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August 21, 2008

Around Campus

Forbes.com Survey Ranks WPI in Top 10

A recent ranking compiled by Forbes.com recognizing the "Top Colleges for Getting Rich" rated WPI ninth in the nation.

Forbes.com based its rankings on the salaries of both recent graduates and those with 10 to 20 years of experience. Median salaries among WPI graduates with up to five years of experience averaged $61,000. For graduates with 10 to 20 years of experience, the median was $114,000. The median top salary among WPI graduates was $180,000. Other colleges rounding out the Top 10 of this ranking include Dartmouth, Princeton, Stanford, Yale, MIT, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Notre Dame, and the Polytechnic University of New York, Brooklyn.

"Having worked in academia for more than 30 years, I say with confidence that WPI’s students are among the most remarkable–and marketable–in the nation. I am delighted, but not surprised, by the findings of Forbes.com," says President Dennis Berkey. "From the moment they arrive on campus to the time of their graduation, WPI students are fully engaged in a remarkably fast-paced curriculum. Our students are constantly working in teams and with professors to apply their knowledge to solving real-world problems through our project-based program. Industry recognizes the value of a WPI education, and businesses actively recruit current students and alumni alike."

The placement rate for WPI’s class of 2007 was 90 percent. The majority of WPI students stay in New England, but graduates are employed nationwide.

Symbol of Theory and Practice, East Hall's Green Roof Installed

WPI will open the doors next week to its new "green" 232-bed, apartment-style student residence hall, East Hall. To celebrate this sustainable development feat, an open house will be held 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, August 21 for members of the WPI community.

The event will include tours of the building and its adjacent parking garage. Students will move into their new quarters on August 25. East Hall features Worcester’s first "living green roof," a gift to WPI from trustee and alumna Judith Nitsch and her husband. The green roof demonstrates the university’s commitment to sustainability, and it will also help with WPI’s ongoing academic research of storm water quality and quantity.     

By including the green roof into educational research, the over-5,000-square-foot roof uniquely complements the university’s motto, "Theory and Practice."

Alternative Energy Hits the Road

A WPI research team has found a way to use heat-soaking asphalt for an alternative energy source. Through that material, the researchers are developing a solar collector that could turn roads and parking lots into ubiquitous—and inexpensive–sources of electricity and hot water.

The research project, which was undertaken at the request of Michael Hulen, president of Acton-based Novotech Inc., which holds a patent on the concept of using the heat absorbed by pavements, is being directed by Rajib Mallick, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. On Monday, Aug. 18, team member Bao-Liang Chen, a PhD candidate, was scheduled to present the results of research aimed at evaluating the potential for transforming stretches of asphalt into a cost-effective energy source at the annual symposium of the International Society for Asphalt Pavements in Zurich, Switzerland. The study looks not only at how well asphalt can collect solar energy, but at the best way to construct roads and parking lots to maximize their heat-absorbing qualities.

Mallick's research team also includes Sankha Bhowmick of UMass Dartmouth.


ATC Wins Innovator Award

A project the Academic Technology Center staff has worked on with Professor Jill Rulfs and instructors Mike Buckholt and Ally Hunter in Biology and Biotechnology has been selected for a 2008 Campus Technology Innovator award. Campus Technology is one of the leading trade magazines for IT in higher education. The ATC's proposal was one of 14 selected out of 300. The awards are featured in the August edition of the magazine.

Rich Wins NSF Grant

Charles Rich, professor of computer science and Interactive Media & Game Development, recently won a grant from the National Science Foundation Human-Centered Computing program for "Engagement and Collaboration in Human-Robot Interaction".

The goal of Rich's research is to study nonverbal behaviors in humans (such as where one looks, when one nods, how long to wait for a response) and to apply this knowledge to building humanoid robots that can behave similarly. This will improve the ability of such robots to interact with humans in a broad range of situations, such as assisting the handicapped and elderly, search and rescue operations, and sales and entertainment. The funding is for $450,000 over three years. 

Precision Personnel Locator Technology Demonstrated at Atwater Kent

WPI hosted the Workshop on Precision Indoor Personnel Location and Tracking for Emergency Responders August 4-6. Four solutions to the technical challenge of precisely locating first responders inside buildings will be demonstrated in carefully controlled trials at the workshop, now in its third year.

The WPI-sponsored workshop, made possible by a $1 million award from the Department of Homeland Security, is the only national forum where the position location research and development community can gain a comprehensive overview of the state of the field and discuss future technical challenges. This year it will bring together leading researchers from industry, academia, and government, as well as members of the first responder community and representatives of federal, state, and local governments.

Systems developed by WPI and other companies were used to locate a firefighter "lost" in Atwater Kent on August 6. In addition, homing systems developed by WPI and Summit Safety Inc. were put through their paces.

Bottom left, professors David Cyganski and Jim Duckworth, co-principal investigators of WPI’s Precision Personnel Locator technology, discuss the demonstration outcome.

Precision Personnel Locator Technology Demonstrated at Atwater Kent

Recent Grants

Biology and Biotechnology

Biomedical Engineering

Chemical Engineering

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Fire Protection Engineering

Mechanical Engineering


Publications & Presentations

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Fire Protection Engineering

FPE Alumni Featured in Magazine's '40 Under 40' List

In the recent edition of Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine, three graduates of WPI’s Fire Protection Engineering program were featured as the publication’s "Top 40 Under 40." The contest was for professionals under age 40, who work in the consulting-specifying industry and stand out in their academic, professional, personal, and community achievements. Each winner has a short biography in the magazine, which lists their academic background.

The three WPI alumni were Doug Nadeau, 36, PE, LEED AP, principal, New England Engineering, Albany, N.Y.; Andrew Purtell, 25, application engineer, Kidde-Fenwal Inc., a UTC Fire & Security Co., Ashland, Mass.; and Jeffrey Tubbs, 39, PE, associate principal, Arup, Westboro, Mass.

Humanities and Arts


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Sunday, August 24

Thursday, August 28

Tuesday, September 2

Another Successful Summer for Camp Reach

The 12th annual Camp Reach program ended August 1 with final project presentations at in Olin 107. This two-week residential engineering outreach program is for 30 girls entering grade 7.

The program’s focus is a service-learning design project for a non-profit in Worcester. This year, one team redesigned the quiet area in a preschool classroom at First Friends Childcare. Hope Lodge of the American Cancer Society asked another team to improve the organization of their laundry room and mud room to better serve and support their guests. A third team recommended a plan to beautify and safeguard a strip of land outside the Worcester Youth Center on Chandler Street (the former Tatnuck Bookseller storage facility adjacent to the farmers’ market). This team project was featured earlier this month in a special news report broadcast on Boston’s WHDH Channel 7 and the CW Channel 56 news.

Thursday, September 4

Tuesday, September 9

Wednesday, September 17

Thursday, September 18

Computer Tip

Browsing Library Materials from Off-campus

Due to subscription and licensing agreements, access to most of the library's electronic journals, electronic books, and databases is limited to computers within WPI's Internet domain (130.215). When you are off-campus and outside the WPI IP range, you will need to use the proxy server to access these resources. The proxy server is an intermediary between your off-campus computer and one of these licensed library resources. To gain access, point your web browser to the proxy server address and then authenticate to the proxy with your WPI username and your Windows or Unix password. Complete directions for configuring your browser and using the proxy server can be found on the Using the WPI Proxy Server help page.

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Last modified: July 13, 2010 10:00:33