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Vol. 7, No. 10; February 8, 2006

Around Campus

President’s IQP Awards Announced

WPI student research projects on flood control in the African country of Namibia and generating wind power for a local high school garnered honors Jan. 31 at the President’s Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) Awards presentation. A judging panel deemed these two projects, tied for the top prize, as having made a significant local – and global – scientific and technological impact.

The first-place projects focused on important environmental issues affecting two very different parts of the world. In the first, students Nicole Labbe, Nicholas McBride, and Ethan Ray targeted ways to help the local community solve flooding and erosion problems in the settlement of Otjomuise in Windhoek, Namibia. The students demonstrated how they were able to get the community more involved in preventing erosion in their settlement by assessing problems and developing and implementing solutions. The students taught village residents how to build walls made of rubber tires to protect their gardens and staircases leading to their homes from washing away because of heavy rainfall. Since there was a language barrier, the students developed creative ways to communicate with village residents and also designed a pamphlet, with the help of a translator, to remind the residents of what they were taught. Advising the Namibia project were Chrysanthe Demetry and Richard Vaz, dean of the university’s Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division (IGSD). The Namibia Housing Action Group sponsored the project.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away in Worcester, another group of WPI students helped administrators at Holy Name Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School determine that they could eventually save millions of dollars in school energy costs by positioning a wind turbine on the school’s roof. For two years, students Brian Foley, Tyler Forbes, Hans Jensen, and Adam Young studied whether it would be feasible to use a wind turbine to conserve energy, and also attended regional conferences on alternative energy to network with experts and learn more about the topic. The students worked to obtain necessary city permits, state grants, and federal aviation approval with the assistance of Holy Name administrators and politicians, including U.S. Congressman James McGovern, D-Worcester. The students’ research helped the school secure a $575,000 grant last fall from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust, managed by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. Professor Alexander Emanuel served as advisor; the project was sponsored by the school.

The second-place prize was awarded to “Good Management Practices for Shrimp Farming in Costa Rica,” researched by Daniel Bryand, Andrea Kadilak, and Sandro Pani; and advised by David DiBiasio, Natalie Mello, and Guillermo Salazar. There was also a tie for third place. “Partnerships Implementing Engineering Education: 2nd and 3rd Grade Lessons” was researched by Cale Putnam, Jessica Rosewitz, Michelle Tucker, and Robert Weir; Jill Rulfs served as advisor. Tim Buck, Kerri George, Jeremy Turner, and Nick Verlinden researched “Content Suggestions for Universally Designed Hearing Aids” and were advised by Paul Davis and Kevin Clements.

The finalists gave their presentations to President Dennis Berkey and a judging panel, whose members included Peter Spotts, science reporter for the Christian Science Monitor, and Kathleen Stephens, principal deputy assistant secretary of the federal Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs in Washington, D.C.

“The IQP Awards presentations are a wonderful opportunity for the university to celebrate outstanding achievements by WPI students,” says Vaz. “Although these projects represent a wide spectrum of topics, they all address the broader question of how to build a brighter future.”

SDCC Wins Grant to Promote Mental Health

WPI’s Student Development and Counseling Center (SDCC) has been awarded a three-year, $220,000 federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for mental health promotion and suicide prevention. The funding will allow the SDCC to embark on an education and training program for WPI faculty, staff, and students to promote awareness of warning signs of distress and enhance skills associated with providing immediate support and referral to local resources.

Charles Morse, director of the SDCC and the grant’s principal investigator, will oversee the initiative. Adam Gray has been hired as outreach coordinator and will manage the program’s implementation, including the creation and development of the student support network (SSN) on campus. The SSN will provide a forum for both training and support for student initiatives directed at promoting mental health and well-being on campus.

Factors leading students to feel stress may include family and personal relationships, finding a job after college, and achieving academic and athletic success. Nationally, about 50 percent of students acknowledge that at least at one point in the previous year they were “so depressed it was difficult to function,” says Morse. “We also know that a sense of connection to others in a community enhances ability to prevent stress and promotes a sense a well-being. This grant will fund an effort to identify, train, and support the WPI faculty and staff members who have regular contact with students, and to help them better recognize signs of significant student distress, and improve their skills and confidence in reaching out in a supportive manner to these students.”

Charrette for New “Green” Residence Hall

WPI is developing plans for a 232-bed, apartmentstyle residence hall for upperclass students, to be located between Boynton and Dean streets. The structure, approved by the WPI Board of Trustees, will be an environmentally sensitive, or “green,” building, a design concept that grew out of an interactive and inclusive process that has involved WPI students, faculty, and staff.

