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  • Ioana Patringenaru

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  • Ioana Patringenaru

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Engineering Students Organize Run for Pi(e)

Race to benefit science education on Pi Day, March 14


TESC and Jacobs Graduate Student Council are hoping 300 will turn out for the first-ever Pi-Mile Run and Walk, which benefits science education. Photo: UCSD News

If you’re an engineering student, Pi is a number you quickly become familiar with. You’ve likely seen it in pretty much all of your classes. So, it’s fitting that the undergraduate and graduate student councils at the Jacobs School of Engineering decided it was time to give the number a proper celebration.

“It’s a fun number that everyone knows,” said Luis Meraz, student activities chair for the Triton Engineering Student Council. “It’s also very close to something to eat.”

TESC and the Jacobs Graduate Student Council are organizing a Pi-Mile Run and Walk, where participants will complete 3.14 miles on March 14. After all, Pi is 3.14—not counting the infinite number of digits that follow. The race’s route starts at the Bear Courtyard. Runners and walkers will also get pie, that’s right, with an “e,” at the end of the race.

Pi-Mile Run and Walk

When: Noon, March 14

Where: The Bear Courtyard

Cost: $10 registration includes T-shirt and slice of pie. Proceeds go to the San Diego Science Alliance.

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Proceeds from the $10 registration for the run go to the San Diego Science Alliance, a group that provides outreach for students in kindergarten through 12th-grade and their teachers.  The Science Alliance is thrilled to be in the Pi Run, said Nancy Taylor, the organization’s executive director.

“Our work to energize STEM education is a lot like the number Pi,” she said. “We never seem to stop either!”

The alliance’s programs benefit more than 35,000 students and teachers each year and thrive on community partnerships, like this one with the Jacobs School of Engineering, Taylor said. Running together as a community of engineering students to support outreach is great, said Meraz.

“I love the fact that we get children to look at science as their future and as a career,” he said.


The idea for the run came from Mark Chapman, a bioengineering student and the student activities chair for the Jacobs Graduate Student Council. As an undergraduate, he attended the University of Minnesota, which hosts a Pi Run at the end of its Engineering Week celebrations. Chapman, by the way, is a former marathon runner, but had to retire his running shoes after a back injury. So he will be coordinating most of the logistics during the event.

Meraz, who describes himself as pretty athletic, said he definitely plans to lace up his sneakers and complete the 3.14-mile course. He is also trying to get his fellow TESC board members to join him. It’s all for a good cause, he explains.

In addition to supporting the San Diego Science Alliance, participants will be rewarded with a T-shirt and a slice of pie at the end of the run. Chapman said he is partial to strawberry rhubarb, while Meraz is all about pumpkin pie. But they’ll have limited access to refrigeration during the event, so the menu will be comprised mostly of classics like apple and blueberry pie, they said.

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