The Maryland Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program was founded in 1976 by the Applied Physics Laboratory of the Johns Hopkins University. MESA works to create a superior education process that enables American students of African, Latino, and Native American heritage to achieve and contribute their full potential in mathematics, engineering, science, and technology. The program has shown steady growth since its inception and number and the percent of participants going on to enroll in college has steadily increased. Maryland MESA currently includes partnerships with colleges and universities, business and industry, government, community organizations, parents, and more than 143 schools in 15 counties across Maryland. MESA activities are multi-faceted and include academic tutorials, Saturday academies, field trips, communications skills training, science and engineering projects, and advisor workshops.
The program's success is reflected in the 84% of the program graduates who go on to college, and the 79% who pursue degrees in science, mathematics, or engineering. In the most recent program year, 1999-2000, more than 2,200 elementary, middle- and high-school students participated, of whom 1,332 (58%) are female, 957 (42%) male; with the ethnic distribution of 1,720 (75%) African Americans, 33 Latinos (1.5%), and 11 (.5%) Native Americans, as well as 376 (16.5%) Caucasians, 123 (5.5%) Asian Americans, and 26 (1%) others. Maryland MESA students also earn higher scores on the SAT than the national and state averages.