The MQP prizes of the Provost reward teams of students who have carried out exemplary academic projects. Winners are chosen from each department through a competitive process, which reflects the true depth and breadth of academic opportunities at WPI.
The MQP (Major Qualifying Project) is one of the university’s distinctions in its project-based learning program. All seniors complete a PQM, a professional-level research project in their main discipline. Using the knowledge they have gained, they apply it to real-world business problems and scenarios.
“The project-based MQP experience at WPI continues to provide our students with the life-changing experience of solving real-world problems in goal-oriented teams,” says Provost Wole Soboyejo. “Such projects allow our students to develop the soft and technical skills needed to be successful in the real world. I congratulate our students, professors and collaborators for the remarkable achievements of our project teams and the impact they have on the world.
“The students and faculty at WPI continue to do impressive research and design,” says Suzanne Weekes, Acting Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Professor of Mathematical Sciences. “And I would like to particularly congratulate the winners of our Provost’s MQP prize. They have accomplished so much and have been able to communicate their work in such a way that it represents the best of what we do.
The herd spoke to three of the winning teams to learn more about the MQP experience. The full list of winners is below; all are members of the 2020 class.
From left, Tegegne, Azevedo, Reynoso, Otieku Bismah (Bismark) a miner from Ghana, Harting, Cunniff
Chemical engineering, social sciences and political studies
Isabel Azevedo, Madison Cunniff, Van Harting, Rosa Reynoso, Rediet Merra Tegegne
This team’s project involved the co-design and prototyping of a device to reduce mercury exposure of gold miners in Ghana, and this is the first PQM of the development engineering program. The students worked closely with community members, leveraging their experiences and expertise to develop a solution that worked.
“This project was the culmination of several months of historical, social and technical research as well as a comprehensive mandate of fieldwork and local collaboration,” says Azevedo, major in chemical engineering. “This award recognizes not only our hard work and the work of our people in Ghana, but also the immense social impact it has had.” Reynoso, a major in mechanical engineering, says the experience gave him a new perspective. “By allowing miners to lead the design stages and anchoring our partnership in mutual respect and sharing of ideas, our partners have recognized their own ability to shape their own outcomes,” she says. “They were very proud of what they were able to accomplish with us. It really showed me what engineering is meant to be: being able to build with communities through collaboration to actually implement change.
Zachary Emil, Andrew Robbertz, Richard Valente, Cole Winsor
From left to right, Valente, Robbertz, Professor Rodica Neamtu, Winsor, Emil
This team developed a multi-tag natural language processing classifier that was integrated into Livox, an alternative pictogram-based communication application. the
The new classifier helps people with a wide range of visual and motor impairments engage in conversations. “This project taught and nurtured many skills around coordinating large research initiatives, the components needed to publish research, and how to overcome adversity when our results did not match our assumptions,” says Robbertz . Unlike the intense seven-week mandates at WPI, the MQP gave the team a long-term view of their work and goals, he says.
“Our team forged personal and professional bonds and became a tight-knit group of friends – we called each other the Dream Team,” he says, a nickname even their advisor used. “The bond we formed was reflected in the quality and impact of our work, and shone in the many presentations of our project. In addition, we hope that our work inspires other students to apply their talents to improve the lives of people around the world. “
Foisie Business School
Development of a patient-centric mobile application to understand fatigue in lymphangioleiomyomatosis (AML) Page 8, Project 12
Olivia Gulezian, Evan LeBeau, Ken Snoddy, Ilana Zeldin
Left to right, top, Haywood Gelman, Palo Alto Networks; Dan Dahlberg, BitSight; Carl Knerr, Avaya; downstairs, Zeldin, Gulezian, LeBeau, Snoddy
While this MQP team from Foisie Business School enjoyed this knowledge translation experience during their project focused on medical research, they also found something unexpected. “I think what really prepared us for our careers was the ability of our project to push us to keep learning and adapting,” the students said in a group email through the carrier. word of the Zeldin team.
