(Seated: L-R) Dr. Audrey Pool O’Neal—RISE-UP Program Coordinator, Professor Abdon Sepulveda—Competition Judge, Enrique (Rick) Ainsworth—CEED Director, CEED Associate Director Catherine Douglas—Competition Judge, (Standing: L-R) Brook Wander, Michael Gervasoni, Andrew Allan, Melissa Moz, Christopher Perez, Patricia McNeil, Daniel Corona, and Nadia Alvarez

(Seated: L-R) Dr. Audrey Pool O’Neal—RISE-UP Program Coordinator, Professor Abdon Sepulveda—Competition Judge, Enrique (Rick) Ainsworth—CEED Director, CEED Associate Director Catherine Douglas—Competition Judge, (Standing: L-R) Brook Wander, Michael Gervasoni, Andrew Allan, Melissa Moz, Christopher Perez, Patricia McNeil, Daniel Corona, and Nadia Alvarez

On August 20, 2015, the UCLA Center for Excellence in Engineering and Diversity (CEED) held its 11th Annual Research Intensive Series in Engineering for Underrepresented Populations (RISE-UP) Undergraduate Research Poster Competition. In the lobby of the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), eight researchers participated in the competition that was judged by: Dr. Henry Burton, Professor Civil & Environmental Engineering; Dr. Abdon Sepulveda, Professor Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering; and Catherine Douglas, CEED Associate Director.

Based upon the aesthetics of each poster, the students’ oral presentations, the mathematical/scientific content of each poster, and each student’s contribution to their projects, the judges awarded First, Second and Third place prizes to Patricia McNeil, Melissa Moz, and Michael Gervasoni, respectively. All three students are Materials Science and Engineering Majors. Ms. McNeil (who recently completed her sophomore year at UCLA) was awarded First Place for her work on Evaluation of Techniques for Intercalating Silver Into MoS2, and Ms. Moz (who also recently completed her sophomore year at UCLA) was awarded Second Place for her work on Supercapacitor-Solar Panel Integration for Energy Storage. Both students conducted their research under the direction of Professor Bruce Dunn. Michael Gervasoni (who recently completed his junior year at UCLA) was awarded Third Place for his work on Decreased Surface Porosity of InP for Epitaxially Grown Thin-Film Devices, working under the direction of Professor Mark Goorsky. All three students were sponsored in research by Intel through the Semiconductor Research Corporation Education Alliance (SRCEA).

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(L-R) CEED Director Enrique (Rick) Ainsworth, Michael Gervasoni—3rd Year Materials Science & Engineering Major (3rd Place), Patricia McNeil—2nd Year Materials Science & Engineering Major (1st Place), Melissa Moz—2nd Year Materials Science & Engineering Major (2nd Place), and CEED Associate Director Catherine Douglas—Competition Judge

During the Summer of 2005, CEED began its Research Intensive Series in Engineering for Underrepresented Populations (RISE-UP) program. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics Talent Expansion Program for Underutilized Populations (STEP-UP), Intel, Hewlett-Packard, the University of California Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees (UC LEADS), the UCLA Undergraduate Research Center – Center for Academic and Research Excellence (URC-CARE) and the NSF-funded Center for Scalable and Integrated NanoManufacturing (SINAM), CEED had a total of 15 undergraduate students involved in its inaugural 10-week, summer immersion, research program. The program has since been expanded to include academic year, as well as summer research appointments, and is now funded by Intel through the Semiconductor Research Corporation Education Alliance (SRCEA) and the NSF-funded Center for Translational Applications of Nanoscale Multiferroic Systems (TANMS). There have been a total of 111 RISE-UP Scholars, to date.

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Daniel Corona presenting his Design and Manufacture of a Magnetoelastic Measurement System research

The purpose of this program is to keep engineering and computing students, particularly from underrepresented groups, interested in the excitement of learning. Research encourages innovation, discovery, independent thinking and provides collaborative learning in a team atmosphere between professors, graduate students and undergraduate students. In the research environment, students seem to derive greater enjoyment from exploring and applying the basic principles of engineering, science, computing, and mathematics than they do in a traditional classroom. RISE-UP provides opportunities for undergraduate students to accomplish this under the direction of innovative and motivated faculty members, post-doctoral researchers, and graduate students, who are working in leading research areas.

RISE-UP challenges and inspires students to persist in engineering and computing and to use those problem-solving skills no matter their future endeavors. The ultimate goal of this program is to encourage these young scholars to go on to graduate school and perhaps the professoriate. In addition to conducting research, RISE-UP scholars also attend workshops on Ethics in Research and on Going to Graduate School.

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Melissa Moz presenting her Supercapacitor-Solar Panel Integration for Energy Storage research

The Center for Excellence in Engineering and Diversity (CEED), in the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science (HSSEAS), is committed to the recruitment, development, retention, and graduation of underrepresented engineering and computing students. The CEED Mission is to work with a community of partners to ensure equity and parity in the K-20 public education pathways that lead to engineering and computing degrees. CEED’s undergraduate retention approach offers numerous programs and services focused on the personal, academic, and career development of economically disadvantaged and underrepresented engineering and computing students at UCLA.

Photographs by Anthony S. Johnson