Jeopardy Game Enlivens Launch of 5th UCSD Summer Undergrad Scholars Program

6.28.2005 – Citing it as “one of Calit2’s most successful programs,” Calit2 director Larry Smarr today kicked off the UCSD division’s fifth summer undergraduate scholarship program.

“Research is based on both discovery and telling someone about your results,” Smarr told the 17 students. “So in this program you’ll teach each other and learn how to communicate.” Alluding to past programs’ focus on communications skills, he said, “The ability to get your results out where others can use them is equal in importance to the research itself.”

Winning Team Blue with "coach" Smarr
Members of Team Yellow with
Calit2 director Larry Smarr
in background

Ramesh Rao, UCSD division director, who had the vision initially to create this program the summer of 2001, told the students that because Calit2 is not like a department and has no formal charter, it has the freedom to be more inventive.

“We take what comes out of our research labs,” he said, “and apply it in the field. In fact it’s access to the labs that makes this program special.” And, in an apparent allusion to his own experience, he said, “this kind of experience has made some of us what we are today.” He added that this program may help many of the students decide what field in which to specialize and whether to continue to graduate school.

The program continued with a mock Jeopardy game between Team Blue and Team Yellow (the colors of the Calit2 logo) based on questions about Calit2, the UCSD division, and the UCSD campus.

Then the students had the opportunity to tour the new building, which occupancy is scheduled to begin in the next couple of months. “This building is the physical manifestation of the interdisciplinary nature of our institute,” said Rao. Team Blue, the winner of the competition, got the chance to tour the building first.

The attendees included three advisors new to the program -- Bob Bitmead, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; John Crowell, Chemistry and Biochemistry; and Cristin McVey, Sociology --  as well as returning advisor Paul Blair, Calit2 project scientist, and several Calit2 staff members.

This program is supported by industry partnerships. The UCSD division currently has partnerships with some 40 companies that contribute funding and in-kind support. In particular, Rao thanked QUALCOMM, Ericsson, and Conexant for supporting this program.

Megan Laver, UCSD division student services coordinator, runs the program, which supports 10 weeks of full-time research and a series of programs on topics of interest to undergraduates. She is assisted by Lynda Tran who developed the Jeopardy game from scratch.

The UCI division is supporting a similar program this summer.