Riverside Unified School District Teachers Go On Arctic Expedition

(This article contains excerpts from rusdlink.org and the Arctic’s Edge Facebook page.)

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After collecting samples from four ponds along Lindy Trail this morning, the team “chills” on the tundra. Photo credit: Arctic’s Edge

Eight Riverside Unified School District teachers went on an Arctic Expedition this summer. With an Earthwatch fellowship made possible through the Riverside Educational Enrichment Foundation (REEF).

The adventurers include: Stephanie  Niechayev from Arlington High School; JulieOlson from Chemawa Middle school; Melinda Lang from Madison Elementary School; Erin Garcia from University Heights Middle School; Suzanne Priebe from Earhart Middle School; Tammy Soper from Sierra Middle School; Carla Yawney from Kennedy Elementary School; and Kristin Kund from Poly High School.

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Photo credit: Arctic’s Edge

The expedition team from RUSD exemplifies Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar.  Not only were they able to gather valuable research and data, they are now able to share the findings with their students. This experience gives students the opportunity to take their eyes out of the books briefly and connect with teachers in a fun and interesting way.

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Photo credit: Arctic’s Edge

The teachers departed for their trip on July 9 and were gone through July 20. They travelled to Manitoba, Canada to measure evidence of global warming. The objective was to take water samples; assess the abundance of fish and frogs, and monitor the health of trees in the area. Teachers spent the mornings collecting data, worked in labs in the afternoons, and attended lectures in the evenings.

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Arts Outreach Program Funded for 2014-2015

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Bettye Miller and published in UCR Today on July 14, 2014.)

The Gluck Fellows Program of the Arts, UC Riverside’s premier arts outreach program, has been awarded $555,000 by the Max H. Gluck Foundation to fund a 19th year of arts programs in Inland Empire schools, senior centers and other community venues.

Kate Alexander, center, leads a taiko drumming performance at the final show of the Gluck Summer Camp in June. Photos by Christine Leapman

Kate Alexander, center, leads a taiko drumming performance at the final show of the Gluck Summer Camp in June. Photos by Christine Leapman

“We are grateful to the Gluck Foundation for their continued support of this program,” said Christine Leapman, program coordinator at UCR. The Gluck Foundation is very interested in creating opportunities for women and disadvantaged minorities in the areas of health, education, creativity and culture. We’re very proud that we reflect those values in our workshops, and with our fellows and the constituencies they serve.”

The renewal of this grant will fund program costs for the 2014–15 year, including fellowships for more than 115 graduate and undergraduate students who conduct workshops in art, creative writing, dance, history of art, music, and theater.  This is exactly the kind of program that makes Riverside a Location of Choice.

In 2013–14, Gluck fellows conducted 711 workshops that were attended by more than 36,500 people in venues ranging from public schools and senior centers to the Riverside Art Museum and UCR, which hosts school visits and a popular summer arts camp. The Gluck Fellows Program began in 1996.

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Fellows who travel to schools are writing workshop curricula that fulfill Common Core requirements, Leapman said, which educators find helpful as they look to the arts to engage students while also satisfying state curriculum mandates.

New in 2014–15 will be the launch of GluckTV, a series of 12 short films from Gluck events at UCR that will be available on YouTube. Proposed by Gluck director and media and cultural studies professor Erika Suderburg, the student-produced films will provide information about workshops that are available to schools and other groups.

The Los Angeles-based Max H. Gluck Foundation was developed to support education and the arts. It funds programs that address the educational, health, cultural, and creative needs of the underserved.

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Entrepreneurs Team Up Under One Roof

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Laurie Lucas, published in the Press-Enterprise on July 13, 2014)

Three Inland Empire entrepreneurs with enough chops and hops to go pro have tapped into an unusual business model to keep their home drafts flowing.  Brad McCauley, 31, Jason Castonguay, 38, and Philip Vieira, 29, are exceptionally bright science and computer geeks with a thirst for creating innovative beers and ales. But they lack the big bucks for a startup.

Brad McCauley, 31, Jason Castonguay, 38, and Philip Vieira, 29, left to right, are three brewers sharing facilities in an “incubator” for home brewers provided by Brew Crew, who hold the lease in a Riverside building. Photo credit: Kurt Miller.

Brad McCauley, 31, Jason Castonguay, 38, and Philip Vieira, 29, left to right, are three brewers sharing facilities in an “incubator” for home brewers provided by Brew Crew, who hold the lease in a Riverside building. Photo credit: Kurt Miller.

