Engineering Pioneers

When Clarkson reopened its doors to women in 1964 after 57 years, a lot had changed. As the women returned, they went beyond the spotlight_1option of only studying domestic science, and could study anything from physics to electrical engineering and mathematics.

It's this time period that caught the attention of Associate Professor of History Laura Ettinger, who has been conducting research on the history of women engineers at Clarkson with McNair Fellow Nicole Conroy '09 for the past years.

Conroy, a double major in history and psychology, spent much of her time digging through the Clarkson archives while Ettinger conducted oral histories. "The oral history interviews with Clarkson alumnae have truly deepened our understanding of this time period at Clarkson," says Conroy.

Already, Conroy and Ettinger have been able to make some interesting connections. "We found that women engineers' experiences as  undergraduate engineering majors were quite different than their experiences later in life, mostly in the realm of discrimination," explains Conroy. "As undergrads, the women saw their experience as positive, despite some minor inequality issues. However, later in life, some of them faced both subtle and blatant gender discrimination."

This spring, Conroy presented their research at the undergraduate conference in the Humanities and Social Sciences. In the fall, Ettinger will continue the project while Conroy enters into Syracuse University's Ph.D. program in child and family studies.

Zero Waste

The Clarkson University Remediation Engineers (CURE) student team won first place for their zero waste solution at the 19th Annual spotlight_2Environmental Design Contest held in Las Cruces, N.M.

The CURE team was recognized for their combined treatment processes and off-site recycling/reuse options that resulted in the desired zero waste criteria for the competition. Their processes aimed specifically at the recovery of reusable solvents, energy and water.

Six members of the 28-member student team travelled to New Mexico State University for the international competition. They set up and demonstrated a bench-scale version of their treatment and energy recovery system and used oral and poster presentation formats to communicate their process to judges.

As part of the on-site competition, the students were given two gallons of a corrosive solvent waste stream that they treated by distillation to recover high purity water. They worked late into the night and were the only team that successfully treated the entire volume of waste.

Assessing Damage

Research conducted by two Clarkson students this past year has improved our understanding of the environmental impact of heavy spotlight_4industry in the St. Lawrence River near Massena, N.Y.

Environmental Science & Policy majors Hilary Lockwood '09 and Stefanie Kring, who received her bachelor's degree in December 2008, conducted year-long research on the St. Lawrence in conjunction with the Great Rivers Center (GRC) at Clarkson. GRC Director Michael Twiss, an associate professor in the biology department, served as faculty mentor.

Lockwood tested for differences in the health of the plankton community in areas that have been impacted by heavy industry by testing water quality above and below the Moses-Saunders Power Dam.

Kring examined nutrient levels in the rivers and the numerous tributaries that flow into the river in the Massena area over a seven-month duration.

Both projects concluded that the heavy industry does not have a noticeable impact on plankton health or nutrient levels in the area, but that there are upstream impacts in tributaries that affect water quality in the St. Lawrence River near Massena.

Lockwood and Kring were among a handful of students selected from across the state by the Great Lakes Research Consortium to present their research to state legislators.

Seafood of the Future?

Clarkson Assistant Professor of Digital Arts & Sciences and digital artist Dave Beck and marine scientist Jennifer Jacquet's visual treatise spotlight_3on the (surprisingly) adverse impacts of overfishing on our diet was featured in Scientific American in March.

Beck's artwork is a digital composite of photography and 3D digital modeling. Concept and words were created by Jacquet.