June 29, 2006

Around Campus

It’s a Grand Opening for Bartlett Center

Bartlett Center, WPI’s new admissions and financial aid building, was dedicated on June 8. Entrepreneur James L. Bartlett Jr. ’39 and his wife, Shirley V. Bartlett, whose generous donation made the building possible, were present for the ceremony, along with many of their family members. A mechanical engineer by training, Jim Bartlett has founded six companies in a wide range of technical fields. WPI recognized his career achievements by awarding him an honorary doctorate in engineering in 1998. He received the Robert H. Goddard Alumni Award for Professional Achievement in 2004.

Award for Professional Achievement in 2004. Designed by CBT/Childs Bertman Tseckares Inc. in Boston, the two-story, 16,589-square-foot structure is the first WPI building to be registered with the U.S. Green Building Council. It was designed as a "green building" using sustainable design principles under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

President Berkey thanked the Bartletts for their extraordinary generosity and noted that WPI is proud to count them among its most loyal friends. Judith Nitsch ’75, president of Judith Nitsch Engineering Inc. and chair of the Physical Facilities Committee of the WPI Board of Trustees, presented the Bartletts with a resolution from the board recognizing their transforming contributions to the university. Kristin Tichenor, associate vice president for enrollment management, praised the Bartletts for helping make possible a beautiful building that provides a warm, welcoming experience for prospective students and their families.

With Nitsch, Berkey unveiled a plaque honoring the Bartletts and a photographic portrait of the couple. The plaque and portrait will be prominently displayed in the new building, which includes spacious reception areas, conference rooms, interview rooms, staff offices and work areas, and a 42-seat multimedia presentation room.

WPI Scores the Worcester College Cup

For the second time in three years, WPI has won the Worcester College Cup, presented annually by the Telegram & Gazette to the area college with the highest overall winning percentage in all sports. WPI’s varsity teams finished 131-119-3, for a .524 winning percentage. WPI was the only school above .500. Fitchburg State (.488) was second and defending champion Worcester State (.475) third.

WPI got a boost from its men's and women's basketball teams. The men went 23-4 and advanced to the second round of the NCAAs. The women won 16 games. The football (6-3) and softball (23-14) teams also had impressive seasons; the volleyball, men's soccer, and field hockey teams improved on their win totals from 2004-05, giving WPI contributions across the board.

WPI joins Worcester State, Clark, and Assumption as a multiyear winner of the award. WPI won the cup for the first time in 2004.

Special Offer on WPI Launch Program

WPI Launch, a summer opportunity for students entering their freshman or sophomore year of high school, is being offered for the first time this summer by the WPI Admissions Office.

Participants will attend workshops and conduct lab work in biology, computer science, or robotics. They will work on group projects and learn from outstanding WPI instructors, all while using state-of-theart experimental, analytical, and computer technology. During each of two program sessions, July 31- August 4 and August 7-11, sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day, with accommodations for early arrivals and late departures.

During this inaugural year, the Admissions Office will waive the registration fee for students referred by WPI faculty and staff members. So tell your children, neighbors, or family friends about WPI Launch. To receive the waived registration fee, participants must register using the form available at www.wpi.edu/ +launch; simply write "referred by (name of faculty or staff member)” on the registration form.

For more information, please contact the Launch staff at launch@wpi.edu.

Greenwood Swim Programs Offered

Greenwood Memorial, a nationally recognized USA Swimming affiliated swim club, is accepting registrations for a new swimming lesson program and an agegroup developmental swim team at WPI.

The semiprivate swimming lessons are being offered to children six and over who are beginner, advanced beginner, intermediate, or advanced swimmers. The age-group developmental team is an introduction to USA Swimming affiliated competitive swimming, focusing on basic stroke techniques, kick strengthening, aerobic training, having fun, and developing a positive attitude.

Registration is ongoing through the summer, notes Rosemarie Meissner of the Greenwood Memorial Swim Club. For more information, contact Meissner at 978-827-4580, or visit www.greenwoodswim.com.


Faculty Receive Federal Education Award

Four computer science faculty members have received Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) awards from the U.S. Department of Education. The fiscal year 2006 grant of $211,000, renewable for three years, will provide five annual graduate fellowships for students in computer science.

