Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is committed to encouraging and supporting women in fields in which they are traditionally underrepresented. As part of that effort, WPI’s Office of Arts & Sciences provides research awards to support undergraduate women in math, computer science, physics, and robotics engineering.

These research awards were made possible through a Clare Booth Luce Research Scholar grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. WPI’s Clare Boothe Luce Research Scholars are selected based on academic excellence and the perceived quality of their proposed research projects, and are mentored by women WPI faculty throughout their research experience.  

WPI recently selected eight Clare Boothe Luce Research scholars for the 2017-2018 academic year. WPI will support the scholars and mentors as they undertake research projects that will enrich the students' educational experiences. These scholars join the seven students who were selected as scholars for the 2016-2017 academic year (see below for both classes of scholars). The application process for the 2018-2019 WPI Clare Boothe Luce Research Scholar program will be announced in early 2018.

2017-2018 Clare Boothe Luce Scholars

Hannah Kraus
Class of 2018
Mathematical Sciences
Mentor & Research Advisor: Sarah Olson
 
Caroline Johnston

Class of 2019
Mathematical Sciences
Mentor & Research Advisor: Suzanne Weekes
 
Toni Joy

Class of 2019
Mathematical Sciences
Mentor & Research Advisor: Suzanne Weekes
 
Sarah Ma

Class of 2018
Mathematical Sciences
Mentor & Research Advisor: Sarah Olson
 

Erin Morissette
Class of 2019
Physics
Mentor: Lyubov Titova
Research Advisors: Lyubov Titova and Ron Grimm
 
Sierra Palmer

Class of 2019
Robotics Engineering
Mentor: Carolina Ruiz
Research Advisor: Carlo Pinciroli
 
Aline Tomasian

Class of 2018
Physics
Mentor: Lyubov Titova
Research Advisor: Izabela Stroe
 
MaryAnn VanValkenburg

Class of 2019
Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science
Mentor & Research Advisor: Carolina Ruiz
 

2016-2017 Clare Boothe Luce Scholars

Shannon Feeley
Class of 2017
Mathematical Sciences
Mentor: Suzanne Weekes, Professor of Mathematical Sciences

Research Project: Search and Rescue Planning: When a search and rescue incident occurs, it is imperative to find survivors as quickly as possible.  The uncertainty in the survivors' location usually increases with time, and their likelihood of survival decreases with time.  This project will research the methods that are used to identify the most efficient way to maximize the likelihood of locating survivors.  

Katie Gandomi
Class of 2017
Robotics Engineering
Mentor: Carolina Ruiz, Associate Professor of Computer Science

Research Project: Autonomous Delivery with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: As e-commerce companies like Amazon and Ebay grow, there is a demand to have products delivered from factories into the hands of customers faster than ever. With the help of autonomous quadrotor transport, packages could be at your doorstep within hours as small drones are deployed and organized into a complex network of delivery-robots.

In this research project, the mechanical, electrical and software aspects of this problem are explored as well as the artificial intelligence and machine learning behind the master control unit that organizes and deploys the robots.     

Amanda Leahy
Class of 2018
Physics
Mentor: Lyubov Titova, Assistant Professor of Physics

Research Project: Use of Gafchromic Film for Brachytherapy Source Characterization: This project will investigate the use of Yb-169 in High Dose Rate brachytherapy using Gafchromic film. The Gafchromic film will be used to measure the radiation output of Yb-169. The results will be compared to Ir-192, currently the most common isotope used in brachytherapy. 

Holly Nguyen
Class of 2018
Computer Science
Mentor: Carolina Ruiz, Associate Professor of Computer Science

Research Project: Personalized Computational Tools to Foster Better Sleep Habits in College: This research project involves the design, implementation and use of algorithms and computational tools in a mobile app to improve sleep behavior in college students. The app enables users to track their sleep schedule (as well as caffeine intake and exercise), receive graphical feedback and tailored advice based on personality and chronotype, and adopt healthier sleep behaviors.

The project covers a wide range of computational aspects (including the design and implementation of mobile apps, data mining and predictive analytics), as well as medical and psychology aspects (including healthy behaviors, personality types, behavioral change, feedback and interventions).      

Aline Tomasian
Class of 2018
Physics
Mentor: Lyubov Titova, Assistant Professor of Physics

Research Project: Structural changes and the movement of proteins in the aqueous cellular environment play an essential role in biological processes. This research project will use spectroscopic techniques to uncover a complete picture of protein dynamics, focusing specifically on amyloidogenic proteins related to Alzheimer's Disease and Type II Diabetes.  

Hope Wallace
Class of 2018
Computer Science
Mentor: Kathi Fisler, Professor of Computer Science

Research Project: Predicting Exergame Enjoyment: This project aims to create a recommendation system for mobile exercise games (exergames) in order to encourage people to continue playing them and therefore lead healthier lifestyles. The first phase of this project will create a taxonomy for mobile exergames and create a questionnaire to measure exergame enjoyment.  

Natalie Wellen
Class of 2017
Mathematical Sciences
Mentor: Suzanne Weekes, Professor of Mathematical Sciences

Research Project: Systemic Risk Analysis of the OTC Market: Some of the major questions in the financial industry today are what are the next regulations going to be and how will they affect the markets? The goal of this research is to create a model of the Over the Counter Derivatives Market, and specifically to apply Central Clearing Parties to this model, a form of regulation imposed in the Dodd-Frank Act.