Diversity and Engagement
Program Leader, MESA
Oscar Porter currently serves as Executive Director for the statewide office for California’s Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program and President of MESA USA. Prior to becoming Executive Director, he was California MESA’s Chief Operating Officer with responsibility for the daily operation of the program that serves 20,000 students and over 300 schools, colleges and universities across the state. Dr. Porter joined MESA in 1995 as Associate Director for Research, Evaluation and Information Management after serving four years as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Redlands.
Oscar has been a higher education researcher and administrator for over 30 years and has worked in a variety of institutional environments including an experimental cluster college, a HBCU, a graduate school of law and diplomacy, and two stints with the University of California. He also served as Assistant Executive Director of the National Institute of Independent Colleges and Universities, the research arm of NAICU in Washington, DC. His areas of publication include college persistence and degree completion, minority student and faculty issues, school/college partnerships, the relationship of student financial assistance to college persistence, and most recently, the effectiveness of student academic enrichment program models. In May 2007, he spent 15 days at the University of Novi Sad in Serbia & Montenegro as a Fulbright Senior Specialist assisting in the development of the University’s new Center for Quality Assurance.
Oscar earned his dual-major B.A. in history and political science from Tufts University, his M.A. in political science from Michigan State University, and his Ph.D. in higher education from UCLA.