Year in Review photo with DEI mural

2021 Year in Review: Media Coverage

December 16, 2021

It’s become a tradition for media outlets to pause and look back on the year that was with “top stories” and “best of” lists. Similarly, we would like to take a moment to share some highlights of news stories that covered the amazing work done in and out of our labs and classrooms over the course of 2021.



WPI’s commitment to impactful research and innovation garnered attention locally, nationally, and around the world:


  • NBC News cited tests conducted by Professor Ali Rangwala, fire protection engineering, in its report about a new law that establishes performance standards to protect against portable fuel container explosions.
  • Yahoo Finance and Martha Stewart Living reported on chemical engineering associate professor Mike Timko’s work to turn waste into fuel.
  • The New York Times highlighted robotics engineering professor Greg Fischer’s work to develop “ways for machines to carefully guide surgeons’ hands as they perform particular tasks.”
  • The Boston Herald reported on biology and biotechnology professor Pam Weathers’s research on how extracts from a medicinal herb can help in the fight against COVID-19.
  • Fast Company highlighted civil, environmental, and architectural engineering associate professor Nima Rahbar’s development of self-healing concrete.



Among this year’s media coverage were stories showing the depth and breadth of student projects on and off campus.

  • reported on the effort by Jordan Rosenfeld ’21 (BS), ’22 (MS), to develop and build a prosthetic leg for his dog, Cleo.
  • The Boston Globe highlighted the collaborations between assistant professor of robotics engineering Marko Popovic and students Mia Buccowich ’22, Andy Strauss ’23, and Brian Fay ’22 to develop a hand prosthetic for a college student in Texas.
  • WCVB-TV aired a segment on ROADGNAR, a device developed by WPI graduates that’s designed to help detect potholes.
  • Spectrum News 1 and Central Mass Town Square reported on the mural—a gift from the Class of 2021—that reflects the diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus.
  • Worcester Business Journal reported on how graduate student Justin Amevor is fighting food insecurity with the launch of “Doughboyz.”



2021 has been time of significant change at WPI, and those changes were captured by the media throughout the year.



Members of WPI’s faculty and senior leadership shared their expertise and insights with local and national media on a wide range of topics:

  • CBS Boston spoke with President Laurie Leshin about the Perseverance Mars rover mission to Mars.
  • Newsy featured commentary from Professor Joe Sarkis, The Business School, on Black Friday shopping during the holiday supply chain crisis.
  • The Boston Globe spoke with Professor Mike Gennert, robotics engineering, about the interaction between the robotics and grocery industries.
  • Lifewire talked with Professor Albert Simeoni, fire protection engineering, about the pros and cons of a new feature on Google Maps that lets users track wildfires.
  • Money FM in Singapore interviewed Business School Assistant Professor Kenny Ching about the explosive growth of e-Sports.

For more expert analysis and commentary, visit the WPI Expert Database. Faculty members and senior administrators are available to offer ideas, opinions, analysis, and commentary on issues ranging from higher education to current events, trending topics, and breaking news.