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School of Engineering

The Foster Family Center for Engineering Service Learning



The Foster Family Center for Engineering Service Learning supports interdisciplinary, diverse student teams and their UC Merced faculty mentors in experiential learning. Mentors provide steady guidance and act as role models as students prepare for their futures, including finding ways to serve others with their talents and knowledge.

Foster Farms, founded in Modesto in 1939, is best known for their poultry products sold in local supermarkets all across California. In 2005, UC Merced received a pledge of $1.2 million from the Foster Family, of Foster Farms, to help boost the number of interactive engineering activities provided by UC Merced’s School of Engineering. Ultimately, this pledge helped fund The Foster Family Center for Engineering Service Learning.

Founded in 2004 with Engineering Service Learning courses as its core, The Foster Family Center for Engineering Service Learning began as UC Merced's inaugural and unique way to structure experiential learning.

Through The Foster Center, students work with nonprofit community partner organizations on specific business challenges. The Foster Center brings together students from all grade levels and disciplines, giving the students valuable experience in teamwork and in developing lasting and practical solutions individually tailored to their partners' needs.

The Foster Center’s Skill Sessions workshop series offers all students the opportunity to develop knowledge and experience in technical and professional skills relevant to their disciplines and is the largest professional workshop series at UC Merced serving over 1,000 students a year.