Women and Ideas in Engineering: Twelve Stories from Illinois
A new book by CEE at Illinois alumna Angela Wolters and co-author Laura Hahn highlights the stories of pioneering women in the College of Engineering. “Women and Ideas in Engineering: Twelve Stories from Illinois” presents accounts of women engineers throughout the College’s history – from Mary Louise Page, the first woman student in the College, through current day.
The book was inspired by a 1967 volume titled “Men and Ideas in Engineering – Twelve Histories from Illinois,” which featured “twelve accounts of men, events, and inventions in the hundred-year history of the University of Illinois’ College of Engineering.” Wolters originally intended to parallel the 1967 book by telling the story of twelve accomplished women engineers, but ultimately the book tells the stories of many more than that.
“Upon our initial discovery of ‘Men and Ideas in Engineering – Twelve Histories from Illinois’, we were inspired to expand the recorded history of the College of Engineering to include the stories of women engineers and their impact on campus, in science and engineering, and in society,” Wolters said. “Our research to identify twelve women to highlight in the book led to more remarkable and inspiring stories of women engineers with ties to Illinois than we had thought possible. With an abundance of stories to tell, we adjusted the text to cover twelve themes allowing us to recognize the contributions of over thirty women engineers.”
CEE at Illinois Professor Emeritus Barry Dempsey funded the authors’ effort through his Skunk Works program and said he is excited to see the finished product.
“Angie and Laura put a lot of effort and thought into this book and I do believe that the book will be an inspiration for women pursuing an engineering career,” Dempsey said. “I am extremely pleased with what Angie and Laura have accomplished and the book is a proud reminder that intelligent people can accomplish great things when given the opportunity to do so.”
Wolters earned her B.S. and M.S. from CEE at Illinois in 1999 and 2000, respectively, and is the Director of Women in Engineering. Hahn is director of the Academy for Excellence in Engineering Education. Hahn’s father (Henry Koertge) and father-in-law (Ralph Hahn) are both CEE at Illinois alumni.