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Engineering History: Women Join the Co-Op Program

By: Chris Curran
Photos: Courtesy of University Archives and UC College of Engineering

In 1920, the first women were admitted to the College of Engineering's cooperative education program. They quickly became known as UC's "co-eps." They were able to earn degrees in commercial engineering or chemical engineering.

There were seven women in the entering class. Only three of the original seven graduated, but Helen Norris (seen in the center of the first row) recalled the support the young women received from Dean Herman Schneider. Her comments were recorded in the student magazine, "The Cooperative Engineer."

First Co-ep Class

"I think one of the biggest thrills of our freshman year was the night that Dean Schneider, in spit of ill health at the time, took an evening off to meet with seven insignificant freshman, for the purpose of organizing a Co-ep Club. He regaled us with stories of the first class of Co-ops, told us that he expected great things from us and the classes of the future and made us feel as important as seniors."
Written by: Helen Norris Moore, Class of 1925

In honor of their achievements, Dean Schneider presented each co-ep with a special pin on their graduation day in 1915. The other two graduates were Kathryn Gillis (front row, left) and Ruth McFarlan (top row, center).

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