Completion Counts Video Competition Offers Scholarship For Winner

College 311Riverside 12th-graders are competing to make the best 90-second video answering “why college completion counts” for a $1,000 scholarship from Completion Counts, the citywide initiative to raise college graduation rates.

Student videos will be featured on and Riverside’s GTV on Channel 3. The deadline is April 3. Rules are available at

“This scholarship is designed to start getting students thinking and talking about college. No essays or a straight-A average — we’re simply looking for the best and most creative video answer,” said Cindy Taylor, director of Completion Counts.

Two categories are available: individual entries for a chance at $1,000; or cast and crew entry of up to three students for a chance at $500 each. The scholarship will go towards the college or university of their choice.

The scholarship is open to 12th-grade students in Alvord and Riverside unified school districts.

Completion Counts is a joint partnership by the city of Riverside, Riverside City College, Riverside and Alvord unified school districts, Riverside County Office of Education and the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce working to raise college graduation rates. It is funded by a grant from the Gates Foundation.

The Completion Counts video contest encourages to embrace their own vision of Arts & Innovation for a creative opportunity to earn a college scholarship. Riversiders are proud of their broad slate of educational offerings and must continue to encourage the college-going culture in the community. 

Local Health Clinic Donates toward Arlington High School Soccer Uniforms

Reproduced courtesy of the Press Enterprise:

Community Health Systems Inc. donated $250 to Arlington High School toward the purchase of new soccer uniforms and is encouraging others in the community to make small donations as well.

At a recent Arlington Business Partnership, Community Health Systems learned that the school’s soccer uniforms have been handed down for so long now that they are in poor condition. With most of the soccer team on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s free or reduced-price lunch program, they cannot afford to purchase uniforms or athletic shoes so Community Health Systems stepped in and donated to ensure they received the proper equipment.

Community Health Systems’ Magnolia Community Health Clinic has served the community in the Arlanza area for six years and has provided a medical home for many local students.

Community Health Systems, Inc. is a member of the National Association of Community Health Centers and the California Primary Care Association. Its clinics provide comprehensive medical, dental, optometry, behavioral health, health education and preventive services to indigent and underinsured patients.

Community Health Systems’ donation to the Arlington High School soccer team is a perfect example of Riversiders collaborating to build community and overcome economic obstacles. Supporting local issues and community efforts is critical to the goal of creating a unified city.  

To view the article, click here.

UC Riverside Professor Juan Felipe Herrera Named California Poet Laureate

Reproduced courtesy of UCR Today:

Juan Felipe Herrera

University of California, Riverside poetry professor Juan Felipe Herrera — known for chronicling the bittersweet lives, travails and contributions of Mexican Americans — was named California Poet Laureate by Gov. Jerry Brown today. The two-year appointment must be confirmed by the state Senate.

Herrera, 63, the son of migrant farm workers, holds the Tomás Rivera Chair in Creative Writing at UC Riverside. He joined the UCR faculty in 2005.

The award-winning Chicano poet said he was touched by the honor and acknowledged the influence of Tomás Rivera, a noted Chicano author, poet and educator who served as UCR’s chancellor from 1979 until his death in 1984.

“I want to thank UC Riverside for such a great community of support,” Herrera said. “All the students here inspire me greatly. This award is for all the young writers who want to put kindness inside every word throughout the state, because kindness is the heart of creativity. I also want to acknowledge the great work of Tomás Rivera. He has been a leading light in the world of poetry for all the young people in the boys’ clubs, the girls’ clubs, the soccer fields and in every K-12 classroom – every young person with a pencil or a laptop or chalk and hip-hop on their minds. This is for the full and total expression of all of the people of this great state.”

Herrera said he especially wanted to thank and acknowledge UCR leaders for support, particularly Chancellor Timothy P. White; College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Dean Stephen Cullenberg; and creative writing department Chair Andrew Winer.

UCR is “extraordinarily proud of Juan Felipe Herrera, who is not only a poet but an author and writer of children’s books,” Chancellor White said. “Herrera is the epitome of living the promise of a California public education. This son of farm laborers was the first in his family to attend college. Today he is a revered, award-winning poet and writer who speaks to the young and the old through his depictions of the lives of ordinary people.”

The recognition of Herrera is well-deserved, Cullenberg said. “This is a great honor for a great poet and a wonderful teacher,” he said.

A panel of experts convened by the California Arts Council submits a list of candidates for California Poet Laureate to the governor, who makes the appointment, which is confirmed by the Senate. The position, established in 2001 by the Legislature, is intended to spread the art of poetry from classrooms to boardrooms across the state, and to inspire and educate all Californians about the poets and authors who have influenced the state.

