Free laptops given away to students majoring in math or science

Biology student Andrew Diehl fills out his MESA laptop paperwork.

By Daniel Chee/The Skyline View

Biology student Andrew Diehl fills out his MESA laptop paperwork.

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Thanks to a program by MESA (Math Engineering Science Achievement), Skyline College students that meet eligibility requirements are able to receive a free laptop while supplies last.

MESA is an academic enrichment program which helps educationally disadvantaged students excel in math and science and graduate from college with degrees in math-based fields, according to the program’s website.

In addition, MESA provides free tutoring in various science and mathematics disciplines.
“People just help each other out,” said Oscar Ceron, president of Skyline’s Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).

SHPE is a club that is run within MESA and strives to increase success rates of Latino students studying science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) majors.

“If someone doesn’t understand something the rest of us do, then we teach them until they get it,” Ceron said.

The program is funded by the University of California system and is on the final part of a three year grant cycle. It is also affiliated with California Connects, a government funded program with a similar mission to MESA.

“The purpose of CC is to break the digital divide,” said Stephen Fredricks, MESA director. “To recognize that affluent and successful people tend to have internet access and computers while people that are on the other end of the spectrum tend to not have them at all.”

MESA has distributed over 250 laptops as of now.

“The laptop program is designed to help first generation, economically challenged students transfer to a four year university,” said Fredricks.

The laptops are not completely free, however.

Students must be a STEM major for eligibility. Requirements include being a first generation college student in the U.S., putting in outreach volunteer time, and qualifying for financial aid.

“Fredricks is helpful,” said John Gutierrez, a Skyline student who received a laptop. “The process is really easy.”

Gutierrez is studying calculus and physics, and hopes to transfer to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as an aerospace engineering major.

MESA laptops are only available until supplies run out.

Stephen Fredricks can be reached at [email protected]