This month has been a big one for ERHS’s MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) club, as Seniors Princess Leus and Luz Duran recently won the Crime Scene Science PILOT for the 2021-2022 MESA High School Competitions.
Their monumental success consisted of both long term and short term tasks: creating a DNA model and compiling a science journal over several weeks as well as solving crime scene problems live, on the day of the event. “They started the beginning of the year, finishing [the journal] by February, and the actual competition was in March,” says Ms. Gamage, one of MESA’s sponsors.
“We were supposed to be working on it the entire time during MESA after school, but we kind of just did it last minute. We did it the night before,” admits Princess. They made the DNA model out of recycled materials, which was preferred although not required: straws and copper wire. The journal described the model. “We had to draw a model and then like microscopic cells and all that biology stuff,” says Luz.
During the competition, which took place on Zoom due to COVID, Leus and Duran raced to complete their crime scene problems in under 20 minutes.
The win means a lot for the two, having been disqualified the previous two years. “My mom, once we told her, was like, ‘Oh my God, women in STEM! And an Asian and a Mexican.’ I think that was also a big deal for us, because we beat all the boys,” Luz says. “It just felt good that for our last year of MESA, we're able to finally get a tangible award,” adds Princess.
Unfortunately, they won’t be going to Regionals since Crime Scene is a PILOT competition, but third place was taken by another ERHS team: Roman De Santos and Reed Woolard. Jeremy Estrella and Cooper Darling also placed first for the Coding Solutions competition.
And there’s much more in store for the club this year: “There’s going to be more competitions coming along,” says Ms. Gamage. Last week ERHS teams competed in the Cargo Glider and Moonbase competitions, although the results haven't come in yet. Clearly, the future is bright for MESA members.