Matthew L.
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 Mechanical Engineering; BS in Physics

Matthew's team, made up of six students with majors ranging from mechanical engineering to interactive media and game development, worked together to assess the feasibility of Bar Harbor becoming an International Dark Sky Community (IDSC). He and his team compared the ordinances of the town to the mandatory requirements for an IDSC, created a map of businesses that were dark-sky friendly, and gathered information on the current status of the night sky, allowing future teams to help work with the town to continue the process of making Bar Harbor an IDSC.

For Matthew, the most valuable part of his IQP experience was having the opportunity to present the information he and his team gathered in a way that made it imperative for the town of Bar Harbor to act. Thinking through and determining answers for the different reactions they could have received made the experience eye-opening and invaluable.

Matthew L.
Hometown
Colchester, CT
Mentor/Advisor
Project Sponsor
Acadia National Park
Hometown
Colchester, CT
Mentor/Advisor
Achievements
  • Improving grades as a result of hard work in writing classes.
  • Playing rugby during my sophomore year.
Achievements
  • Improving grades as a result of hard work in writing classes.
  • Playing rugby during my sophomore year.
Aspirations
  • Spending a few years working for a reputable company while also completing some personal projects.
  • Creating a patent portfolio before selling the patents and working full-time as an inventor.
  • Opening my own company, automating it, and living off the royalties of my inventions.

Weekday Timeline

Timeline Entry
7:00 AM

Wake up and grab breakfast at the dining hall.

8:00 AM

Head back to the house to prepare for the day.

9:00 AM

Hold a team meeting to assign the day’s goals and objectives.

Title
10:00 AM
Body

Break up into our designated groups and head to work.

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12:30 PM

Take a break for lunch. We’d either use the full kitchen back at the house or go out to eat at one of the many restaurants in town.

2:00 PM

Continue working, unless we’re doing night work, in which case we’d go hiking until dinner.

5:00 PM

Depending on the day, we’d finish up work or return from our hike.

5:30 PM

Meet up for dinner at the dining hall.

Title
6:30 PM
Body

Free time—we’d go hiking, swimming, or just relax back at the house.

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8:00 PM

Relax at the house playing poker or board games, or watching a movie.

10:00 PM

Grab some ice cream or stop at the beach for some stargazing. If we’re doing night work, we start getting ready for it.

10:45 PM

Complete specific work for the Dark Sky project for the night.

3:00 AM

Go to bed.

Weekend Timeline

Timeline Entry
Title
9:00 AM
Body

Wake up and make breakfast.

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Off
9:30 AM

Hiking!

12:00 PM

Return from our hike and head to a restaurant for lunch, or make our own.

6:00 PM

Grab dinner at a restaurant or pick up lobsters from the lobster pound to make our own food, then spend the night with friends.

8:00 PM

Poker nights were a regular occurrence, and we would usually just hang out with friends.

Title
10:00 PM
Body

Head to the beach for a late-night swim (being sure not to disturb anyone nearby)

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Off
2:00 AM

Go to bed.

The team assessing the light pollution from the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park

Enjoying a game of frisbee on the common area at the College of the Atlantic where the students lived

Traveling with a team member by ferry to Schoodic Institute on Schoodic Point to conduct project fieldwork

Taking a break from project activities to enjoy a game of spike ball on the campus of the College of the Atlantic

Measuring the night sky quality on Cadillac Mountain at night

Jumping off the peer into the cold ocean waters near the College of the Atlantic where the students lived

Enjoying some down time playing a game of chess with fellow WPI students

Analyzing the sky glow during an evening of fieldwork on Cadillac Mountain

Talking to a staff worker on the ferry ride to Schoodic Institute where fieldwork was conducted

WPI’s project-based curriculum impacted my education by giving me a leg up on other college courses. My education branches closer to real world work than a standard classroom environment.