Category Archives: Creativity

Two Of CBU’s Publications Won Top National Awards

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in CBU News & Events on March 20, 2015.)

Photo Credit: CBU
Photo Credit: CBU

Two of California Baptist University’s campus publications, The Banner newspaper and Pursuitmagazine, took home top national awards at recent journalism conferences in Los Angeles and New York City.

The Associated College Press awarded 1st place “Best of Show” awards to both The Bannernewspaper and Pursuit magazine, in those respective categories, and The Banner Onlineearned the 5th place award in the Best Website category. The 31st Annual ACP National College Journalism Convention was held in Los Angeles Feb. 26 to March 1. A complete list of winners is available by clicking here.

“This is really unprecedented in my experience that one program would be awarded 1st place Best of Show in both the newspaper and magazine categories,” said Dr. Michael Chute, director of the journalism & new media and public relations program. “It is the third year in a row that The Banner has been named the top ‘Best of Show’ newspaper at the ACP convention. This really speaks to the quality work our students do on the campus publications and the top honor three years in a row shows how consistent our students have been in producing quality publications.”

CBU’s constant achievements help make the university and Riverside a location of choice for students seeking the best education for a reasonable price.

In the California College Media Association convention Feb. 28, CCMA awarded seven CBU students for outstanding achievement in writing, photography and design. The Pursuit staff also earned an honorable mention in the Best Magazine category.

At its Spring National College Media Convention in New York City March 11-14, the College Media Association awarded Pursuit magazine 2nd place in Best Magazine Spread, as well as 3rd place in Best Overall Design for another magazine spread, which competed against design entries from newspapers, magazines, yearbooks and advertising.

Colleges and universities from across the U.S. enter publications in the ACP and College Media Association competitions each year.

To read the full article, click here.

Film Camp Offers Hope For Pediatric Cancer Patients

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Bettye Miller and published in UCR Today on March 12, 2015.)

Cassie Nguyen, a senior public policy major and brain cancer survivor, will introduce her Spotlight On Hope Film Camp to the community on April 2. Photo Credit: UCR Today
Cassie Nguyen, a senior public policy major and brain cancer survivor, will introduce her Spotlight On Hope Film Camp to the community on April 2. Photo Credit: UCR Today

Brain cancer. Not the diagnosis Cassie Nguyen was expecting as a sophomore at Riverside’s Martin Luther King High School. Neither was the debilitating surgery that saved her life.

Today, Nguyen is an honor student and School of Public Policy ambassador at the University of California, Riverside, where she will graduate in June. She is a 10-year cancer survivor, American Cancer Society advocate, and the creator of Spotlight On Hope Film Camp, a free film making program for pediatric cancer patients that until now has been held only in Los Angeles.

Nguyen hopes to bring the film camp to UC Riverside and the Inland Empire, and is screening short films written and produced by pediatric cancer patients in the program on Thursday, April 2, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Highlander Union Building 367. The event is free and open to the public. Parking is free in Lot 1; pick up parking permits at the Kiosk on West Campus Drive at the University Avenue entrance to the campus. Reservations are requested as seating is limited and may be made online. The screening is co-sponsored by University Honors and the Women’s Resource Center.

The Riverside resident said she hopes the screening will generate support to expand the program to the Inland Empire. She hopes eventually to establish a nonprofit foundation and offer film camps across the country.

Approximately 13,500 children are diagnosed with cancer each year in the U.S., and about 25 percent of them die, Nguyen said. Although Spotlight On Hope Film Camp does not reduce the death rate, it does provide a therapeutic outlet for pediatric cancer patients, she explained.

“I know how boring the hospital scene is,” Nguyen said, recalling the surgery to remove the tumor from her brain, a year of radiation and chemotherapy, and physical therapy to learn to write with her left hand and regain mobility to address on-going balance and difficult vision issues. “I wanted to do something to help kids take their minds off what was happening to them and give them something to look forward to.”

Nguyen suggested the film camp for young cancer patients while working as an intern for Think Ten Media Group, a production company based in Castaic that aims to use the power of media to create change and spread awareness of key issues.

She raised $700 to cover production costs of the first camp, held in September 2013, by selling plastic cancer bracelets to UCR faculty and students, family and friends in her junior year. She dedicated the first film camp to a younger cousin who died of sarcoma cancer at age 14.

