A group of about 50 University Heights Middle School students spent their day on Thursday, April 23 hiking Sycamore Canyon and learning about the plants and animals there as part of the SISTERS program – Success in Science and Technology: Engagement with Role Models. The girls got a chance to interact with a UC Riverside professor as well as the UC Riverside Science Ambassadors. This was just one of many fun and informative interactions the girls have had as they have spent the year exploring science in hands-on activities. They also have spent time in a college laboratory and visited the Riverside Metropolitan Museum. It’s all designed to give young women hands-on experience in STEM fields to encourage them that they can succeed in and pursue careers in these areas. It is hoped that this pilot program soon can be expanded to serve other schools as well.
Programs like this are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. Encouraging students to pursue an education in STEM is no easy task, but the UCR students can relate to the young girls and encourage them to purse a career in the STEM field. Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.
To read a in-depth article about the program, click here.
These are not your father’s residence halls. Just in time for Earth Day, the latest housing addition at UC Riverside has recycled materials, all the latest water management, energy efficiency, and environmentally friendly features like
Glen Mor II celebrated its LEED Gold Certification Wednesday. What does LEED mean? Well, it stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and is a certification program focused on sustainable buildings. Facilities receive points based on meeting environmentally friendly criteria. The first phase of Glen Mor, which opened in 2007, achieved the LEED Gold in December 2014. When well-maintained, the buildings will produce fewer waste products and are more energy efficient than they would otherwise be.
Glen Mor offers single-occupancy rooms in two- and four-bedroom apartment style floor plans. It is home to more than 1,300 residents (sophomores and up).
“It’s very impressive,” said Jean Weiss, a Riverside community member. “I love the multi-aspects of it all – the landscaping, parking structure, the market, it’s very scenic and at the same time conductive for the studious mindset,” she explained.
The certification was unveiled by Andy Plumley, assistant vice chancellor of UCR’s Housing, Dining, & Residential Services.
“Obtaining LEED Gold certification along with being the largest LEED Gold Group Property is quite a milestone for UCR,” said Plumley. “Housing, Dining & Residential Services is proud of the Glen Mor project and thankful for our dedicated campus partners (Architects & Engineers, Capital Program, Environmental Health & Safety, Transportation & Parking Services, Computing & Communications) who contributed greatly to help us reach this achievement.”
The public was given the opportunity to tour the new facility. Eric Shuler, Assistant Director of Facilities Management gave one of three tours around the new UCR Campus Apartment, highlighting the sustainable features, which include:
Rock landscaping: to minimize water use.
Solar panels: used for heating the water and building.
Furniture: all made in the U.S. and out of sustainably harvested and manufactured wood.
Appliances: all Energy Star rated.
Irrigation: controlled system, when it rains the system will automatically shut-off.
Lighting: interior is automatically dimmed and brightened according to existing ambient light. Exterior is energy-saving LED.
Housing, Dining & Residential Services will continue to develop a robust energy and sustainability program for UCR. The efforts will include:
Building level energy and sustainability improvements to meet or exceed LEED Gold standards, UCOP standards and State requirements.
Pursue additional LEED EBOM Certifications.
Pursue minimum of LEED Gold on all new building projects.
Develop programs for residents to educate on how they may contribute to the sustainability of their living environment.
Housing, Dining & Residential Services ultimate sustainability goal is to provide an optimized, balanced, living and learning experience with the least amount of impact on the environment.
UC Riverside’s green initiative is an outstanding example of the Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. By constantly improving their infrastructure, UCR has established it’s self as a leader in sustainability. Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do in Riverside, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.
What does replacing fluorescent light bulbs with LEDs have to do with solar-heated washing machines, energy audits, resin-hardened clothing or a color-coded map that illustrates air pollution? They’re all proposals from UC Riverside students to help the campus achieve the University of California’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2025.
The university received 38 proposals in less than three weeks for UC President Janet Neapolitan’s new Sustainability Student Fellowship/Internship Program, the most received by any UC campus, said UCR’s Director of Sustainability John Cook.
Napolitano’s office provided $7,500 to each of the UC’s 10 campuses in February to encourage students to get involved in the UC’s carbon neutrality and sustainability goals, which include getting each campus back to the same level of emissions it had in 1990. That’s a huge task for UC Riverside, Cook said, because the campus has grown from about 6,000 students in 1990 to more than 22,000 today, with expanded research programs and new schools of engineering and medicine that didn’t exist before.
