Paddling toward a more accessible future

It was Andrew Skvarla’s huge day. An achieved athlete, he had been paddling kayaks and also canoes given that he was 16 years old, as well as he had never ever allow anything enter his means– not also his total visual loss. Yet this stormy October early morning was various. On the uneven waters of the Upper Newport Bay, he raced in a remote-controlled outrigger canoe by himself for the very first time.

The steering system innovation permitting Skvarla to carry out his solo feat was created and created by Mark Baldwin, an informatics Ph.D. student at UCI, and it’s enabling members of the Makapo Aquatics Job– like Skvarla– to experience rowing in new and also interesting ways.

A previous software professional for ten years prior to reaching UCI, Baldwin utilizes hands-on, prototype-driven methods to perform research study on assistive modern technology. His goal is to develop gadgets to assist individuals with disabilities, especially those with aesthetic impairments.

“The guiding system, much like Andrew, performed well,” says RJ De Rama, executive director of the Makapo Aquatics Job. “When he crossed the surface line, there wasn’t an individual around who really did not have a big smile on their face. We were so fed that it went so well which we assisted Andrew become the very first completely blind individual to complete a race on a remote-controlled canoe.”

Baldwin partnered with the Makapo Aquatics Project which lays out to aid visually impaired people come to be a lot more active and also independent. With each other, they’ve been evaluating as well as surpassing a remote device for outrigger canoes so that the family members or friends can steer them from an additional watercraft, comparable to exactly how you manage a remote control automobile.

“I think the most unforgettable minute for me until now has actually been the motivation as well as excitement of the paddling community,” states Baldwin. “At the starting line, when the race supervisor introduced our project as well as Andrew, every person there was enthusiastically applauding. As well as even throughout the race, we had many paddlers that cheered Andrew on.”

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    Mark Baldwin, an informatics Ph.D. student at UCI, established a guiding system that allows aesthetically impaired people – such as Andrew Skvarla (facility) – to race in remote-controlled outrigger canoes on their own. Steve Zylius/ UCI
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    Andrew Skvarla (center), who’s blind, uses like a backpack the remote guiding device that allows him to compete against sighted people in Upper Newport Bay. Steve Zylius/ UCI
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    Creator Mark Baldwin changes one more item of the remote guiding system on racer Andrew Skvarla’s canoe. Steve Zylius/ UCI
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    Blind canoeist Andrew Skvarla paddles his specially outfitted craft in Upper Newport Bay as his trainer, Rob Octavio, guides it from a nearby watercraft. Steve Zylius/ UCI
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    Andrew Skvarla, here throughout the race, belongs to the Makapo Aquatics Task, founded to aid satisfy the leisure needs of the visually damaged area in Orange Area with outrigger paddling. Steve Zylius/ UCI
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    Mark Baldwin (appropriate), UCI doctoral student in informatics, views on as Andrew Skvarla and also his father, Jim (facility), celebrate after the canoe race. Steve Zylius/ UCI
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    Blind paddler Andrew Skvarla races in Upper Newport Bay as RJ De Rama (foreground), executive supervisor of the Makapo Aquatics Task, as well as UCI graduate student-inventor Mark Baldwin watch. Steve Zylius/ UCI

Making an obtainable substantial desktop computer

Structure such models for his research study undertakings has actually distinguished Baldwin in his doctoral mission. In this respect, he shares a similar approach to his consultant, Gillian Hayes, the Robert A. & & Barbara L. Kleist Chair in Informatics at UCI, who also explores the real-world effect of her research tasks.

As part of his Ph.D. project, Baldwin has actually been working to create a concrete desktop computer that facilitates computer usage for the aesthetically impaired. He’s concentrating on creating desktop prototypes that are financially affordable to make sure that they can be utilized by a wider audience, not simply those who can pay $3,000-$10,000 for existing software application or braille displays on their key-boards. He makes use of low-priced modern technology, like 3D printing, to create his models and products.

Baldwin’s motivation is to see exactly how his research study and developments can have a long lasting, life-long effect on the areas that have been ignored as well as underserved by a technology-driven world that often breakthroughs without them in mind. He confesses this has provided his study initiatives a higher feeling of function– it’s not only concerning producing technical advancements, however about progressing technology for all, consisting of those with handicaps.

“The impairment community is frequently ignored in our society, so I assume the financial investment in our success by the paddling community, as well as others, is a testimony to the value of developing as well as developing assistive technology in diverse joint atmospheres,” he says. “We discovered from the community just how to obtain Andrew on the water as well as the community found out that Andrew, and any other blind paddler, belongs there.”

UCI awarded $5.4 million grant to prepare Compton students for college access and success

Irvine, Calif., Nov. 15, 2018 — The University of California, Irvine has been awarded a $5.4 million Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs partnership grant from the U.S. Department of Education to prepare middle school students for college access and success. The seven-year GEAR UP project will provide multiple academic activities and services for sixth- and seventh-graders in the Compton Unified School District that continue through high school and their freshman year in college.

