WORCESTER, Mass.—Nicole Baker of Southington, a junior majoring in biology and biotechnology at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), recently completed an intense, hands-on research project in South Africa. The project was titled WaSH-UP Sustainable Livelihoods and Business Operations.
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.
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,” Professor Richard Vaz, dean of the WPI Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division, said in a school release. “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.”