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WoW Blog (Woman of the Week)

Each week this blog will feature a prominent woman who made significant contributions to engineering or science. If you have any women you'd like us to feature please let us know and we'll do our best to include them.

Do you know of a great woman in engineering that should be recognized? Let us know! Submit a few paragraphs about that person and we'll add her to the blog. Please provide a citation for the material that you submit so that we can verify it. Please note - it has to be original material. We cannot publish copywritten material or bulk text taken from books or other sites (including Wikipedia).

Woman of the Week - Jeannette Wing

Posted July 16, 2018 4:30 PM by lmno24

Jeannette Wing is a computer science professional who has held many positions over the years. Currently, she is the Avanessians Director of the Data Sciences at Columbia University. She’s held that position for about a year now. Previously, she was the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Research. She worked to oversee research laboratories around the world.

Source: Columbia University

Before that, she was a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon. From 2007 to 2010, she served as assistant director of Computer and Information Science and Engineering at the National Science Foundation. There, she oversaw the federal government’s funding of scientific research.

She’s probably most known for her role in transforming data science into a scholarly, productive and inventive field. Her essay “Computational Thinking,” was published more than a decade ago and is credited with helping to establish the centrality of computer science to problem-solving in fields where previously it had not been embraced.

She’s known by many for the innovative ideas like those discussed in “Computational Thinking.” She’s helped people to see how the ideas in computer science can translate to other fields and solve problems across the board.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree and a Ph.D from MIT. She finished up her studies in 1983. Then she was on the faculty at University of Southern California until starting at Carnegie Mellon in 1985, where she spent many years – until 2012.

Wing has been a leading member of the formal methods community, especially in the area of Larch, which is a project that explores methods, languages and tools for the practical use of formal specifications.

With Barbara Liskov, she developed the Liskov substitution principle, published in 1993. Check out more on Liskov here: Woman of the Week - Barbara Liskov

She has been recognized with distinguished service awards from the Computing Research Association and the Association for Computing Machinery. Also, she’s Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

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Woman of the Week – Hannah Glasse

Posted July 10, 2018 10:58 AM by lmno24

Hannah Glasse had a tough go at life. However, it may come as some solace that her cooking and kitchen tips have stood the test of time.

She penned what may have been the world’s first viral cookbook, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. She was also dubbed the “mother of the modern dinner party.”

She was born on March 28, 1708, in St. Andrews, Holborn, London. Her mother is rumored to have been Hannah Reynolds, a widow. Her father, Isaac Allgood, was a landowner who was married to another woman.

She was raised in Allgood’s home, but was often treated as an unwelcome presence. Despite that treatment, she witnessed the finer things and got a taste for fine food and drink, as her father was wealthy. In 1725, her father and his wife died of an illness when Glasse was only 16.

She went on to marry John Glasse, a soldier of fortune, and they had ten children together, though only five survived.

Source: Google

With a growing family, she needed to find a way to bring in extra money. She got to work on a cookbook about simple recipes that impressed.

It was written in a conversational style and was a quick bestseller. Most cookbooks published prior were written for royals and aristocrats. Her book was for anyone. It included 972 recipes ranging in every course, holiday or special situation.

But with all its initial success, the cookbook was not credited to her as she only signed it, “By a Lady.” She saw great success with the first publication for the book, but it was short lived. Later in 1747 her husband died, and she set herself up as a dressmaker alongside her eldest daughter Margaret to have multiple ways to keep the family afloat.

Glasse declared bankruptcy seven years after the book was released. She was forced to auction the copyright. She was reportedly put into a debtor’s prison for several months in 1757.

Historians claimed that she plagiarized as many as 263 of the dishes from an earlier source. While each recipe wasn’t an original, the writing style and mass appeal were. It was intended as a guide to “improve the servants and save the ladies a great deal of trouble.”

After paying her debt, she wrote two more books, the Servants' Directory and the Compleat (sic) Confectioner, neither of which saw the popularity of her first.

At 62, she died, with only two of her five children left alive. Most recently, she was featured as a Google Doodle in March. The book shows her making Yorkshire pudding and commemorated the 310th anniversary of the book. Her book was the first on record to have a recipe for the popular British dish.

2 comments; last comment on 07/11/2018
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Woman of the Week – Gere Kavanaugh

Posted July 02, 2018 4:45 PM by lmno24

Gere Kavanaugh has worked in more realms of designs than most. At 89, her love of color and design hasn’t faded a bit.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1929, she always knew she wanted to be a designer. She studied at the Memphis Academy of Arts at first. It was there that her textile work was noticed by Francis Henry Taylor, then director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Taylor pushed for her to come to Parsons Design School in New York, but she instead chose to go to graduate school at Cranbrook, the interdisciplinary art and design school outside of Detroit. She was only the fifth woman to attend the Design Studio at the school.

"It was a very interesting time to be in Detroit," she said in an interview with LA Weekly. "[Minoru] Yamasaki's office was in Detroit; so was Victor Gruen's. Down the back road was Eero Saarinen's office. After the studios closed, we could go there and sort of hang out and find out what they did during the day."

Source: Metropolis Magazine

After completing her studies there, she designed retail showrooms and interior spaces for General Motors. At GM, she was part of the “Damsels of Design,” an all-female design team that were hired as a group. Kavanaugh recalled the group’s name as a PR stunt, but aside from that she was happy to be there. It was the first prominent all-female design team in American history. The hope was that they could help make automobiles appealing to women. They worked on many features of the cars to make them more aesthetically pleasing and functional. Some features we still use today, such as child-safe doors, lighted makeup mirrors, storage consoles and retractable seat belts.

