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UC Riverside hosts first RUSD-UCR Summer Engineering Camp

By MaryRone Shell | @MaryRoneRUSD

Redlands Unified School District

July 26, 2019

RUSD Students pose in front of iconic sign at UC Riverside

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Today marks the completion of the first-ever Redlands Unified School District (RUSD) - University of California Riverside (UCR) Summer Engineering Camp.


The RUSD-UCR Summer Engineering Camp, which was held at the UCR campus, exposed students to the applications of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) with the objective to solve real world problems.


“In early June, I was approached by a colleague who is also an RUSD parent and they had an idea about offering a Summer Engineering Camp at UCR’s Bourns College of Engineering,” said Dr. Ken Wagner, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. “Our Educational Services division worked very quickly with UCR Professor, Dr. Amit Roy-Chowdhury, and STEM for All Foundation supporter, Vikas Srivastava, to put together a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), purchase supplies, and organize the curriculum.”


UCR faculty members and interns delivered lectures and guided lab exercises that centered on topics such as basic electronics, computer programming language and the use of open-source electronic hardware and software.


In total, 26 students completed 40 hours of summer learning in a one-week intensive camp. By the end of the week, students had assembled and programmed functional smart robotic cars that were operated by Arduino microcontrollers and ultrasonic sensors.


The overall hope is that this inaugural RUSD-UCR Summer Engineering Camp will be the first of many opportunities to learn, inspire and collaborate with the university.


However, with less than 30 seats available, and well over 60 applicants within the first 48 hours of publicizing this opportunity, a difficult selection process took place.


In the spirit of the District’s firm commitment to achieve equality through equity, and as outlined in the multi-year vision plan RUSD 2025: EXCELLENCE FOR ALL STUDENTS, there was a concerted effort to maintain an equal gender distribution among participants and ensure that at least 60 percent of the participants were from our most underserved populations. Most importantly, it was important that this extended learning opportunity come at no cost to any student.


“For some of our students, this was their first exposure to a college setting,” said Superintendent Mauricio Arellano. “For many, this opportunity may have just spawned a career or college aspiration in a STEM-related field.”


The District is thankful to the families, RUSD staff, UCR staff, parent volunteer and Board of Education for working together and providing support for this educational experience for our students.


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