WPI Student Projects Focus on London's Playing Fields, Caregivers, Car Clubs

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass.--Each year, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) students have the opportunity to create and complete projects in more than 20 locations in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australian through the university's Global Perspective Program. The following Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) teams recently spent seven weeks last spring at the university's London Project Center, where they worked to solve problems presented by staff members at several organizations and agencies. The IQP is one of three projects all undergraduates undertake as part of the innovative WPI Plan. Following are highlights of four of the London projects.

For their IQP (from left), Daniel Arecco of Lake Mary, Fla., Justin Bourgette of Attleboro, Mass., and Kendall Clark of Maywood, Fla., analyzed demand for recreational facilities in the Borough of Merton. Missing from the photo is Christopher Guenette of Achusnet, Mass. (High Resolution Photo)

Seniors Daniel Arecco, a mechanical engineering major from Lake Mary, Fla., Justin Bourgette, an electrical engineering major from Attleboro, Mass., Kendell Clark, an electrical engineering major from Maywood Fla., and Christopher Guenette, a management major from Acushnet, Mass., inventoried pitches (playing fields) and sport facilities and created a database to analyze demand for recreational facilities within the Borough of Merton. The first stage of an ongoing project, the data indicated that congestion could be alleviated by improving conditions at the fields and making greater use of school-owned sites.

For their IQP (from left), William Espinola of Windsor, Mass., Stephen Caldwell of Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, Erin Jabs of Preston, Conn., and Jahdiel Fyfield of Cambridge, Mass., helped the Borough of Merton begin the process of establishing a car club. (High Resolution Photo)

The Borough of Merton's Transport Planning Section wanted to promote car clubs to improve environmental conditions and relieve traffic congestion. WPI seniors Stephen Caldwell, an electrical engineering major from Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, William Espinola, an electrical engineering major from Windsor, Mass., Jahdiel Fyfield, a mechanical engineering major from Cambridge, Mass., and Erin Jabs, a biomedical engineering major from Preston, Conn., used a Web page, survey, posters and leaflets to identify what needed to be addressed before a car club could be established.

Ethnic minority caregivers weren't using respite care and other resources available through the Borough of Merton's Housing and Social Services Department. Seniors Shani Anderson, a biotechnology major from Oxford, Mass., and Gregory LaCamera, a management major from Lakeville, Mass., junior Rachel Bowers, a biochemistry major from New Bedford, Mass., and Kar Yee Karen Wong of Hong Kong, who graduated in May 2001 with distinction in civil engineering, used surveys and interviews to provide the information they needed to create a pamphlet and a Web site to reach out to caregivers more effectively.

For their IQP (from left), Kar Yee Karen Wong of Hong Kong, Gregory LaCamera of Lakeville, Mass., Rachel Bowers of New Bedford, Mass., and Shani Anderson of Oxford, Mass., created a Web site and pamphlet for ethnic minority caregivers. (High Resolution Photo)

With seven regional/national offices, 620 branches and more than 7,000 volunteers, Arthritis Care is one of the United Kingdom's largest nonprofit organizations. The size of the agency inhibited internal communications. With information they gathered in a workshop, a survey and focus groups, WPI seniors Helene Gwizdak, a biomedical engineering major from Plaistow, N.H., Peter Vitello, a biotechnology major from Watertown, Mass., Nicholas Williams, a mechanical engineering major from Webster, Mass., and Stephen Worsham, a computer science major from Burlington, Mass., developed an intranet to improve access to operational and managerial information and reduce expenses and wasted resources.

Faculty advisors for all the London IQPs were James S. Demetry, professor emeritus of electrical engineering, and Ruth L. Smith, associate professor of religion.

Founded in 1865, WPI was a pioneer in technological higher education. Early on, it developed an influential curriculum that balanced theory and practice. Since 1970, that philosophy has been embodied in an innovative outcomes-oriented undergraduate program. With a network of project centers that spans the globe, WPI is also the leader in globalizing technological education. WPI awarded its first advanced degree in 1898. Today, most of WPI's academic departments offer master's and doctoral programs and support leading-edge research in a broad range of areas. WPI's approach to education has prepared generations of problem solvers whose new ideas and inventions have literally changed the world. They include Robert Goddard '08, father of modern rocketry, Harold Black, inventor of the principle of negative-feedback; Carl Clark, inventor of the first practical airbag safety systems; Richard T. Whitcomb, formulator the Area Rule and developer the supercritical wing, and Dean Kamen, inventor of the first wearable drug-infusion pump and the stair-climbing wheelchair.