Andrew Winer, chair of the UCR Department of Creative Writing, expressed his delight: “This honor reflects what we have had the privilege of seeing up close ever since he joined our distinguished faculty: namely, this remarkably gifted poet’s unique ability to connect—through his art and teaching—with everyone, regardless of their cultural or educational background. Here at UCR, Juan Felipe Herrera is a beloved professor and colleague. That he’s a highly acclaimed international figure who was also recently elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets will never prevent this compassionate and generous teacher from reaching out to students on campus or beyond in the greater community.  The diversity, quality, and public visibility of his writing and teaching make him as perfect a fit for UCR and its Department of Creative Writing as he is for the position of Poet Laureate of California.  We’re all so proud of him.”

One of the goals of the poet laureate project is to introduce poetry to students who might otherwise have little exposure to the literary form.

That is a goal dear to Herrera, who, like more than half of UCR students was the first in his family to attend college.

“I did not start out to be a speaker, or a writer or much less, a poet or professor,” he recalled in a 2009 speech during the inauguration of UCR Chancellor Timothy P. White. “Quite the contrary, my beginnings were at the margins of society, where promise-stuff is elusive and rarely reaches fruition — in the fields of California, as a campesino child of farm workers. All I truly owned were simple, humble things — my father Felipe’s tellings — how in 1899 he jumped a train from Chihuahua, Mexico, at the age of 14, straight to Denver, Colorado, where he would later work tending cattle, farming crops and setting railroads. And I had my mother Lucha’s reminiscences of her journey with her eight siblings and mother, a few years after the Mexican Revolution — crossing into El Paso, Texas, then, after World War II, to San Francisco to work as a ‘salad girl’ at the St. Francis Hotel. That is all I possessed.”

The door of promise opened, he said, when he enrolled at UCLA, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in social anthropology in 1972. He went on to earn a master’s degree in social anthropology from Stanford University and a master of fine arts from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop).

Herrera told celebrants attending the inauguration ceremony that the promise is alive in UCR students.

“To truly live the promise we must fearlessly love the promise — the people. This is the heart of it all: Love for our families who have struggled in the past. Love for our coming generations so they shall rise above suffering. This kind of love must be something like Tomás Rivera’s motives for writing his poetry: a creation without boundaries, a living voice of freedom in a world of walls. In a time of walls, UCR is such a boundless and powerful poem. I see it in my students, I see it in what they do.

“UCR is verse by our students written in many alphabets of breath, cultural meters and social stanzas, lines that amble and rhyme stories of humble homes and hard work familias, narratives jeweled with radical landscapes and multi-colored registers.”

Herrera has published numerous volumes of poetry, prose, theater, children’s books and young adult novels, among them “Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems” (University of Arizona, 2008), which received the PEN/Beyond Margins Award, the International Latino Award in poetry, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has been elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets, and has received the Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry, fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council, and the UC Berkeley Regent’s Fellowship. Other honors include the Breadloaf Fellowship in Poetry, the Stanford Chicano Fellows Fellowship, the Ezra Jack Keats Award, the Hungry Mind Award of Distinction and the Focal Award.

Juan Felipe Herrera’s passion for the art of poetry and creative writing and the connections he forms with people through his art and teaching is a treasure to the Riverside community and a prime example of why Riverside is known as the City of Arts & Innovation

To view the article from UCR Today, click here.

Healing the Divide – the UCR School of Medicine And the Added Benefits to the Region

This video provided by UCR Today presents a clear explanation of how the School of Medicine will transform Riverside into the “Home of Next-Century Healthcare”.
The University of California, Riverside School of Medicine will address the critical shortage of doctors in Inland Southern California by partnering with existing health care facilities and recruiting the students who will become the next generation of physicians. This is an exciting opportunity to not only improve healthcare in the region but also to build a new industrial cluster that provides widespread economic benefits and well-paying, stable jobs for all levels of employees.

Computerworld Honors Riverside’s Innovation Economy Corporation and SmartRiverside for Visionary Use of Information Technology

The City of Riverside’s Innovation Economy Corporation and SmartRiverside were 2 of 200 organizations recognized by Computerworld for their 2012 Laureate Program for excellence in visionary applications of information technology. The Innovation Economy Corporation was recognized in the Economic Opportunity category and SmartRiverside in Digital Access. 

