Free OSHA Safety Training Classes Offered in San Diego and Hawaii

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UC San Diego’s OSHA Training Institute Education Center is hosting the 2017 Pacific Coast Safety Fest on March 79 at two regional locations

SAN DIEGO (Feb. 10, 2017) – From small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, organizations with robust workplace safety programs can reduce worker injuries and boost their bottom lines.

That’s good news considering that more than 3 million American workers reported on-the-job injuries last year costing employers nearly $200 billion, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To help improve workplace safety and enhance employee productivity, UC San Diego Extension is inviting regional employers to participate in multiple free classes and workshops being offered at the 2017 Pacific Coast Safety Fest on March 7 through 9 in San Diego and Oahu, Hawaii.

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UC San Diego’s OSHA Training Institute Education Center, one of a handful of authorized institutions on the West Coast and one of only 26 nationwide, is co-hosting Safety Fest along with federal OSHA’s Region IX area office.

“This annual event is open to the public and is designed to create safer job sites and increase the number of OSHA-trained workers in our region,” said Dr. Grace Miller, Director of UC San Diego’s OSHA Training Institute Education Center.

While huge strides have been made in protecting workers in U.S. factories, hospitals, construction sites and other workplaces over the last few decades, she said even one death on the job is one too many, and nearly all workplace injuries are preventable.

“If the education and training information offered at Safety Fest helps prevent a serious injury or saves just one life, it is well-worth attending,” said Dr. Miller.

In addition to saving employees’ lives and limbs, she said job-site safety is a “business growth strategy,” a cost-effective way for employers to improve both productivity and profits.

“Focusing on the health and safety of our region’s workforce is good for workers and good for businesses,” said Dr. Miller.

Demand for Safety Fest and other OSHA safety training classes has grown three-fold in the last few years, noted Dr. Miller, who has seen the annual event expand from a one-day, one-location program first held in 2005 to its current multi-day format offered in cities throughout the western United States.

This year’s Safety Fest will offer a variety of classes on safety standards and best practices in key industries as well as general presentations on the latest OSHA rules, regulations and training requirements. Other topics will include hazard recognition, accident investigation, job hazard analysis and whistleblower complaints.

The impact of terrorist threats on companies’ emergency planning and evacuation programs will headline one of the many workshops at San Diego Safety Fest, said Brandon Phillips, an event instructor and EHS Safety Manager at Continental Tide Defense Systems Inc.

“This is a great opportunity to network with other professionals and get the latest on training equipment, products and online tools,” said Phillips.

According to Hawaii Safety Fest instructor Joaquin Diaz, the event allows area professionals to engage with area experts on issues critical to the local workforce, including compliance and regulatory challenges.

“Participants can learn practical applications to improve the safety conditions in their work environments,” said Diaz, Health, Safety and Environmental Director at Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co.

In San Diego, the Pacific Coast Safety Fest will be held March 7 and 8 at UC San Diego’s OSHA Training Institute Education Center, 6256 Greenwich Drive.

On Oahu, the three-day event is slated for March 7 through 9 at the Construction Training Center of the Pacific, located at 94-487 Akoki St. in Waipahu.

Space is limited and advanced registration is required. All participants will receive credit for authorized OSHA Education Center classes and a certificate of attendance for all completed workshops and seminars.

For more information, visit the Pacific Coast Safety Fest 2017 website at www.pacificsafetyfest.com or call UC San Diego’s OSHA Training Institute Education Center at 800-358-9206.

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 About the UC San Diego’s OSHA Department and Training Institute Education Center

UC San Diego’s Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) Department is focused on providing high-quality training services for health and safety professionals. UC San Diego’s OSHA Department currently offers: U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA Training Institute Education Center’s authorized courses; UC San Diego developed health and safety courses; and a Safety Professional Certificate program.

The high quality and experienced faculty, in cooperation with esteemed local partners, bring applied safety regulations and curriculum to OSHA Region IX, which includes California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam. Additionally, UC San Diego’s OSHA Department provides safety courses to local companies on site. For more information, contact 800-358-9206.

Instructor Spotlight: Amanda Quintenz-Fiedler on helping students achieve their [photographic] vision

By Kelly Davis

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Name: Amanda Quintenz-Fiedler
Title: President
Company: dBF Associates, Inc.
Courses taught: Introduction to Black & White Photography; Understanding Photographic Light: Studio & Location

For photographer Amanda Quintenz-Fiedler, teaching others her craft is as important as practicing it. “My entire life is photography,” she writes on her website. “Learning it. Teaching it. Writing about it.” She’s the author of three books on photographic techniques and frequently contributes articles to professional photography magazines. Her best advice for aspiring photographers: Find your voice and niche. “Try to be inch-wide, mile-deep, instead of mile-wide, inch-deep,” she says.

