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Vol. 7, No. 7; November 30, 2006

Around Campus

Friendly House to Recognize WPI

Eight WPI faculty and staff members and students will be honored Friday, Dec. 8 at the Friendly House community center in Worcester. They will be recognized for their mentorship of Friendly House students and for upgrading the center’s computer labs and hardware. The honorees are Emily Perlow, director of WPI Student Activities; senior Christina Mezzone, president of ExploraDreams and co-founder of the new RoboKids program; sophomore Alexia Bililies; senior Ross Tsantoulis and his Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity brothers; 2006 WPI alumni Jimmy Schementi and Tom Fox; and professors Gary Pollice, Stanley Selkow, and Ken Stafford.

WPI students, faculty, and staff have been involved with Friendly House for close to 40 years, providing volunteer services, student mentoring programs, and fraternity-organized food collections. Through project work, WPI students have helped design a new energy-efficient building, create parking recommendations, and manage a new computer system installation. The computer project saved Friendly House thousands of dollars while providing WPI students with a rigorous academic experience.

Robots to Invade WPI in December

Two significant robotics events will be held on campus in December. The 10th annual “Savage Soccer” competition will be Saturday, Dec. 9, and the 6th annual “RoboNautica” is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 16.

Savage Soccer is an annual all-day event hosted at the Massachusetts Academy of Mathematics and Science at WPI. Established in 1995, the event helps students learn about basic robotics principles and teamwork. This year’s event will take place in Salisbury Labs. See www.wpi.edu/~savage for more information.

The theme of RoboNautica 6, a Massachusetts Official Tournament of FIRST LEGO League, is “Nano Quest.” WPI is hosting the event, which showcases the talents of children ages 9-14. Held in Harrington Auditorium, RoboNautica is a New England proving ground for hundreds of would-be robotics champions. This year, 48 teams from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York will compete. For more information, see www.wpi.edu/ +robonautica.

WPI Talents, Hobbies to be Showcased

WPI’s first Hobby Fair will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 1, in the Campus Center Odeum.

Faculty, staff, and student hobbyists will showcase their talents and passions. There will be a variety of hobbies exhibited, including art, photography, jewelry making, cake decorating, music, bee keeping, sand castle building, and even a glider displayed on the Quadrangle (weather permitting). Items will be raffled for free. The fair is sponsored by the Student Affairs and Campus Life Division and the Human Resources Office.

Volunteers Needed for Student Dinner

The Resident Student Dinner will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5, in the Morgan Commons dining area. Approximately 600 students are expected to attend.

Volunteers are needed to help serve meals. For the faculty, staff, and administrators who decide to lend a hand, an orientation reception with beverages and appetizers will be held prior to the dinner from 4 to 4:30 p.m. in the Higgins House Great Hall. For more information, contact Joseph Kraskouskas at dakajoe@ wpi.edu.

Code Talkers on Display at Library

Are you interested in learning more about the Native American Code Talkers? Did you know they were instrumental in both World Wars I and II? Stop by Gordon Library to see their amazing history in pictures and print. The display was put together by library employees Jackie Mushinsky, Rodney Obien, Ellie McGourty, Judy Fallon, and Lora Brueck.


Donald Peterson’s Work Ethic Lauded

WPI gardener Donald Peterson was recognized at the Nov. 20 administrative group meeting for his dedication, work ethic, and many years of service to the university. At the meeting, President Dennis D. Berkey presented Peterson with a certificate in recognition of his long service to WPI.

Peterson has not missed a day of work due to a workplace injury in 45 years. He started at WPI in April 1961. In October, Peterson had an accident while mowing the lawn in front of the Campus Center. He was left with a contusion the size of a large egg and several lacerations on his arm. After going to the emergency room for treatment, he returned to work in the afternoon. (See Nov. 16 @WPI for more.) To further recognize Peterson’s commitment, WPI declared Nov. 22, 2006, “Don Peterson Day.” In his honor, staff members were allowed to take the afternoon off with pay.

Gloria Steinem Speaks at WPI

Internationally known feminist and activist Gloria Steinem gave a lecture titled “The Sound of One Hand Clapping,” before a sold-out audience Nov. 14 at WPI’s Alden Memorial. As she spoke, attendees could hear the inspiring voices of the women’s chorus in another part of the building.

Steinem’s lecture addressed issues of gender, child abuse, and race, and she answered questions from the audience.

“Sometimes I think the last 5,000 years has been an experiment that failed. ...Racism was invented as a rationale to take over land,” Steinem said.

Responding to an audience member’s question seeking advice on how a woman should get involved in politics, Steinem encouraged volunteering on political campaigns, and making sure her spouse was supportive of her career goals. “We’re trying to uproot a system of dominance that has existed for 5,000 years,” she said.

Steinem, co-founder of Ms. magazine, travels as an organizer and lecturer and is a frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality. The event was sponsored by WPI’s Office of Women’s Programs, Office of Residence Life, and Office of Student Activities.