Think Ten Media Group co-founders and filmmakers Ramon Hamilton and Jennifer Fischer helped Nguyen develop the Spotlight On Hope Film Camp for pediatric cancer patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles as part of their company’s arts education program. The UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television hosts the camp in Los Angeles.

When the film camp proved to be successful, Nguyen applied for and won a $10,000 scholarship from the Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholarship Foundation in 2014, which funded 10 more film camps at UCLA. The foundation awards $10,000 scholarships to as many as 15 California college juniors annually to support public-service projects that the students carry out during their senior year.

Spotlight On Hope Film Camp allows patients to explore the art of green screen and special effects film-making while working in groups to create a short, green screen and special effects film. The participants, who range in age from 8 to 22, also learn about story/character development, camera technique, video and FX editing during three days of weekend classes.

“Being a pediatric patient myself, I understand how valuable a creative therapeutic outlet can be in the midst of your long, dreadful and difficult journey battling cancer,” Nguyen explained. “Spotlight On Hope Film Camp can help children live in a fantasy world that allows them to get away from all their troubles and create lasting memories.”

Nguyen efforts to put smiles on pediatric cancer patients faces is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar, she demonstrates that we’re a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.

For the full article, click here.

RCC Newspaper Wins National Associated Collegiate Press Award

(This article contains information from a press release distributed by RCCD on March 6, 2015.)

Photo Credit: RCCD
Photo Credit: RCCD

The Associated Collegiate Press has selected Riverside City College’s student newspaper, Viewpoints as one of the top student newspapers in the nation.

Viewpoints received a Best of Show Award March 1 at the Associated Collegiate Press National College Journalism Convention in Universal City, placing fourth among community college newspapers. More than 700 students from the U.S. and Canada attended the convention, which included workshops, an awards ceremony and four keynote speeches.

Allan Lovelace, advisor for the newspaper, said the award recognizes the students’ talent, hard work and commitment to public service.

“The student journalists place a premium on public service with their newspaper,” he said. “That is one of their main goals.”

Wining the Associated Collegiate Press’ Best of Show Award is Viewpoints’ third, with the newspaper also winning in 2011 and 2004. The newspaper and its students have also received from ACP national story of the year awards in 2009, 2003 and 2000; national Pacemaker award in 2005 and 2004; and five All-American awards since 1998.

Viewpoints students received four individual awards from the California College Media Association at the convention. Editor-in-chief James Williams received a third-place award for an editorial about expired elevator permits at RCC, Steven Smith received a third-place award for a video about RCC Astronomy instructor Scott Blair, Crystal Olmedo received an honorable mention for a news series about crime statistics and David Roman received an honorable mention for a critical review about the band Bleached. Viewpoints students entered their Oct. 30 issue, which included coverage of Athletic Hall of Fame inductees and the District police’s reporting timeline for the Cleary Report.

RCC’s outstanding achievements makes Riverside a location of choice for students seeking a great education at an affordable cost.

Information about Viewpoints and RCC’s Journalism program is available at 951-222-8487 and at rccjournalism.blogspot.com.

To read the full article, click here.

Glass Coating Improves Battery Performance

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Sean Nealon in UCR Today on March 2, 2015.)

Photo Credit: UCR
Photo Credit: UCR

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 Engineering at 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.

The work is outlined in a paper, “SiO2 – Coated Sulfur Particles as a Cathode Material for Lithium-Sulfur Batteries,” just published online in the journal Nanoscale. In addition, the researchers have been invited to submit their work for publication in the Graphene-based Energy Devices special themed issue in RSC Nanoscale.

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.

A schematic illustration of the process to synthesize silica-coated sulfur particles. Photo Credit: UCR Today
A schematic illustration of the process to synthesize silica-coated sulfur particles. Photo Credit: UCR Today

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’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 work was funded by the Winston Chung Global Energy Center at UC Riverside.

To read the full article, click here.

Novel Pretreatment Could Cut Biofuel Costs By 30 Percent Or More

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Sean Nealon and published in UCR Today on February 23, 2015.)