Why did you choose this career field?
I’ve always loved photography and teaching. I’ve been a photographer since I was 12 and started teaching first as a tutor when I was in high school, tutoring younger students in math.

I chose photography because I love the creation of images, the concept of the frozen moment and the idea of changing the story of reality with my own perspective. I just gravitated towards it in high school and could never get rid of the bug. I finally realized it’s what I should do for a living after working in corporate America for six years. Best choice I ever made.

How’d you get started?
I majored in Interdisciplinary Film Studies at Purdue University and then got my Master of Fine Arts in photography from Brooks Institute. My first professional gig was for a small greeting card company, shooting still-life images of their products. I knew the owner and we both started our businesses about the same time. After that, I got larger corporate jobs, weddings and family portraits.

What do most enjoy about your job?
I love helping students achieve their vision.

What advice would you give to someone looking to enter the field?
Photography is a saturated field. That doesn’t mean you can’t be successful; it just means that you are more likely to be successful if you excel at a specific [kind of] photography and make it your own. A unique voice with technical skill and consistency will get you a lot further than trying to be a jack-of-all-trades. Try to be inch-wide, mile-deep, instead of mile-wide, inch-deep.

How is your field changing? What new skills do people need to stay current?
Photography changes daily. There are new tools, new software, new cameras. Trying to stay on top of everything will drive you crazy. But you can stay relevant to the things that matter to you — and be sure to always look at new photography to be sure you understand where the trends are headed and if they apply to you.

Why do you teach for Extension?
I teach for UC San Diego Extension because it’s a good program with concise classes. Not everyone wants a semester system or a twice-weekly class structure. This program allows people to engage with photography at their own rate with specific insights and classes to help direct that unique voice I mentioned earlier. It’s important to figure out what you want to do and build skills towards that goal. Extension provides a great structure to do that.

For information on Amanda Quintenz-Fiedler’s courses and the Photography programs at Extension, check out the Digital Arts and Arts & Humanities areas of interest of our website.

UC San Diego sees Downtown as innovation’s next frontier

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Since its inception more than 50 years ago, UC San Diego has been an agent of change in the region. But its transformative role was hardly by chance. Rather, it was the stated goal of civic leaders in the 1950s and 1960s. They envisioned a world-class research university that would serve the needs of innovative defense companies after World War II as well as enable and energize a growing cluster of life science and technology firms on the Torrey Pines Mesa.

That vision has succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. Today, San Diego is home to one of the world’s largest research and development clusters in the world, which, according to the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, has an economic impact of almost $14 billion annually.

But while innovation continues to flourish on and around the UC San Diego campus, there is growing recognition that technological advancement is not—nor should it be—the sole province of the Torrey Pines Mesa, said Mary Walshok, associate vice chancellor of public programs and dean of UC San Diego Extension.

“Just as the growth of the research institutions on the Torrey Pines Mesa has been transformative for the city and the region,” Walshok said, “we realize there is an opportunity to be part of the next great transformation, and we believe that means UC San Diego needs to have a vital presence in the urban core.”

To that end, UC San Diego Extension recently announced its intention to build an Innovative Cultural and Education Hub in downtown San Diego. The four-story, 66,000-square-foot facility, which is slated to open in 2020, will sit at the corner of Park Boulevard and Market Street and deliver a wide range of programs to the growing downtown innovation community and the diverse neighborhoods throughout San Diego’s urban core.

“This facility will open up doors to our students and our faculty to be more embedded in the rich tapestry of our community,” Walshok said. “We hope it will attract others to the mission of an inclusive innovation economy that is so critical for San Diego’s ongoing success.”

UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla said the new facility is designed to deliver on the core tenets of the university’s Strategic Plan to ensure equity and excellence.

“Our establishment of an urban innovation and educational hub demonstrates our commitment to be bold and build a better university, a better community, and a better world,” Khosla said. “This new hub will support economic development downtown while delivering new educational opportunities for our students, faculty, and staff, and provide a greater connection to the communities throughout San Diego.”

UC San Diego Extension will provide leadership for the center, which the Holland Partner Group is developing as part of a larger residential project at the location. The UC San Diego center will offer educational and cultural programs and will include an outdoor amphitheater. The center will be home to:
•    Academic and outreach programs for middle school and high school students from surrounding communities
•    Business incubation and entrepreneurship resources for entrepreneurs throughout the urban core
•    A venue for arts events and exhibits to showcase the university’s and the larger community’s cultural offerings
•    A hub for civic engagement, including applied research and volunteer opportunities
•    Courses, workshops, and seminars relevant to downtown’s growing workforce.

Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer applauded UC San Diego for its commitment to the city’s ongoing efforts in education and economic development.

“Landing a university presence in downtown San Diego is a game changer and the result of years of hard work to make it a reality,” Faulconer said. “This new project will continue the revitalization of the East Village neighborhood and, with UC San Diego’s top-notch reputation, provide countless opportunities for collaboration as we prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.”

No state funds will be used to finance the construction of the project, and ongoing financing will come from a combination of program underwriting, contracts and grants, fees for services, and lease revenues all of which UC San Diego Extension will manage.

Walshok said rapid advances in technology and changing demographics demand that UC San Diego move beyond its main campus and find ways to engage a wide array of constituencies at the new downtown facility.

For one, if San Diego is to maintain its leadership role as a global hub for innovation, the region needs to invest in its downtown because millennials, who make up the largest generation in U.S. history, crave an urban lifestyle. The Nielsen Company, a national market research firm, found in a recent survey that 62 percent of millennials would prefer to live in the type of mixed-use communities found in urban centers, where they can be close to shops, restaurants, and offices. This demographic trend parallels the increasing importance of software, data analytics, and computers to all industries—retail, health, services, manufacturing, and entertainment.

Downtown San Diego echoes the national trends. Of the 34,550 people living in downtown, millennials are the largest demographic group, making up a third of the population.

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An urban environment is even important to millennials who work in the innovation sector, Walshok said. Increasingly, UC San Diego graduates in computer science are moving to cities such as San Francisco because they offer a wide variety of job opportunities and an urban lifestyle.

“We’d naturally much rather they live and work here,” she said.

This desire for an urban environment is evident in downtown San Diego’s growing innovation cluster. Already, downtown is home to more than 110 startups, which translates into 15.34 startups for every 10,000 people. By way of comparison, there are just 1.35 startups per 10,000 people countywide.

Walshok emphasized that much of what is driving the innovation economy is the growing importance of software to all fields—from healthcare to transportation to telecommunications. Because of its collaborative nature, software development demands density to foster connections and spur new advances—something that urban environments are uniquely able to offer.

But UC San Diego’s urban innovation initiative is about more than growing downtown’s tech scene, Walshok said. It is about engaging the surrounding communities to ensure they have access to the training and educational resources they need so they can be part of a growing and constantly changing innovation sector.

One of the main reasons the university selected the Park and Market site is because it is located next to the extension of the trolley’s UC San Diego Blue Line, which will run from San Ysidro to University City and connect the campus in La Jolla with the greater San Diego region.

“These transportation links that connect the university with the larger community are critical as the city comes of age,” Walshok said. “We want to build this facility to demonstrate that no matter where you come from, there is a place for you in the innovation economy.”

Walshok said the exact programs the facility will house will be determined over the coming year through conversations and collaborations with a wide array of community stakeholders. Nonetheless, she added, it is clear this new hub will help redefine the role of a research university in the 21st century by offering unique educational experiences and research opportunities as well as arts and cultural activities.

“With the diverse neighborhoods surrounding the urban core, including Barrio Logan, the Diamond District, and Golden Hill, this project reinforces UC San Diego’s role as a key partner in spurring economic prosperity and inclusion through engaging events and educational offerings of interest to all San Diegans,” Walshok said. “In the decade ahead, I think the downtown facility will yield real economic benefits for the citizens of San Diego. It is an extraordinary time for our region.”

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Tips and trends for filing your 2016 taxes

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With football season officially over, it’s time to touchdown on your 2016 taxes. For some – who are scrambling to collect W-2s and 1099’s and assembling write-offs to prepare their tax returns – this process can be stressful and daunting, especially with constant changes from the IRS.

UC San Diego Extension instructor Akore Berliner, a CPA specializing in business and real estate taxation, takes some of the guesswork and anxiety out of individual tax returns, and offers some tips and trends to help you best prepare for a smooth and easy filing.