More information about the Computerworld Honors Program is found below in the article by The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch:

International Data Group ‘s Computerworld Honors Program, honoring visionary applications of information technology promoting positive social, economic and educational change, has selected 200 Laureates for 2012. These individuals will be commemorated during the Annual Laureates Medal Ceremony & Gala Awards Evening on June 4, 2012 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

For over two decades, The Computerworld Honors Program has recognized individuals and organizations who create and use information technology to promote and advance public welfare, contribute to the greater good of society and change the world for the better. The 2012 award categories are:

  • Collaboration
  • Digital Access
  • Economic Development
  • Emerging Technology
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Human Services
  • Innovation
  • Safety & Security
  • Training/Education

“The Computerworld Honors program was especially competitive this year, as more than 500 IT initiatives were nominated for their innovation and benefit to society,” said Julia King, executive editor of events, Computerworld. “It was a privilege to be part of the judging committee and learn first-hand how technology is being used not only for competitive advantage, but to also benefit those in their community and beyond. We look forward to recognizing the 200 Laureates in June.”

The 2012 Laureates will be recognized publicly at the Laureate Medal Ceremony and Gala Evening on June 4th in Washington D.C. During this ceremony, case studies are formally inducted into the program’s International Archives, and honorees are presented with a medallion inscribed with the Program’s mission, “A Search for New Heroes.”

At the Gala Evening, additional honors are given to 50 finalists in the 21st Century Achievement Award — five Laureates from each of the ten categories — each with a Case Study selected by Program Judges to represent outstanding innovation within the information technology field. That field is narrowed further with the presentation of the 21st Century Achievement Awards. These awards are given to only one Finalist in each category, singled out for special recognition by the Program Judges to be the very best among their peers.

“There’s no question technology plays a vital role in driving business forward. It ensures an organization’s ability to compete, innovate, communicate and to thrive,” said John Amato, Vice President/Publisher of Computerworld. “What the Computerworld Honors Laureates so clearly demonstrate is technology’s role in moving society forward. Computerworld acknowledges and applauds their outstanding work to improve the quality of our lives and that of future generations.”

About Computerworld Honors Program: Founded by International Data Group (IDG) in 1988, Computerworld Honors is the longest running global program to honor individuals and organizations that use information technology to promote positive social, economic and educational change. Additional information about the program and a Global Archive of past Laureate case studies and oral histories of Leadership Award recipients can be found at the Computerworld Honors website:

As the City of Arts and Innovation, access to technology is imperative in providing a strong framework for economic opportunity and intelligent growth in Riverside. Furthermore, information technology plays an important role in forging public-private partnerships and improving quality of life which gives the community a competitive advantage within the region.

To view the entire article from The Wall Street Journal, click here

Welcome to Riverside, California Video Showcases What The City of Arts & Innovation Has To Offer


Riversiders often feel that their City is the best-kept secret in Southern California and want to share it with the world. This video showcases the diverse and exciting community found in Riverside as well as the many hidden gems that make this the City of Arts & Innovation.

Riversiders Proud to Call Riverside Home: New Innovative Tool Measures Progress Toward a Higher Quality of Life

Early this year, the Seizing Our Destiny campaign released the 2012 Riverside Quality of Life Index: Celebrating Progress and a Call to Action. The resounding message from the Index is that Riverside’s quality of life is high, especially considering the economic recession and its devastating impact on our local housing market and employment.

Some overarching themes were found:

  • People who live and work in Riverside are proud to be Riversiders
  • Riversiders, across racial/ethnic, age and income groups, are uniformly happy with their overall quality of life
  • Riversiders are technology-centric, environmentally-conscious and broad-minded people
  • The Seizing Our Destiny campaign is having a subtle yet profound impact

Moving beyond the actual scores and looking in-depth at both the qualitative and quantitative data the Index highlights the following:

  •  Where Riverside Is Out Ahead – Sustainability:  As one example of how Riverside is out ahead of the curve, we are performing magnificently in environmental protection and green leadership.
  •  Where Riverside Is Making Strides – Education:  The Index shows that a key part of our quality of life – K-12 education – is making big strides in several critical ways.
  •  Where Riverside Still Needs to Invest – Economics:  Many efforts are underway in our city, county and region to boost economic development, attract new employers and develop skilled workers – these efforts are starting to see results.

Available online at, the Index is a truthful, asset-based examination of what is working in Riverside, and what needs working on, as we strive for a significantly enhanced better quality of life.

