Natomas High MESA Team Wins Big

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

While most Natomas High School students were already enjoying their spring break, the MESA team competed at the Northern California M.E.S.A. Day on April 7.

After weeks of preparation with their M.E.S.A. adviser Kimberly Knestrick, the team brought their projects to fruition at the state-level competition.

The Natomas High team traveled in the early morning hours by bus to San Jose State University. Many competitors claimed not to have slept the night before due to excitement and adding finishing touches to their projects.

To prepare for the competition, the Natomas High M.E.S.A. team spent weeks preparing entries for the robotic arm, VEX robotics, prosthetic arms, and other projects and presentations. The event consisted of over 20 individual and team competitions in the areas of mathematics, engineering, and science.

When the last bridge had finally tumbled under pressure, the last egg survived a forty-foot fall, the last robotic arm poured a graduated cylinder of sand into a coffee mug, and when all other competitions were complete, the Natomas High team was not disappointed. The 16 students who won at Pre-MESA Day competition competed well with nine placing again.

Stephanie Gonzales, Jamil Podana, and Ojaswi Adhikari perfected their presentations for Speak Out and placed first; Christopher Yee, Lidia Hernandez, and Pilar Gutierrez improved their prosthetic arm and also placed first; not too far behind was the second prosthetic arm team from Natomas High with Nazia Podana, Jamil Podana, and Huda Qasmi, who placed second. Savneet Takhar and Nazia Podana took first place for their robotic arm.

“I was very proud of all my M.E.S.A. students who went to San Jose State and competed because all my students worked very hard on all their projects and created some unique designs,” said Knestrick, “They probably do not realize that they are doing exactly what engineers do. They build what they think will work, and they readjust their plans until it finally does work.”

M.E.S.A., an acronym for Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement, is a well known foundation that allows students to explore their interests of the mathematical and scientific world.

Today, Natomas High has over 94 students in M.E.S.A.

“I and the other coordinators talked about all the metals we won,” said Jean Crowder, Sacramento State and UC Davis M.E.S.A. director. “I thought we were going to need a whole other bus to take all the medals we won home today. I am very proud of everyone.”

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