Tag Archives: UCR

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.

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 Glassdoor.com, 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: http://www.msol.ucr.edu/

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.

UCR Researchers Awarded $1.3 Million From USDA For Green Energy Research

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Sarah Nightingale and published in UCR Today on May 11, 2016.)

Photo Credit: UCR Today
Photo Credit: UCR Today

Charles Wyman, Distinguished Professor in Chemical and Environmental Engineering and holder of the Ford Motor Company Chair in Environmental Engineering at the Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), and Charles Cai, Research Engineer at CE-CERT and Adjunct Assistant Professor, both at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering, have received a $1,297,725 award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that will fund research on developing commercially-viable processes to create biofuels and chemicals from waste plant materials.

The award will support a project that aims to convert poplar wood into ethanol and polyurethanes based on novel platforms for pretreatment and lignin polymer synthesis. The patented method used by the Wyman/Cai team, called Co-solvent Enhanced Lignocellulosic Fractionation (CELF), was developed as a versatile and efficient way to convert raw agricultural and forestry residues and other plant matter into both biofuels and chemicals.

Partnering with the University of Tennessee Knoxville and MG Fuels LLC, this UCR project aims to bring industry closer to producing fuels and chemicals from biomass at high enough yields and low enough costs to become a viable alternative or replacement for petroleum-based fuels and chemicals. The current research project is expected to increase revenue for bio-refineries and offset pretreatment costs to improve overall process economics.

“This project takes advantage of the unique ability of our novel CELF technology to effectively fractionate lignin from low-cost non-food sources of cellulosic biomass such as agricultural and forestry residues for conversion into polyurethanes that increase revenues for biorefineries while also enhancing ethanol yields,” Wyman said. Wyman leads a team of researchers at UCR’s CE-CERT who are advancing technologies for conversion of cellulosic biomass into sustainable transportation fuels.

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.

UCR was one of seven institutions selected Monday (May 9) to receive a share of the $10 million joint investment by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) towards research that will drive more efficient biofuels production and agricultural feedstock improvements.

These awards were made through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI), a joint program run by NIFA and DOE to develop economically and environmentally sustainable sources of biomass and increase the availability of renewable fuels and bio-based products, helping to replace the need for gasoline and diesel in vehicles, and diversify our nation’s energy choices.

“Advancements in bioenergy research will help protect our national energy security, reduce pollution, and bolster our energy supply,” said Cathie Woteki, Under Secretary for USDA’s Research, Education & Economics mission area, in a statement. “Producing more renewable and bio-based energy can also revitalize rural communities with a new economic market and provide farmers a profitable and sustainable investment through on-farm energy resources.”

The USDA funded projects at UCR, the University of Montana; Dartmouth College; State University of New York; and North Carolina Biotechnology Center. The DOE funded projects by Ohio State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

To read the full article, click here.

Two UCR Students Awarded Anne Siebert Scholarship

(This article contains excerpts from www.otpa.org.)

Photo Credit: Old Towne Preservation Association
Photo Credit: Old Towne Preservation Association

Two UCR students received some help towards their education this month. Carolyn Schutten and Nicolette Rohr both received a $1000 Anne Siebert Scholarship from Old Towne Preservation Assocation. Both students are pursuing a Ph.D. in Public History with Historic Preservation Specialty and are expected to graduate next year.

Our community uses land and repurposes historic structures to provide excellent jobs, support to businesses and steward our heritage and natural beauty. Riverside is working everyday to embrace intelligent growth within all facets of the community.

Purpose

Photo Credit: Old Towne Preservation Association
Photo Credit: Old Towne Preservation Association

Established in 1986, The Old Towne Preservation Association is a public benefit nonprofit organization, committed to the preservation, protection and enhancement of Old Towne, Orange, California. The one square mile area of Old Towne Orange contains over 1,400 historically significant, pre-1940 structures. In 1997, Old Towne Orange became a National Historic District and was placed in the National Register of Historic Places.

OTPA established The Anne Siebert Academic Scholarship program to provide financial assistance opportunities to individuals pursuing degrees or certificates in the field of historic preservation at educational institutions in the greater Los Angeles area. The scholarship is administered and granted by the Old Towne Preservation Association, and is named in honor of the late Anne Siebert, a prominent local historic preservation volunteer and advocate. As a result, the community benefits from individuals whose commitment to our cultural resources will be strengthened, and who ultimately will contribute valuable leadership perspectives in the field of historic preservation.

