Isadora Coughlin of Darien, a member of the class of 2021 majoring in mathematical sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), was a member of a student team that recently completed intense, hands-on research through the WPI project center in Iceland.
The project was titled An Assessment of Parking in Downtown Reykjavik. In their project summary, the students wrote, "As Iceland has become a major tourist destination over the past ten years, parking congestion has increased in downtown Reykjavik along with the concerns of residents. To better understand the parking situation, we assessed the public's awareness of parking locations and evaluated the usage of parking resources in downtown Reykjavik to generate data that we used to develop recommendations to reduce parking congestion concerns."
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 50-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 and to solve 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 a real and meaningful difference in their host community; and gain a competitive edge for any resume, or graduate or professional school application."