“Ideas Worth Spreading”: TEDx Riverside Speakers United By Ideas

(This article contains excerpts from article by Kurt Miller, published in the Press-Enterprise on October 16,2014.)

TEDx Riverside brought together 20 speakers for an eight-hour marathon of inspiration on Thursday at the Fox Performing Arts Center.   TED conferences are brought to communities throughout the world to encourage a convergence of technology, design and entertainment.  To promote education, TEDx Riverside gave 500 tickets to local high schools and filled the balcony with teenagers. It provided buses and lunch for students of Riverside Unified School District.  

“Everybody in this room is a lifelong learner,” Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey declared in his opening remarks.

Nobel Prize winner and UC Riverside alumni Richard Schrock.  Photo credit: City of Riverside

Nobel Prize winner and UC Riverside alumni Richard Schrock. Photo credit: City of Riverside

Most of the speakers had Inland ties, but many have wide renown.  They included Nobel laureate Richard Schrock, who earned his bachelor’s degree from UC Riverside in 1967 and is now a chemistry professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Another UCR graduate was Steve Breen, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for editorial cartooning and a children’s author.

Among the more unusual presentations was performance artist Gregory Adamson creating a 6-by-6-foot painting of John Lennon in 11 minutes, accompanied by a medley of Lennon and Beatles songs. Photo credit: Fielding Buck

Among the more unusual presentations was performance artist Gregory Adamson creating a 6-by-6-foot painting of John Lennon in 11 minutes, accompanied by a medley of Lennon and Beatles songs. Photo credit: Fielding Buck

The TEDx Riverside event was a model of all the Seizing Our Destiny pillars.  Riversiders from of all ages and backgrounds attended the event on Thursday October, 16 as a unified city with a common interest to be entertained and inspired.  Although each speaker was completely different, they all seem to be on the same wavelength of maximizing personal potential and advocating intelligent growth in our community.  Riverside is a city that honors and builds on its assets to become a location of choice that catalyzes innovation in all forms, while enhancing quality of life.

To read more about TEDx Riverside, click here.

Riverside Recognized For Encouraging Healthy Workplace

(This article contains excerpts from an article Suzanne Hurt, published in the Press-Enterprise on October 9, 2014.)

The American Heart Association has recognized the city of Riverside’s continued effort to improve employees’ health.  The association gave the city a 2014 Platinum Fit-Friendly Award and Work site Innovation Award at a City Council meeting Aug. 12, according to city spokesman Phil Pitchford.  The city was also recognized with the health award in 2013.

Photo credit: Press-Enterprise

Photo credit: Press-Enterprise

The award is given to companies and organizations that meet criteria such as offering healthy food at the workplace, supporting workers’ fitness activities and taking other steps to encourage a healthy work site, according to the association.

The City’s Human Resources Department began its wellness programs in 2009. Workers lost 7,400 pounds in four years through an annual “Get Fit Challenge” weight-loss program.

The City of Riverside being recognized by the American Heart Association for two consecutive years, makes our beloved city a location of choice for individuals seeking a healthy lifestyle.  What really makes Riverside so unique are the intangible benefits and values that enhance the quality of life in the city.  Riverside is becoming a location of choice for people and organizations all over the world.

To read more, click here.

UC Riverside Research Team Probing Other Planets For Life

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Mark Muckenfuss, published in the Press-Enterprise on October 8, 2014)

A UC Riverside-led research team is part of a $50 million NASA program designed to detect life on distant planets.  Biogeochemistry professor Timothy Lyons has spent years studying the chemistry of ancient rocks on Earth. The data from that work has allowed him and his colleagues to theorize about the environmental conditions on the planet at various times in its early evolution.

Biogeochemistry Professor, Timothy Lyons

Biogeochemistry Professor, Timothy Lyons

This research initiative, as part of the NASA program, is an extraordinary example of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar, and UC Riverside is at the forefront.  The people and educational institutions of Riverside cultivate and support research and exploration in the scientific community.  Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, nation, and world to follow. 

The $8 million that Lyons’ multi-disciplinary team will receive from the NASA Astrobiology Institute is for a five-year study. He believes it won’t take much longer than that before astrobiologists will be able to detect life on distant planets.  

He’s excited by the current exploration of Mars, using rovers to sample the soil and, among other things, look for any signs of ancient life. With new, more powerful telescopes due to come on line soon, he expects the number of identified exoplanets to further grow. With each one, he said, there is the possibility of finding extraterrestrial life.  The best way to discover such life, he said, is to look at our own planet.

The broad spectrum of scientists involved – 19 researchers from 11 universities and labs – includes experts in genomics, tectonics, geochemistry, paleontology and earth system modeling.

