The Month in Photos: January 2021

February 11, 2021

The first month of 2021 is in the rear view, and we’ve made just as many strides as the world around us. From move-in and construction updates to BattleBots and the latest from the lab, check out what the WPI community was up to in January.

As well as obtaining 200 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for those who provide COVID-facing care on campus, WPI assisted in setting up four vaccination sites across Massachusetts to help inoculate Health Services staff and frontline workers from other colleges and universities across the state.


In addition to stories on Wes Wheeler ’78, life at WPI during COVID-19, and an interview with Director of Health Services Lisa Pearlman, the Winter 2020 issue of the WPI Journal talked with Janelle Drake ’11 and Jolene Cotnoir ’10, both transgender women, and James Imperiali ’13, a transgender man, all of whom are taking steps to increase queer representation in STEM just by being themselves.


The excavator robot (foreground) prepares to place a lunar sample in the hauler robot to transport to the processing plant (orange).

Call it one giant leap for goatkind—made up of robotics students and faculty, WPI’s Team Capricorn (which is seeking to program virtual robots to locate and extract valuable resources from the Moon) has advanced to the final competition round in the NASA-sponsored Space Robotics Challenge.


New year, new ... building? Not quite yet—this Boynton Street building is on track, and crews have been continuing work on the latest physical manifestation of theory and practice on campus.


January 27 saw the latest in The Global School’s Virtual Event Series. Keynote speaker Malak Al Akiely (shown with moderator Joe Doiron, assistant teaching professor of integrative and global studies) joined panelists in discussions on how the Middle East can address myriad economic and environmental issues through partnerships.


The WPI community was on its toes January 28 as Team Ribbot (made up of WPI students) hopped over its competition, knocking out Tracer in 43 seconds in the latest season of BattleBots on Discovery. (Photo courtesy David Jin, Team Ribbot)


We’ve missed those classic campus sunsets.


Wearing face coverings, limiting close contacts, using the symptom tracker—WPI students shared how they took proactive steps to be safe both before and after returning to campus … as well as figuring out how many Dunkin’ cups is six feet. (It’s 18, by the way).


Students returned to campus at the end of the month, following a move-in plan carefully crafted by the Housing & Residential Experience Center and the Health Team with countless volunteers from offices across campus.


Students in the TPP work with local organizations such as Girls Inc. to develop lessons that sometimes take shape as a fun community activity, like “Spooky Science,” pictured here.

Executive director of the STEM Education Center Kathy Chen, director of the Teacher Prep Program Shari Weaver, and physics professor and department head Doug Petkie have received a one-year, $75,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to plan how to combat the STEM teacher shortage in high-need school districts and to better prepare WPI undergraduates to become certified STEM teachers.


Don’t we all?