Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) recognized five distinguished members of its academic community during the university's annual Honors Convocation today. The awards honored four faculty members and a graduate student for outstanding research, teaching, advising, and contributions to the community. For the first time, one faculty member received two of the annual Board of Trustees' Awards in the same year; also a first, all of the Board of Trustees' Awards were presented to women.
Sharon Wulf, professor of practice in the School of Business, received the Board of Trustees' Award for Outstanding Teaching. Established in 1959, the award recognizes faculty members for excellence in teaching coupled with outstanding professional contributions. According to Wulf's award citation, students and alumni consistently affirm that through her dedication, knowledge, patience, and persistence, she demonstrates an exceptional ability to inspire and educate her students—inside and outside the classroom. She motivates students to achieve their potential and plays a significant role in their intellectual and professional growth. In addition, she stimulates their intellectual curiosity by setting a high standard for achievement and encouraging students to take an active role in their own learning.
Diane Strong, professor in the School of Business, received the Board of Trustees' Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Scholarship. The award recognizes continuing excellence in research and scholarship by faculty members over a period of at least five years. One of the founders of WPI's Healthcare Delivery Institute, Strong conducts creative and groundbreaking research on the accumulation, processing, and integration of technologically based information. In her internationally known work, her award citation notes, she finds novel ways to understand how people and information technology can better adapt to each other in industry, business, and health care. This groundbreaking work has garnered the support of major funding agencies and foundations and resulted in over 100 combined journal articles, book chapters, and public presentations that have been cited thousands of times.
Chrysanthe Demetry '88, associate professor of mechanical engineering, received the Board of Trustees' Award for Academic Advising, which recognizes the important role that academic advisors play in guiding and mentoring students through stages of professional and personal development. With her commitment to the Institute, her dedication to her students, and her drive to always go above and beyond, Demetry embodies what it means to be an exceptional advisor, according to her award citation. Her dedication to advising goes beyond the course requirements. Despite having a large caseload, she actively challenges and supports each of her advisees, leaving positive lasting impressions. Students know she wants to give them the best advice she can to help them have a good educational experience, the citation notes.
Chrys Demetry also received the Denise Nicoletti Trustees' Award for Service to Community. Established in 2003 in memory of WPI’s first tenured female faculty member in electrical and computer engineering, the award is presented to a member of the faculty or staff in recognition of passion and action in serving the needs of a community. In 1997 Demetry and Nicoletti co-founded Camp Reach, a summer enrichment program that inspires middle school girls to pursue college studies and careers in science and engineering. Demetry added a powerful service-learning component to the camp: projects by campers that benefit the Worcester community. Camp Reach received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring for 2011; Demetry received the award at the White House from President Obama. Her commitment to improving student learning also includes her leadership of WPI's Morgan Teaching and Learning Center, which offers programs, services, and resources that help faculty members and student teaching assistants become better teachers.
Craig Shue, assistant professor of computer science, received the Romeo L. Moruzzi Young Faculty Award. Presented in memory of a longtime faculty member in WPI's Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, the award recognizes innovation in undergraduate education. Shue was honored for his coordinated efforts to innovate in cybersecurity education. In particular, Shue developed WPI's first undergraduate course in network security. To make the complex concepts more accessible, he has student complete missions for a fictional employer using a game-like educational module, called ScoreKeeper, which he developed. ScoreKeeper enables students to experiment with security tools and get immediate feedback on their progress. Students say the program lets them apply concepts in a real-world environment and learn from their successes and failures.
Ross Lagoy '13, a graduate student in biomedical engineering, received the Teaching Assistant of the Year Award, which recognizes the contributions graduate students make to the quality and success of WPI’s undergraduate curriculum. According to his citation, Lagoy was recognized for his dedication to student learning and his contributions to new course development and innovative approaches to teaching. Students praise him for generosity, approachability, and technical knowledge. Faculty members say he is able to be a full partner in the development and delivery of the courses his supports.