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Mechatronics, Embedded Systems and Automation

USDA NIFA HSI Education Grants Program (2016-2020)

We have won the USDA/NIFA Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Education Grants Program for Fiscal Year 2016 (web). This website is setup for information related to this project (2016-2020).

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programs for Hispanic College Students in the Agricultural and Food Processing Industry of California’s Central Valley

PIs: Jian-Qiao Sun (lead), YangQuan Chen and Fanis Tsoulouhas, School of Engineering and School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, University of California, Merced, CA 95343, USA

SUMMARY: Advanced technologies including computers, electronics and communications have begun to fundamentally change the agricultural and food industry in this country. All stages of agricultural production require extensive knowledge of sophisticated technologies and engineering, as well as basic knowledge of entrepreneurship, management, economics and finance. Advanced technologies and the agricultural market have created significant needs for engineers trained in a variety of technical and business fields. This proposal presents a program for educating Hispanic students from the Central Valley of California to prepare them for the new agricultural industry. Even though the Hispanic population in California is not a minority, it is well underrepresented in wealth sharing. By some accounts, California’s population is 39% Hispanic, but only 9% of household wealth is attributed to Hispanics. 48.5% students at UC Merced are Hispanic. This project develops an innovative module approach to enrich the Mechanical Engineering curriculum by introducing these advanced technologies to the Hispanic as well as non-Hispanic students.  We shall prepare our students with a broad range of knowledge and advanced technologies so that they will be able to serve the agricultural and food industries in Central Valley and around the country.  The proposed training program follows the USDA Educational Strategies (a, b, d, e).  The long term outcome of this project serves a number of NIFA priorities including Food Safety and Water for Agriculture.  The project led by three highly experienced faculty has received strong support from the administration, career office and student advisors of UC Merced, USDA Agencies, UC Corporate Extension and local industry.

Year-1 (summer 2017)

  • Call for participants
  • Information package
  • Learning Modules




Related programs

Created 5/20/2016 by Prof. YangQuan Chen. (E: