New Professors Added to WPI Faculty

Contact: WPI Media Relations, Pat Samson 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. – November 19, 2003 -- Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has added several new professors to its faculty.

Capt. Peter A. Berube is assistant professor in the Department of Air Force and Aerospace Studies. Captain Berube returns to WPI from Hanscom Air Force Base, where he served for four years as Operations Flight Commander. He received his B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from WPI in 1994, and his M.S. in Civil Engineering from The Ohio State University. He is a resident of Rutland.

Lt. Col.Edward N. Ireland joins the Department of Air Force and Aerospace Studies as professor and department head. He was most recently in Italy serving in various capacities, including as commanding officer of a 135-person Air Force squadron in direct support of the Italian Air Force’s NATO mission. He received his undergraduate degree in History and Economics from Warren Wilson College, and his M.P.A. in Public Administration from Golden Gate University. He currently resides in Paxton.

Lauren Mathews joins the Department of Biology and Biotechnology as assistant professor. She recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Medicine at Columbia University where her research was in genomic evolution in the great apes and the development of molecular markers for phylogenetic reconstruction and conservation biology in primates. She received her undergraduate degree in Zoology from Connecticut College, and her Ph.D. in Environmental and Evoloutionary Biology from the University of Louisiana.

Murali Mani is assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science. Prof. Mani’s research interests involve designing good Extensible Markup Language (XML) schemas for database applications, as well as various Web technologies and sensor database systems. He received his undergraduate degree in computer science and engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, his masters’s degree and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Wenjing Lou joins the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as an assistant professor. Professor Lou’s research interests include wireless networks, mobile ad hoc networks and sensor networks. Her research focus is routing protocol design and network security. She received her undergraduate and master’s degree in computer science and engineering at Xi’an Jiaotong University, China; an M.A.Sc. in Computer Communications from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; and her Ph.D. in Wireless Networks and Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Florida. She is a resident of Worcester.

Lorraine D. Higgins is associate professor in the Department of Humanities and Arts and Director of the Center for Communication Across the Curriculum. She had been assistant professor in English at the University of Pittsburgh since 1995. Her current research and book project is A Rhetoric of Inclusion: Writing and Deliberation in the Multicultural Milieu. She is also co-author of Learning to Rival: A Literate Practice for Intercultural Inquiry (Earlbaum, 2000.) Professor Higgins received her Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University. She is a resident of Worcester.

Gray Tuttle also joins WPI’s Department of Humanities and Arts as assistant professor. He was most recently a visiting assistant professor in International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. He uses Chinese, Tibetan and several classical Asian languages to conduct research on modern Asia. His academic interests will complement the university’s international study programs in Asia. He received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and his master’s and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is a resident of Groton.

Cosme Furlong-Vazquez joins the Department of Mechanical Engineering as assistant professor. He had been an adjunct and assistant research professor in the department since 1999. His work focuses on research, development and implementation of state-of-the-art laser metrology and optical nondestructive testing, MEMS and MOEMS sensors and actuators, computer vision and image processing, and advanced CAD/CAE. He is involved in the development of new courses in MEMS and Nanotechnology. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of the Americas, Mexico, and his master’s and Ph.D. from WPI. He is a resident of Worcester.

Rafael Garcia joins the Department of Physics as assistant professor. He was most recently a postdoctoral researcher at Pennsylvania State University where his research has focused on the effects of confinement or finite-size on the properties of thermodynamic systems. His research confirmed the existence of a new force – the critical Casimir force which is due to confining a fluid system undergoing a phase transition between two walls. He has also developed a MEMS nanocapacitor which he will use at WPI to make direct, quantitative measurements of the critical Casimir force in a variety of systems with different universality class. He received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and his master’s and Ph.D. from Penn State University.

About WPI

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.