Fairfield resident honored at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

A team of undergraduates from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) were recently honored as finalists for the President’s IQP Awards for participating on the project, Development of the Inspire Engineering Mentoring Program. As a member of this team, Leah Pervere of Fairfield, a senior, developed the Inspire Engineering Mentoring Program for the London Transport Museum, Transport for London, and Greenwich University Technical College.

The IQP (Interactive Qualifying Project), one of two major projects required of WPI undergraduates, enables students to pursue hands-on, real-world research opportunities all over the world. Working in teams under the guidance of faculty advisors, students conduct their research either locally or at one of more than 40 WPI-sponsored global project centers to address–and solve–real problems that lie at the interface of science, technology, social issues, and human needs. Students who complete their IQPs at project centers address local issues, develop an understanding of other cultures, and see how their lives and work will play out on a global stage.

“There is no aspect of the curriculum that is more signature to the WPI experience than the IQP,” said WPI President Laurie Leshin. “It showcases the sometimes difficult gap between highly technical course work and the very real problems facing local, national, and international communities. With these awards, our students have shown the ability to overcome that gap to define and implement real-world solutions that have lasting impact around the world.”

The President’s IQP Awards recognize the student teams whose conception, performance, and presentation of their Interactive Qualifying Project has been judged outstanding in focusing on the relationships among science, technology, and the needs of society. During the 2013-14 academic year, about 300 student teams completed IQPs. Of those, 59 teams entered their projects for consideration for the award, and the best five projects were selected as finalists.

During the IQP Awards event on Friday, Jan. 30, all five finalist teams gave presentations before a panel of judges, including Leshin; Andrew Aberdale ‘89, CFO of Target Logistics Management; Anne McGrath, program manager and science competitions and education relations manager for Intel; Barbara Olds, associate vice president for educational innovation and professor of liberal arts and international studies at the Colorado School of Mines; and Benjamin Orbach, founder and director of America’s Unofficial Ambassadors initiative at Creative Learning.

Kent Rissmiller, associate dean of interdisciplinary and global studies, congratulated all of the finalists for their impressive work, and emphasized the importance of the IQP in WPI’s curriculum. “I want to applaud these students, their advisors, and all the people behind the scenes; their efforts made for a really rewarding and challenging educational program,” Rissmiller said. “It is heartening to see WPI students rise to the call every year through the IQP program, and this year’s top team was particularly impressive.”

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