November 18, 2004

Around Campus

Admissions Web Site Wins Award

WPI's Undergraduate Admissions Web site was honored as the best educational institution Web site at the 2004 Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange (MITX) awards show in Boston last week, beating out, among others, Simmons College, the Harvard MBA program and Middlebury College.

The site ( was the product of a collaboration between WPI's Admissions, Marketing, and Web Development offices, and the Boston Web-design firm EuroRSCG. Previously, the site received Gold Awards in communications contests sponsored by CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education) and CASE District 1.

Care for a Taste of Culture?

The International Student Council's 18th annual International Dinner, with food and entertainment from around the world, will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11, in Alden Memorial. Tickets, available in the International House, 28 Trowbridge Road, are $8 for ISC members and $10 for nonmembers. For more information call ext. 6030 or e-mail

Entries Sought for WPI Photography Show

Archives and Special Collections will host the WPI Community Photography Show at Gordon Library in C Term in 2005. Those interested in participating should contact Rodney Obien, or x6612.

Rutter's Gloria Highlight of Winter Concert

WPI's annual Holiday Concert, featuring the WPI Orchestra and Chorus performing Gloria by John Rutter, will take place Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in Alden Memorial. For more information call ext. 5246.


Lowenstein Now Wearing Two Hats

Arlene Lowenstein, dean of special academic programs, has relocated to 39 Dean Street to take on the additional responsibility for Graduate Admissions (she also directs WPI's Summer Term). Joan Murphy will assist Lowenstein in her new position.

President's IQP Award Finalists Announced

The Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) is the most distinctive element of WPI's unique approach to education. Through this required project, students tackle important social issues and problems for agencies and organizations around the globe, developing solutions that can change the world in positive ways.

Each year, WPI recognizes the best IQPs with the President's IQP Awards. The recipients, chosen from among dozens of entries, provide an exciting window on the remarkable work that WPI students can do, and on the extraordinary preparation WPI provides students for success in work and life.

Five projects have been chosen to receive the 2004 awards; another five will receive special commendation. The WPI community is invited to hear these teams present the results of their projects to President Berkey and a panel of distinguished judges at 1:45 p.m. on Dec. 1 in Higgins Labs 116. Here are the finalists:

Development of Communal Washing Facilities for the Northwest Settlements of Windhoek, Namibia, by Adam M. Bryant, Andrew Campbell, Patrick Salmon; advisors: Susan Vernon-Gerstenfeld and Arthur Gerstenfeld

The Development of an Irrigation System in the Village of Nong Din Dam by Steven Toddes, Kevin Monahan, Chase Cote; advisors: Stephen Weininger and Joel Brattin

Energy Efficiency Guidelines for Low-Cost Housing by Andrew Mumford, Jessica Sulzmann, Jesse Tippett; advisors: Susan Vernon-Gerstenfeld and Arthur Gerstenfeld

Noise Monitoring in San Juan, Puerto Rico by Krista Backiel, Andrew Day, Jaime Grouf, Dimitri Stancioff; advisors: W.A. Bland Addison and Tahar El-Korchi

Increasing Awareness of Lahu Culture Through Solar Technology by Justin Crafford, Chris Treat, Ben Mar, Colin More; advisors: Stephen Weininger and Joel Brattin

Here are the special commendation recipients:

Educating a Diverse Community by Catherine Desmarais, Joseph Gruttadauria, Michael Sikorski, David Walley; advisors: Creighton Peet and Karen Lemone

Reconstructing Venetian Sea Levels Prior to 1872 by Nick Angelini, Laura Corsetto, Dave DeFusco, Mike Scarsella; advisors: Fabio Carrera and H.J. Manzari

Economic Development Opportunities for Worcester by Jessica Jajosky, Christopher Moller, Joshua Zarr; advisors: Francis Noonan and Fabio Carrera

Live/Work Site Analysis for the Borough of Merton by Erin Bryan, Keith Sacco, Stephanie Bennet, Hunter Bennet-Dagget; advisors: Kevin Clements and Paul Davis

Fire Services Museum Audio Tour Prototype by Laura Desi, Matthew Krolac, Boris Masis, Lauren Stolzar; advisors: Creighton Peet and Karen Lemone

Publications and Presentations

Biology and Biotechnology

Höflich, Jörg, Berninsone, Patricia, Göbel, Christine, Gravato-Nobre, Maria J., Libby, Brian J., Darby, Craig, Politz, Samuel M., Hodgkin, Jonathan, Hirschberg, Carlos B., and Baumeister, Ralf, "Loss of srf-3-Encoded Nucleotide Sugar Transporter Activity in Caenorhabditis Elegans Alters Surface Antigenicity and Prevents Bacterial Adherence," in J. Biol. Chem. (Jul 2004); Vol. 279: 30440-30448.

Biomedical Engineering

Cornwell, K. G., Downing, B. R., and Pins, G.D., "Characterizing Fibroblast Migration on Collagen Threads for Applications in Tissue Engineering," presented at the 2004 Biomedical Engineering Society Meeting, Philadelphia, Pa.