The Seizing Our Destiny Campaign was born in 2009 when civic leaders and City officials came together to imagine a 20-year strategic vision that mobilizes the skills and resources of a broad cross-section of Riversiders toward one common goal – a better community for us all. From the beginning it was understood that Seizing Our Destiny must continually measure progress toward our vision of enhanced quality of life. The Index shows progress toward that vision through:

  •  One overall Riverside quality of life score;
  • A score for each aspect of our shared vision
    • Intelligent Growth
    • Catalyst for Innovation
    • Location of Choice
    • Unified City
  • Scores for four data segments of each aspect of our vision, for a total of 16

Feelings and perceptions of those who live and/or work in Riverside were measured through the largest, most comprehensive survey conducted in Riverside’s history – 1,450 Riversiders responded to the Riverside Quality of Life Survey with thoughtful and challenging answers. To see a full list of the questions asked in the Survey and the responses, visit

This first Index helps us set a baseline that will allow us to deliberately shape our future on our own terms. The Index uses a unique methodology that combines facts (quantitative data) and feelings (qualitative data) into one streamlined scoring mechanism.

It is important to understand that Riverside scores positively when compared to our own history; but room for improvement still exists. The Index in 2011 serves as a baseline for our community to measure itself against each year. The goal is that the Index encourages Riversiders to aim for a higher quality of life over time.

The Index is an innovative tool for our community to understand our current quality of life and to celebrate our progress toward the quality of life we all dream of, as articulated in the Seizing Our Destiny plan. We believe that the greatest lesson from the Index is the need to maintain and increase our momentum toward Seizing Our Destiny’s vision.


Twitter: @RivSide_Destiny

RCCD to Celebrate an Evening of Recognition and Excellence

The 2012 Annual RCCD Recognition Awards brings a new show to town this year with the addition of live performances by music, dance, and theater groups from Moreno Valley, Norco and Riverside City colleges.

“I cannot think of a better way to recognize the contributions of friends and supporters to our colleges and community than to showcase some of the excellent student achievements their support made possible,” said Chancellor Gregory W. Gray. “The idea of combining a popular recognition event with a gala featuring top student artists seemed natural given our colleges ‘commitment to excellence’.”

This year the District and the RCCD Foundation have moved the event, scheduled for April 26 at 5:30 p.m., from the Mission Inn to the Riverside Convention Center, Raincross Ballroom, in order to accommodate the dinner and gala.

“We loved being at the Mission Inn the past few years,” said Amy Cardullo, director of the RCCD Foundation. “But this year’s gala event requires a larger space to accommodate the performances. We know the Convention Center will be a marvelous venue to showcase our award-winning music, dance, and theatre groups.”

Each year, the District and Foundation recognize individuals and organizations in several categories: Alumnus of the Year, Distinguished Public Service, Outstanding Partner, and Chancellor’s Award for Excellence. This year, each college will also recognize a Young Alumnus.

The 2012 RCCD Recognition Awards recipients are:

  • Distinguished Public Service – The Honorable Ron Loveridge, Mayor, City of Riverside
  • Alumnus of the Year – Dr. Nicolas Ferguson, Superintendent, Alvord Unified School District
  • Norco College Young Alumnus – Naushad Huda, Founder & CEO, XTOPOLY Mobile Marketing
  • Outstanding Partner – Distribution Management Association
  • The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence – Professor Emeritus Jan Schall, Founder of the RCCD Study Abroad Program

RCCD Fellow of Excellence and multiple Grammy Award singer and songwriter Jon Secada will appear as a special guest artist, helping to launch the arts gala. Secada and five vocal, instrumental, dance, and theater groups from Moreno Valley, Norco and Riverside City colleges will perform during the evening.

Reservations for the 2012 Annual RCCD Recognition Awards Dinner & Arts Gala can be made now, and several sponsorship levels are available. For tickets and other information, call 951-222-8958. Proceeds from the event will support student enrichment activities at Moreno Valley College, Norco College and Riverside City College.

Event sponsors include: Riverside Medical Clinic, City of Riverside, Integrated Care Communities, Citizens Business Bank, Orco Block Co., and Tilden-Coil Constructors.

The RCCD Recognition Awards Dinner & Arts Gala is truly exemplary of the community’s commitment to Arts and Innovation. The awards showcase the best in Riverside, recognizing those who support an invaluable educational institution and are committed to advancing the community as one that is connected and engaged in all aspects of civic life. Furthermore, the Arts Gala promotes the artistic excellence that makes Riverside so unique and promotes local philanthropy to support further student achievement.

UCR Promotes Student Health Through Sleep/Nap Campaign

For some, college life is synonymous with days full of classes, long nights of studying and the occasional party. Sleep? Sleep is an afterthought. But a week-long campaign aimed at tired University of California, Riverside students is looking to change that mindset by encouraging them to make sleep a priority.

