Category Archives: Learning

UC Riverside Students Training at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Sean Nealon and published in UCR Today on June 10, 2016.)

Photo Credit: UCR Today
Photo Credit: UCR Today

Ten University of California, Riverside students will have internships at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) this summer thanks to a $4.5 million grant the university received last year from NASA.

The grant will also allow 22 high school students from Riverside Unified School District to take a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) class at UC Riverside this summer.

The University of California, Riverside received the NASA grant to develop research, education, training and collaborative opportunities in big data and visualization.

The five-year research project, called “Fellowships and Internships in Extremely Large Data Sets” (FIELDS), will train underrepresented minority students in STEM fields to address a critical shortfall in the workforce essential for future NASA missions. Bahram Mobasher, a professor of physics and astronomy, is the grant’s principal investigator.

Students participating in the research project will be underrepresented minorities at all educational levels, with undergraduate students being selected from physical, biological, computer science and engineering disciplines at UC Riverside and partner institutions – all Hispanic-serving institutions such as UC Riverside – nationwide.

Each undergraduate intern will spend 10 weeks at JPL during summer for two years and receive a stipend of $6,000 each year. At the end of the summer, the UC Riverside students who continue their research at the campus under a UC Riverside faculty or JPL science staff will receive $3,000 during the academic year.

The 10 UC Riverside students selected are: Samantha Annamraju, Brandy Coats, Nelson Garcia, Jesse Mendoza, Jasmine Moreno, Sirina Nabhan, John Pham, Joshua Rubio, Sunaina Santhiveeran and Brittany Seto. There are also nine students from other colleges and universities participating.

“These internships are invaluable because they teach research skills and also teach the students how to leverage the opportunity for future career aspirations,” said Reynal Guillen, UC Riverside’s program manager for the FIELDS program.

The grant was made through the 2014 Education Opportunities in NASA Science, Technology, Engineering and Math NASA research announcement for the establishment of MUREP Institutional Research Opportunity (MIRO) centers. MIRO awards promote STEM literacy and enhance and sustain the capability of institutions to perform NASA-related research and education.

Grants 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 programs play a vital role in strengthening our community’s workforce and job growth.

To read the full article, click here.

CBU To Offer Three New Marketing Concentrations

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in CBU News & Events on June 8, 2016.)

Photo Credit: CBU News & Events

Students at California Baptist University will have more of an opportunity to distinguish themselves in the diverse marketing field starting this fall. CBU will offer three new concentrations for the bachelor’s of science in marketing (BSM) degree: sport marketing, international marketing and sales management.

“The goal of the new concentrations is to prepare students for a very specific career field,” said Dr. Natalie Winter, interim associate dean and associate professor at the Dr. Robert K. Jabs School of Business. “These options give students the opportunity to make a decision about their career path sooner than later.”

Winter said the marketing faculty had been collecting feedback for several years from alumni and students on its BSM program. The responses indicated a demand for more concentrated marketing programs.

The department responded by conducting research on the local job market trends to find appropriate concentrations to offer, she said.

Each concentration consists of 12 units of coursework related specifically to a field of study. Declaring a concentration allows students to focus on courses that are relevant to a desired career path. Additionally, the concentrations add an internship component that propels students to gain hands-on learning experiences.

“Internships are great opportunities for students to position themselves as experienced graduates and help them stand out for future employers,” Winter said. “One of the nice things about being located in the Inland Empire is that students can choose from a broad range of industries to gain this professional experience.”

Winter said students can still graduate in four years with a declared concentration, and they will also receive a general marketing background.

“I believe it will be a win-win situation for students and CBU,” she said.

CBU’s efforts and commitment to education certainly illustrate the Seizing Our Destiny pillar of intelligent growth. Offering these new concentrations will help students expanded their knowledge and become more valuable to employers.

Read more about courses for each concentration here.

To read the full article, click here.

Library’s New MakerSpace Lets Patrons Create

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Sandra Stokley and published in the Press Enterprise on June 8, 2016.)

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

The quiet main library in downtown Riverside has catapulted into the 21st Century with the official launch of its MakerSpace room.

The “do-it-yourself” area lets library patrons use computers, software, 3-D printers and other cutting-edge technology to create everything from jewelry to clothes to art.

“This is a whole new field for libraries,” Riverside City Councilman Andy Melendrez said Tuesday, June 7, minutes after emerging from the recording booth, where he laid down some rap tracks.

“It was cool,” he said.

Just a few feet away, people crowded around the 3-D printer – a Maker-Bot Replicator – oohing and aahing as it created a miniature replica of the Eiffel Tower. The printer creates actual objects using code.

