took second place.

Both teams were honored on the field at the Chargers’ home game on Dec. 15.

“We are especially proud of the team from Costa Mesa High School, comprised of four 10th graders, all young ladies, which came very close to winning it all,” said Marvin Maldonado, UCI director of STEM Education & Pathways. “With our partners, Ducommun Inc. and the Chargers, we are looking forward to next year’s competition.”

Watch a recap of the competition here.

- Anna Lynn Spitzer

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