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Local Worcester Polytechnic Institute students return from intensive research projects


WORCESTER, Mass. -- A pair of local residents were among students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) who recently completed intense, hands-on research projects.

Ryan Stokes of Fairport, a member of the class of 2018 majoring in civil engineering, was a member of a student team that completed a project in Hong Kong. The project was titled Cycling for Commuting in Hong Kong: An Observational Study. In their project outline, the students wrote, "This project was sponsored by The Education University of Hong Kong with the goal of assessing the feasibility of cycling for the first and last mile journey of commutes in two selected locations in Hong Kong."

Noah Rockwell of Rochester, a member of the class of 2018 majoring in mechanical engineering, was a member of a student team that completed a project in Ecuador. The project was titled Encouraging Walking as a Form of Transportation. In their project outline, the students wrote, "Movilidad Transito y Transporte in encouraging people to walk short distances rather than drive. Through surveys, our group found that increased car use due to parents driving their children to school could be improved through school walking programs such as school route maps, walking buses, and school competitions."

At WPI, all undergraduates are required to complete a research-driven, professional-level project that applies science and technology to addresses an important societal need or issue. About two-thirds of students complete a project at one of the university's more than 40 off-campus project centers, which are located around the world. A signature element of the innovative undergraduate experience at WPI, the project-based curriculum offers students the opportunity to apply their scientific and technical knowledge to develop thoughtful solutions to real problems that affect the quality of people's lives-and make a difference before they graduate.

"The WPI project-based curriculum's focus on global studies brings students out of the classroom and their comfort zones and into the global community to apply their knowledge to solve real problems," said Professor Kent Rissmiller, interim dean of the WPI Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division. "Students are immersed in all aspects of a different culture, from the way people live and work to the values they hold to the foods they eat-all valuable perspectives for surviving and thriving in today's global marketplace. They also learn the meaning and magic of teamwork; make a real and meaningful difference in their host community; and gain a competitive edge for any resume, or graduate or professional school application."

Founded in 1865 in Worcester, Mass., WPI is one of the nation's first engineering and technology universities. Its 14 academic departments offer more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, technology, business, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts, leading to bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. WPI's talented faculty work with students on interdisciplinary research that seeks solutions to important and socially relevant problems in fields as diverse as the life sciences and bioengineering, energy, information security, materials processing, and robotics. Students also have the opportunity to make a difference to communities and organizations around the world through the university's innovative Global Projects Program. There are more than 40 WPI project centers throughout the Americas, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe.