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.

  • January 28, 2016- Martin Green, Book of Evidence Information Session.
  • February 4, 2016- Celebration of Seniors, presented by Seniors and Engineering faculty members.
  • February 11, 2016- Dr. Eno Enong will present "Cardiovascular Mechanobiology: Role of the Blood Vessel Sugar Coat".
  • February 25, 2016- Aline Cotel- "Living in a Turbulent World- From fishes to Engineers in Africa".
  • March 3, 2016-Jason Bauer-Clapp, Engineering Interview Skills Presentation.
  • Presentation of the Majors, March, 22, 2016, Presented by Picker Engineering Program Director, Professor Susan Voss.

  • Studying Wind Turbines in a Virtual Laboratory, March, 31, 2016, Presented by Dr. Claire VerHulst.

  • April 7, 2016- Peace Young '12 will present "Life after Smith: The Engineering edition".
  • April 7, 2016, 4-5 PM- Elizabeth Camp will present "New insights on fluid flow through wind farms from wind tunnel experiments: mean kinetic energy transport event classification."

Career Opportunities

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

Engineering in the News


Ayesha Sadaf Khan' 16 wins Davis Projects for Peace Award. Ayesha will use her award to establish a Pecious House to help mothers in Karachi, Pakistan become empowered and self-employed.


Smith 2008 alum Diana Chiyangwa discusses how Baltimore, DC power prices could be cheaper. Read more in the Bloomberg article “ The Cost of Washington’s Addiction to Shale-Fueled Power”.


Professor Paul Voss helps start the conversation about sensible drone laws. Read his op-ed published on The Conversation. (April 2016).


Picker Engineering Student Anna Partridge ’16 has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to research biomass energy conversion strategies in Finland.  Anna will spend her Fulbright year as a student in the Masters of Science in Energy Systems degree program at Lappeenranta University of Technology, majoring in Bioenergy Systems and minoring in Modeling of Energy Systems.  Anna's proposed research project investigates thermochemical production of hydrogen from biomass, and the efficiency and feasibility of combining biomass conversion processes with hydrogen fuel cells. 


Picker Engineering Student Angela Upreti ’16 has been awarded a Research Internships in Science and Engineering scholarship by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of outstanding academic records and convincing project proposals. DAAD is the largest funding organization in the world supporting international exchange scholars.


Assistant Professor Sarah Moore helps Christine Yee’17, Darpan Bohara ’18, and Yashna Sureka ’17 land Gates Foundation award for $100,000. With support from the grant students will develop a fingerprint authorization system that will allow merchants in Nelamangala, India, to accept non-cash purchases from customers. The goal of this technology is to reduce costs, increase financial literacy, and help individuals meet financial goals. Read more here. (November 2015).


Smith 2014 alum Lawren Gamble presented her most recent research on morphing aircraft at the 26th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ADAPTIVE STRUCTURES AND TECHNOLOGIES in Kobe, Japan. She developed a numerical model to predict the optimal aileron deflections of a span-wise morphing wing to recover from stall and showed that the adapted morphing wing was able to reduce drag by 20%, twice as much as a non-morphing wing. (October 2015).


Professor Glenn Ellis and Team Through My Window gave the plenary talk at the Collaborative Knowledge Building Group’s fifth national congress in Trieste Italy, www.ckbg2015.disu.units.it/en/program.asp.(September 2015).


Professor Glenn Ellis was profiled in the September 2015 newsletter of the Imaginative Education Research Group (IERG). IERG newsletters are available at http://ierg.ca/how-we-can-help/newsletters/. (August 2015).


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 received 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 received 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.