Driving the Future: WPI's Impact on Sustainable Technologies and Sustainability

Wednesday, February 8, 2023
5:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Hilton Washington, DC Capitol Hill
525 New Jersey Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States



WPI faculty know that improving the health of our planet will take solutions from every corner. At WPI, we’ve identified, tested, and demonstrated success with solutions destined to make a significant positive impact on global climate change.

During this special event in Washington, DC, guests will learn about how WPI’s research and initiatives bring value to industry and offer hope for a brighter, more sustainable future from WPI faculty, corporate partners, and industry experts. Hear from Senator Edward Markey and Congressman Jim McGovern; WPI Professors Danielle Cote MS’10 PhD’14 and Michael Timko; Bernard M. Gordon Dean of Engineering John McNeill; WPI Interim President Wole Soboyejo and President-Elect Grace WangCharles Clancy, Senior Vice President, Chief Futurist, and General Manager of MITRE Labs; and Vanessa Miler-Fels, Vice President of Global Environment and Climate for Schneider Electric.

Driving the Future: WPI's Impact on Sustainable Technologies and Sustainability

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

5:30 – 8:00 PM
Speaking program at 6:00
Appetizers and bar service will be available

Hilton Washington, DC Capitol Hill

More information on our featured speakers is below. Advanced registration is requested.

Some Highlights of WPI's Impact on Sustainable Technologies and Sustainability
  • Fueling Clean Energy Technologies: WPI research is at the cutting edge of environmental science and engineering, resulting in new clean energy technologies. A team led by Associate Professor Michael Timko (chemical engineering) has developed ways to convert under-utilized energy resources into fuels and chemicals, easing the reliance on fossil fuels. With more than $3 million in funding from agencies such as the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, the team has created a process to turn bamboo, food, and yard waste into environmentally friendly biofuels, cutting the amount of municipal waste going into landfills, and reducing water pollution and unhealthy emissions from petroleum products and landfills. Read more here and here

  • Self-healing Concrete: The world is covered in concrete. It is the most-used construction material across the globe. It is also inherently brittle, offers little durability—as we’ve seen from the recent collapse of bridges and high-rises—and is the second highest industrial carbon emitter, accounting for 9 percent of global carbon emissions, producing and emitting carbon dioxide as it cures. We desperately need a durable structural alternative material to concrete.  A team of WPI researchers—including Professor Nima Rahbar of civil engineering; Suzanne Scarlata, Richard Whitcomb Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry; and Professor Ron Grimm, also of chemistry and biochemistry— have developed an Enzymatic Construction Material (ECM), a carbon negative “living material” that uses biological enzymes to not only heal itself when damaged, but also absorb carbon dioxide from the air. This incredibly promising technological solution can have a significant impact on reversing climate change and, if fully realized, could cut 10 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. Read more here and here

  • Battery Upcycling Process: WPI’s commercialization of a lithium-ion battery upcycling process invented by researcher Yan Wang earned the Better World Project Award from AUTM, the Association of University Technology Managers. Sixty-five applicants from seven countries competed for the award, which recognizes technology transfer professionals who support a better world through the commercialization of academic research. Professor Wang is co-founder of Ascend Elements, a manufacturer of advanced battery materials using valuable elements reclaimed from spent lithium-ion batteries. Read more here and here.

More About Our Featured Speakers​​​​​
PreviewEdward Markey Headshot

Senator Edward Markey is a consumer champion and national leader on energy, environmental protection, and telecommunications policy. He has a prolific legislative record on major issues across the policy spectrum and a deep commitment to improving the lives of the people of Massachusetts and the United States. Throughout his career, Senator Markey has amassed an unparalleled record of energy and environmental legislative achievements. Learn More about Senator Markey



PreviewMcGovern Headshot

Congressman Jim McGovern represents Massachusetts’ Second Congressional District. Born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, he served as Chairman of the House Rules Committee for the 116th and 117th Congresses, and serves as the Ranking Member of the Rules Committee for the 118th Congress. Throughout his career, Congressman McGovern has been an advocate for human rights and democracy both at home and abroad, and has been a critical voice on food security, access, and ending hunger. Learn More about Jim McGovern


PreviewCharles Clancy Headshot

Charles Clancy is senior vice president, chief futurist, and general manager of MITRE Labs. He is responsible for sparking innovative disruption, accelerating risk-taking and discovery, and delivering real-time technology capabilities and execution, and leads technical innovation to anticipate and meet the future demands of government sponsors and industry and academic partners. In 2021 WashingtonExec magazine named Clancy one of the nation’s Top Climate Executives to Watch. Clancy is an IEEE Fellow and sits on numerous boards and committees including the AFCEA Board of Directors’ Executive Committee and the Intelligence and National Security Alliance Advisory Committee. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a PhD in computer science from the University of Maryland, College Park.

