WORCESTER, Mass. — Jasmine Loukola of Wells, a member of the class of 2018 majoring in civil engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, was a member of a student team that recently completed an intense, hands-on research project in Panama City, Panama.

The project was titled Analyzing Projects of the Panama Canal Expansion Program. In their project summary, the students wrote, “The results of these projects were composed of recommendations to improve the workings of the Canal.”

At WPI, all undergraduates are required to complete a research-driven, professional-level project addressing a challenge in their major field of study. About two-thirds of students complete a project at one of the university’s 40-plus 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 valuable contributions to a problem in their field; and gain a competitive edge for any resume, or graduate or professional school application.”

Founded in 1865 in Worcester, Massachusetts, 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.


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