WPI Frontiers/Strive Summer Program Brings Out the Best Future Scientists, Engineers

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Seventy high school students with superior academic ability and a passion for science, math and engineering will spend two weeks of their vacation this summer at WPI taking part in the University's innovative Frontiers/Strive program, an on-campus learning experience that challenges them to explore the outer limits of knowledge in science, mathematics and engineering. Participants will be coming to WPI from throughout New England and the United States and from Brazil, Ecuador, India and Puerto Rico.

From July 11 to July 24, the students, who will enter their senior year of high school this fall, will attend classes and work in laboratories in biology, chemistry, civil engineering, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, mathematics, mechanical engineering and physics.

Each of the students will spend Monday through Saturday learning about his or her chosen area of study from WPI professors. They will work with their classmates on projects and use state-of-the-art experimental, analytical and computer technology. WPI students majoring in these disciplines will assist in the labs and in study groups. Examples of the types of experiences students will take part in include tracking down mutant proteins with antibodies, using infrared spectroscopy to reveal molecules' building properties, building and testing small-scale bridges, writing Web pages, and exploring lasers, computers, black holes and new planets.

The program includes workshops in speech, creative writing, music and theater, as well as field trips, movies, live performances and tournaments. Each participant will be given an account on the WPI computer system with access to the campus network and the Internet and access to Gordon Library and the athletic facilities. Everyone will live in one of the co-ed residence halls.

Frontiers was established in 1982. Strive was established in 1991 with seed money from Untied Technologies Corp. and GTE to identify motivated and academically talented Black, Latino and Native American students. "Frontiers/Strive is an excellent opportunity for students to get a glimpse of college life," says Dawn R. Johnson, director of WPI's Office of Minority Affairs and Outreach Programs, who is the coordinator for the program. "It is a rewarding academic and social experience that, hopefully, will attract these students to one of WPI's undergraduate programs."

WPI, an independent technological university founded in 1865, is renowned for its project-based educational plan. Under the WPI Plan, students are provided with unique opportunities for integrating classroom studies with preprofessional projects conducted on campus or at off-site locations. In 1997, U.S. News & World Report ranked WPI among the top 50 national universities in its Best Colleges Guide and 35th among the top national institutions in the magazine's Best College Values report.