Charles Wyman, the Ford Motor Company Chair in Environmental Engineering at UC Riverside. Photo Credit UCR Today
Charles Wyman, the Ford Motor Company Chair in Environmental Engineering at UC Riverside. Photo Credit UCR Today

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.

As partners in the BioEnergy Science Center (BESC), the team from the Bourns College of Engineering Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) have shown that this new operation called Co-solvent Enhanced Lignocellulosic Fractionation (CELF) could eliminate about 90 percent of the enzymes needed for biological conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to fuels compared to prior practice. This development could mean reducing enzyme costs from about $1 per gallon of ethanol to about 10 cents or less.

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.

For the full article, click here.

New Paper-like Material Could Boost Electric Vehicle Batteries

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Sean Nealon and published in UCR Today on February 17, 2015.)

Mihri and Cengiz Ozkan, both professors in the Bourns College of Engineering. Photo Credit: UCR Today
Mihri and Cengiz Ozkan, both professors in the Bourns College of Engineering. Photo Credit: UCR Today

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 findings were just published in a paper, “Towards Scalable Binderless Electrodes: Carbon Coated Silicon Nanofiber Paper via Mg Reduction of Electrospun SiO2 Nanofibers,” in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. The authors were Mihri Ozkan, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, Cengiz S. Ozkan, a professor of mechanical engineering, and six of their graduate students: Zach Favors, Hamed Hosseini Bay, Zafer Mutlu, Kazi Ahmed, Robert Ionescu and Rachel Ye.

Scanning electron microscope images of (a) SiO2 nanofibers after drying, (b) SiO2 nanofibers under high magnification (c) silicon nanofibers after etching, and (d) silicon nanofibers under high magnification. Photo Credit: UCR Today
Scanning electron microscope images of (a) SiO2 nanofibers after drying, (b) SiO2 nanofibers under high magnification (c) silicon nanofibers after etching, and (d) silicon nanofibers under high magnification. Photo Credit: UCR Today

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.

(a) Schematic representation of the electrospinning process and subsequent reduction process. Digital photographs of (b) as-spun SiO2 nanofibers paper, (c) etched silicon nanofiber paper, and (d) carbon-coated silicon nanofiber paper as used in the lithium-ion half-cell configuration. Photo Credit: UCR Today
(a) Schematic representation of the electrospinning process and subsequent reduction process. Digital photographs of (b) as-spun SiO2 nanofibers paper, (c) etched silicon nanofiber paper, and (d) carbon-coated silicon nanofiber paper as used in the lithium-ion half-cell configuration. Photo Credit: UCR Today

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.

For the complete article, click here.

Riverside’s Little Choir That Could

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Diane A. Rhodes and published in The Press Enterprise on January 18, 2015.)

Photo Credit: Stan Lim, The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: Stan Lim, The Press Enterprise

Tenacity. Grit. Determination. Fortitude. The meaning of the words are clear, but how often are these traits demonstrated in real-life situations?

The Hillcrest Show Choir, at Riverside’s Hillcrest High School, is a group of about 100 singers that have sacrificed a lot – collectively and individually – to bring entertainment to others.

When the school opened in the fall of 2012, it did not have a choir. A group of students started a petition to create one. Twenty student signatures were required to have the class considered — all 20 are still part of the choir in its third year.

Getting a choir class approved was just the beginning. Another obstacle in bringing this fine arts course to the school was logistical. With a full slate of academic classes during the day and sports programs after that, there was no time it could be scheduled when interested, but active students could participate. They requested to have it held during “zero” period, from 6:28 to 7:25 a.m. Their persistence paid off and choir members continue to rise to the challenge each morning.

“We are not a show choir by industry standards where we go to competitions and festivals and such,” choir director Beth Schwandt said. “We have a bunch of kids who want to have music in their lives and go out into their community to put on shows.”

Schwandt said one of the Alvord School District’s core values is inclusiveness and she is proud to accomplish this with a choir that does not require an audition to join. As a result, she has attracted an eclectic melting pot of students that grows steadily with each school year. The choir’s inclusiveness is a great example of seizing our destiny’s unified city pillar, they demonstrate that we’re a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all. The long-standing diversity of the City provides a comfortable home for people from all backgrounds, cultures, and interests.

