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Since 2008, 215 students have conducted 62 projects through the Nantucket Project Center in collaboration with various local organizations and town committees and departments. These projects have covered a wide variety of topics in areas such as alternative energy, energy conservation, museum studies, parks and recreation, coastal erosion, parking, pedestrian access for the disabled, and affordable housing.

These projects may not look like appropriate topics for budding engineers or scientists from WPI. Indeed, they are specifically designed to push students beyond their comfort zone and to challenge them to think about technical problems in their social, cultural, and political contexts. The projects use social science methods to address issues at the nexus of science, technology, and society.

The projects (and the entire student experience on the Island) offer wonderful, real-world opportunities for WPI students and provide Nantucket with valuable data and perspectives on pressing problems. WPI is proud of the student accomplishments to date and looks forward to a long and fruitful symbiotic relationship with the Island of Nantucket, its residents, and its visitors. We anticipate that each year for many years to come a small number of WPI teams will explore similar kinds of projects with various local sponsors to address particular needs and concerns as they arise.

We hope you will enjoy exploring these pages and look forward to hearing from you.

“I’m delighted that WPI is on the island and helping to make a difference. I’m amazed at the skills the students master (especially the interaction with the public) when they are here.”

~Janet Schulte, Executive Director
Maria Mitchell Association, 2011