Grant Helped MESA Students Research in Alaska Over Summer

SAC students going over data at UAF. / Courtesy of MESA

Over the summer Santa Ana College students were given the opportunity to visit the University of Alaska Fairbanks to study earth science.

MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) provides opportunities for low-income students to transfer to universities. The director of MESA, Catherine Shaffer, was able to find 22 SAC students to make the trip and work with UAF researchers.

John Smelter, an admissions counselor from UAF, came to SAC last semester to recruit students to visit UAF. The students were given a grant that paid for their housing and travel. Smelter came to SAC because many SAC students had been calling Smelter to ask about UAF degrees.

While at UAF, students spent 10 days working with research scientists. They went through orientation, worked with researchers and analyzed data on climate change.

“I always thought working with a team was going to be easy but it was completely different than what I expected,” said one of the students, Karen Roman.

The students had to work long days and nights to finish projects like collecting and using both their field data and NASA satellite observations to answer questions. They were even able to see the northern lights. Students gained valuable skills from this trip that will help them pursue their careers.

“Students make the most of their college education when they start putting it to use as soon as possible,” said SAC student Omar Nava.

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