For more information about the Anne Siebert Scholarship, click here.

UCR: Persisting In Science

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Sean Nealon and published in UCR Today on April 12, 2016.)

UCR Distinguished Professor of Genetics Susan Wessler works with students in the Neil A. Campbell Science Learning Laboratory. PHOTO BY LONNIE DUKA
UCR Distinguished Professor of Genetics Susan Wessler works with students in the Neil A. Campbell Science Learning Laboratory.
PHOTO BY LONNIE DUKA

The University of California, Riverside has received a five-year, $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to provide scholarships, academic support, research experience and internships for a small group of sophomores majoring in science.

The pilot project, known as PERSIST (Promoting Engagement, Retention and Success in STEM Training), will help 12 sophomores who demonstrate financial need each year, for a total of 60 scholarships over five years. Each student will receive a $10,000 scholarship.

The funding will build upon the success UC Riverside’s College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences has had with first-year learning communities, which bring together small groups of first-year students, placing them in the same science and math classes and providing extra academic support.

Graduation rates have nearly doubled in the college for learning community participants and first-quarter GPAs for those in learning communities have averaged about a third of a letter grade better.

The PERSIST National Science Foundation grant builds on that success and focuses on sophomores because data shows that students majoring in the STEM fields are most likely to drop out as freshman or sophomores.

For example, about 40 percent of students who enter UC Riverside intending to major in STEM fields drop out of those fields within their first two years, according to the most recent data available. In the third year only about 10 percent more students drop out.

“The key really is the first two years, especially for our first-generation and low-income students,” said Michael McKibben, divisional dean of student academic affairs in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and the proposal’s primary author. “We have made great progress in the first year. Now, with this grant, we will be able to start to address the second year.  Our ultimate goal is to reduce the rate of lower division student attrition in STEM majors.”

In addition to McKibben, others involved with the project are: Susan Wessler, a distinguished professor of genetics; Marsha Ing, an associate professor in the Graduate School of Education; and Jack Eichler, an associate teaching professor in the Department of Chemistry.

The scholarships will decrease the need for low-income students to work part-time and increase their opportunities to be involved in second year undergraduate research and internships.

The academic support will include activities such as a research methodology course, peer mentoring and career exploration workshops with alumni, including a biotechnology career exploration workshop at the Keck Graduate Institute in Claremont, which offers graduate degrees that prepare students for the bioscience industry.

Part of the reason for partnering with the Keck Graduate Institute is to expose the students to the broad range of jobs available to graduates with STEM degrees. Many incoming UC Riverside students come in intent on going to medical school, without knowing or thinking about the much wider range of jobs available, Wessler said.

Participants will be selected from second-year students who went through the first-year learning community and started their freshman year in pre-calculus. These students tend to have lower graduation rates in STEM compared to students who arrive ready to take calculus.

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.

Public Policy Degree For Medical Students Offered

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Bettye Miller and published in UCR Today on April 11, 2016.)

Photo Credit: UCR Today
Photo Credit: UCR Today

The School of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside will expand its graduate degree programs this fall with a Master of Public Policy designed for medical students interested in health care policy and reform.

The MD-MPP program is open only to students enrolled in the UCR School of Medicine, who will complete their medical and public policy training in five years. Medical degrees typically take four years to complete; the MPP is a two-year program.

“This is a niche degree that would appeal to students who, in addition to becoming practicing physicians, may want to become health care administrators and health policymakers,” explained Anil Deolalikar, dean of the School of Public Policy (SPP). “A lot of people creating health policy have very little medical training. It would help if physicians were more involved in shaping health policy.”

The new program reflects the importance both the School of Public Policy and School of Medicine place on developing public policymakers and physicians who will serve the Inland Empire. Areas that students can work in include federal and state health care policy, medical leadership advocacy, and health care consulting.

“We are pleased to partner with UCR’s School of Public Policy to create this distinctive concurrent degree program,” said Neal L. Schiller, interim dean of the School of Medicine. “This new program will offer our medical students yet another pathway to build leadership skills necessary for developing innovations in the health care system to benefit patients and the inland Southern California region as a whole.”

Students who enroll in the program will spend a full academic year at the School of Public Policy during what would have been their fourth year of medical school, then return to the School of Medicine the following year to finish their final year of medical education. They will complete a summer internship and a capstone project that is acceptable to both professional schools. Upon completion of the fourth year of medical school and the concurrent degree capstone project, students will be awarded two degrees: Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Master of Public Policy (MPP).

