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UCSC summer program designed to keep students interested in engineering

Saturday, August 27, 2005

UC Santa Cruz is doing something about the shortage of American engineers.

The campus offers a weeklong "boot camp" for prospective engineering majors. It's the only campus in the UC system to do so.

The goal is to encourage students to stick with engineering even when the going gets tough.

"There's a high dropout rate between freshman and sophomore year, because it's such as difficult major," said Peggy Church, counselor for the program at the Baskin School of Engineering.

She estimates that engineering majors must spend 45 hours a week studying to be successful.

Participating students ' 30 men and seven women ' learned how to approach faculty, how to best manage their time and how to get around the 2,000-acre campus.

All week, they worked in teams to design a flash circuit; they presented their final products to faculty Friday.

"Engineering requires a lot of teamwork," Church said.

About two-thirds of the students are incoming freshmen; the rest are transfer students who also are enrolling as juniors.

Participants came from a variety of ethnic backgrounds: Latino, African-American, American Indian and white.

The program, now in its third year, costs about $1,200 per student. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation and the Baskin School of Engineering.