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May 2009
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July 2009


WOW!  Today while participating in the MESA awards breakfast in Denver, I saw encouragement for "Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement" among middle schoolers and high schoolers from across the country. MESA,, brought these kids, mostly minority and female teens, together with a meaningful purpose. This is what our country needs -- a young generation prepared to pursue a passionate purpose of innovation creation. Education is the answer. Here's how and why you can support this effort. 

I think back on my own experience in high school -- what a program like MESA would have done for me and many other students.  Even though I loved math and science there was no practical forum to put these skills to use to solve real world problems and to learn about career options. There was no one to encourage me to pursue a career in engineering. Not knowing exactly what I would do with it, I did pursue a degree in Mathematics.  Good fortune and a connection through a friend brought me to my first job out of college as a Member of Technical Staff with Bell Telephone Laboratories. This changed my life.  What more people need are MESAs -- programs which encourage you to reach your potential.

Companies are looking to hire qualified engineers. Matthew Smith, an executive from United Launch Alliance ( one of MESA's sponsors said, "The average age of the United Launch Alliance workforce today is 47. As more of our workers retire over the next 10 years, we need more qualified graduates.  That is why we sponsor MESA."

The program is designed to encourage minority and female students to prepare themselves for a college education and to major in mathematics, engineering or science.  MESA's mission is to increase the numbers of economically disadvantaged and at risk students who graduate from high school fully prepared for post secondary education in engineering, mathematics, science, computer science, business, and other math- and science-based fields.

What are you doing to help others to get educated in math, engineering and science?  Here are some PRACTICAL POINTERS on you can do:

  • Help the kids in your life learn to love mathematics. Encourage them. Show them that math and science are fun.
  • Ask your middle and high schools to sponsor a MESA program.  If your state does not have MESA, ask why not?
  • Volunteer, make a donation, become a sponsor, or create an internship.  Learn more at

Did you or do you have MESA in your life?  Help create one today so you and others can successfully pursue passionate purpose.

Theresa Szczurek ( and


A few weeks ago it was the last day of school for my 13-year-old daughter. As she jumped for joy with her math final finished, happiness floated in the air. Remember the song, "School's out for the summer!" and the great feeling of freedom after taking your last final? As Annie rejoices at the thought of reading lots of books, getting ready for interesting camps, sleeping over with friends, and traveling to distant relatives, business life goes on. Most parents with at-home kids, are working parents, and we do not have the summer off. Tomorrow is the not the last day of work, it is the beginning of a more complicated juggling act until school restarts just 11 weeks from now in August.

Perhaps your kids are older or you don't have kids. Regardless, you must know a recent graduate. My nephew just graduated with a Bachelor's degree and is off next week to intern in Nepal for the summer, doing meaningful work before embarking on graduate studies. Rather than worry about finding the best summer paycheck, he will have a priceless experience, meet new people, learn about a different culture, explore, and grow.

What if you brought that sense of freedom, joy, and exploration to your work and life every day? Is it possible to perceive each day as an adventure and learning experience, regardless of attachment to the exact outcome? Perhaps some of the pressure and stress would lift, your creative juices would flow, and with renewed energy you could continue the pursuit toward your passionate purpose.

Here are PRACTICAL POINTERS to create a mind shift:

Pause for a moment, close your eyes, and visualize a flower. Recall Edward Abbey's wisdom, "Wildflowers, like love, blossom best in openness and freedom." This is also true with people. Ask yourself what you need in order to allow your sense of freedom to bloom. And then, give that to yourself. Perhaps it is just a mind shift — realizing that you have as much freedom as you allow yourself.
Next, do something for YOU for a change — something that will stimulate your sense of joy, exploration, and wonder. Rather than all those picky, endless little-and-big tasks on the to-do list, do something, even if small, for yourself today. For me, I dream of hanging out in my hammock even for a few minutes in my secret garden with the aspen leaves shimmering against a brilliant blue sky. The birds chirp and a gentle breeze brings the smell of sweet flowers. My laughter rings out.
Give yourself permission to slow down, play hooky for a few minutes, and breathe. In between your in-breath and out-breath, there is a magical, infinite moment of possibilities. Your true self is waiting inside that moment to be released.

The worst of times? The best of times? Which are these? It depends on your perspective. You have the power to turn it around. Allow yourself to BELIEVE in the freedom, joy, and adventure of business and life. And then refreshed, take action on your pursuit!

Theresa M. Szczurek ( and