Skirts and Slide Rules: Women at MIT from the Nichols Sisters to Now

Thursday, September 28, 2023 at 5:30pm to 7:00pm

Building 14, The Nexus (14S-130) and online
160 MEMORIAL DR, Cambridge, MA 02139

Women have attended MIT since 1870 and have a unique history within its walls. Among the first generation of women who studied at MIT were Margaret and Rose Nichols, daughters of one of Boston’s Beacon Hill families. In celebration of women alums and students, the MIT Libraries and the Nichols House Museum present a panel exploring Tech women’s experiences across four distinct eras spanning the past 150 years.

About the Nichols House Museum and its MIT connection:

The Nichols House Museum is a historic home located in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. In 1885, Dr. Arthur Nichols and his wife Elizabeth purchased the 1804 townhouse where their three daughters matured into designers, writers, and social activists. Two of the Nichols sisters studied at MIT: Rose Standish Nichols was a special student in a design class, where she learned to apply architectural principles to the plans of gardens - a skill she put to good use in her career  as a garden designer. Margaret Homer (Nichols) Shurcliff took courses in chemistry and physics, then studied carpentry and woodturning; she subsequently opened a furniture business, Pegleggers, and taught carpentry lessons in the North End.


About the program:

  • Early Years

Coleen Smith  - SB Management 1987 -  Archivist for AMITA - speaking on early women students

  • Women in the 60s/70s

Linda Sharpe - SB Political Science 1969, PhD political science 1975 - Co-founder of the MIT Black Students' Union and the first Black woman to serve as president of the MIT Alumni/ae Association

  • Women in the 80s

Lulu Tsao - SB Management 1986 - President of the MIT Club of Beijing

  • Women in the 2000s

Mahati Chintapalli - SB Material Science and Physics 2011 -  Student chair of MIT’s branch of the Society of Women Engineers


This is a hybrid event; the Zoom link will be sent to all registrants (register here.)  The in-person program will be held in The Nexus, 14S-130, situated  on the first floor of the Hayden Library.  The room is on the river side of the library reading room, behind the Courtyard Cafe and across the room from the library service desk.  If you have trouble finding it please ask at the service desk.

Accessibility: We are committed to making this event accessible to all. Listen Everywhere assistive devices are available in The Nexus; please email by September 18 to request any other accommodations.


Event Type

Conferences/Seminars/Lectures, Community Event

Events By Interest

Diversity/Inclusion, General

Events By Audience

Public, MIT Community

MIT Libraries
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