San Diego, CA June 15, 2004-- University of California, San Diego (UCSD) undergraduate students will put their technical and creative skills to work for San Diego non-profit organizations through a new program being launched by the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering. UCSD Teams in Engineering Service (TIES) http://www.jacobsschool.ucsd.edu/TIES/ is part of the national Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program, now active at 15 universities nationwide. Through TIES, multi-disciplinary teams of UCSD students will design, build and deploy projects that solve technology-based problems for local community organizations.
Projects will get underway in September 2004. One of the first community clients will be the Classroom of the Future Foundation who will work with UCSD student teams to create an environmental sensor network for selected local schools. The network could be used both to monitor the school's environment for allergens and other pollutants, and to serve as a curriculum tool for science classes. Other projects include working with St. Paul’s Seniors Homes & Services, the largest retirement home community in San Diego, to develop smart living spaces for the elderly to help them remain independent in their own homes, and to create custom PDA's for nurses to monitor their senior charges.
"Not only is this a valuable service for our community, but it is also an important way for us to enhance the education we deliver to our students" says Jeanne Ferrante, associate dean of the Jacobs School and co-director of UCSD TIES with electrical and computer engineering professor Charles Tu. "Our goal is to provide our students with team engineering experiences that will help prepare them to be technology leaders and innovators. These projects will enable our students to hone their leadership and communications skills, apply their theoretical knowledge to real-world problems, and increase their customer and community awareness"
UCSD TIES is funded initially through a new $165,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and matching funds totaling $180,000 from the Jacobs School, San Diego Supercomputer Center, and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology. AT&T has become the first corporate sponsor of the program with a gift of $40,000.
"AT&T is deeply committed to applying information technologies to all levels of education," said Rich Goldberg, network vice president for AT&T. “UCSD TIES is precisely the combination of technology, service and learning that ensures a commitment to community that benefits the students as well as the general public.” In addition to these sponsors, UCSD TIES is supported by the San Diego Foundation, which is assisting the Jacobs School in identifying potential community clients and sponsors.
UCSD TIES will become part the academic program of the Jacobs School, and student participants will earn class credits while volunteering their expertise for community organizations. All participants will be required to take a Team Engineering course, which covers topics ranging from project management and industrial compliance to proposal writing, ethics and communications. Project teams will include eight to 15 people, and can consist of both engineering students and students from other disciplines at UCSD. Students from Sixth College, UCSDs newest residential college, can also fulfill their practicum requirement for a hands-on interdisciplinary education experience by participating in the program.