“By partnering with the UCR School of Public Policy, our medical students will learn the skills needed to help influence healthcare policy that will in turn help fulfill our mission in a meaningful way,” said Dr. Michael Nduati, associate dean of clinical affairs at the UCR School of Medicine. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity available for our students.  Health care reform affects all physicians and providers – from access to reimbursement. Increasingly more and more in recent years, major shifts in the health care landscape are being determined by policymakers and legislation.  The MD-MPP program equips future physicians to take a central role in health care policy and programming that will shape the future of health care in California and throughout the nation.”

Both the School of Public Policy and the School of Medicine are enrolling students who want to improve the quality of life for residents of the Inland Empire, Deolalikar said.

“We are focused on developing future leaders whose training in public policy is grounded in the scientific approach, not armchair activism,” he said. “You have to have proper rigorous training in public policy to say what policies this region needs to make life better for everyone here. We need people who can produce the data, analyze policy options, and make sound recommendations.”

The School of Public Policy may pair the MPP with other graduate degree programs, such as the Master of Business Administration, and offer public policy certificates to Ph.D. students in a variety of disciplines, Deolalikar said.

“If a student has a public policy track in addition to their Ph.D. program, for example, if their dissertation is on the public policy aspect of environmental engineering, that opens a new set of career options,” he added.

Offering a Public Policy degree for medical 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 the MD/MPP program is available at http://spp.ucr.edu/mpp/md.html and http://medschool.ucr.edu/mep/md_mpp.html.

To read the full article, click here.

Self-Healing Polymer Could Lead To Artificial Muscle

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Sean Nealon and published in UCR Today on April 18, 2016.)

IMG_3583-before
Photo Credit: UCR Today

If there’s such a thing as an experiment that goes too well, a recent effort in the lab of Stanford chemical engineering Professor Zhenan Bao might fit the bill.

One of her team members, Cheng-Hui Li, wanted to test the stretchiness of a rubberlike type of plastic known as an elastomer that he had just synthesized. Such materials can normally be stretched two or three times their original length and spring back to original size. One common stress test involves stretching an elastomer beyond this point until it snaps.

But Li, a visiting scholar from China, hit a snag: The clamping machine typically used to measure elasticity could only stretch about 45 inches. To find the breaking point of their one-inch sample, Li and another lab member had to hold opposing ends in their hands, standing further and further apart, eventually stretching a 1-inch polymer film to more than 100 inches.

Bao was stunned.

“I said, ‘How can that be possible? Are you sure?’” she recalled.

Today in Nature Chemistry, the researchers, including Chao Wang, an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of California, Riverside who is a former post-doctoral student in Bao’s lab,  explain how they made this super-stretchy substance. They also showed that they could make this new elastomer twitch by exposing it to an electric field, causing it to expand and contract, making it potentially useful as an artificial muscle.

Artificial muscles currently have applications in some consumer technology and robotics, but they have shortcomings compared to a real bicep, Bao said. Small holes or defects in the materials currently used to make artificial muscle can rob them of their resilience. Nor are they able to self-repair if punctured or scratched.

The team attributes the extreme stretching and self-healing ability of their new material to some critical improvements to a type of chemical bonding process known as crosslinking. This process, which involves connecting linear chains of linked molecules in a sort of fishnet pattern, has previously yielded a tenfold stretch in polymers.But this new material, in addition to being extraordinarily stretchy, has remarkable self-healing characteristics. Damaged polymers typically require a solvent or heat treatment to restore their properties, but the new material showed a remarkable ability to heal itself at room temperature, even if the damaged pieces are aged for days. Indeed, researchers found that it could self-repair at temperatures as low as negative 4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 C), or about as cold as a commercial walk-in freezer.

First they designed special organic molecules to attach to the short polymer strands in their crosslink to create a series of structure called ligands. These ligands joined together to form longer polymer chains – spring-like coils with inherent stretchiness.

Then they added to the material metal ions, which have a chemical affinity for the ligands. When this combined material is strained, the knots loosen and allow the ligands to separate. But when relaxed, the affinity between the metal ions and the ligands pulls the fishnet taut. The result is a strong, stretchable and self-repairing elastomer.

“Basically the polymers become linked together like a big net through the metal ions and the ligands,” Bao explained. “Each metal ion binds to at least two ligands, so if one ligand breaks away on one side, the metal ion may still be connected to a ligand on the other side. And when the stress is released, the ion can readily reconnect with another ligand if it is close enough.”

