News Release

Nine Jacobs School Project Teams that Highlight Opportunities for Engineering Undergraduates

April 5, 2017: Undergraduates at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering have many opportunities to dive into real-world and hands-on engineering projects from day one. In addition to the Jacobs School’s Experience Engineering Initiative, there are many teams, clubs and groups at the Jacobs School that offer opportunities for students to work together on teams on real projects. These are the kids of projects that help students get internships, research opportunities, and ultimately jobs after graduation.

Here list of undergraduate student organizations at the Jacobs School of Engineering, curated by the IDEA Engineering Student Center at the Jacobs School.

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1. Engineering Students Hope Design Based on Tuna Tail Fin Will Power Them to Win Submarine Race

With a propulsion system inspired by the tail fins of tuna, UC San Diego engineering students aim to win an annual human-powered submarine race this summer. The race pits student teams from around the world against each other—with each team aiming to be the first to get their submarine cross an underwater finish line. The International Submarine Races provide an opportunity for teams of students around the nation to develop and race one- or two-person submarines that rely on a wide variety of techniques for propulsion, steering and guidance. The submarine cabins fill with water when submerged, and crew members are outfitted with scuba masks and tanks in order to breathe. They use a combination of pedaling something akin to a bike pedal and propulsion to move the submarine from one end of the basin to the other.


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2. Engineering Undergraduates Use DNA Origami to Target Cancer

A team of engineering students has a cancer-fighting idea up its sleeve—and the sleeve is nanoscale.The idea is based on a new cutting-edge research tool called DNA origami in which scientists literally fold the molecules of life into two- and three-dimensional shapes. The UC San Diego team plans to compete in Harvard's BIOMOD 2017 competition—a molecular design competition for undergraduates. Researchers have already proven that DNA origami works by folding the genetic material into shapes such as stars, smiley faces—and even a bunny. However, the UC San Diego students are not folding DNA for aesthetics alone. They are breaking the double-stranded DNA formations found in nature to create molecular structures in which they hope to hide cancer drugs—like a Trojan horse.


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3. Engineering Students Named Finalists in Walt Disney Design Competition

Imagine a place at UC San Diego where slides twist and turn around Torrey Pine trees, and suspension bridges tower over waterfalls. That is the design created by a team of UC San Diego engineering students competing in the 2017 Walt Disney Imagineering Imaginations Design Competition. The team is one of just six finalists selected from a pool of more than 300 that entered the competition, which challenges students to apply the same design principles used in creating Disney’s famous theme parks to develop new outdoor spaces at their own college or university.


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4. Engineering Students Design Experiment to Test Whether Beer Can Be Brewed on the Moon

Can beer be brewed on the moon? A team of UC San Diego engineering students is hoping to find out. They are finalists in the Lab2Moon competition being held by TeamIndus, one of the four teams with a signed launch contract to send a spacecraft to the moon as part of the Google Lunar XPRIZE challenge. The experiment will test the viability of yeast on the moon—and result in a freshly brewed batch of beer. Understanding how yeast behaves on the moon isn’t just important for brewing beer in space. It’s also important for the development of pharmaceuticals and yeast-containing foods, like bread. The group of Jacobs School of Engineering undergraduates call themselves “Team Original Gravity.” They are one of just 25 teams selected from a pool of 3,000 to compete for a spot aboard TeamIndus spacecraft, which is planned for launch on Dec. 28, 2017. If the team is selected, they will be the first to brew beer in space.


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5. UC San Diego engineering undergraduates one step closer to lunar orbit

A team of engineering undergraduates at the University of California San Diego is one step closer to sending a satellite into orbit around the moon after placing third in a NASA satellite design competition. The win comes with a $30,000 award and gives their design a good shot at a spot aboard NASA’s Orion capsule as part of its first unmanned lunar flyby, planned for 2018. The undergraduates from the Jacobs School of Engineering are already experts in 3D-printed rocket engines – and now they’re making their mark in satellite design by incorporating a 3D-printed engine in a “CubeSat”— a cube-shaped satellite approximately 30 centimeters across (about the size of a large Cheerios box).

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6. Students Propose Solutions to Critical Health Issues at Annual Hackathon

From virtual reality to crowdsourcing ideas, participants at UC Health Hack 2017 combined creativity and problem-solving to create projects addressing critical issues in health systems and global health. The 181 participants focused on one of two tracks: health care delivery or refugee health. UC Health Hack 2017, the third annual interdisciplinary health-focused two-day hackathon at UC San Diego, was a collaboration between UC San Diego Engineering World Health, UC San Diego Health, UC Irvine Health, and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. The competition featured more than 35 proposals, with support from 57 mentors and judges from interdisciplinary fields, and awarded $12,000 in prize money.


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7. Visual Arts and Engineering Transforming Education in New Maker Studio

The new 3,000 square foot studio on the third floor of the Structural and Materials Engineering building provides a wide range of design, fabrication and prototyping tools from 3D printers and welding stations to a sophisticated laser cutter. It’s a creative, hands-on, experiential space where visual arts and engineering communities converge; where students are empowered to think, design, make, tinker, break and build again.


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8. Making, Breaking and Hacking in Electrical Engineering

From a single resistor to LEDs, audio amplifiers and robots, freshman and sophomore students in Electrical Engineering’s new ECE5 class at the University of California, San Diego make and break as they get hands-on exposure to electrical engineering fundamentals.The class is held in the new EnVision Arts and Engineering Maker Studio at UC San Diego. The class is also part of the Experience Engineering Initiative at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.  


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9. UC San Diego breaks income boundaries in engineering

“This is just the beginning of what technology like this can do,” said Gabriel Davalos, an incoming aerospace engineering major. Davalos was referring to a miniature table lamp he and some of his peers built that turned on when something nearby made a loud noise. The students also fabricated a tiny house to protect the lamp using 3D printed materials and rapid prototyping tools.

The project was part of a new, math-focused class offered for the first time this summer called Intro to Engineering (ENG 10). Every student in the class was participating in a new five-week academic, summer residential program at the University of California San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

The program is the Freshmen Summer Engineering Institute at the Jacobs School of Engineering’s IDEA Student Center. The IDEA Student Center created this program to replace the five-day program for incoming engineering students called Summer PrEP. The students in the program are primarily from fourth and fifth quintile high schools.

Media Contacts

Brittanie Collinsworth
UC San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation