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Vol. 7, No. 15; April 19, 2007

Around Campus

WPI/Mass Academy FIRST Robotics Team is the 2007 World Champion

The FIRST robotics team from the Massachusetts Academy of Mathematics and Sciences at WPI, which is sponsored by WPI, walked off with the championship trophy at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday, April 14. The team led the three-team championship alliance, which also included Team 177, "Bobcat Robotics," of South Windsor (Conn.) High School, and Team 987, "HIGHROLLERS," of Cimarron-Memorial High School in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"After 16 years of FIRST competition, we finally did it," said team advisor Kenneth Stafford, adjunct assistant professor at WPI and director of the university's robotics resource center. "We are the FIRST Robotics world champs. In front of the collected membership of 350 FIRST championship-qualified teams, filling over 10,000 seats in the Georgia Dome, and undaunted by the incredible strength of our opponents (including a four-time world championship team), we completed a come-from-behind, nail-biting, two-of-three series to seal our position as champions."

The WPI/Mass Academy victory in Atlanta was the climax to months of competition involving more than 1,300 teams from the United States and six other nations, including Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. FIRST is a not-for-profit founded by Dean Kamen, a WPI alumnus, who is the renowned inventor of the Segway Human Transporter.

The WPI/Mass Academy team is one of only five that have remained continuously involved in FIRST Robotics since the competition began in 1992. On March 3, the team won the prestigious Regional Chairman's Award at the FIRST BAE Systems/Granite State Regional in Manchester, N.H., making it the first team the competition's history to win the award in two consecutive years. Upon announcement of the award, which was presented by Kamen, the team received a standing ovation from the 45 other teams from across the United States and Canada. Later in March, the team won the overall Tournament Champion's Award as well as the Motorola Quality Award (a major award for elegance in design and execution) at the Silicon Valley Regional Robotics Tournament in San Jose, Calif.

WPI Community Responds to VT Tragedy

The impact of news of the April 16 massacre at Virginia Tech, where 32 people were killed by 23-yearold student Cho Seung-Hui, was felt on WPI's campus this week.

In response to the tragedy, Janet Richardson, vice president for student affairs and campus life, and President and CEO Dennis D. Berkey issued statements to the WPI community via email and on the homepage, assuring students, parents, prospective students and their families, faculty, and staff that the administration would do all it could to help the community cope with the devastating news.

"On behalf of President Berkey and the administration, I want to extend our deepest and most heartfelt sympathies to the families, students, and many of our friends and colleagues at Virginia Tech," Richardson said. "In the coming days, as we reflect on [the] tragic events, please remember to keep all of the students, family, and community members at Virginia Tech in your thoughts and prayers."

Counseling services are available to members of the WPI community between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Counselors are always available off hours by contacting Campus Police, should the need arise. The Counseling Center is located at 157 West St.

WPI Campus Police are on alert and are visible around the campus, talking to students and other members of the community as they make their patrols. WPI has established protocols and procedures in place in the event of an emergency situation on the campus. These are posted in facilities around the campus and at the Campus Police Station. The sta- tion, which is now located in the lower level of Founders Hall, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

WPI's response to the shootings was featured in the April 18 edition of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and in a segment on "Worcester News Tonight," which was broadcast on April 17 in Worcester County on Charter Communication's Channel 3 and statewide on New England Cable News.

Residence Hall "Tape Down" Displayed

Cannon Design, architect of WPI's new residence hall project, hosted a "Residence Hall Tape Down" on Monday, April 9, at Alden Memorial. Above, Peter Hourihan, principal of Cannon Design, points to a layout of a residential suite option. Fullscale layouts of two suite versions were "taped down" with blue masking tape on the Alden auditorium floor so students and WPI employees could get a better sense of what the suites will look like and how large they will be. Demolition on the project site, on a lot between Dean and Boynton streets, started in March. The residence hall and a parking garage are scheduled to be complete for a fall 2008 opening. "The students were very excited to see the full-scale versions of what their rooms and suites will look like," Hourihan said. "The 'tape down' shows them that there's a reality to the residence hall project."

