Worcester Polytechnic Institute Summer Programs Give Next Generation of College Students a Taste of Science and Technology

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616;
Kerry Roche, Bridgeman Communications, 617-742-7270

Worcester, MA - July 9, 2002 - Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) professors will see some younger faces in their classrooms this summer. While other higher education institutions might embrace the season as their "down time," WPI is heating up for a busy summer. The University will hold a series of programs geared toward educating middle and high school students on engineering, math, and science topics.

Primarily focused on building enthusiasm and interest among female and minority students, the programs demonstrate WPI's hands-on, project-based approach to education. Students from across the country will head to the WPI campus to participate in programs in which the prerequisite is simply completing the 6th grade and class requirements include building sandcastles, taking trips to the electrical engineering lab, and mastering the physics of the Supersoaker.

"WPI is committed to demonstrating the benefits of science and technology studies and the associated exciting career paths for tomorrow's higher education students," said President Edward Alton Parrish. "We have designed our summer programs to reach these students, particularly young women, at a critical age, before they succumb to peer pressure and become disinterested in math and science."

Upcoming programs include:

Strive (July 7, 2002 - July 12, 2002)
Strive Jr. (July 16, 2002 - July 19, 2002)

Sponsored by a grant from Intel, the Strive Program is aimed toward African-American, Hispanic, and Native American students entering the 9th through 12th grades. Students will explore areas of science and technology including physics, biotechnology, and mechanical engineering through interactive activities such as extracting DNA from kiwis and demonstrations of Dean Kamen's Segway.

Strive Jr. takes the same hands-on approach to teaching engineering and inspires minority students entering the 7th through 9th grades to learn more about math and science. Group activities include separating dyes and experimenting in an ice cream lab.

Camp REACH (July 21, 2002 - August 2, 2002)
The Reinventing Engineering and Creating New Horizons (REACH) program is a two-week overnight camp for girls in Massachusetts who have completed the 6th grade and are interested in learning more about careers in engineering and technology. Students will travel to Cape Cod to learn the principles of engineering involved in building stable sandcastles and tour local companies to view engineering equipment and labs.

GEMS (July 21, 2002 - July 26, 2002)
GEMS Jr. (August 6 - August 8, 2002)

The Girls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS) program is a one-week residential program that encourages high school females to explore an engineering and science education and career. The course demonstrates how a science background can be applied to various fields that directly affect and improve society.

The GEMS Jr. program humanizes engineering for 7th through 9th grade girls. Students will learn about engineering as a method of problem solving and participate in everyday activities that are based on scientific principles.

All of the summer programs will take place in Worcester, Massachusetts at the WPI campus. WPI professors and engineers from local businesses will lead the classes.

About WPI

Founded in 1865, WPI was a pioneer in technological higher education. Early on, it developed an influential curriculum that balanced theory and practice. Since 1970, that philosophy has been embodied in an innovative outcomes-oriented undergraduate program. With a network of project centers that spans the globe, WPI is also the leader in globalizing technological education. WPI awarded its first advanced degree in 1898. Today, most of WPI's academic departments offer master's and doctoral programs and support leading edge research in a broad range of areas. WPI's approach to education has prepared generations of problem solvers whose new ideas and inventions have literally changed the world. They include Robert Goddard '08, father of modern rocketry, Harold Black, inventor of the principle of negative-feedback; Carl Clark, inventor of the first practical airbag safety systems; Richard T. Whitcomb, formulator the Area Rule and developer the supercritical wing, and Dean Kamen, inventor of the first wearable drug infusion pump, and the stair-climbing wheelchair.