Victor Gruen, who is known as the creator of the shopping mall, then sought her out to work for him. She was offered a position at his L.A. office and moved West, becoming part of a tight-knit community of artists there.

After a few years, she started her own company, sharing studio space with Frank Gehry in a space in Santa Monica. After a while, they upgraded to a larger space, which became something of a gathering place for the aforementioned tight-knit artist community.

Many of her designs are meant to jazz up a home or living space. She designed ceramics, lights, clocks, textiles and other furniture.

Over the years, she has had her hand in a wide range of projects including for department store magnate Joseph Magnin. She also created a set of urban planning toys called “Mini City” which is now in the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art.

Despite her successes, she has still dealt with the stereotypes and stigmas of being a female designer in a male-dominated field.

“I had a designer friend say ‘I know you can do fabulous designs, Gere, but can you really cook pork chops?’” She recalled in an interview with LA Weekly. “That was the mentality at the time we started out.”

She is still working on new designs to this day. Her colorful floral designs are reminiscent of the traditional patterns that one recalls when thinking of this time period. She is 89 and lives in Los Angeles.

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Woman of the Week – Amanda Levete

Posted June 25, 2018 4:30 PM by lmno24

British architect Amanda Levete was honored earlier this year with one of the most prestigious awards for women in architecture.

There are numerous awards for architects to strive for, but the annual Jane Drew Prize from Architect’s Journal is especially coveted. It has raised the profile of women in the field. Woman make up just three percent of the architecture field.

She was born in South Wales and took to art and design from a young age. Her parents sent her to St. Paul’s Girls’ School in London and the Hammersmith School of Art as a start to her design career.

She became a trainee at Alsop & Lyall and later an architect at the Richard Rogers Partnership.

She then branched off to become co-founder of the firm Powis & Levete, where she was nominated for the RIBA's '40 under 40' exhibition in 1985. In 1989, Levete joined Jan Kaplický at Future Systems as a partner.

At Future Systems, she is credited with making concepts a reality. She completed projects like the Selfridges department store in Birmingham, which has been named “Best Department Store in the World” numerous times and for numerous reasons, but one being the design.

She also designed the Lord's Media Centre, which won the Royal Institute of British Architects' Stirling Prize in 1999. She also served as a trustee of the arts organization Artangel from 2000 to 2013.

In 2009, she formed AL_A, formerly known as Amanda Levete Architecture. Within two years, the firm was making a splash. She won an international design competition to remake an entryway, courtyard and gallery for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

AL_A's other projects include the MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) project in Lisbon for the EDP Foundation, the Central Embassy project in Bangkok, and the pop-up restaurant Tincan.

In 2014, her firm was chosen to design the second MPavilion for the Naomi Milgrom Foundation in Melbourne. This was the first to be designed by an international artist and featured petals made from fiberglass.

Most recently, she was honored with the Jane Drew Prize by The Architects’ Journal and The Architectural Review.


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Woman of the Week – Naomi Parker Fraley

Posted June 18, 2018 4:30 PM by lmno24

While she is not a woman who worked directly in science or technology, her image is thought to be one that inspires women in all fields.

Naomi Parker Fraley is the real-life woman who inspired the iconic Rosie the Riveter image. She was photographed while working at California’s Alameda Naval Air Station in 1942, where she took a job to help out the U.S. in 1942. The photograph shows her in a pantsuit and polka dotted headscarf, looking over a piece of machinery. She was one of the millions of women who stepped up to work as men went overseas following the attack on Pearl Harbor.


The photo was featured in a newspaper. A short time later, J. Howard Miller created the now infamous Rosie the Riveter image, featuring a woman in a headscarf flexing with “We Can Do It!” across the bottom. Miller died in 1985 and never revealed his inspiration.

It took years for Parker Fraley to be acknowledged as the woman in the photo. For years, another woman insisted it was her. It took the six-year journey of scholar James J. Kimble to determine who Rosie really was.

“It turns out that almost everything we think about Rosie the Riveter is wrong,” that scholar, James J. Kimble, told The Omaha World-Herald in 2016. “Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.”

He eventually tracked down the original image, which had the photographer’s note written on the back saying: “Pretty Naomi Parker looks like she might catch her nose in the turret lathe she is operating, but she knows to keep her nose out of her business.” He scoured books, newspapers, and archives for a captioned photo of the original. He finally found it at a vintage photo dealer.

He eventually tracked Parker Fraley down. She always knew it was her in the photo, but never wanted to push for notoriety.

“I didn’t want fame or fortune,” Mrs. Fraley told People magazine in 2016, when her connection to Rosie first became public. “But I did want my own identity.”

The original photo was printed in Miller’s hometown paper, the Pittsburgh Press, right around the time the poster was made. Kimble concluded that the woman was more than likely Parker Fraley.

The Rosie the Riveter image was never supposed to be a public work. It was only commissioned to be displayed for Westinghouse employees as a way to deter them from skipping work or going on strike when they were needed most.

A copy came to light, likely from the National Archives, and she became something of a feminist symbol.

Fraley died early this year, but her name is finally associated with Rosie. After the war she went to work as a waitress in Hollywood, California and married and had a family.

She had the photo clipped and kept it for all that time, always knowing it was her.

5 comments; last comment on 06/22/2018
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