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Science Program Accepts New Students


Forty UC Riverside Undergraduate Students Receive Scholarships for Pursuing Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics Majors

Talented, Low-Income Students Receive Financial, Academic, Professional Support Through Program

(November 7, 2003)

CSEMS Freshmen for 2003-2004

CSEMS Freshmen for 2003-2004

RIVERSIDE, Calif. � www.ucr.edu � Forty talented, low-income students at the University of California, Riverside have been accepted into the �CSEMS Scholars Program� to help them earn degrees in computer science, engineering and mathematics (CSEMS). Twenty of the recipients were freshmen, 11 were sophomores and nine were transfer students.

With $400,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation, UC Riverside�s Bourns College of Engineering will present each student with a $2,500 scholarship as part of a comprehensive plan of financial, academic and professional support to improve their chances of staying in college and graduating. UC Riverside is in its second of four years in the program.

�Much of the attrition in the CSEMS majors occurs in the first two years,� said Keith Oddson, associate professor of mathematics at UC Riverside, former associate dean for undergraduate students for the College of Engineering, and director of the CSEMS Scholars Program. �We see family financial pressure and the need for students to work part-time as primary contributing factors.�

UC Riverside draws the major portion of its students from the Inland Empire region of Riverside and San Bernardino counties and from the inner-city areas of Los Angeles, regions with a large number of families from which students qualify for Pell Grants and other need-based financial assistance.

�Our goal with these scholarships is to provide every student participating in the program the necessary financial assistance to permit full-time enrollment and degree achievement within the normative time of the major� Oddson said. �We wish to �level the playing field,� economically, for these students.�

According to the UC Office of the President, more than 40 percent of UC Riverside students receive need-based financial aid, and, in a recent survey done by the UC Office of the President, 54.7% of UC Riverside students who responded said they worked an average of 19.4 hours per week during the academic year to support themselves in college.

The rule of thumb for student success is to budget a minimum of three hours of study time per academic unit, according to Frank Vahid, professor of computer science and engineering at UC Riverside. If a student is carrying 12 units, that�s 36 hours per week. Students taking 16 units should devote 48 hours weekly to their studies. That time commitment can be tough to achieve if the student works more than the 15 hours a week allowed under the CSEMS rules.
�Becoming an engineer can lead to an extremely rewarding career, both intellectually and monetarily, but the field is challenging and requires lots of time to really develop the needed knowledge and skills,� said Vahid, co-director of the program and a member of the CSEMS oversight committee.

�People understand this concept with respect to, say, sports � someone wanting to be a professional basketball player doesn't just squeeze in a few free throws between part-time jobs,� Vahid said. �Instead, they practice and practice and then practice some more.�

By giving students some funds, providing academic help, encouraging them to join student chapters of professional groups, and requiring them to work no more than 15 hours a week, the CSEMS program hopes to provide students the needed tools to succeed in attaining their degrees and in succeeding in their professions.

CSEM Scholars were selected based on the recommendations of the program�s oversight committee that is comprised of UC Riverside faculty as well as staff members from the university�s Financial Aid Office and offices of other support services.

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The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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