CEE News

Nov 18, 2014
NSF Funds New UCI Program Addressing Disparities in STEM Majors

UCI partners with community colleges to improve transfer process and retention    
UC Irvine has partnered with three community colleges (Irvine Valley College, Santa Ana College and Saddleback College) to improve the recruitment and retention of  women and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors. With a $1.8 million, three-year National Science Foundation grant, UCI has created a program called iStart (Innovate from the Start: Engaging Engineering and Computer Science Undergraduates).

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From left: Yosi Shacham-Diamand, Yossi Rosenwaks, Gregory Washington, Henry Samueli and Howard Gillman Nov 6, 2014
Engineering Sustainability Conference 2025 Addresses Challenges of the Future

For the third year in a row, faculty members from the Samueli School of Engineering and the Iby and Aladar Fleishman Faculty of Engineering at Tel Aviv University (TAU) came together for a joint workshop to address an engineering challenge of the future.

At “Energy and Sustainability 2025,” faculty from the two engineering schools discussed issues involving the higher education of engineers and scientists working in sustainable energy and environmental engineering. Over two days, the engineers presented the latest research in smart grid and energy conversion, energy efficiency and power systems, water technologies, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

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From left: IVC President Glenn Roquemore, UCI Provost and -Chancellor Howard Gillman, Chapman University President James Doti and Saddleback College President Tod Burnett. Oct 28, 2014
Team Orange County “Breaks” Ground for Casa del Sol

The sun smiled brightly on students, faculty, administrators, elected officials and industry supporters as they ceremoniously “broke” ground for the house named in its honor. Casa del Sol is the solar-powered house being designed by Team Orange County for entry in the 2015 U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. The international competition will be held next October at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine.

Team OC is a collaborative venture among UC Irvine, Chapman University, Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College (IVC). The four academic institutions’ leaders were on hand as well as Irvine Mayor Steven Choi, Irvine Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Lalloway, CEO and President of FivePoint Communities Emile Haddad and Southern California Edison President Pedro Pizarro. Christina Shea, Irvine councilwoman and chair of the Orange County Great Park Board of Directors, served as master of ceremonies for the ground breaking event at IVC.

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Hellman Fellows Oct 22, 2014
Two UCI Engineers Named Hellman Fellows

Two Samueli School engineers – Anne Lemnitzer and Timothy Rupert -- have been selected as Hellman Fellows for 2014-15. The Hellman Fellows Program aims to support the research of promising assistant professors who show capacity for great distinction in their chosen fields of endeavor.

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St. Margaret's students with UC Irvine engineering professors Sep 17, 2014
St. Margaret’s High School Summer Internship Program Celebrates 10 Years at Samueli School

Seven high school students participated in this year’s St. Margaret’s Episcopal School Summer Internship Program at the Samueli School of Engineering. They presented their research projects to their parents, teachers and the engineering faculty and graduate students who mentored them at a recent event in the Harut Barsamian Colloquia Room, hosted by Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington.

Professor Bill Cooper Sep 15, 2014
Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors Names Bill Cooper a Fellow

UC Irvine civil and environmental engineering professor Bill Cooper has been selected by his peers as a Fellow of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP). Cooper served as director of the UCI Urban Water Research Center before taking leave to become director of the National Science Foundation’s Environmental Engineering Program.

“Having been in the field of environmental engineering science since my ‘stint’ in the U.S. Army in the early ‘70s, I am indeed honored by this designation,” says Cooper. “The impact of AEESP is increasing and with sustainability at the heart of many discussions in science and engineering, I see this organization playing a pivotal role in the future.”

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2014 Saudia Arabia International Program Sep 11, 2014
Saudi Arabia International Program Continues to Improve in its Third Year

Saudi Arabia International Program students celebrated the conclusion of the 10-week accelerated session with a spirited Summer Symposium in the Harut Barsamian Colloquia Room. At the event, 13 international engineering students displayed their hard work with posters and oral presentations, while faculty, staff and guests toured the room and voted on their favorite project. 

Now in its third year, the Saudi Arabia International Program is a collaboration between Salman bin Abdulaziz University and the Samueli School of Engineering. Students are matched with engineering faculty whose special expertise aligns with their own interests and career goals. The curriculum encompasses fundamental knowledge and introduces tools and programs required to pursue an advanced career in technical areas related to their specialization.

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Peter J. Burke Sep 9, 2014
Awards Recognize Excellence in Teaching, Research and Innovation

Seven Samueli School faculty members earned 2014 recognition awards at last spring’s faculty meeting. Dean Gregory Washington initiated the annual awards to acknowledge the valued contributions of faculty.

The awards were given to one junior, mid-career and senior faculty member in each category of research excellence and teaching innovation, and one professor was selected as the Innovator of the Year. Here are the honorees, excerpted from the nomination forms.

