More than 300 middle and high school students from across Riverside and San Bernardino counties competed to build the best terrestrial drones at the MESA Robotics Invitational competition, on Saturday, Nov. 21 at the University of California, Riverside.
This year’s theme, “Attack of the Drones: The Revenge,” challenged students to design drones that out-perform the competition in agility tests and combat simulations. Middle and high school students competed at different levels, with the middle school teams using Lego robotics kits and the high school teams using the Vex robotics platform.
The event was hosted by the Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement (MESA) Schools Program at the UCR Bourns College of Engineering. MESA provides academic enrichment services and opportunities to teachers and students in engineering and science, while focusing on serving disadvantaged and underserved student populations. Now in its 8th year, the event will draw 33 teams from 12 schools in Moreno Valley, Colton, Rialto, Corona, Ontario and Victorville.
“The MESA Robotics competition is one of our most popular events among students and teachers alike,” said Carlos Gonzalez, director of UCR’s MESA program. “While the students are having fun designing, building and programming their robots, they’re also learning important concepts about engineering, computer science, and, of course, teamwork.”
The top three teams in each competition received awards, with additional distinctions going to teams that demonstrate the best sportsmanship and the most creative design.
Competitions like this are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar. UCR is dedicated to educating the next generation of students and helping them succeed. These competitions play a vital role in strengthening our community’s workforce and job growth.
At Image One Camera and Video, there is more to business than just making money. Owner Shadi Sayes came to the United States from Jordan 14 years ago with drive and passion. After managing a handful of industry leading camera stores, Sayes assembled his dream team of professionals he had met over the years to bring Image One Camera and Video to Riverside.
A true photo service camera store, Image One Camera and Video offers everything one would need for photography, videography and cinematography. With a state of the art facility, including the first 4K editing station by GoPro in the country, there are a lot of things that set Image One Camera and Video apart from other photography dealers. Sayes’ dedication and commitment to philanthropy in the Riverside community is inspirational. Through event sponsorships, giveaway contests, discounts, training courses, and one-on-one advising, Sayes works tirelessly to capture the heart of photography in the community; especially with students. Image One Camera and Video holds student photo contests with local Universities and Riverside students to catalyze creativity and spark passion. Starting as young as elementary school, Shadi encourages the youth in our community to follow their passion, while helping them learn.
Shadi’s kindness and passion to make a difference in his community is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar. Shadi demonstrates that we are a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.
A team of students from the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering was recently awarded a $15,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency for a reusable storm drain filter that is less costly and more environmentally friendly than currently available models.
The key innovation is the calibrated indicator and filter system. The filter is made of 100 percent recycled textiles. The indicator is a 3-D printed device made with the same material as the filter and a translucent biodegradable plastic that includes a polymer that changes from a powder to a gel when it is saturated with oil and/or heavy metals and needs to be replaced.
The team received the $15,000 as a phase one winner of EPA’s P3 (People, Prosperity and the Planet) competition. Team members are: Franklin Gonzalez, Karim Masarweh, Johny Nguyen, Diego Novoa, Kenneth Orellana and Taljinder Kaur. With the exception of Kaur, who is an MBA student, all the students are seniors and either environmental or chemical engineering majors. Kawai Tam, a lecturer at the Bourns College of Engineering, advises them.
Bourns College of Engineering is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. The people and educational institutions of Riverside cultivate and support useful and beneficial ideas, research, and scholars.
“Like the GhostBusters said in the movies ‘We’re Baaack!’ We could not have done it without the support of the community so THANK YOU!” the post read.
From the “Halloween House” to the Festival of Lights, Riverside is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s location of choice pillar. Our community provides an abundance of opportunities to be amazed, inspired and entertained.
When Annette Ramsey thinks back to her childhood, it is her teachers that she remembers as her greatest inspiration.
“My teachers made me feel important,” she said.
Ramsey waited until after her children were grown and had moved out before she decided to return to school so that she could follow a longtime dream and become a teacher. Leaving a successful 23-year career as a designer, Ramsey got her A.A. in education from Riverside City College before transferring to UC Riverside, where she earned a B.A. in liberal arts.
“I went through several years of focusing on the one goal of becoming an elementary school special needs teacher,” Ramsey said. “I realized toward the end that I did not like the way they said I had to teach. I’m a rebel and have been since my early days. I still wanted to teach, but I wanted to teach something I was good at and something that would really benefit a child who struggles in a regular class setting. I believe with all my heart that art is the answer for these children and adults.”