The team found that they could tune the polymer to be stretchier or heal faster by varying the amount or type of metal ion included. The version that exceeded the measuring machine’s limits, for example, was created by decreasing the ratio of iron atoms to the polymers and organic molecules in the material.

The researchers also showed that this new polymer with the metal additives would twitch in response to an electric field. They have to do more work to increase the degree to which the material expands and contracts and control it more precisely. But this observation opens the door to promising applications. (View video.)

In addition to its long-term potential for use as artificial muscle, this research dovetails with Bao’s efforts to create artificial skin that might be used to restore some sensory capabilities to people with prosthetic limbs. In previous studies her team has created flexible but fragile polymers, studded with pressure sensors to detect the difference between a handshake and a butterfly landing. This new, durable material could form part of the physical structure of a fully developed artificial skin.

“Artificial skin is not just made of one material,” said Franziska Lissel, a postdoctoral fellow in Bao’s lab and member of the research team. “We want to create a very complex system.”

Even before artificial muscle and artificial skin become practical, this work in the development of strong, flexible, electronically active polymers could spawn a new generation of wearable electronics, or medical implants that would last a long time without being repaired or replaced.

This latest discovery is the result of two years of collaboration, overseen by Bao, involving visiting scholar Cheng-Hui Li, a Chinese organo-metallic chemist who designed the metal ligand bonding scheme; polymer chemist Wang, who had made previous iterations of self-healing elastomers; and artificial muscle expert Christoph Keplinger, now an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Other contributors to the study, “A highly stretchable autonomous self-healing elastomer,” include Jing-Lin Zuo, Lihua Jin, Yang Sun, Peng Zheng, Yi Cao, Christian Linder and Xiao-Zeng You.

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.

Press release courtesy of Stanford Engineering.

To read the full article, click here.

Three UCR Scholars Win Guggenheim Fellowships

(This article contains excerpts from  the article written by Bettye Miller and published in UCR Today on April 6, 2016.)

Photo Credit: UCR Today
Photo Credit: UCR Today

A novelist, a poet and an evolutionary biologist from the University of California, Riverside have been awarded prestigious Guggenheim Fellowships. They are Laila Lalami, professor of creative writing; Fred Moten, professor of English and poetry; and David Reznick, distinguished professor of biology.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded 175 Guggenheim Fellowships (including three joint fellowships) today to a diverse group of 178 scholars, artists, and scientists from a group of nearly 3,000 applicants. The fellowships are awarded “on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise,” the foundation said in announcing the recipients in New York City. This year marks the 92nd year of competition for the awards.

“These artists and writers, scholars and scientists, represent the best of the best,” Edward Hirsch, president of the foundation, said in a statement. “Each year since 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has bet everything on the individual, and we’re thrilled to continue to do so with this wonderfully talented and diverse group. It’s an honor to be able to support these individuals to do the work they were meant to do.”

Each of the three UC Riverside recipients will receive a $50,000 award to support their research.

Laila Lalami, professor of creative writing, was a finalist in 2015 for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for her novel “The Moor’s Account” (Pantheon, 2014). The work of historical fiction  – the imagined memoirs of the first black explorer of America, a Moroccan slave whose testimony was left out of the official record of the 1527 expedition of Spanish conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez – has won many additional awards, among them the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award for Fiction, an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, and was a co-winner of the Arab American Book Award for Fiction. It also was shortlisted for Italy’s The Bridge Book Award, and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and Dublin International Literary Award. She is a regular columnist for The Nation. A recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and a Lannan Foundation Residency fellowship, last week she was named a Los Angeles Times Critic at Large. The Guggenheim Fellowship will support work on her novel, which is currently titled “The King of All Things.”

Fred Moten, professor of English, is a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award – which honors a poet at mid-career – for his poetry collection “The Little Edges” (Wesleyan University Press, 2014), and was a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award in Poetry and the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for poetry for another collection, “The Feel Trio” (Letter Machine Editions). He was recognized as one of 10 New American Poets by the Poetry Society of America, and is co-founder and co-publisher of a small literary press called Three Count Pour. The Guggenheim Fellowship will support a literary criticism project, “Hesitant Sociology: Blackness and Poetry.” “I’m trying to show that the logic of poetry, at the level of form and content, is a social logic; and that the theory of blackness, which is given and constantly enriched in social practice, is absolutely necessary for understanding, and for feeling, and for enacting that logic,” he explained.