Worcester Project Center Honored

WPI President and CEO Dennis Berkey, at left, with Colleges of Worcester Consortium CEO Mark Bilotta. President Berkey holds the George I. Alden Award that the university received on March 29 from the consortium at the inaugural "Celebration of Higher Education in Central Massachusetts." The award recognized WPI's Worcester Community Project Center and its director, Rob Krueger, for their contributions to improving the quality of life in the city of Worcester.

WPI President and CEO Dennis D. Berkey accepted the award from Susan C. Wyckoff, the consortium's vice president for academic affairs. Wyckoff noted that since 2000, when WPI founded the Worcester Community Project Center, 70,000 student hours and 3,000 faculty hours have been devoted to developing professional-level solutions to social, economic, and environmental problems identified by city and social service agencies and cultural and educational groups. Sponsors have included Broad Meadow Brook Audubon Sanctuary, the Regional Environmental Council, the Greater Worcester Land Trust, the Worcester Art Museum, and Centro Las Americas.

Established through the efforts of Associate Provost Lance Schachterle and others, and supported initially with gifts totaling more than $1.8 million from the Stoddard Charitable Trust, the Fletcher Foundation, the Ruth H. and Warren A. Ellsworth Foundation, the Mildred H. McEvoy Foundation, and the Hoche- Scofield Foundation, the center brings WPI's scientifically minded students and faculty together with Worcester organizations to address policy issues that are important to the city's future.

Krueger, assistant professor in WPI's Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division (IGSD), has been director of the Worcester Community Project Center since 2002. A geographer by training and an authority on sustainable development, he has focused the work of the center on the needs and concerns of the Worcester community, such as public education, youth services, neighborhood development, downtown revitalization, environmental protection, affordable housing, and transportation. Current priorities include a sustained planning initiative, open space planning, and renewable energy. In addition, under Krueger's leadership, the center has organized and hosted three major workshops focused on sustainable development for cities.

"It's an honor for the Worcester Community Project Center and its students and faculty members' work to be recognized, especially in a city where so many colleges are deeply engaged in projects that make substantial contributions to the people of our city," Krueger says.

The center was created, in part, to bring the benefits of WPI's Global Perspective Program, which boasts more than 20 project centers throughout North America and Central America, Africa, Australia, Asia, and Europe, to WPI's home city. "WPI has become known for how its students solve problems of importance to communities around the world," notes Richard Vaz, dean of the IGSD, "but many people don't realize that WPI also has a vibrant student project program here at home. Similar to our projects abroad, WPI's work with Worcester helps students understand how the problems cities face require not only technical solutions, but also an understanding of their impact on the economy, the environment, and the quality of life for the city's residents."

People

Lee Speaks at WPI About Famous Cases

The world-renowned forensics expert Henry Lee presented "Famous Cases Revisted," a colloquium sponsored by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry on Wednesday, April 11, in Salisbury Labs.

As he discussed serious cases he assisted, such as Utah teen Elizabeth Smart's disappearance and the murder of Denver, Colo., pageant child Jon Benet Ramsey, Lee managed to draw laughter from the attentive listeners who filled the lecture hall to overflowing.

Lee opined on how the television show "CSI" made an impact on what the average person thinks of forensic science. While acknowledging the continuing interest in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, in which Lee played a major role by helping to track clues, he didn't spend much time discussing it here on campus.

"You want to hear about OJ? That's the dumbest case," Lee said to a roar of laughter from the audience.

"I thought you wanted to hear about who the father of Anna Nicole's [Smith] baby is."

 

While Lee is well known for his forensic science jokes, he is more famous for his expertise in helping to solve criminal cases. He discussed how investigative technology has changed over the years and explained that years ago innocent people were wrongly accused of crimes, while guilty people walked free because of poor investigative techniques.

Lee is chief emeritus of the Connecticut State Forensic Laboratory and a Distinguished Professor at the University of New Haven. He holds a honorary doctorate in science from WPI and is director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Forensic Research and Training Center.

Berka Receives Department Kudos

Prior to Henry Lee's colloquium on Wednesday, April 11, Associate Professor Kristin Wobbe, interim head of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, presented Research Professor Ladislav Berka with a plaque that acknowledges his years of service to the department, students, and the WPI community as a dedicated faculty member. Berk, a WPI faculty member since 1965, has a long standing interest in forensic science. In addition to organizing the lecture series that brought Lee to campus, he writes a column on forensic science for the NEACT Journal and has organized conferences on campus on the topic and teaching modules for Camp Reach, among other activities.

