Engineering at Smith
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In 2004, Smith College made history when 19 women graduated as part of the first class of engineers ever from an all-women’s ABET-accredited engineering program.  The reasons for starting an engineering program at an all-women’s college are compelling.  As a creative endeavor at the intersection of design, science, and mathematics, engineering draws on nearly all aspects of the human experience, including our history, politics, economics, arts, and societal aspirations.  The work of engineers both exacerbates and offers solutions to some of our gravest societal problems, including climate change, disease, resource limitations, and conflict.


Despite its central importance in society, engineering stands virtually alone as a professional degree with a small and declining participation by women.  The Picker Engineering Program addressed this problem by utilizing the resources and expertise of a women’s college to create a positive learning environment for women to study engineering.  The program also supports women by creating a supportive learning community, developing a flexible curriculum, providing female role models, including societal contexts in problem solving and using pedagogies that increase engagement.


The Picker faculty has developed an engineering program that responds to the challenges facing engineering education.  Fundamental to the program is its setting in a liberal-arts environment in which students learn to contextualize engineering in the framework of bigger societal questions and to think in different ways as they collaborate on interdisciplinary teams.  The program is also learner-centered in both its curriculum and pedagogy.  Students work closely with faculty to design individualized plans of study that address both their learning goals and the technical requirements of the profession.  Finally, throughout the program faculty apply research-based pedagogy to help students develop deep and integrated understanding of engineering concepts and the ability to work creatively with ideas to generate new theories, products and knowledge.


News & Events

Engineering Forums

All forums are located in Ford Hall room 240 and are held from 12:00pm - 1:00pm, food will be served at these events, students are invited to bring their own beverage.

  • April 9, 2015- Dr. Carlotta Berry presents “Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now: Reflections and Adventures in Engineering”.
  • April 2, 2015- A fresh Look at the Thermodynamics of Heat Engines presented by Yousif Haseli
  • Presentation of the Majors, March 26, 2015, Presented by Prof. Susan Voss 
  • March 4, 2015- “Commercial Drones in Our Backyards and Communities” presented by Paul Voss, Jon Caris, and Robert Newton. The forum will take place in John M. Greene Hall at 7 P.M, free and open to the public.
  • February 26, 2015-Impress the Interviewer presented by Jason Bauer-Clapp
  • February 23, 2015- Rebecca Pass presents "Evolving Optimally-Efficient Gas-Turbine Engines" and "The Minimalist's Guide to Engineering Education".
  • February 16, 2015- Kristen Dorsey talks "The Importance of Being Stable (if you're an air quality sensor)" and "Strong Safety Culture? A case study of the 2012 Chevron refinery fire".
  • February 11, 2015- Niveen Ismail talks "Improving Water Quality: Applications of Biofilters for Contaminant Removal" and "Engineers Making an Impact: Translating Classroom Knowledge into Action".
  • Celebration of Seniors, February 5, 2015 Presented by Seniors and Engineering Faculty Members
  • Books of Evidence Informational Session, January 29, 2015 Presented by Assistant Director Martin Green

Career Opportunities

Each month the Lazarus Center for Career Development publishes a Career Engineering Newsletter with opportunities for engineering students.

Engineering in the News

Smith College launched its Picker Engineering Program 15 years ago, promising to bring more women-who are educated in the liberal arts along with their technical training-into the male-dominated field. The Summer 2015 Smith Alumnae Quarterly features engineering alumnae who are delivering on that promise.


The influential National Science Foundation Faculty Career Development Program has awarded Caitlyn Butler, class of 2004, $500,000 to pursue her pioneering research on special "Algal-Sludge Granules," which cut electricity consumption in half, while also cleansing water.


Picker Engineering Faculty Member, Glenn Ellis, was named as a 2016 Semi-Finalist for the Robert Foster Cherry Award for great teaching. The Cherry Award program is designed to honor great teachers, to stimulate discussion in the academy about the value of teaching, and to encourage departments and institutions to value their own great teachers. (April 2015)


Smith 2004 alum Cara Stepp recieved a CAREER award from NSF to enable enhanced communication through human-machine-interfaces. The goal of her research is to develop new technology that will enable severely paralyzed individuals to communicate in a manner that is as fast and reliable as human speech. (March 2015)


News from the Kahn Institute: Drones in Our Backyards and Communities. Professor Paul Voss addresses the implications of new FAA rules on unmanned aircraft and potential local impact. (February 2015)


Professor Sarah J. Moore recieved the 2015 Faculty Teaching Award, an honor that represents distinguished teaching and an ability to connect with students, both in and outside the classroom. (February 2015)


For more Engineering in the News please visit News & Events.