“We had no previous experience with developing applications,” the students said, “but we had a real problem that was affecting real people, and we wanted to help. Our MQP challenged us to dive deep into new technologies and become proficient enough to apply them to a real problem. The team says they started with the goal of developing an app, but realized that the implications of this app would be life-changing for people living with LAM. This personal impact changed their perceptions and allowed them to establish real human links with their technical work.
“This award is a symbol of our ability to meet the challenge, learn new things and conquer as a team,” says the team. “We could not be more grateful to our advisor, our sponsor and the support of WPI throughout this project.”
2020 Provost MQP Prize Winners
- Adaptation of the Ecuadorian national music for a chamber music ensemble (Humanities and Arts): Sarah Butts
An environmental scan of recreational cannabis cultivation and processing (Environmental engineering): Stephanie Salerno (EVE) and Jacquelyn Valsamis (EVE)
Analysis of the built environment and human behavior through the creation of an immersive space (Architectural Engineering): Adam Collins (AREN), William Kopellas (AREN), David Simpson (AREN)
Detection of abnormalities in brain time series data generated by functional near infrared spectroscopy (Mathematical Sciences): Petra Kumi
- BaNCE: a simplified model for non-continuous evolution in vivo (Chemistry and Biochemistry): James Andon, Katherine Vasconcelos
- Call from Karen (Interactive Media and Game Development): Diana Kumykova, Mikel Matticoli, Kate Olguin, Thomas Tawadros
- Co-design for gold mine safety (Social Sciences and Political Studies, Chemical Engineering): Isabel Azevedo, Madison Cunniff, Van Harting, Rediet Merra Tegegne, Rosa Reynoso
- Design, analysis and testing of a high power rocket model (Aerospace Engineering): Nicolas Amato, Zachary Huaman, Alicea Hyland, Jacob Koslow, Jordan Pickunka, Jack Procaccini, Saiyab Ranjit, William Roe, Jarod Romankiw, David Santamaria, Jake Scarponi, Braden St. Jacques, Jake Tappen
- Development of a patient-centric mobile application to understand fatigue in lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) Page 8, Project 12 (Foisie Business School): Olivia Gulezian, Evan LeBeau, Ken Snoddy, Ilana Zeldin
- Engage students in energy-related topics using contextualized lessons (Physics): Thomas Young
- Improved alternative communications using AI and NLP (IT): Zachary Emil, Andrew Robbertz, Richard Valente, Cole Winsor
- Improved virtual reality interactions with modular devices (Electrical and Computer Engineering): Dominic Cascino, Paulo Chow
- Manufacture and characterization of asymmetric vesicles containing phosphoinositides (Chemistry and Biochemistry): Olivia Hunker
- Moss fungal interactions (Bioinformatics and computational biology): Catherine Sherman
- Optimizing Space and Workflow at Worcester Family Health Center (Industrial Engineering): Olivia Gibbs, Suzanne Opalka, Daniela Schumacher, Carol Wang
- Patella-femoral unloading knee brace (Biomedical Engineering): James Junker, Matthew Liberacki, Brianna Owen, Olivia Wisniewski
- Robotic water monitoring (Robotics): Brent Rolfes, Daniel Shrives, Thomas Vose
- Segurança e Pesquisa: A case study on the translation and localization of standard operating procedures in the BIOTAR laboratory (Professional writing): Katherine Vaz Gomes
- Social integration: feasibility of free-range dogs for animals: welfare, public health and conservation benefits (Biology and biotechnology): Urmila Mallick
- Tree seedling planter (Mechanical Engineering): Chester Barber, Timothy Esworthy, Sydney Palmer
Development of wildlife crossing for Highway 1 in Batipa, Panama (Civil Engineering): Samantha Lor (EV), Megan Olson (CE), Hannah Goddard (CE) and Laura Boccio (CE)