Recent Grants

Bioengineering Institute

Michalson, William, with James Matthews as coprincipal investigator, for "MANET Protocols for Capacity- Limited Channels," from the federal Department of Homeland Security, $224,822

Biology and Biotechnology

Duffy, Joseph, for "Intragency Opportunities in Multiscale Modeling in Biomedical, Biological Systems," from Princeton University, $83,150

Weathers, Pamela, with Kristin Wobbe as co-principal investigator, for "Artemisinin Biosynthesis: Control of Transcription," from National Institutes of Health, $206,172

6th Annual Health and Benefit Fair

The Human Resources Office will host WPI's 6th Annual Health and Benefit Fair from noon to 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 26, in the Campus Center Odeum. More than 25 vendors will participate in this year's event. Meet and speak with representatives from Blue Cross Blue Shield, WPI's retirement plans, local banks, cultural and sports organizations, and more. Many of these vendors will provide raffle items for drawings to be held at the end of the day.

Through May 25

Exhibit: Student art competition, themed "water," is sponsored by Gordon Library and Humanities and Arts Department - Gordon Library's Gladwin Art Gallery, second floor

Thursday, April 19

Seminar: Interactive Media & Game Development features Magy Seif El-Nasr of Pennsylvania State University on "Developing Tools That Enhance Interactive Experiences and Their Development Process" - Atwater Kent Labs, Room 116 (Newell Hall), 11am Signing: WPI faculty and staff book signing as part of National Library Week - Campus Center, 11am

Lecture: Mechanical Engineering Department sponsors "Reaching for a New Level of Autonomy: Integrated Research on Robotics, Control, Artificial Intelligence, and Human-Robot Interaction," by Keyong Li of Cornell University - Higgins Labs, Room 218, noon

Colloquium: Mathematical Sciences Department sponsors "Characterization, Modeling, and Management of Inferential Risk, Data Quality Risk, and Operational Risk in Survey Procedures," by John Eltinge of the Bureau of Labor Statistics - Stratton, Room 203, 11am

Friday, April 20

Open House: Registrar's Office - Daniels Hall, first floor, 3-5pm Saturday, April 21

Softball: WPI vs. Wellesley College - Alumni Field, noon and 2:30pm (double header) Fund-raiser: Relay For Life - Alumni Field, 6pm

Tuesday, April 24

Workshop: Office of Research Administration sponsors "Fundamentals of Sponsored Programs: Focus on WPI Academic and Administrative Staff" (Part 1, overview) - Campus Center, Taylor Room, 2pm

Baseball: WPI vs. Becker College - Alumni Field, 4pm Wednesday, April 25

Colloquium: Chemistry and Biochemistry Department sponsors "Mechanisms of Arsenic Uptake and Detoxification in Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes," by Barry Rosen of Wayne State University School of Medicine - Goddard, Room 227, noon

Lecture: "Teaching in Africa: A WPI Student's Experience," by Pierre de Galbert '02 - Salisbury Labs, Room 104, 4:30pm

Thursday, April 26

Seminar: Interactive Media & Game Development features the first annual IMGD ShowFest - Atwater Kent Labs, Room 116 (Newell Hall), 11am

Lecture: Mechanic Engineering Department sponsors Professor Joseph Shang of Wright State University - Higgins Labs, Room 218, noon

Deadline: Completion of degree requirement forms due in Registrar's Office for May 2007 commencement candidates

Tuesday, May 1

Last day of Classes, D-term

Workshop: Office of Research Administration sponsors "Conflict of Interest and Commitment: Case Studies for Investigators" - Campus Center, Chairman's Room, 2pm

Tuesday, May 8

Workshop: Office of Research Administration sponsors "Fundamentals of Sponsored Programs: Focus on WPI Academic and Administrative Staff" (Part 2, Strategies for Process and Compliance Success) - Campus Center, Taylor Room, 2pm

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Last modified: September 24, 2014 15:23:22