Prof. Denise Anne Wawrzynski Nicoletti was born in Yakima, Washington. As a DJ for a college radio station, she developed an interest in sound that led her into an electrical engineering program at George Washington University. She received her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Denise Nicoletti joined WPI in 1991 as the first tenure-track female faculty member in the history of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and a recognized authority on ultrasonics, nondestructive testing, scaling and fractal properties, the assessment of student learning, and the promotion of science and engineering to under-represented groups. In 1997, Denise, together with Prof. Chrysanthe Demetry of the ME Department, created Camp Reach at WPI, a widely-acclaimed summer program which introduces seventh grade girls to the excitement of engineering and science. In 1998, she created WECE (Women in Electrical and Computer Engineering) organization to support and inspire WPI's female ECE students.
This award honors the memory of Denise Nicoletti, whose passion for life and humanity touched many lives, and is intended to keep her spirit of service alive in the WPI community.