News Release

At ENSPIRE Engineering Undergrads Inspire Local Eighth Graders

San Diego, CA, June 16, 2009 -- Imagine 420 eighth graders arriving at your doorstep and expecting you to inspire, teach, entertain and feed them all day.

This is exactly the challenge the undergraduates from UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering took on earlier this year at ENSPIRE, one of the many events that make up Engineers Week at UC San Diego. The student organizers of ENSPIRE succeeded with flying colors—and the color flying that day was neon green. The 400-plus eighth graders each wore and then took home a neon green ENSPIRE t-shirt as a reminder of their glimpse into undergraduate life at UCSD.



During their day on campus, students designed, built and tested underwater flotation devices called “flinkers,” toured laboratories across the engineering school, saw pig cells up close and learned to make holograms.

Stephan Kemper CSE

Stephan Kemper is the student organizer of ENSPIRE 2009. He is a computer science major at the Jacobs School.

While the Jacobs School engineering undergrads just finished classes for the 2008-2009 school year, the good work they did that day—like the neon green shirts—will be put to good use by the eighth graders far into the future. “We want to show [the students] first of all how awesome college is in general and second of all the great things you can do with engineering,” said Stephan Kemper, the student organizer of ENSPIRE 2009 and a computer science major at the Jacobs School.

ENSPIRE is part of Engineers Week and is organized by the Triton Engineering Student Council (TESC).

“It’s fun trying to motivate students to find design strategies that use engineering principles,” said Jeffrey Montojo, a fourth year chemical engineering major and ENSPIRE volunteer.

The 420 eighth graders came from Gompers Charter Middle School and Pershing Middle School in San Diego.


Students made flinkers, hand made "sculptures" of neutral buoyancy.

“The kids love it…it’s the most interactive science program they have been to…everything is so hands on…they are so excited,” said Conrado Castro, a Gear Up school counselor at Gompers Charter Middle School. “We went to a bioengineering lab and got to see UCSD students taking cells out of pig brains.” Allen Wong, an electrical engineering undergraduate was one of the many Jacobs School students who volunteered their time. “I wish I had something like this when I was in eighth grade,” said Wong.

First year aerospace engineering major Antonio Pineda made sure his group of students understood that majoring in engineering means doing lots of experiments.

A big thanks to all the ENSPIRE 2009 Sponsors, especially SSC Pacific and the National Defense Education Program.

Jacobs School undergraduates are a busy bunch. Below are links to stories about a few of the great things Jacobs School undergrads were up to during 2008-2009 school year. Do you have links to Jacobs School undergraduate events, organizations or other Jacobs School undergrad success stories from the 2008-2009 school year? Send an email to or leave a comment on the related Jacobs School blog posting.

Fluid Dynamics Research to Make Peeing in Space More Comfortable and Sanitary

Toward Cheap Underwater Sensor Nets

Junkyard Dreams: UC San Diego Students Vie for Winning Derby Status

Robotic Mouse Makes Maze Debut at UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

UCSD Engineering Students Drive Into the Future With Electric Racecar

Steel Bridge Designed and Built by Jacobs School Undergrads Finds Home at UCSD Library

Jacobs School Students to Compete in Battle of the Brains in Stockholm

UC San Students Lift 'Dow Jones' For Annual Engineering Competition

Employers Mine UC San Diego for NextGen Engineers

E-Games 2009 Highlight Coolness of Engineering

Will a Mechanical Engineering Undergrad Win the Best Book Collection Prize Three Years in a Row?

UC San Diego Engineering Students Launch Cockroaches and Cameras Into Space

UC San Diego Engineering Students Create 'Wall of Widgets' for Mobile Internet

Jacobs School Water Conservation Research Makes Headlines around the World

Hands-on Engineering Design Course Presentations: Monitoring Heart Rate Variability and More

Intro to Computer Programming Gets a Makeover

Chemical Engineering Student Wins Library Research Prize

MAE Undergrad Goes Nano and Makes the Cut



Media Contacts

Daniel Kane
Jacobs School of Engineering