Patrick Ford, '13

Hometown: Westport, MA

Degree: BS, Environmental Engineering

Why did you choose to attend WPI?
I really loved the term system and the opportunity that it presented to be able to study abroad. Also, the ability to tailor my schedule to take the classes that interested me most was a contributing factor.

How has WPI’s philosophy of Theory and Practice, and working with teams, been beneficial to you during your time at WPI?
I have been able to work in teams through classes as well as through projects both on campus and abroad. Doing so has allowed me to work on a wide range of subjects in the field of environmental engineering. By working with other students both within and outside my major, I have learned a lot about how to be an effective leader, and also how to manage a large-scale project.

What do you think are WPI’s greatest strengths?
I believe that WPI's greatest strengths are its community atmosphere, and the challenges that it presents both inside and outside of the classroom. The students, faculty, staff, and alumni of WPI seem to form a bond that allows for both personal and professional growth throughout your college experience and after you graduate.

How have the professors in your department impacted your studies and your life?
I had an excellent experience in Hydrology during my junior year. Professor Mathisen was extremely interested in the subject matter and worked with us on a project that ended up being a huge help for the internship that I had this past summer. He also took us out into the field so that we could see what we were studying firsthand. Lastly, he was always available to help us outside of class hours, and even after the class had ended.

What are your research projects?
I am currently in Lille, France, for my MQP. Professor Apelian, as well as Professor Plummer and Professors from HEI, our host institution, are advising the project. The project will be focused on sustainability and recovery/recycling. The unique piece of our project is that we will be working in conjunction with French engineering students and faculty. This will allow us to analyze the problem from a multicultural point of view. I look forward to the start of the project and the amazing experience that it will most certainly be.

What do you hope to do when you graduate? What would be your ideal job?
When I graduate in May, I plan to enter into industry. The fields that I would be interested in vary within environmental engineering, but include everything from renewable energy to stormwater management.

Groups or extracurricular activities you participate in at WPI:
While at WPI, I have been involved with:

  • Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity
  • Student Alumni Society
  • Residence Hall Council
  • Engineers Without Borders
  • Trustee Mentor Program
  • Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society
  • American Society of Civil Engineers
  • National Residence Hall Honorary
  • Order of Omega Greek Honor Society.

I have also had the opportunity to serve as a resident advisor, as a peer learning assistant for the Great Problems Seminar—Grand Challenges class, and as an Admissions Intern.

Academic or professional awards you have received:

  • Crimson and Gray Award
  • Charles O. Thompson Scholar
  • Named Outstanding Member of the Class of 2013 (after freshman year)
  • Dean’s List
  • Named the Residence Hall Council Member of the Year
  • Received the Outstanding Leadership and Service Award for NRHH
  • Received the Bronze Pin for Leadership within the Residence Halls
  • WPI Certified Student Leader
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