Two of the team members are former graduate researchers who worked in Lyons’ lab. UCR graduates Noah Planavsky, now at Yale, and Christopher Reinhard, at Georgia Tech, helped Lyons gather ancient rock samples and reconstruct the conditions on Earth from the period when those rocks were formed. Having that team centered at UCR will bring greater recognition to the school, he said.

“It’s a good thing for UCR, and it’s a good thing for the Inland Empire”, said Lyons.

To read more, click here.

 

Riverside Bike-Sharing Program In The Works

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Alicia Robinson, published in the Press-Enterprise on September 16, 2014)

In Riverside’s continuing quest to expand public transit offerings and foster a “bicycle culture,” the city plans to launch what is likely the Inland area’s first public bike sharing program.  A city wide bike-share program would be a great opportunity for all Riversiders, providing one more reason why Riverside is a location of choice.  Not only would this provide Riversiders with more convenient public transportation options, it would be a fun opportunity for people to stay active and enjoy the great climate and environment that Riverside has to offer.  Our city is increasingly becoming the location of choice for people and organizations from all over the world.     

People check out bicycles from a Citi Bike station in New York City's Central Park. Riverside plans to test a bike share program, possibly starting in 2015.  Photo credit: Matthew Christensen

People check out bicycles from a Citi Bike station in New York City’s Central Park. Riverside plans to test a bike share program, possibly starting in 2015. Photo credit: Matthew Christensen

The bike share concept isn’t new. Community bikes were used in Amsterdam as early as the 1960s. The first organized programs in the U.S. date to the 1990s, said Susan Shaheen, co-director of UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center.  Esri, a Redlands geographic information systems company, offers free shared bicycles as an employee perk.

Riverside’s pilot project, which could start in 2015, will likely include four bike kiosks – one near City Hall, one at the downtown Metrolink station and spots near the UC Riverside and Riverside City College campuses, said Brandi Becker, a senior administrative analyst in the city’s public works department.  For most systems, pricing is set to encourage trips of a half-hour or less. Denver’s B-cycle, for example, starts at $8 for a 24-hour pass or $80 for a year, with weekly and monthly passes also offered. With all passes, trips up to 30 minutes are free; extra hourly charges apply for those who keep bikes out longer.

Many bike shares are still ironing out financial and logistical issues, but Riverside should be able to learn from others’ early mistakes, said Charlie Gandy, a bike consultant and vice president of the California Bicycle Coalition.    Gandy expects a bike share to fuel even more interest in cycling, whether for work, fun or fitness.   “Cities that take on this type of project see a major shift in people’s attitudes towards bicycling,” he said.

To read more, click here.

Riverside Metropolitan Museum Celebrates Smithsonian Week

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Charlotte Bray, published in the Press-Enterprise on September 18, 2014.)

The Riverside Metropolitan Museum will host its annual Smithsonian Week to celebrate the opening of its newest exhibit, “Cahuilla Continuum.”

“Cahuilla Continuum” tells the story of Southern California’s native people, the Cahuilla. The tribe’s history is brought to life through artifacts, including baskets, ollas, regalia, paintings, photographs and more. The exhibit features more than 160 objects from the museum’s collection as well as from the National Museum of the American Indian, Cabazon Band of Mission Indians Cultural Museum and private collectors.

Cahuilla tribal member Sean Milanovich uses burning sage to bless a bow at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum.  Photo credit: Brenda Flowers

Cahuilla tribal member Sean Milanovich uses burning sage to bless a bow at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum. Photo credit: Brenda Flowers

Smithsonian Week is a great representation of Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar.  Riversiders come together to learn and pay tribute to one of the many cultures that surround us, because they all play a valuable role in making our country what it is today.  We are a caring community that has compassion for all, focusing on accelerating the common good for our City as a whole.

For Smithsonian Week, Sept. 23 to Sept. 27, the museum will feature two special Smithsonian guests, who will give presentations related to the “Cahuilla Continuum” exhibit. During the week, these special guests will be visiting local schools with their programs, but they will also give free presentations Sept. 27 at the local museum.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Riverside Metropolitan Museum, 3580 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, $3 suggested donation. For more information, visit riversideca.gov/museum.

To read the full article, click here.

UCR Students Turn Diaper Into Medical Tool

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Janet Zimmerman, published in the Press-Enterprise on September 11, 2014. )

Five UC Riverside students and recent grads cleaned up in a national engineering contest by building a better diaper.  The group came up with an inexpensive liner that detects dehydration and bacterial infections in infants, an invention that could facilitate testing in poor countries and ease infants’ suffering. They call it the Diaper Detective.

