I had the pleasure of interviewing Jake Marshall, the Director of MESArc. He’s doing incredible custom RC projects with students and teaching them STEM skills in the process.
What is the name of your organization?
MESArc “Math Engineering Science and Achievement”
When did you start MESArc?
We started the program in 2008 as just an after school gathering. Today it has grown and transformed into a student led business making it truly one of the top RC STEM programs around. It now is a class offering at the school!
What are the different branches of the program?
There are currently 3 main branches of the MESArc program. The first branch is the Engineering Department consisting of students divided into an AIR and GROUND divisions. These are the students researching, designing, creating, and testing various remote control vehicles, some designs will actually go into production and be sold to help support the program. That leads to the second branch called the Product Fulfillment Department. When not helping the Engineering Department, these students are fulfilling orders for our local distributor. The students package and manage the products that come in and out of our building. The last branch is our Video Production Department, these students film and create web episodes of what is going on within our walls to be seen by the world. This fosters communication, product development, advertisement, and much more. They also share out to our community through our social media outlets.
Together, all three branches work together to make sure we are maintaining, sustaining, and continuing to progress as a company!
Tell me the story – why did you start this?
I started this to bring something new to the classroom, to create an idea that students can create something bigger then themselves, that we do not have to wait for the funds from the state, that we can generate it on our own, to show the community that partnering with students can be greatly beneficial, truly teaching and immersing these students in the 21st century classroom to prepare them for the future. Remote control aircraft and ground vehicles was a natural fit for this age group, and with a Fab Lab available at our school, it seemed perfect to have the students design and create problems with this technology using that RC lens.
What do you hope to accomplish by doing this?
The goal is to create a STEM program that develops long lasting relationships with our students, our community, and our partners, to see these students pursue Engineering majors in college, and to have successful careers in these fields.
What are the benefits for students that are involved with this?
The benefits for the students is they get to use the latest technology in their STEM application adventures. They get to run a student led company that has tradition now of always trying to out do the last year, to be able to have a say of the programs direction, to their names placed on products being sold at stores, etc. It gives the students the ultimate STEM application experience.
How can others get involved?
We always welcome the collaboration with other schools from all over the nation wanting to implement the same setup. We have developed relationships with so many great schools, we fill that we are in a great place to spread what we have created to others in hopes to grow the hobby and STEM application. Business partnerships are always welcomed, with you guys we would cease to exist. It is always a great teaching moment when the students work with business leaders to develop and collaborate on projects.
How can they contact you if they have questions?
Contact by email: firstname.lastname@example.org In some cases Skype too, the students love to Skype on the big screen communicating ideas or sharing accomplishments.
What is the hardest thing you have had to deal with in regards to the running the program?
In any program its facilities and funds. However, we plan to combat this issue by raising our own funds to accomplish the needs of our facilities and to pay for student-led project ideas.
What is your favorite part about doing this?
Seeing past students graduate and major in STEM fields, then coming back to help the current students of the program, that has to be the most rewarding part.
If you had one piece of advice that you could give to anyone that wanted to get involved in RC – what would it be?
My advice, don’t do it alone, you will be done with it in a matter of weeks, share your hobby experience with a friend, you will stay and love it forever!
Anything else that you want to share/tell us about?
Our links showcasing our program: