How Closely Are Water And Energy Linked?

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Iqbal Pittalwala, published in UCR Today on March 31,2014.)

UC Riverside to observe World Water Day on April 3 with symposium focused on water-energy nexus

California is facing its most severe drought in decades. Governor Jerry Brown has asked each state agency to reduce its water consumption by 20 percent over the next year.  Recently, University of California President Janet Napolitano urged each UC campus to take drought response measures aimed at reducing short-term water consumption.

The 2014 World Water Day had water and energy as its theme.  Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The 2014 World Water Day had water and energy as its theme. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

To observe World Water Day, the University of California, Riverside is hosting a symposium on April 3 in Room 240, Orbach Science Library. Extending from noon to 4 p.m., the symposium is free of charge and open to the public.

“World Water Day, a United Nations initiative, is celebrated around the world with one theme chosen each year,” said Ariel Dinar, the director of UC Riverside’s Water Science and Policy Center (WSPC), which is hosting the symposium. “It is apt that the theme this year is water and energy.  A significant amount of energy goes to move and pump water.  Therefore, saving water will save energy and saving energy will save water.  This nexus is very important in semi-arid regions such as California.  UCR has several researchers and graduate students working on the water-energy nexus.  We expect in this symposium to raise awareness of the linkage between water and energy so that both resources can be conserved and used in an optimal way today and in the future.”

A number of experts will give short talks at the symposium. They will cover a wide range of water- and energy-related topics, including renewable energy, using marginal land to produce biodiesel, energy considerations needed when purifying water for potable reuse, and how the Emirate of Dubai makes decisions related to water and energy.

The World Water Day symposium that will take place at UC Riverside exemplifies the seizing our destiny pillar catalyst for innovation.   Creating and redeveloping processes to attain  and retain energy resources is one the most important subjects of our future.  Since most forms of energy require the use of water, the symposium at UCR will focus on  increasing efficiency with our water supply to prepare for energy demand in the future.  UCR’s commitment and efforts to raise awareness of the water and energy initiative illustrates itself to be a catalyst for innovation in our community, as well as the scientific community.

To read the full article, click here.

Champions Council Focuses On Promoting Mentorship Programs For 2014

The Seizing Our Destiny Champions Council convened in late February and brainstormed possible projects for the Champions in 2014.  While focusing on the intelligent growth pillar, a common message seemed to surround the subject of mentoring.

Champions Council

After brainstorming and discussing potential projects and developments, the groups agreed on the fact that allocating their efforts toward mentorship programs would be a great task.  One focus would be on mentoring for high school seniors.  College bound or not, individuals in this age group play a pivotal role in developing a strong future for Riverside, and we want to make sure that each student has all of the guidance and resources they need to secure their future.

Champions Council1

Champions Council2

There was also discussion of business/entrepreneurial mentoring.  The plan is to research all mentoring opportunities in Riverside and report back to the council in April.  The next step will be determining how the council will support existing mentoring programs, as well as identify areas where mentoring may be lacking.  The Seizing Our Destiny Champions Council is excited to see the impact of growing mentorship programs and awareness in Riverside and improving the resources available.

Although the council was focusing on the intelligent growth pillar of the seizing our destiny initiative, developing our mentorship resources really touches all four pillars; intelligent growth, catalyst for innovation, location of choice, and unified city.  The fact that the task at hand relates to all four of the pillars in different ways makes this a real win.

The mission of intelligent growth is built upon growing the economy, raising the standard of living and managing a growing population.  Developing strong mentorship opportunities in the community is one of many paths to raising the standard of living in our beloved city and managing a growing population.

For more information, contact Teresa Rosales, Seizing Our Destiny Coordinator, at

Artist Spotlight: Stacee Tweedlie

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Patrick Brien published in the Press Enterprise on March 10, 2014)

                                                                                                                                                                                            /CONTRIBUTED IMAGE Stacee Tweedlie, seen here in December 2013, teaches musical theatre classes through the City of Riverside Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department at the Orange Terrace Community Center.

Stacee Tweedlie, seen here in December 2013, teaches musical theatre classes through the City of Riverside Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department at the Orange Terrace Community Center.

Stacee Tweedlie remembers the specific moment when a teacher’s love for musical theatre opened her eyes to a whole new set of possibilities. That is the moment she decided to become a teacher. “I knew right then I wanted to be that person for someone,” she says with a smile. “I wanted to share my love of theatre with kids and help them see that it’s more than just singing, dancing and acting. Theatre is teamwork, social skills, life lessons and, most importantly, fun.”

While still pursuing her BA in Theatre Education at Cal State Fullerton, Tweedlie began teaching private singing lessons and working at various children’s theatres in Orange County. After graduating and moving back to Riverside, where she had grown up, Tweedlie established her own studio, the Tweedlie Center for the Arts. She also began teaching musical theatre classes through the City of Riverside Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department at the Orange Terrace Community Center.

 /CONTRIBUTED IMAGE   This April 2013 production of "Aristocats" was held at the Orange Terrace Community Center in Riverside where Stacee Tweedlie teaches musical theatre classes.

This April 2013 production of “Aristocats” was held at the Orange Terrace Community Center in Riverside where Stacee Tweedlie teaches musical theatre classes.

Tweedlie talks about how her dream is not for her students to end up on Broadway. She says “I just want theatre and the arts to make a positive impact in their lives,” she says. “Whether they do one show with me or every single one until they leave for college, I hope that each student’s time spent in my classroom helps them become a better, more well-rounded and well-spoken, independent individual. Anything beyond that is a bonus.” Tweedlie, is also a performer with an extensive list of credits that includes such companies as Candlelight Pavilion, Downey Civic Light Opera and Huntington Beach Playhouse, believes that it is important to continue performing in order to remain relevant for her students. Shows in which she has appeared include “Seussical” (Gertrude), “The Full Monty” (Susan) and “Company” (Marta). She is also currently stage managing the Gestalt Theatre Project production of Neil LaBute’s “The Shape of Things,” which opens in April at The Box in downtown Riverside.I love working with kids, but there is something amazing about watching experienced actors in their element, especially in such a cool place as The Box,” says Tweedlie. “Not to mention I am quite a fan of Neil LaBute and the play, itself.”

It is individuals like Tweedlie who are demonstrating their love of theatre and arts, which reflects in her passion for community involvement. She says, “I’d also like to become more involved with the city of Riverside”. “I am falling in love all over again with this town. Our downtown area is becoming even more magical with the new convention center, The Box and all the great new restaurants, plus the Mission Inn. I want to help make sure that continues.” For more information on Stacee Tweedlie or the Tweedlie Center for the Arts, visit To read the full article click here.

Students Create New, Healthy Dessert Bar

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Whitney Waters, published in CBU’s The Banner on February 23, 2014.)

Create a dessert that is healthy, tasty and gives back to the community? Unheard of!  California Baptist University’s recently-opened Food Innovation Center and Angel Wings Bakery are combining forces to create a dessert bar that is both nutritious and tasty.

Provider Food Service has stated they will buy the product and donate all proceeds to Path of Life Ministries, a nonprofit that helps the homeless.  Angel Wings Bakery, a separate nonprofit, directs all of its proceeds to sustain the homeless services that Path of Life provides. They also train and give temporary employment opportunities to Path of Life guests.



Every Friday, students gather at the Food Innovation Center off campus to experiment with and modify ingredients in everyday desserts. Students break into different teams, and each week they try to swap an unhealthy ingredient for something nutritious.

“We want to develop products that have more nutritional value but will still be marketable,” said Dr. Margaret Barth, professor of nutrition and food sciences and program director of the Nutrition and Food Sciences said.  CBU’s School of Business was offered to help by calculating the cost of creating the product and the profit margin, and graphic design students plan to design the wrapper for the finished product.

“The hardest part about the project is creating something that is nutritious, but still tastes good,” said Sarah Velez, senior nutrition science major.

Each week, the students are given new recipes from the Angel Wings Bakery, where they analyze the different ingredients and attempt to add nutritional value to the baked goods.  “It is definitely tough to be consistent,” Velez said. “Because we are separated in different teams, we have to keep detailed track of our steps in the process so that if we find something that works, we will know exactly what steps were taken in order to achieve it.”  Students are learning how to develop a marketable product and create a product that can be a consistent source of income for Path of Life.

The students that have dedicated their efforts to the Food Innovation Center on campus at CBU are a testament of seizing our destiny in many ways.  Pairing up with Angel Wings Bakery and Provider Food Service has enabled the program to be a real catalyst for innovation.  Getting the School of Business on campus to help manage the program has been a great resource for the program as well.  Collaborating to build the community is what transforms places into a location of choice.

To read the full article, click here.

