for the Engineers
By Jan McCoy Ebbets
No Mountain High Enough: Cloelle Sausville-Giddings >
Engineer That Could: Christine Johnson >
a Small, Small World: Fatima Toor >
With Engineers: An Chi (Danielle) Tsou >
Feature: Smith Graduates First Class of Engineers >
They're bright, energetic
and ambitious, and they want to shape the future. They've been
watched, photographed and interviewed myriad times since they arrived
four years ago.
Rock stars? No, at least not
yet. Think engineering stars.
And May 16 will be their day
to shine. They are the 20 young women who compose the first
class to graduate from Smith's Picker Engineering Program and
earn the first bachelor's degrees in engineering science ever offered
at any of the nation's women's colleges.
College's first class of engineers. Front row: Susan Strom,
Becky Silverstein, Julia Packer, An Chi Tsou. Second row:
Kamalea Cott, Meghan Flanagan, Christine Johnson, Cloelle
Sausville-Giddings, Sarah Culver, Aruna Sarma Chavali, Kerri
Rossmeier, Meghan Taugher, Tsuimei Chang. Third row: Fatima
Toor, Elizabeth Bartell, Nicole Radford, Cara Stepp, Caitlyn
Shea, Kari Caesar, Sarah Jaffray. Photo by Edward Judice.
In fall 2000, Smith welcomed this entering
class. More than 100 students had applied for 25 spots
in a program that promised to blaze a trail in educating women engineers
in a way few schools can.
The San Francisco
Chronicle wrote in
program at Smith will be a breakthrough in U.S. higher education,
where five out of six engineering students are male, as are
96 percent of engineering faculty. We are confident Smith engineers
will be paragons when they begin to graduate in 2004."
2003, the Picker program had grown to 135 majors and intended
The engineering program offers enormous opportunity for its
majors; it focuses on developing broadly educated, well-rounded
engineers capable of assuming leadership roles in corporations,
nonprofit organizations and technology-related fields. By combining
engineering education with the liberal arts, it also aims to produce
a new kind of professional engineer, one who is capable of exceptional
creativity and has a desire to promote environmental sustainability
and a humanistic understanding of social responsibility.
Picker Program hopes to establish itself as an intellectual
crossroads of the arts, humanities, mathematics and the natural and
social sciences," says
Domenico Grasso, Rosemary Bradford Hewlett '40 Professor and director of
the Picker Program. "The program has exceeded expectations," he continues. "Through
an aggressive search, we were fortunate to attract a dedicated faculty that is
among the best in the country. We have one of the highest percentages of women
faculty (more than 50 percent) of any engineering program in the country."
students are at ease with their high-profile roles as members of the first
class of engineering majors to graduate from Smith. They know they
have been closely watched. "The program's success depends on us, to some extent," Susan
Strom '04 observes.
Most engineering students will also concede
not been an easy ride. They've spent hours every day trying to keep up
with rigorous coursework, lab assignments, problem sets, research projects
and design challenges.
But it has paid off. Many graduating
seniors have already been accepted into such prestigious graduate
programs as Cornell, Princeton, Berkeley, Dartmouth and Notre
Dame. Several have jobs waiting for them in fields ranging from information
systems to finance to construction management. Two seniors,
An Chi Tsou and Cloelle Sausville-Giddings, received the prestigious
and highly competitive National Science Foundation fellowships for
graduate study in engineering anywhere in the United States. "Smith
has always encouraged women to make their mark in everything that
they do," observes