The 62-year-old Ramsey struck out on her own. She began teaching art classes for low-income children at the Cesar Chavez Community Center in Riverside’s East Side neighborhood. It was the first class of what would become the Riverside Art Academy. She currently operates Studio 38B in downtown Riverside’s Life Arts Center and teaches classes for children at the Orange Terrace Community Center and Starting Gate Educational Services, both in Riverside, and for developmentally disabled adults at Corona’s Peppermint Ridge.
Although she lives in Redlands, Ramsey’s work is primarily in Riverside. Her young students have been exhibited in China and Mexico, as well as several locations in Riverside, including the Riverside Community Arts Association and Riverside Art Museum. In addition, their work has appeared in three exhibitions in U.S. Rep. Mark Takano’s Riverside office. Ramsey is also assisting Congressman Takano’s staff with the annual congressional art competition.
“It’s an honor to help with something that can have such an important impact on a student’s life,” she said.
If a program can be said to be dearest to Ramsey’s heart, it would be Starting Gate, a non-public school housed on the former campus of Riverside’s Grant Elementary School. The program serves multiple school districts that refer students who are currently not able to be enrolled in public schools.
“This is my calling,” Ramsey said. “I see a huge difference in these students. The teachers and staff are amazed at the students’ response. I wasn’t. I know that the arts can make a difference in their lives. These are children who are going to be lost if we don’t do something to make them feel like there is a future in something they do well.”
Ramsey is a mother of two and a grandmother of seven. She is also a tireless advocate for the community and will be recognized as the November Arts and Innovation Honoree of the Month at the Riverside City Council meeting Nov 10.
In addition to the classes she teaches at various sites, Ramsey runs the Art Masters Academy out of her studio in downtown Riverside’s historic Life Arts Center. She hopes to build up a scholarship fund for students and to create an art masters curriculum that she can share with other teachers.
Ramsey’s kindness and passion to make a difference in her community is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s unified citypillar. Ramsey demonstrates that we are a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.
For more information on Annette Ramsey, visit her Facebook page, Heart Enterprise.
Beetles not native to Southern California are causing much damage to trees, including those that bear avocados, a lucrative California crop. Scientists at the University of California-Riverside are fighting this problem with the help of 3-D printers.
The invasive beetles are from Southeast Asia, and scientists aren’t sure how they got to California. One guess is that they were in packing materials used in shipping products to California from Asia.
The beetle, technically known as the polyphagous shot hole borer, drills holes into a critical part of the tree, disrupting the flow of water from the roots to the leaves. It also carries a fungus in its mouth that harms the trees. The fungus grows and further clogs the vessels that carry nutrients and water to the tree, eventually starving it to death.
Entomologists have been trying different treatments to kill the beetles and the fungus. But it was time-consuming and difficult to learn whether the treatments worked until a 3-D-printed bug trap was developed to place over the holes in the trees.
If the beetle is still active, that means the pesticide is not working. Scientists say a 3-D-printed trap speeds up the data-collection process and makes the results reliable. The 3-D printer allows researchers to easily tailor their traps to the insects they are studying.
It’s a relatively inexpensive tool that can create new possibilities for researchers to help them get results.
The creation of this 3-D printed trap is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.
They have created a new type of lithium-ion battery anode using portabella mushrooms, which are inexpensive, environmentally friendly and easy to produce. The current industry standard for rechargeable lithium-ion battery anodes is synthetic graphite, which comes with a high cost of manufacturing because it requires tedious purification and preparation processes that are also harmful to the environment.
With the anticipated increase in batteries needed for electric vehicles and electronics, a cheaper and sustainable source to replace graphite is needed. Using biomass, a biological material from living or recently living organisms, as a replacement for graphite, has drawn recent attention because of its high carbon content, low cost and environmental friendliness.
The UCR Office of Technology Commercialization has filed patents for the inventions above.
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 Riverside, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.
When it comes to installing solar cells, labor cost and the cost of the land to house them constitute the bulk of the expense. The solar cells – made often of silicon or cadmium telluride – rarely cost more than 20 percent of the total cost. Solar energy could be made cheaper if less land had to be purchased to accommodate solar panels, best achieved if each solar cell could be coaxed to generate more power.
A huge gain in this direction has now been made by a team of chemists at the University of California, Riverside that has found an ingenious way to make solar energy conversion more efficient. The researchers report in Nano Letters that by combining inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals with organic molecules, they have succeeded in “upconverting” photons in the visible and near-infrared regions of the solar spectrum.
This research 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.
