WPI Camp REACH Girls Finish Local Projects

Contact: Arlie Corday, WPI Media & Community Relations

WORCESTER, Mass. - In just two weeks' time, a new playground, the layout for a memorial park and a Web site for a social service agency were designed. Those accomplishments are especially impressive when you consider the engineers in charge were 30 girls who just finished sixth grade.

For the past two weeks, local girls attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Camp REACH have taken on design projects to help the community while learning about the world of engineering. On Friday, Aug. 4, they presented the results to project sponsors at WPI.

Camp REACH (Reinventing Engineering and Creating New Horizons) is a residential program for Massachusetts girls who have completed sixth grade and who are interested in learning about engineering and technology. This year three teams tackled design projects including a Web site for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Worcester, a playground to help give local children a safe place to play, and a display to be used in new park to honor rocket science pioneer and WPI alumnus Robert Goddard.

At the final presentation, representatives of Big Brothers/Big Sisters noted, "As your customers, we are very well pleased by the interaction we've had with these wonderful young people." Those from the Goddard Memorial Park Association gave the girls "congratulations on a wonderful job that is beyond expectations." And the Piedmont Crime Prevention Team, which sponsored the playground design, expressed "thanks for a wonderful job," adding, "everything looks beautiful."

The following girls designed the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Web site: Stephanie Bearce of Lancaster, Jennifer Carroll of Lunenburg, Danielle Duval of Worcester, Stacey Frenette of Leominster, Aimee Girard of Harvard, Elizabeth Green of Hubbardston, Riley Laycox of Winchendon, Cali O'Connor of Paxton, Ruth Toomey of Worcester and Katherine Zephir of Leominster.

The girls who created the design for the Goddard Memorial Park Association include: Erin Dagle of Northborough, Erin Day of Charlton, Elizabeth LeBlanc of Canton, Stephanie McPherson of Douglas, Jessie Miller of Harvard, Fatima Mohammed of Worcester, Alicia Pepper of Worcester, Jill Marie Powers of Leominster, Carolyn Purington of Rutland and Ally Treen of Leominster.

The following girls designed the playground for the Piedmont Crime Prevention Team: Christine Aloia of Uxbridge, Julie Ducharme of North Oxford, Allison Hoch of Harvard, Natalie Lopez of Worcester, Alison MacFadden of Brimfield, Carrie Mahoney of Worcester, Jacqueline Mooney of Sterling, Julia Randall of Westborough, Bethany Stolz of Hubbardston and Samantha Tucker of Leominster.

The goal of Camp REACH is to develop interest in engineering while building confidence and self-esteem, according to director Denise Nicoletti, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at WPI.

Founded in 1865, WPI enrolls 2,700 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students in science, engineering, management, humanities and arts, and social sciences. WPI students complete three projects to fulfill the university's graduation requirements; Camp REACH's hands-on projects are modeled on the same philosophy. For more information, please contact WPI's Outreach Programs office at 508-831-5819.