  • Audits are on the rise: The IRS is hiring more staff and increasing its audits, especially on small businesses, which are starting to see notices even on $1,000 items. “When preparing your own tax return, sometimes people make mistakes that get them audited; a lot of those happen by writing things off you shouldn’t have or it was prepared wrong,” Berliner said. “If you’re unsure at all, utilize resources that are available and get a consultation. TurboTax has a hotline you can call and talk to a CPA. The IRS will even answer questions for free. The IRS website is actually amazing.”
  • Cyber security and identity theft: Berliner advises taxpayers to ensure the security of their computer networks when filing taxes. Passwords on computers, for example, can prevent fraud and relieve a lot of headaches and stress. “The biggest issue we are seeing is protecting our clients’ data,” she said. “Someone can hack into your Wi-Fi and get right into your network. I’ve had so many issues where a hacker had filed a fraudulent tax return for a client by getting their social security number. The IRS is cracking down on that, but people still need to cautious of their sensitive data. The thieves are out there. It’s easy money for them.”
  • Earned Income Credit increase: The maximum allowable Earned Income Credit will go up modestly in 2016. For those with three or more qualifying children, the maximum credit will increase by $27 to $6,269. Those with two children will get a maximum of $5,572, which is $24 more than in 2015. One-child families can get up to $3,373, which is $14 more than last year. Those without children will see a $3 increase and can claim up to $506 for 2016.
  • Charitable donations: Don’t forget to keep track of your charitable donations and receipts throughout the year. Even if your donations add up to $1,000 for 2016, you could receive $300 extra on your tax bill, Berliner said.
  • Education credits: Keep in mind that student loan interests and tuition expenses are also great write-offs that many people forget. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), more parents and students will qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit to help pay for college expenses.Taxpayers may be able to deduct up to $4,000 for tuition-related expenses for themselves, their spouse or a dependent.

Berliner, who has been a tax accountant for 17 years, teaches three UC San Diego Extension tax-related courses, including Federal Individual Income Taxation which includes an overview of federal individual income tax law and procedures. The course covers topics such as taxable entities and tax calculations, filing status and exemptions, gross income inclusions and exclusions, business and personal deductions and losses, depreciation and tax credits, and property transactions. A brief review of California tax coverage is also included, with an emphasis on tax law and tax planning, rather than on tax preparation.

Berliner takes a no-nonsense approach with her students by offering basic, useful tools for filing individual tax returns.

“I try to do a high level view so they can understand it in an aggregate form. I really want to make it relevant and interesting for them. In reality, taxes are interesting, especially the individual taxes because it impacts everybody,” she said. “A lot of my students are getting their CPA license, but I try to make it as simple as possible. I want them to understand the concept rather than the mechanics. After taking the course, they even feel more confident doing their own taxes.”

For more information on UC San Diego Extension’s Taxation certificate and other related courses, visit extension.ucsd.edu/tax.

Lean Six Sigma produces results for UC San Diego

img_1160As a global leader in higher education, UC San Diego strives for excellence in all aspects of campus life – from offering world-class educational opportunities to leading the industry in research accomplishments – that ambition transcends to employees as well. In order to become better, UC San Diego has partnered with UC San Diego Extension to provide employees the opportunity to gain valuable problem solving tools through the Lean Six Sigma program.

Lean Six Sigma’s process improvement methodologies teach participants how to eliminate steps and activities that don’t add value to a process, ensuring the employee’s skills are being used to the best of their potential. Because people are the most valuable asset of any organization, this is an important component to the program’s goals.

pierre_ouilletPierre Ouillet, vice chancellor and CFO of UC San Diego, believes in the necessity of constantly improving and is a strong advocate of the Lean Six Sigma program.

“Our Strategic Plan gives us an imperative to challenge ourselves to constantly increase both the efficiency of our operations and the quality of the services we provide in support of teaching, research and public service” said Ouillet. “The Lean Six Sigma continuous improvement methodology enables us to do so. It has a long history of success not only in its traditional manufacturing industries, but also across service industries, higher education and health care.”

Having the opportunity to gain effective skills is paramount to always improving, which is why Ouillet allocated funds for 26 scholarships for participants in the most recent Lean Six Sigma course.

“Through our Office of Operational Strategic Initiatives and in partnership with UC San Diego Extension, we are building and supporting a culture of continuous improvement through targeted projects, education and collaboration,” said Ouillet “A great importance is the ongoing positive impact on service quality and our collaborative culture.”

A number of UC San Diego staff have completed UC San Diego Extension’s Lean Six Sigma program, earning a green belt and implementing the methodologies in the workplace to achieve results.

Lisa Thai Schlossman, principal human resources analyst at UC San Diego, said the Lean Six Sigma program taught her to look beyond the surface of a problem to understand the underlying issues.

“What Lean Six Sigma teaches you is to explore the root cause of a problem and to measure it with data,” she said.

A principle methodology is teaching participants how to step outside the process in order to see what is painful about going through the process and then making improvements.

