the time, there weren’t any women who were
full-fledged engineers,” Ratley said. “It was
all men . . .Women were not thought to really have a career.
You get married, and you quit.”
In college, she was
the only woman in her engineering courses and she is excited
to see the progress women have made
in engineering since she first joined the
Still, the figures haven’t changed much, and neither has engineering
approach. Only one percent of college graduates today are
women who have studied engineering.
Smith College’s new Picker Engineering
Program, the first of its kind at any of the nation’s women’s colleges,
is challenging both of these issues and is trying to integrate engineering
into the liberal arts context. On May 16, 2004, Smith graduated its first class
We want the program at Smith to be noted for the same quantitative rigor
for which MIT is known but at the same time we want our students and our
program to be known for the fusion of nature and the human spirit,” said
Domenico Grasso, program director and Rosemary Bradford Hewlett ’40 Professor
of Engineering, addressing Smith students and faculty at Convocation for
Women have not been drawn to engineering because of its
image as a field lacking social relevance, noted
William Wepfer, former Associate Chair of Graduate Studies at the George
W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering School
the Georgia Institute of Technology. In contrast, observed, women are well
represented in the life sciences.
Graduates of Smith's Picker
Engineering Program were accepted into graduate programs such as Cornell,
University of California, Berkeley, and Dartmouth.
Several will be entering industry.