To continue that process, WPI hosted a charrette for the project on Jan. 24. The meeting was held to receive input from the campus community as the university develops a comprehensive, environmentally friendly design for the building. At the meeting, faculty members, staff, and students contributed their thoughts and ideas about the building’s general design and heating and cooling system

Judy Nitsch ’75, chairman of the Physical Facilities Committee of the Board of Trustees, spoke about sustainability efforts. A specialist in sustainable development, Nitsch is president of Boston-based Nitsch Engineering Inc. and is a registered professional engineer in 15 states. Vivian Loftness, professor of architecture at Carnegie Mellon University, was the keynote speaker. She is an internationally renowned researcher, author, and educator, with more than 30 years of experience in environmental design and sustainability. There was also discussion of the proposed green elements of the building, for which the university will seek LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, which provides independent, thirdparty verification that a building project meets the highest performance standards. The discussion of the “LEED scorecard” was led by Cannon Design, the project architect.


Doyle Named SS&PS Department Head

Professor Jim Doyle has been appointed head of the Department of Social Science and Policy Studies as of July 1, Provost Carol Simpson recently announced. Professor Khalid Saeed’s second term as department head ends June 30.

Doyle joined the WPI faculty in 1992. He received his bachelor’s degree in environmental science in 1982 from the University of California at Berkeley and was awarded a master’s degree and a PhD in social psychology by the University of Colorado in 1990 and 1991, respectively. His research focuses on risk perception, judgment and decision making, and he has recently incorporated a systems dynamics approach to complex decision making.

Plant Receives Worcester Group’s Award

Clarence Plant, property administrator of asset management at WPI, is the recipient of the Good Neighbor/Cathy Donahue Award, which is given each year by the Worcester County St. Patrick’s Parade Committee. This award recognizes an individual who has helped create a positive relationship in the city community. The Good Neighbor Award is given to a friend of the parade who, through his or her work, warmth, and generosity, has helped contribute to the parade’s goals.

The award presentation was held Jan. 27, the night of the Grand Marshal Banquet at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cultural Center in Worcester.

In related news, the North Atlantic Chapter of the National Property Management Association has announced that Plant was installed Jan. 9 as the new chapter vice president for the 2007-09 term.

Art Reception Held for Brian Burris

A reception featuring Worcester artist Brian Burris was held Thursday, Jan. 25, in the new Humanities and Arts Gallery in Salisbury Labs.

Dozens of faculty, staff, and students, as well as members of the public, came to meet the artist and view Burrris’s paintings, which are on display through June. Among those in attendance was President Dennis Berkey, who spoke with Burris about his work.

Publications and Presentations

Biomedical Engineering

Doronin, S. V., D. J. Kelly, A. J. T. Schuldt, I. A. Potapova, A. B. Rosen, P. R. Brink, I. S. Cohen, and G. R. Gaudette, “Stem Cells Induce Myocardial Proliferation in vivo and in vitro by Release of Paracrine Factors,” presented at Molecular Pathways in Cardiac Development and Disease, Brekenridge, Colo., Jan. 23, 2007.

Kelly, D. J., E. U. Azeloglu, P. V. Kochupura, G. S. Sharma, and G. R. Gaudette, “Accuracy and Reproducibility of a Subpixel Extended Phase Correlation Method to Determine Micron Level Displacement in the Heart,” Medical Engineering and Physics, vol. 29, pp. 154-162, 2007.

Potapova, I. A., S. V. Doronin, D. Kelly, A. B. Rosen, A. J. T. Schuldt, Y. Guo, Z. Lu, P. V. Kochupura, J. Guyette, R. B. Robinson, M. R. Rosen, P. R. Brink, G. R. Gaudette, and I. S. Cohen, “Bone Marrow Derived Cardiac Progenitors,” presented at the Third International Conference On Cell Therapy For Cardiovascular Disease, New York, N.Y., Jan. 17, 2007.

Computer Science

Dobrushkin, V., F. F. Komarov, O. I. Velichko, and A. M. Mironov, “Mechanisms of Arsenic Clustering in Silicon,” Physical Review B, vol. 74, 035205-1- 035205, July 10, 2006.

Humanities and Arts

Mott, W. T., “John Carradine Reads Walden: More Light,” Thoreau Society Bulletin, vol. 7, no. 256, Fall 2006

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Last modified: February 06, 2008 08:30:16