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News Release

New Summer Program Focuses on Academics, Friendship

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Students took part in the first-ever summer academic prep program at the Jacobs School.


How do you maintain a 3.0 grade-point average while taking at least 12 units a quarter? What’s an elevator pitch? And where’s the nearest beach?

These were some of the questions 22 incoming freshmen at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego were trying to answer last week as part of the school’s first-ever residential summer program designed to prepare students for the transition from high school to engineering school. Of course, they had help from faculty and staff members, as well as undergraduate students.

Participants were all IDEA Scholars, a new program designed to increase retention and graduation rates for under-represented students at the Jacobs School of Engineering.  The program hopes to improve these statistics by offering a wide range of services for students.

IDEA Scholars went through a rigorous application process. More than 100 students applied for the scholarship. The final 22 winners were selected based on their academic achievements and their commitment to give back to their community.  Terrance Mayes, director of student life and diversity at the Jacobs School of Engineering, congratulated both undergraduates and their parents, who had come to campus for the first few hours of the residential program.

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Daniel Salvadori, an incoming freshman, build a replica of the first plane to cross the English Channel. The plane will be on display in a museum in Brazil.

“You should feel proud of yourselves and, parents, you should be proud of your students,” Mayes said.

The IDEA Scholars have a demanding schedule ahead of them, Mayes said. They will have to attend mandatory classes and take part in outreach events. They will have to set personal and academic goals every school year. But as IDEA Scholars, they also will have access to tutoring, mentoring from professional alumni and guidance from the Von Liebig Center and Gordon Center at the Jacobs School. They also will have fun by taking part in campus activities, Mayes said.

“Our goal is that you have a great time and that you graduate with a degree from the Jacobs School,” he said.

During the four-day Summer PrEP 2011 program, sponsored by John and Ida Slaughter, students heard from mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Carlos Coimbra on how to successfully adapt to life in college; mechanical engineering lecturer Nathan Delson on creativity in engineering; and computer science professor Beth Simon on how engineering students learn. Students attended a reception with representatives from several prestigious companies. They also took part in fun activities, including beach games at La Jolla Shores and a visit to Balboa Park.

The four-day experience has definitely made incoming freshman Daniel Salvadori, 18, more comfortable with his new surroundings. Salvadori is coming from Brazil, where his father is an engineer. He chose UC San Diego because of its high rankings—and the nice weather, he said. Before the four-day summer residential program, he was worried about how he would relate to American students. Not anymore.

“I learned that you can relate to people from other places,” he said. “I learned that to make friends you just have to be open.”

Before coming to UC San Diego, Salvadori built a replica of the Bleriot XI, the first plane to cross the English Channel in 1909. He worked on the project with a friend and the friend’s grandfather. The replica will be on exhibition in a Brazilian museum.

“I learned that engineering can be fun,” Salvadori said. “But I already knew that.” 

Media Contacts

Ioana Patringenaru
Jacobs School of Engineering