PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University programs at the Tri-Cities
and Spokane campuses serving ethnic minorities and women will benefit from a
recently announced $1.6 million gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation.

The gift is to the Washington Mathematics, Engineering and Science
Achievement (MESA) program.

WSU’s MESA efforts began at the Center for Graduate Study in Richland in
1984. In 1989, the Spokane MESA program was established and responsibility
for MESA was transferred to the branches, WSU Tri-Cities and WSU Spokane.

The gift and its potential please Kirk Reinkens and Terrie Scott, respective
directors of the Yakima Valley/Tri-Cities and Spokane programs. “This is very
exciting for MESA’s statewide efforts at the elementary level, and specific
efforts to partner and support the Native American community are wonderful,”
said Reinkens. Added Scott, “It provides an opportunity to serve more
students and build on our existing program strengths.”

Underrepresented students targeted by the MESA program at WSU include
Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans and women. The Yakima
Valley/Tri-Cities and Spokane programs both serve students in grades 6-12.

“MESA serves not only students, but it also supports teachers and others in
schools to assure they have the support and access to resources needed to
raise student awareness and encourage student success in mathematics and
science,” said Reinkens.

High schools and middle schools in the Pasco, Yakima, Toppenish, Wapato,
Sunnyside and Spokane districts participate in the program.

WSU MESA offerings for students and teachers include conferences; science,
logic and engineering competitions; Olympic Park Institute visits; and support
of progressive classroom activities involving inquiry and problem-solving
instructional strategies.

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