Welcome to @WPI

Vol. 1, No. 10, Jan. 27, 2000

Around Campus

February is Black History Month

WPI's celebration of Black History Month will feature lectures and artistic performances-all aimed at highlighting the role and impact of African-American people and culture in American society. Black History Month is a national event, celebrated annually, which features an examination of the African-American experience. Originally conceived as Negro History Week by African-American scholar Carter G. Woodson in 1926, the event was expanded to a month-long celebration in 1980.

The following is a series of events and activities scheduled at WPI in observance of Black History Month. All programs are free and open to the public.

WPI's observance will begin Sunday, Feb. 6, at 6:30 p.m. in Riley Commons, with the fourth annual Black Student Union Night of Performances. You are invited to join in an evening of food and music, with performances by members of the WPI community. It is sponsored by the Black Student Union and Healthy Alternatives.

On Tuesday, Feb. 15, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., DouDou N'Diaye Roase and his Drummers of West Africa will perform in Alden Memorial.

On Saturday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m., the Minority Affairs Office will sponsor 1001 Black Inventions, a lively and informative play by the award-winning theater company Pin Points in Alden Memorial. It is sponsored by the Minority Affairs Office.

In "Blacks in Science: Ancient and Modern," Ivan Van Sertima, respected anthropologist, linguist, historian and author, will discuss the contributions of Africans to science in ancient and modern times. Scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 29, at 7 p.m. in the Higgins House Great Hall, it is sponsored by the Minority Affairs Office.

Making the Connection

NEESCom, the telecommunications subsidiary of New England Electric System (NEES), announced Jan. 19 that it is extending its fiber optic network to connect business customers in Marlborough, Northborough, Southborough and Westborough. The new fiber optic network will allow telecommunications carriers to competitively provide high-speed, high-capacity optical transmission capabilities for such services as local and long-distance telephone, data retrieval, Internet access and enhanced applications to more than 300 businesses.

"Access to advanced telecommunications systems is a major consideration for companies when choosing to locate their business operations," said NEESCom President Anthony C. Pini in a news conference attended by business customers and local public officials. "We have received a tremendous reception from the business community."

Among the speakers at the news conference was Dr. Thomas J. Lynch, vice president for information technology at WPI.

"In addition to making competitive telecommunications services available to businesses, this project will provide a highway for Internet services, working with such institutions as WPI," he said.

NEESCom and WPI have formed a partnership involving the Goddard Internet2 GigaPoP, a high-speed network that will place WPI "among the top universities in the U.S. with this capability," Lynch noted.

President's IQP Winners Receive Prizes

Winners of the 1999 President's IQP Awards were presented with a check and a wooden plaque commemorating their accomplishment Wednesday, Jan. 19, in Higgins House. At the breakfast awards ceremony, President Edward A. Parrish encouraged the students to spread the word about their success. "I hope you will share your experiences with other students so they will understand how important these projects can be," he said. The following were honored:

First place: Jovanna Baptista '00, Sean Landrette '00 and Alyssa Schlichting '00 for "Refining the Wheelchair Prescription Process," advised by Joel Brattin and Peter Christopher.

Second place: Kevin Dickert '01, Loren Gordon '00, Jennifer Hardy '01 and Vanessa Melansons '01 for "A Study of Marketing Possibilities at Lankester," advised by Susan Vernon Gerstenfeld and Arthur Gerstenfeld.

Tied for third place: Kyriacos N. Felekkis '00 for "Health Care System of Cyprus," advised by John T. O'Connor; and Anne-Marie Chouinard '00, Gregory Halloran '00 and Jill Hubbard '00 for "Speech, Language and Hearing Centre," advised by Douglas Woods and Robert Thompson.

Music from Your Favorite Movies

The WPI Concert Band will hold its annual theme concert Friday, Feb. 18, in Alden Memorial. The theme is "A Night at the Movies" and the performance will feature music from classic films such as "The Wizard of Oz" and "West Side Story" as well as more recent films such as "Braveheart," "Mission Impossible," "Schindler's List" and "Star Wars: Episode 1." Tickets, available at the door only, are $3 for adults and free for students and seniors. Special visual effects and other surprises will accompany the performance. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the performance starts at 7:30. For more information, please call the Music Office at ext. 5946.

Library Exhibits

An exhibit of resources on African-American history and culture will be on display in the vestibule from Feb. 15 through Feb. 29.

In the vestibule until Feb. 14 see "Creative Writing by students in EN3217," books of poetry and short stories written by students in Humanities and Arts Professor Laura Menides' B term course.

Photographs by Laura Val will be on display in the gallery from Feb. 16 through March 31. A reception for the artist will be held in the library Feb. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Get Ready To Give

An American Red Cross blood drive will be held Tuesday, Feb. 8, and Wednesday, Feb. 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Founder's basement.

Reserve Your Tickets

Masque, the WPI theater organization, and the Humanities and Arts Department will present Boys' Life in Alden Memorial, Thursday, Feb. 10, Friday, Feb. 11, and Saturday, Feb. 12, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for WPI students. For more information, call ext. 5946.

The play is a bitingly funny postmodern comedy of manners that follows the fortunes of a group of urban male "yuppies" as they attempt to come to terms with life.

Writing and Oral Presentation Assistance

The Writing Center helps WPI students with writing assignments and oral presentations. Trained peer tutors work with writers by discussing ideas and responding to drafts. The center, on the upper level of the Project Center, is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students are encouraged to make appointments on the center's Web site, www.wpi.edu/Academics/Depts/HUA/WC/. Appointments should be made as early in the draft writing process as possible.

Faculty who would like assistance with their projects or with integrating writing into their curriculum should contact Lisa Lebduska at lisaleb@wpi.edu.

Writing Does Pay

The Center for Communication Across the Curriculum is sponsoring a campus-wide writing contest, "Why Write?" Using poetry or prose, entrants should address the contest question in 500 words or fewer, attaching a separate cover sheet with entrant's name, major and year. Entries may be submitted electronically to writing@wpi or in hard copy to the CCAC (Project Center, Upper Level). The judges will evaluate submissions for their creativity, clarity, specificity and eloquence. The winner will receive $50. Deadline is May 1, 2000.

Discount Rate at Crowne Plaza

WPI and members of the Colleges of the Worcester Consortium have been offered a local negotiated rate at the Crowne Plaza Worcester of $99 for a single or double occupancy hotel room, subject to state and local tax. The rate is available to department visitors, students, parents and personnel of WPI. To get the special rate, hotel guests must mention that they are affiliated with WPI when making a reservation. The rate is intended for individual transient use and does not include Homecoming, Family, Commencement or Reunion. To make a reservation or for more information, call the Crowne Plaza at 508-791-1600 or 800-628-4240.

Human Resources Deadlines

Staff time sheets are due by noon on the Friday before the pay date. Noted below are the scheduled Human Resources and Payroll Office deadlines:

Thursday, Feb. 3, by 10 a.m.
Biweekly staff payroll authorizations and Flexcomp claim forms
(Staff payroll paid Wednesday, Feb. 9)

Thursday, Feb. 10, by 10 a.m.
Biweekly student payroll authorizations
(Student payroll paid Thursday, Feb. 17)

Tuesday, Feb. 15, by 10 a.m.
Monthly Flexcomp claim forms

Wednesday, Feb. 16, by 10 a.m.
Monthly payroll authorizations
(Monthly payroll paid Tuesday, Feb. 29)

Friday, Feb. 18, by 10 a.m.
Biweekly staff payroll authorizations and Flexcomp claim forms
(Staff payroll paid Wednesday, Feb. 23)

Thursday, Feb. 24, by 10 a.m.
Biweekly student payroll authorizations
(Student payroll paid Thursday, March 2)

All forms submitted to Human Resources and Payroll must be complete and have all of the appropriate approvals in order to be processed. Forms submitted after these dates will be processed in the following payroll.

Employment Opportunities

(current as of Jan. 24)


Events Manager

Biomedical Engineering

Tenure-track positions

Chemical Engineering

Tenure-track position
Assistant Professor and an open position

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Organic and General Chemistry Instructor
Post-Doctoral Research Assistant
Multiple fall 2000 faculty positions
Post-Doctoral Fellow

College Computer Center

Office operations support

Computer Science

Tenure-track faculty positions

Continuing Education

Technical Trainers, Seminar Leaders
Administrative Secretary III (MetroWest campus)
Part-time Receptionist (Southboro campus)

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Tenure-track faculty position
Professor of Practice

Fire Protection Engineering

Faculty position

Human Resources

Administrative Assistant


Two Assistant Professors
Management Information Systems faculty positions

Massachusetts Academy of Mathematics And Science

Master Teachers
Visiting Scholars

Mathematical Sciences

Visiting assistant professorships
Tenure-track faculty positions

Mechanical Engineering

Department Head
Two mechanical engineering faculty positions

Physical Education and Athletics

Part-time Assistant Volleyball Coach
Part-time Assistant Baseball Coach
Part-time Assistant Softball Coach


Visiting faculty position
Administrative Secretary III

Project and Registrar's Office

Record Keeping Assistant/Transcript Coordinator

Research Administration

Director of Research Administration

Social Science and Policy Studies

Part-time instructor


Telecommunications Analyst

For more information about these positions, visit the Human Resource Web site at http://www.wpi.edu/Admin/HR/Jobs/.

