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Middle School Students Find Engineering Inspiration at Jacobs School Event

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Two students from the Islamic School of San Diego took part in Enspire. 

San Diego, Calif., Feb. 23, 2012 -- About 400 middle school students  built and decorated their own robots and toured engineering labs Wednesday at the University of California, San Diego. They were taking part in the biggest outreach event organized by the Triton Engineering Student Council, Enspire, which is part of E-Week.

Enspire is aimed at giving middle school students the opportunity to explore engineering at UC San Diego. Over a hundred volunteers from the School of Engineering welcomed the fifth- to eighth-graders into the Price Centre Ballroom West. Reimle Deinla, a third-year aerospace engineering student who was in charge of the event, said she feels that an important aspect of Enspire is to get UCSD students involved in the San Diego community.

A range of activities were organized for students throughout the day. This included campus tours, lab tours, experimental presentations by various student organizations and robot-building. Heather McCormick, a teacher at Knox Middle School, and other educators, said they were delighted to find some of their students very impressed by the campus and determined to study at UCSD.

“The children are very engaged and are asking a lot of questions,” said Sheryl Sharifa Abukar, principal of the Islamic School of San Diego. “That makes me happy.”

She also noted that Enspire is a great way to “introduce students to the practicality of engineering.” Lab tours took students to various engineering departments. A unique experience was visiting the laboratory of the Centre of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3 ) at Calit2. Students said they were amazed to see how new technological tools can be developed to reconstruct and analyze great historical works of art, architecture and archaeology. Among the experiments showcased by engineering organizations, creating a ‘squishy circuit’ was very popular. It involved making an electrical circuit using play dough and was demonstrated by the UCSD chapter of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers).

Elizabeth Chaddock, a second-year Computer Science student and program coordinator for Enspire, was surprized to finds the kids “very energetic” throughout the day. After lunch, students were given all the materials and instructions required to build a small robot. They also had the freedom to decorate their robots and race them. Here is how Cedric Branch, an eighth-grader from Innovation Middle School, described the robot-building activity: “pretty awesome”

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A group of students pose during Enspire, an engineering outreach event orgazined by TESC.

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Media Contacts

Ioana Patringenaru
Jacobs School of Engineering
Phone: 858-822-0899
ipatrin@ucsd.edu

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