In addition to the printer and recording booth, the Riverside Library MakerSpace features a collaborative media table, iMac and MacBook Pro computers, Lego Minecraft kits and littleBits, electronic building blocks that teach youngsters how to create circuit boards.

“The MakerSpace is the next evolution of libraries as a center for information and knowledge,” library Director Tonya Kennon said. “Participatory learning is king in the MakerSpace environment and our library has many of the top tools for learning, inventing and creating.”

Other Inland area libraries are in various stages of creating their own creation spaces.

In Rancho Cucamonga, an unused second-floor space at the Paul Biane Library is being readied as a STEM Lab that will open in fall, said Brian Sternberg, assistant library director for the Rancho Cucamonga Libraries. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Meanwhile, Rancho Cucamonga’s two libraries have been offering programs that utilize MakerSpace-style activities, Sternberg said. The library system has four 3-D printers, programmable Legos, deejay equipment and turntables.

The MakerSpace and STEM Labs are ushering in a new era in which libraries are seen as exciting centers of learning, Sternberg said. The MakerSpace 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.

“People want to come to the library to create things,” Sternberg said. “It’s a transition from libraries as a place where you get a book and read. Libraries are becoming the places where you do things, create things, make things.”

The San Bernardino County Library system has no MakerSpace but offers programs that focus on creating things, experimenting with aerodynamics, motion and engineering principles, county Librarian Leonard Hernandez said.

“There’s a lot of interest on the part of students and families,” Hernandez said. “Many of these programs have wait lists.”

Kennon said she was inspired to lobby for a MakerSpace in Riverside after reading about two UC Davis students who designed a tool called a hex flex to tighten gears on a bicycle. They used a 3-D printer at a local library to create a prototype and it’s now in full production.

The Riverside Library Foundation began fundraising for the project in 2014, Kennon said. It raised $80,000, which covered the cost of furnishing the space and paid for the recording studio, the iMac and MacBook pro computers and the interactive media table. Five Riverside-area Rotary Clubs raised $6,500 to buy the 3-D printer.

Kennon told the crowd at Tuesday’s dedication that the collaboration that led to the MakerSpace “shows that Riverside can do anything we set our minds to.”

To read the full article, click here.

RCC Model United Nations Wins Outstanding Delegation

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Laura M. Tapia on published in Riverside City College Viewpoints on May 30, 2016.)


In an international conference of over 5,000 college and university students from across the world, the Riverside City College Model United Nations team brought home one of the highest awards.

RCC won the Outstanding Delegation award in the National Model United Nations New York for the third year in a row March 27-31.

The team which consisted of 14 students was the largest amount of students ever taken to a conference, according to a letter from Blake Plante, research director of RCC MUN.

“We intend to continue to send large groups,” Plante stated. “But in order to qualify our students must be dedicated.”

Plante also stated that while they are looking for students with strong academic skills they have a thorough training program that can help enrich students’ abilities.

“The benefits (MUN) has had on our delegate’s lives and their careers can not possibly be communicated on paper alone,” he stated.

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

To read the full article, click here.

UC Riverside Adds Data Science Specialization to Online MS in Engineering

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Sarah Nightingale and published in UCR Today on May 20, 2016.)

Photo Credit: Darpa
Photo Credit: Darpa

Knowledge is power, but in the age of ‘big data’ many companies are finding themselves with too much of a good thing. The smart ones hire data scientists—experts with the knowledge to analyze large datasets, visualize them, and find meaningful patterns that help businesses get ahead.

To meet the growing demand for data scientists, the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering has added a new Data Science specialization to its Online Master of Science in Engineering, a fully online degree program that is aimed at professionals in multi-disciplinary data-driven fields (engineers, scientists, medical and social media professionals) looking to enhance their careers.

With topics spanning data mining, machine learning, statistical computing, and data visualization, graduates will be ready to help organizations take advantage of the enormous amounts of data generated today, providing new insights and improving decision-making capabilities. The program is jointly developed by UCR faculty and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) science staff.

“NASA is just one example of an organization that is relying more and more heavily on data scientists who can analyze and draw conclusions from the vast amount of information that can be collected today,” said Kambiz Vafai, a Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Online Master of Science in Engineering. “The specialization is also aimed at people who are working or planning to work in financial sectors, social media, retail and academic research.”

According to the career site, data scientists can initially earn annual salaries of $100,000 to $130,000, while data visualization specialists’ base earnings start around $80,000 and can reach $100,000.

“This is a highly coveted skillset that employers are looking for as they imagine the potential for big data to uncover new revenue streams and improve their business processes,” Vafai said.