“We are thrilled to implement this comprehensive program that increases opportunities for students from underserved communities and that provides them and their families with the tools and information to plan for, enter and complete a postsecondary education,” said principal investigator Stephanie Reyes-Tuccio, UCI assistant vice chancellor for educational partnerships. “UCI has repeatedly been named the No. 1 university in The New York Times College Access Index for doing the most for the American dream, and through this grant, we can help GEAR UP students realize theirs.”

The project will serve 1,000 students from Davis, Bunche, Enterprise and Willowbrook middle schools as they progress into Compton or Centennial high school and on to the colleges of their choice. It will promote science, technology, engineering and math education through increased access to Advanced Placement and dual enrollment classes; provide academic tutoring, counseling and workshops; offer teachers, counselors and staff professional development and enrichment activities; and increase students’ and their families’ knowledge of postsecondary education options and financial aid.

UCI will collaborate with a variety of community groups – including the Compton Unified School District, Compton College, the city of Compton, the Verizon Foundation and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – to provide support and services.

“We appreciate the commitment of our partners in joining with us to extend educational opportunities that will help underserved communities succeed in the classroom and beyond,” Reyes-Tuccio said. “Earning a college degree not only benefits students and their families, but also helps strengthen the region by establishing a qualified workforce that can meet the needs of business and industry for years to come.” 

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit

Media access: Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UCI faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UCI news, visit Additional resources for journalists may be found at

Huolin Xin is awarded $2.5 million grant to research next-generation lithium-ion batteries

Huolin Xin, UCI aide professor of & physics & astronomy, has been awarded $2.5 million by the UNITED STATE Division of Energy to advance research in next-generation lithium-ion batteries. His job is among 42 sustained by an $80 million fund for promising vehicle modern technologies to enable even more economical wheelchair, reinforce residential power safety, decrease our dependancy on international resources of critical products as well as boost U.S. financial growth. Cobalt, which supplies stability in lithium-ion batteries, has actually virtually tripled

An assistant professor of physics & & astronomy, Huolin Xin joined UCI’s faculty previously this year.

in price over the previous numerous years, motivating many researches focused on the decrease or elimination of it in power cells. The initiatives of the UCI-led team will certainly focus on establishing a three-dimensional doping approach in high-nickel, low-cobalt products– with the best objective of reducing expenses and also boosting the safety and security, power thickness and long life of mobile energy storage space. Xin, that signed up with UCI’s professors previously this year, was previously a personnel scientist as well as principal detective at Brookhaven National Lab in New York City. He is a professional in the application of artificial intelligence-driven transmission electron microscopy and also modern 3-D chemical imaging in the research of batteries, gas cells and also gas decrease electrocatalysts. “To aid deal with future environment adjustment, a greater portion of the international vehicle fleet will require to be based on electrical versus inner combustion electric motors, and our power market will certainly need to rely more heavily on battery storage space,” Xin said. “As the world is encountering a critical demand for much better products and also modern technologies, the purpose of this DOE-funded task is to meet that need with development.”

College makeover artist

In a room filled with disembodied mannequin heads, Keith Curry banters with trainees as they clip, brush and blow-dry the dummies’ hair. The recently opened up cosmetology center is one of numerous stops on Curry’s Compton University remodeling scenic tour.

Various other highlights consist of a synthetic grass football field, a striking library facility and also a nursing lab furnished with a number of $100,000 robotic clients, among which can provide a fake baby.

Given that taking over the area university in 2011– adhering to a corruption detraction– Anteater alumnus Curry has slowly rejuvenated the 91-year-old organization, winning back its accreditation and convincing local citizens to authorize a $100 million bond measure to update the institution.

But the overhaul has actually been no cakewalk. And also extra job stays.

When Curry arrived on school as dean of pupil services in 2006, points were a mess. The institution had been removed of its certification– a first amongst The golden state public universities– as well as numerous bucks had actually apparently disappeared in an internet of questionable perks for leading authorities, lax payroll policies as well as a scam that enrolled phony trainees.

To prevent a full shutdown, state leaders made the school– populated with jacaranda trees, hands as well as maturing brick buildings– a satellite of El Camino College in Torrance. Curry, who was born and also raised in Compton, swore to recover the college’s freedom as well as online reputation once he took the helm, a promotion that corresponded with making his doctorate in education with a joint UCI-UCLA program. (Curry’s argumentation was on Compton College’s accreditation fiasco.)

His very first job was refurbishing the campus’s transfer facility, which recruits trainees at nearby high institutions and churches with a combination of coffee mugs, T-shirts and free tuition for the first year.

“The transfer facility is the catalyst for everything,” claims Curry, that ran UCI’s Very early Academic Outreach Program before beginning at Compton College.

Among his trademark undertakings was a $25 million library and also pupil success complicated, which opened in April 2014, partially as a marketing device of what a suggested bond measure might complete.

“You have actually obtained ta offer individuals hope,” he claims.

