Category Archives: Learning

Sophomore Girls Learn The Power Of STEM With Inspire Her Mind Conference

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in the RUSD news feed on March 2, 2015.)

Photo Credit: RUSD
Photo Credit: RUSD

About 150 sophomore girls from across RUSD had the chance to explore possibilities available to them in the STEM fields through the Inspire Her Mind program. This unique program, held at Bourns Engineering, included a special presentation by Dr. Pamela Clute, a longtime mathematics professor who currently serves as special assistant to the chancellor at UC Riverside. The event also included a chance for girls to learn about the unique ways that science contributes to the world and see first-hand the ways that math and science impact the world around them – like how a green screen works in film. They also heard from a panel of women in science who encouraged them to try out these fields for themselves.

Riverside’s initiative to promote and encourage STEM education is a model of Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar.  STEM education plays a vital role in strengthening our community’s workforce and job growth.  Riverside works around the clock everyday to improve the quality of life for all through intelligent growth.

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.

UCR Launches Initiative To Deal With Inland Poverty

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Fielding Buck and published in The Press Enterprise on February 10, 2015.)

Photo Credit: Carrie Rosema
Photo Credit: Carrie Rosema

A strategy to study, teach about and deal with Inland poverty was announced Tuesday at UC Riverside.

The UCR School of Public Policy will launch the Blum Initiative on Global and Regional Poverty this fall.

The announcement was made during an appearance by former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who was on campus to talk to public policy students and attend the screening of a documentary about him.

Reich praised Riverside as a “roll-up-your-sleeves” kind of community and UCR as a school that provides opportunities for students with financial needs. Exemplifying Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar, Riverside and UCR both 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.

“There’s probably no place that I know of that better exemplifies what higher education ought to be doing,” Reich said.

Reich is a senior fellow of the Blum Center for Developing Economies at UC Berkeley, which is working with UCR on the intiative.

Richard Blum, Photo Credit: UCR Today
Richard Blum, Photo Credit: UCR Today

It was launched by a gift of $250,000 from the center’s founder, UC regent Richard C. Blum, who is married to Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

UCR chancellor Kim A. Wilcox and UC President Janet Napolitano both matched the gift out of their budgets, according to a UCR press release.

The initiative will be interdisciplinary and results oriented, according to Anil Deolalikar, founding dean of the school. It will include partnerships with local non-governmental organizations.

“Poverty is not unique, right?” he said in an interview before the announcement. “Every place in the work has poverty and there are many places in the world that have tackled the problem of poverty with good results. We will be trying to glean lessons from around the world so that we can use some of those lessons to solve poverty problems here in the Inland Empire.”

Plans include to establish an undergraduate minor in poverty and a focus area in public policy master degree program.

For the complete article, click here.

RCC Signs 2 Football Players From Texas

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Matt Welch in Star Local Media on February 6, 2015.) 

On Friday, McKinney recognized four student-athletes who signed National Letters of Intent to play college football. Included in that ceremony were (left to right) seniors Tyler McMahon (West Texas A&M), Myron Robinson (Riverside City College), Byron Robinson (Riverside City College) and John Kent Calhoun (Oklahoma Baptist). Photo Credit: Star Local Media
On Friday, McKinney recognized four student-athletes who signed National Letters of Intent to play college football. Included in that ceremony were (left to right) seniors Tyler McMahon (West Texas A&M), Myron Robinson (Riverside City College), Byron Robinson (Riverside City College) and John Kent Calhoun (Oklahoma Baptist). Photo Credit: Star Local Media

McKinney’s football team honored four seniors who recently signed National Letters of Intent, some to schools nearby and others well outside of routine driving distance.

2 of the 4 seniors Myron and Byron Robinson will venture more than 1,400 miles from McKinney to attend Riverside City College in California. The brothers had received interest from programs like Mary Hardin-Baylor and Trinity Valley Community College before opting to attend the California-based junior college.

“We still both have that desire to play [Division I football] and that’s why we went the JUCO route,” Myron Robinson said. “Riverside was our best decision because they have three corner-backs and all three just went [Division I football]. Those are now open positions and they have a good track record of sending guys to play [Division I football].”

The siblings worked in lockstep as the anchors of McKinney’s secondary, recording three interceptions apiece during the 2014 season, and look to maintain that same consistency in California. Off the field, Myron Robinson plans to major in law enforcement, while Byron Robinson eyes a career in broadcasting.

Offering great sports programs is just another way the RCC helps make Riverside a location of choice for college students from around the globe.

For the full article, click here.

 

Providing Leadership Training for High School Girls

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Sean Nealon and published in UCR Today on January 27, 2015.)

About 150 high school girls from the Riverside Unified School District will learn about leadership and the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at a Feb. 5 event led by a University of California, Riverside educator.

The event, billed “Inspire Your Mind,” is being led by Pamela Clute, who has been a mathematics educator for more than 40 years and is currently special assistant to the chancellor at UC Riverside. It will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Bourns, Inc. in Riverside.

Pamela Clute, special assistant to the chancellor. Photo Credit: UCR Today
Pamela Clute, special assistant to the chancellor. Photo Credit: UCR Today

The girls, who are sophomores, were selected by their mathematics and science teachers. Their teachers and parents, as well as members of the media are also invited to attend.

The Inspire Your Mind program aims to inspire and motivate students to pursue and stay engaged in STEM subjects in high school, a time when girls often lose interest in those fields. The ultimate goal is to develop the next generation of female thinkers and doers through meaningful interaction with role models and mentors.

“There are many great STEM things happening in the Inland Empire for elementary and middle school students,” Clute said. “Strengthening STEM experiences for high schools girls will be a welcome addition.”

RUSD, Athena of Riverside and Bourns, Inc. are collaborating on the program, which will emphasize person and professional success and leadership development.

At the event, the girls will receive a “pep talk” from Clute, hear from a panel of women in STEM fields and take part in hands-on, science fair type activities that relate to STEM fields. The UCR Science Ambassadors, a group of undergraduate students in the university’s College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, will help with the activities.

Lynn Carmen Day, RUSD’s chief academic officer, said she is excited about how the program can expose young women to the possibilities available to them in the sciences. Programs like this exemplify Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar, by bringing people together around a common interest of inspiring young girls to become leaders in STEM fields.

“RUSD believes in a strong district wide STEM program for all students,” she said. “‘Inspire Your Mind’ provides young high school women the unique opportunity to engage in a deeper focus on post-secondary and career pathways for females in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.”

To read the full article, click here.

RCC Students Dominate SkillsUSA Competition

(This article contains excerpts from the article posted in RCCD News on February 5, 2015.)

Photo Credit: RCCD
Photo Credit: RCCD

Seventeen Riverside City College students won medals – in 15 different categories – at the SkillsUSA regional event on January 31. Students who won gold medals qualify for the state competition in April.

SkillsUSA is a national organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations, including health occupations and further education. SkillsUSA was formerly known as VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America). More than 300,000 students and advisors join SkillsUSA annually, organized into over 17,000 sections and 52 state and territorial associations.

RCC students swept three categories – graphic communication, advertising design and photography – and claimed gold medals in six categories. Below is the students’ placement in their respective events:

Automotive Service: Gold Medal – Skyler Murdock, Silver Medal – Justin McMorris
Graphic Communications: Gold Medal – Tiffany Vang, Silver Medal – Daniel Lamiell, Bronze Medal – Megan Moore
3D Animation: Gold Medal: Tyler Tom-Hoon and Mason Rosenquist
Digital Cinema Production: Gold Medal: Javier Ochoa and Scott Turner
Advertising Design: Gold Medal: Hasan Khodr, Silver Medal: Matt Torres, Bronze Medal: Kristina LoVerso
Photography: Gold Medal: Don Welton, Silver Medal: Ned Magdaleno, Bronze Medal: Brianda Avila
Welding: Gold Medal: Mike Herrera
Screenprinting: Bronze Medal: Harrison Scullin

The regional event took place at three Inland Empire locations – RCC, Fontana High School and Universal Technical Institute’s Rancho Cucamonga campus.

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

Photo Credit: RCCD
Photo Credit: RCCD

UCR Program Aims To Close Racial Gap In Science Education

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Sandra Stokley and published in The Press Enterprise on February 1, 2015.)

Photo Credit: David Bauman, The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: David Bauman, The Press Enterprise

On a recent sun-drenched Saturday morning – when most teenagers were playing sports, hanging with friends at the mall or sleeping in – a group of Inland middle school students sat in a UC Riverside classroom pondering the concept of spatial relationships.

Under the tutelage of retired aerospace engineer Michael Batie, they used graph paper, scissors and glue sticks to construct 3-D models to help them visualize how objects relate to each other in space.

