Chapman University has been awarded a three-year grant extension valued at more than $200,000 a year from a state outreach program designed to nurture science literacy among K-12 students.

Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement, commonly referred to as MESA, is one of the country’s most innovative and successful programs addressing the need for early science education. Chapman became a MESA participant in 2010 with a one-year grant. Over the full four years, along with additional funding for special projects, the total grant now will be valued at $850,000.

MESA programs serve thousands of educationally disadvantaged students by urging them to continue in math and science and encouraging their pursuit of math-based degrees. Seventy percent of MESA high school graduates go on to college directly after graduation, compared to 48 percent of California high school graduates.

Classroom programs are conducted year-round, but some of MESA’s most lively events are the hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) competition days. STEM competitions challenge students in on-the-spot engineering contests to create everything from egg-launchers and rubber-band propelled model cars to simple robots. Chapman hosted a STEM event in February attended by hundreds of students from the region.

Managing the MESA program at Chapman are The Schmid College of Science and Technology and the College of Educational Studies.