Combining Forces To Stop Hackers

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Sean Nealon, published in UCR Today on March 4, 2014.)

Company co-founded by UC Riverside alumnus is bought by company valued at $1 billion

Anirban Banerjee, co-founder of StopTheHacker

Anirban Banerjee, co-founder of StopTheHacker

StopTheHacker, an anti-malware company created by a graduate of the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering, has been bought by CloudFlare, the web performance and security company who protects more than 1.5 million web sites and sees five percent of Internet traffic worldwide.

StopTheHacker was co-founded by Anirban Banerjee shortly after he received his Ph.D. from UC Riverside in 2008. CloudFlare, which is based in San Francisco, is valued at $1 billion by venture capital firms,according to an analysis by the Wall Street Journal.

Banerjee, now a systems engineer at CloudFlare in charge of integrating the technology developed by StopTheHacker into CloudFlare’s system, said the acquisition is the exact path he wanted StopTheHacker to take.

Banerjee’s achievements  and success have been an excellent example of seizing our destiny‘s catalyst for innovation pillar.  Anirban has not only a bright future, but a set path in an admirable career with an increasing demand.

Over a period of several months CloudFlare talked to about six malware scanning companies, including StopTheHacker, whose malware scanning service has been available for two years in the CloudFlare Apps Marketplace, said Matthew Prince, CEO and co-founder of CloudFlare.

StopTheHacker was based in Riverside until moving to San Francisco in 2011. Banerjee, who came to the United States from India in 2004 to pursue his Ph.D. at UC Riverside, co-founded the company with Michalis Faloutsos, a former computer science and engineering professor at UC Riverside who advised Banerjee. Faloutsos is now a professor and chair of the computer science department at The University of New Mexico.

To read the full article, click here.

Vision And The Brain: Can We Be Trained To See Better?

(This article contains excerpts from an article written by Kathleen Lees, published in Science World Report on February 17, 2014)

According to a recent study, researchers from the University of California, Riverside discovered that good vision may have a lot to do with an individual’s ability to spot out details.  For their experiment, they examined the role of vision for UCR’s baseball players, discovering just how a visual training program that teaches the brain how to see better could positively affect the sport’s players ability to succeed in the game.

For their experiment, researchers examined the role of vision for Riverside, Ca. baseball players. (Photo : Flickr/A Nowak)

For their experiment, researchers examined the role of vision for Riverside, Ca. baseball players. (Photo : Flickr/A Nowak)

“The goal of the program is to train the brain to better respond to the inputs that it gets from the eye,” Seitz said, via a press release. “As with most other aspects of our function, our potential is greater than our normative level of performance. When we go to the gym and exercise, we are able to increase our physical fitness; it’s the same thing with the brain. By exercising our mental processes we can promote our mental fitness.”

With the latest and greatest technology, researchers and psychologists have been able to apply their creativity and drive to help close the gap between potential and ability. This is just another example of how catalyst for innovation is demonstrated at Riverside’s universities.

“The demonstration that seven players reached 20/7.5 acuity-the ability to read text at three times the distance of a normal observer-is dramatic and required players to stand forty feet back from the eye chart in order to get a measurement of their vision,” Seitz concluded, via the release.

After the 2 month training period, players reported “seeing the ball much better,” “greater peripheral vision,” “easy to see further,” “able to distinguish lower-contrasting things,” “eyes feel stronger, they don’t get tired as much,” and so on.

To read the full article, click here.





Remodeled Convention Center Brings High Hopes

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Alicia Robinson, published in The Press-Enterprise on February 14th, 2014)

Riverside’s renovated convention center hasn’t yet opened but is already eliciting the “wows” city leaders hoped for in 2012 when they ponied up an extra $4.6 million dollars for a more attractive design.  A large scale renovation of the Riverside convention center has been long overdue, and on March 1st, 2014 the new convention center is scheduled to open it’s doors.  Loaded with state of the art technology and high end capabilities, the convention center will become a choice for new markets such as biomedical and pharmaceutical conventions, financial services events and corporate meetings. We will have the opportunity to showcase the City as a location of choice to many new visitors.

Now it sports a custom chandelier hanging in the 66-foot-high glass entry tower, a 40 percent larger exhibit hall, building-wide Wi-Fi and hundreds of smart phone charging stations, giving city and tourism officials hope that the center has everything a 21st century convention needs.