It worked. Seven months later, the bond passed with 78 percent of the vote. The funds aided gas different modifications at the university, including:

  • Revamped programs in cosmetology as well as heating, ventilation & & a/c
  • New females’s football and also softball groups
  • A change program for ex-convicts
  • Campuswide Wi-Fi

A lot more recently, Curry turned his interest to sustain services, opening an university hospital (in partnership with Molina Medical Management), a childcare center as well as a food pantry for undernourished undergrads. “I obtained so concentrated on student success that I failed to remember some basic requirements,” he clarifies. Because vein, he additionally really hopes to erect a 540-bed dormitory for homeless university participants.

Amongst various other jobs in the pipe are a $31 million athletic complex and an $8 million carrying out arts facility.

One venture that Curry has actually deliberately prevented is an institution reusing program. That’s because inadequate people routinely come through the university rummaging for cans to market, he claims: “It’s their earnings, and I do not desire to take that away.”

Despite the flurry of task, problems big as well as small continue to be. In the management structure, as an example, a picture wall of Compton College presidents consists of Curry’s picture (he officially assumed that title in June 2017), yet there’s no nameplate identifying him.

And also the school’s graduation price– 34 percent within 6 years– is listed below the state standard of 48 percent. One more obstacle: Registration has actually insinuated recent years amid a demographic shift from 34 percent Latino in 2011 to 60 percent currently.

But generally, Curry’s initiatives have actually won desirable notice. Inside Greater Ed, a profession magazine, lately included him in a prolonged article concerning exactly how Compton University recovered from disaster.

In May, he was named among 4 finalists to come to be president of Nevada’s largest area university. However Curry quickly withdrew his candidateship, stating that the metamorphosis at Compton College “is also vital to me (properly and directly) to leave currently. … My job below is refrained from doing.”

UCI announces plans for Student Success Building

Irvine, Calif., Nov. 5, 2018— Identifying the significance of health and support solutions to total pupil success, the College of California, Irvine today revealed plans to build a detailed, comfortably situated center that will certainly house mental wellness, wellness as well as scholastic therapy programs under one roof.

Projected to open up in fall 2022, the Pupil Success Building is developed to boost programs that contribute to pupil success– every little thing from scholastic therapy to psychological wellness services to sustain for students with disabilities– whose physical space has actually not equaled development of the student body.

“I’m really pleased that we were able to create this building, devoted to the success of our impressive students, without imposing any kind of extra financial concern on our pupils,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “Our students go to the heart of everything we do, and also their success is a central pillar of our objective.”

“It’s an interesting project that eventually will help ensure the success of our students not just while they’re below at UCI, but additionally when they move on in life,” added Edgar J. Dormitorio, interim vice chancellor of trainee events.

UCI constantly has actually offered top notch health, health and also counseling solutions to its pupil body, and also raised need has necessitated more room for them. In the last decade alone, enrollment has actually grown around 25 percent, to more than 35,000 students. Placing such services under one roofing system will certainly enhance opportunities for partnership and sychronisation, UCI officials said.

Building on the Pupil Success Building, proposed to be constructed across from the Anteater Learning Structure, is arranged to begin in 2020. It will certainly include about 53,500 square feet of program and also event area, along with administrative workplace and also support room, to address the most urgent requirements of our trainee neighborhood.

Devices to be housed there consist of the Therapy Center, the Facility for Pupil Health & & Health Promotion, the University Attack Resources & & Education office, the Special needs Solutions Center, the Division of Occupation Pathways as well as the Expert Services Center, along with social workers and also programs from the Department of Teaching Excellence & & Innovation.

The Pupil Wellness Center will stay at its existing location.

Psychological health services will certainly be a key element of the Pupil Success Structure, Dormitorio said. Funds made readily available throughout the UC system a couple of years back have permitted UCI to employ even more mental health and wellness experts to satisfy boosting need for such services, he said, yet discovering area to fit them has been testing. The new framework will certainly solve that concern, he added.

Along with enhanced and also systematized area for counseling solutions, the Trainee Success Structure will certainly include a distraction-free screening environment for midterms and also finals, Dormitorio stated.

Pupil leaders commended the suggestion of a Pupil Success Building, saying it will boost health, health and wellness as well as therapy solutions that currently are spread out over four buildings.

“It’s great that they’re mosting likely to have all these solutions in one centrally located structure,” stated Michelle Herrera, head of state of UCI’s Associated College student. “It will particularly be terrific for those trainees who do not even know the many resources that are offered to them.”

The Pupil Success Building will be financed by school sources supplemented by a mix of recently available state capital resources as well as fundraising.

About the University of The Golden State, Irvine: Established in 1965, UCI is the youngest participant of the prestigious Association of American Colleges. The school has generated 3 Nobel laureates and also is recognized for its academic success, premier study, advancement and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has even more than 30,000 pupils and also offers 192 level programs. It’s situated in among the world’s safest and also most economically vibrant neighborhoods and also is Orange County’s second-largest company, contributing $5 billion every year to the local economy. For much more on UCI, see

Media access: Radio programs/stations might, for a charge, utilize an on-campus ISDN line to interview UCI faculty as well as experts, subject to accessibility and also university approval. For even more UCI information, see Additional sources for reporters may be located at