“One of the best things that Lean Six Sigma did for me was help me understand the process for the customer,” Schlossman said. “It taught me to expand my perspective and understand how the customer is experiencing the process.”

Rosemarie Marino Del-Mar, IT project manager at UC San Diego, appreciated the emphasis of real-world learning in which participants could immediately apply their new knowledge.

“We came in with projects from our work environment that we needed to solve,” she said. “What I like is that there was a real goal.”

img_1076The impact of the Lean Six Sigma program is felt throughout campus and has already improved a number of processes including:

  • reducing the amount of time to recruit and hire staff;
  • shortening payment terms while ensuring UC San Diego’s commitment to consistently pay on time;
  • developing an objective measuring system to receive and understand patient experiences in the International Patients Program;
  • shortening compliance approval processes for recruiting faculty;
  • reducing errors in the HDH Hospitality Express Catering Orders;
  • identifying ways to expedite the UC San Diego’s Staff Volunteer Appointment Process;
  • and reducing cycle time for the job classification process.

As an active supporter of continuous improvement, Ouillet said he plans to offer additional scholarship funds for upcoming Lean Six Sigma courses through Extension to further UC San Diego’s efficiency and superb customer service.

For more information on UC San Diego Extension’s Lean Six Sigma programs, visit us online at extension.ucsd.edu.

50 Voices of the Future: Margaret Leinen on advances in oceanography

leinen50voiceIn honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

As much as we know about our planet’s ocean, it contains countless mysteries we have yet to solve, countless secrets we have yet to decipher. Dr. Margaret Leinen, director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, notes that “we have more images of Mars than we do of the bottom of the ocean.” Advances in technology, she says, will allow us to peer into the ocean’s distant past in order to forecast its future changes and the implications of those changes for the planet as a whole. “That ability to really see the ocean, and what’s in the ocean, and to see it changing in front of us, is probably the most exciting development in our field,” she says.

 Why is the work you do important?

I’m an oceanographer. The ocean covers 70 percent of the planet. It is the absolute driver of global climate. The ocean moderates the climate and keeps us from having really great temperature extremes. All of the precipitation originally comes from the ocean. The ocean is a huge food source for everyone and a major food source for 2 billion of the poorest people on the planet. Virtually all the goods that we think of as the basis for trade – big things like lumber and cars, small things like electronics — are transported over the ocean. Then of course there’s national defense – the Navy is a major player in defense. Then there are other things like the quality of the environment that makes swimming, diving, surfing, and sailing possible. Oceanographers look at all of those aspects. They look at how the ocean works, they look at the ecosystems within it, they look at techniques to be able to determine how the ocean is changing, they look at fisheries, they look at coastal issues like water quality, sea-level rise, etc. So it’s the sum of all those very important roles that oceanographers play.

What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

The ocean has been one of the most under-observed parts of the earth. We have more images of the surface of Mars than we do of the bottom of the ocean. But that’s changing. New systems are being developed that are autonomous and that have great capability of collecting and transmitting data. Even more important are new technologies for being able to get a global picture of the ocean itself – the interior of the ocean. We now have four thousand autonomous floats moving around the ocean every day, and every day about a fifth of those floats report back on profiles they’ve taken of the entire upper 6,500 feet of the ocean. We have a picture of the temperature, the salinity, the currents of the ocean that is so much more detailed than ever before as a result of ten years of these measurements. This new technology is completely revolutionizing oceanography. There are also new instruments for biology, enabling us to look at the genomics of the ocean, the microbiology of the ocean. The field is exploding so fast in capability that it’s hard to even keep track of. That ability to really see the ocean, and what’s in the ocean, and to see it changing in front of us, is probably the most exciting development in our field.


What’s the next big thing?

It’s hard to under-sell how important our new knowledge of the microbiology of the ocean is. In the last decade our understanding of microbes and viruses has completely changed our thinking. We now know that the genetic make-up of microbes holds keys to what the ocean was like in the past. Someone just described it this way: The earth’s history — since the time that there was an ocean — is written in the DNA of the microbes of the ocean in a language that we never knew and that we still don’t know how to speak.

How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

San Diego is a coastal town, has a huge economy related to the ocean – trade, tourism, fishing, Navy – and the region itself is very much a part of that. Even the biotech part of the San Diego economy has not yet profited by our understanding of all of this ocean biology. I think oceanography will play an incredible role in shaping the evolution of the biotech industry here, unveiling marine molecules related to new drugs or novel compounds that do interesting things that we need done. I think oceanography will also shape the future of San Diego in how we deal with sea-level rise and how we deal with pollution in our waters; oceanography is at the heart of that.

Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?

