SHINE (Summer High School Intensive Next-Generation Engineering) Students @iLAB 

Two high school students joined iLAB for 7 weeks during Summer 2017 and built wearable sensors to sense and monitor thermal comfort using physiological measurements around human wrist. Students gained experience working with sensors, data collection systems and some of the machine learning algorithms. As part of the Viterbi SHINE (Summer High School Intensive Next-Generation Engineering) program, the students met weekly for learning about university-level research, building scientific communication skills, and benefiting from another layer of mentoring from undergraduate researchers. 

Family Science Workshop with Iridecent Learning 

Family Science Workshops task brings role models together with parents and their children to inspire students to pursue engineering careers and engage underserved families in long-term science exploration. In collaboration with Iridescent Learning, we attended two Family Science Workshops, that targeted low-income minority families with limited knowledge of engineering principles. The family science workshops aimed at teaching the students what energy is, non- renewable energy sources and their impact on the environment, renewable energy sources (solarenergy, wave energy, wind energy, etc.), how we waste energy, how to conserve energy and water, how to save energy with natural lighting. K12 students, assisted by the PhD students engaged in this project, built houses that incorporated a water collection system, a sunlight dispersal; and used renewable energy with inexpensive commonly-found office materials that can be used for the design challenge. We acted as mentors and provided formative feedback to children on how to improve their designs, and engaged them in a deeper conversation about the science beyond their physical projects. 

Hosted an LA Community College Student in Our Lab

A third year Mechanical Engineering undergraduate student from East LA 2016 College, Michael Castro, worked on a project aimed at improving building’s energy efficiency via developing activity-based and user-centered automation systems. During a 10-week long program of STEM
Academy, Michael worked closely with a PhD student in iLAB to build and program wireless power meters and actuators to monitor occupant’s activities and automate the operation of appliances.

Department of Education, Award #: 45000176833 (PI: Dr. Gisele Ragusa).

Leader: Simin Ahmadi-Karvigh 

Design of Open Ended Engineering Challenges for K-12 Students 

In collaboration with Iridescent Learning, iLAB researchers worked on open ended engineering challenges that focus on energy conservation in buildings. As part of this effort, 10 researchers from iLAB attended a Design-Build-Innovate workshop that was lead by iridescent Learning. Through this workshop, the researchers learned how to best design engineering challenges that would expose students to engineering and technology challenges and encourage them to consider careers in these areas. These challenges included (1) building a water collection system that collects and spreads out as much water as possible during a rainstorm and (2) designing a device that can disperse natural light around a house so a secret message could be read inside the house and (3) building a wind powered turbine.  These challenges are published at the website and can be accessed at: 

Hosted Two LAUSD Teachers as Part of the USC Viterbi NSF Research Experience for Teachers Program

National Science Foundation Research Experience for Teachers (PI: Dr. Gisele Ragusa). A group of LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) middle school STEM teachers’ took part in USC ACCESS 4Teacher’s NSF RET (USC Viterbi National Science Foundation - Research Experience for Teachers Program). This collaboration between USC and LAUSD teachers to plan, design, pilot, and help implement engineering-driven 6-8th grade curricula based on current research in the classrooms and beyond. From the group of LAUSD teachers participating in the program, two teachers (an environmental and life science teacher and a physical science teacher) spent 5 weeks in our lab, working closely with Ali Ghahramani (2nd year PhD student in iLAB) and Dr. Burcin Becerik-Gerber, researching human building interactions for energy efficiency - Facilitated Human Interactions for Reducing Energy (FHIRE). The teachers participated in research by exploring energy related technological advancements in commercial and residential buildings, and how human energy related behaviors influence building energy performance. Specifically, they took part in experiments, where we modeled personalized thermal comfort preferences for occupants in a shared office space. Their tasks included collecting data using surveys and sensors. The teachers worked together to integrate their research experience with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and they implemented their lesson plans in 2014-2015 school year. 
Leader: Ali Ghahramani

Hosted an LA Community College Student in Our Lab

Department of Education, Award #: 45000176833 (PI: Dr. Gisele Ragusa). i-LAB hosted, Guillermo Castro, a second year Civil Engineering undergraduate student in partnership with East LA College’s STEM Academy. Through a 10 week long program, the student worked closely with Ali Ghahramani (2nd year PhD student in iLAB) on a research project that aimed at learning human’s thermal preferences by sensing the performance of human thermoregulation system. We designed an infrared radiation-sensing device that captures how blood flow changes in specific points on a human face. The student helped with the fabrication of the device, data collection, and data analysis using different software packages including LabView and Matlab. 
Leader: Ali Ghahramani

Curiosity Machine Experiments and Projects for Children and their Parents

Our research will be featured as part of a scientist’s history video series in the Curiosity Machine website which is powered by Iridescent Learning ( Curiosity Machine is an interactive website that uses science, technology and engineering projects to develop persistent curiosity and show that knowledge is empowering. We are currently working on designing exciting activities related to our research for children to build with their parents. We hope to encourage curiosity, creativity and persistence. 
Participants: Burcin Becerik-Gerber, Saba Khashe, Farrokh Jazizadeh, Nan Li, Zheng Yang
Activity Mentoring: Generate electricity to light up an LED
Activity Mentoring: Candles in the dark

Presentation to Middle School Students

We presented to middle school students (6th graders) at the Foshay Learning Center on the topic: “How Energy Efficient Buildings Work?” 
Leader: Burcin Becerik-Gerber

Body Engineering, Los Angeles

Body Engineering, Los Angeles (Award number: 1045595): This is a program whose research theme is body engineering, i.e leveraging human body as a machine to study, experiment upon and analyze concepts in science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) to foster interactive learning amongst K-12 students. As a fellow, Geoffrey Kavulya spend an average of 10-12 hours per week working along with teacher partner, Ms Mary Lewis at Foshay Learning Center to design and implement inquiry based lessons and class activities. Some of the lessons and class activities explored the body as a machine and approaches by which engineers and scientists work to foster innovation in a STEM curriculum. Specific lesson activities included quantification and analysis of appliance energy consumption and building of arduino crafts to measure electricity usage by common household and office appliances. We also designed, built and tested a Mars rover to help students understand the concepts of engineering design.
Leader: Geoffrey Kavulya, Engineering Degree, Graduated 2013 

Center for Engineering Diversity (CED) Summer Institute

We partnered with the Center for Engineering Diversity (CED) Summer Institute for helping three freshmen, who are underrepresented in engineering majors, acclimate to college life through a short project, where students worked together as a team on an assigned project, which required them to set up a sensor system for measuring ambient climate conditions and use the variations of ambient conditions for detecting changes in occupancy of a room. The students got familiar with sensor systems and some simplified concepts of machine learning techniques. The students learned how a wireless sensor system is set up, they learned about research validation concepts and understood the need for collecting ground truth data. 
Leader: Farrokh Jazizadeh, PhD, Graduated in 2015

Presentation to High School Students

We presented out research to high school students in collaboration with the Iridescent Learning, Students from Jefferson High School, Bishop Conaty Our Lady of Loretto, New Designs Charter School, and West Adams High attended to a research presentation that focused on "Who is a Civil Engineer?"
Leader: Nan Li, PhD, Graduted in 2014

University of Southern California

University of Southern California

University Park Campus,

Los Angeles, California, 90089



3620 S. Vermont Avenue,

Kaprielian Hall 217 & 224C,

Los Angeles, CA 90089-2531


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