Diran Apelian is Alcoa-Howmet Professor of Mechanical Engineering at WPI and director of the university’s Metal Processing Institute. From 1990 to 1997, a time when there were many budgetary pressures at WPI, he served as the Institute’s provost. In that capacity, he chose to invest in the future by bolstering the infrastructure needed for what is now WPI’s Global Projects Program. He also provided resources for additional project-based learning experiences across the campus. As provost, Apelian led the charge to broaden WPI’s academic programs by supporting faculty to re-engineer Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education and ensure a holistic approach to learning.
During the last decade, he has played a pivotal role with Kristin Wobbe in transforming the first year experience through the Great Problems Seminar, offering one of the inaugural seminar courses and helping make the program inspiring, fun, and impactful. Today he continues to co-teach the popular course Recycle the World: Recovering Earth’s Resources for All Species and for All Time. With Arthur Heinricher, he is one of the architects of the university’s Grand Challenges Scholars Program.