|Matteo Mah takes a test ride on a quadricycle adapted by a team of Jacobs School students for the United Cerebal Palsy toy library. (l-r Stephanie Fan, Billy Ikosipentarhos, Prettam Sarma and Casey Jowers.|
The award recognizes colleges and universities for their outstanding efforts to meet the needs of the communities that surround them and to reach out to the broader global community. This is the honor roll’s inaugural year. UCSD was recognized for five exemplary service projects, including TIES, and four initiatives in hurricane relief.
TIES is an innovative service and academic program in which multi-disciplinary teams of students use their combined technical and creative skills to design, build and deploy projects that solve technology-based problems for San Diego non-profit organizations.
Launched in 2004, TIES students are now working on 10 projects for seven non-profit community partners. More than 70 engineering students participate each quarter.
At a Dec. 1, 2006 poster session at UCSD, undergraduates in the TIES program presented the current crop of service-learning projects which include pediatric digital vision screening, smart assisted living technologies and IT assistance for free medical clinics in San Diego.
Pediatric Vision Screening
The pediatric vision screeners at UCSD’s Shiley Eye Center need a new camera with customized software to continue to serve kids from low-income families, and the TIES students are working to make this possible. Screeners take digital pictures of the eyes of young kids, most of whom are in the Head Start program. Special software immediately analyzes eye reflection in the photos in order to identify potential eye problems. Right now, the software only works with one digital camera, and this camera is getting old. The students are working on new software that can be used with new cameras. Grabbing a critical algorithm from the old software program and reusing it is one of the biggest remaining challenges, and the TIES team is looking for more student software engineering expertise to join them and help out.
The TIES students have already created a customized flash circuit to maximize red eye which is important for the screening process. “It’s great to be working for a purpose and to be making a difference,” said TIES student and electrical and computer engineering senior Alicia Courtney.
“These are not prepackaged tasks. You really have to think on your feet,” said Michael Chin, a TIES student and computer science and engineering senior.
Monitoring Patient Falls
Detecting falls is the goal of a TIES group working on smart assisted living technologies for St. Paul’s Senior Homes & Service. The UCSD students are building pendants that will use wireless signals to notify staff members of assisted living facilities when a resident falls. The project requires hardware design, expertise in wireless technologies, software engineering and data analysis. One of the big remaining challenges is developing and then troubleshooting ways to differentiate a fall from things like sitting down and arm swinging. “Lots of movements in daily life simulate falls, we have to design a system to tell the difference,” said Natalia Lo, an electrical and computer engineering major at the Jacobs School and one of the ten UCSD student members on the team.
Xavier Monraz, another Jacobs School undergraduate on the team, explained that creating an inexpensive, non-cost prohibitive system for use in assisted living facilities is a major goal.
Also at St. Paul’s Senior Homes & Service, another TIES group continues to refine, improve and extend the 24-hour log system students have created for the nursing staff.
IT for Free Medical Clinics
A TIES team is building a digital record keeping system for free medical clinics in San Diego. Together with medical students and doctors, the Jacobs undergraduates are working to convert a cumbersome paper-based record system into a web-based application with a patient-centered design. With the existing system, the paperwork is a bottleneck that can limit the number of patients the clinic can serve in a day. The switch to digital records is expected to make it easier and faster for volunteers to track inventory and generate the statistical reports necessary for grant applications.
Other TIES project presented at the Fall 2006 poster session at UCSD
More than 500 colleges applied for the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognition. Final selections were made by the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency geared to fostering volunteerism and service in America.
“Higher education is a powerful engine of civic engagement and is central to achieving the President’s vision of active citizens and connected communities,” said Stephen Goldsmith, chairman of the sponsoring corporation.
In addition to emphasizing the importance of service to the community, the honor roll was initiated to increase public awareness of the impact that college students have in service.
Students involved with the Teams in Engineering Serivce program are developing a water quality testing system to help the Lakeside River Park Conservency in their efforts to restore the biological integrity of the San Diego River.
|Lindsay Ramsey, nurse at St. Paul's Senior Homes & Services, being trained to operate an electronic version of the 24-hour patient log by Ellen Noh, leader of the user centered design subteam. The digital nursing log developed by Jacobs School students has replaced St. Paul's old hand-written log for tracking patient information.|
Other UCSD exemplary service projects cited in the award include:
UCSD’s hurricane relief projects include:
In addition to the Corporation for National and Community Service, the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is sponsored by the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. It is presented in cooperation with Campus Compact, a national coalition of nearly 1,000 college and university presidents.