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UC Irvine doctoral student Kristen Goodrich and campus academic sustainability director Abigail Reyes examine a severely eroded and flood-ravaged canyon area in Tijuana, Mexico, as part of UCI’s FloodRISE project. Steve Zylius / UC Irvine Aug 13, 2014
Rising waters

UCI students help coastal communities brace for climate change

UC Irvine undergraduates Tristan Lanza and Enrique Uribe have been catching the bus regularly from campus down to Newport Beach to knock on doors. Lanza, 21, noticed the first time they neared the coast right where flooding would likely begin.

Back in UCI’s Engineering Tower, graduate student Adam Luke, 23, pores over computerized hydraulic models that he has spent weeks constructing of the Tijuana River estuary straddling the U.S.-Mexico border. This is where flooding would hit hardest, he thinks, gazing at a destitute Mexican canyon community. And here, he notes, taking stock of Imperial Beach on the U.S. side, is where higher king tides combined with fiercer storms could swamp several streets.

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Before heading to Australia, the students visit the Forge Wetland in Irvine. UCI professor Stanley Grant (far left) explains to Lynze Cheung of UCI, Maddy Walzem of UC San Diego and Clint Rosser of UC San Diego (from left) how the field instrument he’s pointing at (an acoustic Doppler velocimeter) measures water flow. Courtesy of Elena Sy Su Jul 29, 2014
Walkabout for water

Twelve UC undergrads go Down Under to study Aussie approaches to drought, conservation and resource management

Bright undergraduates from UC Irvine, UCLA and UC San Diego spent some of this summer Down Under, immersing themselves in drought solutions, wetlands design and related issues – sometimes literally.

“I thought it was ground, and it wasn’t. It was water, it was cold, and it got way deep,” says Clint Rosser, who’ll be a UC San Diego senior this fall, describing how he accidentally plunged waist-deep into a mucky wetland near Melbourne, Australia, in mid-July.

He and 11 others were part of this year’s Undergraduate Partnerships for International Research & Education Program Down Under, funded by the National Science Foundation. While submerged, Rosser asked his fellow student researchers to pass him a bottle so he could collect a water sample for pollutant analysis.

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Nasrin Nasrollahi Jun 10, 2014
Engineering Doctoral Student’s Dissertation Selected for Special Publication

Nasrin Nasrollahi’s dissertation has been selected by scientific publisher Springer for its Springer Theses series. Nasrollahi has finished her doctorate in civil and environmental engineering working with Distinguished Professor Soroosh Sorooshian and Associate Professor Kuo-lin Hsu in the Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing (CHRS). Theses in this annual publication are selected for their scientific excellence and impact on research. They must be nominated and endorsed by two recognized specialists.

The CHRS provides global, near real-time rainfall information using remote sensing technology. With a mathematical modeling approach, the center processes different electromagnetic signals picked up by satellites from clouds and storm systems and converts them into rain estimates. Used primarily by government officials and climate researchers for flood forecasting around the world, the information is also accessible to the public via the Internet.

Nasrollahi’s dissertation research involved improving the quality of precipitation estimation information that is provided by the center. She applied a multi-satellite, multi-spectral approach, incorporating data on clouds and rainfall from two recent NASA satellites and using machine learning techniques to develop a better estimate of rainfall. She also added a filter to reduce false rain signals in the data, which significantly improved the results.

Alma Carrillo and Andrew Timothy gather transportation data at Joshua Tree National Park May 20, 2014
Student Transportation Engineers Examine Joshua Tree Congestion

UPDATE 5-22-14: UCI transportation engineers win ITE Student Chapter of the year for Southern California section, besting Cal Poly Pomona and UCLA for the top spot.

UCI’s student chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) heads to the ITE Southern California Section Student Competition this week where the students will present results from their Joshua Tree National Park Transit Feasibility Study.

The National Parks Conservation Association commissioned the UCI students, primarily civil and environmental engineering seniors, to study the feasibility of establishing a shuttle transit system to alleviate traffic and parking congestion for visitors to Joshua Tree. The students were mentored by ITE faculty adviser Professor Stephen Ritchie and doctoral student Sarah Hernandez.

“This is the most ambitious project yet undertaken by our student chapter, and it provided an outstanding opportunity for students to work on complex real-world problems and gain skills that will be invaluable for their future careers,” says Ritchie. “ Our chapter has placed first and second in the annual ITE Competition in the last three years, and while we’re naturally hoping for a place on the podium this year, most of all I’m extremely proud of the dedication, professionalism and team effort of our chapter.”

National Science Foundation May 2, 2014
Seven Engineering Grad Students Earn NSF Research Fellowships

The National Science Foundation has granted seven UC Irvine engineering graduate students a research fellowship. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. 

