August 19, 2004

Around Campus

Summer Hours End This Week

On Monday, Aug. 23, nonexempt staff members are expected to return to their normal 37.5-hour workweek and exempt employees are expected to return to their 40-hour workweek schedule.

Student Orientation Starts This Weekend

New Student Orientation begins Saturday, Aug. 21, and runs through Wednesday, Aug. 25. A complete schedule of activities and a list of WPI community members who are helping with this program may be found at the Office of Student Activities.

Events Office Announces Changes

The Events Office has made significant changes in the way it will help the community schedule and plan events. For example, a new reservation form makes it easier to request space for campus events. In addition, the office has prepared a guide for those planning events. The form and the guide are available at the Events Office. For more information, call ext. 5613 or e-mail or


In Memoriam: Lee A. Becker

Lee A. Becker, associate professor of computer science, passed away July 24 after a 14-month battle with leukemia. Becker, who joined the WPI faculty in 1984, earned a B.A. and a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Illinois, and an M.S. in computer science from Indiana University. His research and teaching interests were in the areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, computational linguistics, intelligent computer-aided instruction, cognitive modeling, visual communication, and object-oriented analysis and design.

Becker spent many terms advising student projects at project centers located in Washington, D.C., Venice, London, Silicon Valley, and Copenhagen. "Lee was a beloved colleague, friend, and teacher," noted Computer Science Department Head Michael Gennert. "A dedicated scholar and educator, Lee cared passionately about WPI. He greatly enjoyed working with students, involving undergraduate and graduate students in his research. Lee was devoted to his family, shared his great smile with everyone, played a mean game of chess, and ran a marathon (once!). Lee had a passion for food, tennis, dogs, cycling, and Slavic linguistics. He truly embodied the Renaissance ideal."

Becker is survived by his wife, Ying, son, Joshua, and daughter, Rachel.

New Heads For Biology and Physics

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

Elmes Named Fulbright Scholar

Michael B. Elmes, professor of management, is WPI's latest Fulbright Scholar. The flagship international educational program sponsored by the U.S. government, the Fulbright Program is designed to "increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries." Through the program, more than 250,000 participants, chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential, have been selected since 1946 to study and teach in each other's countries, exchange ideas, and develop joint solutions to address shared concerns.

Elmes will be in New Zealand from January to July 2005 to conduct research on the effects of the governments decision to lift a moratorium on the growing of genetically modified crops. He will also serve as a guest lecturer at the Victoria Management School.

Buckholt Appointed Chair of IACUC

Michael Buckholt, lab instructor in the Biology and Biotechnology Department, has been appointed chair of WPI's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. He succeeds Ross Shonat, assistant professor of biology and biotechnology.

Publications and Presentations

Chemical Engineering

*former graduate student

Chemistry and Biochemistry

*graduated Karen Berka '86 with B.S. in chemistry; obtained M.S. in forensic science in 1988 from University of New Haven; is now forensic scientist I at Indiana State Police Crime Laboratory, where she has been since 1992. She is the daughter of Laddie Berka, professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Computer Science

Humanities and Arts

Recent Grants

Biomedical Engineering

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Chemical Engineering

Computer Science

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Fire Protection Engineering


Mathematical Science

Mechanical Engineering

Did You Know...

This fall, the Department of Management is introducing two new graduate degree programs, master of science in information technology and master of science in operations design and leadership, which may be pursued on campus and through the Advanced Distance Learning Network. The programs were created in response to industry's need for professionals with solid foundations in IT and operations management. Both evolved from the university's former M.S. degree program in operations and information technology. The new programs, like all of WPI's business programs, are accredited by the discipline's standards organization AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Learn more at the Department of Management web site.

News From the Mass Academy of Math and Science

The WPI and Massachusetts Academy of Mathematics and Science FIRST Team scored a third at the Indiana Robotics Competition in Indianapolis on July 5 and won both the President's Award and Leadership in Controls Award. Participating were several newly minted Mass Academy grads: Sarah Rich, Heather Senecal, Rachelle Horwitz, and Jon Gibbons, along with senior Garrett Cavanaugh.

Massachusetts Academy junior Allison Smyth won the first-place award for "fastest reaction time" in her car at the National Hot Rod Association O'Reilly Auto Parts Jr. Dragster Nationals in Bristol, Tenn., between July 11 and 17.

Fifteen students attended the Mass Academy's first annual Intellect Quest program this summer.

Bethany Vitaris, who placed first in the Regional Science Fair, represented the academy at the International Science Fair in Portland, Ore.

14 members of the academy's Class of 2005 qualified for participation in the 2005 National Merit Scholarship Program. Jon Gibbons and Sarah Rich were selected National Merit finalists.

Brian Wandrei was team high scorer at the Worcester County Math League meet in Shrewsbury.

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Last modified: February 21, 2008 09:54:01