Practice Makes Perfect

By Anna Lynn Spitzer

Kelvin Liang (left) and Young Min Kim are studying home energy management in the CalPlug Center.

Irvine, CA, August 3rd, 2012 - - Before the first of the five-minute updates began, however, SURF-IT co-director Said Shokair asked the students for feedback on the summer undergraduate research fellowship program. Several students commented on how much they are learning.  A couple of them mentioned flagging motivation as a result of reams of literature waiting for review and patient interviews in need of transcribing, but Andrew Martin Del Campo had a more upbeat point of view.

“It’s interesting to be digging into something no one has done before,” he said. “It’s almost like creating your own future. It’s a good motivation to keep going.” Del Campo is working with computer sciences professor Alex Nicolau to classify and optimize computer programs for peak performance and reduced power consumption.

Young Min Kim and Kelvin Liang, working in the Calit2 CalPlug Center under engineering professor G.P. Li and technical director Arthur Zhang, have experience presenting their research. Over the last several weeks, several representatives from government agencies have visited CalPlug for demonstrations. “Presenting to government agencies definitely gave us more insight into the real world,” Liang said.

From left: Kier Groulx, Tim Kang, Rochelle Parker and Gregory Zambrano share their results.







 When the program reviews were complete, Shokair announced the time had arrived for the presentations to begin.
In an effort to calm the students’ nerves, he urged them to view the experience as a chance to share what they’ve accomplished thus far. “This is an opportunity to grow and improve,” he advised.
He asked for volunteers. Gregory Zambrano, a mechanical engineering student, raised his hand and kicked off the presentations with his research on software for hand-based rehabilitation.

From left: John Louie, Melissa Mayr, Andrew Martin Del Campo and Katherine Lo make their presentations.








                          As each student finished, the audience, which was limited to faculty mentors and Calit2 staff, asked the questions about the research and critiqued his/her performance. Among the suggestions: slow down, make better eye contact, include more photos in the PowerPoint slides, and eliminate “ums” and “ahs.”


Paul Lowood's presentation was the last of the day. he researches simulations- past, present and future potential.

 When the last presentation was complete, Shokair complimented the students on their performance. “I know it’s difficult to do for the first time but it gets easier,” he added.
They now have nearly five more weeks to incorporate those suggestions and continue refining their presentations; the Fellows will offer final research conclusions to an audience of friends and family on August 31 at the SURF-IT concluding event.