i3 event to recognize research by MS and PhD candidates• The space between Theory and Practice is where scientific skills transfer into action. The GRAD 2014 awards, to be presented April 14, recognizes those graduate students whose projects show excellence in that translational capacity.
April 11, 2014

“i3: Investing in Ideas with Impact” is the culmination of a campus-wide competition, which will feature its own awards ceremony for the finalists within their respective academic departments.

It is the second of two events for recognizing the work being done by WPI graduate students; GRAD 2014 (Graduate Research Appreciation Day) on March 19 consisted of a poster presentation from which several finalists were chosen. The winner will be decided as part of the i3 event.

“This celebration has two parts,” says Professor Germano Iannacchione. “The first is to set aside a day just for graduate students at all levels and progress the great work being done at WPI. The second is the competition, where internal and external judges recognize the very highest quality of the work being done.”

Iannacchione is associate professor and head of the Physics Department, and has been involved as a judge with GRAD  since it began eight years ago under Provost Carol Simpson.

“I am always bewildered and amazed at the breadth of projects being presented representing the incredible range for work going on at WPI,” Iannacchione says, speaking to the range and high standard of quality coming from the participants.

He also draws attention to its translational potential. “This is something that truly stands out about research at WPI, engrained in our students and faculty: that research here is a holistic combination of theory and practice.”

“I am always bewildered and amazed at the breadth of projects being presented “As in every year, grad students display an immense propensity for achievement in their respective fields. The poster ceremony on March 19 showed not only the quality of work, but the ability to present their scientific research in a professional setting. This facet, Iannacchione points out, is even greater than the prizes due the winners. “The winnings are significant, but the recognition of their work is the biggest thrill.  This not only adds to their reputation but helps them as they have to present their work in professional meetings of their own discipline.”

Some of the work on display includes PhD candidate in biomedical engineering Zoë Reidinger with “Effect of 2D v. 3D Culture on Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Phenotype.” Of the event, Reidinger says, “There were so many other interesting posters that were presented during the first round that I feel honored to be selected as a finalist.”

Ultimately, the ceremony of recognition is but one component of a continuing expansion of WPI’s commitment to its students’ research and the capacity of that research to contribute to the community and the world.

As Iannacchione puts it, “My wish to all participants of i3 and GRAD—students, faculty, judges, and the WPI community—is that they see they are part of a community of scientists and engineers answering questions and solving problems where the realcompetition is in pushing back the edge of the unknown.”

The i3 ceremony will be held Monday, April 14, at 3pm in the Rubin Campus Center.