Bush, K.A., Balestrini, J.L., Walsh, S.E., Downing, B.R., and Pins G.D., "Characterization of Keratinocyte Adhesion on Surface Modified Basal Lamina Analogs," presented at the 2004 Biomedical Engineering Society Meeting, Philadelphia, Pa.

Downing, B.R., Cornwell, K.G., Toner, M., and Pins, G.D., "The Influence of Collagen Membrane Microtopography on Keratinocyte Function," presented at the 2004 Biomedical Engineering Society Meeting, Philadelphia, Pa.

Humanities and Arts

Brattin, Joel J., David Copperfield (facsimile of first serial installment), by Charles Dickens," in the Dickens Quarterly, vol. 21, no. 3, Sept. 2004, pp. 187-88.

Mott, Wesley T., "Master Teacher--Recollected in Respect (Edward Wagenknecht, 1900-2004)," in Bostonia (Fall 2004): 66-67.

_____ , "Original Sin Repaid for Red Sox Nation," Foxboro Reporter, Nov. 4, p. 5.

Shannon, Thomas A., "Ethical Issues in the Withdrawal of Medical Treatment," presented at Carlow College, Carlow, Ireland, Oct. 19.

Mechanical Engineering

Pryputniewicz, Ryszard J., chaired the Unification of Analytical, Computational, and Experimental Solution Methodologies in MEMS and Nanotechnology symposium, Springfield, Mass., Oct. 27-29.

Provost's Office

Schachterle, Lance, "How WPI Approached the 2001 NEASC Self Study," presented at the NEASC workshop for Institutions Preparing for 2006 Self Studies, Marlboro, Mass., Oct. 14.

_____, "Faculty Governance Embraces Outcomes Assessment," FIE Conference, Oct. 21, Savannah, Ga., text in conference proceedings, session T3G.

Did You Know...

WPI's Connection to Tsinghua University

Tsinghua University is China's top engineering school and one of its most distinguished educational institutions. It owes that status, in large part, to the accomplishments of Yi Chi Mei '14, who led the university during one of its most challenging periods.

Mei was one of the first Chinese students to study in America under a scholarship program created when the United States and Great Britain chose to return some of the funds exacted from China after the Boxer Rebellion. After graduating from WPI, he returned to China to teach at Tsinghua University and became its president in 1931.

Under his leadership, the university nearly doubled its enrollment and established an engineering school. The Japanese invasion of China in 1938 led to several harrowing years as the university was forced to move repeatedly and carry out its programs under constant threat of bombing. During this period, WPI awarded Mei an honorary doctorate in engineering.

After World War II, Mei settled for a time in the United States. In 1955, he established National Tsinghua University in Taiwan and served as its first president. In 1958 he was offered a cabinet position in the Chinese government as minister of education. He retired from that position in 1961 due to ill health and died the following year.

Update Your Campus Directory

Human Resources has released the following updates to the 2004-05 campus directory.

Delete Elizabeth Stepien from Chemistry/Biochemistry (she should only appear under Bioengineering Institute).

Change the titles for the following faculty:
Zhikun Hou: change to Professor
P. K. Aravind: change to Professor
Alex A. Zozulya: change to Professor

Under MPI, change Maureen Plunkett's number to 5992.
The fax number for @WPI should be 5604.
The address for BEI should be 85 Prescott St.

Computer Tips

Flip the Switch

Ever try to run a mail merge with ZIP codes only to find that the leading zero is dropped? It drives you crazy because that field looks fine in your data source! The solution? Use a numeric format switch to control the appearance of the ZIP code.

A "switch" is an instruction that specifies the capitalization, numeral style, and character formatting that Microsoft Word uses in a field result. To add a numeric switch:

right-click inside the ZIP code field and select "Toggle Field Codes."
Enter the switch after the fieldname, for example {MERGEFIELD "ZIP code" \# 00000}
Right-click inside the ZIP code field again and select "Update Field."

When you preview your mail merge document the ZIP code should appear formatted correctly. To read more about switches, enter the word switch in the "Type a question for help" box in the upper right of the Word window.

Ask Amy

I've heard that coffee can cause joint pain in some people. Is this true? -- Kathy Kuhlwein, senior gift recording coordinator

That concern probably dates back to 1970, when a study that tracked 19,000 Finns over 15 years found that those who drank more than four cups of coffee a day had twice the chance of getting rheumatoid arthritis as those who drank fewer than four cups. None of the participants had evidence of the disease when the study began. The scientists theorized that the way the coffee was prepared might have been a factor. The boiled, unfiltered coffee prepared by Finns dissolves many of the substances in ground coffee that filters normally remove, increasing their concentration in the finished beverage.

A recent Israeli study showed that drinking up to two cups of coffee per day could dull the effects of methotrexate, a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. However, researchers concluded that the caffeine, rather than the coffee, might have been the culprit. They recommended that rheumatoid arthritis sufferers limit daily caffeine intake to 120 mg., about the amount in one average-size cup of caffeinated coffee.

Rheumatoid arthritis, by the way, affects about one percent of the U.S. population. Unlike the arthritis or joint inflammation most commonly seen in the elderly, it is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that causes joint swelling, pain, stiffness, and damage, typically in the hands and feet. Do you have a question about exercise, diet, or nutrition? E-mail

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Last modified: February 21, 2008 14:48:36