Lowell National Historical Park News Release
Release date: Immediate
Contact(s): Phil Lupsiewicz
Phone number: 978-275-1705
Date: April 19, 2016
Girl Power! Female Engineers in Lowell
Exhibit and Program
Lowell, Massachusetts. — Lowell National Historical Park’s latest exhibit features four women who have, and are, contributing to the field of engineering in Lowell. Girl Power! Female Engineers in Lowell highlights the contributions of two late-19th-century women who assisted with early engineering experiments on Lowell’s turbines, and the groundbreaking research of Elizabeth and Laura Kender, students studying plastics engineering at University of Massachusetts Lowell.
To maintain its status as the foremost 19th-century textile manufacturing city, Lowell needed a workforce educated in engineering and science. In 1897, the Lowell Textile School (later Lowell Textile Institute, and eventually part of the University of Massachusetts Lowell) opened to teach men and women the engineering and science of textile manufacturing. The first female graduate of the Lowell Textile School received her degree in 1913. In 2015, 367 women graduated from UML with a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
Elizabeth and Laura Kender, along with their brother Stephen (also an engineering student), combined their love of science, math, and sports to develop a material that offers superior impact protection for athletes. In researching a new material for protective sports equipment that lessens the severity of collision injuries, the Kenders developed a special gel, encased in plastic capsules, that is lightweight and flexible but hardens on impact. The Kenders’ research won second place in the Innovative Technology Solution category at the 2015 UMass Lowell Difference Makers competition.
Elizabeth and Laura Kender will present their research as part of a program on the history of female engineers in Lowell on Tuesday, May 17th, 3:30pm, at Lowell National Historical Park’s Visitor Center, followed by a reception at the exhibit.
To learn more about this and other park offerings of Lowell National Historical Park during this centennial year of the National Park Service, including the Junior Ranger program, Boott Cotton Mills Museum, Mill Girls and Immigrants Exhibit, ranger-led tours, and upcoming special events stop by the Visitor Center at 246 Market Street, or contact Lowell National Historical Park at (978) 970-5000, or visit www.nps.gov/lowe.
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