Oceanography will be even more interdisciplinary than it is now. This year we hired eight new faculty who have fully joint appointments with other parts of the university – the School of Medicine, the School of Engineering, the departments of anthropology, biology, and global policy and strategy. We need closer relationships with all of those fields to be able to attack the big questions and problems that we want to look at over the next decades. Also, our field will be saturated with technologies for observing the ocean that we don’t even know about now

Leinen is featured on UC San Diego’ Extension STEAM Channel as part of series The Constellation: Sally Ride Science Conversations. She discusses her career, leading the University of California’s delegation to the Paris Climate Conference and the impact of the new Research Vessel/Sally Ride.

50 Voices of the Future: Todd Hylton on the rise of robotics

50v_toddhyltonIn honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

San Diego has the potential to become what scientist Todd Hylton calls “Robot Valley.” Hylton, executive director of UC San Diego’s Contextual Robotics Institute, believes the region has all the ingredients to become the nation’s leader in robotic innovations: great universities, a critical mass of private researchers and a fantastic location. Hylton has been working in robotics and related technologies for many years – most recently at the San Diego startup Brain Corporation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) before that. He predicts dramatic near-term advances in the way robots impact our daily lives, from how we drive to how we maintain our health. One day, he says, there might even be a widespread demand for so-called “humanoids” – robots that look like people. How humans might respond to a world filled with humanoids is, of course, anyone’s guess. “If the robot is not too human, people like it,” Hylton says. “If the robot is very, very human, people like it. If it’s in-between, it seems creepy.”

Why is the work you do important?

There are lots of practical needs in which robots or intelligent machines could make a big difference. Consider just the example of health care. As people get older, we’d like to help prevent falls. Having a house that’s smart enough turn on the lights for you, a walker that’s smart enough to come to you and tell you when you’re about to step over something, a machine that can look at the way you’re walking and try to anticipate that you might be having problems and alert caregivers or medical personnel – all of these things seem within our grasp but they’re not yet available.

What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

Perhaps the most exciting one is the rebirth of artificial intelligence in some new forms. You can see it everywhere. Self-driving cars, for example. These cars are going to have all these artificial-intelligence abilities on board that will enable them to do the things they need to do to drive themselves. Sensors and computing hardware and a lot of pieces you need to build robots have gotten really cheap. Also, some of the advanced sensors, the laser sensors, are coming down in cost, too, as the volumes go up, driven by applications like cars and other things. So there’s a lot of cool stuff going on. Of course, we do worry about robots displacing humans in various jobs. In the Robotics Institute at UC San Diego, it’s not simply an engineering-driven institute; it’s a collaboration of engineering and the division of social sciences. We need to be conscious of how the robots are going to influence and interact with the humans. That’s where the social scientists live, that’s their work. There are challenges going forward if we are able to automate much of the work we do now, which is what technology essentially always does. Historically, people have always reorganized themselves in a way where the technology provides tools that make them more capable. One would, of course, like the disruption to be as modest and the transition as smooth as possible. We certainly worry about those things.


What’s the next big thing?

The next big thing in the field of robotics is robots that have a more complex understanding of their world and that develop a larger understanding of the context of the environment that they live in. And that includes things that happen over a long period of time. They don’t do that now. And that’s partly why we named the institute the Contextual Robotics Institute. The idea is that the robot needs to understand the context of the situation it’s in.

How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

We would like San Diego to become Robot Valley. We’re working very hard to engage people outside the university. A large fraction of my job is finding industry partners, creating research partnerships with them, and making sure that we are educating the kind of people that they’ll want to hire. There are quite a few companies in the area, small and large, working in the field, so a large part of what I’m trying to do is stitch those pieces together. We have all the parts here – we’ve got the great universities, we’ve got the intellectual capital, we’ve got the industry around it, we have a great location. So we have as good a shot of doing it as anybody.

Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?

We’ll have machines that work in the real world without humans having to tell them what to do all the time. We can have cars that talk to each other, that pick us up, that talk to the airplane to tell us when we can get on the airplane. We’ll have sensors that tell us, your blood pressure’s too high so you need to change your diet. There’s so much low-hanging fruit that it’s sometimes hard to figure out where to start.

Hylton recently shared his insights into the rise of robotics at the Game Changer lecture that was put on by Collaboratory for Downtown Innovation (CDI), which is a partnership between UC San Diego and the Downtown San Diego Partnership. The mission of CDI is to build stronger connections between tech entrepreneurs in Downtown San Diego and UC San Diego and other research institutions on the Torrey Pines Mesa. You can find out more here.