Rissmiller Named IGSD Associate Dean

Provost Carol Simpson has announced the appointment of Professor Kent Rissmiller of the Department of Social Sciences and Policy Studies as the new associate dean for the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division, following a campus- wide search process. Rissmiller’s appointment is effective Dec. 1.

Rissmiller joined the WPI faculty in 1988, with a JD degree from Franklin Pierce Law Center and a PhD in political science from Syracuse University. He came to WPI after a year teaching at New Mexico State University and has taught American government, public policy, public law, and political theory.

Throughout his time at WPI, Rissmiller has devoted effort to teaching and advising IQP projects through the IGSD. He has advised close to 90 IQPs, including participation in the Washington, D.C., Costa Rica, London, Puerto Rico, and Zurich project centers, and has several times taught the ID 2050 pre-IQP course. For the past two years, Rissmiller has been involved in promoting the on-campus IQP program. As associate dean, he will focus on improving the on– and off-campus IQP experience.

Members of the search committee were Professor Joel Brattin, student Eugene Choi, Assistant Professor Rob Krueger, Director of Global Operations Natalie Mello, and Professor John O’Connor.

National Professional Society Honors Ma

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the world’s leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, honored Yi Hua (Ed) Ma, Frances B. Manning Professor of chemical engineering at WPI and director of the university’s Center for Inorganic Membrane Studies. Ma was honored at the organization’s annual meeting Nov. 13 in San Francisco.

Over the past decade, Ma and his research team have been developing a novel chemical reactor that uses an ultrathin membrane made from palladium to separate hydrogen derived from natural gas or renewable sources, such as corn. The work has been funded by major research awards from Shell International Exploration & Production and Shell Hydrogen, and more recently by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The reactor is able to significantly reduce the cost of generating hydrogen pure enough to power fuel cells without poisoning their catalysts. Shell hopes to make the reactor the heart of a hydrogen refueling network for cars within a decade or so.

Wobbe: Interim Head of Chem, BioChem

Professor Kristin K. Wobbe was appointed the new interim head of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She will begin her new post on Jan. 1. Professor Jim Pavlik will retire as interim head in December, announced Provost Carol Simpson.

Wobbe joined the WPI faculty in 1995, following National Science Foundation postdoctoral positions at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Wobbe obtained her BS degree from St. Olaf College in 1983 and was awarded her PhD from Harvard University in 1991, where she also held a postdoctoral position in 1990-1991. Her research focuses on the molecular interactions that determine plants’ natural resistance mechanisms to pathogens.

Although Professor Pavlik will retire at the end of the year, Simpson said he has agreed to remain at WPI in a part-time teaching capacity for the next few years.

Miller to Retire

After nearly 25 years as director of Plant Services, John Miller will retire June 30, 2007, announced Jeffrey Solomon, WPI vice president and CFO.

A few of Miller’s accomplishments include the construction of the Campus Center, Bartlett Center, and the on-going Gateway Park project.

“We should also recognize the efforts of John and his team in making the campus the warm, welcoming, and attractive environment it is for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors,” Solomon said. “I regularly hear from community members how impressive and inviting the WPI campus is, and this is directly attributable to John.”

A search committee will soon be formed. Once a final candidate is selected, Miller will focus on the final construction of and move into the new Life Sciences building at Gateway Park.

Rosenstock Exhibits Art in Boston

Joshua Rosenstock, assistant professor of Interactive Media and Game Design, recently presented a new art piece, “Sound Parasites,” which is a wearable interactive sound robot, at PURE, a new exhibit in Boston.

For more information about the show, see www.reanimationstudios.com/pure/

Publications and Presentations

Gordon Library

Drew, C., “Audio to Go: Podcasting @ WPI,” Biomedical Libraries at Dartmouth 2006 October Conference, “Cool Tools and New Technologies,” Oct. 28, 2006.

Drew, C., “Integrating Information Literacy Concepts Into An Upper Level Biomedical Engineering Design Course,” American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference & Exposition. Chicago, Ill., June 18-21, 2006.

Walkowiak, S., and C. Drew, “The Intersections of Information Literacy and Media Literacy,” NorthEast Regional Computing Program (NERCOMP) Program on Media and Information Literacy for Emerging Technologies, Southbridge, Mass., Oct. 4, 2006.

Humanities and Arts

Brattin, J. J., “Benjamin Disraeli, Richard Wagner, and P.G. Wodehouse,” Plum Lines, vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 15, Autumn 2006.

Forgeng, J. L., “From Broadswords to Battledores: The Multifaceted Martial Arts of the Late Middle Ages.” Medieval Studies Center Lecture Series, Loyola University of Chicago, Nov. 13, 2006.

Nikitina, S., “Embeddedness,” In Other Words: An American Poetry Anthology, Ed. Leslie James, Western Reading Services, Denver, Colo., pp. 62, 2006.

Mechanical Engineering

Demetry, C., and R. Vaz, “Sustainable Assessment: Preparing Students to Be Lifelong Assessors,” workshop presented at the Fall Meeting of the New England Faculty Development Consortium, Nov. 17, 2006.

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Last modified: February 06, 2008 08:13:54