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News Release

Bringing Family Fun to the Jacobs School

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Researcher Albert Lin autographs a cap for a couple of fans at Family Day.
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Photo: Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications


Alumni and their Children Come Back to the Jacobs School for 2012 Alumni Weekend

San Diego, Calif., June 6, 2012 -- Undergraduates were setting up fun hands-on experiments. Graduate students were going over their research presentations one last time. Staff members were laying out yummy snacks and generally making sure everything was going to run smoothly.

It was early Saturday morning, June 2, and the doors at Jacobs Hall were ready to open for the second annual Family Day. The event was started last year by Terrence R. Mayes, director of the IDEA Student Center, in association with the Alumni Affairs Office.

The goal is to expose UC San Diego alumni and their children to the cutting edge research taking place at Jacobs School—and hopefully getting the kids excited about a UC San Diego education. Attendance doubled from last year, Mayes said.

“You can do a lot of different things being an engineer,” he said.

And that’s exactly what the day was set up to demonstrate.  After a filling breakfast and some gawking at the ‘Fallen Star,’ Mayes welcomed all guests into the Qualcomm Conference Room before letting graduate students in a wide range of disciplines take over.

Tejaswini Narayanan of electrical engineering, Ryan Gehmlich of the Combustion Research Group, Ludovic Vincent of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine and Margie Mathewson of bioengineering presented their research accomplishments in their respective fields.

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Sam Ward, a former history major, and his son, attended Lin's talk at Family Day. 

Children usually only get to see the products resulting from research, said Gehmlich.  “Family Day is a good opportunity to see the big picture and put things into perspective,” he said. “It can have a big impact on middle and high school students.” It’s researchers’ responsibility to educate the people who fund their work, added Vincent, the graduate student from the Sanford Consortium.

Later, Chris Deckard, a senior scientist at SPAWAR, outlined the myriad opportunities available for engineering students and also provided a peek into the kind of work SPAWAR does.

Finally, after a refreshment break, the most awaited presentation of the day started. Albert Lin, National Geographic Adventure Magazine’s ‘2010 Readers Choice Adventurer of the Year’ and UC San Diego researcher, took the stage. Lin founded and co-directs the UC San Diego National Geographic Engineers for Exploration program.

He shared insights into his adventures in search of the lost tomb of Genghis Khan, officially called the ‘Valley of the Khans Project.’ Sam Ward, a history major, attended the talk with his son, Max, a sixth-grader. Family Day was the perfect is to encourage children to take up science and engineering as a career, he said. Max’s take? ”It was really cool,” said the sixth-grader. “I got to learn a lot.”

 This year, Family Day was sponsored by SPAWAR, 2012 Alumni Weekend and the National Defense Education Program (NDEP).

This story was written by our student writer, Abhinav Jah. 

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Professor Carlos Coimbra of the mechanical and aerospace engineering department poses with Family Day attendees. 
Media Contacts

Ioana Patringenaru
Jacobs School of Engineering