50 Voices of the Future: Anthony Davis on musical innovation

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In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Anthony Davis’ cutting-edge operas exude all the drama and power of the art form, while exploring relevant and often charged topics. At UC San Diego, the celebrated composer/pianist is a music professor in Integrative Studies and Composition. His eight operas (he is working on his ninth) include “X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X,” “Five” (about New York’s Central Park Five) and “Wakonda’s Dream,” (about a resilient Native American family). “Lear on the Second Floor,” which premiered at UC San Diego in 2013, is one of his several smaller-scale operatic works.

Davis also writes chamber, choral and orchestral music and leads workshops for the New York-based American Composers Orchestra. He frequently tours as a solo pianist, especially in Europe, and recently performed with acclaimed jazz trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, his longtime musical compadre. Davis’ collaborators at UC San Diego include playwright Allan Havis and contrabassist Mark Dresser, both fellow professors. Davis has been a music instructor at UC San Diego’s Jazz Camp since it began 15 years ago. He calls the camp a “wonderful experience.”


(1) Why is the work you do important?

My work, particularly in opera, has transformed the medium by creating pieces with political impact and synthesizing different traditions. I’m integrating jazz, classical and longer, extended forms. How I approach text and setting words to music is part of my innovation as composer.

Taking on politically charged issues is an important role that opera can play. My colleagues and I are working to make opera immediate and visceral, to create a different intimacy than grand opera.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

One is the use of electronic media, using computers to merge sound effects with music. With synthesizers, we can create a sound world that affects the audience before the baton drops.

There are other innovative forms of storytelling – taking the linear approach out of it and looking at issues from various points of views. Rap and hip hop have influenced the way we approach rhythm and text. We are bringing improvisation into opera.

25ccabucsandiegopublicationserikjepsen(3) What’s the next big thing?

I’m interested in the idea of creating opera using telematics, which enables performers to collaborate in several locations at once. It’s not just the theatrical event but also includes using video projection. Pieces can be presented simultaneously allowing multiple perspectives.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

I don’t think it’s regional, although San Diego is emerging as a cultural center. The work I do looks at the country and the world. Nothing is limited to region now. What happens here happens around the world.

The work we do is very important in this hostile political environment. There’s a threat to our democracy. As artists, what we create sounds an alarm against oppression.

I worry that there will be assaults on the advancements that have been made over the last 20 years. We are looking at a period of great turmoil and ugly confrontations. As artists, we can galvanize people and help them realize what is at stake.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

Who knows? It’s all up for grabs. If we are going to surrender to racist, misogynist forces within our society, we could get pessimistic. The stakes are high. In 50 years, we could be an open society welcoming ideas from people with different backgrounds or a repressive society that has reverted to our awful past. It’s not a given that in 50 years we will be in a better place than we are now.

UCSD Jazz Camp is a five-day summer program designed for intermediate to advanced level jazz musicians, ages 14–adult. UC San Diego Extension also offers a variety of Performing Arts courses in Singing, Guitar, Piano and more, for adults.

50 Voices of the Future: Ed Abeyta on preparing students for success in college and beyond

edabeyta50voiceIn honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

As the job market changes, so, too, must education. The impact of technology has an immense impact not only on our everyday lives but on learning and teaching as well. Innovation is pushing the idea of personalized education in order to support students’ individual talents and abilities. It’s a concept Ed Abeyta has supported for many years. As the assistant dean for community engagement and director of pre-collegiate programs at UC San Diego Extension, Abeyta has worked to provide students opportunities to prepare themselves for success in college – and beyond.

(1) Why is the work you do important?

Never before has it been so important to inspire the next generation to prepare for jobs that don’t yet exist in the workforce. We used to ask children what they want to be when they grow up, but today we should be asking them what big problem they wish to solve and how we can provide the tools they will need to solve it. My work seeks to implement sustainable approaches to connect UC San Diego resources to the community we serve. Some examples include test preparation, STEAM, short for science, technology, engineering, arts and math, educational programs, lower division college courses, parent college preparation workshops and much more.


(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

More than ever, we are learning that each student has unique talents and abilities. Our job as educators is to unlock the genius in each student through assessment tools, like the Strengths Finder, which helps identify specific talents and skills. A funny thing happens when students learn about their own unique talents and then are able to connect those talents with a vision of what they’d like to do with their lives. Already San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten has taken the lead in making sure this approach is integrated into our local district. Our pre-college department has been a key partner in this effort by hosting training and development sessions for teachers and counselors.

 (3) What’s the next big thing?

