A team of undergraduates from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) were recently recognized as the third runner-up for the President's IQP Award for participating in a project titled "Evaluating the Need for a Consumer Focused Smoke Alarm Performance System in Washington, D.C." Tyler Bennett of Marstons Mills, Mass., a member of the class of 2017, was a member of this team.
The students worked in coordination with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to determine if a performance-based rating system for smoke alarms would be beneficial to consumers in order to get better performing and safer smoke alarms into their homes. The team made recommendations to the CPSC on how to continue studying consumers and smoke alarms, and to look into a performance-based rating system and a features list.
"These projects are local projects that have an impact where they take place," Leshin said. "In and of itself, that is impressive. However, this project impressed us because it has the potential to have national impact. The team did a fantastic job."
Leshin also noted the difficulty in selecting top teams in this year's competition. "The judges were impressed at the level of engagement, the hard work these amazing team were engaged in, and the passion they displayed. Each project is as different as the teams themselves, and they're all quite compelling."
The IQP (Interactive Qualifying Project), is one of two major projects required of WPI undergraduates. IQPs enable students to pursue hands-on, real-world research opportunities all over the world. Working in teams under the guidance of faculty advisors, students conduct their research either locally or at one of more than 40 WPI-sponsored global project centers to address--and solve--real problems that lie at the interface of science, technology, social issues, and human needs. Students who complete their IQPs at project centers address local issues, develop an understanding of other cultures, and see how their lives and work will play out on a global stage.