Across 12 schools, more than 25,000 students, and more than 4,000 faculty members, we become one university: a wide-ranging, ever-changing community that draws its strength from a multitude of races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, historical traditions, ages, religions, disabilities, veteran statuses, interests, perspectives and socioeconomic backgrounds.
The School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania is committed to uplifting underrepresented narratives and creating a more balanced and truthful picture of the past. We recognize that this is a process, and we want to celebrate diverse individuals while acknowledging that there is still more to be done to advance this aim.
The diversity of our university must reflect the diversity of the world around it – and the diversity of the world that we want our students to lead.Former President Amy Gutmann
In 1957, mechanical metallurgist Dr. Doris Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf became the first woman to join the faculty of the Schools of Engineering. At Penn and later the University of Virginia, she studied plastic deformation and crystal defects, publishing more than 300 scientific papers.
What a wonderful profession do we have! Engineering benefits mankind perhaps above any other profession.
An Antigua and Barbuda native, Egbert Perry received his B.S. (’76) and M.S. (’79) in Civil Engineering from Penn, and MBA (‘78). In 1993, he cofounded Integral, an urban development company focused on sustainable real estate and community solutions.
Real-life experiences have a way of helping to reshape what we do and how we do it.
Computer Science professor, Dr. Ruzena Bajcsy, founded the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory in 1979. During her nearly 30 years at Penn, Bajcsy pioneered robotics research and supervised at least 26 doctoral students.
Obstacles just made me work harder.
Donald Maynard served as president of Penn’s Society of African and African American Students, forerunner to the Black Student League. He was also the first director of the School of Engineering and Applied Science Minorities Program.
Robert Wallace founded three companies focused on information technology services, dynamic energy engineering, and entrepreneurial research respectively. His groundbreaking research and training programs have benefited entrepreneurs around the world.
At Penn, I was also a founding member of the Onyx Senior Honor Society. I remain involved with the Thouron Award and have been a member its US Selection Committee for 25 years.
In 1982, Dr. Kathleen McKeown became one of the first women to receive a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Penn. Specializing in natural language processing, McKeown was the first woman to receive tenure at Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Just having other women around makes a big difference… Having a woman in a senior position is especially helpful.
Dr. Garrett Reisman (M&T’91) joined NASA in 1998. Over the course of two spaceflight missions, he spent more than 100 days in space, made three spacewalks and operated the Space Station robotic arm. Reisman later worked for SpaceX.
Push yourself outside of your comfort zone… and don’t let the fear of failure hold you back.
A graduate of Penn’s undergraduate Bioengineering program (EAS’92) and Wharton (WG’08), Joan Lau cofounded the Philadelphia-based biotech Spirovant Sciences. In 2022, she became the first member of the University’s Board of Trustees who openly identifies as LGBTQ+.
It’s hard to find your path. I enjoy talking to students, letting them know it’s okay to be figuring it out, as we all continue to do.
Ghanaian engineer, Dr. Elsie Effah Kaufmann, earned three degrees from Penn, including a Ph.D. in Bioengineering (’98). In 2022, she became the first woman to be appointed dean of the University of Ghana’s School of Engineering Sciences.
Be proud of what you are doing and enjoy the journey – good and bad in it, enjoy everything.