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Space Science and Engineering Day

UC Riverside Space Science & Engineering Day

(November 9, 2004)

Seven-year-old Brett Mauren, from North Ridge Magnet School in<br />
Moreno Valley, participates in UCR's Space Science and Engineering Day.Enlarge

Seven-year-old Brett Mauren, from North Ridge Magnet School in
Moreno Valley, participates in UCR's Space Science and Engineering Day.

More than 1,000 girl scouts and UCR families had the opportunity to get a close up view of a Mars Rover prototype to take part in other educational projects during the UC Riverside Space Science and Engineering Day.

The event, held Saturday, Oct. 23, was open to girls ages 5 to 12 years old and was sponsored by the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and hosted by the UCR Bourns College of Engineering and the Society of Women Engineers.

During the event Alfred Fink and six volunteers from the Riverside Astronomical Society gave talks, offered hands-on activities, and set up telescopes for viewing solar flares and sunspots.

Students participated in 10 hands-on activities such as Rover Races, Make a Comet, Mystery Planet, Edible Rocks, Straw Rockets, Solar System Beads, Strange New Planets, Cratering, Extreme Solar System, and Mars Imaging. Children created their own star constellations in a 50-foot black plastic “planetarium.”

A small prototype of the Mars Rover ran over the participants as they lay on the ground. Sheri Klug, head of Mars Education for NASA, ran the Mars Rover and gave talks throughout the day.

“Days like these can validate and expand what kids learn in the classroom,” said Klug.

The afternoon events featured presentations by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists. Rosaly Lopes gave a presentation titled “Io, A World of Great Volcanoes.”

Lopes is an expert in planetary volcanism and has discovered numerous volcanoes on Io, which is Jupiter's moon. She is now the investigation scientist for the Cassini radar instrument.

Jennifer Rocca, flight launch director and Deep Impact Mission engineer, and Maura Rountree, Deep Impact Mission educator, talked about comets.

“At my school, we don’t do a lot of science,” said Taylor Kelce, 10, while dropping a rubber ball into a pan of flour and coco powder, an activity meant to show how mass and velocity relate to the size and depth of craters in the earth’s crust.

“Talking to all of the women engineering majors was really enlightening for them,” Mary Eggers-Simons, whose has two daughters in the Girl Scouts. “Every one of the student workers was upbeat, positive and informative. They all knew their stuff and made it exciting for each group that came through. All of us learned something new and had fun in the process.”

“The day was a huge success for all,” said Linda O’Neill, event coordinator and director of special programs in UCR College of Engineering. “Children learned that science can be fun. They met NASA engineers and many engineering students. The passion and enthusiasm of the volunteers created an excitement in the participants.”

“It was great fun participating in an event that helped inspire and educate young girl scouts, hopefully inspiring them to enter the world of science and engineering,” said Andrew Chin, president of the UCR chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Cynthia Carter, president of the Society of Women Engineers, recruited more than 50 members of the SWE student chapter and the College’s Ambassador Program, who acted as volunteers for the various activities.

The University of California, Riverside ( 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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