A group of UC Merced students are in Austria this week to compete in RoboCup 2009, the world's biggest robotics competition.
Graduate student Benjamin Balaguer and seniors Derek Burch and Roger Sloan will vie for top honors in the rescue simulation competition. In it, participants design programs for a virtual team of robots that must navigate a virtual urban disaster area. Balaguer, Burch and Sloan, lead by School of Engineering professor Stefano Carpin, worked long hours – sometimes up to 14 a day – to develop controls and coding they will use during the competition.
While this year marks Burch’s and Sloan’s first RoboCup, the competition isn’t new to Balaguer. He attended last year as UC Merced's sole team member and earned second place in the final rescue simulation competition. He bested teams from other top universities that had several members.
RoboCup 2009 continues through the end of the week.
About 180 participants attended the symposium, which gives UC researchers and students an opportunity to discuss and share information regarding bioengineering research happening in their classrooms and laboratories.
UCMerced professors Kara McCloskey and Michelle Khineco-chaired the event. A number of UCMerced faculty and graduate students participated in the symposium and shared information that covered a number of topics, including molecular and cellular engineering, biophysics, biomechanics and tissue engineering. Read more.
Dayrat, an assistant professor in the School of Natural Sciences, said he wanted to come up with a dream program for students that would allow them to conduct research while spending time in one of the world's most famous outdoor destinations.
Eight students participating in this year's program are assigned to a specific project and will conduct field research in and around Yosemite. Students will work closely with a mentor on their assigned project. Dayrat, an avid hiker, will be a mentor on one of the projects. He'll work with a student to collect freshwater organisms from high elevation creeks.
MERCED, Calif. -- Many college students take a break from academics during the summer to spend time in the great outdoors. The University of California, Merced has programs that offer students a chance to commune with Mother Nature while working, living and learning in Yosemite National Park.
One of those programs is the National Science Foundation-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates program (REU), which started its second year this week. Eight students will participate in UC Merced's REU program, called Yosemite Research Training in Environmental Sciences.
The students will be in the park through mid-August, according to program director Benoit Dayrat, an assistant professor in UC Merced's School of Natural Sciences. Each student will work on an assigned research project and be paired with a faculty mentor. In addition to conducting field research inside Yosemite and the surrounding Sierra Nevada, the students will participate in classes and go on field trips to build their background knowledge.
"It is important to give research opportunities to students," Dayrat said. Participating in research as an undergraduate can give students a glimpse of what a career in science would entail and can enhance their chances when applying for jobs and/or graduate school.
Officials at the University of California, Merced, have begun summer on a confident note. The campus is getting more and more popular with incoming freshmen. UC Merced has seen a 27-percent increase in freshmen selecting to attend over Fall 2008, and a 94-percent increase over Fall 2007. According to data released today, June 16, by the UC Office of the President, Merced has received 1,358 Statements of Intent to Register (SIRs) from first-time freshmen. UC Merced received 1,069 freshman SIRs at this time last year. SIRs are generally a reliable indicator of the number of students who plan to enroll in any given year.
Kevin Browne, assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management, predicts that these numbers put the university on track for a total Fall 2009 enrollment of 3,200 students.
“This is the third banner year in a row for UC Merced,” Browne said. “This proves that even in these uncertain fiscal times, families recognize the benefits of a UC Merced education and value the experience we offer our students.”
On June 4, UC Merced's Early Childhood Education Center will open its doors from 4 to 6:30 p.m. to allow visitors to explore the facility’s indoor classrooms and outdoor play environments for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
Touring the new state-of-the-art facility is a great way for parents – and prospective parents – to get a preview before it officially opens its doors to welcome families later in the month.
The celebration marks the completion of the new state-of-the-art child care facility that will help meet the demand for quality child care in Merced.
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