The concept is to help nanobrewing neophytes shed their amateur status by allowing them to work in a collaborative space where they can share equipment, develop recipes in a commercial setting and test-market directly to the public.

It is interesting to see entrepreneurs collaborating to help build each others brands by sharing knowledge and equipment, the brewers at Brew Crew Inc exemplify Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar.  Working everyday to harness entrepreneurial spirit within the community, Riverside embraces economic growth and directs it so it maintains and improves our already outstanding quality of life. 

Brew Crew, an 1,800-square-foot manufacturing and retail facility at Suite G, 11626 Sterling Ave., contains two brewing systems, a walk-in cooler to store kegs and a bar with 16 taps. There’s seating for 50, 25 in the store front and 25 in the warehouse when brewing isn’t happening.

The trio of brewers are contract laborers working under the umbrella of a single corporation, Brew Crew, which leases the building. Its co-founders, CEO McCauley and Vince Pileggi, chief business officer, scrambled for 18 months to obtain all of the licensing and permits before opening the brewery and tap room six weeks ago. Depending on drink sizes, prices run from $1.50 to $7. There’s no food served, but customers may bring their own.  “There are a lot of home brew clubs in this area that have amazing brewers,” Pileggi said. The goal is to provide the resources “to incubate” fledgling brewers who hope to eventually take wing on their own. “We’re finding the best talent we can and courting others who can benefit and grow,” he said.

To read more, click here.

 

Device Eliminates 93 Percent of Lawnmower Pollutant

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Sean Nealon, published in UCRToday on July 7, 2014.)

Students create device that cuts harmful emissions from lawnmowers, which emit 11 times the air pollution of a new car for each hour of operation

A team of University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering students have won an EPA student design contest for a device they created that curbs harmful pollutant emitted from lawnmowers by 93 percent.

From left, Wartini Ng, Timothy Chow, Kawai Tam, Jonathan Matson and Brian Cruz. Photo Credit: UCR Today

From left, Wartini Ng, Timothy Chow, Kawai Tam, Jonathan Matson and Brian Cruz. Photo Credit: UCR Today

The students developed the device – an “L” shaped piece of stainless steel that attaches to the lawnmower where its muffler was – because small engine devices produce significant harmful emissions. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a gasoline powered lawn mower emits 11 times the air pollution of a new car for each hour of operation.

The students’ device also fits in with UC President Janet Napolitano’s recent announcement to make the University of California system carbon neutral by 2025. With that in mind, employees responsible for maintaining the lawns at UC Riverside have agreed to pilot the students’ device. That will likely start in the coming months.

The device can be thought of as a three stage system. First, a filter captures the harmful pollutants. Then an ultra-fine spray of urea solution is dispersed into the exhaust stream. The urea spray primes the dirty air for the final stage, when a catalyst converts the harmful nitrogen oxide and ammonia into harmless nitrogen gas and water and releases them into the air.

The device created by the student team being attached to a lawnmower. Photo credit: UCR Today

The device created by the student team being attached to a lawnmower. Photo credit: UCR Today

The University of California, Riverside is clearly dedicated to making a positive impact on the environment, and exemplifies Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. The students and professors collaborate to address issues, which lead to more inventive and multi-disciplinary approaches. The people and educational institutions of Riverside cultivate and support useful and beneficial ideas and research. Riverside is setting the bar as a Catalyst for Innovation in many ways.

The incoming team will work to further improve the device. Possible areas for refinement including scaling it up so that it could be used with rider lawnmowers and develop a way to insulate it.

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UC Riverside To Lead New Energy Frontier Research Center Project

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Kris Lovekin, published in UCR Today on June 18, 2014)

The project “SHINES” will receive $12 million from the Department of Energy to pursue fundamental advances in energy production, storage, and use.

Jing Shi, a professor of physics and astronomy, to lead the SHINES initiative.  Photo Credit: UC Riverside

Jing Shi, a professor of physics and astronomy, to lead the SHINES initiative. Photo Credit: UC Riverside

University of California, Riverside is always leading the way in research and technology.  The SHINES project is a great representation of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar.  Collaborating with the Department of Energy for the SHINES project is an outstanding opportunity for the research team at UCR to showcase it’s talents and innovative spirit.  Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.

A UC Riverside-led research project is among the 32 named today by U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz as an Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs), designed to accelerate the scientific breakthroughs needed to build a new 21st-century energy economy in the United States.

