Twin Tweaks ...
of the programs (or “clusters” in COSMOS lingo)
range from biomedical engineering to oceanography
to robotics. The participants are high school
students entering the ninth through the 12th
grades. The tuition for the summer 2009 program
was $2,550 for California residents and $6,500 for
non-residents. That may sound steep, but the
program offers a lot. The tuition pays for on-campus
residence (a great introduction to college living for
the students, who even have resident advisors)
and food at the dining halls for the four weeks
(another essential introduction to college life). But
tuition pays for much more than the bare necessities.
Transportation for field trips is also provided, but
the best part of all of this is the attention that the
students get from real university faculty members.
The cluster that I was involved with was staffed by
two full time professors (the incomparable Dr.
Nathan Delson and Dr. Raymond de Callafon), a
high school physics teacher (the fantastic Mr. Brinn
Belyea of Torrey Pines High School), and two
recent graduates from UCSD, myself and fellow
mechanical engineer Zac Dooley. All of this brainpower was brought together to inspire a group of
23 high school students in Cluster 2 about the
joys, trials, and tribulations of building a mechanical
clock and a kinetic sculpture.
The folks at COSMOS are dedicated to
keeping this as an accessible program, because
students can apply for financial aid to pursue this
great opportunity. Approximately 40% of the
students for the 2009 COSMOS program received
full or partial financial aid.
Evan wanted to be involved with the COSMOS
program because he remembered how inspira-
tional the engineering programs we went through
in high school were. During three weeks at the
Palo Alto Research Center, we had the opportunity
to see the types of real world projects that engineers worked on, and the FIRST program gave us
a dose of intense interdisciplinary teamwork where
we experienced the sense of accomplishment that
comes from completing an intimidating project.
These were the experiences that inspired Evan to
go into engineering — an admittedly daunting field
— because completing these programs comes with
the realization that with the right team and the
right drive, anything is possible.
The other Cluster assistant, Zac Dooley, was
similarly dedicated to inspiring students about
engineering, and he had served as an MAE 3
undergraduate tutor like Evan had. That means
they both already had the opportunity to work for
Dr. Delson. SERVO readers may remember Dr. Delson
as the mastermind behind both the MAE 3 (
ring-stacking robot) and MAE 156A (safe-cracking robot)
projects. Joining Dr. Delson was Dr. de Callafon,
an expert on controls that would be teaching the
COSMOS students the ins and outs of programming
in Basic. To complete the team was Mr. Belyea
who would teach the students physics fundamentals
that would be essential in building their kinetic
sculptures. Kinetic sculptures and programming,
you ask? That’s not even the half of it!
If You Want To Start From
Scratch, Start With The
Creation Of The Universe
The COSMOS program is a seemingly short
four weeks, but in Cluster 2 we hit the ground
running. After some quick introductions, the
CLUSTER 2 HARD AT WORK ON THEIR CLOCKS.
EVAN HELPS OUT AARON AND AMARAJ WITH THE LASERCAMM.
72 SERVO 01.2010