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 program seeks to:

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

Although competition is one of the main components, Maryland MESA is more than just a competition. It is more than a short introduction to a STEM topic, more than a homework club, more than just a robotics or computer programming challenge. Through participation in MESA, students have the opportunity to develop leadership skills, boost their achievement, and gain greater confidence in their ability to compete professionally. A fully developed MESA club provides a deep, holistic experience for students; they do not simply focus on the competition. The MESA club meeting is a thriving beehive of STEM-related activities and experiences.

The Maryland MESA model comprises the following seven components:

  1. MESA club meetings
  2. Computer programming instruction
  3. Communication skills development
  4. Academic support, tutoring, and counseling
  5. Career exploration
  6. Field trips
  7. MESA competitions

These seven components of the Maryland MESA program include deep, meaningful experiences that provide an avenue for students to:

  • develop an interest in and explore STEM-related careers;
  • build content knowledge and skills;
  • develop and practice soft skills necessary for success in college and the workforce (for example, project planning, oral communication, writing, collaboration with others); and
  • build grit—the passion and 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.

We also now offer a community- or home-based version of the Maryland MESA program. More about this option can be found here

If you have specific questions, contact Amanda Fabian, Program Specialist for Maryland MESA, at Amanda.Fabian@jhuapl.edu.