WPI's Human Resources Office encourages current employees to refer qualified individuals to apply for jobs at WPI. For each person you refer who is hired and who successfully completes six months of active service, you will receive a $500 bonus. The new Employee Referral Bonus Program applies to all permanent non-faculty, exempt and nonexempt positions posted on or after Sept. 1, 1999.

To take part in the program, the referring employee must submit the candidate's resume or WPI employment application to the Human Resources Office along with a referral form (available in Human Resources).


New Faces in IMC and CCC

Bruce Fiene (pronounced fee-nee) has joined the Instructional Media Center as operations manager. Bruce comes to WPI with more than 10 years' experience working with a variety of media equipment and applications. Most recently he served as the director of surgical telemedia at UMass Medical, producing and directing a variety of broadcasts for the Department of Surgery.

Mary Beth Harrity has joined the College Computer Center as operations manager. Formerly associate director in the Career Development Center, Mary Beth takes on the position left vacant by Troy Thompson, who was named assistant web coordinator in July. Aside from assuming the multiple duties of overseeing the computer operators and the operations of the CCC labs and computer room, she will work with outside vendors during the annual bidding process to get the best prices for quality computer supplies and will handle inventory and reordering of supplies. She will also work on special CCC and IT projects with Ben Thompson and Tom Lynch and with the Help Desk in providing general support.

Jeff Scamacca has joined the CCC as administrative computer specialist. His responsibilities will include working with University Relations and other CCC system support personnel in finding ways to process administrative data for the alumni/development area of WPI within the SCT Banner system. This will include creating new reports, training staff to retrieve, read and extract the data stored in files, and setting up processing schedules to minimize delay in getting the necessary information.

Balazs Earns Ph.D. in Computer Science

The Computer Science Department recently awarded its eighth Ph.D. degree to Marton E. Balazs. On Dec. 15, Balazs successfully defended his thesis before the Ph.D. committee. Balazs' thesis, "Design Simplification by Analogical Reasoning," addressed the issue of reducing the complexity of an object or artifact through analysis. He began his academic journey in computer science in the fall of 1994, having already received his Ph.D. in mathematics. He has been employed as a research associate at the University of Cambridge in England since October.

Since the inception of its Ph.D. program in 1983, the Computer Science Department has awarded seven other Ph.D. degrees. The recipients are:

New Waltham Program Manager

Rick Faubert has joined WPI's Waltham campus as program manager for UNIX/C/C++ Program, managing student admissions and career search strategies. He comes to WPI from GRF Consulting, a training/marketing service provider located in Wellesley, and previously worked at Digital Equipment Corp. in the areas of training, marketing and sales.

Alumnus Wins Visions 2000 Award

Marc D. Andelman '85, has received the Visions 2000 Enterprise Award. President of Biosource Inc. of Worcester, Andelman was honored for an "invention or technological advance," and recommended by WPI President Edward A. Parrish. The Vision 2000 awards, sponsored by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, were presented Thursday, Jan. 20, at Mechanics Hall in Worcester. The keynote speaker was Chief Justice Margaret Marshall of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts and U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy was a special guest. Andelman developed an innovative method to purify water, pursuing the idea for more than a decade in a corner of his cellar at his home in Worcester.

Science and Policy Studies Doings

In December, Ralph Levine, a professor of psychology at Michigan State University, visited WPI as a guest of the Social Science and Policy Studies Department. He gave a presentation to faculty and students on one of his areas of interest, the use of system dynamics in community psychology.

Also in December, Lee Peng Tan joined the department as a visiting scholar until April 2000. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship award, she will research the impact of free trade on Malaysia with the formation of APEC, using system dynamic models. Tan is on the faculty at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur.

The department also announced the appointment of Peter Senge as a visiting scholar for this year. Senge is a senior lecturer at the Sloan School at MIT and is president of the Society for Organizational Learning. While at WPI, he will assist the department faculty in developing a system dynamics program.

Hill Places First at Bay State Games

Jonathan Hill, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering, competed in the Bay State Winter Games this past Friday at Williams College and placed first in the Figure Skating ISI Freestyle Level 4. The Bay State Summer and Winter Games provide quality Olympic-style athletic competition and developmental programs for amateur athletes. The winter games attracted more than 2,000 athletes in six different sports. Each sport is organized according to national governing body rules. Age and skill divisions have been created to allow medal opportunities for a broad range of athletes. The Massachusetts Amateur Sports Foundation conducts the games. Jonathan has been skating for five years and considers himself a recreational skater.


Brown Bag Safety Seminar

Friday, Jan. 21, noon, "Using Chemical Hoods: A Laboratory Safety Test," Goddard Hall 217. For more information, call ext. 5216 or e-mail dmessier@wpi.edu.

