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March 5, 2002

Media Contact:
   Troy Anderson, (858) 822-3075 or

Editor's Note:
   To learn more about PEER, visit


Scott Ashford, assistant professor of geotechnical engineering at the UC San Diego (UCSD) Jacobs School of Engineering, has been named Assistant Director for Education for PEER (Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center), a consortium of nine universities including UCSD, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, UC Irvine, Cal-Tech, Stanford, USC, and the University of Washington.

"The goal of PEER's educational offerings is to expose undergraduates to earthquake engineering research, with the hope that these top students will choose to attend graduate school," says Ashford.

PEER's education programs will now be operated out of the Jacobs School's Structural Engineering Department. With an annual education budget of $300,000 from the National Science Foundation, PEER provides a number of undergraduate learning opportunities. For example, engineering students from UCSD and other universities have access to internships in earthquake engineering at PEER universities and companies. There is also a four-weekend "Earthquake Engineering Scholars Course" in which a group of 30 students from PEER universities visit different campuses for a crash course in earthquake engineering. In addition, there is a component directed at middle school science teachers that brings them to PEER universities during the summer to expose them to new developments in earthquake engineering so they can introduce their classes to the latest research.

Ashford has been an active member of the PEER Education Committee since its inception in 1998. In addition, he serves on the UCSD MASEM (Minority Access to Science, Engineering, and Mathematics) Advisory Board, providing opportunities for under-represented groups at both the graduate level through Fellowships, and undergraduate level through summer internships.

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