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April 23, 2004

Smith College Engineers Helping Local Bakery Clear the Air

Editor's note: Digitized photos are available by contacting Marti Hobbes at or (413) 585-2190.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass -- Smith College's new engineering program may be attracting national attention, but a group of students and faculty are keeping their focus local.

Students in "Engineering and Global Development," an advanced engineering course taught by Professor Donna Riley, are collaborating with a grassroots organization in Holyoke, Mass., to improve local air quality.

Nuestras Raices is an organization promoting economic and community development in Holyoke through agricultural initiatives. One of their enterprises is El Jardin Bakery, which produces organic artisan bread for distribution to local markets and restaurants. Working with Nuestras Raices representatives, the Smith engineering students are designing a modification to the bakery's current chimney structure and exploring improvements to the oven's combustion process and building ventilation system. The goal of this design project is to reduce overall emissions from the bakery's wood-fired brick oven and divert them away from neighboring buildings, including the Nuestras Raices community center.

In keeping with the course's emphasis on appropriate development, the students are working on-site toward a small-scale, low-tech redesign that is informed by the needs of the community. On April 29, the class will present a proposed solution, which El Jardin hopes to implement this summer.

Established in 1999, Smith's Picker Engineering Program is focused on developing broadly educated, well-rounded engineers capable of assuming leadership roles in corporations, non-profit organizations and technology-related fields. The first class of engineering majors will graduate in May, earning bachelor's degrees in engineering science.

Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation's foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women's college in the country.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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