Development of the Data Science specialization is supported by a NASA Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) ‘Fellowships and Internships in Extremely Large Data Sets (FIELDS)’ grant awarded to UCR in 2015. The MUREP program aims to increase the number of undergraduate and graduate students in NASA-related fields in minority serving institutions.

“The online Master’s program in the Data Science Specialization will equip students with the knowledge needed for a career in data analytics. Students will then be ready to move to various jobs in government labs, industry or academia,” said Bahram Mobasher, Professor of Physics and Observational Astronomy at UCR and Principal Investigator of the FIELDS program.

Launched in 2013, the online master’s now offers six specializations: Data Science, Bioengineering, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Materials at the Nanoscale, and Mechanical Engineering.

The course material for the online master’s program is equivalent to the traditional master’s program, but with a greater emphasis on technical skills rather than research. Recorded courses, which maintain the same University of California standards as traditional courses, are available for students to watch at convenient times. Students are required to take nine courses for a total of 36 units to graduate, which can be completed in as little as 13 months.

Applications are accepted based on work experience, college coursework completed, GPA, professional certifications, reference letters and GRE scores. The cost of the program is $3,333 per course, or $30,000 for the nine-course program.

Offering a Data Science for Engineering students is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar. UCR is dedicated to educating the next generation of student in facets where the can make the biggest impact on the community and the world.

More information about UCR’s Online Master of Science in Engineering is here:

To read the full article, click here.

UCR Awarded $1.1 Million To Help Underserved Students

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Kris Lovekin and published in UCR Today on May 12, 2016.)

Photo Credit: UCR Today
Photo Credit: UCR Today

The University of California, Riverside will continue to help underserved students succeed in college with the assistance of a $1.1 million Student Support Services grant from the U.S. Department of Education. This is the second time UCR has been awarded this competitive grant, which will disbursed over the next five years.

The Student Support Services (SSS) grant, known as the TRIO Scholars Program at UCR, is a federally funded grant program which provides outreach and services to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, low income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with physical or learning disabilities. The program goals are to improve retention and graduation rates.

“For me,” said participant Arlene Padilla, “TRIO means having a support system that also serves as a second family on campus. They provide such great services that have made my college experience that much more enjoyable and hassle free.”

TRIO Programs include Upward Bound Programs, and an Educational Talent Search Program .

TRIO Programs include Upward Bound Programs, and an Educational Talent Search Program . Photo Credit: UCR Today

The TRIO Scholars program offers 140 participants a year academic, social, personal, and career advising and support, from program entry until graduation. Participants can access priority registration, a computer workstation, printing, workshops, academic advising, career counseling, information about financial aid and financial literacy, leadership development, and other resources.

Alicia Velazquez, executive director of the Educational and Community Outreach Programs at UC Riverside, was grateful for the renewed funding. “Having the Student Support Services (TRIO Scholars Program) grant on campus is a real honor. I look forward to continuing to provide supplemental services to 140 UCR students,” she said.

Brighitte Preciado, director of the SSS TRIO Scholars Program, sees it as an opportunity to impact many more lives in direct, meaningful ways. “Beyond the tangible benefits,” she said, “my hope for our TRIO Scholars is that they will develop a sense of community and find a strong support system. I am excited to be able to support UCR students through their collegiate journeys with the help of this grant.”

Student voices echo the importance of the academic and social support. “TRIO is an opportunity – a space for personal, academic, and social growth,” said participant Tevin Bui. “It offers resources to support their students and a sense of community that facilitates their growth. To its present and former scholars, TRIO is and will always be our home away from home.”

Programs like this are great examples of the Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city pillar by demonstrating 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.

The TRIO Scholars Program is open to eligible undergraduate students in all levels. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Students interested in applying may obtain and submit an application at the TRIO Scholars Office, HUB 261. For more information, interested students can call (951) 827-6195.

To read the full article, click here.

Summer Science Camp For Teens at La Sierra University

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Max Gutierrez and published in La Sierra University on May 12, 2016.)

Photo Credit: Natan Vigna
Photo Credit: La Sierra

Summer Science Camp will offer two weeks with unique experiences. Biomedical Science Week will take place from Mon., June 20 to Fri., June 24. Science Explorations Week will take place from Mon., June 27 to Fri., July 1.

Students in Biomedical Science Week will immerse themselves in the sciences within various healthcare professions. They will be able to explore Loma Linda University’s medical center, schools and centers with two days of learning that will include work with professionals and hands-on experience. They will spend time investigating areas such as pharmacy, nursing, radiography, epidemiology, emergency medicine, dentistry, prosthetics, and more. They will also spend a day training to become CPR and first aid certified.

