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Archive for the tag “Fire Protection Engineering”

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Take 2)

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (visited 7/28/19) (Click HERE for notes and pictures from my visit on 3/22/14)

WPI 2I love “looping back” to schools after a few years to remind myself of what’s going on there as well as seeing what’s new. The nice thing about WPI is their consistency – with a willingness to grow! One my original trip, 2 other counselors and I sat in on the regular info session and tour offered to all visiting families. This time, I was with a group of 26 international students learning about their college options. Much of what I heard about the curriculum and the “WPI Plan” was the same as 5 years ago, but I got a broader perspective of the international experience on campus as well as finding out about some new programs/majors being offered.

WPI quad 1Just about 11% of the 4500 undergrads are international citizens. An Iranian student helped give the information session, and students from Japan, Vietnam, and Kenya spoke on the student panel. They also showed a great YouTube video (produced entirely by international students) on the International Experience at WPI. “For such a small school, I love how much I can do and get the most out of the experiences.”

WPI maker space

One of the maker spaces on campus

Engineering remains the largest concentration/school on campus. They were the first in the US to offer Robotics Engineering and is only one of a few schools with Fire Protection Engineering.

Computer Related fields are the next largest concentration at WPI; these are housed within the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Data Science is the newest major (starting fall 2019); Interactive Media and Game Development and Bioinformatics are also relatively new. Students can earn a Concentration in AI as part of CompSci major. They offer multiple math tracks including Applied, Actuarial, Financial, and Industrial Mathematics, Math Sciences, and Math for Educators.

WPI lab bldgThe Business School focuses on the intersection of technology and business. In addition to generic business degree, students can major in Management Engineering or Management Information Systems.

There’s lots of academic and social support. Admissions is test-optional because they know that these exams don’t measure creativity and problem-solving ability. They want people who can work in a team and who are passionate about math and science since they’re taking those classes from the beginning.

WPI dorm 2WPI Plan: It’s what makes it unique; they implemented in 1971. It has 4 parts:

  • The Academic Calendar is divided into four 7-week terms; students take 3 classes each term. Summer is almost 4 months long, giving students more time for internships. Students only need 45 credits to graduate (equivalent to 15 terms) but most will complete 48 (16 terms) by graduation.
  • Non-punitive grading policy: students earn A, B, C, or NR (no record). They want students to feel more comfortable challenging themselves with classes they may not have taken otherwise. If they get a grade lower than a C in a class needed for the major, they need to retake it (“Who wants to drive over a bridge built by an engineer who didn’t pass some of their classes?”). There is also no + or – in the system so people don’t compete over points; it creates a more collaborative environment.
  • WPI mascot 3

    “Gompei the Goat,” WPI’s mascot

    They offer a Flexible Curriculum: “We Advise, You Decide.” There are no pre-requisites, only recommendations.

  • Project-based curriculum (it’s worth checking out the YouTube video Innovate Everything)
    1. 1st year: Great Problems Seminar: Students look at a world-wide problem (like water shortage) and try to solve it.
    2. 2nd year: Humanities and Arts: All students have to take 6 courses in a concentration within the Humanities or Arts, 1 of which is an immersive project.
    3. 3rd year: Interactive Qualifying Project. Students work with a community, NGO, or company. They come up with a project that will help the community such as making a hospital more accessible for hearing and visually impaired people.
    4. 4th year: Major Qualifying Project, equivalent to a capstone or thesis for the major. This is a 3-course equivalent (FT for 1 term or PT for 3 terms). All students get a $5000 global scholarship to help cover travel and project costs. They have 40+ project centers around the world.

WPI 7WPI boasts a retention rate of 95%, well over the national average. They take excellent care of students, starting with almost all freshman (97%) living on campus which is proven to help students succeed academically and socially. They have more than 200 clubs; the rep said, “We have plenty of more serious clubs like math club – there are 5 of those – but also a lot of fun things like Underwater Hockey and 2 cheese clubs, 1 for making and 1 for eating. Worcester itself is the 2nd largest city in New England and ranked 9th (by Forbes) Most Livable City with easy access to Boston, NYC, beaches, and Skiing. With 12 area colleges, there are over 38,000 area college students so local establishments cater to them well.

© 2019

University of New Haven

University of New Haven (visited 10/12/16)

new-haven-sealUNH has their act together. They know who they are and what they expect from the kids. Their tag line is “Leader in Experiential Education,” and having seen their resources and talking to several of their kids, I believe it! One of the students I spoke to said, “There are so many resources and opportunities. I’m really proud to be here.”

Internships are required for about 80% of majors (all majors encourage it); most research is available in the sciences, but some companies hire business and engineering students to work on projects. Employers mention the passion and knowledge that UNH students bring to the job; they are mature and well-spoken, and employers keep coming back knowing that they’re going to get quality students. Additionally, the alumni network is strong; they’re willing to employ graduates or interns. “Wildcats look out for wildcats.”

new-haven-4

The Kaplan building with no 90 degree angles (except where it meets the ground and on the roof).