Bioengineering students from UC Riverside developed a diaper insert for detecting bacterial infections and dehydration in infants. The team includes, from left, Stephanie Tehseldar, Veronica Boulos, Sara Said, Claire Tran and Melissa Cruz.  Photo credit: Harish Dixit

Bioengineering students from UC Riverside developed a diaper insert for detecting bacterial infections and dehydration in infants. The team includes, from left, Stephanie Tehseldar, Veronica Boulos, Sara Said, Claire Tran and Melissa Cruz. Photo credit: Harish Dixit

“We created this to fulfill a need for a versatile, inexpensive, non-invasive method of urine collection in developing countries and elsewhere,” co-inventor Veronica Boulos said. “The beauty of this is that it solves a huge problem with simplicity.”  The Diaper Detective was the result of a class that requires bioengineering students to design and develop a product. It took third place – and $10,000 – last month in the Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams Challenge sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

The Diaper Detective, created by UC Riverside students, uses chemicals that react with a baby's urine to detect illness and dehydration.  Photo credit: UC Riverside

The Diaper Detective, created by UC Riverside students, uses chemicals that react with a baby’s urine to detect illness and dehydration. Photo credit: UC Riverside

The idea was enough to attract interest from Procter & Gamble’s research department, which called the invention “novel, broadly relevant and affordable.” The group is in talks with the company for further development, possibly for adult incontinence products.

They hope their product eventually will be distributed to needy areas via relief organizations. If it qualifies for insurance coverage, it could be an inexpensive option for low-income parents, the scientists said.

The Diaper Detective 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.  

To read more, click here.

 

CBU Makes List Of The Nation’s “Best Colleges” For 9th Straight Year

(This article contains excerpts from an article published on Calbaptist.edu on September 9, 2014.)

U.S. News & World Report has included California Baptist University on it’s list of the nation’s “Best Colleges” for the ninth straight year.  CBU is ranked No. 38 in the West in the publication’s “Best Regional Universities” category for 2015 , up from No. 42 in the previous years rankings and No. 58 in 2013.

Photo credit: Calbaptist.edu

Photo credit: Calbaptist.edu

“This year’s ranking once again reflects the improvement in quality that California Baptist University continually strives to provide in order to enhance students’ overall experience,” said Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, CBU President.

California Baptist University’s progression on the list of “Best Regional Universities” is an outstanding representation of Seizing Our Destiny’s location of choice pillar.  Only through commitment and dedication can a great University continue to make academic strides and accelerate quality of education for all of the students. Riverside has increasingly become the location of choice for college bound individuals from all over the world.

“Best Colleges” rankings are featured in U.S. News& World Report each year to aid prospective students and their parents looking for the best academic values for their money.  Now in its 30th year, the annual comparative listing uses a quantitative system of 16 weighted indicators of academic excellence to rank universities.  Those indicators include: student selectivity; retention and graduation rate; assessment by peer institutions; faculty resources; financial resources and alumni giving.

To read the full article, click here.

 

Five UC Riverside Scientists Among World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Iqbal Pittalwala, published in UCR Today on August 22, 2014.)

List of highly cited researchers, compiled by Thomson Reuters, analyzed data over 11 years

Clockwise from top left: UC Riverside’s Roya Bahreini, Julia Bailey-Serres, Yadong Yin, Wei Ren, and Robert Haddon are among individuals, identified by Thomson Reuters, to have published the greatest number of highly cited papers in 2002-2012.  Photo credit: Strategic Communications, UC Riverside.

Clockwise from top left: UC Riverside’s Roya Bahreini, Julia Bailey-Serres, Yadong Yin, Wei Ren, and Robert Haddon are among individuals, identified by Thomson Reuters, to have published the greatest number of highly cited papers in 2002-2012. Photo credit: Strategic Communications, UC Riverside.

Thomson Reuters, a leading source of information for businesses and professionals, has included five researchers at the University of California, Riverside in its 2014 list of “some of the best and brightest minds of our times.”  To generate the list, the company analyzed citation data over 11 years (2002-2012) to identify researchers whose published work has had enormous impact.

These influential professors are an outstanding representation of Seizing Our Destiny’s location of choice pillar.  Having five professors make the list and being considered “some of the best and brightest minds of our time” by Thomson Reuters is beyond impressive.  Riverside is increasingly becoming an attractive location of choice for intelligent, entrepreneurial, and inspired individuals with untapped potential.

