WPI Student Honored as a Red Cross Everyday Hero

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

Worcester, Mass.- September 18, 2002-- She may not look like one, but WPI computer science major Sonja Bjork is one of central Massachusetts' "Everyday Heroes." Bjork was one of 28 local residents honored by the Red Cross of Central Massachusetts at its first annual Heroes Breakfast- recognizing ordinary people who have done extraordinary things.

Nominating Bjork was Stanley Selkow, WPI professor of computer science, and Bill Baller, adjunct assistant professor of history at WPI. They noted Bjorkís "everyday kindness and unselfishness" as a three-year volunteer mentor and key student organizer for WPIís Hoop Dreams mentoring program with Friendly House.

The Hoop Dreams program pairs WPI students with youngsters from Friendly House. Bjork helped lead Hoop Dreams projects last school year for a robotic Lego competition and to give the young students exposure to basic computer skills. The computer project involved teaching the image-modification software SuperGoo which resulted in students creating their own Web site.

Additionally, Bjork was recognized for her IQP work in Thailand to help bring hydroelectric power to a rural village; and for giving time as a mentor and judge for science projects at the Grafton Street School in Worcester. She also finds time to drive a WPI security night assistance patrol (SNAP) van; be a WPI Orientation leader for incoming students; serve as webmaster for her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta; and participate in an AIDS bike ride in the heat of Virginia and North Carolina.

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.