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2008 News in Brief



MIT welcomes seven new members to Chi Epsilon

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The MIT chapter of Chi Epsilon welcomed seven new members into its fold April 29 with a dinner at the Faculty Club and a talk by Professor Dee Ann Sanders, the first woman to hold the honor society’s elected position of National Council Vice President.

Sanders, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Oklahoma State University (OSU), spoke of the technological changes in engineering since she was an undergraduate, as well as changes in the diversity of the field. She recalled often being the only woman student in her classes, and said that engineering courses were taught in a building with no women’s restrooms.

All the new MIT members for 2008 are women. They are seniors Katherine Jarrell, Tamara Sheldon and Alia Whitney-Johnson, and juniors Lauren Biscombe, Alexandra Konings, Allison St. Vincent and Patricia Tcaciuc.

They were welcomed by officers Shannon O’Connell, president; Kristen Burrall, vice president; Piotr Fidkowski, secretary and treasurer; and Gwen Johnson, editor. About 30 other people attended the dinner, including Sanders’ mother; CEESA faculty advisor Dr. Jack Germaine, senior researcher; Professor Patrick Jaillet, head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and MIT Chi Epsilon alumni Dr. Pete Shanahan (senior lecturer), Dr. E. Eric Adams (senior lecturer) and Professor Ole Madsen (associate department head for education).

During her 27 years as a professional engineer, Sanders worked as a consultant for firms in North Carolina and Washington D.C., and as an engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Southwestern Bell, and the U.S. Air Force before joining the faculty at OSU, where she has been Chi Epsilon faculty advisor since 1997.

According to Chi Epsilon, civil engineers assume a “constantly increasing responsibility for the well-being of all people,” a responsibility that “can be discharged only by a professional group whose members are possessed of a good basic technical ability, intelligence, moral integrity, and effective social poise in their relationship with the larger community.”

MIT’s Chi Epsilon officers pose with Professor Dee Ann Sanders (in front) of Oklahoma State University and Dr. Jack Germaine (far right) of MIT. Left to right: Gwen Johnson, Kristen Burrall, Piotr Fidkowski, and Shannon O’Connell.

Chi Epsilon officers and the seven new members.