I had no idea that UNH was founded conjunction with Northeastern and Yale. Now, the campus is in a safe suburban area of West Haven (not in its original location downtown). This great college town has music, theater, and a world-class restaurant scene (including Peppi’s Pizza, ranked #1 in the world). When students get sick of New Haven, the are 2 train stations within 10 minutes will get students into NYC (1.5 hours on MetroNorth) or Boston (2 hours on Amtrak). The beaches are only a few miles away.

 

new-haven-bikesThe 4,600 undergrads are evenly split between men and women. Sixty percent come from outside of Connecticut with 41 states and 22 foreign countries represented. Diversity in all its forms is getting better. “A couple years ago, it wasn’t so good. It’s a lot more inclusive now,” said the tour guide in response to my question about how well different groups were represented on campus.

new-haven-lower-quad

Lower Quad where many of the dorms are located

About 2/3 of students live on campus; this will rise when the new building opens in fall 2017 with 67 suites, parking, and retail space (Starbucks and a burger place are confirmed; the rest is still in negotiation). The freshman dorm opened that in 2014 has bathrooms attached to each room. There are still some forced triples, but students in those get $500 off R&B. First-year students can choose an LLC (Army ROTC, honors, arts, marine bio, engineering, forensic science, criminal justice) filled on a first come, first served basis. The tour guides encouraged students to look into these: “They can help a lot in the first year, particularly in more competitive majors or those with lots of projects and late nights such as engineering; if you’re up at 2 am working on something, it’s nice to have others around doing the same things.”

 

One of the tour guides said that he was surprised at how good the food was on campus. The Dairy Bar is the first 3-star certified green restaurant in New Haven.

new-haven-galleryAnother student said he was surprised at how much there was to do outside the classroom. “I was never bored.” The Juggling and Hammock clubs are particularly popular. Students get free tickets to sporting events; the only game that might be difficult to get tickets for is the one against U Maine, their big rival. “We’ll camp out for tickets – that’s half the fun!” Intramurals are a big draw, particularly Broomball.

With 100 majors (and growing) and 70 minors/concentrations, students have no shortage of options. Many programs are hands-on and/or professionally-focused. Students start early doing real work in the field.

  • new-haven-crime-scene-bldg

    Crime Scene Building

    Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences: This is their claim to fame. Henry C. Lee, a nationally known forensic scientist (and still consults for shows and agencies), runs the program.

    • CJ has 7 concentrations: Corrections, Crime Analysis, Law Enforcement Admin, Victim Services Admin, International Justice and Security, Juvenile and Family Justice, Forensic Psych, Investigative Services
      • There’s a crime scene house (“My friends have done 11 hour labs there!” said a tour guide) and a building with crime scene rooms for labwork.
      • new-haven-crime-scene-room

        one of the crime scene lab rooms

        The National Cold Case Center sends information to campus; students and faculty get to work on these.

      • “The forensics floor smells pretty funky, but you’ll get used to it. A professor does research on Forensic Entymology up there,” said a tour guide.
      • One student studied in Australia and worked at a body farm.
    • Fire Science (Arson Investigation or Fire Admin)
    • Fire Protection Engineering
    • National Security Studies: Most students in this major will minor in a language (Chinese, Russian, Arabic are encouraged)
    • Paramedicine
  • Arts and Sciences
  • new-haven-6Business
    • Economics: Students can specialize in General, Behavioral, or Economic Sustainability
    • PACE program: individualized major within the school
    • Hospitality and Tourism Management: students run the campus café and restaurant on campus from top to bottom (marketing, scheduling, food service, purchasing, hiring and firing, etc)
    • The 3+1 Fast-Track allows students to get the Bachelor’s in 3 years. Although not required, it is helpful if students have AP or dual-enrolment credits coming into this program. 4+1 is also an option.
  • Engineering: This school puts a big focus on leadership, communication/presentation skills, and team building.
    • Cyber Systems, Cyber Forensics, and Cybersecurity
    • Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • New Lyme College of Fine Arts: When Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts closed, UNH acquired them and merged the programs into the university.

new-haven-1If students can’t (or don’t want to) spend a semester or year abroad, they have several 2-week intensive study abroad options or can spend first semester freshman year in Prato (Tuscany). A cohort is sent with bio and engineering professors to teach the same classes they’d take here. Music students go to Nashville, working in studios during the day and take classes at night.

New Haven is strict about application deadlines: EVERYTHING has to be in by those dates, not just the student applications. They only require 1 letter, and they will superscore both tests. Interviews are required for Early Decision only. The rep said, “Send things in early! We have the most money to give out and there’s space in all our programs. Applying early means that you have the best chance to be placed in the major you want.” The Priority App deadline is March 1, but if there is space available, apps will be evaluated on a rolling basis after that.

© 2016

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