IVC News > October 03, 2018

New Partnership with UCI Offers Path for Engineering Students

The first Cohort of the Academy during orientation in August

When the fall semester kicked off at Irvine Valley College (IVC) last month, the first cohort of 31 students began the UCI-IVC Engineering Academy, a new partnership between the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and IVC. The academy offers an opportunity for students to study at IVC for two years before transferring to UCI with a declared major in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering.

Each year, roughly 600 students narrowly miss the margin for admittance to UCI’s School of Engineering. With IVC offering a complete engineering transfer program just a short distance away, a partnership between the two institutions was a perfect fit.  ​

By completing their transfer coursework at IVC through the engineering academy, students enter UCI’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering at the junior level. Classes take place at IVC’s recently opened School of Integrated, Design, Engineering and Automation (IDEA) located in Tustin.

“IVC is one of the few community colleges in California that offers engineering courses required for transfer,” says IVC President Glenn Roquemore. “It’s a huge benefit to students in the region. This type of partnership wouldn’t be possible without our long-lasting relationship with UCI.”

IVC’s engineering program gives students the scholastic foundation they need to be successful at UCI. 

“There’s a very high level of academic rigor within the engineering courses at IVC,” says Matthew Wolken, IVC Department Chair for the School of IDEA.  “During the two years they attend IVC, students will take university-level courses with hands-on instruction, allowing them to hit the ground running when they arrive at UCI.”

Meet an IVC engineering graduate and UCI student

Former IVC engineering student Fernando Kawall, who will graduate from UCI’s engineering program this winter, says he’s grateful for how well IVC prepared him for UCI’s engineering program.

IVC grad and current UCI engineer student, Fernando Kawall

“My math and physics classes in particular put me ahead of everyone else,” Kawall said. “My physics professor Alec Sims taught me so much in his lab classes. Every single lab I took at UCI, I got an A because I was prepared.”

Kawall holds IVC in such high esteem that he now serves as an ambassador for the UCI-IVC Engineering Academy.

“IVC made such a positive impact on me in my life that I want to be able to share that with other students,” Kawall said. “I can give them my own perspective of studying engineering at both IVC and UCI.”​

Fernando Kawall spoke at the Academy reception in May

Kawall says two professors, Alec Sims and Sanjai Gupta, were particularly influential in helping him plan for his education and future career. Kawal left his home country of Brazil in 2012 to continue a career in professional skateboarding in the states. An injury soon brought his skateboarding aspirations to an end, redirecting his attention to his schooling.

 “I initially thought I wanted to study physics,” Kawall said. “I knew I wanted to do something hands-on, but still related to physics. Professors Sims and Gupta helped me to understand the differences between the two fields and I eventually realized electrical engineering is what I would like to pursue.”

After Kawall graduates from UCI this winter, he will continue at UCI, pursuing a graduate degree in electrical engineering.

For more information about the UCI-IVC Academy, visit atep.ivc.edu/academy​.

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