Student Water Projects

WPI students are working on a variety of projects that involve water. The World's Water, a Great Problems Seminar for first year students, explores the social, political, technical, and environmental dimensions of our looming water crisis. This course prepares students to analyze problems and seek sustainable and equitable solutions to a variety of water challenges.  

From improving access to clean water in Uganda, to understanding how agricultural practices are causing eutrophication in the Gulf of Mexico, to the effects of BPA in Alaska ocean currents—students are encouraged to explore water challenges on a global scale.

For students in their third year, Interactive Qualifying Projects gather interdisciplinary teams to explore important problems that blend science, technology, social issues, and human needs.   

While topics vary each year, in 2014, students working at the Boston Project Center site investigated the presence of cyanobacteria in public drinking water supplies. A lot further from home, another student project team tackled the issues of sustainability of water and sanitation in Monwabisi Park, Cape Town.  

Students in the final year of their undergraduate studies are tasked with completing a Major Qualifying Project (MQP), a high-level research project in the student’s field. Through the MQP, every WPI student has the chance to experience the real-world problem solving that will soon characterize their professional careers. Recently, students have delved into subjects such as water pollution, ecosystem services, and the use of change management.

Graduate students partner with faculty to research trending topics using advanced techniques and equipment. Working on funded projects involving molecular simulation, liquid-phase oxidation, hydrophobic molecular sieves, and more, students have found success in developing marketable technologies to improve water.