WPI Interim President Wole Soboyejo on the Importance of OpenSTEM Initiative, Dreaming Big, and Being Curious for Social Good

October 13, 2022

Ahead of the 2022 FIRST Global Robotics Challenge and XPrize ESG Leadership Summit in Geneva, Switzerland, Interim President* Wole Soboyejo talked about WPI’s strategic efforts to leverage STEM to ignite innovation and drive a future generation of game changers who will eventually contribute greatly to helping solve major problems around the world. Soboyejo, who will be featured at both the FIRST Global and XPrize events, says the key distinction of WPI’s new OpenSTEM Initiative is the university’s commitment to collaboration and co-creation.

To solve problems and create the kinds of change that will improve the lives of everyone, it’s important for young students to develop a lifelong curiosity that keeps them asking questions, “whether about grand ideas or the seemingly mundane,” Soboyejo said. “No question is too small or too big, because any question can spark a student’s imagination, help them develop as scientists, and potentially lead to breakthroughs.” At the same time, he also encourages students to dream big, because big dreams can become realities that create positive change.

Soboyejo also spoke about a newly developed robot kit, the XRP (Experiential Robotics Platform), created by WPI and DEKA Research and Development. These inexpensive kits, which will be distributed to teams at FIRST Global, can help “democratize robotics” by getting younger generations excited about STEM and making the field of robotics more affordable and accessible in all parts of the world.


*Interim President May 2022 to April 2023

The Road to Geneva

WPI is in Geneva, Switzerland October 13-16, 2022 for the FIRST Global Challenge and XPrize ESG Leadership Summit. During the challenge, WPI will unveil the XRP (Experiential Robotic Platform), a groundbreaking, low-cost robotics system developed with DEKA Research and Development Corp. to give students around the world hands-on access to robotics education and initiatives. Read about how and why in the stories below.