“We have the biggest challenge of all the UCs, but we can figure it out,” Cook said. “We have the willpower and brainpower on campus to do it, and that’s what this fellowship does; it puts the brainpower and student engagement together, so we can all be a part of the solution and it’s not just something that happens at the physical plant somewhere. It’s the whole campus working together.”
The five winning proposals will each receive $1,500 to complete their projects by the end of 2015, said Matt Barth, UCR professor of electrical and chemical engineering and a member of the UC Global Climate Leadership Counsel. Barth and Cook helped choose the winning proposals along with UCR Professor of Geology Mary Droser, who sits on the education subcommittee of the UC Global Climate Leadership Counsel.
“I would definitely say all the applications were great,” said Barth. “We were extremely surprised to get so many applications with such a short turnaround period. This fellowship is giving students a chance to show off their ideas while helping us meet our sustainability goals, and they’ve given us some pretty good stuff.”
UCR’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2025 demonstrates what makes UCR and Riverside a catalyst for innovation. Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.
After a car accident five years ago caused a traumatic brain injury and numerous broken bones, Rebecca Trupp, senior mechanical engineering major at California Baptist University, was forced to relearn basic life skills.
Trupp dreamed of designing and working for NASCAR and felt she had to re-evaluate her career when she was no longer able to process mathematical and engineering concepts.
In 2012, Trupp developed an outreach program using NAO robots with guidance from Dr. Anthony Donaldson, dean and professor of the College of Engineering, and Dr. Liya Grace Ni, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.
The NAO robots were first introduced when the College of Engineering received a W.M. Keck grant of $250,000. The money funds Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) hardware, as well as advanced computing and full-body robots and robotics equipment.
Trupp reached out to local schools to educate students on engineering along with other opportunities available with a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degree.
With a passion to serve her community, she accepted a challenge proposed by Donaldson to recruit K-12 students with programmed robots. It was then that the NAO Outreach program was implemented.
The NAO Outreach program serves as an example of the possibilities that come from engineering programs. Promoting engineering from CBU is only a portion of a nationwide campaign designed to educate and encourage more students to pursue an education in STEM. Programs like this are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. Encouraging students to pursue an education in STEM is no easy task, but for Rebecca Trupp robotics is her her vehicle to do so. Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.
Lithium-sulfur batteries have been a hot topic in battery research because of their ability to produce up to 10 times more energy than conventional batteries, which means they hold great promise for applications in energy-demanding electric vehicles.
However, there have been fundamental road blocks to commercializing these sulfur batteries. One of the main problems is the tendency for lithium and sulfur reaction products, called lithium polysulfides, to dissolve in the battery’s electrolyte and travel to the opposite electrode permanently. This causes the battery’s capacity to decrease over its lifetime.
Researchers in the Bourns College of Engineeringat the University of California, Riverside have investigated a strategy to prevent this “polysulfide shuttling” phenomenon by creating nano-sized sulfur particles, and coating them in silica (SiO2), otherwise known as glass.
Ph.D. students in Cengiz Ozkan’s and Mihri Ozkan’s research groups have been working on designing a cathode material in which silica cages “trap” polysulfides having a very thin shell of silica, and the particles’ polysulfide products now face a trapping barrier – a glass cage. The team used an organic precursor to construct the trapping barrier.
“Our biggest challenge was to optimize the process to deposit SiO2 – not too thick, not too thin, about the thickness of a virus”, Mihri Ozkan said.
Graduate students Brennan Campbell, Jeffrey Bell, Hamed Hosseini Bay, Zachary Favors, and Robert Ionescu found that silica-caged sulfur particles provided a substantially higher battery performance, but felt further improvement was necessary because of the challenge with the breakage of the SiO2 shell.
“We have decided to incorporate mildly reduced graphene oxide (mrGO), a close relative of graphene, as a conductive additive in cathode material design, to provide mechanical stability to the glass caged structures”, Cengiz Ozkan said.
The new generation cathode provided an even more dramatic improvement than the first design, since the team engineered both a polysulfide-trapping barrier and a flexible graphene oxide blanket that harnesses the sulfur and silica together during cycling.
“The design of the core-shell structure essentially builds in the functionality of polysulfide surface-adsorption from the silica shell, even if the shell breaks”, Brennan Campbell said. “Incorporation of mrGO serves the system well in holding the polysulfide traps in place. Sulfur is similar to oxygen in its reactivity and energy yet still comes with physical challenges, and our new cathode design allows sulfur to expand and contract, and be harnessed.”
