WPI Humanities Prize Winners Announced

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WORCESTER, Mass. - Three WPI students were named winners of Class of 1879 Awards for Outstanding Projects in the Humanities at the April 3 ceremony in Higgins House. Greg Amiro of Chelmsford, Mass., won for "The Rock n' Roll Renaissance," a history of rock n' roll with emphasis on the differences between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones; Andrea Kodys of Templeton, Mass., was honored for "Promises, Policies and Goals: The U.S. Occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934," an examination of how economic concerns, security considerations, ideological beliefs and public opinion during the United States' occupation of Haiti earlier in this century affected America's foreign policy; and Mickey Lacroix of Durham, Maine, received the award for "A Critique of Husserlian Phenomenology," his study of two of the dominant figures of European philosophical phenomenology. Each student received $150.

Amiro traced the origins of rock n' roll in the 1950s in country music and rhythm and blues and examined the contributions of the Beattles and the Rolling Stones to European and American music." The project presents a close analysis of music, both lyrics and sheet music," said Laura Menides, associate professor of English, who chaired the Selection Committee. AIt includes an analysis of several forms of music and such matters as power chords, guitar and piano styles, syncopation, riffs and chord progressions." Amiro's faculty advisor was Douglas Weeks, administrator of applied music.

Kodys' report focused on the troubled relationship between the most powerful nation in the Western Hemisphere and the poorest. AThe United States' lack of a clearly defined goal and policy in Haiti during the occupation resulted in the failure of the mission in the eyes of the American public and the world," said Steven Bullock, associate professor of history, who was one of the judges."It shows well the special job of the historian: tracing smaller events and changes while putting them into a larger perspective...and in the process telling us more about both." James Watters, adjunct assistant professor of history, was the project advisor.

Lacroix's theme was A a deep questioning of how we construct our sense of the stability and meaning of the perceived world out of sensory experience," said philosophy Professor Roger Gottlieb, who was also a judge and presented the award to Lacroix. He answers the questions of how we know a person is the same one we saw yesterday or that this place is the same place it has always been by examiningCand then criticizingCmaterial from Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merlau-Ponty. Lacroix's advisor was Bettina Bergo, visiting assistant professor of philosophy.

Amiro, a senior majoring in biotechnology, is the son of Janet and Tom Amiro of Chelmsford, Mass. He is a member of the varsity football team, has worked for WPIR, the campus radio station, and plays guitar. Kodys, daughter of Richard and Diane Kodys of Templeton, Mass., is carrying a dual major mechanical engineering with aerospace interests and political science. She is co-captain of the women's varsity basketball team and a member of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society; the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Alpha Phi Omega, the coed national service fraternity. Lacroix, a senior chemistry major, is the son of Terry Mitchell of Durham, Maine, and Gil Lacroix of Bucksport, Maine. He is the treasurer of the Student Government Association, a MASH (Math and Science Help) Leader in Chemistry and works at the Gordon Library circulation desk. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi and Alpha Phi Omega and Masque, the the university's theater group.

Class of 1879 Prizes are WPI's second oldest undergraduate awardsConly the Salisbury Awards predate them. They were originally presented for the best essays written in composition class. These classes are no longer offered and the awards are now given in recognition of outstanding projects in history, literature, philosophy, music, art or language. Approximately 550 Humanities Sufficiencies are completed each year. Fifty-eight projects were submitted for the consideration of the judges, who awarded 19 honorable mention certificates and chose the three winners from this select group.

The Humanities Sufficiency is a distinctive element of the WPI Plan, the university's unique educational program, which was established in 1971. The sufficiency is usually written after the student completes five courses or independent studies that focus on a specific theme in the humanities or arts.

Following is a list of all the other entries in this year's Class of 1879 competition.

(H) designates honorable mention.

Bill Abo Jr., '96 of Hartford, Conn., Fiona G. Abrams '96 of Scotch Plains, N.J., Sean Anderson '98 of Coventry, R.I., Matthew Arner '98 of Andover, Conn., Correna Atkins '98 of Ware, Mass., Emily Ballinger of Newport Center, Vt., Mark Becker '98 of Hampton, Conn.; Nathan Berube '97 (H) of Williamsburg, Mass., James Blum '97 of Marlborough, Mass., Slade Brockett '97 (H) of Turner, Ore., Stacie Marie Costa '98 (H) of Fall River, Mass., Nate Cote '98 (H) of Attleboro, Mass., Brian Dannaker '98 (H) of Chester, Pa., Sandra Davis '95 (H) of Williamsport, Pa., David H. Deacon Jr., '98 of Cumberland, R.I., Henry Fink '96 (H) of North Andover, Mass. (Fink is currently a WPI graduate student), Brendan Fitzpatrick '99 of Newport, Maine, Stephen Fong '98 of Webster, N.Y., Jake Forrest '98 of Falmouth, Mass., Stephanie Gagne '97 (H) of Brockton, Mass., Daniel Goodwin'97 of Merrimack, N.H., Ben Higgins '97 of Berwick, Maine, April Hoover '97 of Middletown, Pa., Wendy Jobling '98 (H) of Harrisville, R.I., Chanh Q. Le '97 of Shrewsbury, Mass., Courtney Lewis '98 of Andover, Mass., Chi-Man Lock '97 of Hong Kong, Lydia Love '97 of Nashville, Tenn., Ryan McDaniel '98 (H) of Crystal Bay, Nev., Deborah Marcroft '98 of Ashland, N.H., Jason Mello '98 of Swansea, Mass., Heather Miller '97 (H) of Walton, N.Y., Kimberlee Mix '98 of Fort Edward, N.Y., Michael Norris '96 of Newport, Vt., Rudy Othmer '98 of Vermontville, Mich., Eric Pauly '98 of Montpelier, Vt., Linnette Perales '97 of Las Piedras, P.R., Matthew Poisson '99 (H) of Raynham, Mass., Kellie Popp '98 of Schodack Landing, N.Y., Seychelle Ricard '97 (H) of Berlin, Mass., Patrick Sharkey '98 of Riverside, R.I., Aaron Shumate '98 of Seekonk, Mass., Steven Sluter '96 (H) of Seekonk, Mass., Gregory Snow '98 (H) of Smithfield, R.I., Edward Stannard '97 of Paxton, Mass. Lydia Stawasz '97 (H) of Nashua, N.H., John Stevens '99 of Stratham, N.H., Jeffrey Tenney '97 of Taunton, Mass., Andrew Toppan '98 of Scituate, Mass., Daniel Triandafilou '98 of Amesbury, Mass., Japa Volchok '98 of Oakham, Mass., Vincent Wallace '97 of Dallas, Texas, John West '98 of Dayton, Ohio, Brian Wilkie of Tiverton, R.I., and Ryan Young of '98 of Simons Island, Ga.