During Science Explorations Week, students will have a weeklong journey through a wide-range of sciences. They will have access to the laboratories at La Sierra University and will experiment with and learn about optics, volcanoes, metallic flubber, rollercoasters, and other things. The camp will focus two days on lessons in chemistry and physics. Additionally, campers will spend a day at Disney’s California Adventure theme park in Anaheim where students will learn about the properties of motion, and a day at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach where students will learn about marine biology.

All students who wish to participate must submit an application by June 6. Students must be just entering or completing grades 9-12 and should be able to promptly attend each full day of camp for the week registered. Applicants who meet the requirements will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.

Camps like this are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar. La Sierra University is dedicated to educating the next generation of students and helping them succeed. These programs play a vital role in strengthening our community’s workforce and job growth.

Space is limited. Tuition is $300 per week. For information and registration visit, or contact Program Coordinator Amy Wolf at or 951-785-2148. La Sierra University is located at 4500 Riverwalk Parkway, Riverside. A campus map is available at

To read the full article, click here.

Lancers Win Commissioner’s Cup For Third-Straight Year

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in CBU News & Events on May 13, 2016.)

Photo Credit: CBU News & Events
Photo Credit: CBU News & Events

For the third-straight year and the fourth in the program’s 5-year history, California Baptist University Athletics have been declared the best in the PacWest by winning the Commissioner’s Cup. Since joining the PacWest in 2011, CBU has won four of five Commissioner’s Cups — becoming the first school to accomplish this feat.

The Lancers clinched the Commissioner Cup when CBU’s baseball team claimed the PacWest title on the last day of competition. In total, the Lancers have captured nine conference crowns this academic year – men’s and women’s basketball, women’s golf, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, wrestling, baseball and men’s and women’s cross country.

“I’m proud of our student-athletes, coaches and staff for winning the cup three years in a row,” said Dr. Micah Parker, CBU director of athletics. “Particularly, this group of senior athletes has been consistently outstanding in PacWest competition. The PacWest Conference continues to get better each year, so we’ve had to keep improving also. This accomplishment is a true blessing.”

The PacWest Commissioner’s Cup was established in 2007-08 to honor the athletic program with the best overall performance in that academic year. The competition is based upon average finishes. Each school’s conference finishes are totaled and then divided by the number of PacWest athletic programs it offers, giving an overall average finish for the school.

CBU’s outstanding scholastic and athletic performance makes it a location of choice for students seeking not only a great education but a first-rate sports program.

To read the full article, click here.

Lancer Baseball Wins Pacwest Conference Title

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in CBU News & Events on May 9, 2016.)

Photo Credit: CBU News & Events
Photo Credit: CBU News & Events

The California Baptist University Lancers baseball team won its third ever PacWest conference title on May 9 by beating Azusa Pacific University, 6-5.

CBU, with a 38-11 season record and ranked sixth nationally in NCAA Division II, needed to win one of the double header set against APU on the last day of the regular season to claim the conference crown. The Lancers did not risk a second game showdown as they took care of business in the first game, their bats coming alive for an explosive late two-inning rally in the sixth and seventh. Trailing 2-0 going into the sixth, the Lancers scored six runs on six hits including a home run by Antonio Chavarria, his 10th of the year.

Jeremy McDonald, a senior lefty, navigated through seven innings, giving up three runs on eight hits, but more importantly limited APU from stringing together a flurry of runs. McDonald improved to 7-0 on the season.

The Lancers now await the regional play-off announcement to learn of its pairing at the NCAA Division II West Regionals, which will be held May 19–May 23 at a site to be determined.

CBU’s outstanding scholastic and athletic performance makes it a location of choice for students seeking not only a great education but a first-rate sports program.

Read more about baseball’s victory here.

La Sierra University Enactus Team Wins National Championship

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Darla Martin Tucker and published in La Sierra News/Events on May 17, 2016.)

Photo Credit: La Sierra
Photo Credit: La Sierra

Approximately 20 La Sierra Enactus team members, led by a six-member presentation team, competed May 15-17 against 118 universities and colleges from around the United States. During the final round, La Sierra took first place with second place going to John Brown University, third place going to Flagler College, and Heritage University in fourth place.

La Sierra will represent the United States during Enactus World Cup competitions in Toronto Sept. 28 – 30.

This is the La Sierra team’s seventh national title during its 25-year history, an unprecedented string of national wins. The team last brought home the national trophy in 2007, going on to win the world cup that year in New York City.

