WORCESTER -- Mariah Eldredge of Harvard, a junior majoring in biology and biotechnology at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, recently completed an intense, hands-on research project in Washington. The project was titled Dryer Safety Standards.

At WPI, all undergraduates are required to complete a research-driven, professional-level project that addresses an important societal need or issue. About two-thirds of students complete a project at one of the university's 35 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 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 approach to global studies brings students out of the classroom and their comfort zones and into the global community to apply their knowledge to solve real problems," said Professor Richard Vaz, dean of the WPI Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division. Students learn the meaning and magic of teamwork, make a real and meaningful difference in their host community, and gain a competitive edge for any résumé or graduate or professional school application. They also learn to become resourceful problem solvers and effective team members in professional settings. It gives our students a competitive edge when they graduate -- they already know how to function as professionals."