SHINES is one of 10 new projects announced today, along with 22 other projects receiving new funding based on achievements to date. The Department of Energy announced a total of $100 million in funding to support fundamental advances in energy production, storage, and use.

SHINES will investigate several aspects of basic research: new ultrathin films, nanostructured composites, high resolution imaging, the transport of electrical signals, heat and light. “All of it will be studied, modeled and simulated in order to help the nation’s ability to advance in the way we use energy,” said Shi, the lead researcher.

To read the full article, click here.

 

UCR Launches Largest Renewable Energy Project In California

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Aaron Grech, published in the Highlander News on June 3, 2014)

One of the most visible partners of the Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE) is the Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), which has begun a project to create a renewable energy research center that will study the integration of renewable energy sources such as an electrical smart grid that can help with charging electric cars and storing energy. The project, called the Sustainable Integrated Grid Initiative, will be the largest of its kind in California.  The UCR Bourns College of Engineering is at the forefront of renewable energy research.  The students and faculty are committed to developing state of the art technology to harness renewable energy on a much larger scale.  Riverside is working everyday to embrace intelligent growth within all facets of the community.

Photo credit:  UCR Today

Photo credit: UCR Today

Most energy supplied through current grids operates on a one-way interaction that distributes electricity from the grid to other structures such as buildings and houses. This makes it difficult to keep up with changing energy demands, and does not run on as many renewable energy sources.

Smart grids, on the other hand, can integrate technologies such as wind turbines and solar panels to provide cleaner energy sources, and also create energy storage because of their unique feedback system. As a result, grids can easily adapt to changing demands and cut electricity costs through storing surplus energy. In addition, the grids can also be used to supply energy to electric vehicles through charging stations that are connected to them.

“The project has implications for the nation and the world,” stated BCOE Dean Dr. Reza Abbaschian. If successful, this research aims to develop cleaner and more efficient ways to produce electricity and may eventually lead to other similar projects in the U.S.  According to Dr. Matthew Barth, the lead investigator of the initiative and director of CE-CERT, “The project puts UC Riverside at the forefront of smart grid and electric vehicle research, providing a unique platform for engineers and utilities to identify and solve potential problems.”

Brandon Prell, a second-year cellular and molecular biology major, believes that research on renewable energy is needed, in order for “the planet to continue developing.” He said that a smart grid will bring a change to that by modernizing outdated methods that may cause even further harm to the environment.

To read the full article, click here.

These Roofs Can Clean The Air

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Michael Franco, published on cnet.com on June 4, 2014.)

Students at UC Riverside have created a cheap coating that can go on ordinary clay roofing tiles to bust smog.

Roofing tiles protect homes from the environment, reflecting heat from the sun and keeping rainwater rolling away into gutters. Thanks to work done by students at the University of California at Riverside, however, roof shingles may soon be protecting the environment itself.

Photo credit: UC Riverside

Photo credit: UC Riverside

A team there coated off-the-shelf clay roofing tiles with titanium dioxide, a compound found in “everything from paint to food to cosmetics,” according to the researchers. They then placed the coated tiles into a mini atmosphere chamber they built out of wood, Teflon, and PVC pipes. The chamber was filled with nitrogen oxide and beamed with ultraviolet light to mimic the sun. Nitrogen oxides are compounds in the air that are responsible for causing smog.

What they found was that the coating on the tiles removed between 88 percent and 97 percent of the nitrogen oxides. This led them to calculate that an average-size residential roof coated with their titanium dioxide mixture could break down the same amount of smog-producing nitrogen oxides per year put out by a car driven 11,000 miles. They further calculated that 21 tons of nitric oxide could be eliminated every day if tiles on 1 million roofs got the coating.

And the price for the simple yet powerful smog-busting coating? Just about $5 to cover an average-sized roof.  The students on the team that executed the research and developed the titanium dioxide coating are graduating in the fall, but are hopeful that new students will take over their work and test other factors.

The team at UCR that developed this smog buster is a model of seizing our destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. Being that this project is so inexpensive and attainable, it has great potential for everyone to do their part and start to clean the skies.  Riverside is setting the bar as a Catalyst for Innovation in many ways.

To read more, click here.

Teacher Sees Arts As The Path To Understanding

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Patrick Brien, published in the Press Enterprise on May 22, 2014.)

One often hears about the benefits of arts education and the need to maintain it in our schools. There is often a misunderstanding, however, of why. Is this so that we can train the next generation of artists? While there are artists who will emerge, the benefits are much more tangible.

