Suzanne Najem, ‘12

Major:
Civil Engineering

Project:
Measurement and Analysis of Walkability in Hong Kong. Though Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour is world renowned, the harbor front districts are far from walkable. The WPI team surveyed 16 waterfront districts, four in-depth, assessing their walkability using a tool created by the research team and conducting preference surveys to understand the perceptions of Hong Kong pedestrians. Because pedestrians value the shortest, safest, least-crowded, and easiest-to-navigate routes, this study found that confusing routes, unsafe or indirect connections, and a lack of amenities detract from walkability in Hong Kong. This report provides new data concerning the walkability in harbor front districts and a tool to measure it, along with recommendations for potential improvements.

Why I chose this project:
I chose this project because of the description originally given to me. It was a project that would require me to be outside and travelling around the city. I knew I could get to visit many different places in Hong Kong while at work. I love travelling to new places, and part of this project was travelling to the less-familiar places in Hong Kong. I was very excited about the opportunity to travel and work at the same time.

What I learned from my IQP:
One of the biggest things I learned from doing this IQP is how to convey a point without getting frustrated or upset when other team members disagree. I also learned how to be a mediator within a group. Many times during our group meetings, there would be conflict, and I feel that I was able to keep the group moving forward while trying to find a compromise.

How I have benefitted from my IQP as a person and a student:
I have benefitted from my IQP as a person through getting hands-on experience working with my sponsoring organization. I think working with sponsors from a different culture and background than WPI has helped me grow professionally and personally.

As a student, I have benefitted from working with the other students within my team. They have taught me how to do things differently than I would normally have done. They also showed me where my strengths and weaknesses are as a student and have helped me to develop skills to better myself in my future career.

How this experience made me stronger in my field:
After this experience, I felt more confident in myself as a young professional.

What I accomplished:
Besides actually completing my project, I feel as if I accomplished a lot more through the whole IQP experience. At the end of my project, I was able to make two presentations in front of a large audience as well as answer any question about my project. I also think I showed that I was able to go outside my comfort zone, live in a place very different from America, and succeed.

Additional comments about the project system in general at WPI:
One of the reasons I chose WPI was its projects system. My IQP was one of the best experiences in my life. I would definitely recommend going away for the IQP.

 
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