By Allison Racicot
WORCESTER — One of the staples of an undergraduate education at Worcester Politech Institute (WPI) is the Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP), a project experience in which students work together to tackle and solve a real-world problem. In addition to local project centers around Massachusetts, students may choose to complete their projects at one of over 40 centers around the world—locations range from England and Albania to South Africa and China.
Starting this summer, students now have another option to add to their list of prospective destinations: Armenia.
The brainchild of Diran Apelian, professor and founding director of the Metal Processing Institute (MPI), and Michael Aghajanian (WPI Class of ’80), adjunct professor and member of the Foisie Business School’s advisory board, the Armenia Project Center is an endeavor years in the making.
Both Apelian and Aghajanian have Armenian roots and clicked immediately upon meeting, like many people around campus had said they would. “It was one of those meetings where you connect with someone almost instantly and you feel like you’ve known them for a long time,” Apelian says.
According to Aghajanian, it didn’t take long after their first meeting for them to start making the Armenia Project Center a reality. “I brought up the idea to Diran a few minutes into our conversation, and right away he said, ‘I’ve been thinking about the same thing for years, let’s do it!’”