WPI Summer Programs Nurture Young Minds

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. - July 9, 2003 - With interest in science, technology and engineering careers declining, encouraging young minds to pursue studies in these areas is almost approaching a national imperative. At the same time, women and some minority groups are still severely underrepresented in these fields. To help reverse these trends, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is again hosting a series of summer programs geared toward building enthusiasm and interest among female and minority students in middle- and high school on subjects like engineering, math and science.

Students from across the country will head to the WPI campus to participate in the four-day to two-week programs. In addition, many programs have students live in residence halls to let them experience campus life full time. WPI professors and students lead the classes, during which students are given the opportunity to explore various fields in science and engineering through hands-on activities. These range from building sandcastles, to designing an assistive device, to cleaning pond water.

"As an institution of higher learning, it is our responsibility to not just transform and educate students enrolled in WPI, but to also reach out to and inspire college students of the future," says WPI President Edward Alton Parrish. "We know we are making an impact, since our Camp REACH program received national recognition earlier this year from the Women in Engineering Programs & Advocates Network (WEPAN) with its 2003 Women in Engineering Program (WIEP) Award."

Upcoming programs include:

Camp REACH (July 20 - August 1, 2003)

The Camp REACH (Reinventing Engineering and Creating New Horizons) program is a two-week overnight camp for girls in Massachusetts who have completed the 7th grade, and are interested in learning more about careers in engineering and technology. Participants work in teams with high school teaching assistants and middle school math or science teachers to solve a real problem in the community using the engineering design process. Students will also travel to Cape Cod to learn the principles of engineering involved in building stable sandcastles, and use math and science to solve a whodunit mystery.

Frontiers (July 13 - July 25, 2003)

This two-week, on-campus research and learning experience challenges high school juniors and seniors to explore the outer limits of knowledge in science, mathematics and engineering. Students live on campus and learn from outstanding WPI professors, use state-of-the-art experimental, analytical and computer technology, and get assistance from WPI students in the lab and in study groups.

GEMS (August 3 - August 9, 2003)
GEMS Jr. (July 7 - July 10, 2003)

The Girls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS) program is a one-week residential program that encourages high school females entering the 10th through 12th grades to explore an engineering and science education and career. The program demonstrates how a science background can be applied to various fields that directly affect and improve society.

GEMS Jr. humanizes engineering for 8th and 9th grade girls via a four-day commuter program. Students learn about engineering as a method of problem solving and participate in everyday activities that are based on scientific principles.

Strive (July 13 - July 19, 2003)
Strive Jr. (July 28 - July 31, 2003)

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

Strive Jr. takes the same hands-on approach to teaching engineering and inspires students of color entering the 7th through 9th grades to learn more about math and science. Group activities include investigating biomaterials and creating polymer gels.

In addition to the academically focused programs for kids, WPI is offering many other activities this summer. Kids age 8 to 17 can have fun and stay fit at numerous sports camps. Math and science teachers from middle- and high schools can participate in workshops, research projects and seminars. And, working professionals can fine tune their skills through continuing and professional education development seminars and certificate programs. Learn more about WPI's summer programs.

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865, WPI is a pioneer in technological higher education. WPI was the first university to understand that students learn best when they have the opportunity to apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom to the solution of important problems. Today its students, working in teams at more than 20 project centers around the globe, put their knowledge and skills to work as they complete professional-level work that can have an immediate positive impact on society.

WPI's innovative, globally focused curriculum has been recognized by leaders in industry, government and academia as the model for the technological education of tomorrow. Students emerge from this program as true technological humanists, well rounded, with the confidence, the interpersonal skills and the commitment to innovation they need to make a real difference in their professional and personal lives.

The university awarded its first advanced degree in 1898. Today, its first-rate research laboratories support master's and Ph.D. programs in more than 30 disciplines in engineering, science and the management of technology. Located in the heart of the region's biotechnology and high-technology sectors, WPI has built research programs - including the largest industry/university alliance in North America - that have won it worldwide recognition.