«return to past eventsNM MESA USA State Competition 2021


Event Correspondence:

Final Event Logistics Information:

New Mexico MESA is proud to announce our Virtual 2021 MESA USA State Competition!

The theme for the 2020-21 MESA USA National Engineering Design Competition is: Designing for Equity.

For this project, student teams will identify an individual or group who experiences some type of inequity (i.e., a user). Using a microprocessor as the key component of the design, teams will employ human-centered design practices to engineer a solution.  Teams must use at least one of the following microprocessors as the main component of their design: Arduino, Circuit Playground Express, and/or Micro:bit

Examples of Designing for Equity can be (but are not limited to) projects that address:

  • A physical or learning disability;
  • Food scarcity;
  • Access to healthcare;
  • Access to clean water or other resources;
  • Access to employment or education; or
  • A social inequity.

Each competing team must consist of 2-4 students who are active members of a MESA program affiliated with the MESA USA national organization. Solutions and recommendation(s) for next steps will be presented at the MESA USA National Engineering Design Competition. The first place middle and high school teams from State events will participate in the national competition. This National Competition event will occur in June 2021 and will be a virtual event.

Full competition information and logistics are available in the 2020-2021 National MESA USA Handbook and 2021 New Mexico MESA USA Logistics Guide. AVAILABLE NOW in Resources Section on THIS Page. 

Competition Components

The components listed below will be used to assess the effective implementation of a human-centered design approach in the context of designing for equity, effective implementation of the engineering design process, and the functionality of the prototype.

High school and middle school teams selected to participate in the National Competition will compete in the four components below:

  1. Design Brief – The objective of the Design Brief is to provide a brief, non-technical overview of the entire project. Students must use the provided Design Brief Template.
  2. Technical Presentation and Interview– The objective of the Technical Presentation and Interview is to provide an overview of the prototype functionality including a technical explanation of the mechanical operations, software operations, and integration of the two. Students will deliver a short presentation, which includes a demonstration of the functionality of the prototype, followed by a question and answer session with judges.
  3. Poster and Symposium – The objective of the Poster is to provide an overview of the project, highlight key points of the design process, discuss relevant testing and data collection, present the resulting prototype, and share recommendations for further development. Students will prepare an electronic academic poster.
  4. Prototype Pitch – The objective of the Prototype Pitch is to convince the audience that the design meets the user’s needs and has value as a product to address an issue of inequity. Students will prepare a creative, engaging presentation to pitch their prototype to an audience, including a group of judges. The presentation should define the problem; should show how they address the theme of Designing for Equity; provide a detailed description of the user and their needs; discuss current solutions to the problem and their weaknesses; and provide a demonstration of their prototype highlighting its advantages.


  • August 26, 2020-Handbook Released
  • September 11, 2020-National Resources Released and Website Fully Updated
  • September 30, 2020-Benchmark #1 and Microprocessor Training #1 Information Released: SEE SIDEBAR
  • October 19, 2020-Microprocessor Training #1 Registration DUE
  • Week of October 26-Microprocessor Training’s Part 1: For Training Information and Registration, SEE SIDEBAR or Click HERE
    • October 26, 3:30-5:30 MST: Micro:biit
    • October 27, 3:30-5:30 MST: Circuit Playground
    • October 30, 3:30-5:30 PM MST: Arduino
  • November 1, 2020-Final Event Decisions and New Mexico Logistics Guide Released
  • November 2, 2020-Microprocessor Training #2 Information Released
  • November 16, 2020-Benchmark #1 DUE (Optional) and Microprocessor Training #2 Registration DUE
  • November 30, 2020-Logistics Guide Released
  • Week of December 7-Microprocessor Training’s Part 2: 
    • December 8, 2020, 3:30-5:30 PM MST: Micro:biit
    • December 10, 2020, 3:30-5:30 PM MST: Circuit Playground
    • December 11, 2020, 3:30-5:30 PM MST: Arduino
  • January 11, 2021-Benchmark #2 Information Released 
  • January 11-March 1: Microprocessor Office Hours (TBD)
  • February 8, 2021-Benchmark #2 DUE (Optional)


  • Event will be virtual via Zoom.
  • Teams will consist of (2-4) students.
  • Teams will be allowed to distribute responsibilities for Design Brief, Prototype Creation, and Academic Poster.
  • All team members are expected to contribute to Prototype Pitch and Technical Interview.
  • Event will be held separately from MESA Day Event.