Benefits of a Project-based Education
Benefits to Communities
WPI’s project-based approach to education gives students multiple opportunities to make a difference in the world by solving real problems faced by communities from Worcester, Massachusetts, to Namibia, South Africa, and everywhere in between.
Providing clean water to villages in Thailand, replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy in Nantucket, and finding ways to protect outdoor art in Venice are just a few of the real-world problems WPI students have recently tackled.
Benefits to Students
This project-based approach gives WPI students the opportunity to gain professional skills, a talent for teamwork, and the confidence to dive right in, no matter the challenge. It’s this real-world experience, problem-solving skills, and ability to work collaboratively that set WPI graduates apart from their peers. Not surprisingly, top-tier employees continuously seek out our students because they know they’ll hit the ground running.
Our students also reap the rewards of being immersed in different cultures where they gain the skills needed to adapt and succeed in unfamiliar settings.
"For my MQP, I worked with Securos, a biomedical veterinary company in Sturbridge, Mass., and created a new surgical system for treating hip dislocation in German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers—it's actually going to be unveiled in fall as the new gold standard for treating hip dislocation in canines. Through my projects, I've been able to help solve a problem in Cape Town, South Africa, and solve a problem (with dogs) right here in the United States. The project experience at WPI has really given me the ability to impact people across the world."
— Nick Pelletier '09
Benefits to Project Sponsors
Over half of the projects completed by WPI students are sponsored by external organizations.
Unlike most U.S. students who study abroad, WPI students become immersed in the local culture as they tackle important problems for sponsors—local organizations and agencies that receive solutions to important issues they face. This immersion leads to a greater understanding of the obstacles the community, and the sponsor, face.
Benefits to project sponsors include:
- Solutions to problems of interest to the sponsor
- Close sponsor-faculty cooperation
- A unique opportunity to screen for future technical recruitment
- Increased professional satisfaction on the part of liaison sponsor personnel resulting from participation in the educational process
- Faculty development with an orientation to the needs of the sponsor
"This project was a great success. The WPI students implemented their work with confidence, creativity, and good humor. The impact on the community has been very positive."
— Dianne Womersley, Project Sponsor
The Shaster Foundation