Having Their Say. More than 200 successful women engineers relate how they
got there.

Women Engineers Speak Up
Changing Our World: True Stories of
Women Engineers
By Sybil E. Hatch; Society of Civil Engineers Press (www.asce.org/bookstore)
ISBN: 0-7844-0841-6; 222 pages; $49.00
(#36.75-ASCE member)
This first product of the Extraordinary Women Engineers Coalition is a joint effort by nearly 60 employers of and associations for engineers to encourage more young women to take up the profession. It is a fascinating spin through the careers of female role models—past and present.

The 222 pages of Changing Our World: True Stories of Women Engineers is filled with vibrant photos of women in their engineering milieus and lively descriptions of their experiences and motivations by author Sybil Hatch, a 14-year civil engineering veteran. The format brings engineering up close and personal to young readers and infuses a vitality into the profession that may make it seem as exciting to girls as fashion modeling, travel writing or TV anchoring. Smart girls rule in this jam-packed epic, as they tackle hurdles and achieve successes in once-closed engineering and technology careers.

The book, released Feb. 21 during National Engineers’ Week, opens with a two-page look at the woman who was technical director for the animated film, “A Bug’s Life.” It ends with an equally detailed “day in the life” of a civil engineering executive who jets from her construction projects to Machu Picchu, the North Pole and her New Jersey winery.

Changing our World cuts a wide swath through hundreds of careers and employers where women engineers ply their trade. We meet everyone from Lillian Gilbreth, who became a renowned industrial engineer on the death of her husband in the 1920s (recounted in the movie Cheaper by the Dozen), to 30-something Treena L. Arinzeh, “a rising star in the field of tissue engineering.” In each woman’s writeup, there’s a determined feistiness to prove her mettle and disprove skeptics. 

But in its zeal to promote the book’s more than 200 subjects, Changing Our World often ignores or compresses the women’s individual struggles, the boring side of their work and their close collaborations with men. Also overlooked is a reality of the profession—how financial, political and other forces affect project completion and engineering success.

In a book intended to lure young women into an already misunderstood and shunned profession, maybe these realities are too stark to share with impressionable female recruits. But when you look at many teens today, it is the girls that tend to surpass boys academically and socially. Many girls decide their futures with more certainty and display leadership skills at a young age. Maybe it is young boys who need the affirmative action to fill engineering work force gaps.

In any event, Changing Our World is an impressive work that will open girls’ eyes to how engineers make a difference in our daily lives and how women are changing misperceptions that engineering is a “man’s world.”

Seismic Prevention of Damage:
A Case Study in a Mediterranean City
Edited by M. Maugeri, Volume 14 in WTT Press' Advances in Earthquake Engineering Book Series, 2005, 424 pages
The Italian Dept. of Civil Defense financed a multidisciplinary project of an analysis and mitigation of seismic risk in a Mediterranean city such as Catania, Italy, which is subjected to medium to high-level earthquakes. This book summarizes the results of this study, which covered areas involved such as geology, geophysics, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering and urban planning. The material included will be valuable to many specialists, including environmental, civil, earthquake and civil defense engineers, geologists, geophysicists and town planners.

Low-Slope Roof Systems Manual
4th Edition by C.W. Griffin and R.L. Fricklas, McGraw-Hill, 2006, 598 pages
Known as a widely respected guide to designing and specifying low-slope roofing systems, the fourth edition of the Manual of Low-Slope Roof Systems covers major advances in design and materials, as well as changes in building codes. It also provides the latest information on roof system performance, emerging materials, drainage, wind uplift, vapor control, fire resis-tance, thermal insulation, reroofing and much more.