Students Win Top Awards in the Humanities and Arts at WPI

Contact: Arlie Corday, WPI Media & Community Relations

WORCESTER, Mass. - Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Humanities and Arts Awards, called the Class of 1879 Prizes, are given each spring for outstanding projects in that department. The following students were named as winners at awards ceremonies:

Amelia A. Gilbreath of Spencer, Mass., for a flute recital. Her performance included works by Handel, Hadyn, Faure and Chopin. The daughter of Lynn and Kevin Gilbreath, she is a junior and a biomedical engineering major. Gilbreath completed a required Interactive Qualifying Project in Bangkok, Thailand, interviewing farmers about soil erosion problems and the technologies they use to try to alleviate them. In addition, she has been a student orientation leader, a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, Skull Honor Society, the orchestra, Concert Band, Woodwind Quintet, Alden Voices chorus, the Student Alumni Society, the national engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi and the Crimson Key tour guides.

Richard E. Harang of Acton, Mass., for a paper, "Mind and Materialism." A senior, he is a biochemistry major and the son of Mr. and Mrs. Philip Harang.

Corbin Hodder of Greensburg, Pa., for a play, "Toothpaste and Orange Juice," a screenplay about a doctor who finds out he has only a few days to live and begins to reflect on his life. "He begins to realize that his life is not quite as perfect as he believed," Hodder says. The son of Thomas and Linnell Hodder, he is a junior and a biotechnology/pre-med major. He has been a member of WPI's pre-medical/pre-veterinary society.

Four finalists were also honored:

Benjamin Clark of Billerica, Mass., for his percussion recital, including a survey of modern percussion instrument literature. A senior and a computer science major, he is the son of Warren and Deborah Clark. He completed an Interactive Qualifying Project on "Barriers to Web-Enhanced Education for Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology Graduates," a study of undergraduate institutions; results were presented to the National Science Foundation.

His Major Qualifying Project, "Ramsey Theory: Research and Development," explored the process of bringing structure to seemingly unstructured systems. He has been a member of Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Stage Band, Jazz Workshop, Jazz Ensemble, African Percussion Ensemble, orchestra, men's Glee Club, Brass Ensemble, woodwind ensemble and the WPI chapter of the Society of Martial Arts. President of Upsilon Pi Epsilon, the computer science honor society, he has also been a Math and Science Help tutor.

David T. Kilcoyne of Clinton, Mass., for "Illusion of Success - U.S. Warfare and the Body Count in Vietnam." A senior and a mechanical engineering major, he is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Kilcoyne.

Christian E. Pedersen of Columbia, Conn., for "Did the Yugoslavs Really Fight Hitler? A Thematic Comparison of Austen, Forster and James." A junior and a mechanical engineering major, he is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Henning Pederson.

Maureen L. Upton of Mattapoisett, Mass., for "The Social Conscience of Elizabeth Bishop," a project that analyzed issues of social class in five poems. A senior and a biomedical engineering major, she is the daughter of Ross and Kathleen Upton. She has completed a required Interactive Qualifying Project in London, England, titled "Assessment of Patient Satisfaction," at the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability and a Major Qualifying Project, "Biotransport in Cancellous Bone II," on the design of an experimental protocol. She has been a member of the Student Government Association, the Newman Club, the Social Committee, Alpha Phi Omega, the national co-ed service fraternity, and has been the student representative to the Committee on Academic Policy.

The Class of 1879 Prize is one of the oldest undergraduate awards given at WPI. The awards go to humanities and arts projects that display "exceptional creativity and skill in conceiving, developing and expressing a theme." WPI, founded in 1865, is renowned for its project-based curriculum. Under the WPI Plan, students integrate classroom studies with research projects conducted on campus and around the world.