David Reznick, distinguished professor of biology, is an evolutionary biologist whose groundbreaking research found that an individual’s response to environmental conditions may predict evolutionary changes in future generations. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences whose research has been supported by numerous grants from the National Science Foundation. He is the recipient of the E. O. Wilson Prize and is the author of “The Origin Then and Now: An Interpretive Guide to the Origin of Species” (Princeton University Press, 2009). The Guggenheim Fellowship will support his research project, “The Causes and Consequences of Contemporary Evolution.” Specifically, he said, the award will enable him to spend a year at Oxford University “developing some new quantitative skills and writing papers about the unheralded paradigm shift that has happened in our thinking about evolution. It used to be thought of as a historical process, meaning that it was too slow to see in action, so we learned about it from its footprints. It is now viewed as a contemporary process that can be studied in real time, but is also active in real time.”

Since its establishment in 1925, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has granted more than $334 million in fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, among whom are scores of Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, Turing Award winners, poets laureate, members of the various national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, and other important, internationally recognized honors.

This year’s recipients represent 50 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 71 academic institutions, 27 states and the District of Columbia, and two Canadian provinces. They range in age from 31 to 84.

According to the foundation, the Guggenheim Fellowship program remains an important source of support for artists, scholars in the humanities and social sciences, and scientific researchers. The foundation was established by U.S. Sen. Simon Guggenheim and his wife, Olga, as a memorial to a son who died April 26, 1922.

Representing Seizing Our Destiny’s location of choice pillar, UCR provides a great education at an affordable price.

To read the full article, click here.

National Science Foundation Selects Professor to Inspire Next Generation of Scientists and Engineers

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Sarah Nightingale and published in UCR Today on April 5, 2016.)

Photo Credit: UCR Today
Photo Credit: UCR Today

Suveen Mathaudhu has Captain America’s shield and he’s not afraid to use it—to help get kids excited about science and engineering.

Mathaudhu, an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering programs at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering has been selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to present at the USA Science and Engineering Festival, which will take place April 16-17 in Washington D.C.

As the only national science and engineering festival, the free event aims to inspire the next generation of inventors and innovators through more than 3,000 hands-on exhibits, experiments and live performances by science celebrities, inventors and subject-matter experts. The 4th annual festival is expected to draw more than 350,000 attendees.

In his exhibit, “The Super Science of Captain America’s Shield,” Mathaudhu and five of his graduate students will integrate the fictional science behind the creation of Captain America’s iconic super-strong shield with the real science he does to develop ultra-tough metals and alloys.

“Engineering is a very creative field that’s about solving really interesting problems, but many kids don’t get that,” Mathaudhu said. “When they think about how superheroes’ powers are augmented by advanced science and engineering, they start to get excited about it.”

Mathaudhu, who joined the Bourns College in 2014, recently received an Early Career Faculty Development Program (CAREER) grant from the NSF. The proposal, titled “CAREER: Extreme Toughening of HCP Metallic Alloys via Nanospaced Stacking Faults” will continue for five years and is expected to total $500,000 in support of research, education and outreach activities.

In the study, Mathaudhu and his team will unravel the underlying mechanisms responsible for the formation of novel toughening features within lightweight metals with hexagonal structures (titanium and magnesium), and enable processing methods to realize metallic materials with unprecedented strength and formability.  These metallic alloys are critical for the development of lightweight vehicles and transportation systems that reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and decrease pollution.

“This award will allow UCR to research and develop advanced lightweight structural alloys, incorporate the discoveries and findings into education and classroom, and importantly, to reach out the broader community and integrate them into the excitement and opportunities in metallurgical research and other STEM fields,” Mathaudhu said.

Mathaudhu and his students are also active in presenting his research and superhero science to diverse local and national audiences.  Within the last year he has spoken at local elementary, high schools, junior/community colleges; The UCR Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (aimed at learners 50 years and older); Riverside’s Long Night of Arts and Innovation; the 2015 U.S. News STEM Solutions Conference; and even at the U.S. Capitol to Congressional Leaders.

Mathaudhu, an expert on the science of superheroes as depicted in comic books and their associated movies, frequently speaks to the media and consults on this subject.

Mathaudhu effort to get kids interested in science and 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, products, scholars, business people, artists and entrepreneurs.

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