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Susannah Howe

Senior Lecturer of Engineering and Director of the Design Clinic

email Send E–mail office Office: Ford Hall 151 phone Phone: (413) 585-3626
Curriculum vitae (PDF)
Susannah Howe

Susannah Howe coordinates and teaches the capstone engineering design course. Since joining the Smith faculty in 2003, she has coached numerous student design teams across a wide range of engineering disciplines and collaborated with multiple sponsoring organizations from both industry and government. Her favorite part of the job is working with students during their senior year and being part of their transition into life after Smith. She stays in contact with many engineering alumnae and hosts many of them back on campus as guest speakers in the capstone course.

Howe's current research focuses on innovations in engineering design education, particularly at the capstone level. She has been instrumental in connecting the engineering capstone community nationwide; she is integrally involved in the Capstone Design Conferences (co-chairing in 2010 and 2012) and is helping lead an initiative to develop an online repository for capstone practices and resources. She is also involved with efforts to foster design learning in middle and high school students and to support entrepreneurship at primarily undergraduate institutions. Her background is in civil engineering with a focus on structural materials; she holds a bachelor of science in engineering degree from Princeton, and master in engineering and doctoral degree from Cornell University.

Her Smith service both past and present spans multiple committees and advisory boards, including the Center for Community Collaboration; the Global Studies Center; the Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning; the Committee on Educational Technology; the College Council on Community Policy; and the Committee for Faculty Compensation and Development. She regularly advises the Society for Women Engineers student organization and coordinates the three-course CAD sequence in January. She also helps support entrepreneurial activity on campus, collaborating with the Center for Women and Financial Independence staff to coordinate entrepreneurial activities at Smith and regionally.

Howe and her husband Nick, a professor of computer science at Smith, have two children— son Ben and daughter Rowan. Both kids play soccer and hockey, along with taking piano lessons, so the family is always on the go from one activity to the next. Howe runs regularly on both road and trail with their family dog Indy, a black retriever mix. She also makes time for musical endeavors; she is currently playing a bright red baritone saxophone with the Bad News Jazz and Blues Orchestra and the Expandable Brass Band.

Selected Publications

Howe, S., Poulos, S., and Stanfill, R., "CDHub 2.0: Laying the Foundation for an Online Repository for Capstone Design," Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Conference, June 2015.

Howe, S. "Industry Immersion: The Impacts of a Sabbatical Deep-Dive," Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Conference, June 2015.


Howe, S., Goldberg, J., Palo, S., and Rogers, P. "Guest Editorial: The 2012 Capstone Design Conference,"International Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 30, No. 1, January 2014, pp. 1-5.


Howe, S.  "Where Are We Now?  Statistics on Capstone Courses Nationwide," Advances in Engineering Education, Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 2010.


Selected Honors and Awards