The Power of Community

student in mechanical engineering lab

Originally from Colombia, Juan Mesa, E’21, mechanical engineering, grew up in Boston and always had a love for cars. That love steered him to MassBay Community College where he received a degree in Automotive Technology. However, he knew he needed something more. He applied to Northeastern and joined the College of Engineering through the S-POWER scholars program.

Standing for Student Pathways Opening World Energy Resources, S-POWER aims to increase workforce diversity in STEM fields and the energy sector. Funded with a $5 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation, the program is centered around providing students prior to as well as during their time at Northeastern with research, mentoring, career development, and education preparation. For Mesa, it helped him find a true community and gave him the opportunity to become the best version of himself.

With two successful co-ops under his belt—Nova Biomedical and Waters Corporation—Mesa explains that he’s always had the initiative to work hard. In both of those experiences, he says it was important to remember that he did not know everything, but that was why he was there.

“You’re there to learn,” Mesa says. “Writing up a presentation may not have been my strongest asset, for example, but it was about taking the time to do something good. All of those little things add up throughout time and can have a big impact on my life and other people’s lives as well.”

At Nova Biomedical, Mesa helped to develop over 15 test fixtures of varying complexity using SolidWorks to support the manufacturing process of the analyzers. He also designed a Cell Density Viability Module from start to end and wrote and edited over 10 assembly and test procedures. At Waters Corporation he tested and diagnosed mechanisms using self-made optical test bench and MATLAB. Additionally, Mesa designed and developed next-generation appliances using SolidWorks.

“I am determined to accomplish a lot of things,” he says, adding that he wants to make a positive impact in the world. “I want to have a venture focused on bringing energy to developing countries or those that have little to no resources,” he says. “For example, places in [Colombia] have no access to clean water, and in this day and age, these issues are unacceptable. Here, the exceptional education I have received has given me the resources and knowledge to build something for those in need.”

Spurred from an initiative to foster climate change and global inequality awareness, Mesa recently started a venture called Mesa & Co, an e-commerce platform that sells sustainable and ethically sourced goods from small businesses in the U.S. and artisans in developing and developed countries around the globe. Awarded a GEM Fellowship, Mesa will be attending Carnegie Mellon University to do a PhD on advanced hydrogen energy systems.

Related Departments:Mechanical & Industrial Engineering