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Engineering Lessons From Ben and Jerry

When Kyle Vanderlick, Yale’s incoming dean of engineering, was searching for a way to teach engineering to non-science majors at Princeton, she went no farther than the freezer. Her freshman seminar The Engineering of Ice Cream used the frozen dessert to explain everything from heat transfer to the chemical composition of milk. Vanderlick says making her field accessible to non-engineers will be a top priority when she comes to New Haven in January. “We need to be there for all of Yale, not just for the engineering students,” she says.

Today, 30 percent of Yale’s engineering majors are women.

Vanderlick is currently the chair of the chemical engineering department at Princeton, where she has taught for ten years. Originally from Massachusetts, she received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a PhD at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on the interactions between surfaces and has applications in nanotechnology and biology.

Vanderlick, who will succeed outgoing dean Paul A. Fleury, will be the first woman to head Yale’s engineering programs. While some engineering disciplines—including chemical engineering—are approaching gender parity, the field as a whole is still largely male-dominated. Today, 30 percent of Yale’s engineering majors are women, with nearly half of those in biomedical engineering. But the gap is not as severe as it was when Vanderlick was at Rensselaer in the late 1970s: then, she recalls, just one-tenth of the student body were women.

Yale engineering is much smaller and lower-ranked than many of its peers, but the university has put money and resources into engineering in the last decade and developed discrete areas of strength. The Faculty of Engineering is well positioned for growth, says Vanderlick: “The stars are very much aligned for Yale engineering.”



Playwright Lynn Nottage '89MFA, a visiting lecturer at the School of Drama, is one of 24 people awarded a $500,000 fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation this year. Nottage is best known for her plays Intimate Apparel and Crumbs from the Table of Joy, which was staged at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1998. The foundation praised her “rich poetic imagination” and “complex characters.” Also receiving one of the foundation’s so-called genius grants was alumna Cheryl Hayashi '88, '96PhD, a biologist at the University of California-Riverside who has done influential research into the structure and function of spider silks.

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences conferred the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal on four alumni on October 9. The recipients are Carol Christ ’70PhD, a scholar of English literature and the president of Smith College; Paul Friedrich ’57PhD, a poet and professor of anthropology, linguistics, and Slavic languages; Anne Walters Robertson ’84PhD, a classical pianist, music professor, and University of Chicago administrator; and John Suppe ’69PhD, a geology professor at Princeton University and an expert on earthquakes. The Cross medal is the Graduate School’s highest honor.

The Association of Yale Alumni has chosen five alumni to receive the Yale Medal in recognition of their service to the university. The honorees are Victor E. Chears ’74, AYA secretary from 1991 to 1992 and the former chair of the board of the Afro-American Cultural Center; Samuel D. Kushlan ’32, ’35MD, a longtime volunteer instructor at the School of Medicine; John E. Pepper Jr. ’60, a former member of the Yale Corporation who served two years as the university’s vice president for finance and administration; Jon E. Steffensen ’68, AYA secretary in 1987 and the chair of the Scholarship Trust of the Yale Club of Boston; and Vera F. Wells ’71, a dedicated fund-raiser for the Afro-American Cultural Center and the Women Faculty Forum. Medal recipients will be honored at the AYA Assembly in November.



Steven Girvin and Judith Chevalier '89 have been named deputy provosts of the university. The two will each take over a share of the portfolio of former deputy provost Kim Bottomly, who left in the summer to become president of Wellesley College. Girvin, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics and Applied Sciences, is now deputy provost for science and technology, and Chevalier, the William S. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Economics, is deputy provost for faculty development. Chevalier’s responsibilities include increasing faculty diversity.  the end


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