February 24, 2005

Around Campus

New WPI Home Page Debuted on Feb 14

The WPI community received a special Valentine’s Day treat: a new look for the university’s home page (www.wpi.edu). The new design is the product of several months of research and creative and technical work by members of the communications, marketing and Web development staffs.

The centerpiece of the new home page is a large window featuring a revolving set of photos of WPI that, in combination with brief messages, convey the essence of the WPI experience to visitors, particularly prospective undergraduates and their parents. The new design also provides quick access to information about academic programs. (See "Computer Tips" on page 2 for some hints on finding what you’re looking for using the new page.)

New First-Year Chemistry Labs Dedicated

On Feb. 5, WPI dedicated the Fuller Chemistry Complex in Goddard Hall, a new suite of state-of-the-art laboratories for the teaching of first-year chemistry. The new facility is the product of a $3 million renovation that included a full upgrade in equipment and instrumentation.

The new labs were made possible by a $1 million gift from the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation and contributions from the Pfizer Foundation, Pfizer Global Research and Development, and the WPI Class of 1954; a number of bequests from WPI alumni and friends; and a personal donation from John L. and Mary LaMattina. John LaMattina, a member of WPI's Board of Trustees, is president of Pfizer Global Research and Development.

The gifts also supported the development of a new, discovery-based approach to teaching first-year chemistry. The new curriculum enables students to learn chemistry as they tackle real-world projects. The goal is to teach students how to analytically approach problem solving and scientific discovery.

WPI Celebrates Women’s History Month

March is National Women’s History Month. This year’s theme, "Women Change America," recognizes the role of American women in transforming culture, history, and politics as leaders, writers, scientists, educators, politicians, artist, historians, and informed citizens. To celebrate, WPI’s Office of Diversity and Women’s Programs (ODAWP)1 will host these events:

Registration Open for Summer Session

WPI’s summer session starts May 16. Web registration for continuing students is now open. For course and registration details, view the online summer catalog at www.wpi.edu/Academics/Summer/.

Women of Strength Award

Do you know a female member of the WPI community who demonstrates strength of character, community spirit, and leadership. Someone who serves as a role model and is committed to improving the quality of life for women at WPI? If so, nominate her for the new Women of Strength Award.

The award, established by the Athena Project, will be given to six women (students, faculty, and staff) to honor their service to the community in the name of women. Award winners will be announced at a reception on March 31. Nominations must be received by March 16. For more information and nomination forms, visit www.wpi.edu/Admin/Diversity/.

Regional Science Fair at WPI March 11

Want to get to know tomorrow’s scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs? Visit the Campus Center Odeum on Friday, March 11, to see more than 140 experiment-based projects developed by students at 16 high schools around Central Massachusetts. The students will be competing for several thousand dollars in awards and prizes at the 50th Annual Worcester Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

The fair will be open to the public from 1:30 to 4:45 p.m. The action will then move to Perreault Hall in Fuller Labs for an awards ceremony at 5 p.m. WPI President Dennis Berkey will be the guest speaker. The fair is sponsored by WPI and other local colleges, clubs, corporations, and professional organizations.

"Gompei the Burninator" Ready to Rumble

Team 190, the FIRST Robotics team made up of about 120 WPI students and about 30 students from the Mass. Academy and other area high schools, unveiled its latest creation, "Gompei the Burninator," on Monday before taking it on the road to upcoming regional competitions in New Hampshire and New York and the national competition in Atlanta in April.

The new robot employs some ingenious technology, including a four-wheel "holonomic" drive system, to help it win this year’s competition, in which robots score points by placing tetras (28-inch-tall tetrahedral space frames) on or into a goal. Read more about Team 190 and the new robot at the team’s Web site, users.wpi.edu/~first.


Jean Pritchard, Wife of Former AD, Dies

Jean E. (Smith) Pritchard, wife of Robert Pritchard, former director of athletics and head football coach at WPI, died on Jan. 15. She was 91. Jean Pritchard and her family returned to campus regularly for many years to present the Pritchard Award, named in honor of her late husband, to the most outstanding back and lineman after the Homecoming football game. Memorial donations may be made to WPI Poly Club Pritchard Memorial Fund, c/o Department of Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics, WPI, 100 Institute Rd., Worcester, MA 01609.

Student Wins Local Scholarship

Kathleen Ferguson ‘06, a technical communications major, will receive the $1,000 Elaine Cencak Memorial Scholarship from the Worcester Society of Professional Communicators at the organization’s annual meeting on May 13. Ferguson was selected based on her demonstrated intelligence, talent, and creativity. A former biology major, Ferguson melded her love of science with her exceptional writing skills by working as an editor for a high school chemistry curriculum, translating complex chemistry ideas into easily understandable language.

In her free time, Ferguson has also designed several Web sites, including a current-events site for overlooked news items and facts. Upon graduation, she would like to work as a science writer for a newspaper or magazine.

WPI Biochemist in Hair Club for Scientists

The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists is for researchers "who have, or believe they have, luxuriant flowing hair." It’s the creation of the editors of the Annals of Improbable Research, a parody of scientific journals. Melissa Towler, a Ph.D candidate in biochemical engineering who is also a competitive ballroom dancer and Scottish Fold fancier, recently joined the club. Towler says she plans to cut at least 10 inches off of her locks and donate the hair to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that donates hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from lon-term medical hair loss, after she completes her dissertation this spring. To read more about Towler, visit www.improb.com and click on "Hair Club."

Football Star Finalist for NCAA Scholarship

Miguel Concepcion '05, a star cornerback and return specialist on the WPI football team, has reached the "finalist" tier for the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Award. The award is given to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition. Nominees must have a minimum GPA of 3.2, be nominated by the faculty athletics representative or designee, and intend to continue academic work beyond the baccalaureate degree as a part-time or full-time graduate student. Concepcion, a biology major, plans to attend medical school this fall. Scholarship recipients are named in late February.

Community Notes

New Arrivals in University Relations

Two members of the Development and University Relations staff gave birth on Thursday, Feb. 17:


Anne Carraher, assistant director of annual giving and young alumni programs, and her husband, Mike, welcomed their first child, Benjamin Joseph Carraher, who weighed 4 pounds. 1.9. ounces, and was 19 inches long.


Tara Myers, director of e-marketing, and her husband, Jason, welcomed Juniper Catherine Myers, their first child. Juniper was 20.2 inches long and weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces.

The new moms and dads, and their babies, are all happy and healthy.

Computer Tips

How to Find What You’re Searching For

Unlike the former WPI home page, the new page unveiled on Feb. 14 does not have a "quick links" menu. Without this shortcut, how can you find what you’re looking for quickly? Here are some suggestions from the Web Development Office:

myWPI: look for the link to this campus community portal in the upper right corner of the new page, in the "Of special interest to" menu.

Direct URLs: These take you right to specific content. Some common ones are:

Short URLs: Other sections of the WPI Web site have these shortcuts that include plus signs. An example is www.wpi.edu/ Transformations. A full list of these short URLs may be found at www.wpi.edu/ webpolicies/shorturls.html

Bookmarks and Links: In your own Web browser, you may create bookmarks for areas of the WPI site you use most often. If you need help, contact the Helpdesk (helpdesk@wpi.edu).

Human Resources: The HR Web site was designed to be a "one-stop shopping" area for the WPI community. Items on the menu link to content in the HR site itself and to useful areas of the WPI Web site, sich as Webmail, myWPI, academic calendars, @WPI and more. Be sure to add www.wpi.edu/ HR to your bookmarks.

Search: The WPI search tool has been revamped. Members of the community are encouraged to try it. If you encounter problems, send feedback to webmaster@wpi.edu. Indicate what you searched for, what you expected to find, and what you got. Make note of any error messages you saw; just copy and paste them into the e-mail message.

Did you know

Some Notes on Women’s History at WPI

WPI’s charter did not exclude women. When the Worcester County Free Institute of Industrial Science opened in 1868, Principal Charles O. Thompson cited lack of space as the rationale for the all-male charter class. He said, "It is our purpose to throw the school open to youth of both sexes as soon as we can."

It would be 1957 before WPI awarded its first degree to a woman, Audrey Carlan, who earned an M.S. in physics.

WPI trustees voted to admit women as undergraduates for the first time in 1968. Two women entered; one, Lesley "Lee" Small (now Zorabedian), graduated in 1972.

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Last modified: February 21, 2008 13:49:29