Stephen W. Pierson Receives First Moruzzi Young Faculty Award at WPI

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Stephen W. Pierson (left), assistant professor of Physics, receives the Romeo L. Moruzzi Young Faculty Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Education at the 1999 WPI Faculty Honors Convocation. Mrs. Moruzzi and son Paul, WPI Class of 1982, were present for the award, conferred for the first time. The award is in memory of Professor Moruzzi, who taught at WPI and was a founder of the WPI Plan, WPI's innovative project-based education curriculum.

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Stephen W. Pierson of Worcester, Mass., an assistant professor of physics, has received the first-ever Romeo L. Moruzzi Young Faculty Award at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The award, which recognizes innovation in undergraduate teaching, was presented by Laura Moruzzi of Worcester, whose husband, the late Romeo L. Moruzzi, came to teach at WPI in 1954. Among other accomplishments, Mr. Moruzzi helped to establish the WPI Plan, a central component of the university's educational program. Under the WPI Plan, students integrate classroom studies with research projects conducted on campus and around the world.

"Professor Pierson's innovative contributions to undergraduate education at WPI exemplify the best of the WPI Plan," reads the award citation. "In the spirit of the Plan, he initiated five Interactive Qualifying Projects with the Union of Concerned Scientists ... that have provided WPI students with a valuable experience of working with a remarkable and world-renowned group of scientists."

Pierson, who has taught at WPI since 1996, is the son of R. Warren and Wilma Pierson of Minot, N.D. He completed undergraduate work in 1988 at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and earned his Ph.D. in 1993 at the Univeristy of Minnesota in Minneapolis. A postdoctoral fellow at the National Research Council's Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C., from 1993-95, he also was a visiting assistant professor at Georgetown University in the fall of 1995.

WPI, an independent technological university founded in 1865, was ranked among the top national universities in the 1999 edition of U.S. News and World Report's Best Colleges Guide and was ranked 18th among the top national institutions in the magazine's Best College Values report.