Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Life to Remember--Yvonne Brill

     Yvonne Brill is easily one of the most inspiring, yet distinctly underappreciated, women of the twentieth century. Chances are you haven't heard the name before, yet her contributions to the field of rocket science are incredible. In 1967, Brill invented the electrothermal hydrazine thruster, which is a propulsion system that adjusts the positions of satellites to keep them in orbit. It is astonishingly efficient, considering its use, and allows satellites to carry less fuel and therefore more equipment.  Forty-five years later, this invention is still in use.
     But before her major contribution, Brill was systematically barred from her future field of work because of her gender. Studying at the University of Manitoba, she was forced to major in chemistry and mathematics when she was refused a spot in the school of engineering. Later, in the 1940's, she was able to return to school and achieve a master's degree in chemistry. She contributed a total of six decades to her career as an aerospace engineer. Throughout this time, she was awarded numerous honors, including but not limited to the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2001 and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2011 (pictured below).
     Brill passed away on March 27th of this year. She reached the fine age of 88, and certainly left quite a legacy behind. She is proof that incredible women thrived despite adversity in the twentieth century. Rest in peace, Yvonne Brill.

"I tell them that I'm an aerospace engineer and my specialty is spacecraft propulsion systems, and they always look shocked!"

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