This advancement in battery technology is an outstanding model of Seizing Our Destiny’scatalyst for innovation pillar. The students and staff at UC Riverside cultivate and support ideas, research, and products that accelerate the common good for all. Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do in Riveside, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have invented a novel pretreatment technology that could cut the cost of biofuels production by about 30 percent or more by dramatically reducing the amount of enzymes needed to breakdown the raw materials that form biofuels.
The BioEnergy Science Center is a U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Center focused on enhancing science and technology to reduce the cost of biomass conversion through support by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in the Department of Energy Office of Science..
“As recent months have shown, petroleum prices are inherently unstable and will likely return to high prices soon as expensive sources are taken off line,” said Professor Charles Wyman, the Ford Motor Company Chair in Environmental Engineering at UC Riverside. “We have created a transformative technology that has the potential to make biofuels an economic sustainable alternative to petroleum-based fuels.”
“These findings are very significant because they establish a new pretreatment process that can dramatically reduce enzyme loadings and costs, thereby improving the competitiveness for biological conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to fuels,” said Wyman, who has focused on understanding and advancing biofuels technologies for more than 30 years. “Understanding the mechanisms responsible for achieving these intriguing results can also suggest even more powerful paths to improving the economics of converting non-edible biomass into sustainable fuels.”
This advancement in biofuels is an outstanding model of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. The students and staff at UC Riverside cultivate and support ideas, research, and products that accelerate the common good for all. Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do in Riveside, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have developed a novel paper-like material for lithium-ion batteries. It has the potential to boost by several times the specific energy, or amount of energy that can be delivered per unit weight of the battery.
This paper-like material is composed of sponge-like silicon nanofibers more than 100 times thinner than human hair. It could be used in batteries for electric vehicles and personal electronics.
The nanofibers were produced using a technique known aselectrospinning, whereby 20,000 to 40,000 volts are applied between a rotating drum and a nozzle, which emits a solution composed mainly of tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS), a chemical compound frequently used in the semiconductor industry. The nanofibers are then exposed to magnesium vapor to produce the sponge-like silicon fiber structure.
Conventionally produced lithium-ion battery anodes are made using copper foil coated with a mixture of graphite, a conductive additive, and a polymer binder. But, because the performance of graphite has been nearly tapped out, researchers are experimenting with other materials, such as silicon, which has a specific capacity, or electrical charge per unit weight of the battery, nearly 10 times higher than graphite.
The problem with silicon is that is suffers from significant volume expansion, which can quickly degrade the battery. The silicon nanofiber structure created in the Ozkan’s labs circumvents this issue and allows the battery to be cycled hundreds of times without significant degradation.
“Eliminating the need for metal current collectors and inactive polymer binders while switching to an energy dense material such as silicon will significantly boost the range capabilities of electric vehicles,” Favors said.
This technology also solves a problem that has plagued free-standing, or binderless, electrodes for years: scalability. Free-standing materials grown using chemical vapor deposition, such as carbon nanotubes or silicon nanowires, can only be produced in very small quantities (micrograms). However, Favors was able to produce several grams of silicon nanofibers at a time even at the lab scale.
The researchers’ future work involves implementing the silicon nanofibers into a pouch cell format lithium-ion battery, which is a larger scale battery format that can be used in EVs and portable electronics.
The research is supported by Temiz Energy Technologies. The UC Riverside Office of Technology Commercialization has filed patents for inventions reported in the research paper.
This advancement in battery technology is an outstanding model of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. The students and staff at UC Riverside cultivate and support ideas, research, and products that accelerate the common good for all. Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do in Riveside, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.
The grant funds are divided evenly with $5,000 for “Edison Scholars” and $5,000 to fund tutor stipends in the student academic center’s Collaborative Learning Center for students needing assistance in the STEM areas.
The Edison Scholars will receive their scholarships this spring. Scholarship criteria include academic achievement and financial need. Students majoring in computer science, information systems, mathematics, chemistry, physics, or environmental science are eligible to apply.
The learning center’s goals include having the STEM professors vet the learning assistants to ensure that the learning assistants understand course objectives and content in order to maintain a high quality program for students.
