Starting Point

I recently learned that a WPI colleague, Adam Epstein ’05, leaves a copy of Transformations in the seat-back pocket of every airplane in which he travels. "Sometimes I’ll even take a few and, awkwardly, put them in seats other than my own," he says. "On a trip last year, I remember a gentleman in my row who was actually reading it during the flight, and we made conversation."

In short, it’s some extra visibility for WPI with an especially captive audience. It makes me smile to think about all the JetBlues and Deltas of the world, unknowingly transporting this very magazine back and forth across the country, around the globe, and into the hands of people who may have never before heard of WPI. Lucky for me—and for all of us, really—Adam’s job in Admissions involves a good amount of travel.

If you’re reading this column, this magazine, you’re likely invested in some way in WPI. Perhaps you’re an alum, a professor, a retired staff member, or a parent—or grandparent—of a current student. (Perhaps you’re traveling on an airplane at this very moment and you’ve stumbled by accident onto this issue of Transformations. If so, please keep reading!) Whatever your connection to this university, won’t you follow Adam’s example and share this magazine with someone you know, or even someone you don’t know. As a community, it’s our collective duty to educate just a few more prospective students, parents, faculty members, or corporate partners, about why WPI is such an exceptional place.

I imagine such people would be interested in, or even surprised by, the impact that a WPI education can have. Take this issue of Transformations, for instance, in which we tell the stories of the significant work and activities of WPI alumni, students, and faculty in areas as diverse as health, safety, the environment, and the Worcester community. In an uncertain economy—or any economy, for that matter—this work remains of utmost importance to advancing our knowledge, improving our standard of living, and contributing to the world in myriad ways.

In Chicago, Bruce Minsky ’77 has improved the course of treatment for patients with colorectal cancer, the result of which has increased the survival rate for the devastating disease. In Paris, while traveling for work, Romiya Glover Barry ’04 (page 25) is meeting with clients to bring to market technologies and products that will aid those with blood clotting disorders. In Anchorage, Peter Bellino ’08 (page 30) helps protect the gas pipeline there, where the threat of fire stretches on for thousands of miles. In our own backyard, Barbara Haller ’83 is improving our way of life, as a Worcester city council member and longtime concerned citizen.

There’s more: Faculty research improves the safety of our cars, and a student project helps a community in Morocco come up with solutions to relieve the water crisis there.

While it may be difficult to whittle down the essence of WPI in just a few words or phrases, I’m hopeful that we’ve captured at least some of the spirit in these pages.

This is The Important Work We Do. Pass it on.

Thanks for reading.

Charna Mamlok Westervelt, Editor

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