200 Student Projects, from Space Studies to Library Design, Will Be Presented April 20 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Contact: Arlie Corday, WPI Media & Community Relations

WORCESTER, Mass. - It's a day to celebrate everything WPI. Project Presentation Day, held each spring, is a gigantic open house at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. On April 20, about 200 student teams will offer their major projects for review. Completed for non-profit organizations, corporations and government agencies, these projects represent thousands of hours of work. These Major Qualifying Projects, or MQPs, are both the foundation of this university's education and the first solid step into the real world for students.

On hand for the presentations will be the professors who advised these projects and the organizations that sponsored them. It's the showcase of WPI's project-based philosophy.

"More than 25 years ago, this university quietly but boldly pioneered a new approach to technological education, an approach that marked a radical departure from the traditional engineering and science curricula," says WPI President Edward Alton Parrish.

MQPs, an essential aspect of that new approach, are professional-level design or research projects required of all WPI students. The MQP exposes students to the kinds of work assignments they will be responsible for after graduation. Furthermore, the benefits go beyond the educational aspect. Sponsors can use the findings to further their own goals. Among this year's sponsors are such diverse organizations as Lockheed Martin, Fidelity Investments, Providence and Worcester Railroad and Boston University Medical School.

For a flavor of event, here are a few of the projects to be presented April 20:

  • "Biological Containment for Mars Sample Return Missions," Fuller Labs, room 320, at 10:10 a.m., by seniors Joseph Lussier, Tommy Skiba and Joanna Ziemlewki. The advisor is Karen McNamara of the Chemical Engineering Department; the sponsor is NASA/Johnson Space Center.
  • "Worcester Public Library," Kaven Hall, room 116, at 8:30 a.m., by seniors Stephen T. Depaola, Jill M. Hubbard and Anthony J. Iannotti. The advisors are Leonard D. Albano and Roberto Pietroforte of the Civil Engineering Department and the sponsor is the Worcester Public Library.
  • "Reengineering Human Resources at Heywood Hospital," Washburn Shops, room 229, at 8:20 a.m., by seniors Daniel Murphy and James Valis. The advisor is Michael Elmes and the sponsor is Heywood Hospital of Gardner, Mass.

The daylong event promises to show the range and depth of student work at WPI.

"The presentations will provide a glimpse of the work, the creativity and the professionalism that go into these projects, and at the benefits students and sponsors receive from the WPI project experience," says Parrish.

For more information and an agenda of projects to be presented, go to the Web site at http://www.wpi.edu/news/ppd/.

Founded in 1865, WPI is renowned for its project-based curriculum. Under the WPI Plan, students integrate classroom studies with projects conducted on campus and at project sites around the world.