Technological Humanist Award Program Recognizes Massachusetts Teachers

Second Annual Worcester Polytechnic Institute Program to Honor Outstanding Teachers With Awards Up to $5,000

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5706

WORCESTER, Mass. - January 21, 2004 - Massachusetts high school students once again have an opportunity to honor special teachers with the 2nd annual Worcester Polytechnic Institute Technological Humanist Award. This award program recognizes teachers who are outstanding educators and technological humanists - people who demonstrate how science and technology can be used to make the world a better place. Seven Massachusetts high school teachers will be recognized in May with awards of up to $5,000. The deadline for students to nominate teachers is Saturday, February 14, 2004.

The award was created last year to recognize teachers who have helped students understand how science and technology can address important social issues and concerns, and help solve problems that have the potential to benefit society and help expand our understanding of our world and ourselves.

"History is full of examples of technological humanists - people like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison and Christa McAuliffe," explains John L. Heyl, vice president for Development and University Relations at WPI, and one of the program's creators. "But, some of the most influential technological humanists can be found at the front of a classroom. We created these awards so that students can give their outstanding teachers the recognition they deserve, and to remind them that technology means little unless it serves humanity."

The nomination process is simple. High school students can nominate teachers of any subject. Nominees must be Massachusetts high school teachers who convey passion for their subject and inspire a similar passion in their students. They should also inspire their students to think about how they might use their own knowledge of science, math and technology to make a difference to the people they know and to society.

Nomination forms have been sent to every Massachusetts high school's guidance and administrative offices. Nomination forms, instructions and other information about the awards are also available at the award's Web site (www.wpi.edu/Academics/THA).

After getting the nomination form, students need to write a personal statement of 250 words or less explaining why they believe their teacher deserves the WPI Technological Humanist Award. The entries are then returned to the principal who will submit all the entries from the school by February 14.

The award's finalists will be selected by a panel of judges, including experts in various fields of science, mathematics, engineering and the humanities. An advisory board made up of leaders in science, technology and education will make the final selections.

Seven award finalists will be honored at an awards dinner May 6 on the WPI campus, along with the students who nominated them, their families and their school principals. Recipients of the first-, second- and third-place awards will be announced at the dinner, where they will receive $5,000, $2,500 and $1,500, respectively, to be used for equipment, professional development or other activities that enhance education at their schools. In addition, the award recipients will receive a distinctive trophy recognizing their achievements to display in their schools. The four other teachers will be given honorable mention awards of $500 each and certificates to display in their schools.

Last year, P. Brady Townsend, who teaches math at Wachusett Regional High School in Holden, received the $5,000 first-place award.

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865, WPI is a pioneer in technological higher education. WPI was the first university to understand that students learn best when they have the opportunity to apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom to the solution of important problems. Today its students, working in teams at more than 20 project centers around the globe, put their knowledge and skills to work as they complete professional-level work that can have an immediate positive impact on society.

WPI's innovative, globally focused curriculum has been recognized by leaders in industry, government and academia as the model for the technological education of tomorrow. Students emerge from this program as true technological humanists, well rounded, with the confidence, the interpersonal skills and the commitment to innovation they need to make a real difference in their professional and personal lives.

The university awarded its first advanced degree in 1898. Today, its first-rate research laboratories support master's and Ph.D. programs in more than 30 disciplines in engineering, science and the management of technology. Located in the heart of the region's biotechnology and high-technology sectors, WPI has built research programs - including the largest industry/university alliance in North America - that have won it worldwide recognition.