Ronda Barnes helps a class working on the keyboard.  Phot credit: Ronda Barnes

Ronda Barnes helps a class working on the keyboard. Phot credit: Ronda Barnes

“When you take a whole note and then make it 2 half notes, 4 quarter notes, 8 eighth notes and 16 sixteen notes, it gives students the visual reference they need to learn math,” she says. “Reading notes teaches sequences and identification of patterns which is also found in math.”

In high school, Barnes did everything from competing on the swim team to cheerleading, show choir and band, for whom she became the drum major during her senior year. That year she was also the director of the 60-piece Riverside Pops Youth Band.  Music has taken Barnes to Germany, Austria, France, Canada and around the United States, including Hawaii and Florida.

As Arts Magnet Coordinator for Ramona High School, Ronda Barnes is a face for arts education in Riverside. Photo credit: Ronda Barnes

As Arts Magnet Coordinator for Ramona High School, Ronda Barnes is a face for arts education in Riverside. Photo credit: Ronda Barnes

The program at Ramona High School is based around the development of a personalized plan for students to achieve their requirements while allowing them to take visual and performing arts classes.  “Because Ramona is Riverside’s only Arts Magnet, we have creative and performing arts classes only taught at our school,” explains Barnes.

Ronda Barnes is an excellent model of seizing our destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar.  Identifying ways for teachers to relate to their students isn’t always the easiest task, but for Ronda Barnes music is her vehicle to do so.  She uses music to develop fundamental math skills in a practical way.  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 more, click here.

A New Miles Per Gallon Rating System

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Sean Nealon, published in UCR Today, on May, 7, 2014.)

UC Riverside graduate student works with Motor Trend magazine to create fuel economy ratings for vehicles based on real-world driving, not lab tests.

Sam Cao, a UC Riverside graduate student, who tested cars in conjunction with Motor Trend.  Photo Credit: UCR Today

Sam Cao, a UC Riverside graduate student, who tested cars in conjunction with Motor Trend. Photo Credit: UCR Today

Do you ever wonder about the accuracy of those miles per gallon ratings pasted on windows of new cars?

So did Emissions Analytics, a United Kingdom-based vehicle emissions testing company. With the help of Sam Cao, a graduate student at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering, they set out to test the accuracy, but with one significant difference.

Those numbers are based on a standardized test procedure performed in a laboratory by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Emissions Analytics placed portable emissions measurement equipment on vehicles to test fuel economy while the cars were being driven on the road.

They found differences – up to 20 percent. Some cars fared better than EPA estimates, some worse and some about the same. For example:

  • A 2013 Honda Accord LX four-door sedan had an EPA rating of 27 miles per gallon on city streets and 36 miles per gallon on highways. The Real MPG, as Emissions Analytics calls their figure, was 19.8 city and 33.6 highway.
  • A 2014 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T SE four-door sedan had EPA ratings of 25 city and 36 highway. The Real MPG numbers were 27.9 city and 39.2 highway.
  • A 2014 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 two-door convertible had EPA ratings of 12 city and 18 highway. The Real MPG numbers were 12 city and 18.9 highway.

Cao, who works under Kent Johnson, an assistant research engineer at the Bourns College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology, worked with Emissions Analytics during the summer of 2013 as they tested vehicles at Motor Trend’s office in El Segundo.  Cao, a 2006 graduate of Temecula Valley High School who expects to earn his Ph.D. in June, has worked extensively with portable emissions measurement equipment at UC Riverside.\

A vehicle with portable emissions testing equipment is readied for on the road testing. Photo Credit: UCR Today

A vehicle with portable emissions testing equipment is readied for on the road testing. Photo Credit: UCR Today

While working with Emissions Analytics, Cao’s duties included installing the measurement equipment, trouble-shooting data acquisition problems and calibrating the instruments.  Cao’s work on the project is one of the latest examples of a more than 20-year history of emissions testing at the Center for Environmental Research and Technology. Initially, research focused on testing cars and trucks in a stationary setting. Now much of the testing is done on the road with portable emission measurement systems (PEMS).

Cao and Riversides’s Bourns College of Engineering exemplify seizing our destiny’s  intelligent growth and catalyst for innovation pillars. Comparing accurate MPG estimates are important, and has become a crucial factor to many people when choosing a new vehicle.  The people and educational institutions of Riverside cultivate and support beneficial ideas and research. Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.  Riverside promotes an outstanding quality of life for all through intelligent growth.

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