UCR’s Sleep/Nap Campaign ran from March 5 through March 11, to coincide with National Sleep Awareness Week, sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation. The program fell during the ninth week of UCR’s Winter Quarter, a time where students are ramping up their studying in preparation for final exams.

“Students who don’t get enough rest often feel tired, stressed and sluggish and have difficulty focusing,” said Devon Sakamoto, coordinator of health education initiatives for The Well. “Students are often amazed at how much better they feel and perform when they are well rested.”

Research by the National Sleep Foundation shows that teenagers need between 8.5 and 9.25 hours of sleep per night, while adults 18 and over need between seven and nine hours. A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in February 2010 revealed that over 60% of the college students surveyed were categorized as poor-quality sleepers, with emotional and academic stress negatively impacting sleep. Students who were considered poor-quality sleepers reported suffering more physical and psychological health problems than good-quality sleepers.

“There is a lack of knowledge about the benefits of sleep for stress and performance,” said UCR Professor of Psychology Sara Mednick, author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life. “Sleep is the first thing to go when people get stressed, but unfortunately it is also the best antidote to stress.”

Mednick will presented a sleep seminar for graduate and international students on Wednesday where she discuss her research on the benefits getting a good night’s sleep and tried to break some of the negative stereotypes that surround the idea of a midday nap.

“That is one reason we are doing this research, to show through scientific discovery that sleep is important,” she said.

Also scheduled on Wednesday was the No Stress Sleep Fest, which featured helpful resources about sleeping, napping and managing stress, as well as free food, massages, stress relief and other “soothing activities.” There were even nap chairs provided for students to relax and take a nap.

On Friday, March 9, “Nap-Ins” were held where students could check in at one of the three napping spaces between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Throughout the week, students could pick up a free nap kit, featuring an eye mask, earplugs and a tip-sheet with information about napping.

The Sleep/Nap Campaign was sponsored by UCR’s Student Wellness Partners, including the Counseling Center, International Education Center, Campus Health Center, Student Recreation Center, The Well, The Dean of Students and Housing, Dining & Residential Services.

This creative campaign helped raise awareness about the benefits of sleep for overall health at a time when students are just about to head into some of the most stressful weeks of school. The future of Riverside’s position as the home of next-century health care relies first and foremost on the overall wellness of its residents, and UCR’s campaign promotes this notion with specific emphasis on the health of students.

Article reproduced from UCR Today:

Budding Physicists Engage in Particle Physics Research

Physicists at the University of California, Riverside are reaching out to local high school students again.  For the fifth year in a row, the Department of Physics and Astronomy hosted the International Particle Physics Masterclass on March 13 and 14.

Through daylong lectures and exercises on March 13, the physics faculty introduced particle physics, experiments and detectors to students from San Jacinto High School (30 students), Lakeside High School, Lake Elsinore (4 students) and Riverside Preparatory School, Oro Grande (25 students).

The next day, the faculty facilitated a 60-minute videoconference between the students, and groups of high school students in Portugal, France and Slovakia, who all had undergone the same set of exercises.  The students visiting UC Riverside were able to compare their results to those of the other groups during the video conference.

“For the first time we will have three schools participating, and for the first time we needed to limit the number of students,” said Bill Gary, a professor of physics and the lead organizer of the masterclass at UC Riverside. “There were more students who wanted to come than we can handle.”

For the second year in a row, the exercises wer entirely based on data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland.  The students look through events to identify elementary particles called Z bosons.

The Z particle can decay in various ways, each of which leaves a unique signature in the detectors.  In their experiments, the students identify Z particles using two of these decay signatures.  They also learn how to collect event candidates without biasing the results, and how similar signatures are used to search for new particles at the LHC.

“Our goal is to bring high school students to the university, to get them excited about attending college and studying science,” said Gary, whose research involves the study of rare particle decays and searches for new forms of matter.  “We want to teach them about particle physics and show them how science research works in practice.  It has been our experience in past years that after finishing the masterclasses, the students have a much larger appreciation for particle physics and for what we do at CERN.”

The masterclass is an annual program of the European Particle Physics Outreach Group, and is an interactive exercise in which high school students analyze specific particle physics data, receive coaching from expert particle physicists and their teacher, and work with peers far from home.

Particle-physics masterclasses began in the United Kingdom in 1997. Each year more than 4000 high school students in 20 countries participate in the program.

The partnership between UCR and local schools provides an opportunity to enhance student achievement and promote a college-going culture.  This unique opportunity to study physics through first hand experiences gets students excited about attending college and pursuing further study in the science field.

Article reproduced courtesy of UCR Today: