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NEWS RELEASE

August 1, 2002

Media Contact:
   Troy Anderson, (858) 822-3075 or tdanders@ucsd.edu

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS EXPERIENCE ENGINEERING FIRSTHAND

The Jacobs School of Engineering recently welcomed more than 100 high school students from across the globe — including California and sixteen other states, as well as France Italy, Sweden, and Taiwan. Thirteen of the visitors hailed from San Diego County. Many of the students viewed the opportunity as a means of getting a first glance at a university they hope to attend upon graduation.

The group came to UCSD as part of the three-week Academic Connections Program to learn about engineering, science, mathematics, and social sciences. They lived in dorms, ate in the cafeterias, roamed the campus, and sat-in on actual classes — experiencing college-life firsthand.

During their time at the Jacobs School, students visited the renowned Charles Lee Powell Structural Laboratories (http://structures.ucsd.edu/?page=research/labs/labs_aboutPowell) to learn about earthquake engineering from some of the world’s leading researchers. They also had the opportunity to learn about “radiant plasmas” from the School’s fusion experts.

In addition, the robotics course was extremely popular with the students, as it enabled them to gain hands-on experience in developing and building moving, sensor-driven robotic creatures. The enthusiastic participants used Lego® MindStorm™ kits to construct the robots and NQC (Not Quite C) to program them. The objective was to design the vehicles to quickly navigate through the perilous mountains of Afghanistan (comprised of large blocks) in order to deliver food (a small rubber piece) to the waiting village (a piece of black tape at the finish line). The class exposed the students to a combination of mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering topics and problems. Some came in with a good amount of engineering and computer experience, while others had no prior knowledge and found themselves learning an entirely new set of skills. Regardless, everyone had a good time, made new friends, and found out why UCSD and the Jacobs School are the best of the best.

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