They are the first students in the 10-week pilot University STEM Academy that offers instruction and mentoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to sixth- through ninth-graders. The goal is to boost interest in those subjects and improve academic achievement. The program is aimed at, but not limited to, African-American students.

Programs like the University STEM Academy are great examples for Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar. 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.

“We need this type of program for all kids, but particularly for black kids,” said Carolyn Murray, UC Riverside psychology professor and executive director of the academy.

One floor up from the classroom, the students’ parents listened closely and took copious notes as Ann Smith Hickman explained the importance of familiarizing themselves with their child’s cumulative record, which follows students from elementary school through high school graduation.

Parent participation was a requirement for students to enroll in the academy.

Riverside County Office of Education data shows that African-American students lag behind their white and Latino peers in math and science, are less likely to graduate and more likely to drop out of school, Murray said.

The academy is the outgrowth of a dialogue by Inland community activists, educators and clergy on how to address that racial achievement gap, Murray said.

The academy was launched in September with seed funding from UCR Chancellor Kim Wilcox and money Murray raised at a Shrimp and Grits Champagne Brunch.

Students meet for six hours on every other Saturday from early October through mid-March.

To read the full article, click here.

RCC Student Selected For California Community Colleges Board of Governors

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in RCC Campus News on January 1, 2015.)

Photo Credit: RCC
Photo Credit: RCC

Riverside City College student Ravneet Kaur, 20, has been appointed to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors.

A 2012 graduate of Hemet High School, Kaur is well known for her volunteering. Currently she is a Region IX Governance and Internal Policy senator for the Student Senate for California Community Colleges and a member of the Associated Students of Riverside City College (RCC).

 The mission of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and the Chancellor’s Office is to empower the community colleges through leadership, advocacy and support. As a member of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, Kaur says she plans to bring the experience she has collected from being a student advocate and liaison, as well as what she has learned through shared governance.

“Going to community college has probably been one of the best decisions I’ve made; it’s pushed me to excel more in everything that I took part in,” said Kaur, who takes honors classes at RCC and volunteers extensively. “Getting involved with the Associated Students of Moreno Valley College and Riverside City College has really helped develop who I am. I’ve grown so much as a person, from my critical thinking to communication skills; I couldn’t imagine a different college experience.”

“Being involved at the local level has given me a sense of what students and faculty want, and being able to engage in committees on the state level has given me a balanced head in what changes can be made,” she said. “Throughout the years I have been a student, chair, and liaison. I know what being a student representative entails, and I have a close understanding what our local colleges and students want.”

Exemplifying Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar, the educational institutions of Riverside cultivate and support useful and beneficial ideas that will aid Kaur in finding ways to better support the community colleges of our region.

 To read the full 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.

First Doctoral Program At CBU Scheduled For Fall 2015 Launch

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Dr. Mark A Wyatt and published in CBU News & Events on January 15, 2015.)

Photo Credit: CBU
Photo Credit: CBU

California Baptist University will have its first doctoral degree beginning in the fall of 2015. The School of Nursing will offer the doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) after it was approved by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

“It is very exciting to be launching CBU’s first doctoral program later this year,” said Dr. Jonathan Parker, CBU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We have been working very diligently to develop a high quality DNP degree program and I’m especially pleased that our accrediting agency has recognized that effort and commented very favorably on the result.”

The school expects 20 students in its first class, said Dr. Lisa Bursch, acting director of the DNP program. Bursch said there is a national movement to have more nurses educated at a doctoral level because of the complexity of health care. For that reason, the school is looking to train nurse leaders to have an impact on health outcomes.

“For as much money as (the nation) spends on health care, our national outcomes are not that great,” Bursch said. “Something’s not translating between what we know to do and what’s being done.”

The nursing doctoral program will be the only one in Riverside County, Bursch said. Students in the clinical doctorate will take original research and put it into practice. Classes will include organization and systems leadership class, nursing theory and translational research, policy and finance. All students will do a project, which involves looking at health outcomes and how to improve them.

Parker said it is fitting that CBU’s first doctoral program is in nursing. “Programs such as the DNP not only help to meet an important need in society by producing highly-trained healthcare professionals,” he explained, “but they also represent the service-related values that California Baptist University seeks to instill in its graduates.”

Being the first and only nursing doctoral program in Riverside County, CBU’s effort to develop programs the meet the needs of employers is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny intelligent growth pillar.

For the complete article, click here.