Published: Feb. 4, 2001

Editors: Media are welcome to attend the balsa wood glider contest, boat-building and racing event, and other activities this Thursday, Feb. 8. Contact Carol Rowe, (303) 492-7426, for a detailed schedule of events.

Up to 200 high school students from 20 schools throughout Colorado will apply their skills to building boats and flying gliders of their own design during the Colorado Math Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) Spring Fling 2001 at the University of Colorado at Boulder on Feb. 8-9.

The two-day event, sponsored by Seagate Technology and NASA, is an annual tradition for high school students participating in the Colorado MESA program. Hosted by the College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU-Boulder, this year's event will feature a variety of hands-on activities in which students can apply their knowledge of math and science.

On Thursday afternoon, Feb. 8, students from different schools will compete at flying hand-made balsa wood gliders in the first Colorado MESA glider competition. The event will be held at the CU Student Recreation Center from 1:30 4:30 p.m. Winners of the statewide event will go on to compete in the MESA USA National Competition in Tucson, Ariz.

On Thursday evening, students will work in groups, with assistance from Seagate engineers, to build boats out of plastic gallon jugs, wood furring strips and duct tape. Then they will try to navigate the boats across the recreation center swimming pool. The contest and race will be held Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

In addition, the two-day program allows MESA students to meet and talk with CU students about college life, tour the campus including the engineering and science labs, and obtain information about college admissions and financial aid.

The Spring Fling is the highlight of the year for many Colorado MESA students and is being held at CU-Boulder for the second consecutive year.

"We are thrilled to host the MESA Spring Fling at the University of Colorado now on an annual basis," said David Aragon, director of the Multicultural Engineering Program at CU-Boulder. "Based on last year's success, there is a lot of enthusiasm among our own students and faculty to continue introducing these Colorado students to engineering career opportunities."

Colorado MESA is part of a national network of MESA organizations, which look for academic potential in minority students as early as elementary school, and continue to work with them through high school, helping them meet college-entry requirements. Formed in 1979 with a student enrollment of 30, Colorado MESA now has 2,880 participating students from 121 schools throughout the state.

"Our MESA program is truly dedicated to giving every child a chance to have the best possible career," said Floyd Boyard, chair of Colorado MESA. "And we're achieving that goal, one student at a time. Without a program like this, many very talented young students might not even consider a high-tech degree, let alone have the career and educational guidance they need to pursue one."

Seagate is a long-time supporter of Colorado MESA, through employee mentoring programs and ongoing funding. "We believe very strongly in the mission of MESA," said David Armstead, diversity manager of Seagate in Longmont. "One of the best things about the organization is its effort to bring bright, young students -- who might not otherwise have the chance -- together with universities and corporations who care about their professional futures. And just like CU, we hope the futures of these people will be with organizations like ours."

Seagate's Longmont location is the headquarters for the company's Personal Storage Group, which develops and markets solutions for desktop and PC markets, and develops consumer applications. The company's worldwide headquarters is in Scotts Valley, Calif.

Seagate is the world's leading provider of Internet infrastructure storage technology. Company products include disc drives for enterprise applications, PCs and consumer electronics, storage area network solutions and server appliances. The Web site is

NASA joined CU and Colorado MESA as a major sponsor for this year's program.