When Kirk Jalbert was growing up in Billerica, Mass., he spent much of his time devouring science fiction books: Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, Frank Herbert’s Dune.
He loved the feeling of being dropped into an unexpected world and exploring it for a few hundred pages, but he was more excited by the kind of thinking that prompted the stories in the first place.
“Science fiction is a genre that starts with a question,” he says. “‘What happens if you alter the terrain of a planet, and what would that do to its citizens?’ Or, ‘What would you do if you had a time machine?’”
Later, when he began his college search, he knew he wanted to continue exploring the way science and technology intersected with the world. He considered many schools—Cornell and MIT, for example. WPI won him over.
He was intrigued by a new science and society degree that some faculty members were just beginning to develop. WPI made Jalbert’s decision easy—with a solid financial aid package. As a first-generation college student, he was committed to making the very most of the experience.
“People in technical fields greatly benefit from reading widely across history, philosophy, politics, and art. One quickly realizes how inseparable these worlds really are. Choices made in the sciences inevitably impact society and we must be attuned to these realities in our work.”