July 15, 2004

Around Campus

REU Nets Nearly $300,000 from NSF

WPI has received a $299,773 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for three more years of funding for the university’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site in Industrial Mathematics and Statistics, through the summer of 2006. This REU site enables 12 undergraduate students a year to participate in an intensive eight-week summer program introducing mathematics and statistics research in a corporate environment–the only summer program in the nation for undergraduates devoted to applied mathematical research.

The REU site in Industrial Mathematics and Statistics and accompanying NSF grant are overseen by Associate Professors of mathematics Arthur C. Heinricher and Suzanne L. Weekes as part of the university’s Center for Industrial Mathematics and Statistics (CIMS). They, along with Assistant Professor of mathematics Carlos J. Morales, serve as faculty advisors and work closely with the student teams. They also act as liaisons with the corporate project sponsors. The student projects are real and of immediate interest and use to the companies involved.

This summer’s 12 undergraduates have come to WPI to work on three projects sponsored by IBM and Massachusetts General Hospital, New Frontier Advisors, and one of the major automobile insurance companies in Massachusetts. They hail from as far away as California and the United Kingdom, and repreent schools such as Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania and WPI. This year’s program marks the seventh consecutive year that WPI has hosted this REU.

Summer Concert Series Continues

The series of free hour-long concerts, sponsored by the Campus Center and Student Activities continue through July each Wednesday at noon on the Burt Terrace of the Campus Center (rain location, Forkey Commons). Bring your own lunch or purchase food in the Food Court.

July 21: Woodvale String quartet (classical)
July 28: New England Brass Guild Quintet (classical)
For more information call ext. 5191.


Two New Department Heads Join WPI

The Biology and Biotechnology and Physics departments welcomed new department heads on July 1. Both men are also tenured professors.

Eric W. Overström, who has been a faculty member at Tufts University for more than 21 years, is the new Biology and Biotechnology head. At Tufts, Overström served in the Anatomy and Cellular Biology and Biomedical Sciences departments and has been affiliated with the university’s graduate program in cell, molecular and developmental biology for many years. He succeeds Jill Rulfs,. who is returning to teaching and research full time.

The new Physics head is John W. Norbury, who previously served two terms as chair of the Physics Department at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse and Milwaukee, where he was noted for his outstanding achievements as a scholar and teacher. He succeeds Tom Keil who, after 10 years as department head, is looking forward to devoting more time to further improving the effectiveness of WPI’s undergraduate programs.


Diran Apelian, received the 2004 Fellow award from APMI International for his contributions and innovative work in metal processing. The award was presented at the 2004 International Conference On Powder Metallurgy and Particulate Materials.

Pam Weathers, was recently elected Public Policy Chair of the Society for In Vitro Biology, a national scientific society. The Public Policy Committee is a standing committee of the Society for In Vitro Biology (SIVB). The Committee assists Society members and the scientific community-at-large to better understand in vitro biology, biotechnology and the current research and public policy issues affecting the scientific community. The Committee supports the SIVB to interact with members of Congress and other governmental officials for the purpose of giving scientific advice on funding priorities and issues relevant to in vitro biology and biotechnology.

Allan Hoffman, mechanical engineering professor, was presented with a certificate of recognition, at the Sterling Annual Town Meeting, in recognition of his 26 1/2 years of service on the Board of Health. Stanley Selkow, computer science professor, was elected to fill the position.

Landy Johnson, associate director of foundation relations received a Ph.D. from Clark University.

Penny Rock, replaces, recently retired, Joan Shanahan as WPI Faculty Governance Coordinator.

Sigma Phi Epsilon Honors Faculty and Staff

On April 28, the seniors of Sigma Phi Epsilon held a faculty and staff dinner honoring members of the WPI community. The event was to honor those people for their dedicated service to both the students of the house and the WPI Community. Each of the seniors was allowed one guest whom they felt had a positive impact on their experience at WPI. The honorees were presented by the house member with a plaque and a brief presentation on why they were selected to receive this honor. The honorees are:

Matthew Ballard; William Baller; Ladislav H. Berka; Ted Clancy; Eben Cobb; Erwin Danneels; Barbara Furhman; Phil Grebiner; Natalie Koukis; William Martin; William Michalson; Sean McAvey; Tracy Pakstis-Claiborne; Jill Rulfs; Richard Sisson; Greg Snoddy and Ed Zaloom.

Report From the Cabinet

Publications and Presentations

Chemical Engineering

Emerson, R.J.* and Camesano, T.A. "A Nanoscale Analysis of Pathogenic Microbial Adhesion to Biomedical Implant Materials," presented at the 78th Colloid and Surface Science Symposium (ACS), Yale University, New Haven, Conn., June 2004.

*WPI Graduate Student

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Tauscher, Tiffany*, Sharon C. Long* and Jeanine D. Plummer, "Microbial Source Tracking for Assessing Watershed Hotspots," presented at and in proceedings of the American Water Works Association Annual Conference, Orlando, FLa, June 13-17, 2004 (*University of Massachusetts Amherst).

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Vaz, Richard, Program Chair, International Symposium on Society and Technology, Worcester, June 2004.

Vaz, Richard, Stephen J. Bitar, Timothy Prestero, and Neil Cantor, "Student Design for the Developing World", Proceedings of ASEE 2004, Salt Lake City UT, June 2004.

Vaz, Richard, "A Sophomore-Level ECE Product Design Experience", Proceedings of ASEE 2004, Salt Lake City UT, June 2004.

Orr, John A., and Richard Vaz, "Experiences in the Transition from an EE Major to an ECE Major, Proceedings of ASEE 2004, Salt Lake City UT, June 2004.

Recent Grants

Biology and Biotechnology

Miller, J. and J. Rencis, for "K-6 Gets a Piece of the PIEE-Partnership Implementing Engineering Education," from the Nationals Science Foundation, $59,500

Tyler, J., for Modeling Spatial and Temporal Fish Habitat Use, Growth, and Survival," from the University of Michigan, $49,000.

Weathers, P. ,for "Research on Artemisinin Production by Genetically Engineer," from the ICSC World Laboratory, $18,000.

Weathers, P. ,for "Research on Mist Reactor for Hairy Rood Culture," from the ICSC World Laboratory, $18,000.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Mallick, R., for "Development of Mix Design for 15 Foamed Asphalt Full Depth Reclamation Projects in Maine," from the Maine Department of Transportation, $19,386.

Plummer, J. and R. Mallick, for "REU Site: Motivation Talented Students, Women and Underrepresented Minorities Through Summer Research Experience in Environmental and Transportation Engineering," from the National Science Foundation, $209,964.

Computer Science

Fisler, K., for " Computing Education for Every Student in Secondary Schools," from Northeastern University, $10,000.

Gennert, M., for "Patient Motion Detection and Compensation in SPECT," from the University of Massachusetts, Worcester, $152,703.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Looft, Fred and S. Bitar, for Student Projects at the Goddard Space Flight Center," from NASA, $20,000.

Mathematical Science

Walker, H., for "FY 2004 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program, from the National Institue of Stndards and Technology, $6,670.

Mechanical Engineering

Brown, C., for "Collaborative Research: Three-Dimensional Analysis of Dental Microwave in Primates," from the National Science Foundation, $7,435.

Gatsonis, N., for " WPI/Space Grant Aerospace Projects, from MIT, $10,000.

Total May grants and contracts awarded: $580,658.

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Last modified: February 21, 2008 09:46:26