Freshmen Team Wins Award at HERA National Conference | New

The team offered a high school course, St. Louis Problem Solvers, which aims to educate students on both sides of the Delmar divide and involve them in the development of a solution. Recommending collaboration with community partners including students, parents, teachers and municipal organizations, the aim of this program is to serve as a model for similar cities.

Share the solution with a national audience

Once the work was done, Professor Eddy suggested to the team present at the HERA conference which was held March 4-6. The students worked quickly to prepare additional material and further consolidate the project before virtually presenting to over 100 participants from across the country and international participants from seven foreign countries, culminating in winning the Cueva Prize for Undergraduate Research with their work, “St. Louis: Harnessing youth activism to bridge the Delmar gap. As part of the award, the team received $ 500.

Preparation of the team for future project work

Sosa says the class is laying the groundwork for project work in future classes and on projects such as IQP and MQP. He points out that COVID has presented some challenges in contacting individuals and organizations in Saint-Louis, exchanging ideas with other classmates, and meeting the team. Despite these challenges, the project went smoothly under the guidance of Professors Eddy and Foo.

“From interviews to setting up a website, the GPS course has given me a platform not only to learn, but also to teach my fellow students and members of the community about the issues that are occurring in our community. countries and around the world, ”he said.

“Even with the global pandemic, the GPS class and Professor Eddy and Professor Foo were very helpful and shaped the course to make distant students like me feel part of the class even from miles away.”

Seminar on major issues

GPS is a two-term course that immerses first-year students in college-level research and introduces them to project-based learning. Launched in 2007 and now integrated with The Global School, the course is designed to teach a variety of skills including critical thinking, teamwork and ethical decision making, using the knowledge and skills to solve world problems. real.

Led by Kristin Wobbe, Director of GPS, with support from an interdisciplinary faculty, this optional freshman course offers students the opportunity to study related topics and challenges without clear solutions, including climate change, sustainability , shelter, extinction, humanitarian engineering and energy. Held over two terms with the teaching of two professors from different disciplines, students first explore the many facets of a big problem outside their chosen disciplines, followed by a second trimester where they work in teams of three to five to develop a solution. With around 25 percent of freshmen participating in GPS, their semester work ends with a poster presentation where they share their solution to the problem.

Regarding WPI’s interdisciplinary and project-based education, Eddy said, “Technology is a social phenomenon used by human beings, and any use of it has an impact on us, so we need to understand and consider the repercussions on humanity and our environment. I am proud of the work accomplished by these students and of the remarkable work accomplished by the entire campus community.

Because the payoff is so great, Wobbe encourages all freshmen to take up the GPS challenge. “These three students did an amazing job and they took advantage of an opportunity,” she said. “There are many others who are also doing an incredible job with the guidance and support of pioneering and innovative instructors and access to WPI’s extensive resources.”

When asked about the students’ perspective on the GPS program, Eddy and Wobbe agree that at the end of the first term students are sometimes a little overwhelmed, but at the end of the course they appreciate the skills they have acquired. and are proud. their achievements. And more importantly, the data suggests that students who complete a GPS course more easily navigate the challenges of the Interactive Qualification Project (IQP) later in their college career.

Visit the project website.

– Sharyn Williams

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