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College Town.

Byline: Lisa D. Welsh


Outside the box

Nichols College's annual convocation last week challenged freshmen to complete an exercise to connect nine dots using only four straight lines - without lifting their pencils off the paper. The solution required that several of the lines be drawn outside the box, and provided an opportunity to rally the first-year students to "think outside the box, by gaining new knowledge, developing new skills and learning how to learn for life." Professor Luanne Proko also offered her "Top Ten College Tips" which apply to freshmen everywhere:

1. Take advantage of all the opportunities you have at your fingertips.

2. Try new things.

3. Have fun.

4. Choose good mentors/role models.

5. Ask for help.

6. If you make a mistake admit it, and move on.

7. Your reputation is your most valuable asset.

8. Don't be a follower.

9. Set goals.

10. Choose your friends with discretion.

Students of note

The Assumption College Chapel Choir, the college's liturgical choir, has released a new CD, "Gathered as One." Described as contemporary Christian favorites sung "by one of the best college choirs in the country," "Gathered as One" was conducted by former director Jane Shivick and accompanied on organ and piano by Frank Corbin, director of music ministry. The choir, now under the direction of Lei (Ray) Yu, associate director of music ministry, has more than 60 members among the undergraduates and graduate students. The new CD is available to buy at and at the Assumption College Bookstore.

Bruce Hopkins, the conductor of the Assumption College Band, was invited to give master's classes and perform a concert at the International Music Institute in Leipzig, Germany, during the summer. While in Leipzig, he recorded a music video of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 and Cantata No. 208 by J.S. Bach with members of the world's oldest symphony orchestra, the Gewandhaus Orchestra, along with soloists from New York and the Leipzig Opera. The video will be released this fall.

The Worcester Children's Chorus, in residence at Assumption College and operated under the auspices of the Master Singers of Worcester, is holding auditions for the 2009-10 season. The chorus seeks male and female treble voices, ages 9-18. To schedule an audition, which will consist of one verse of "America," vocalization to determine range and an exercise of tonal recall, call (508) 767-7077 or e-mail

Golden opportunities

Jayson Grant, a criminal justice major at Quinsigamond Community College and 2007 graduate of Doherty Memorial High School, won a gold medal for the United States at the International Korean Open Taekwondo Championship this summer.

Grant started off the fourth day of competition winning his first match, 6-4, against the Philippines in the male middleweight division. He went on to defeat his opponent from Azerbaijan, 5-1, in his quarterfinal match. He won his final match against Uzbekistan, 9-5, and brought home the USA's first gold medal. The team then traveled to Seoul to cross-train at Yongin University.

Dust (fire)balls

Although dust buildup is among the most serious and common fire and explosion hazards in a range of industries, little is known about how dust ignites or how dust explosions propagate, according to Ali Rangwala, assistant professor of fire protection engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He recently received a five-year, $429,000 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation to close this knowledge gap and conduct a groundbreaking scientific study of dust layer ignition and flame propagation in dust clouds.

The CAREER Award is the most prestigious NSF award for young faculty members. WPI counts 18 CAREER Award winners among its current faculty.

While a number of studies of dust explosions have been conducted over the years, none has been aimed at developing a fundamental understanding of the physics of the phenomenon. The results of Mr. Rangwala's experiments will become the basis for more robust models that will help assess and predict the risks associated with dust accumulation and ultimately lead to better and safer practices for the design and maintenance of industrial facilities that generate dust.

Besides funding his research, the CAREER Award will enable him to promote interest in careers in fire protection engineering and fire research through educational programs at the college and pre-college levels. Working with WPI's Office of K-12 Outreach Programs, he will develop a three-week summer program in which high school students will explore fire safety problems and learn about fire and explosion phenomenon through laboratory exercises. At the college level, Mr. Rangwala will build on WPI's success with project-based education and develop an undergraduate project center at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, which is recognized internationally for its work in fire protection engineering. There, students from WPI, Edinburgh, and universities in France and India will cooperate on cutting-edge projects in fire research.

Contact Lisa D. Welsh by e-mail at
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Sep 6, 2009
Previous Article:Board keeps finalist list secret; Blanchard may be in contention.

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