Ellen Swallow Richards' Legacy: MIT Alumnae Make a Difference

Saturday, March 5, 2011 , Conference 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM,   Reception and Dinner 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
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Champions of Sustainable Environment

"Not through chance, but through increase of scientific knowledge ...will be brought about the creation of right conditions, the control of environment." - ESR

The environment is a dynamic system affected by many factors and interconnected components. Our panelists will provide perspectives on sustainable environment from the vantage point of minimizing the impact of human waste, land use and population density, healthy ecosystems, and energy. There will be discussion of the contributions they have made in their fields and how they came to their areas of interest and expertise. They will present some of the challenges alumnae face in developing sustainable norms and the importance of the MIT education to their successes. Participants will join in exploring what will be needed to ensure a clean, sustainable environment for future generations.

"All the problems of environment which we have been considering would be solved in half the time, yes, in one-quarter, if all housewives would combine in carrying out the knowledge which some of them have and which all may have." - ESR

Sarah J. Simon, '72, P.E. Ameresco , Environmental Compliance Manager

Dr. Elisabeth Drake, '58, ScD '66, MIT Energy Lab, Emeritus Staff;
Carol Thomas, AR '50, Fellow, American Institute of Planners
Professor Diane McKnight '75 , Professor of Environmental Engineering, University of Colorado, INSTAAR Fellow

Panel Details

Drake Currently Dr. Elisabeth Drake, '58, ScD '66, is Emeritus Staff affiliated with the MIT Energy Initiative. Prior to her retirement in 2001, she served as associate director for new energy technologies at the MIT Energy Laboratory. With other MIT colleagues, she developed an interdisciplinary graduate course on Sustainable Energy and co-authored a textbook, Sustainable Energy: Choosing among Options(MIT Press 2005). An updated edition of this text is now in press. Dr. Drake received both her SB ('58) and a ScD ('66) in chemical engineering from MIT.

McKnight Professor Diane McKnight '75, received her PhD in Environmental Engineering from MIT in 1979 and then was research hydrologist with the US Geological Survey until 1996. Since 1996, she has been a Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado, where she is co-Director Hydrologic Sciences Graduate Program. She conducts research on lakes and streams in the Rocky Mountains and the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. She has been President of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography and the Biogeosciences Section of the American Geophysical Union and has served on advisory committees of the National Research Council.

Carol Thomas, AR '50, works extensively with town planning groups. She attended MIT with the Class of 1950 and was the first women inducted as a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners in the inaugural group of Fellows in 1999. Recognized as "[a] planning pioneer, practitioner, and educator, advancing the cause of planning, from New England to China," Carol has provided land-use consulting in a range of communities all over the globe

Simon Sarah J. Simon, '72, PE, has worked with the regulated environmental community and energy based clients for 35 years, covering a broad range of programs and Environmental, Health and Safety management services. Today, she manages compliance for Ameresco's 14 renewable energy stations around the US that generate electricity from biogas. During her 10 years at the US Environmental Protection Agency (Boston), Ms. Simon directed special projects in permitting and oil crisis air pollution waivers, and for five years at the Mass DEP, she managed a group of 40 air monitoring, modeling and information staff. She is a past president of both AMITA and the Society of Women Engineers, Boston Section, and a past chair of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers Environmental Group. She holds an SB in Civil Engineering from MIT and an MS in environmental science from Northeastern University

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