Undergraduate Studies

The Two Towers Prize: The Two Towers Prize recognizes the member of the junior class who exemplifies the Two Towers tradition of Theory and Practice. This prize was given by Mildred M. Tymeson Petrie, author of Two Towers, WPI's centennial history.

From the many outstanding nominated students, two winners of the Two Towers prize were selected.

Gabriel Espinosa is a Mechanical Engineering major and a minor in Astrophysics. Already in his sophomore year he was elected as the technical lead for WPI’s Engineers without borders group and he led a team that developed a low-cost water filtration system for a community in Ecuador. As part of his MQP, he is working on the development of an ocean clean-up robot.  He contributed to published papers in the area of low-cost Magnesium recycling. Prof. Powell writes in support of Gabriel’s nomination “he has the vision, initiative, engineering talent, work ethic, and perseverance to be a disruptive industry leader, more than any other undergraduate I’ve ever met. He has my strongest recommendation, and I look forward following his career.” Prof. Mathisen writes “his efforts in support of sustainability at WPI have included leadership for major initiatives to manage food waste, promote solar energy for communities, and advance the bike share program. These efforts made a tremendous difference in the green team’s activities.”

Sol Giesso is majoring in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. She is also pursuing a master's degree in Community Climate Adaptation. To have a positive on the health of our planet, Sol is a strong proponent of an improved environmental education in schools, universities and other institutions. She authored and illustrated children’s books about waste, developed educational brochures about seagrass restoration, elaborated lesson plans for state framework standards, formulated policy briefs about bridging the environmental illiteracy gap, and created art exhibits to convey the human dimensions of environmental change. Many of these now circulate in organizations and schools. This summer, she will be leading a program for immigrant high schoolers in Miami who wish to pursue environmental careers, for which I received a $10,000 grant from the Davis Projects for Peace fund. The goal of the project is to contribute to peacekeeping by ensuring that diverse voices reach conversations about the environment. Prof Strauss writes in her nomination letter “I have taught graduate and undergraduate students at multiple institutions since the early 1990s, many of them quite talented, but Sol is absolutely among the top three at any level—not only because of her innate capacity for understanding and learning at the theoretical level, but also for her enthusiasm and engagement in her community. Her passion for leading change to improve the world has resulted in many wonderful applications of these capacities.” Prof. Eggleston notes: “The point is that Sol is good at a lot more than classroom learning, and in my view truly exemplifies the WPI ideal of Theory and Practice. I can think of no better candidate for the Two Towers award!”