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Pioneering Engineering Program Makes
Four Faculty Appointments

Editor's note: Photos and resumes of the faculty members are available at by calling (413) 585-2190.

The range of backgrounds and research interests of four new faculty members in Smith College's Picker Program in Engineering and Technology reflects the program's mission of bridging the divide between engineering and the humanities.

The new faculty members are the first teaching personnel hired for the new department since its founding director, Professor Domenico Grasso, was appointed in 1999.

Associate Professor Borjana Mikic, having completed her undergraduate and doctoral studies at Stanford University's Department of Mechanical Engineering, combines her interests in biology and engineering as they pertain to the skeletal system. With expertise in orthopedic biomechanics, Mikic's research focuses on identifying factors that influence the biomechanical functions of skeletal connective tissues. Mikic conducted her postdoctoral work at the Maurice Mueller Institute for Biomechanics in Bern, Switzerland, where she explored developmental and molecular biology. Before coming to Smith, she was an assistant professor at the University of Virginia, affiliated with the departments of orthopaedic surgery and biomedical engineering at the University of Virginia. Her Smith appointment began in January 2001.

Assistant Professor Susan Voss is an electrical engineer and scientist with extensive experience in the field of speech and hearing. Her research centers on sound transmission in normal and diseased ears, and pertains to audiometric instrumentation, surgical auditory implants and aids for the hearing impaired. Voss, who holds an appointment at the Harvard Medical School, completed undergraduate studies at Brown University, graduate studies in electrical engineering and computer science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her doctoral degree at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, where she examined the auditory effects of eardrum perforations. Her Smith appointment began in January 2001.

Assistant Professor Donna Riley's work is motivated by a desire to apply engineering methods in characterizing and resolving environmental problems. She received a doctorate in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University and an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University. Through her research, Riley seeks to integrate quantitative modeling of chemical risks with an understanding of the ways in which human beliefs and behavior influence risks. As an environmental science and engineering fellow currently assigned to the Superfund Office of the Environmental Protection Agency, Riley analyzes environmental science and policy problems, including asbestos exposure and indoor exposures to elemental mercury from gas meter regulators, plumbing manometer spills and cultural and religious uses. Riley will begin teaching at Smith in September 2001.

Assistant Professor Andrew Guswa, a civil and environmental engineer, has particular interest in fluid mechanics and hydrology. His research focuses on the movement of water through the natural environment, specifically how it flows beneath the ground's surface and is absorbed by soil and used by plants. Having completed his undergraduate work in Princeton University's Department of Civil Engineering and Operations Research and his doctoral work at Stanford University's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Guswa is currently a postdoctoral teaching fellow at Princeton. He is also involved in a project investigating the feasibility of injecting carbon dioxide into underground aquifers and oil reservoirs as a way of reducing the emissions of that greenhouse gas. Guswa will begin teaching at Smith in September 2001.
The Picker Program in Engineering and Technology, established in 1999, is the first program of its kind at a women's college and one of only a few at liberal arts colleges nationwide. The first 20 students in the program entered in September 2000.

Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation's best liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 50 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women's college in the United States.

Contact: Laurie Fenlason,, (413) 585-2190.

January 15, 2001


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