UCR Earns Top-10 Ranking in New Social Mobility Index Survey

(This article includes excerpts from the article written by Ross French, published in UCR Today on October 17,2014.)

UC Riverside was ranked eighth in the new Social Mobility Index survey, which rates schools based upon their ability to help students improve their social and economic standing. Photo credit: Ross French

UC Riverside was ranked eighth in the new Social Mobility Index survey, which rates schools based upon their ability to help students improve their social and economic standing. Photo credit: UCR Today.

The University of California, Riverside has been included among the top-10 schools on the new Social Mobility Index (SMI) survey, co-sponsored by CollegeNet and PayScale. The SMI ranking emphasizes economic mobility and the extent that a college or university helps its students with family incomes below the national median improve their social and economic standing.

UCR placed eighth overall among the 539 schools with a SMI ranking of 43.79. UC Davis placed sixth overall with 49.58 points and UC Berkeley was ninth with 43.36 points. The top school in the survey was Montana Tech of the University of Montana. The full rankings can be found on their website.

The survey’s methodology incorporated five weighted variables: published tuition, percent of student body whose families are below the US median income, graduation rate, reported median salary 0-5 years after graduation, and endowment. The survey specifically did not incorporate reputations based upon the opinions of faculty or administrators regarding social or economic mobility, as it would “perpetuate the biases and stereotypes collected in such surveys.”

According to the survey 42.98% of UCR students are considered “low income.” The salary for UCR grads considered “early career employees,” defined as “full-time employees with five years of experience or less in their career or field working in the U.S. who hold a bachelor’s degree and no higher degrees,” is $45,600.

This is the second significant survey in which UCR has received high marks for social mobility, proving once again that Riverside is indeed a Location of Choice. For the last four years, the university has been ranked in the top-10 among national universities in Washington Monthly’s Annual College Ranking Survey, placing second overall in 2013 and 2014.  The Washington Monthly Survey considers civic engagement, research, and social mobility.

The article accompanying the Washington Monthly ranking read, in part:  “The UC campus in Riverside…. stands out as a model for other public universities to follow….. Riverside is unusually focused on social mobility. Since 2006, its enrollment has grown by 25 percent. Half of all freshmen are first-generation college students, and the campus is the most racially and ethnically diverse within the UC system. Riverside’s focus on public service exceeds that of almost every other national university.”

For the complete article, click here.

Lab Equipment to Benefit Bourns College of Engineering

(This article includes excerpts from the article written in Quality Magazine and published on October 17, 2014.)

B&K Precision, which manufactures and sells precision test and measurement instruments worldwide, has outfitted the test benches in an electrical and computer engineering lab at Bourns College of Engineering at UC Riverside with all new, state-of-the art equipment.

bourns

Victor Tolan, President and CEO of B&K Precision, has a penchant for equipping the engineers of tomorrow with the tools they need today. His company’s generosity will benefit more than 500 students each year at BCOE through the technical hands-on training they will receive as future engineers using the equipment. The precision test and measurement instruments include oscilloscopes, function generators, power supplies and digital multimeters. The work stations accommodate two students each, and are designated for circuits and electronics lab exercises as well as activities related to independent student projects.

The Bourns College of Engineering celebrates its 25th year in 2014, and is ranked among the best public engineering colleges of its size in the nation. BCOE engineers provide a source of new ideas, products and technologies to the world while leading interdisciplinary and collaborative efforts in education, research and industrial partnerships. BCOE offers B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees through bioengineering, chemical and environmental engineering, computer science and engineering, electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering departments, and computer engineering and college-wide materials science and engineering programs. The college has more than 2,400 undergraduate students, 620 graduate students, more than $32 million in annual research expenditures and is home to eight interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research centers.

Donations like this increase the visibility of the great work done at UC Riverside to equip our future engineers.  UC Riverside is known for catalyzing innovation in many fields of study and thus promotes the aspirations of Seizing Our Destiny.

For more information on B&K Precision, visit www.bkprecision.com

For the complete article, click here.

UCR Students Turn Diaper Into Medical Tool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Diaper Detective is an outstanding model of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar.  The students and staff at UC Riverside cultivate and support ideas, research, and products that accelerate the common good for all.  Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do in Riveside, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.  

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Researchers At UCR Find Key Component Of Autistic Behavior

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Mark Muckenfuss, published in the Press-Enterprise on July 26, 2014)

Through constant commitment and dedication, UC Riverside is consistently raising the bar with their research and technological advancements.  One recent advancement, in regards to autism research, is a model 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.

Iryna Ethell in her lab at UCR on Thursday, July 24, 2014. UCR researcher Iryna Ethell of Biomedical Sciences heads team that finds what may be a key to effective therapy for autism.  Photo credit: Kurt Miller

Iryna Ethell in her lab at UCR on Thursday, July 24, 2014. UCR researcher Iryna Ethell of Biomedical Sciences heads team that finds what may be a key to effective therapy for autism. Photo credit: Kurt Miller

A UC Riverside-led team of researchers says it has found conclusive evidence that a naturally produced enzyme in the body is responsible for autism and other neurological disorders in people with Fragile X syndrome.

Fragile X is a mutation of the X chromosome associated with obsessive-compulsive and repetitive behaviors as well as learning deficits. People affected by Fragile X have been shown to have structural differences in brain cells, such as underdeveloped neural receptors.

In 2007, Iryna Ethell, a UCR biochemist, found that overactivity of an enzyme called MMP-9 was connected with Fragile X. Her team recently identified MMP-9 as a major culprit in symptoms associated with Fragile X in mice.

Iryna Ethell holds a chart of her work in her office at UCR on Thursday, July 24, 2014. UCR researcher Iryna Ethell of Biomedical Sciences heads team that finds what may be a key to effective therapy for autism. Photo credit: Kurt Miller

Iryna Ethell holds a chart of her work in her office at UCR on Thursday, July 24, 2014. UCR researcher Iryna Ethell of Biomedical Sciences heads team that finds what may be a key to effective therapy for autism. Photo credit: Kurt Miller

By eliminating a gene that activates MMP-9, the researchers found that even with the presence of Fragile X syndrome, the mice showed no symptoms of autistic behavior. They measured sociability, anxiety and other behaviors, as well as examining individual brain cells.

Often, such discoveries are the first step in a long process. Just understanding a mechanism for a particular disease or disorder doesn’t  necessarily mean a treatment is imminent. Effective therapies or drugs can be many years away.

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Arts Outreach Program Funded for 2014-2015

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Bettye Miller and published in UCR Today on July 14, 2014.)

The Gluck Fellows Program of the Arts, UC Riverside’s premier arts outreach program, has been awarded $555,000 by the Max H. Gluck Foundation to fund a 19th year of arts programs in Inland Empire schools, senior centers and other community venues.

Kate Alexander, center, leads a taiko drumming performance at the final show of the Gluck Summer Camp in June. Photos by Christine Leapman

Kate Alexander, center, leads a taiko drumming performance at the final show of the Gluck Summer Camp in June. Photos by Christine Leapman

“We are grateful to the Gluck Foundation for their continued support of this program,” said Christine Leapman, program coordinator at UCR. The Gluck Foundation is very interested in creating opportunities for women and disadvantaged minorities in the areas of health, education, creativity and culture. We’re very proud that we reflect those values in our workshops, and with our fellows and the constituencies they serve.”

The renewal of this grant will fund program costs for the 2014–15 year, including fellowships for more than 115 graduate and undergraduate students who conduct workshops in art, creative writing, dance, history of art, music, and theater.  This is exactly the kind of program that makes Riverside a Location of Choice.

In 2013–14, Gluck fellows conducted 711 workshops that were attended by more than 36,500 people in venues ranging from public schools and senior centers to the Riverside Art Museum and UCR, which hosts school visits and a popular summer arts camp. The Gluck Fellows Program began in 1996.

arts program 2

Fellows who travel to schools are writing workshop curricula that fulfill Common Core requirements, Leapman said, which educators find helpful as they look to the arts to engage students while also satisfying state curriculum mandates.

New in 2014–15 will be the launch of GluckTV, a series of 12 short films from Gluck events at UCR that will be available on YouTube. Proposed by Gluck director and media and cultural studies professor Erika Suderburg, the student-produced films will provide information about workshops that are available to schools and other groups.

The Los Angeles-based Max H. Gluck Foundation was developed to support education and the arts. It funds programs that address the educational, health, cultural, and creative needs of the underserved.

For the full article, click here.

Device Eliminates 93 Percent of Lawnmower Pollutant

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Sean Nealon, published in UCRToday on July 7, 2014.)

Students create device that cuts harmful emissions from lawnmowers, which emit 11 times the air pollution of a new car for each hour of operation

A team of University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering students have won an EPA student design contest for a device they created that curbs harmful pollutant emitted from lawnmowers by 93 percent.

