UC Riverside’s EcoCAR Team Debuts at Community & K-12 Events
Written by: Trang Bui Communications Manager
The City of Riverside in California, also known as The City of Arts and Innovation, is home to the newly founded EcoCAR team at University of California, Riverside. With over 8 different colleges, universities and vocational schools in the area, the City and its Unified School District have been hosting several STEM education events for the back-to-school season in the past month.
UC Riverside’s EcoCAR team home department is at the Bourns College of Engineering – Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), UC Riverside’s largest multidisciplinary research center located just a few miles from the main campus. For many years, the Center has been an active participant in various STEM outreach events around Riverside, and these values are inevitably passed onto the EcoCAR team.
On October 6th, Riverside’s Science and Technology Education Partnership (STEP) hosted its 23rd annual STEP Conference, partnering with Bourns, Inc. and the College of Engineering – Center for Environmental Research and Technology. The largest of its kind in the area, STEPCon hopes to inspire and bring opportunities to local students in the pursuit of STEM, as well as provide hands-on training to K-12 teachers so they have the tools to support their students achieve careers in technology fields. This event marks the 12th year of CE-CERT’s partnership with STEPCon, and the 1st year EcoCAR participated as an exhibitor.
As hundreds of middle and high school students attended science demonstrations by the electronic component supplier Bourns Inc. and toured the various laboratories at CE-CERT, our Communications Manager was outside at EcoCAR’s booth presenting about the competition and the exciting emerging opportunities in the electric automation industry. She showcased a solar-hydrogen battery kit, shared facts and trivia about electric vehicles, and handed out fun activities for students to learn more about these technologies. Just 12 hours later, she boarded her flight and traveled to UC Davis for the 3-day EcoCAR EV Challenge Fall Workshop.
A week later, on October 13th, the City of Riverside hosted its 10th annual Night of Art & Innovation at the Downtown area, where the colleges and universities, research centers and companies from all over Riverside presented their best STEM and creative art projects. UC Riverside’s EcoCAR team again made our first public appearance this night, presenting our efforts in the competition alongside projects such as CE-CERT’s Mobile Battery Trailer, and organizations such as La Sierra University, California Air Resources Board and Riverside Public Library.
Through these events, the team was able to bring our presence outside of campus for the first time, showing the community not only the growth of sustainable vehicle technologies, but also the growth of our University and opportunities available to anyone interested in this field. The EcoCAR Team at UC Riverside hopes to continue our efforts to advocate for clean energy in the community, nourish bright young minds in the pursuit of STEM education, perhaps even see them head into university and join the EcoCAR EV Challenge in the many years to come!