Shadow Day shows scholars’ success

by Hannah Beausang

Courtesy SDSU engineering alumnus Sergio Hernandez

San Diego MESA Alliance, a program supporting math, engineering and science education students who are economically disadvantaged in underrepresented population, matched San Diego State students with local companies to learn about career choices on MESA Shadow Day.

MESA Shadow Day took place on Nov. 7 and gave SDSU students in the San Diego MESA Alliance opportunity to gain hands on experience with local companies in their field and apply the material learned in classrooms to real-world situations.


The objective of the program is to guide students toward a career path, expose them to current technology, increase awareness of local job opportunities and allow students to network for future employment and internships.


The program has taken place for 30 years. This year, 118 local students participated in the event, including 66 SDSU students. Students from Southwestern College San Diego City College MESA, Imperial Valley Pre College MESA and San Diego Pre College MESA also attended.


A SDSU computer sciences sophomore Carla Sanchez went to Raytheon, a defense and homeland security company for Shadow Day. She feels the program educated her about the variety of potential jobs after college.

“The most beneficial part was being able to see all the careers in computer science, not just the one I was thinking about before,” Sanchez said. “I learned about all the opportunities that the companies offer, all the benefits for that job, all the things you do at the job. It was a great experience”

SDSU engineering alumnus Sergio Hernandez is currently an employee at Solar Turbines, a company that manufactures industrial gas turbines.

During Shadow Day at Solar Turbines, students are given a tour of the facility and then have an opportunity to meet professionals from the company during a lunch session. Students were then paired with mentors based on their major, grade level and interests to shadow them through a typical workday.

Hernandez is a strong advocate for the program, and feels students benefit from real-world exposure to the work place. The program allows students to gain insider knowledge about companies and gives them potential chances to obtain future internships.

“These students are getting an opportunity that most people don’t have and wouldn’t even think about,” Hernandez said. “It’s pretty neat that they can go back to class and have a picture of exactly what is being talked about. It all relates to what they’re studying.”

MESA Shadow Day continues to be a valuable resource for students.