PSU receives $168,000 grant to double number of schools served by MESA programs in Oregon

A grant to Portland State from Meyer Memorial Trust will allow Oregon MESA to double the number of schools offering its science, technology, engineering and math programs (STEM) to low-income and minority students in the Portland and Salem metro areas. 

Oregon MESA, housed in Portland State University’s Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, is a pre-college academic program that provides underrepresented students with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), invention and 21st-century skills. 

The grant PSU received is part of Meyer Memorial Trust’s Equitable Education Portfolio. It will build Oregon MESA’s organizational capacity and deepen partnerships to support MESA’s work in advancing opportunities and academic achievement in STEM for low-income and minority students in Clackamas, Marion, Multnomah and Washington counties. 

After a year of planning and listening to the needs and voices of communities across Oregon, Meyer Memorial Trust launched its Equitable Education portfolio in early 2017. According to Meyer, the vision of the portfolio is for “all students to have an opportunity to access meaningful public education.” 

The multiyear investment in Oregon MESA aligns with the portfolio’s goals to improve student achievement and college and career readiness. Meyer’s support will allow MESA to grow and assess impact through partnering with regional centers, increasing leadership and fundraising capacity, and initiating a longitudinal evaluation of the academic impact of MESA on student academic performance. 

MESA regional centers include Centro Cultural de Washington CountyOregon Institute of Technology and Portland Community College-Southeast Campus. The longitudinal evaluation will be co-funded by The Lemelson Foundation

“Meyer has been very deliberative and thoughtful in its approach towards equity and investing in impact, so it’s an honor for Oregon MESA to be one of the first investments in their Equitable Education portfolio,” said Tong Zhang, Oregon MESA’s executive director. “This grant will allow MESA to expand its programs to serve even more underserved students in the region.”

Oregon MESA currently serves over 500 middle and high school students in 25 schools in 10 school districts across the Portland metro and Salem regions. 

Contact Kurt Bedell at