Monday, September 23, 2013

Engineering Programs for Women

Engineering holds great promise for women as a career. If you're thinking about a career in engineering, check out the engineering program at Smith College. The first women’s college to offer an engineering major, they also have a top-notch engineering department.

Here’s an article, “How to reengineer an engineering major at a women's college” that I think you will enjoy and starts with:

“A Smith College professor's program may provide a pattern for how to attract and keep women engineers.

The story is legendary: Glenn Ellis arrives at his engineering class dressed as a mountain climber. He hooks a rope to the ceiling, projects snow-capped scenery on the wall, and asks a volunteer to join him in a mock ascent.

It's not an exaggeration to say that at moments like these, students hang on Professor Ellis's every word.

His continuum mechanics class had been studying the case of a major hotel walkway that collapsed in 1981. By discussing materials and structures from a climber's perspective, he not only made the lesson fun, but he also "masterfully illustrated the underlying concept of what went wrong ... in a completely different context," says Prof. Borjana Mikic. She has known Ellis since they arrived in 2001 to create the Picker Engineering Program at Smith College here.”

Here’s what students have said about Professor Glenn Ellis (source)

“Ellis is AMAZING. He's one of the reasons that I'm staying in the engineering program. The projects are great, and while I have some trouble with the material, Ellis is MORE than willing to help out. In fact, sometimes I think that he wishes that more people wanted his help- that’s exactly how much he wants to help.”

“ABSOLUTELY one of, if not, the greatest professors/teachers I have ever had. He is also the nicest man I have ever met. My advice: Ask about his dog.”

“I love this man. He is definitely one of the best professors I've ever had. He really cares about whether or not you understand something. He wants us to learn, based on what we knew coming into the course, instead of a set bar that we all have to reach. Best class I've taken by far.”

“Oh wow! If every professor were like Ellis, then all teachers would be awesome. His lectures were engaging and interesting as well as helpful. He is one of the best professors I've ever had and by far the best engineering professor in the department. I learned so much that I can't even begin to say!”

To learn more about the engineering program at Smith College, visit their Web site.

If you are interested in other STEM fields, for starters, check out Smith's computer science, astronomy, physics, and/or math/statistics majors. For all STEM majors check out their academic programs page.

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