Emma R.

Major/Minor

Junior, BS in Mechanical Engineering
Completed Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) at the Tirana, Albania Project Center.

An IQP is often called life-changing by WPI students, requiring teams to delve into a problem that matters to real people.
Project

Emma was one of 24 students who traveled to the Albania Project Center to complete their IQPs. She and her team—three other WPI students—assisted a tourism company, Albania Rafting Group, with the development of an eco-adventure park aimed at providing additional revenue sources and growth for the company. The team conducted surveys to identify popular adventure activities among the target audience, researched how these activities could be implemented, and brainstormed possible locations for them on the sponsor’s site.

Reflection

The most valuable part of Emma’s IQP was learning how to work with a sponsor. This provided her with the opportunity to collaborate with partners from outside WPI, preparing her for real-world project experiences.

In addition to her project work, the experience that most resonated with Emma was a visit to the National History Museum in Tirana. Seeing artifacts of a culture far older than her own was fascinating, and the museum offered an interesting perspective on Albania’s transitions into and out of a communist regime. These pieces, left behind by the people who had died for a cause they believed in, were especially moving to her.

Emma by the banks of the Osumi Canyon
Hometown

West Suffield, CT

Major/Minor

BS in Mechanical Engineering

Project Sponsor
Achievements
  • Dean’s List recipient every semester
  • Making new friends through involvement in non-technical clubs such as Alden Voices and underwater hockey

Typical Work Week Schedule

9:00 AM

Wake up and prepare for the day.

9:40 AM

Meet my team in the lobby of our apartment building for breakfast pastries, then, because our sponsor doesn’t have an office in the city, decide whose apartment to work in for the day.

10:00 AM

Gather in the apartment, establish our goals for the day, distribute work, and get started.

1:00 PM

Head out to lunch either nearby or further in the city.

2:00 PM

Return to the apartment, check on the progress made in the morning, then resume work.

5:30 PM

Finish work and return to our separate apartments to enjoy some free time before dinner.

6:30 PM

Go to dinner with a group—often down the street, occasionally in the Blloku, a well-known area in Tirana.

8:00 PM

Hang out in the living room of one of the apartments, often watching movies or playing cards.

12:00 AM

Go to bed.

Typical Weekend Schedule

6:00 AM

Wake up early and grab some breakfast before getting on a bus to a tourist destination.

9:00 AM

Arrive at destination and begin participating in tourist activities (hiking, swimming, castle tours, sightseeing, etc.).

2:00 PM

Break for lunch in a nearby city. If we aren’t staying overnight, this is about the time we’d begin traveling back to Tirana.

6:00 PM

Dinner either back in Tirana or close to where we were staying.

8:00 PM

Participate in cultural activities with local Albanians (traditional dances, opera, etc.).

10:00 PM

Go to bed.

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A visit with the project sponsor to the old military site in the Osumi Canyon region—the future site of the new Adventure Resort
A visit with the project sponsor to the old military site in the Osumi Canyon region—the future site of the new Adventure Resort

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Exploring the Osumi Canyon region where white water rafting excursions are run by the project sponsor, Albania Rafting Group
Exploring the Osumi Canyon region where white water rafting excursions are run by the project sponsor, Albania Rafting Group

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Team discussion on the banks of the Osumi Canyon
Team discussion on the banks of the Osumi Canyon

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Walking the grounds of the future site for the new Adventure Resort with project sponsor Blerina Ago.
Walking the grounds of the future site for the new Adventure Resort with project sponsor Blerina Ago.

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Final project presentation to the sponsor and other guests at the Albania Project Center
Final project presentation to the sponsor and other guests at the Albania Project Center

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The project team with project advisors, Prof. Hersh and Prof. Christopher at the final project presentation event
The project team with project advisors, Prof. Hersh and Prof. Christopher at the final project presentation event

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On a weekend excursion to the city of Berat at the Berat Castle—one of the major attractions among tourists in Albania
A weekend excursion to the city of Berat at the Berat Castle—one of the major tourist attractions in Albania
The project-based curriculum has provided me the opportunity to work in groups with a variety of different people and backgrounds. This experience has been valuable in developing my ability to work with and relate to other people.