“They are a tribute to starting from nothing and fighting to create a culture of well-rounded musicians, athletes, thespians, scholars, volunteers, student leaders and friends,” Schwandt said. “My greatest joy is watching them walk up the stairs to class when it’s still pitch black and freezing cold outside and enjoying that hour together.

To read the full article, click here.

La Sierra Service-Learning Class Fulfills After School Program Pledge

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Darla Martin Tucker and published in La Sierra News/Events on December 23, 2014.)

Photo Credit: La Sierra
Photo Credit: La Sierra

With ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ like it was Christmas morning, dozens of students at Stokoe Elementary School in Riverside stretched to view the colorful stacks of games, art supplies, school supplies and sporting goods filling their school’s stage.

The bounty, intended for the after school programs at Stokoe and at Wells Middle School, included paint sets, marker sets, painting canvases, packs of paper and pencils, educational games, soccer and volley balls, tennis balls, volleyball, badminton, and soccer goal nets and a 32-inch Toshiba LED television.

The goods were unveiled during a special assembly on Dec. 9, and were purchased with $3,909.49 raised during the fall academic quarter by 14 La Sierra University Senior Project business students led by Jere Fox, an associate law and management professor at the Zapara School of Business. The effort capped a pledge Fox made two-and-a-half years ago to Carmen Phillips, After School Programs coordinator for the Alvord Unified School District, that his Senior Project classes would raise funds to benefit all 16 Alvord After School programs. Donations to Stokoe and Wells schools this month fulfilled the promise. All told, Fox’s six classes since spring 2012 have delivered to Alvord’s 16 after school programs a total of $22,556.53 in products paid for with student fundraising efforts.

The donation from Fox’s class also helps the district reach matching fund goals for state grants that pay for after school programming, she said.

“The After School Programs in Alvord are funded by an After School Education and Safety grant from the State of California. We are required yearly to provide documentation of matching funds to be considered in good standing with the state,” said Phillips. “In the 2013-2014 school year, we were required to have in-kind matching funds of $1,073,112.19.”

As part of an academic service-learning program, the business students in Fox’s class visited Stokoe and Wells early in the quarter to determine the needs of the After School programs and then created a fundraising business plan to help meet those needs.  The university requires undergraduate students to perform 14 hours per student per quarter of community service. This quarter the student’s in Fox’s class contributed a total of 291 service-learning hours outside of the classroom, with more than 95 of those hours voluntarily contributed above the required minimum hours. The business students in Fox’s six Senior Project classes over the past two-and-a-half years voluntarily contributed to the after school program project an additional 884 hours above the minimum required hours, for a combined total of 3,474 hours of service-learning outside of the classroom.

The generosity and care shown by all of the La Sierra University students is a model of Riverside acting as a unified city.  Riversiders collaborate and work together to build our community and accelerate the common good for all.  We are a caring community that has great compassion and engages with one another for a better life for all.

To read the full article, click here.

Chemists Fabricate Novel Rewritable Paper

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Iqbal Pittalwala published in UCR Today on December 2, 2014)

Photo Credit: Yin Lab, UC Riverside
Photo Credit: Yin Lab, UC Riverside

Chemists at the University of California, Riverside have now fabricated rewritable paper in the lab, one that is based on the color switching property of commercial chemicals called redox dyes.  The dye forms the imaging layer of the paper.  Printing is achieved by using ultraviolet light to photobleach the dye, except the portions that constitute the text on the paper.  The new rewritable paper can be erased and written on more than 20 times with no significant loss in contrast or resolution.

“This rewritable paper does not require additional inks for printing, making it both economically and environmentally viable,” said Yadong Yin, a professor of chemistry, whose lab led the research. “It represents an attractive alternative to regular paper in meeting the increasing global needs for sustainability and environmental conservation.”

The rewritable paper is essentially rewritable media in the form of glass or plastic film to which letters and patterns can be repeatedly printed, retained for days, and then erased by simple heating.

The paper comes in three primary colors: blue, red and green, produced by using the commercial redox dyes methylene blue, neutral red and acid green, respectively.  Included in the dye are titania nanocrystals (these serve as catalysts) and the thickening agent hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC).  The combination of the dye, catalysts and HEC lends high reversibility and repeatability to the film.

Research like this is an example 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, state, and the world to follow.  

Study results appear online in Nature Communications.

For the complete article, click here.