Mission & Vision


Advocate for STEM Education, Equity, and Access in Maryland.


Contribute to a competitive global workforce by increasing the yield and diversity of STEM graduates in Maryland.

Established at APL in 1976 with just two schools in Baltimore City, Maryland MESA today has more than 100 participating schools throughout the state.

As a structured, afterschool, precollege program designed to prepare students for academic and professional careers in a STEM field, Maryland MESA seeks to:

  1. Increase the number of engineers, scientists, mathematicians, and related professionals at technical and management levels, and
  2. Encourage and assist minorities and females in achieving success in these fields.

To provide a superior education process that enables Maryland students to achieve their full potential, we:

  • Partner with school systems, colleges and universities, industry and business, government, community organizations, families, and alumni to offer enriching STEM activities and programs for students.
  • Provide services and programs to over 2100 students and 180 teachers from Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Charles, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince Georges Counties.

Since its inception, Maryland MESA has served more than 24,000 Maryland students.

Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) is an academic preparation program for pre-college, community college, and university-level students. Established in 1970 in California, the program provides academic support to students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds throughout the education pathway so they will excel in math and science and ultimately attain four-year degrees in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) fields. The program has successfully been replicated in over a dozen other states.

MESA has established an active partnership with industry and STEM leaders such as AT&T, Chevron, Google, HP, Sempra Energy, and PG&E. These partners supply expertise, volunteers, and internship opportunities. The strong relationship with industry has resulted in MESA incorporating many elements of industry culture into its approaches and activities.

MESA has been named among the top five most innovative public programs in the nation by Innovations in American Government, an initiative of the Ford Foundation, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and the Council for Excellence in Government. MESA is also a past winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

  • The Silicon Valley Education Foundation named MESA its 2013 STEM Innovation awardee in math.
  • MESA was named by Bayer Corporation as one of 21 exemplary programs proven to help K-12 students, especially minorities and girls, to participate and succeed in STEM fields.
  • MESA has served as a model for Hewlett-Packard for its Diversity in Engineering Program, a national grant initiative to academically prepare more underrepresented minority students at community colleges so they could successfully transfer to four-year institutions as engineering and computer science majors.
  • In 2008, MESA was named a finalist by Excelencia in Education as one of the nation's most effective community college programs to increase educational opportunities and improve achievement for Latino students.

Who We Are

Maryland MESA educators, tutors, mentors, and advisors come from a wide variety of backgrounds and professions—many of whom are volunteers. For example, MESA Day Competitions could not occur without volunteers.

In addition to the APL administrative staff, schools that sponsor MESA afterschool programs provide teachers and administrators.

APL and other organizations also recruit mentors from their staff of scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and anyone who wants to volunteer their time to guide students on their projects, give them insights into the life and work of a STEM professional, and advise them on their STEM education path.

What We Do

MESA counselors offer students weekly meetings, including:

  • Mathematics and science workshops
  • Assistance with science/math fair projects
  • Career counseling sessions
  • Self-esteem workshops
  • Goal-setting and problem-solving activities
  • Computer literacy instruction
  • Technical writing seminars

Maryland MESA sponsors field experiences that:

  • Focus on students’ interests and research projects.
  • Allow students to interact with engineers, mathematicians, and scientists in their professional environments.
  • Raise understanding of STEM careers.

Maryland MESA advisors partner with professional engineers, college students, and parents to tutor, mentor, and advise students about:

  • Choosing a college or university
  • Sources of scholarships and other financial aid

The APL STEM Program Office sponsors:

  • Field experiences at local colleges and universities
  • Opportunities to meet with college students majoring in STEM fields
  • Develop games and solve cyber security related puzzles with technology.
  • Use computers, scientific and graphing calculators, and the Internet for research.
  • Access to computers for practice and personal use.

Maryland MESA educators and mentors work with students to strengthen skills in how to:

  • Develop and give presentations
  • Write evaluations of field experiences
  • Write technical reports about their science and engineering research projects
  • Keep a journal of their activities and accomplishments
  • Find and participate in local and national essay and public speaking contests

Maryland MESA provides teachers and advisors with professional development opportunities through workshops during the summer and throughout the academic year. MESA teachers can:

  • Learn new teaching and motivational strategies
  • Receive academic enrichment materials and information
  • Increase their awareness of STEM careers and the academic preparation required for entering these fields
  • Network and exchange ideas with colleagues
  • Interact with university, industry, and governmental agency members

A Message from the Director

Dwight has been with APL since 2003 in technical roles as project manager, lead engineer, and electrical engineer. He holds a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in electrical and computer engineering and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Howard University. Dwight began his career as a molecular biologist, gaining expertise as a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health and leading the reagent-manufacturing effort at Gene Logic Genomics, Inc. At APL, Dwight applied his knowledge in science and engineering to develop and test biosensors to help ensure America’s national security after 9/11. He also served as project manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)-funded, APL led Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program. Since the early 1990s, Dwight has served as a volunteer for Big Brothers and Sisters, the Boy Scouts of America, Maryland MESA, and FIRST Robotics. Dwight’s interest in STEM education became increasingly important to him as he and his wife started a family and his children entered school.

In 2010, APL recognized that the United States was facing a critical challenge: replacing the aging STEM workforce. Soon thereafter, APL proposed the creation of a new STEM program management office and Dwight was selected to lead it. Dwight was tasked with transforming a number of incubator outreach programs into a portfolio of robust and highly effective programs. Dwight applied his expertise leading large-scale technical projects to develop a strategy for maturing and managing those programs.

Dwight leverages APL’s affiliation with the Johns Hopkins University as well as its relationships with government, industry, and academia to offer unique learning experiences and opportunities to K12 students.

Participating Regions

Baltimore City

11100 Johns Hopkins Road

Laurel, MD 20723



School Districts