So much effort has been put into providing Advanced Placement (AP) courses for high school students to elevate the level of their education. We believe there is an opportunity to provide more practical skills by offering students the ability to earn a professional or specialized certificate in emerging STEAM disciplines. This approach enables students to receive not only their diploma but also a certificate in an applied skill area. More than ever we need to provide transformational experiences for young adults to be inspired and create a sense of vision for their future.


 (4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

Our efforts are strategically disruptive in an attempt to explore new approaches to support our school districts and industry partners in our community. A number of years ago we added the arts to STEM, which has already made an impact on education not only here but throughout the country. This effort has shaped how our teachers approach education in the classroom via project-based learning. In addition, a strategic pre-college strategic approach to learning enables us to provide access to many talented young adults – regardless of their economic situation or background.

 (5) Hop into your time machine … what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

Fifty years from now UC San Diego will continue to be the world command center and think tank for solving tomorrow’s problems and producing students who are not only intelligent but important members of our civic society.

To find out more about UC San Diego Extension’s pre-college programs, visit http://precollege.ucsd.edu/.

50 Voices of the Future: Mike Stevenson on the craft of brewing

mikestevensonIn honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Craft beer has been the fastest growing sector of alcoholic beverages in the nation, and with 130 breweries, San Diego County is considered a capital for beer connoisseurs. For many, brewing starts as an experiment in hopes of turning a passion into a quaffable product. A goal Mike Stevenson found himself achieving when he, and cofounder Ben Fairweather, opened Culver Beer Company in early 2015. Stevenson gained hands-on brewing experience through apprenticeships at brewpubs in Germany and Italy, received a Brewing certificate from UC San Diego Extension, and worked with Twisted Manzanita and White Labs where he gained valuable knowledge about yeast, fermentation and quality assurance.

(1) Why is the work you do important?

For one, craft beer has allowed for manufacturing jobs to exist in America again and people enjoy consuming local products. As an industry, we were fortunate to grow at the same time the farm-to-table movement really took off. People find value in knowing that what they are purchasing is helping support their local economy.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

With the craft beer boom, there has been a dramatic shift affecting every aspect of the brewing industry. We’ve moved out of the Budweiser-dominated beer world where there was a limited choice of raw materials and only a few buyers, to now, where we are close to reaching 5,000 small independent breweries nationwide. The landscape has clearly changed. Barley farmers have started growing flavor rich varieties, which we have not seen before, maltsters are producing all sorts of new types of malted barley to brew with and hop growers keep coming up with crazy new strains to help fuel the IPA craze. Most bars, restaurants and pubs have increased their tap real estate to allow for a larger variety of beers and a lot of them strive to keep local craft beer on tap.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

Good question. I think the big bitter IPAs are slowing down in popularity and people are starting to explore other styles. Sour beers have grown into a nice niche market and some breweries in town only cater to this style of beer. Vanilla Cream Ales, Peanut Butter Stouts and other flavor filled beers have helped put their respective breweries on the map and they have seen awesome growth because of them. Our lagers and Belgian styles do just as well as our IPAs in our tap room and we plan on continuing to produce these styles as we try our hand at new ones. We need to find that one beer that will pay the bills and hit the market hard, and we have a few good contenders. I think rapid growth year over year will also begin to slow down as smaller guys come into the marketplace and push pressure upwards.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

San Diego has become an epicenter of brewing worldwide. We get plenty of out-of-town visitors in our taproom and their itineraries include the normal tourist activities followed by stopovers at local breweries. There are over 130 breweries in San Diego County, so almost anywhere you go you’re a short drive away from a brewery. I know plenty of brewers who started their brewing career in San Diego and have had wonderful opportunities to work around the country and world because they had a San Diego brewery on their resume. The recent Great American Beer Festival further solidified San Diego’s status as a craft beer hub, bringing home 18 of the 68 medals awarded to California breweries.

(5) Hop into your time machine … what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

Beer has been around since civilization began. In 50 years, this craft beer phase will be another chapter in a brewing textbook. History has been repeating itself as of late with larger breweries starting to purchase smaller brands to add to their “craft portfolio.” I think we will see a lot more consolidation in the industry like we did in the 50s, 60s and 70s. However, I think we will see a large number of breweries remain small, catering to their local customer base. We are located in a business-dense area and serve as a pub for the local working-class people, who as they have always done, like to enjoy a beer after work. I think in the near future supply chains will get tighter and materials (hops) will be harder to source as the bigger guys lock down their contracts. The best advice I can give is to make good beer and get to know your regulars in the tasting room.

Interested in becoming a craft brewer? Learn more about UC San Diego Extension’s Brewing Certificate here.