WPI Interim President Wole Soboyejo on the Importance of Global STEM Education, Dreaming Big, and Being Curious for Social Good
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 Global STEM Education 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.
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.
- Innovative Robot Kits Aim to Spread Global STEM Access, Opportunities, and Inspiration: Get an inside look at the innovative robotics kits made possible through a partnership between WPI and DEKA that will be distributed to FIRST Global Challenge participants.
WPI/FIRST Partnership Dates Back 30 Years: For decades, WPI and FIRST have been working together to sow the seeds of innovative STEM education around the world. Learn more about how this invaluable partnership has inspired and maintained a pipeline of inspiration and learning.
- Revolutionary and Affordable New Robotics System Makes Debut at 2022 FIRST Global Challenge = A Win for STEM Equity: Want more details on the XRP and its invaluable role in STEM equity? We've got you covered—check out the platform's origin story.
- WPI Global STEM Education Initiative Delivers What the World Needs Now: With a growing need to empower and encourage more students around the world in STEM disciplines, WPI's Global STEM Education Initiative leverages to help other countries and underserved schools in the United States provide high-quality, accessible K-12 STEM education the world needs now.
- Inspiration—3-D Printed: Meet Ezekiel “Zeke” Andreassen ’22. Pretty much since he stepped off the Commencement stage in May, he’s been busy in a lab in WPI’s Unity Hall 3-D printing inspiration in the form of the XRP. Read more about his passion for robotics education and how he’s put it to use with this latest project.