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  September 17, 2001

Three Women Join Engineering Faculty

The classic image of engineers as overly studious men in shirt-sleeves, fueled by years of "Dilbert" cartoons and high-profile software legends, is gradually eroding, not least because of the increasing integration of women into the engineering landscape.

The number of female engineers is still small, but growing. Among practicing engineers, approximately 8-10 percent are women, according to recent statistics from the National Science Foundation and the Women in Engineering Program Advocates Network, a non-profit educational organization. Women make up 46 percent of the total U.S. workforce.

Of the relatively small percentage of female engineers, an even smaller number of women earn a Ph.D., and this translates into a very small pool of prospective female faculty members, and strong competition to recruit and hire from the small supply.

It was a cause for celebration, then, that the School of Engineering hired three new female faculty members this year: Dina Goldin in the Department of Computer Science &Engineering, and Britt Holmén and Lisa Aultman-Hall in the Department of Civil &Environmental Engineering. They join an engineering faculty of about 100.

"We are extremely pleased," says Amir Faghri, dean of engineering. "The need to hire qualified women is doubly important because, according to studies, female faculty also serve to attract more female students. It's a circular challenge. In recent years, we have worked hard to recruit more female faculty members, so it is especially gratifying to begin the new term with these talented women."

Dina Goldin has joined the Department of Computer Science & Engineering, one of several new faculty hired this year to accommodate the growing number of students enrolling in computer science.

Goldin, who earned her Ph.D. from Brown University in 1997, previously held dual positions as adjunct professor with the Department of Computer Science, Brown University and assistant professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She also has held a number of non-academic positions and consultancies: with IBM, Parametric Technology Corp. and Q Technology - all in Massachusetts - and Cleyal in Jerusalem, Israel. Goldin's research interests include computing paradigms, languages for programming and querying, algorithms, similarity querying, and computer-aided design.

Britt Holmén and Lisa Aultman-Hall have joined the civil and environmental engineering faculty.

Holmén's expertise is in environmental engineering, a field that has emerged in recent years as particularly attractive to female engineers. She comes to UConn from the University of California, Davis, where she held various positions, most recently as assistant adjunct professor in civil &environmental engineering. She earned her doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1995. She also has worked as assistant research geochemist and postdoctoral associate at the University of California, an environmental geochemist with Cambridge Analytical Associates in Boston, a geologist with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, and a research technician with Harvard University's geology department.

Lisa Aultman-Hall, whose research focus is in the area of transportatio n, joins the civil and environmental engineering department as an associate professor. Prior to joining UConn, she was an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky, a position she had held since 1996. She received her Ph.D. from McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, in 1996. At the University of Kentucky, Aultman-Hall was involved in community outreach relating to bicycle transportation. Her research studies include route choice behavior, freight transportation planning and the safety of specific driver groups and large trucks. Aultman-Hall uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) extensively in her research.

"We are delighted to welcome these gifted new faculty members into our ranks," says Faghri. "We look forward to the many contribution s they will make to their respective departments and for the School of Engineering."

Nan Cooper

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