WPI Honors Outstanding Faculty and Graduate Students

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

Worcester, Mass. - August 19, 2002 - Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) recognized seven distinguished members of its academic community during the university's 2002 annual Faculty Convocation. The awards honored WPI professors and graduate students for outstanding research and teaching. WPI's Board of Trustees acknowledged three professors. Philip E. Robakiewicz, an assistant professor of biology and biotechnology from Upton, received the Trustees' Award for Outstanding Academic Advising. This honor is reserved for the WPI professor who most epitomizes selflessness, spirit, and personal touch.

W. Grant McGimpsey, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry from Boylston, received the Trustees' Award for Outstanding Research and Scholarship in recognition of his significant contributions to diverse areas of chemistry.

Chrysanthe Demetry, an associate professor of materials science and engineering from Worcester, received the Trustees' Award for Outstanding Teaching. She was cited as an innovative classroom teacher, hard-working project advisor, and a caring colleague in a learning community.

Ross D. Shonat, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering from Worcester, won the Romeo L. Moruzzi Young Faculty Award. The award recognizes innovation in undergraduate teaching in memory of the late Romeo L. Moruzzi, who came to teach at WPI in 1954 and, among other accomplishments, helped to establish the WPI Plan. Under the Plan, students integrate classroom studies with research projects conducted on campus and around the world.

The Sigma Xi Graduate Research Awards were presented for outstanding research by students at the master's and doctoral levels. Established in 1983, they are sponsored jointly by the Society of the Sigma Xi, the international honor society for scientific and engineering research, and the Committee on Graduate Studies and Research. Amanda Kight, a master's degree candidate in biomedical engineering from Dayton, Ohio, won a Sigma Xi Award for "Optimization of a Technique for Phosphorescence Lifetime Imaging of Oxygen Tension in the Mouse Retina."

Arjan Giaya, a Ph.D. candidate in chemical engineering from Worcester, received a Sigma Xi Award for work on "CVOCs (Chlorinated Volatile Organic Compounds) Adsorption on Hydrophobic Porous Materials and Thermodynamics of Confined Water."

Lastly, in recognition of excellence in the classroom by a teaching assistant, Jae Won Chung, an M.S. candidate in computer science from Southbridge, won the Teaching Assistant of the Year Award.

About WPI

WPI is a pioneer in technological higher education, and is recognized as one of the leading outcomes-oriented undergraduate programs preparing people for success in our technological world. Since its founding in 1865, WPI has broadened and perfected an influential curriculum that balances theory and practice.

This innovative and unique combination of educational methods, learning environment and a worldwide network of project centers is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Its main campus is located in Worcester, Massachusetts. WPI supports the academic and research pursuits of over 2,800 undergraduate students, 1,200 graduate students and 220 faculty pursuing opportunities to blend technological research and practice with societal needs, delivering meaningful real-world benefits.

For over a century, WPI has awarded advanced degrees in the sciences and engineering disciplines, as well as the management of technology and business. Our alumni include Robert Goddard, the father of modern rocketry; Harold Black, inventor of the principle of negative-feedback; Carl Clark, inventor of the first practical airbag safety system; Dean Kamen, inventor of the first wearable drug infusion pump; and many others who contribute to the transformation of our technological world.