PreviewDanielle Cote Headshot

Danielle Cote MS’10 PhD’14 is a Harold L. Jurist '61 and Heather E. Jurist Dean's Professor and an assistant professor in Materials Science & Engineering at WPI and director of the Cote Research Group. She received her B.S. from the University of New Hampshire in Chemical Engineering and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering from WPI. She also worked as a research engineer at Saint-Gobain High Performance Materials in the Polymer Characterization research group. Cote’s current research involves computational thermodynamic and kinetic modeling; rapidly solidified materials, with a focus on Al powder alloys (feedstock for AM); solid state additive manufacturing, specifically cold spray processing and characterization; and database development to aid in integrated computational materials science and materials processing. In 2018, she was named to Heat Treat Today’s inaugural 40 Under 40 class.


PreviewJohn McNeill Headshot

John McNeill is WPI’s Bernard M. Gordon Dean of Engineering. He joined WPI in 1994 after nearly a decade in industry, and was named dean in 2021. McNeill is senior member of IEEE and a member of the American Society for Engineering Education, the National Academy of Inventors, and the Council for Undergraduate Research. His research interests include biomedical sensing, jitter (noise) in integrated oscillators, and digitally assisted calibration of analog-to-digital converters used in low-power sensor systems. McNeill received a bachelor’s degree in engineering sciences from Dartmouth College, an MS in electrical engineering from the University of Rochester, and a PhD in electrical engineering from Boston University.


PreviewVanessa Miler-Fels Headshot

Vanessa Miler-Fels is Schneider Electric’s Vice President of Global Environment and Climate. In this role, Vanessa is responsible for Schneider’s environmental strategy and decarbonization roadmap. With 15 years of experience on climate change mitigation and adaptation in both developed and emerging markets, Vanessa has a deep understanding of energy transitions, and expertise across public and private sectors - from climate policy with the French Ministry of Energy to Microsoft and now Schneider Electric. She holds a Master’s degree from Sciences-Po Paris, an MBA from École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP), and graduated from Ecole Nationale D’Administration.


PreviewSoboyejo Headshot

Winston “Wole” Soboyejo is WPI’s Interim President, having previously served as Provost and Senior Vice President and also as Dean of Engineering. A member of the National Academy of Engineers, he is also a fellow of the World Academy of Sciences, the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, the Materials Society of Nigeria, the Nigerian Academy of Science, and the African Academy of Sciences. Soboyejo is a materials scientist whose research focuses on biomaterials and the use of nanoparticles for the detection and treatment of disease, the mechanical properties of materials, and the use of materials science to promote global development. He received a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from King’s College London and a PhD in PhD Materials Science and Metallurgy from Churchill College, Cambridge.

PreviewMike Timko Headshot

Michael Timko is the William B. Smith Fellow and Dean of Engineering Chair for WPI’s Chemical Engineering Department, chair of the Energy Research Group, and a co-PI for CEDAR at WPI. He received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Ohio State University, his M.S. in Chemical Engineering Practice from the MIT, and his PhD in Chemical Engineering also from MIT. He completed postdoctoral work at Harvard University. Timko’s research interests include studying the environmental and engineering aspects of clean energy technologies, with a specific emphasis on liquid transportation fuels. His work involves studying the fundamental chemical engineering science – including transport, phase behavior, and reactor design – to develop new technologies for converting under-utilized energy resources into fuels and chemicals. Timko previously worked at the Aerodyne Research Inc., Center for Aero-Thermodynamics.

PreviewGrace Wang Headshot

“Grace” Jinliu Wang will assume the role of president at WPI in April of 2023. She is a materials scientist and highly accomplished and collaborative leader in higher education, government, and industry. Over the past 21 years, president-elect Wang has distinguished herself through her work at IBM/Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, the National Science Foundation, the State University of New York System (SUNY), SUNY Polytechnic Institute, where she served as  interim president, and, most recently, at The Ohio State University where she serves as executive vice president for research, innovation, and knowledge enterprise. At each of these organizations, she has excelled at building collective vision and developing partnerships and resources that advanced their missions. Wang earned her bachelor’s and master’s of science degrees in polymer materials from the Beijing University of Chemical Technology, and a PhD in materials science and engineering from Northwestern University.

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Contact Person
Aubrey Valley, Senior Director of Advancement Events