The WPI Virtual Experience Transcripts

Mike Sacco
Hometown:Cranston, RI
Majors: Mechanical Engineering & Aerospace Engineering

Mike Shows off the Campus

What’s great about WPI is it’s small enough to feel like a community, yet it’s still large enough that you’re always meeting new people and discovering new things. Campus life is great. We have small classes. Everyone’s friendly. The professors are not intimidating. It’s really a close–knit community. WPI’s campus is beautiful. It’s a great mix between old and new architecture. It’s a really nice place, and really makes you feel like you’re at home. Everything is close together here on campus. I can wake up ten minutes before class, and still get there on time. If you’re going to spend four years in one place, WPI is a great place to do it.

Expect the unexpected on the Quad.

I’m here on the quad, one of the busiest places on campus. It’s a great place to hang out with friends, play Frisbee, or even fire up the grill when the weather is nice. On one side we have the dorms, on the other, the athletic facilities. It’s close to classes and the Campus Center. The quad really is the heart of the campus. There’s Quadfest, there’s movies, bands. You never really know what to expect when you step out here onto the quad. There’s a number of ways to get involved here on campus. I’m involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and Relay for Life. There’s really something here for everyone. There are over 200 clubs and activities here on campus. If you can’t find one that you’re looking for, just make your own.

Mike fuels his passion for engineering and athletics.

Football, field hockey, soccer, and track – there is so much happening here at the field. Over 60% of WPI students are involved in sports. Aside from the field, we have a gym, tennis courts, a fitness center, a pool, and even a rowing center. I’m really excited for the new sports and rec center. It’s going to be awesome. I’m on the varsity track and field team here at WPI. I’m one of the captains. It’s a great way to loosen up and have some fun with some friends after class. WPI is a great place to get involved in sports. The people here are really committed to making the balance between athletics and academics work.

Incredible labs support incredible projects.

This is Higgins Labs. As a mechanical engineering major and an aerospace minor, I spend a lot of time here. Higgins Labs has one of the only fire protection engineering graduate programs in the country. It also has robotics, aerospace, and mechanical engineering, which is my major. The technology in Higgins Labs is unreal. It has burn rooms, wind tunnels, and a design studio. Every senior has to do a major project. Some are on campus, some are off campus. Mine was on green energy. We built model wind turbines and tested them downstairs in the water flume for durability and practicality. The opportunity to do intensive, independent research as a senior is an incredible way to learn. It really sets WPI apart.

Mike is on track for graduate school.

WPI’s philosophy of learning is a balance between theory and practice. When the school was first started, we had two towers that symbolized just that. Boynton’s for theory, and Washburn’s for practice. I’m standing in front of Boynton Hall. It’s the first building on campus. It’s named after its founder, John Boynton. Today, Boynton Hall houses the President’s office and the graduate admissions office. About 20% of WPI students go directly to grad school, and they’re admitted into some of the best programs in the country. I had such a great experience here as an undergrad, I decided to stay on for my graduate degree.

Ashley Daisy
Hometown:Washington D.C.
Majors: Biomedical Engineering

Ashley on friends, fun, and food.

This is my dorm room in Founders Hall. More than 95% of first year students live on campus. Making friends at WPI is really easy. Everyone keeps their doors open and it’s really easy to talk to people when you’re walking throughout the hall. There are lots of different dorm options here at WPI. You can live in a double, a triple, or even apartment-style living. There are lots of different dining options on campus. I’m always eating… so… all of the options are really great. And there are so many places to eat. You can go to the Campus Center, there’s Morgan Dining Hall, there’s the Goat’s Head. Living on campus helps you get to know people you have things in common with, and people who are completely different from you. You make friendships that last a lifetime.

Join a club or start your own.

This is the Campus Center. It’s basically the hub of student life. Lots of clubs and organizations meet here, including one that I’m in, the EMSEP. EMSEP is a program for students of color. EMSEP is just one of the many clubs and organizations we have here on campus. We have The Towers, which is the school newspaper, WPI radio, and if you don’t like any of our organizations, you can make up your own. There are so many things to do at the Campus Center. You can play foosball, watch TV, eat, go to the bookstore. It’s just a great place to hang out. Any time you come in here, any time of day, chances are you’ll run into someone you know. It’s a part of what makes WPI feel like a community.

Hands-on research, real-life solutions.

Goddard Hall is home to the brand new life sciences center for undergrads. This is where students get their first real chance at research in biology, chemistry, biomedical engineering, and other majors. I chose WPI because of the great relationships I could have with my professors. And because of these relationships, I’m getting networking opportunities with companies. There is always research going on. My specialty is biomaterials design. Biomaterials is basically figuring out which materials are accepted by the body. My dream job is to be a project manager for a company like GE or Johnson & Johnson. Because of all the research that I’ve done, I know that this dream is possible. You start doing science and lab work from day one at WPI. So you’re getting to learn the theory, and apply it. That’s what a WPI education is all about: Theory and Practice.

Ashley on being wired for success.

