Summer Sandbox Grants

Summer Sandbox Grants

Summer Sandbox Grants will support faculty who will design and test new approaches to teaching and advising in an undergraduate summer course or project.  This is an opportunity to use summer as a learning laboratory for the academic year. Support is available for faculty who wish to develop online and hybrid teaching skills, groups of faculty in a department or program who are developing new approaches for core and large-enrollment courses, and for any faculty exploring fundamentally new approaches to teaching and learning.   

Summer Sandbox Grants 2023

Esther Boucher-Yip (HUA) A Student Toolkit: How to Read Art

Co-PI Michelle Borowski

Headshot of Esther Boucher
headshot of michelle borowski





This project is a collaborative effort by two HUA faculty from different disciplines. We plan to develop a toolkit that helps students connect art and culture. Faculty advisors and students in the summer HUA project center programs can use these materials to acquire knowledge needed to reflect critically and analytically about art and culture. The toolkit is designed for students with no or limited background in art and art history to help them develop an appreciation for artistic and cultural knowledge of people, culture, and context.


Alireza Ebadi (MME) March CADness: An annual Computer-aided Design competition

Headshot of Alireza Ebadi





I propose creating an annual tournament using a bracket system, where students who have learned computer-aided  design  (CAD)  can  compete  against  their  peers.  This  tournament  aims  to  promote  class  rivalry, departmental recognition, and the opportunity to gain a certificate that can be included on resumes, which I hypothesize will increase student engagement and interest in the CAD course.


Ingrid E. Matos-Nin (HUA) Women in Humanities and Arts

Headshot of Ingrid E. Matos-Nin





I'd like to explore tools to better improve the teaching of the course HU 2901: Topics in Sexuality and LGBTQ+ Studies. I will use films, books, and any other primary sources available. Particularly, I will concentrate on Women's Studies/LGBTQ+. The collected information will be posted on Canvas. This project will start a data base that can be expanded over the years for the benefit of instructors who will teach this course in the future as well as the students who will use it to learn more about the subject.


Benjamin Pollard (PH) Integrated Lecture-Lab intro Physics

Co-PI Thomas Patrick Noviello, L Dana, Kateryna Friedman

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Headshot of Thomas Noviello
Headshot of Dana
Headshot of Kateryna Friedman





The  principles of  physics  provide  a  foundation  for  all areas  of  engineering and  natural sciences,  making  introductory  physics  courses  high  demand  and high  priority. Existing courses include laboratory exercises as stand-alone components, complicating meaningful connections  between  lab  activities  and  lecture  material. To professionalize our students’ understanding of  the  nature of  science  and  epistemology, we  will  transition  our  class  to integrate  problem  solving  and  hands  on  learning that  meets  students’  needs  for  deep comprehension of physics concepts and their practical applications.


Carly Thorp (MA) WPI Math Readiness Program

Co-PI Debra Boucher, Jennifer Cluett

Headshot of Carly Thorp
Headshot of Debra Boucher
Headshot of Jennifer Cluett





This new program will enable successful enrollment at WPI for students who would be greatcandidates but are missing the necessary prerequisite math knowledge for admissions. By creating a math pathway, prior to A-Term enrollment and taught by our own Mathematical Sciences faculty, we can provide needed remediation, build strong relationships, and open doors to successful matriculation.


Koksal Mus (ECE) ECE2029 redesign

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I have been assigned to teach ECE2029 during the summer 2023 (E2 term). ECE2029 is a core course and is suggested prerequisite for ECE3829 and ECE3849. Throughout the year, it is a high-enrollment class with students from various departments and is offered 3 times a year. This year, there are 160 students registered from 3 different departments (ECE, RBE, and CS). The current curriculum of the course is designed to provide a comprehensive learning experience through daily lectures, along with 3 exams, 4 quizzes, and 5 labs, in7 weeks. Additionally, students are required to utilize 3 different software programs for specific purposes and work with a Digilent Basys 3 Artix-7 FPGA Trainer Board ($170) which can be demanding and requires additional time and effort from students. The course is designed to be challenging, but it is also designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge in hardware design.


Jim Cocola (HUA) Teaching Speculative Fiction Across Delivery Modes

Headshot of Jim Cocola





This summer I'm teaching speculative fiction (yes, science fiction, but also alternate history, dystopian and utopian fiction, fantasy, horror, superhero, and supernatural fiction) in both hybrid and remote modalities, in person and/or online. Teaching speculative fiction across these delivery modes will also enable speculative thinking about teaching: its superheroes, alternate histories, present practices, andfuture possibilities. In the process, I aim to discern fantasies from horror stories and utopian possibilities from dystopian outcomes in and beyond the twenty-first century classroom.