Photo credit: Kurt Miller/ staff photographer

Photo credit: Kurt Miller/ Staff Photographer

Riverside officials had been planning for nearly a decade to update the convention center, which opened in 1976 and had its last major touch-up in the late 1990s.  “It was a little worn before,” said Councilman Mike Gardner, who represents downtown.

Officials have said they got complaints about inadequate restrooms and a lack of “breakout rooms” for smaller sessions, and the center didn’t meet current earthquake standards. It also had a boxy, nearly windowless, dated design that didn’t command attention.

The redesigned center has a larger exhibit hall, two ballrooms, more small meeting rooms, a modern kitchen, a glass-walled entry tower, and the first escalator in a Riverside city building. Officials with the city and Raincross Hospitality Corp. said the furnishings – cherry wood paneling and a variety of carpet patterns in brown, beige and colonial blue – are meant to evoke a boutique hotel.

Photo Credit: Kurt Miller/ Staff Photograpgher

Photo Credit: Kurt Miller/ Staff Photographer

Riverside officials are banking on the kind of results Palm Springs has seen, after a $34 million upgrade completed in 2005.  Business has come back stronger than ever after dipping in 2008 and 2009 due to the recession, said James Canfield, executive director of the Palm Springs Convention Center and the city’s bureau of tourism.

Riverside Convention Center officials expect the upgrade puts them in a better position to compete with convention centers in Ontario and Pasadena and the Pechanga Resort & Casino near Temecula. They also say it enables them to go after a higher caliber of events.

To read the full article, click here.

UC Riverside Intent On Setting A Green Example

(This article includes excerpts from an article written by Kris Lovekin, and published by UCR Today on February 5, 2014.)

A remodeled School of Medicine Education Building at UCR earns LEED Silver for Environmental Efficiency.  LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a nationally recognized benchmark for cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings, overseen by the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council. And when they say “green,” they mean much more than installing insulation and energy-efficient windows.

UCR's School of Medicine Education Building.  Photo Credit: Ross French

UCR’s School of Medicine Education Building. Photo Credit: Ross French

UCR actively began seeking LEED certifications in 2012, and earned its first award—a LEED Gold certificate—for the new School of Medicine Research Building last year. It hopes to earn two more gold certificates for new construction this year with the 800-bed Glen Mor 2 dormitory and the Student Recreation Center, and a gold certificate for operation and maintenance in existing buildings at Glen Mor 1.  UC Riverside is not only setting high goals for sustainability, but they are achieving those goals.  With a commitment to setting a “green example”, UC Riverside is always finding ways to make Riverside a location of choice while encouraging intelligent growth. 

Installing an 11-acre solar farm later this summer will help UCR achieve its net zero goal, by producing an anticipated 6.6 million kilowatt hours of solar energy per year, all of which will be used on campus, and over 20 years, reduce its overall electricity costs. But Cook said it’s important to include all the ways sustainability can help when you are looking at the potential savings of going green.

To read the full article, click here. 


Riverside Citizen Science Partnership With Smithsonian

(This includes excerpts from the National Park Service RTCA Newsletter, Spring 2014 Edition)

Riverside, once renowned for its science community, is returning to its roots with the advent of the Riverside Citizen Science partnership. James Bryant, of the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, and Rusty Russell, of the Smithsonian Institution, reached out to like-minded individuals to create Citizen Science Week.  The partners and community response was so favorable that the idea to make citizen science available to the community year round was pollinated.

Riverside is returning to its roots with the advent of the Riverside Citizen Science partnership. Photo Credit: James Bryant

Riverside is returning to its roots with the advent of the Riverside Citizen Science partnership. Photo Credit: James Bryant

A  working group was formed in 2011 to create a strategic plan to bring this vision to the community. The partnership coalesced to write several successful grants together, including a Proposition 84 Nature Education Facility Grant to fund the construction of the Ameal Moore Nature Center in Sycamore Canyon, where the heart of the citizen science activities will begin. Scheduled to open in spring 2014, the nature center will host citizen science programs, including a Bioblitz where participants have limited time to count species.  A healthy mixture of creativity and collaboration is the best way to encourage intelligent growth within a community.

The upcoming year of citizen activities will be coupled with technology and social media. The USDA Forest Service Pacific Research Station Forest Fire Laboratory at Riverside is working to create a social media platform where citizen scientists can create a profile on “My Sycamore Canyon” for sharing, discussion, and observations in the park.

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