Photo Credit: La Sierra
Photo Credit: La Sierra

During competition, teams from each school give 24-minute, multi-media presentations on the impact of their school’s Enactus projects which aim to economically empower and sustain communities locally and in other parts of the globe through entrepreneurial endeavors. Panels of judges comprised of executives from America’s leading corporations decide winners during opening, semi-final and final rounds.

Watch a video of the La Sierra team in their Enactus National Expo final round presentation at this link:<wbr />watch?v=8SLyeuqp2UU

The La Sierra Enactus team’s projects included:

• Mobile Fresh, a partner project with Family Service Association in Riverside involves use of a renovated Riverside Transit Agency commuter bus that functions as a mobile grocery store bringing reduced-rate fresh produce and dry goods to areas with few supermarkets. The team, which manages marketing and educational programming for the project, took the Mobile Fresh bus to 40 locations throughout the Riverside area. They achieved 1,800 customer transactions per month this school year with 3,824 people directly impacted. Customers saved up to 50 percent on food costs.

• Enactus Field Station, Denkanikottai, India, where an Enactus Cow Bank micro-lending program started in 2013 has more than doubled the income of participating families who receive milk cows on loan from the team, sell milk, repay the loan and ultimately buy the cow while earning significantly higher income. The team has purchased and loaned 117 cows thus far. Cow Bank entrepreneurs have invested $154,740 into the local economy and none have defaulted on their loans. The field station last November also established a new micro-lending program involving sewing machines and a sewing school. Thirteen young women will complete the program in June, ready to earn additional income with their new skills.

• Innovation Camp in California schools impacted 840 high school students with lessons in innovation and human-centered design. Since 2012, more than 3,500 students from Canada, Mexico, India, China and the United States have experienced the program, creating new ideas and prototypes.

The team is also launching this spring a Riverside Water Project focused on the water crisis and a new program for the Family Justice Center Project that will provide financial literacy, training and employment assistance for victims of domestic violence.

“What a moment for La Sierra Enactus. We are so very proud of these students who have invested so many volunteer hours on significant projects that are continuing to impact hundreds of people in the local region and in India,” said La Sierra University President Randal Wisbey. “We are gratified and thankful that leaders from America’s top corporations also see the value in our students’ projects and have rewarded them for their superb work.”

La Sierra’s Enactus team is based out of the university’s Zapara School of Business. John Thomas, business school dean and an instrumental founder of La Sierra’s first team accompanies the Enactus teams to their competitions. He described how proud he was of the team’s achievement and their efforts to live out the business school’s slogan, ‘Create Value. Make a Difference.’

“These projects are making a difference and the students are doing it on their own time,” he said. “We were nervous, but our strategy worked out. We wanted to make sure the students believed in their projects. It was totally student empowered. We let the students lead.”

The business school is named after entrepreneurs and education philanthropists Tom and Vi Zapara who have supported the school and its Enactus teams for more than 20 years. This year, for the first time Tom Zapara, at age 93, attended the team’s national competition and had the opportunity to witness their first-place win. In a meeting with the team afterward he told them he believed he was divinely inspired by God to attend this competition.

The team’s first-place win caps a two-day competitive event that brought the team additional prizes and scholarships. These include first place in the Unilever Bright Future Partnership Competition and first place in the Johnson & Johnson Care Enables Progress Topic Competition. La Sierra student presenter Joe Rees won the $5,000 RILA/Unilever Retail Scholarship and the $10,000 Jules and Gwen Knapp Ambassador Scholarship, and was interviewed for a St. Louis Public Radio story on May 15 about the competition:

In addition, John Razzouk, La Sierra’s Sam Walton Faculty Fellow, an Enactus designation, was named Sam M. Walton Free Enterprise Fellow of the Year during the national expo. Two La Sierra Enactus students were also offered jobs by the Walmart corporation.

Razzouk, a business school alum who as a student led the team to its 2007 national and world cup victories, shepherds the Enactus teams through their projects and competitions.

“I was kind of speechless,” said Razzouk, describing his reaction when the team was announced national champion. “I was so proud. I felt kind of like a dad. We set out to prove what students are capable of,” and achieved that goal.

The team has come close to nabbing the top spot several times during the past nine years, placing second in the nation last year, third in the nation in 2009, and landing among the top eight teams in 2010.

Winning competitions like this helps La Sierra University and Riverside become a location of choice for students seeking a great education at an affordable price.

Enactus, an international organization, has 533 universities and more than 16,800 students participating in its U.S. division. The organization began in 1975 as SIFE, or Students in Free Enterprise and changed its name in 2012 to Enactus.

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