Engineering at Smith
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News & Events

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 240 and are held from 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm. Food will be served at these events, and students are invited to bring their own beverage.

  • September 8, 2016 - Director Andrew J. Guswa, Director’s Welcome for 2016-17 Academic Year.

  • September 22, 2016 - Dean Case from Mazda Motorsports will present "The Business of Motorsports, The Politics of Alternative Fuels, Notes for Aspiring Engineers".

  • October 6, 2016 - Jason Bauer-Clapp- Lazarus Center for Career Development, Resources for Engineering Students Presentation.

  • October 20, 2016 - Director Andrew J. Guswa, Presentation of the Engineering Majors.

  • October 27, 2016 - Dr. Judy Cardell, Engineering Study Abroad Forum.

  • November 2, 2016 - Dr. Carmen Sidbury, Presentation sponsored by the Smith College NSBE Chapter and the Picker Engineering Program, 12:10PM in McConnell 103 (Please note the new date, time & location.)

  • November 10, 2016 - Student Engineering Organizations, Presentation hosted by the Student Leaders of SWE, NSBE, ESW, and EWB.
  • November 17, 2016 - Book of Evidence Information Session, hosted by Martin J. Green, Assistant Director, Picker Engineering Program.
  • December 1, 2016 -Picker Engineering Program Faculty Research Forum: Professors Susan Voss, Niveen. Ismail, and Susannah Howe.

  • December 8, 2016 - Michael Curtis from Quantum Biopower, Engineering, Social and Energy Challenges, Developing Energy from a New Source-Food Waste, Having Fun, Making Money, Moving Electrons Around!!

  • February 2, 2017 - Picker Engineering Program Faculty Research Forum: Professors Kristen Dorsey, Sarah Moore, and Param Pati.

Career Opportunities

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

Engineering in the News

Brittany Bennett '16 recieved the Nancy Hellman Prize for extraordinary contributions to the advancement of women in engineering. (May 2016).


Dakota Murray '16 and Bethany Claps '16 received the Adeline Devor Penberthy award for academic excellence and outstanding contributions toward building a community of learners within the Picker Engineering Program. (May 2016).


Brittany Bennett '16 and Emma Rocco '16 earned the Ford Motor Company Prize for distinguished work in support of a sustainable environment. (May 2016).


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.