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Tewksbury Resident Jonathan Mirabito Receives President's Award For Team Project In Cape Town, South Africa

May 06, 2016 12:13PM ● By Bill Gilman


A team of undergraduates from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) received top honors during the President's IQP Awards for their project titled "Empowerment through Improving Facilities at the Sizakuyenza Safe House." As a member of this team, Jonathan Mirabito of Tewksbury, Mass., a senior majoring in civil engineering, helped to promote the rebirth of hope through the implementation of physical improvements to the Sizakuyenza Safe House, a shelter for women and children who have survived domestic abuse.

The Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) is one of two major projects required of WPI undergraduates. Working in teams under the guidance of faculty advisors, students conduct research in one of more than 45 WPI-sponsored project centers in the United States and around the world, and develop solutions to problems that lie at the interface of science, technology, social issues, and basic human needs. Students address local issues, develop an understanding of other cultures, and see how their skills and their work can have an impact in the real world.

The President's IQP Awards recognize the student teams whose conception, performance, and presentation of their project has been judged outstanding in focusing on the relationships among science, technology, and the needs of society. During the 2014-15 academic year, about 300 students completed IQPs. Of those, 66 teams submitted their projects for consideration for the award. The top five projects were recognized as finalists, and two additional teams received an honorable mention.

During the IQP Awards event each of the finalist teams gave a presentation before a panel of judges that included President Laurie Leshin; Bruce Bursten, WPI provost and senior vice president; Jim Baum '86, WPI trustee and lecturer at MIT's Sloane School of Business; Rajul Pandya, director of American Geophysical Union's Thriving Earth Exchange; and Kathleen Polanowicz, district director and general counsel for Rep. James P. McGovern (D-MA).

The panel selected "Building Hope: Empowerment through Improving Facilities at the Sizakuyenza Safe House" as the winner of the annual student competition.

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