The members of the Class of 2022 may have completed this part of their journey at WPI, but WPI will never leave them. It’s commonly said that there’s no singular WPI experience, and the same holds true for our graduates once they’ve got that long-awaited symbol of all their hard work in hand. Whether they’re planning to pursue graduate school, a new job, military service, or something else entirely, they’re more than ready to make their future their own—all with the knowledge that they’ve got the support of the entire WPI community behind them. In celebration of them and their countless accomplishments, we asked a few members of the Class of 2022 to reflect on their time at WPI and how they’ll carry their alma mater in their lives once they leave the Hill.
Lindsay Ambrosino, BS, Biomedical Engineering/Electrical & Computer Engineering
I’m a Crimson Key tour guide at WPI, and I always end my tours talking about why I chose to come here. One point I always like to hit is that WPI truly gives you an unlimited amount of opportunities to do what you want to do and be who you want to be. I never felt like I had to fit into a box here—I was able to get a double major, play softball, join clubs, get internships, do extraordinary projects, and meet my best friends along the way. There’s truly no one mold for who a WPI student should be, and it’s one of my favorite things about this place.
Alex Nieto, BS, Biomedical Engineering
My favorite memory at WPI is when I was given the opportunity to study abroad in Sydney, Australia, over the summer after my first year here. It was an incredible experience to be able to meet students from other schools as well as learn what it means to do research ... I made WPI my own by exploring the different clubs and organizations available to me. In the end, I joined a fraternity, a professional development club for Hispanic students, and a club sport. Through the different organizations, I was able to meet so many people! Don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone ... that's how you grow as a person.
Noelle Morgan, BS, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Robotics Engineering
My favorite memories at WPI are staying out late with my WPI friends—whether it was on campus, in Boston, or some other brand-new city. At night, when the rest of the world is calming down and going to sleep, but for whatever reason we are still up, it’s nice to enjoy the peace that comes from it, and to enjoy the other person’s presence. I am grateful for that time I got to spend with them. And I made WPI my own by chartering the Zeta Phi Beta sorority here at WPI and making full use of WPI’s I&E resources. I learned things I would not have learned anywhere else and was able to apply those skills in my life.
Panawan Vanaphuti, PhD, Materials Science & Engineering
Although the PhD journey is not always smooth, it has been a terrific opportunity. I have met an amazing and supportive advisor, mentors, MTE faculty members, and friends at WPI that make this possible. With this small, warm, and helpful community that WPI has, the memories I have here are precious—except the super cold New England winters. WPI provides a broad research experience that motivated me to apply my skills in the real world and not just in the lab. As a result, this inspired me to choose the research on battery technology in electric vehicles and grid storage systems. I can’t wait to use the knowledge and experience gained here in the next chapter of my life as a postdoctoral fellow.
Jordan Wynn, BS/MS, Biochemistry
My experience being a WPI goat has been special because of the amazing people I got to be around. From having the opportunity to play basketball with my best friends to having constant support from my professors and advisors, I am lucky that I had the chance to be a part of such an engaging and encouraging community. Whether it is the memory of when my freshman year roommates (my closest friends today) took an entire week to tell me I wasn’t supposed to walk across the seal (and that I wouldn’t graduate in time because of it), or the endless nights of cards games that always ended way later than we planned, my memory bank from WPI will undoubtedly always put a smile on my face. As I wrap up my time here I am left feeling nothing but grateful. I came here looking for a degree and I leave here with lifelong friends, connections I will carry with me, and skills that will help me get through any group assignment or team challenge I will have to face. (Jordan is center row, second from left.)
Anthony Gosselin, BS, Aerospace Engineering, ROTC
I chose Master Sergeant Sutton to be my first salute due to his massive influence, help, and guidance on my development as a leader in the Army. Some of my best memories at WPI were when I was sharing the field with my teammates, whether it be the football field or the Army training field. I made WPI my own by sticking with my team and because of this, I found a family in these places.
Brianna Newton, ’14 BS Biomedical Engineering, ’22 MBA
After an amazing undergraduate on-campus experience at WPI (Class of ’14), I wasn’t sure how I would adjust to a part-time online MBA. It turns out I couldn’t have asked for a better experience! I loved being able to sign into class from anywhere with my corgi, Sir Isaac Newton, right by my side. I was able to balance a full-time engineering career, family, friends, and lots of fun adventures while taking classes and collaborating with other students on projects. It was great to return to WPI and bring my experience from both the medical device and aerospace industries with me.
Marlon Scott, ’20 MS Electrical & Computer Engineering, ’22 MS Robotics Engineering
As a graduate student, all of the classes I took were remote. Still, through the remote learning opportunities WPI provided, I made friendships that I look forward to maintaining throughout my personal and professional life … I earned an MS in ECE in May of 2020, but of course we were unable to celebrate with a Commencement ceremony that year. I decided to continue my academic career and earn an MS in Robotics. I feel grateful to be able to attend this year's Commencement, with an incredible feeling of accomplishment after almost five years of graduate work!
Ranya Basma, BS, Biomedical Engineering
My favorite memory from my time at WPI was playing soccer games at night under the lights on Alumni Field. There was nothing quite like finishing classes for the week and focusing energy on the field with WPI lit up at night as the backdrop. Whether I was playing soccer, staying late at the lab, relaxing by the fountain, or drinking coffee and doing homework in the Campus Center, I have been able to make friends and relate, even in some small way, to so many different people.