This is the Gordon Library. Here you’ll find thousands of resources for researching, collaborating, and really taking your knowledge further. The new renovations have given us a lot more room to study. The new technology, and flatscreens in the tech suites, make it really easy to have that A-plus presentation for your groups. WPI is all about project work. You can actually get started on projects on day one. Many freshmen are involved in a class called Great Problems Seminars. The Great Problems Seminars actually give students a chance to really start working on real-world problems. You work on things like food, health, the environment, and power. There are so many different ways to learn, solve problems, amd deepen your understanding of the world here at WPI. Everything you need is here.

Ashley tunes into the arts.

This is Alden Memorial. It’s where performances, lectures, concerts, and other things happen. It seems like I’m always coming out to see my friends perform. Every year there’s this cool event called DIYA. It’s kind of like Bollywood. There’s dancing and food and it’s just great. Everybody gets involved in humanities and arts here at WPI. Personally, I decided to go for my minor in Spanish. Everyone has to complete a capstone project with humanities and arts here at WPI. Since I’ve taken Spanish courses, and philosophy and religion courses, I decided to make my capstone about Santeria. This kind of mixes all of the topics together. If you want to fully appreciate the world, you need to understand more than just science and technology. WPI is the perfect place to get a deeper understanding of the humanities and arts.

Sean Philbrook
Hometown: Hanson, MA
Majors: Chemical Engineering

Sean on Greek life and community service.

This is the Lambda Chi Alpha house, home to one of the many fraternities and sororities we have on campus. About a third of undergrads go Greek at WPI. It’s like being part of a community within a community. There are so many great reasons to get involved with Greek Life at WPI. You can get professional development, leadership development, community service, networking, and it’s just a lot of fun. I’m a brother of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, I’ve been a community advisor for three years, I work in the admissions office, I’m also involved in a couple professional societies and honors societies. That doesn’t even scratch the surface of what’s available to me. My favorite aspect of social life at WPI is how relaxed and welcoming it is. It doesn’t matter what clubs you join, what major you are, what Greek house you’re a part of, what sports you play, you can hang out with anybody. Whether you go the Greek route or not, you can count on having a fun and rewarding social life at WPI. You’ll never get bored here, guaranteed.

Worcester weekends keep Sean and friends busy.

This is the Goat’s Head Pub – a restaurant we have on campus. I love coming here and hanging out with my friends. What’s great about WPI though is that we have a lot of options off campus, too. On my free time, I love to, you know, head to restaurants, hang out at bars and pubs with my friends. The Worcester Sharks are really fun to go see. I have friends that love to go to Wachusett Mountain, go skiing and snowboarding during the winter. You know, we have malls that are right around here. We’re within ten minutes of, like, two different movie theatres – we catch some good shows all the time there. Most people stay here on the weekends so there’s always something going on. WPI is in a very residential part of Worcester so it feels really tucked away, but really we’re in the heart of New England and there’s so much to do.

Small planet, big projects.

This is Reunion Plaza, right in the middle of campus. And over there we have the project center. During junior year, every student does an interactive project where you take science, technology, and engineering to solve a real-world problem. You can do your interactive projects right here on campus, or you can travel abroad to over 25 locations across the globe. We have places like London, Thailand, South Africa, Costa Rica. I did my project in Australia. Going to Australia and completing my interactive project there was one of my favorite experiences on campus. The project center took care of everything. All I had to worry about was doing my work and having a great time. The interactive project is a chance for us to immerse ourselves in a different culture, to work together with the people there, and to make a real difference. It’s something that really sets WPI apart, and for most of us it’s a highlight of our college career.

Amazing research facilities – and results – in the life sciences.

This is Gateway Park, our life sciences and bioengineering center. Here you can find student labs for everything from chemistry and biology, all the way to chemical engineering. There’s so many state-of-the-art facilities for students to use here. For one of my projects, I used microwave reactors and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and it’s all brand new equipment so it’s really fun to work with. There’s so much research being performed on campus. Just in my group of friends alone I know people who are working on creating bioengineered skin tissue for burn victims, or regenerating damaged heart tissue. It’s so cool. Gateway Park also houses a lot of different life science start-up companies. A recent WPI grad just founded his own company, and they operate right here in this building. There are no boundaries between majors and projects here. It’s a facility that’s designed to foster collaboration and big ideas.

Sean is prepared for the real world.

I’m here at the gardens outside Higgins House – home of the WPI alumni office. WPI alumni are leaders, innovators, and inventors. No matter the job or the industry, they’re out there making an impact. WPI alumni are leaders of companies like Bausch & Lomb, Ben & Jerry's, and Starbucks. After graduation, I’ll be starting my career at ExxonMobil. WPI’s Career Development Center helped me get my internship with ExxonMobil last summer, which then turned into my job offer. Because of the hands-on experience I’ve had through class work and project work, I feel totally prepared for my job at ExxonMobil. At WPI, you get the background and experience you need for a huge range of careers. The possibilities are endless.