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.
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
- February 2, 2017 - Picker Engineering Program Faculty Research Forum: Professors Kristen Dorsey, Sarah Moore, and Param Pati.
Each month the Lazarus Center for Career Development publishes a Career Engineering Newsletter with opportunities for engineering students.
Engineering in the News
Check out this Huffington Post article featuring Lydia Bussiere '12, now employed as a Service Engineering Project Manager for a fuel cell manufacturer. (December 2016).
Congratulations to our students featured in Grecourt Gate: "Creative Teamwork: Smithies Design 'Parklets' for Downtown Northampton". (December 2016).
Susannah Howe, senior lecturer and director of the design clinic in engineering, has been awarded a $65,196 grant from the National Science Foundation for a project titled "Collaborative Research: From School to Work: Understanding the Transition from Education Capstone Design to Industry." The multi-institutional study is a collaboration between faculty at Virginia Tech, University of Colorado Boulder, New Mexico Tech, and Smith College. The goal of the study is to understand and improve how engineering capstone design courses prepare students to effectively enter communities of practice in engineering workplaces. (November 2016).
Associate Professor Denise McKahn is featured in an Insight News Article: Hello Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Goodbye Batteries. (September 2016).
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.
Diana Chiyangwa '08 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”.
Associate Professor Paul Voss helps start the conversation about sensible drone laws. Read his op-ed published on The Conversation. (April 2016).