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Register Ahead for Fall Innovate to Grow; Event Highlights Experiential Learning

December 6, 2021
Students show off one of their projects for Innovate the Grow audiences.
Students show off one of their projects for Innovate the Grow audiences. Image by Veronica Adrover.

More than 40 student teams from the School of Engineering will show off the projects they’ve been designing and assembling for community partners — from data analysis and food processing to autonomous mobile robots and water-treatment monitoring.

The Fall 2021 Innovate to Grow (I2G) showcase takes place in person this year, and everyone is welcome to attend the expo, team presentations and closing reception, where this year’s winners will be announced. The event is scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17, in the new Conference Center on the UC Merced campus. For those who cannot attend in person, the presentations will also be streamed on Zoom.

Organizers are hoping for early registration for both in-person and virtual attendees. Registration can be completed online. They are also looking for more judges for the event. If you’re interested in helping choose the best presentations, please check the box marked “judge” on the webform. No formal preparation is needed before the event, and you do not need an engineering degree — just be able to provide valuable feedback based on your experience.

I2G, which happens twice each year, showcases the experiential learning that is emblematic of UC Merced. Student teams from the capstone engineering and computer science classes engage with businesses, agencies, nonprofits and industry leaders to solve complex real-world challenges.

The students work in teams with organizations in computers, agriculture, human and animal health care, transportation, education, energy tech, biotech, sports and materials development. As team members, students get experience in leadership, working and networking with clients, research and development, implementation and presentation.

At the end of each semester, the work completed by the student teams culminates in I2G, where students present their work to judges and the public and answer questions from judges and attendees alike. The work the teams do often positions them for internships, jobs or to launch their own start-ups.

“The senior engineering and software capstone design projects associated with I2G give students experience in what it is like to work on real-world issues that can have significant impacts for a company, users and/or the public in general. These projects are associated with the type of work that they will do and the professionals that they will work with in their careers when they graduate,” School of Engineering Dean Mark Matsumoto said. “These projects also allow prospective employers to see the creativity and skills that our UC Merced students will bring to them as employees.”

The expo, from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., allows people to see project posters and demonstrations. The presentations begin at 12:45 p.m. and the reception begins at 3 p.m. People coming from off-campus are asked to park in the Bellevue Lot at the entrance to campus and will be able to take shuttles or walk to the Conference Center. Lunch and refreshments are provided.