STEM Support at UCR

Written by: Trang Bui

The University of California, Riverside’s Center for Environmental Research and Technology at the Bourns College of Engineering (CE-CERT) is home to the University’s EcoCAR team. The Center historically has had strong relationships with local governments and interacts with them on a regular basis to showcase students’ research and initiatives on sustainability and STEM education.

In the summer of 2022, CE-CERT featured their research efforts at the California Air Resources Board’s Open House, and some weeks later, Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis toured CE-CERT’s facilities and various laboratories as part of her UC Riverside Campus visit. Now, with the participation in the EcoCAR EV Challenge, the team hopes to continue having their support to continue advocating in programs and technologies that will improve our state’s environment, mobility, economics, and STEM education.

Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis Visits CE-CERT, June 2022

On February 14th, 2023, various faculty and students from the Center met with Rafael Elizalde, the District Director for one of California’s Representatives Mark Takano. Mr. Elizalde earned a Master’s in Public Administration from Cal Baptist University and a Bachelor of Arts from Claremont McKenna College, and has been working in Rep. Takano’s office for several years.

Director Rafael Elizalde

Mr. Elizalde received an update on various projects and programs at the Bourns College of Engineering. He was briefed on a number of things, including UC Riverside’s microelectronics research program, new robotics program, and last but not least, the EcoCAR program.

Looking at the new EcoCAR garage in progress, the Director expressed excitement in UC Riverside’s participation in the U.S. Department of Energy’s AVTC Program and is looking forward to visiting the team again with Rep. Takano to see the Cadillac LYRIQ in person in the near future.

UC Riverside’s EcoCAR Garage in Progress

Learn more about CE-CERT’s environmental efforts at, and about Director Elizalde at

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