Worcester Polytechnic Institute Projects

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)
Founded in 1865, WPI is a private technology-oriented university, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, with around 3,500 undergraduate students, 800 graduate students, and 220 full-time faculty members. WPI students pursue degree programs in engineering, the sciences, the humanities, and management. All WPI undergraduates must complete a third-year interdisciplinary research project called the “Interactive Qualifying Project,” or IQP. More than 50% of students go off campus to conduct their IQPs and to co-ordinate these activities WPI has established over thirty “project centers” in Europe, Central and North America, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region. Projects cover an enormous range of topics and sponsors include national and local government agencies, museums, service organizations, community groups, and other non-profit organizations.

Nantucket Project Center
WPI established the Nantucket Project Center in 2008. Over the past 4 years, 63 students have conducted 21 projects in collaboration with a various organizations and town committees and departments. These projects have covered a wide variety of topics in areas such as alternative energy, energy conservation, museum studies, sustainable agriculture, and public awareness of tick-borne diseases. These projects may not look like appropriate topics for budding engineers or scientists. Indeed, they are specifically designed to push students beyond their comfort zone and to challenge them to think about problems in a different way. The projects are typically more social science and address issues at the nexus of science, technology, and society.

The projects (and the entire student experience on the Island) offer wonderful, real-world opportunities for WPI students and provide Nantucket with valuable data and perspectives on pressing problems. WPI hopes that this is just the beginning of a long and fruitful symbiotic relationship with the Island of Nantucket, its residents, and its visitors. We anticipate that each year for many years to come a small number of WPI teams will explore similar kinds of projects with these and other sponsors to address particular needs and concerns as they arise.

For more about the program please see WPI's website.

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