Archival News Release
This News Release is outdated and posted here for archival purposes only.​​​​​​​​​​

Release No.02.18.15-STEMweek
February 18, 2015

STEM Week Brings Professional Outreach to Students
In recognition of National Engineers Week, the College of the Canyons Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) program will host the college’s second annual STEM Week Feb. 17 to 20. 

The event expands on the theme of National Engineers Week with the inclusion of all science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. 

Throughout the week, MESA students will have a chance to meet industry professionals, tour a local engineering business and partake in a hands-on machine building competition. 

“The purpose of MESA STEM Week is to expose our students to the outside STEM world,” said MESA Program Director Eric Lara, who has fostered the event from the ground up over the past two years. 

“I purposely call in first-generation and underrepresented professionals to talk because they’re relatable,” Lara said. “Whether they were first-generation students or from low-income families, they’ve got common ground with our students and they’ve gone on to achieve professionally.” 

The mission of the College of the Canyons MESA Program is to assist educationally underrepresented students in understanding and navigating the STEM transfer process in order to successfully graduate with a degree, transfer to a four-year institution, and ultimately become significant and positive contributors to the socioeconomic prosperity of their communities. 

STEM Week activities began on Tuesday, Feb. 17 and will continue throughout the week. The list of scheduled events includes:

Science/Math Professional Outreach 
3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18
Aliso Lab, Room 114.

COC alum and nationally renowned veterinarian Dr. Rachel Ostrom Sachar will highlight the Math/Science panel. After graduating from COC in 2001, Sachar earned her doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. She’s since been featured on an episode of Animal Planet’s “That’s My Baby.”

Rube Goldberg Machine Competition
3 to 5 p.m. Thursday Feb. 19
Aliso Lab, Room 114.

COC students can witness the MESA STEM Week Rube Goldberg Competition out in the Aliso Quad in front of the MESA center. 

Rube Goldberg Machine Contests (RGMC) are designed to encourage teamwork and out-of-the-box problem solving among students. The machines are characterized as hilarious and elaborate contraptions designed for the execution of a single mundane task. 

This year’s objective is simple: pour sugar into a cup of coffee. 

“While the end task seems simple, the process getting there will be a lot of fun. I told my students to start thinking ‘outside of the box’ when it came to designing their individual steps,” said Lara. 

“Anything is up for grabs, as long as they reach their ultimate goal — from basic dominoes on the ground, to popping balloons, flying objects and constructing pulley systems,” Lara said. “Who knows? I may even drink the coffee to see if it's made to my liking.” 

Faculty and local industry partners will serve as judges for this year’s event, which serves as a fun follow-up to last year’s STEM Week egg-drop competition.

Mechanix Wear Field Trip
10 a.m. to noon, Friday, Feb. 20

MESA students will take a field trip to Mechanix Wear, a local business that manufactures high performance work gloves for automotive racing, construction, industrial safety, gardening and home improvement.

For more information about the MESA program and STEM Week 2015, contact Lara at or (661) 362-3098.