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02-15-2016

Clarkson University Prof & Student Create Website on History of Women Engineers

A Clarkson University professor and student have teamed up to create a website on the history of pioneering women in engineering at Clarkson.

Laura Ettinger, left, and Emily BakerSocial documentation student Emily Baker '16 of Germantown, N.Y., designed the website as part of an independent study, and Associate Professor of History Laura Ettinger provided the content. The website showcases oral history interviews Ettinger conducted with women engineers who graduate from Clarkson in the 1970s, as well as other information about the history of women at the University.

Visit the website at http://people.clarkson.edu/~lettinge/home/pioneers/index.html .

As a social documentation student, Baker has a double major in history and communication & media, as well as a minor in anthropology.

While she was designing Ettinger's website, Baker began her own research on women engineering majors at Clarkson in the present day in a paper titled "Opening the Gendered Toolbox." She used an ethnographic approach to understand their lives, which included gathering biographical information, interviews, and observations of their daily lives.

Baker now is using the research to produce a documentary on women engineers for the St. Lawrence County branch of the American Association of University Women.

History matters -- the stories of early pioneers can inform current discussions about how to create a more inclusive engineering profession, Ettinger said.

"The stories of these pioneering engineers are both fascinating and inspiring," she said. "These stories give permission to others, especially women in the STEM fields, to pursue their careers in ways that make sense to them."

Ettinger plans to include the interviews in a larger book project, tentatively titled Women Engineers: Reluctant Pioneers, on women engineers from around the United States who graduated from college in the 1970s.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences, education and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University Associate Professor of History Laura Ettinger, left, and social documentation student Emily Baker '16 have created a website on the history of pioneering women in engineering at Clarkson.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/lettinger-ebaker.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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