Computer Science

Friday, Jan. 28, 11 a.m., "Packing, Parking and Partitioning in a Random World," Edward Coffman, New Jersey Institute, Fuller Labs 311.

Continuing Education

Wednesday, Feb. 9, 1 and 6 p.m., Information Session, "Advance Your Career with IT Training," MetroWest Campus, 225 Turnpike Road (Route 9 West) Southborough. For more information, call 800-974-9717.
Thursday, Feb. 10, 1 and 6 p.m., Information Session, "Advance Your Career with IT Training," Waltham Campus, 60 Hickory Drive. For more information, call 800-974-9717.


Monday, Feb. 7, 4 p.m., "How Neuronal Growth Cones Move: A Quantitative Understanding," Canwen Liu, Tufts University, School of Medicine, Olin Hall 107.

Tech Old Timers

Thursday, Feb. 10, 10:30 a.m., Off-Campus Projects Presentation by Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division, Riley Commons.

Publications & Presentations

Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering

Kohles, S. S. and D. A. Martinez, "Elastic and Physicochemical Relationships in Cortical Bone," in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, 49 (4):479-488, 2000.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Elbirt, A. and C. Paar, "An FPGA Implementation and Performance Evaluation of the Serpent Block Cipher," extended presentation at the 8th ACM International Symposium on Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA 2000), Monterey, Calif., Feb. 10-11.

Humanities And Arts

Ephraim, Michelle, "David Mamet's Jewish Boys in the Hood: The Language of Muteness and Masculinity," presented at the Modern Language Association (MLA), Chicago, Dec. 28.
Samson, M. David, "CD-ROMs in a Modern Architecture Course," in Interactive Learning: Vignettes from America's Most Wired Campuses, ed. David G. Brown. Bolton, Mass., Anker Publishing Co., 2000.

Mathematical Sciences

Chen, M.-H., Q.-M. Shao and J. g. Ibrahim, "Monte Carlo Methods in Bayesian Computation," book in Springer Series in Statistics, Springer-Verlag, 2000.
Chen, M.-H. and Q.-M. Shao, "Existence of Bayes Estimators for the Polychotomous Quantal Response Models," in the Annals of the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, 51, 637-656, 1999.
Chen, M.-H. and Q.-M. Shao, "Properties of Prior and Posterior Distributions for Multivariate Categorical Response Data Models," in the Journal of Multivariate Analysis, 71, 277-296.

Mechanical Engineering

Gatsonis, N., L. Byrne, R. Eckman, M. Gagne, X. Yin, E. Pencil, R. Myers, "Pulsed Plasma Thruster Plumes: Experimental Investigations and Numerical Modeling," AIAA 2000-0464, 38th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, Reno, Jan.12.
Alexandrou, A. N. R. Lemdiasov, N. Gatsonis and A. Sacco, "Particle-Fluid Dynamics Under Variable Gravity Conditions," AIAA 2000-0701,38th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, Reno, Jan. 12.


Pierson, Stephen, "Bridging Introductory Physics to Engineering Courses," presented at the American Association of Physics Teachers Winter Meeting, Orlando, Fla., January 2000.
Pierson, Stephen, "Incorporating Innovations into the Classroom: the Perspective of New Faculty," presented at the American Association of Physics Teachers Winter Meeting, Orlando, Fla., January 2000.

Social Science and Policy Studies

Radzicki, Michael J. and Sheldon Friedman, "Overwhelming a Digital Carrying Capacity: The Case of Oxford Health Plans," invited presentation at the System Dynamics Winter Camp 2000, University of Texas at Austin, Jan. 6.

Worth Noting

What once was science fiction is rapidly becoming science fact, thanks, in part, to research under way at WPI. Nanotechnology, the design and manufacture of incredibly tiny machines, has been featured in visions of the future as diverse as the 1966 film "Fantastic Voyage" and television's "Star Trek". Today, machines with gears visible only with the aid of a powerful microscope are being developed that may, in the not too distant future, be injected into the bloodstream to clear clogged arteries, added to airbag systems to make them more sensitive or placed in computers to make them more secure. A critical facet of building machines too small to see with the naked eye is developing incredibly sensitive methods for observing them in action and measuring their performance. That's where WPI's Center for Holographic Studies and Laser micro-mechaTronics (CHSLT) has the edge over other laboratories. Under the direction of its founder, Ryszard Pryputniewicz, professor of mechanical engineering, the center uses laser holography techniques it has honed over the past two decades to measure the speed, deformation and other characteristics of these miniature machines in real time, while they spin at incredible speeds. "We seem to be the only people in the country, and the world, who can work at this level," Pryputniewicz says.

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Last modified: February 13, 2008 08:44:22