Martha Connolly, ‘75 was born and raised in Nanuet, NY, where both of her parents worked as teachers. She first learned about Stevens from her uncle, Karl E. Schlachter, who had graduated from there in 1945. In this clip Martha talks about why she chose Stevens and her first impressions of the campus and the city of Hoboken. She also recalls her first trip to campus where former Director of Admissions, Dean Robert Seavey, took her on a personal tour of campus and seemed to know every student by their first name, which made a profound impression on her. She also reminisces about Glee Club (the first campus group to include women) and recounts an infamous campus prank, which turned the tables on the male students. Listen to the clip to find out more! Martha was amongst the first class of women admitted to Stevens in 1971, when it officially became coeducational.
In part two of this clip, Connolly talks in detail about her career after Stevens, and the confidence she gained professionally while enduring difficult situations and stereotypes of sometimes being the only woman biochemist. She also talks about the additional challenges of balancing motherhood with a demanding career. At the end of the interview, she advises future generations of women to not “let anyone intimidate you into silence when you have something to say.”
Malena Higuera, ‘75 talks about immigrating from Cuba with her family after the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy in 1963. In this clip, she talks about her first impressions of Hoboken, why she chose Stevens, and how she got to be among the first class of women admitted to Stevens when the university became coed in 1971. A Hoboken High School graduate, Malena was the university’s first Latin American woman to graduate.
Joelle Hinds was born and raised in New York City to parents who had immigrated from Trinidad and Tobago. Stevens was not on her radar until a friend's father (who was an alumnus) knew of her great potential in mathematics and told her about the school.
Joelle was accepted into Stevens and went through the intense six-week STEP Bridge summer program before she could start as a young freshman (at age 16!) before graduating with a degree in Engineering Management.
In this clip, Joelle talks about her experience with the STEP Bridge program, her favorite classes and teachers from Stevens, and offers some good advice for young women entering Stevens now.
Jean Savitsky, '85 was born in Queens, New York and is the daughter of first-generation parents. Both her paternal and maternal grandparents were immigrants from Ukraine. Jean's father, Dan Savitsky '52 first introduced her to Stevens, as he had joined Davidson Laboratory at Stevens in 1947, first as an engineer on staff then as the Head of Davidson Laboratory towards the end of his career which spanned over 70 years at Stevens! In this oral history clip interviewed by Stevens student Katherine Ohotin '25, Jean discusses the challenges at Stevens in her first year and the extra pressure she felt to do well with her father's esteemed reputation on campus. Jean ended up gravitating towards the program of Systems, Planning & Management, which was a newer curriculum at that time and was a combination of industrial engineering and management. In addition, she discusses being able to access the Frederick W. Taylor Collection archival materials at Stevens, which was meaningful since Frederick W. Taylor (Stevens Class of 1883) was the father of scientific management and industrial engineering. Jean talks about how she used her knowledge of industrial engineering throughout her illustrious career which first started at the Port Authority and is still going strong as she is now the Director of Real Estate and Sustainability at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York, NY.
Tuyet-Hanh Schnell 91', was born in Vietnam and her family left during the collapse of South Vietnam in 1975. Being sponsored as refugees by a church in New Jersey brought Tuyet-Hanh and her family out to the United States, residing in New Jersey where they would start over. Tuyet-Hanh remembers bringing just one doll and one bag as they left for their new home. When she was enrolled in second grade in New Jersey she did not know English and the school didn't have any extra services for her to help learn at the time, making her early years in the New Jersey public school system extra challenging. The one subject that didn't need strong language skills though is mathematics, and Tuyet-Hanh gravitated towards math at an early age which helped inspire her path into STEM. Years after she had graduated from Stevens, she realized that she had a full-circle moment when she started working at Lockheed Martin, the same company that built the aircraft that first brought her and her family out to the United States in 1975 as a refugee. This interview was conducted by Stevens student, Matthew Halvorsen, '23.
Linda Vollkommer-Lynch was the first tenured female faculty and first female athletics coach at Stevens Institute of Technology (Stevens) in Hoboken, NJ. She was appointed the women's fencing coach at Stevens in 1974, starting off as part-time for the first two years. Fencing was the first women's sports team at Stevens. In this oral history clip, she reminisces about growing up in Hoboken, how she became interested in fencing, becoming the first tenured female faculty, participating in a faculty strike, and getting a chance to meet Frank Sinatra at the 1985 commencement.