California State University, Long Beach
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CEERS Exposes Underserved Students to Engineering and Research Education

Published: July 15, 2009

Continuing its mission to expose advanced high school students from Long Beach and surrounding communities to the fields of engineering research and education, CSULB’s Center for Energy and Environmental Research and Services (CEERS) is hosting two intensive summer programs.

Focusing on students whose access to science-enrichment opportunities is limited, CEERS provides an educational foundation that helps high-achieving students realize their academic potential. The program also helps fulfill the state’s growing need for highly-qualified engineering professionals.

“The objective of the program is to not only introduce these talented students to this exciting industry, but also provide the educational foundations necessary for them to become tomorrow’s outstanding researchers, engineers and scientists,” said Hamid Rahai, director of the CEERS program and a professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) Department at CSULB.

At CEERS, high school students work side-by-side with MAE graduate students and professors on research projects related to air and water pollution, mitigation processes and energy resources and productions. The program also involves briefings on specific aspects of the research topic, review of background materials, required tasks for the project, implementation and a final technical report.

This summer, 12 high school students (six girls and six boys) were selected from the California Academy of Math and Sciences, Long Beach Poly, Whitney, Wilson and Lakewood high schools to participate in the five-week fellowship program at CEERS. The program ends July 27.

The CEERS students are working on two solar projects funded by the Long Beach Airport and Long Beach Transit, as well as an air-quality project funded by the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

At the Long Beach Airport the teams are estimating the solar energy potential and cost to benefit ratios of solar panels and solar shades to be placed on the roofs of the airport’s parking structure and passenger holding area. Another project will involve gathering the same data for Long Beach Transit’s existing maintenance facility on Anaheim Road.

The air quality district’s project involves investigating the effects of a humid air motor on the nitrogen oxide emissions of a diesel engine and the effect of different levels of humidity within the intake air.

“Nitrogen oxides are greenhouse gases that present a health hazard, playing a significant role in our air quality. What the students will be doing might be the least expensive and most efficient way of reducing these emissions from diesel engines,” said Rahai. “The students will also learn the basic principles of diesel engines, their performance parameters and how to assess these types of engines.”

At the end of the program, the 12 CEERS students will receive $800 for their contributions to the research projects and certificates of participation.

In addition, another 12 Long Beach-area students have been chosen by CEERS to attend a six-week course, ENG 170 Introduction to Solid Modeling and Engineering Graphics. To qualify, these students had to have completed one year of architecture instruction (or the equivalent) and intermediate algebra.

At the completion of the class, the students will earn two units of university credit toward their engineering degree. The class is sponsored by P2S Engineering Inc., the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ Southern California Chapter and CEERS.

CEERS, which is funded entirely by private contributions, is renowned nationally for its success in working with energy and environmental partners on projects that benefit students, industry and the community. It serves as a source of advanced technology support for Southern California’s expanding energy and environmental industries.

“This is a dynamic program that provides ample educational and research opportunities for students at both the college and high school levels to advance their energy and environmental knowledge,” said Rahai. “In addition to this summer program, several master’s of science and Ph.D. engineering students conduct their research at CEERS. We also develop many joint projects with local industry. This is a very comprehensive program.”