CEE's biggest class of women graduates

5/7/2013 8:13:00 AM

Women students from CEE's class of 2013 posed along Boneyard Creek on Senior Sunday in May. They were commemorating a photo taken of them in 2009, when they were the largest-ever group of entering freshman women in department history.
In fall 2009, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering commemorated its largest-ever class of matriculating freshman women to date by inviting them to pose for a photo on the banks of Boneyard Creek. On Senior Sunday in May, they reunited for another photo in the same spot.
CEE's freshmen women in 2009
CEE's freshmen women in 2009
 A group of freshman women from CEE posed along Boneyard Creek in 2009. They were the largest group of entering freshmen in department history. 
“What better way than this to show our time at the University of Illinois coming full circle?” wrote graduating senior Genevieve Nemeth, who organized the second photo. “Though we don’t look much older, there is such a contrast between those first days on campus and now. Each one of us has accomplished a great deal in the past four years, and we have also grown together as a class. Freshman year when we took the same picture, I only knew the girl standing on my left. Now, I could tell you about an experience I had with almost every woman in my class. It’s exciting to realize how much we have achieved and that we have created ties with people who are going to make such an impact in the future.”
Professor David Lange, then associate head for undergraduate affairs, organized the first photo, extending the invitation to all 53 CEE freshman women. They represented an unprecedented 32 percent of total department freshmen. For the 2013 photo, Nemeth worked with Becky Stillwell, CEE undergraduate adviser, to invite the 45 who will graduate this spring.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this class, to say the least,” Nemeth wrote. “Women have a lot to offer in the field of civil and environmental engineering! Hopefully, the trend will continue and this will encourage more women to explore science and math as a career.
“Thank you to the civil department for constantly being a source of support to the students in CEE, and allowing us the opportunity to follow our passions. I know many of us would not be where we are today without the help of our advisers, especially Professor [Liang] Liu and Becky Stillwell.”
Nemeth is sixth from the right in the first row of the 2013 photo.