On International Women's Day we're taking a look back at the past year and the achievements of women in chemical engineering. Significant achievements within AIChE include the Women in Chemical Engineering (WIC) community celebrating its 20th anniversary and the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to AIChE Fellow Frances Arnold.
In 2018, the theme of our annual gala was inspiring and empowering women in engineering, and funds raised will support efforts that expand women’s leadership programs, strengthen pre-college STEM education for girls, and improve the retention of women engineers at all stages in their careers.
In AIChE's magazine CEP, we read the story of the Caltech 6, an all-woman chemical engineering class with backgrounds diverse in religion, culture, and economic status. Their story reflects how women have evolved as engineers, and the limitations that still exist for them in industry, academia, and beyond.
WIC celebrates its 20th anniversary
The Women in Chemical Engineering (WIC), formerly the Women's Initiative Committee, celebrated its 20th anniversary at the 2018 AIChE Annual Meeting. To celebrate this important milestone, a symposium of 20 invited female speakers from diverse research backgrounds and affiliations was held, ending in a celebratory reception. Learn more about WIC.
Frances Arnold Awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded one half of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2018 to AIChE Fellow Frances H. Arnold, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering, and Biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for her work in the directed evolution of enzymes. Learn more about Dr. Arnold's work and the award.
2018 AIChE Gala: Inspiring and Empowering Women in Engineering
On December 11, 2018, AIChE honored Pfizer Inc and Covestro LLC, along with those companies' leaders, at an awards gala held in New York City for their dedication to inspiring and empowering women in engineering.
The gala also honored Nance Dicciani, Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of medical-device company RTM Vital Signs LLC, who received the AIChE Foundation’s Doing a World of Good Medal, a prize that salutes the achievements of an individual who has advanced the societal contributions of engineers. Dicciani was commended for her dedication and personal investment in mentoring future generations of scientists and engineers.
The 2018 AIChE gala raised approximately $570,000 to support efforts that expand women’s leadership programs, strengthen pre-college STEM education for girls, and improve the retention of women engineers at all stages in their careers. Learn more about the gala and the initiatives the recently raised funds will support.
Rising Stars: Women in Engineering
On December 11, 2018, more than fifty women from companies around the world participated in the Leadership Workshop for Rising Star Women in Engineering. The workshop was held at the New York City headquarters of Pfizer Inc with Susan Dunlap, an executive coach and communication trainer.
Following the workshop and lunch, an executive panel offered advice on how women can find their authentic voices, navigate workplace hierarchies, and communicate effectively.
The Caltech 6: An All-Woman Chemical Engineering Class
In 2005, six women graduated from the California Institute of Technology and became the first and only all-female chemical engineering class to graduate from an American co-ed university.
Six women who met as one class came from across the county and across oceans, from backgrounds diverse in religion, culture, and economic status, but their experiences are profoundly parallel. Their story reflects how women have evolved as engineers, and the limitations that still exist for them in industry, academia, and beyond.
For the Caltech 6, their class was just ordinary, but it doesn’t have to be more than that to matter. At times, it is easy to assume that change will come only with extraordinary achievements, or with extraordinary women — women who “prove” females can be scientists. But change is rarely loud or immediate. It is often gradual, established not just by female CEOs or Nobel-prize winning researchers, but by the average female scientist. In this case, change showed itself through a group of women, working quietly together in a classroom.
"The Caltech 6: America's First and Only All-Female Class of ChEs" article originally appeared in the Update section of the January 2018 issue of CEP. Learn more about the Caltech 6 and where they are now.