WPI Global Opportunities Fair Wednesday, Sept. 24

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

The doors of WPI's Alden Memorial will become the portals to educational adventure next week during the university's annual Global Opportunities Fair on Wednesday, Sept. 24, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. More than 500 students are expected to move through the great hall, which will be festooned with posters and flags and filled with tables of information about program sites throughout the world where WPI undergraduates may study or complete their Interactive Qualifying Projects.

The university currently supports off-campus project programs and exchanges in such cities as London, Venice, Bangkok, Paris, Darmstadt, Munich, Zurich and Stockholm, as well as in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Holland and Mexico.

"Each year, about 200 undergraduates spend seven weeks working on projects with agencies and organizations throughout the world," says Marche Haddad, associate director of the Office of Global Programs, which hosts the fair. "Those who attend the fair will meet students who have studied or completed IQPs in these locations and can provide first-hand information about everything from how to research a problem in a foreign country to the best places to eat and what the weather is like during the term of the project."

Haddad says that since the fair was created two years ago, the number of student applications for off-campus projects has doubled. "WPI sends about one-third of its undergraduates abroad to complete projects," says Haddad. "That's more than any other American engineering or technical university. The Global Program is important to the futures of our graduates and we are always trying to expand our program to meet rising student interest."

A list of area students who completed IQPs at some of the international project sites follows:

Venice: Zung Nguyen of Leicester, Mass., was part of a three-person team that completed "A Documentation and Analysis of Canal Boat Parking." Renee Charpentier, Framingham, Mass., and Jennifer Lowell of West Boylston, Mass., were two of three students who researched and reported on "A Multimedia Promotion for a Sustainable Tourism in the Lagoon and Mainland of Venice and Chioggia."

London: Jeff Gross of Gardner, Mass., worked with two other WPI students on computerizing the Center for Accessible Environments.

Costa Rica: Edward Stannard of Paxton, Mass., was part of a four-person team that researched the flora and fauna native to the Cahuita, Costa Rica, area and designed a nature trail and garden that could be created on the grounds of the Jaguar Hotel.

Joshua Brotherton of Oxford, Mass., and two fellow students explored the possibility of marketing orchids that grow in in the canopy of Costa Rica's Rainforest Aerial Tram, an ecotourist site.