Edna and Douglas Noiles '44 Extend Reach of WPI's K-12 Programs
WPI's innovative and robust K-12 outreach programs will continue to provide exciting teaching and learning opportunities to students and teachers from kindergarten through high school, thanks to a gift of more than $500,000 from Edna T. and Douglas G. Noiles '44. Longtime champions of secondary-school instruction in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, Doug and Edna Noiles have been integral partners in WPI's efforts to improve technological literacy in the United States, providing a lead gift to help establish the university's
Office of K-12 Outreach. Since 2003, their total support of $1,161,393 has had an impact on more than 30,000 students and 600 teachers, who have participated in such programs as WPI Students Working with Schools, Reading and Math Stars, and Project Lead the Way, a national initiative aimed at increasing the quality and quantity of engineers in the United States.
"Expressing anew their abiding affection for WPI and deep commitment to helping improve K-12 education across the United States, Doug and Edna Noiles have set a splendid example of both leadership and generosity," says President Dennis Berkey. "With the support of such good friends and wise partners, WPI will continue its vigorous efforts to improve teacher training in the fields of engineering, math, and science, and increase significantly the technological literacy of our nation's young people."
Led by Martha Cyr '87(MS), '97(PhD), a nationally recognized expert in educational outreach,WPI's Office of K-12 Outreach offers a wide range of pre-engineering and research experiences for students, professional development for teachers, and timely, standards-based curricular activities for use in the classroom. Dedicated to bolstering math, science, and technology education in primary and secondary schools, the office places special emphasis on introducing girls and young students from underrepresented communities to the excitement and creativity inherent in science and engineering and encouraging them to consider careers in these fields. The Noileses previously funded the office's directorship, which brought Cyr to WPI, and their most recent gift will continue to support her efforts.
WPI has received considerable local and national attention for its initiatives in K-12 outreach. In 2005, Project Lead The Way (PLTW), named WPI its Massachusetts state affiliate to provide pre-engineering curriculum training modules for the first time in the commonwealth—an affiliation also made possible with a contribution from Doug and Edna Noiles. Today, more than 20 schools are participating in PLTW and Cyr serves as the state PLTW affiliate director.
"We want to increase opportunities for children to feel the excitement of learning and ideas, especially the fundamentals from which math, science, and engineering grow," says Doug Noiles. "WPI's K-12 outreach programs help the university build on its successes and innovations and give more teachers and students opportunities that they otherwise may have never considered.We are pleased to continue to support WPI's substantial commitment to K-12 programs."
A renowned inventor and consultant in mechanical and biomedical engineering, Noiles received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from WPI. He was executive vice president of research and development and co-founder of Joint Medical Products Corp. in Stamford, Conn., and holds numerous patents for surgical devices and orthopedic implants. At WPI's 1999 Commencement, the university conferred upon Noiles an honorary doctorate in engineering for his contributions to society, higher education, and industry.