Solving Problems with Passion
Graduate student Nick Pelletier ’09 thrives in a culture of collaboration and innovation
Nick Pelletier was in high school when a news story about an artificial heart caught his eye and changed his life. “I like to work on things that I can see and touch. And that story showed me how the power of invention can literally change someone’s life,” says Pelletier, who grew up in Westminster, Mass. “I did some research and found out that it was biomedical engineers who did that kind of work. So that was it—I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
Looking at colleges, Pelletier shied away from WPI at first because it was a little too close to home. His father, Lee, graduated from WPI in 1978, and Nick didn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps simply for legacy’s sake. That all changed when Pelletier began visiting other schools. “Three things drew me to WPI: The projects system, the ability to study abroad, and the culture of this campus,” he says. “People here are so passionate about what they do. So as things fell into place, I couldn’t deny that WPI was definitely the school for me.”
Pelletier has never regretted that decision. He is now pursuing his master’s degree in biomedical engineering at WPI and is most interested in medical devices and prosthetics. For his MQP, Pelletier and his project team created a new surgical device to help treat dogs with dislocated hips; that project is now being turned into a commercial product by Fiskdale, Mass.-based SECUROS.
In the fall of 2007, Pelletier traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, as part of an IQP team working to improve regional bus service in preparation for the World Cup Tournament this year. Their work will also help give residents on the outskirts of Cape Town better access to jobs in the city.
Today, in addition to his graduate courses, Pelletier works a co-op job on a product design team at TDC Medical in nearby Marlborough. “The opportunities I’ve had at WPI,” he says, “I know I couldn’t have gotten at any other school.”
Making a Difference on Two Continents
For his IQP (Interactive Qualifying Project), Nick Pelletier helped pave the way for rapid bus transit in South Africa. His MQP (Major Qualifying Project) led to a new product to treat hip dysplasia in dogs.
March 18, 2010