Roya Bahreini, an assistant professor of atmospheric sciences, was included in the “Geosciences” field. Julia Bailey-Serres, a professor of genetics, was included in the “Plant & Animal Science” field.Robert Haddon, a distinguished professor of chemistry as well as chemical and environmental engineering, was included in the “Chemistry” field. Wei Ren, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, was included in the “Engineering” field. And Yadong Yin, a professor of chemistry, was included in two fields: “Chemistry” and “Materials Science.”

According to Thomson Reuters, the researchers who made the list are persons of “influence in the sciences and social sciences. They are the people who are on the cutting edge of their fields. They are performing and publishing work that their peers recognize as vital to the advancement of their science. These researchers are, undoubtedly, among the most influential scientific minds of our time.”

To read the full article, click here.

 

UCR Earns Spot On Sierra Magazine “Cool Schools” List For Third Year

(This article contains excerpts from an article published in UCR Today on August 12, 2014.)

For the third consecutive year, Sierra Magazine has included the University of California, Riverside on its list of “America’s Coolest Schools”, which is a list of the nation’s greenest colleges and universities.  UCR finished with a score of 577.98 out of a possible 1,000 points, placing it 90th among the schools surveyed. UCR’s score improved about 12% compared to 2013.

Members of the sustainability community at UCR stand in front of a balloon representing the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere during Earth Week 2014. Photo credit:  Uma Ramasubramanian

Members of the sustainability community at UCR stand in front of a          balloon representing the amount of carbon dioxide entering the                                          atmosphere during Earth Week 2014.                               Photo credit: Uma Ramasubramanian

The methodology as to how Sierra Magazine ranked all of the participating schools was extensive and thorough.  According to Sierraclub.org, “Participation in Sierra magazine’s Cool Schools ranking is open to all four-year, degree-granting undergraduate colleges and universities in the United States. Sierra received 173 complete responses from qualified colleges. Once schools submitted their data, our researchers scored each response and ranked all of the participating institutions.

There was no cost for participation, and no affiliation or relationship between a school and the Sierra Club or its employees, past or present, influenced the ranking. Evaluation was based primarily on schools’ responses to the survey but when appropriate, we made follow-up inquires by phone and email and used publicly available outside sources to verify and complement survey responses.”

The colleges at the top of our annual “Cool Schools” ranking are so dedicated to greening every level of their operation—from energy usage to recycling to food sourcing to curriculum.  Photo credit: sierraclub.org

The colleges at the top of our annual “Cool Schools” ranking are so dedicated to greening every level of their operation—from energy usage to recycling to food sourcing to curriculum. Photo credit: sierraclub.org

UC Riverside has made this list two other times, moving up the ranks with each appearance.  Officials at UCR expect to gain an even better position on next year’s list with 16 LEED buildings and a new Solar Farm in operation.

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.

To read more from UCR Today, click here.

 

 

Riverside Native Is Named Young Entrepreneur Of The Year

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Kyle Glaser, published in the Press-Enterprise on August 7, 2014.)

Steffen Sommers grew up in Riverside dreaming of opening a gourmet coffee shop in his hometown.  At 26, he has achieved that dream, and has earned high praise to boot.  Sommers recently received the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce’s first-ever Riverside Business Week Young Entrepreneur Award, a plaudit for helping create the specialty coffee shop Lift Coffee Roasters.

Lift Coffee Roasters owner Steffen Sommers, 26, of Riverside smiles as coffee beans fall beside him. He is proud to be named Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Riverside Business Council.  Photo credit:  Terry Pierson

Lift Coffee Roasters owner Steffen Sommers, 26, of Riverside smiles as coffee beans fall beside him. He is proud to be named Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Riverside Business Council. Photo credit: Terry Pierson

The cafe serves only about a dozen varieties of drinks at any given time, all coffees or teas, and each is taste-tested by the managerial staff to ensure it meets Lift’s standards.

“We have what we call a ‘seed to cup’ approach,” Sommers said. “What that means is we’re not just concerned about getting a 5-pound bag of beans and serving it. We’re concerned with who’s the farmer, how’s he growing the beans, when was that, a week ago or six months ago?”

Lift Coffee Roasters is a model of Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar.  Riverside promotes entrepreneurial spirit and embraces small business like Lift Coffee Roasters whenever it can.  Everyday Riverside cultivates intelligent growth by collaborating to build our community and supporting local business.

Photo credit: Terry Pierson

Photo credit: Terry Pierson

While Sommers has achieved his goal of opening a gourmet coffee shop in his hometown, he isn’t quite done. He and his partners have plans to open more Lift Coffee Roasters across Southern California and, if everything goes according to plan, become a regional coffee powerhouse.

To read more about Lift Coffee Roasters, click here.