A team of students from the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering recently won two awards at an international design competition for a material composed of rice husks that they created as a less costly and more environmentally friendly alternative to particleboard.
In the students’ design, the rice husks, which contain termite-resistant silica, replace wood chips found in traditional particleboard. The students then use environmentally friendly binding materials instead of traditionally used glues that contain formaldehyde, known to emit harmful gases into the air.
Initial cost estimates compiled by the students show four-by-eight-foot rice husk boards would cost about $18. Currently, four-by-eight-foot particleboard sheets sell for about $25 in the United States. While the main focus of the project is to create a building material for relief structures in the Philippines, the students believe there could be a market in the United States to use the boards for furniture.
“What we are creating is a really a win-win situation,” said Joel Sanchez, a senior chemical engineering major and a member of the team. “It will last longer, be environmentally friendly and cost less.”
In addition to Sanchez, the team consists of Lamees Alkhamis, Colin Eckerle, Jeniene Abugherir and Chris Yang. All except Eckerle expect to graduate in June. They are advised by Kawai Tam, a lecturer at the Bourns College of Engineering; Michael Rust, a distinguished professor at the Department of Entomology; and David Kisailus, an associate professor at the Department of Chemical and Enviornmental Engineering.
The team, called Husk-to-Home, won two awards, including the Intel Environmental Innovation Award, the top award, and $5,000 at the WERC: A Consortium for Environmental Education and Technology Development competition in Las Cruces, N.M.
The idea for the project came from one of Tam’s former students, whose father-in-law’s brother runs a nonprofit, the International Deaf Education Association, in the Philippines that builds temporary housing after natural disasters.
One problem the nonprofit has is that its building materials, such as coconut wood, bamboo and plywood, are susceptible to termite damage.
Since the Philippines is one of the world’s largest producers of rice and previous research has shown that rice husks and rice straw are termite resistant the idea was to develop a particleboard-like material with the waste products of rice.
Initially, this was a makeshift project, in large part because the students didn’t have much money to put into it.
That wasn’t a problem with regard to the rice husks, which they purchased at a feed store. A 45-pound bag sells for $12. The rice husks are typically used as bedding for farm animals.
But the students needed $10,000 for a hot press that would allow them to assemble the risk husk boards in a uniform manner. They improvised, using a combination of nine-by-thirteen baking pans, spring form baking pans, ovens and blow torches.
They also built a makeshift humidity chamber to simulate conditions in the Philippines. The team built the chamber using a plastic container the size of a large shoebox, small fan, heating lamp, humidifier and humidity and temperature sensors. They drilled holes for air and the sensors.
The other challenge the students faced was acquiring termites. They said they were more expensive than expected – $1 to $1.50 per termite – if ordered through the mail and there was no guarantee they would arrive alive.
So the students worked with Rust to collect termites. But, they faced an additional problem: termites are dormant from roughly November to March.
Initially, the students used epoxy, a not-so-environmentally-friendly material, as the binding agent. Now, they are focused on using tannin, a compound naturally found in plants, and casein, a protein found in milk. For the casein experiments they use nonfat instant dry milk they buy at a grocery store.
By March, the students had raised $10,000 to buy the hot press. Once the press arrived, they immediately began experimenting with risk husk boards made with tannin and casein.
Initial results show that tannin boards are strong enough but not water resistant, while casein boards are water resistant but not strong enough.
The students are experimenting with adding coatings or other materials to the mixture. Options include adding shrimp shells, which are abundant in the Philippines. They also plan to add a water resistive coating to eliminate problems with the particleboard falling apart in the humid environment. In addition, they want to incorporate rice straw, which could increase strength and flexibility.
Creating a new way to make particle board is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. The people and educational institutions of Riverside cultivate and support useful and beneficial idea, research, products, and scholars. Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.
“I love the Wood Streets because of the traditional design and landscape.” These are the kinds of comments received on postcards written by City residents for the Neighborhood Postcard Project – a global participatory art project that fosters community connection through storytelling exchange. Residents share personal positive stories about their neighborhood on a postcard and those postcards are delivered to random people in different neighborhoods within the same city.
TheUnified City pillar group of Seizing Our Destiny has been collecting these postcards since the NeighborFest event held on May 16th. The City of Riverside has 26 neighborhoods. They are being collected two ways: via a handwritten postcard with a blank space on the back for creativity and through the Seizing our Destiny website. The ones collected on the website are being shared via social media.
The goal of the project is to build community connections, awareness and pride in our local treasures – our neighborhoods.