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College of Engineering’s first female graduate

Nancy Holmes accepts award

Today, about 25 percent of workers in STEM careers — those involving science, technology, engineering and math — are women. But back in 1968, when Nancy Holmes was the first woman to earn a degree in engineering from the UIC College of Engineering, the percentage of women in science or engineering careers was diminishingly small.

For Holmes, who grew up in Oak Park, the probability that she would go into the sciences was high from the start — several uncles and her grandfather were civil engineers, her brother is an architectural engineer, her father was an engineer at Zenith Radio and two aunts had advanced math degrees. Her mother had a job in hospital nutrition and was well-versed in chemistry. So, when her high school dean asked what she wanted to major in for college, she said engineering without hesitation.

Read more at UIC Today.