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Prepping for a Successful Student Experience

Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

One of the first stops Chancellor Pradeep Khosla made on his first day was at the Jacobs School of Engineering Summer Pre-Engineering Program (PrEP). The seasoned engineer met with incoming engineering students who were competing in the program’s annual “tomato drop.” The overarching goal of Summer PrEP is to foster a sense of community and support among students who have been historically underrepresented in engineering. During his visit, Khosla interacted with the student teams as they raced to build devices to protect a tomato during a 100-foot drop from a helium-filled balloon.

Blaid Burgess, a Summer PrEP student from Los Angeles, said he was glad to see that the new chancellor had taken the time to come and see what Summer PrEP was all about. 

“It shows what we’re doing here is important to the school,” he said.

As Khosla and Jacobs School of Engineering Dean Frieder Seible watched the tomatoes drop one by one, Khosla took the opportunity to share his own college experiences with one of the Summer PrEP students standing nearby and offer advice on what helped him find his own path to success.

“Take advantage of every resource here,” he said. “And get to know at least a half dozen of your professors, and make sure they know you. They will help you while you’re here and after you graduate.” Seible seconded that advice.

As dean of engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, Khosla set the strategic direction for undergraduate and graduate education and research, and initiated successful diversity efforts, multidisciplinary and multi-college research centers, multidisciplinary graduate offerings and international programs.

“The culture on campus should be one of total inclusiveness,” Khosla told reporters at a press availability after visiting the Summer PrEP program. “We have to learn from each other.”

Asked why he believes he is the best person for the job of UC San Diego Chancellor, Khosla responded, “I have a passion for UCSD. I’m really excited about this.”