Assistant Professors Neil Heffernan and Emmanuel Agu, Associate Professor George Heineman, and Professor Matthew Ward recently received the news from the office of Senator John Kerry.

The awards will enable WPI to provide support to PhD candidates in areas of national need, including learning science, visual analytics, and computer and network security, and advance current research programs at the university that have applications in such critical fields as homeland security, health care, and education. The awards will also enhance the university’s prominence as a leading center for research and education in computer science, notes Michael A. Gennert, head of the Computer Science Department

Ward, the principal investigator for the GAANN award, said the Department of Education’s investment in WPI’s computer science graduate program will also help raise the profile of the discipline of computer science and help reverse a significant decline in interest in the field among high school students.

WPI has previously received GAANN awards in biomedical engineering and physics. The number of fellowships awarded per institution can range from three to ten. This year’s federal appropriation for GAANN awards was $30,067,290.

Motorized Braces Wins Kalenian Award

A faculty member and two graduate students who developed a motorized brace that enables people suffering from muscular dystrophy to perform simple tasks with their hands have received WPI’s first Kalenian Award for entrepreneurship. The award includes $25,000 in seed funding to help the team further develop the technology.

The winners are Allen Hoffman, professor of mechanical engineering and co-founder of WPI’s Assistive Technology Resource Center, Michael Scarsella ’05, and Steven Toddes ’05. Scarsella and Toddes are currently graduate students in mechanical engineering.

The Kalenian Award was established this year by Alba Kalenian in memory of her late husband, inventor Aram Kalenian ’33. It is designed to fuel the entrepreneurial spirit by funding a single viable invention each year. Proposals are reviewed by an award committee consisting of Paul Kalenian, son of Aram and Alba, Carol Simpson, WPI’s provost and senior vice president, and McRae Banks, head of the Department of Management and director of the university’s Collaborative for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The brace, called an arm orthosis, grew out of a series of WPI student projects conducted for the Massachusetts Hospital School, in Canton, Mass., where student teams, advised by Hoffman, have been working on rehabilitation engineering projects since 1989.

Young people with muscular dystrophy retain dexterity in their hands, but, because of wasting in their shoulders, upper arms, and trunk, are unable move their arms. The orthosis is a brace that fits over the arm. A joystick, held with the free hand, is used to operate motors that flex the arm at the elbow and rotate it to direct the hand to where it is needed. With the brace, the user can grip and move up to three pounds, making it possible, for example, to use a toothbrush or utensils for eating. A lap tray is used as a horizontal pivot point for the elbow, giving the user two degrees of freedom.

Hoffman says the technology has progressed to the point where it is ready for patenting and licensing. With the help of the Kalenian Award, he says he hopes the orthosis can be commercialized and made available widely to improve life for those with muscular dystrophy.

Demetry Chosen for Engineering Workshop

Chrys Demetry, associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Center for Educational Development and Assessment, has been selected to participate in a weeklong workshop titled “Conducting Rigorous Research in Engineering Education” next month at the Colorado School of Mines. Supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, the workshop is a collaborative effort between the American Society for Engineering Education, the American Educational Research Association, and the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education.

Staff Promotions

The Human Resources Office has announced that the following members of the WPI administration and staff have earned promotions, effective July 1.

Publications and Presentations

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Hobey, William D. (Professor Emeritus), "Evolution or Intelligent Design?" Catholic Free Press, p. 5, June 2, 2006.

Humanities and Arts

Brattin, Joel J., "A Day at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” UniVibes 52, pp. 16-17, August 2006.

Brattin, Joel J., and Albert Tichy, "Don't Shoot the Piano Player!" UniVibes 52, pp. 18-21, August 2006.

Brattin, Joel J., "Blue Wild Angel: Jimi Hendrix Live at the Isle of Wight, by Andy Aledort," UniVibes 52, p.4, August 2006.

Jeffrey L. Forgeng, Joachim Meyer’s The Art of Combat : A German Martial Arts Treatise of 1570, London: Greenhill Books; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

Mechanical Engineering

Demetry, C., "Use of Formative Assessment to Probe Student Conceptions of the Lever Rule," presented and in proceedings (CD-ROM), American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exhibition, Chicago, Ill., June 18-21, 2006.

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Last modified: February 08, 2008 14:57:06