WPI’s hallmark projects program gives undergraduates opportunities to engage in research throughout their four years. Working with faculty members on campus in WPI's state-of-the-art laboratories, where they are often valued participants in graduate research projects; at leading research institutions, including University of Massachusetts Medical School; and with organizations around the globe through the university’s renowned Global Projects Program, undergraduates have the chance to dive deep and explore what it means to engage in high-level research. That’s why employers and graduate schools are eager to accept WPI graduates into the workforce and leading graduate programs. They have the knowledge and the interdisciplinary skills needed to attack a problem from all angles.
At WPI, undergraduate students are actively involved in research with real-world impact. Through hands-on projects, lab work, and collaborations with faculty and peers, undergraduates are discovering innovative solutions to critical problems across a wide range of fields. The WPI Undergraduate Research Journal (WURJ) provides a venue to share these impressive research achievements with the campus and larger academic community.
The Henry Luce Foundation has awarded the university a Clare Boothe Luce Research Scholar Award. The grant will support research by undergraduate women in math, computer science, physics, and robotics engineering and will fund up to eight research scholars annually over a three-year period.
The National Science Foundation recently selected 2,000 students (out of 13,000+ applicants) to receive awards through its Graduate Research Fellowship Program, which awards fellowships to outstanding students with high potential in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics selected through a national competition.
Two WPI students received the award for graduate studies: Alicia Aquino ’18 (chemical engineering) and Jonathan Vardner ’16 (chemical engineering). Five received honorable mention: Huilin Yang (chemical engineering), Corey Richards (materials engineering), Ben Pulver (biomedical engineering), Sarah Kaptur (biology and biotechnology), and Christine Carbone (chemistry and biochemistry).
This year's 21st annual Poster on the Hill event will feature two of WPI’s own. This competitive event gives students across the country the unique opportunity to share their research with congressional members, meet with their own representatives, and learn about advocacy for undergraduate research. Sixty top student research projects have been selected from among more than 300 applications.
Seniors Natalie Wellen, a mathematics major researching the central clearing of over-the-counter derivatives, and Huilin Yang, a chemical engineering major investigating the properties and applications of polymers, will give poster presentations on their research and will meet with senators and representatives to explain their work and discuss the importance of federal funding for continuing essential undergraduate research.
According to CUR, the definition of undergraduate research is an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline. Visit the CUR website to learn more about the organization.
The Council on Undergraduate Research held its sixth Research Experiences for Undergraduates Symposium last fall in Arlington, Va. The conference, featuring presentations by students in a wide range of disciplines, provided important opportunities for students from REU programs to present their research to representatives from the National Science Foundation and other government agencies. Every REU site in the country was allowed to nominate a single student; all three of WPI’s REU programs were each invited to send one student.
WPI is a Gold Sponsor of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research hosted by the University of Memphis this spring. At this annual conference the best minds in undergraduate research are invited to present to peers and faculty on a national platform that supports and encourages the work of young researchers.
Aylin Padir ’19, advised by Robert Dempski and Elizabeth Bafaro of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, will present “Sodium-Dependent Bile Acid Transporter Structural Model Validation.” Padir’s work explores the central role that bile acids have in the reabsorption of nutrients, such as vitamins.