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Young engineers show off skills at CI Spaghetti Bridge Competition and Celebration

Camarillo, Calif., June 30, 2014 – On Friday, July 11, students from Hueneme High School will celebrate their completion of four challenging weeks of college-level engineering courses at CSU Channel Islands (CI) by breaking bridges they’ve worked hard to build. 

The 40 seniors participating in the Engineering Design Career Pathways Summer Academy (EDCP) will learn which team’s bridge built from dry spaghetti holds up longest in test of strength and engineering.  The bridge competition is part of a Culminating Celebration for students, parents, school and community partners, Friday, July 11, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Broome Library Plaza.  The students will also earn awards from government officials and share with their families new skills, confidence and aspirations for engineering learning and careers.

The bridge breaking is one of the many exercises students engage in during the EDCP Summer Academy – a joint effort of Hueneme High School, the Ventura County P-20 Council, and CSU Channel Islands.  The free, grant-funded program exposes underrepresented students to a pre-college engineering program, advances skills in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and encourages participants to pursue engineering degrees and careers.

“Everything I learn is new and surprising,” said rising Hueneme High School senior Rosio Villalpando, who hopes to study civil engineering in college.  “I’m learning from an actual professor at a university level about physics, the uncertainties of numbers, vectors, and new math skills.  At school, I thought engineering was all done on computers.  Now I have learned that it’s about using your mind and knowledge to build things and solve problems; it’s a new experience.”

“I like that I get to do activities with my friends and the teachers are very helpful,” added Jennifer Ambriz, a rising Hueneme High senior who hopes to become an architectural engineer.  “I am getting a feeling for what engineers actually do and how math fits in.”

The Academy runs June 16 through July 11.  Participants study a college-level physics curriculum, conduct vector and torque lab experiments, present results, build and test bridges, network with professional engineers, and take field trips to museums, universities and science-related sites.  The activities help them gain critical engineering, problem-solving and communication skills they can apply in future studies and careers.

“The EDCP Summer Bridge programs afford students the opportunity to experience learning from university professors and to become comfortable on a college campus,” said CI President Richard R. Rush, who also serves as Chair of the Ventura County P-20 Council.  “The EDCP program, which promotes a college-going culture and interest in engineering and other STEM disciplines, is a successful example of strong regional collaboration among organizations, businesses, career professionals, K-12, colleges and universities, and the Ventura County P-20 Council.  These students are the future of our region and together we are supporting their dreams and building a stronger community for us all.”

Prior to the Culminating Celebration, students will participate in a panel discussion with professional engineers in Aliso Hall 151 at 2 p.m. and take a guided tour of the CI campus with their parents at 4 p.m. 

The Culminating Celebration begins at 5 p.m.  Students will put finishing touches on their bridges, test how much weight they can hold in a competition, make a special presentation to their parents, receive awards from elected officials, and hear from speakers including Provost Gayle Hutchinson and their instructors, CI Professor Gregory Wood and Hueneme High teachers Bob Kadin and Jay Robnett.

Students in the summer academy are participants in a rigorous, three-year program at Hueneme High School, designed to stimulate their interest and aptitude in engineering.  They apply for the program as ninth graders.

“Over the past two years, we’ve seen more than 200 students make great leaps in their skills and ambitions as a result of their participation in EDCP,” said Richard Duarte, Project Coordinator for the P-20 Council.  “Nearly 80 percent of them decide to go on to college and nearly 70 percent aspire to attend graduate school.  Those are great outcomes for the students and for Ventura County.”

This year’s Summer Bridge program is generously sponsored by Bank of America and The Alliance for Regional Collaboration to Heighten Educational Success (ARCHES), as well as the Ventura County P-20 Council, Hueneme High School and CSU Channel Islands.

For more information, contact Gregory Wood, Associate Professor of Physics, at 805-437-3293 or gregory.wood@csuci.edu; Melissa Remotti, Executive Analyst to the President, at 805-437-8410 or melissa.remotti@csuci.edu; or Richard Duarte, P-20 Project Coordinator, at 805-890-8373 or rduarte10@roadrunner.com.

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About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI's strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master's degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI's Social Media.

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