“We want students engaged in the material, and we want to help them learn how to study and what to study,” said Melanie Jobe, C-SAS director. “Having competent and trained learning assistants is vital to the success of this program.”
The Collaborative Learning Center provides academic support through peer tutoring in a non-traditional, innovative learning environment toward the development of academic knowledge and transferable skills. Currently 17 learning assistants, typically upper classmen with experience and knowledge of the STEM subjects, provide evening tutoring Monday – Thursday to students who are divided into groups of two or three.
“We call it Supplemental Learning Sessions. We have mixed the best of tutoring practices and supplemental instruction into one,” said Rakel Engles, learning center program coordinator. During the sessions, the learning assistants divide students into subject areas, take questions, then circulate throughout the room to answer further questions and encourage group study.
Engles encourages La Sierra students to take advantage of the opportunity to better their understanding of their subject areas and ultimately their academic performance. “Come to the supplemental learning sessions,” she says. “Come prepared with questions, homework, and whatever you need to get the work done.”
Grants like this increase the great work done at UC Riverside to equip our STEM students with the knowledge they need to succeed. UC Riverside is known for catalyzing innovation in many fields of study and thus promotes the aspirations of Seizing Our Destiny.
Riverside City College student Ravneet Kaur, 20, has been appointed to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors.
A 2012 graduate of Hemet High School, Kaur is well known for her volunteering. Currently she is a Region IX Governance and Internal Policy senator for the Student Senate for California Community Colleges and a member of the Associated Students of Riverside City College (RCC).
The mission of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and the Chancellor’s Office is to empower the community colleges through leadership, advocacy and support. As a member of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, Kaur says she plans to bring the experience she has collected from being a student advocate and liaison, as well as what she has learned through shared governance.
“Going to community college has probably been one of the best decisions I’ve made; it’s pushed me to excel more in everything that I took part in,” said Kaur, who takes honors classes at RCC and volunteers extensively. “Getting involved with the Associated Students of Moreno Valley College and Riverside City College has really helped develop who I am. I’ve grown so much as a person, from my critical thinking to communication skills; I couldn’t imagine a different college experience.”
“Being involved at the local level has given me a sense of what students and faculty want, and being able to engage in committees on the state level has given me a balanced head in what changes can be made,” she said. “Throughout the years I have been a student, chair, and liaison. I know what being a student representative entails, and I have a close understanding what our local colleges and students want.”
Exemplifying Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar, the educational institutions of Riverside cultivate and support useful and beneficial ideas that will aid Kaur in finding ways to better support the community colleges of our region.
On Tuesday, Dec. 16, Hoddle, the director of UCR’s Center for Invasive Species Research, released the wasp Diaphorencyrtus aligarhensis, a second species of ACP natural enemy, also from the Punjab region of Pakistan. Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox and others involved in rearing insects on and off campus helped release the tiny wasps from vials.
Successful biocontrol of citrus pests in California sometimes requires more than one species of natural enemy because citrus is grown in a variety of different habitats – hot desert areas like Coachella, cooler coastal zones like Ventura, and intermediate areas like Riverside/Redlands and northern San Diego County.
Hoddle’s lab has developed a release plan for Diaphorencyrtus. Initial releases will focus on parts of Southern California with ACP infestations in urban areas but whereTamarixia has not been released.
“This is because we want to minimize competition between these two wasp species in the initial establishment phase,” Hoddle explained. “Further, we will work closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture on identifying places to concentrate our release efforts.”
Hoddle’s plan is to gradually transition production of the new wasp over to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) then onto private insectaries interested in rearing this natural enemy. For the first 12-18 months, UCR and then later the CDFA will be leading the rearing and release program for this new ACP natural enemy.
Through commitment and dedication, UCR is always improving and making strides in becoming a green machine. Exemplifying Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar, UCR values the cultivation and support of innovation within our community acting as a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.
ACP-HLB is a serious threat to California’s annual $2 billion citrus industry. This insect-disease combination has cost Florida’s citrus industry $1.3 billion in losses, production costs have increased by 40 percent, and more than 6,000 jobs have been lost as citrus trees have died and the industry has contracted.
When ACP feeds on citrus leaves and stems, it damages the tree by injecting a toxin that causes leaves to twist and die. The more serious issue is that ACP spreads a bacterium that causes HLB. Trees with HLB have mottled leaves and small bitter fruit. Trees die within about 8 years of infection. To date there is no known cure for HLB.