Minh Anh Kieu, BS, Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineering
Be unapologetically you! Don't let yourself be defined by a grade, a major, or a job! Take that extra class you've always wanted to try, go to the event, join the club you've wanted to join, and be kind to yourself at every step of your learning journey. As a Vietnamese international student from half the world away, I am all too familiar with the pressure of how to make my education here worthy of my family's sacrifices, that I have come too far to be here. But when I was feeling insecure and comparing myself to others, I realized that there's no one right way to be—learn, grow, and succeed. I realized that by fixating on what I think I should do, I was missing out on other learning opportunities, connections, and fulfillment. WPI has a flexible curriculum and an amazing community that make it so no matter what path you choose, you will find your supportive people here. I tried philosophy, creative writing, and theatre for the first time at WPI, and they have given me insights into my own major through ways I didn't expect before. So don't feel trapped by a major, a class, or a grade. Be kind to yourself and your growth while creating more learning opportunities for those who come after.
Kyle Mitchell, BS, Robotics Engineering/Mechanical Engineering
My favorite memory at WPI is the very first WPI Annual VEX Event (The WAVE). This competition took years to plan by an incredible team of people, including my high school robotics mentor, David Kelly. During the competition, I refereed teams from around the nation (and some from other countries as well) alongside my friends from the New Hampshire VEX community and the WPI Robotics community. It was such an incredible experience to be able to work with so many talented individuals on such a project. And the volunteers were constantly fed fresh baked cookies all weekend long! I had such a blast volunteering for this event, and I love volunteering every year. It's my small way to make an impact on the robotics community that has given me so much.
Xiaomeng Helen Zhou-Carr (MS, Systems Engineering) and William “Mac” Carr (MS, Data Science, summer ’22)
During our time at WPI we have transitioned from a newly married couple to a pair of young parents. We really appreciate the help we have received along the way—from our professors, classmates, family, and, of course, each other! We enjoyed experiencing WPI through different perspectives—with one of us online and the other on campus. During the pandemic we felt the online learning platform allowed a smooth continuation of classes. Like many WPI students, we have faced many obstacles and barriers, yet we have encouraged each other and persevered through. With this chapter of our lives coming to a close, we can say that WPI has helped us put the right foot forward to growing our careers throughout the 21st century.
Shiya Cao, PhD, Business Administration
If I list the eight most important things in life, people will be at the top of the list. My favorite memories at WPI are related to people ... I would also like to express my deepest appreciation to my dissertation committee, faculty, and staff members, and my fellow PhD students at The Business School for helping and supporting me throughout my PhD studies. The past two years have been a unique experience with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the world. I have been lucky to have met some friends who have been around me in Worcester since the pandemic began. They have made my life in Worcester feel more connected and interesting.
Jon Zimak, ’20 BS Chemical Engineering, ’22 MS Fire Protection Engineering, ROTC
My favorite memory of WPI isn’t one singular moment, but rather the collection of daily random interactions that would occur with friends on and around campus. Whether it was passing someone on the way to class, "working" in the graduate office, or helping out in the lab on an adjacent project—it's the little things that make WPI great. The amazing friends, peers, and lab staff who make every day just a little better at random times makes the research work we do more fun.
Kwesi Sakyi, BS/MS, Mechanical Engineering
I am an RA and in the National Society for Black Engineers, but what really made WPI memorable for me happened when I was working as an Engineering Ambassador where they teach STEM to students to get them interested. One day I was working with younger kids and teaching them a lesson about space. They had to create their own spacesuit and there was a little kid who came up to me and he was happy to see someone who looked like him teaching him about STEM and engineering. He said that helped him know he eventually wanted to become an engineer and maybe even come to WPI from the excitement I brought. That is a memory that will always shape me in knowing that everything I do, I try to ask myself, "How am I helping other people?" It brought joy to my heart, and nothing beats seeing the spark in that kid's eye and that curiosity to want to know more, to want to do more. It was an amazing feeling and an amazing accomplishment.
Victoria Mirecki, BS, Mathematical Sciences
The people and personal connections that I have made at WPI have made it my own. I feel so lucky to have a second family at WPI, and to have gotten to play basketball with my best friends. Over the last four years, I have had so many great times, and will cherish these memories forever.
Avery Closser, PhD, Learning Sciences & Technologies
During my five years as a graduate student as WPI, I took advantage of opportunities to celebrate and support women in STEM. For example, I participated in WIN-funded programs like the Women's Research and Mentorship Program and the Writers Colony. I coordinated with scientists and engineers to speak at a Women in Science summer day camp for middle school students. I also developed a WIN-funded program, the Women's Young Investigator Fellowship, to create an interdisciplinary research community for women at WPI for the past four years. These experiences helped me connect with women doing amazing work across departments and positions at WPI as well as with junior scientists. I feel so lucky to have met, worked with, and learned from these women in different capacities. These experiences were really inspiring, empowering, and integral to the sense of community that I felt at WPI.
Androniqi Qifti, ’17 BS, ’19 MS, ’22 PhD, Biochemistry
Spending the last nine years at WPI has been extraordinary. I joined this family as a 19-year-old full of dreams and aspirations but nonetheless unable to grasp how my life is about to change or how much I am going to change in the process. While interacting with numerous amazing professors, mentors, and fellow students, I grew so much as a scientist but also as an individual. I met friends who became family, made memories that will last a lifetime, and found love on this very campus. To my family who believed in me and sent me overseas, THANK YOU for your unconditional support, love, and patience. To every single soul who is part of the WPI community, whether you taught me a class, collaborated with me on a project, grabbed a coffee with me at the Campus Center, or even smiled at me entering the elevator, THANK YOU. You inspire me, you contributed to the person I am today, and I am forever grateful to you all.