WPI's EMSEP Graduates its First Class

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. The first group of students to complete their education at WPI as participants in the university's innovative Excellence in Mathematics, Science and Engineering Program (EMSEP) will receive their degrees at Commencement on May 24. The students were recognized during an EMSEP awards ceremony earlier this month.

In 1993 the Multicultural Affairs, Admissions and Academic Advising Offices established EMSEP to increase the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students of color at WPI. A comprehensive network of support services, the program promotes community responsibility, academic excellence, leadership and community service among its members and provides participants with the skills necessary to matriculate through college. In 1995, EMSEP received an Outstanding Institutional Advising Award from the National Academic Advising Association.

Today more than 80 students participate in the program and contribute to the academic, cultural and social life of the campus and the community through their involvement in honor and professional societies, fraternities and sororities, musical and choral groups and sports and student government organizations and as employees in the university's offices and as volunteers with nonprofit and charitable organizations.

The following students are members of EMSEP's Class of 1997: Joshua Arias of Lawrence, Mass., majored in chemical engineering at WPI, where he was a co-founder of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and a member of the Hispanic Student Association (HAS) and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

Prakash Bhatia of Lagos, Nigeria, will receive his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering. He is a member of AIChE, the Indian Students Organization, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Black Student Union, the International Student Council and the African Students Union, and played varsity tennis and volleyball.

Kirkpatrick Burke of Bloomfield, Conn., majored in electrical engineering. He and his brother, Boris, a student at the University of Connecticut, spent four weeks at WPI during the summer of 1992 as participants in the first Strive for College and Careers in Mathematics, Engineering and Science program for motivated and academically talented black, Hispanic and Native American students. Last year, Kirkpatrick received the first Thomas E. and Estelle Tyson Scholarship, established by Charles Tyson '57. The award is WPI's first scholarship specifically designated for an African-American student.

Omar Coral of Worcester, Mass., is a civil engineering major who was a member of the Hispanic Student Association and ROTC.

Francesca Escoto of Lawrence, Mass., majored in management. She is a co-founder and national student representative to SHPE, a resident advisor, and a member of the Student Alumni Society, Masque, the university's theater group, Alden Voices, Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and Skull, the senior honor society.

Luis Menezes of Brighton, Mass., is an electrical engineering major who was secretary of Eta Kappa Nu, the electrical engineering honor society.

Jasmine Sarmiento of Worcester, Mass., is a biology major who was a member of the Executive Board of Phi Sigma, the national biology honor society, and was a member of Alpha Phi Omega, the co-ed service fraternity, and the Worcester Women's Rugby Team.

Carlos Soriano of La Paz, Bolivia, majored in mechanical engineering. He is a member of the HSA and SHPE.