"The School of Engineering is thrilled that such dedicated and talented students have chosen UCI for their graduate work - these awards recognize years of consistent and exceptional effort,” says Lee Swindlehurst, associate dean for research and graduate studies. “The number of awards the school received this year is a strong indicator of both the quality of our graduate student body and the hard work of our faculty in focused recruiting of top-tier domestic students."

Across campus, 37 students won fellowships this year, putting UCI ninth in the nation and tied for second within the University of California system for the prestigious awards. Here are the Samueli School’s 2014 fellowship awardees.

 global integrated drought monitoring and prediction system (GIDMaPS) Apr 28, 2014
UCI Engineer Introduces Drought Monitoring and Prediction System

Samueli School civil and environmental engineering researchers have introduced the global integrated drought monitoring and prediction system (GIDMaPS) that could help farmers, commodity investors, local governments and global relief organizations react to drought.

The system provides meteorological and agricultural drought information based on multiple satellite-and model-based precipitation and soil moisture data sets. The researchers published the work in Scientific Data.

Developed by Assistant Professor Amir AghaKouchak's team, the GIDMaPS data significantly extends current capabilities of drought assessment systems. The GIDMaPS’ seasonal forecast gives essential information for users to receive early warning of drought, enabling them to take preventive measures and plan mitigation strategies.

“Drought has been a major problem throughout history. This information would be instrumental in reducing drought impacts, especially in developing countries where there are no other drought monitoring and prediction information,” says AghaKouchak.

This project is designed to help patients with Parkinson's Disease Mar 31, 2014
97 Senior Projects Displayed at Winter Design Review

Engineering students proudly showed off their senior design projects at the 2014 Winter Design Review in mid-March. More than 500 students were involved in 97 projects.

Assistant Professor Kristen Davis judges the water filtration competition Mar 14, 2014
Samueli School Celebrates E-Week

Nearly 900 engineering students participated in E-Week 2014, organized by the Samueli School’s Engineering Student Council (ESC).  This year’s theme was “The Art of Engineering,” and all students who checked in received a Samueli School t-shirt. The celebration featured the Dean’s Pancake Breakfast, an Awards Banquet, 10 competitions, a BBQ and the annual softball game, pitting students against faculty. Students broke the professors’ long-running winning streak with a tie game. 

E-Week is an annual event aimed at increasing public awareness and appreciation for the engineering profession. Established in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers, the weeklong celebration provides an avenue for students to demonstrate inventiveness and imagination through a variety of events.

“This week is intended to benefit the engineering students, and if they take advantage of the opportunity, they can get a lot out of it,” says Liz Brooks, ESC president. “The week is put on to celebrate engineering and acknowledge all of the hard work engineers do every single day. After participating in UCI’s E-Week since I was a freshman, I can say it is continuously improving every year.”

water jet cart testing Dec 20, 2013
Fall Design Review Showcases Senior Design Projects

Around 860 people attended the 2013 Fall Design Review, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and industry representatives.

Soroosh Sorooshian Dec 13, 2013
Professor Sorooshian Honored by his Alma Mater

UC Irvine Distinguished Professor Soroosh Sorooshian has been selected as an inaugural recipient of UCLA’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Distinguished Alumnus Award.

An internationally recognized expert in water resources engineering, Sorooshian is the director of the Samueli School of Engineering’s Center for Hydrometeorology & Remote Sensing and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

The UCLA citation states: “Sorooshian has made a significant and major impact on the research areas of watershed modeling, parameter estimation, hydro-climatic modeling, and application of remote sensing to hydrology.  He developed optimization methods for parameter estimation for physically-based watershed models in general and the Sacramento model in particular. Sorooshian’s pioneering and ground-breaking work on combining global optimization with maximum likelihood estimation to overcome the inherent difficulties in parameter estimation is well recognized. The methodology that he developed has been adopted by the U.S. Weather Service into its river-forecast system. Clearly, Professor Sorooshian has established himself as a nationally and internationally renowned scholar/research and leader in the field of hydrology. His accomplishments and contributions to research and the profession have been well recognized.”

ASCE student chapter plaque Nov 13, 2013
CEE Affiliates Meeting Addresses Innovations in Water Infrastructure

Nearly 60 people turned out for breakfast and to hear about innovations in water infrastructure at the fall quarterly meeting of the UC Irvine Samueli School’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Affiliates.

William Cooper Oct 23, 2013
Bill Cooper to Direct NSF Environmental Engineering Program

Professor Bill Cooper has been appointed director of the environmental engineering program in the NSF’s Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems Division. As a professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the UC Irvine Urban Water Research Center, Cooper is used to seeking out funding from government agencies. This new position places him on the other side of the table. As an NSF program director, he will be involved in determining which project proposals to support with agency funding.

The NSF environmental engineering program funds projects looking at the environmental engineering implications of energy and resource consumption; availability of high quality water supplies; and fate and transport of contaminants of emerging concern in air, water, and soils. As director, Cooper will also seek joint funding opportunities with other government agencies and engineering programs.

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