Alumni Making a Difference: Gordon Gerson, MESA and Robotics Mentor

Gordon Gerson (right) volunteers regularly to mentor the LAHS MESA students and joined them at the JPL Invention Challenge Finals 2016!

Looking to get involved with your alma mater but don’t know how? Become a volunteer like LAHS 1954 alumnus, Gordon Gerson. Upon graduation Gordon received a scholarship to attend Yale, where he pursued engineering. After finishing college, instead of embarking on his career immediately, he worked on his MBA at Stanford and an MS in Engineering at UCLA. He worked on satellite, tactical missile, and missile defense programs. He was employed at Hughes Aircraft Company from 1961-1989 and TRW/Northrop Grumman from 1990 until his retirement in 2010. With his spare time, he decided to see how his skills could still be used to make a positive impact. He started volunteering at LA High five years ago.

With his extensive background in engineering, Gordon volunteers once a week, mentoring students involved in MESA and Robotics.  MESA (Mathematics-Engineering-Science Achievement) is a nationally known program that teaches students to excel in math and science and become competitively eligible for academically rigorous colleges and universities. He has helped students in the MESA National Engineering Design Challenge every year. They were especially successful in 2013 when we won the Regional, City, and State competitions, went on to place second in the National Finals High School Division. The challenge was to create a prosthetic arm with a $40 budget. The prosthetic arm was to perform 3 different tasks. One student, he recalls, blew away the competition by completing the tasks in less than 30 seconds. He also mentored the students who recently won the LA County Regional JPL Invention Challenge Competition in 2016. Two LAHS teams entered, Team Diamond placed in 1st and Team Dynamic Nonagon placed 3rd.

LA High Students attribute their many successes, in large part, to Gordon’s involvement. His ability to share his real world experience and wisdom provides an invaluable resource to our young scientists. He instills his belief that the road to success involves three major things:  commitment; preparation and practice! He urges any student interested in science, regardless of age, to participate in these exciting programs and would love to see more alumni volunteering their time.

If you would like to make a difference and become involved, like Gordon Gerson, please contact the Harrison Trust at or fill out the volunteer form here

Gordon Gerson (left) joining the LAHS students at the MESA Prosthetic Arm National Finals 2013 at which they placed second in the High School Division.

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