Celebrate Women’s History Month this March!

Did you know that March is Women’s History Month?  Women’s History Week was established by Congress and President Jimmy Carter in 1981. In 1987, Congress created an official Women’s History Month.  This celebration has continued through resolutions by Congress and/or the president ever since.

This year, the theme of Women’s History Month is “celebrating women of character, courage and commitment.”  National SWE is doing just that through discussions on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Tumblr  throughout the month of March.  The spring issue of SWE magazine will also include Women’s History Month related articles.  Check these out for some inspiration 🙂

Here at Purdue, many women showed remarkable achievement during and after their time at Purdue!  I’ve listed just a few of them here:

  • Martha Dick Stevens.  Martha was Purdue’s first female engineering graduate with a BS in Civil Engineering in 1897 and Masters in Civil Engineering in 1898.
  • Professor Lillian Gilbreth, often called the “First Lady of Engineering.”  Professor Gilbreth became the first female member of the National Academy of engineering in 1935 and taught Purdue’s first engineering management courses from 1935-1948.
  • Orpha Mae Thomas. Orpha Mae was the first woman to get an engineering PhD from Purdue.  She graduated with her PhD in Industrial Engineering in 1946 with a thesis titled, “A Scientific Basis for the Design of Institutional Kitchens.”   This was only the third industrial engineering PhD awarded at Purdue.
  • Janice E. Voss.  Janice received her MSES degree from Purdue in 1975.  She would become a Shuttle Astronaut, logging over 49 days in space, traveling 18.8 million miles in 779 Earth orbits on five space flights. Later, Janice served as the Science Director for the Kepler spacecraft at NASA Ames Research Center.
  • Sue Hudson Abreu. After receiving her BSE from Purdue in 1978, Sue went on to serve as a U.S. Army colonel.  She then became the president of the American College of Nuclear Medicine in 2001-2002.
  • Patricia Galloway.  Patricia received her BSCE  from Purdue in 1978.  She would become the first female president of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2002 and also was the president and CEO of the Nielsen-Wurster Group, an international management consulting firm.
  • Mary Ellen Weber. Mary Ellen received her BSChE  from Purdue in 1984.  She became a Shuttle Astronaut and served as the Legislative Affairs liaison at NASA Headquarters. After leaving NASA, she became the vice president for government affairs and policy at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.  She also found time to be a nine-time silver/bronze medalist at the U.S. National Skydiving Championships.
  • Amy Ross.  Amy recieved her BSME (1994) and MSME (1996) from Purdue and went on to be a NASA spacesuit engineer. She ended up designing the gloves that would make her father’s (astronaut Jerry Ross) hands-on work possible in the 1998 Endeavour mission.

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