From left, Wartini Ng, Timothy Chow, Kawai Tam, Jonathan Matson and Brian Cruz. Photo Credit: UCR Today

From left, Wartini Ng, Timothy Chow, Kawai Tam, Jonathan Matson and Brian Cruz. Photo Credit: UCR Today

The students developed the device – an “L” shaped piece of stainless steel that attaches to the lawnmower where its muffler was – because small engine devices produce significant harmful emissions. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a gasoline powered lawn mower emits 11 times the air pollution of a new car for each hour of operation.

The students’ device also fits in with UC President Janet Napolitano’s recent announcement to make the University of California system carbon neutral by 2025. With that in mind, employees responsible for maintaining the lawns at UC Riverside have agreed to pilot the students’ device. That will likely start in the coming months.

The device can be thought of as a three stage system. First, a filter captures the harmful pollutants. Then an ultra-fine spray of urea solution is dispersed into the exhaust stream. The urea spray primes the dirty air for the final stage, when a catalyst converts the harmful nitrogen oxide and ammonia into harmless nitrogen gas and water and releases them into the air.

The device created by the student team being attached to a lawnmower. Photo credit: UCR Today

The device created by the student team being attached to a lawnmower. Photo credit: UCR Today

The University of California, Riverside is clearly dedicated to making a positive impact on the environment, and exemplifies Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. The students and professors collaborate to address issues, which lead to more inventive and multi-disciplinary approaches. The people and educational institutions of Riverside cultivate and support useful and beneficial ideas and research. Riverside is setting the bar as a Catalyst for Innovation in many ways.

The incoming team will work to further improve the device. Possible areas for refinement including scaling it up so that it could be used with rider lawnmowers and develop a way to insulate it.

To read the full article, click here.

Shaping The World’s Food Future In Riverside

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Kris Lovekin, published in UCR Today, on July 1, 2014.)

Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California system, announces a new kind of Food CORPS focused on healthier ways to grow and distribute food

More than a century of agricultural research at UC Riverside has helped feed the human population.  When a pest invades California and starts killing important crops, it is Riverside scientists who find the natural enemy, raise it and release it, in concert with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

When far flung countries are fighting drought and flood, crops developed in Riverside can withstand the weather.  Catalyst for Innovation isn’t just a saying when speaking of  UC Riverside – it’s a lifestyle.

A campus community garden keeps UCR students connected to the land, and provides locally grown fruits and vegetables for students and others. And every piece of citrus in a California supermarket has a connection back to the campus, because Riverside hosts the budwood and genetic material for citrus growers around the world.

Buddha’s Hand is one of the more than 900 citrus varieties in UCR’s Citrus Variety Collection.

Buddha’s Hand is one of the more than 900 citrus varieties in UCR’s Citrus Variety Collection.

“Keep in mind, the issue of food is not just about what we eat,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “It’s about delivery systems. Climate issues. Population growth. Policy. All of these and more come into play when you begin to think about the colliding forces that shape the world’s food future.”

On July 1, Napolitano promised a laser focus from the 10-campus University of California on a new UC Global Food Initiative, an issue with global implications.

The campuses in Riverside, Berkeley and Davis serve as a hub for Agricultural and Natural Resources, the University of California applied science that has advised and informed California’s growers for a century. But each of the 10 campuses, as well as the national laboratories, have a piece of the food puzzle.

“This initiative will help us address food security issues on our own campus, in our community and across the world,” said Peggy Mauk, a cooperative extension specialist who is director of UC Riverside’s Agricultural Operations, which covers 440 acres on campus, and another 500 acres in the Coachella Valley. She has heard growers ask for new certificate programs and an agribusiness degree. She is working to provide UCR grown crops to campus restaurants as well as schools in the Riverside Unified School Districts and local food banks.

“Our research has been going on for generations, but what this initiative does is ask us to knit it all up with the local community, local restaurants, even our local students. It’s totally doable in my opinion, given some time and some resources and some good partnerships,” Mauk said.

One of the tensions of the UC Global Food Initiative is that food means a lot of things to a lot of people, from growing organic greens in the backyard to large industrial production of soy and corn and beef shipped to the world.

For the entire article, click here.

 

UCR Is Nurturing Undergraduates By Leading Them To Research

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Lilledeshan Bose, published in UCR Today on June 17, 2014.)

In the summer of 2010, My Hua, then a 19-year-old sophomore at UC Riverside, plunged into the sweltering heat and unrelenting humidity of Chennai, India.  She was there with Unite for Sight, a nonprofit that delivers eye care to impoverished villages around the world. Her experience led to a thirst to do more to address issues of human health.  

The Spring 2014 issue of UCR Magazine, photo credit: ucrtoday.ucr.edu

The Spring 2014 issue of UCR Magazine, photo credit: ucrtoday.ucr.edu

The answer? “It was research, unexpectedly,” she said.  Four years later she has published her work on the potential harm from e-cigarettes in peer-reviewed journals. Hua is one of the Chancellor’s Research Fellows profiled in the cover story of this Spring 2014 UCR magazine about undergraduate research.  Aided by campus-sponsored programs and valuable faculty mentorship, about 20 percent of all Highlanders are able to participate in research before they even receive a bachelor’s degree.

The research and writings generated by the Highlander students along the journey to their bachelor’s degrees exemplify seizing our destiny’s intelligent growth pillar.  UCR is nurturing undergraduates by leading them to research, via campus-sponsored programs and valuable faculty mentorship.  Riverside is always developing new paths and opportunities to promote an outstanding quality of life for all through intelligent growth.  

To read more, click here

 

UC Riverside To Lead New Energy Frontier Research Center Project

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Kris Lovekin, published in UCR Today on June 18, 2014)

The project “SHINES” will receive $12 million from the Department of Energy to pursue fundamental advances in energy production, storage, and use.

Jing Shi, a professor of physics and astronomy, to lead the SHINES initiative.  Photo Credit: UC Riverside

Jing Shi, a professor of physics and astronomy, to lead the SHINES initiative. Photo Credit: UC Riverside

University of California, Riverside is always leading the way in research and technology.  The SHINES project is a great representation of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar.  Collaborating with the Department of Energy for the SHINES project is an outstanding opportunity for the research team at UCR to showcase it’s talents and innovative spirit.  Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.

A UC Riverside-led research project is among the 32 named today by U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz as an Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs), designed to accelerate the scientific breakthroughs needed to build a new 21st-century energy economy in the United States.

SHINES is one of 10 new projects announced today, along with 22 other projects receiving new funding based on achievements to date. The Department of Energy announced a total of $100 million in funding to support fundamental advances in energy production, storage, and use.

SHINES will investigate several aspects of basic research: new ultrathin films, nanostructured composites, high resolution imaging, the transport of electrical signals, heat and light. “All of it will be studied, modeled and simulated in order to help the nation’s ability to advance in the way we use energy,” said Shi, the lead researcher.

To read the full article, click here.

 

UCR Launches Largest Renewable Energy Project In California

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Aaron Grech, published in the Highlander News on June 3, 2014)

One of the most visible partners of the Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE) is the Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), which has begun a project to create a renewable energy research center that will study the integration of renewable energy sources such as an electrical smart grid that can help with charging electric cars and storing energy. The project, called the Sustainable Integrated Grid Initiative, will be the largest of its kind in California.  The UCR Bourns College of Engineering is at the forefront of renewable energy research.  The students and faculty are committed to developing state of the art technology to harness renewable energy on a much larger scale.  Riverside is working everyday to embrace intelligent growth within all facets of the community.

Photo credit:  UCR Today

Photo credit: UCR Today

Most energy supplied through current grids operates on a one-way interaction that distributes electricity from the grid to other structures such as buildings and houses. This makes it difficult to keep up with changing energy demands, and does not run on as many renewable energy sources.

Smart grids, on the other hand, can integrate technologies such as wind turbines and solar panels to provide cleaner energy sources, and also create energy storage because of their unique feedback system. As a result, grids can easily adapt to changing demands and cut electricity costs through storing surplus energy. In addition, the grids can also be used to supply energy to electric vehicles through charging stations that are connected to them.

“The project has implications for the nation and the world,” stated BCOE Dean Dr. Reza Abbaschian. If successful, this research aims to develop cleaner and more efficient ways to produce electricity and may eventually lead to other similar projects in the U.S.  According to Dr. Matthew Barth, the lead investigator of the initiative and director of CE-CERT, “The project puts UC Riverside at the forefront of smart grid and electric vehicle research, providing a unique platform for engineers and utilities to identify and solve potential problems.”

Brandon Prell, a second-year cellular and molecular biology major, believes that research on renewable energy is needed, in order for “the planet to continue developing.” He said that a smart grid will bring a change to that by modernizing outdated methods that may cause even further harm to the environment.

To read the full article, click here.