WPI Bootstrappers Report on Their Work

April 28, 2009 by complextalk 

May 6, 2009
5:30 pmto6:30 pm

Six interns from Worcester Polytechnic Institute have been working at the Complex since early April to determine the feasibility of a Santa Fe Project Center for WPI at the Complex. If successful, the Santa Fe Center would join WPIs 13 other global project centers as a location for applied research in the WPI engineering program. The students will preview their report at the Complex on Wednesday night, May 6, at 5:30pm. (Please note the time change from 5:00 as originally announced.)

WPI is an engineering school located in Worcester MA. (The WPI educational model, which parallels the project-based approach being developed at the Complex, is described as “a model of what engineering education should be by William Wulf, president of the National Academy of Engineering.) Students are required to complete two projects, one in their junior and one in their senior years, to graduate. To complete these projects off-campus, students have over a dozen choices for project centers around the world.

wpi09.jpgThe WPI plan includes two large projects, each of which is designed to take an entire seven week term. In order for students to have a place to complete their projects off campus, WPI runs over a dozen project centers in varying locations. The enrollment rate has become large enough that there is a need for another project center, and the students would like it to be in Santa Fe. This internship is the first step towards creating an ongoing internship relationship with WPI through the Santa Fe Project Center at the Complex.

The team will explore the logistics of operating a center in Santa Fe, including issues such as housing and local transportation. The team will meet with potential sponsors and develop a list of possible projects that could take place in Santa Fe in the future. These projects will probably be at the intersection of science and art, and will be aimed to benefit the local community and especially for the native Americans who live in Santa Fe. It is quite possible that the Santa Fe Project Center will be a hybrid center providing opportunities to underserved majors such as mathematics, system dynamics, physics, as well as interactive media and game development, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical engineering. If the pioneering bootstrap team determines that the SFPC is feasible, it will begin operating in term D10.

More information on the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division is available here. The students are documenting their work on the Complexs wiki and on their blog.

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