About Maryland MESA

Maryland MESA (Math, Engineering, Science Achievement) is an exciting and engaging after-school program for students in grades 3–12 designed to spark their interest in STEM education and STEM careers.

The Maryland MESA program aims to provide an accessible, inclusive, and nurturing environment for all club members regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic status.

  • increase the number of engineers, scientists, mathematicians, and related professionals at technical and management levels, and
  • encourage and assist minorities and females in achieving success in these fields.

Hosted by APL since 1976, when it was just two schools in Baltimore City, the MESA program now reaches students in eight Maryland school districts. Through project-based team competitions, students experience engineering, computer programming, physics, and many more STEM disciplines while developing strong communication and collaboration skills. MESA students are able to see the real-world applications of what they are learning in school, develop the STEM skills they will need in the future, and begin to see themselves in STEM careers.

Maryland MESA is administered by APL and joins ten other MESA USA programs in serving over 49,000 students annually.

Seven Components of MESA Model

Although developing projects for the competition is one of the components, Maryland MESA is more than just a competition. Through participation in MESA, students have the opportunity to develop leadership skills, boost their achievement, and gain greater confidence in their ability to succeed academically and professionally. A fully developed MESA club provides a deep, holistic experience for students and it is a thriving beehive of STEM-related activities and experiences.

The Maryland MESA model comprises the following seven components:

  1. Club Meetings
  2. Computer Programming Instruction
  3. Communications Skills Development
  4. Academic Enrichment and Mentoring
  5. Career Exploration
  6. Field Trips
  7. MESA Challenges and Competitions

The seven components of the Maryland MESA program provide an avenue for students to:

  • develop interest in and explore STEM-related careers;
  • build content knowledge and skills, increase STEM literacy;
  • develop and practice soft skills necessary for success in college and the workforce (e.g., project planning, oral communication, writing, collaboration with others); and
  • cultivate the passion and build the perseverance needed to complete a STEM degree and enter a STEM career.


Interested in MESA? A list of participating schools can be found here. If you don’t see your child’s school on the list, contact the school to see if they are interested in joining the Maryland MESA network.

The community-based MESA program is currently being placed on hold due to low enrollment. A special thanks to the teams that participated over the last five years! If the Maryland MESA program is not offered at your school (MD MESA School List), please contact us to learn more about the process of starting a MESA Club.

Go here to learn more about our other STEM programs:

MESA Clubs - https://secwww.jhuapl.edu/stem/mesa/school-based-program

Community Outreach - https://secwww.jhuapl.edu/stem/stem-in-the-community

STEM Academy - https://secwww.jhuapl.edu/stem/stem-academy

ASPIRE High School Internship Program - https://secwww.jhuapl.edu/stem/aspire

If you have specific questions, email MESA@jhuapl.edu.