Jason B.
An IQP is often called life-changing by WPI students, requiring teams to delve into a problem that matters to real people.
Junior, BS in Chemical Engineering

The goal of Jason and his team’s IQP at the Albania Project Center was to help their sponsor assess how pharmaceutical waste - particularly expired drug disposal - is managed in areas of Tirana. The current state of pharmaceutical waste management in Albania is fragile and constitutes one of the biggest waste management concerns in the country. Jason and his three teammates interviewed 73 pharmacists - 10 percent of the total pharmacists in Tirana - about their pharmaceutical waste disposal practices. The information they gathered will provide the sponsor with data to obtain grant money from the U.S. Embassy to conduct a more in-depth investigation on every pharmacist in Tirana.

Jason was greatly impressed by the sense of community and pride Albanians had for their country; many of his new friends in Tirana explained that they’d like to study and receive an education in the United States, then use their knowledge to improve the quality of life in Albania. During his time abroad, Jason received a newfound appreciation for the opportunities available in the United States, many of which are not available in other areas of the world—including Albania. He knew he could pursue his dreams in the United States, but working with and learning from his sponsor helped him truly understand and appreciate what that meant.

Hometown
Norwalk, CT
Mentor/Advisor
Project Sponsor
Environmental Center for Development, Education, and Networking (EDEN)
Hometown
Norwalk, CT
Mentor/Advisor
Achievements
  • Development of critical time management skills to succeed in a fast-paced academic environment while still allowing for social time to enjoy co-curricular activities and friends.
  • Embracing my individuality and exploring new interests such as photography.
Achievements
  • Development of critical time management skills to succeed in a fast-paced academic environment while still allowing for social time to enjoy co-curricular activities and friends.
  • Embracing my individuality and exploring new interests such as photography.
Aspirations
  • Pursue a career in my area of study with an energy related company.
  • Work and live in other parts of the country outside of New England.

Typical Work Week Schedule

Timeline Entry
8:00 AM

Wake up and get ready for work.

8:45 AM

Prepare crepes for breakfast.

Title
9:00 AM
Body

Go to a café for a hot chocolate (which was more like a hot chocolate pudding).

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9:30 AM

Go to work with the team.

9:45 AM

Determine what volunteers are helping us with our interviews by translating for the day. Finalize which pharmacists we’ll be interviewing.

10:00 AM

Walk to Ali Demi (a section of Tirana) to finish mapping out the pharmacies.

12:00 PM

Stop by Ish-Blloku, a famous area of Tirana, on the way back from Ali Demi for lunch, and maybe meet up with another team.

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1:30 PM
Body

Head back to work to meet up with the volunteer for the day.

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2:00 PM

Half the team stays at the office to work on any deliverables for the week; the other half goes with the volunteer to conduct pharmacy interviews.

4:00 PM

Complete the interviews for the day and head back to the office to meet up with the rest of the team.

4:15 PM

Work on the week's deliverables as a team.

5:00 PM

Walk back to the apartments and relax for about an hour before dinner.

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6:00 PM
Body

Head out to dinner with a group of friends, going to a new place maybe in Ish-Blloku.

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7:45 PM

Walk around Tirana, shopping at stores and exploring the city.

8:45 PM

Walk back to the apartments, occasionally stopping for crepes.

9:00 PM

Hang out with friends, maybe playing cards, watching a movie, or singing karaoke.

12:00 AM

Go to bed.

Typical Weekend Schedule

Timeline Entry
Title
6:00 AM
Body

Wake up to get on the bus that is bringing us on an excursion to Valbonë, Albania.

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8:30 AM

Arrive at docks and board a boat that will take us along the river.

11:00 AM

Arrive at a dam and get on a bus to head to a small town for lunch.

12:00 PM

Arrive for lunch; walk around and explore the countryside.

2:00 PM

Take in a concert along the Valbonë River.

Title
3:30 PM
Body

Arrive at an inn in Valbonë.

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4:00 PM

Explore the area around the inn, including a dried-up riverbed.

6:00 PM

Go back to the inn for dinner.

7:30 PM

Enjoy some traditional Albanian dancing following dinner.

8:30 PM

Sit along the riverbed for some stargazing.

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10:00 PM
Body

Go back to inn and hang out with everyone.

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11:30 PM

Go to bed to get rest for a 6-hour hike the next day.

Visiting pharmacies in the capital city of Tirana with the project sponsor

A team photo during a weekend expedition to the scenic region of Valbona

Walking to pharmacies in the city of Tirana to interview them on their pharmaceutical waste management practices

A weekend visit to Durres, the largest port and second largest city of Albania

Taking notes outside a pharmacy in Tirana following an interview

A team photo with project sponsor, Jonida Mamaj, at the final project presentation event at the Albania Project Center

A team meeting at the project sponsor’s office—EDEN Center

Inspecting the water quality of the Lana River—the main stream that crosses through Tirana, the capital city of Albania

Working on a project that has the potential to create a significant change in Albania has shown me how an engineering mind can have profound social and cultural impacts if applied in the right way.