As the new academic year unfolds, the university is preparing for the 2020 Global Fair—a much-anticipated annual event where students gain insight into WPI’s signature Global Projects Program (GPP) and the opportunities at project centers across the globe.
Due to the pandemic, this year’s fair will be held virtually, September 8–17, but will provide the same important information provided in past years when the event has been held on campus. Here’s how it works: students check out the fair schedule for specific times of live sessions where they will hear from representatives from each of the university’s project centers, as well as students who’ve previously completed projects. This information helps students narrow down where they’d like to complete their future project work and helps them understand the application process.
“We are excited to deliver a comprehensive introduction to the opportunities available to students through the Global Projects Program,” says Erin Bell, interim director, Global Experience Office. “We think that the virtual format will allow for more participation than ever before.”
The fair will launch with a kick-off to the Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) application process, featuring a town hall–style presentation with time for questions at the end. Current sophomores who intend to complete their IQP off campus in their junior year are highly encouraged to attend.
To help students engage with students who've returned from project sites, the GPP will host two live events—a Zoom session, and a chat session via Brazen software. Bell says, “It is our hope that these formats will help connect students in new ways during these unique times.” Most sessions will be recorded so attendees can watch these sessions on-demand or revisit any session they attended live.
Special fair events are also planned for first-year students, prospective project center advisors, and parents. “We invite parents to come with questions about the application process, the project experience, and resumption of travel,” Bell says.
As for first-year students, the schedule includes an information session with details on what to do during their first year at WPI to prepare to apply for an off-campus IQP, such as group work experience, getting involved in leadership opportunities, and developing their resume. Kent Rissmiller, Dean ad interim of The Global School, will also host a virtual session for faculty members interested in becoming advisors at an off-campus project center.