Eleanor K. Baum

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American electrical engineer

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Eleanor K. Baum
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Why Is Eleanor K. Baum Influential?

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By James Barham, PhD

Areas of Specialization: Electrical Engineering
Eleanor K. Baum was born in Poland. She is currently Dean Emeritus of the Albert Nerken School of Engineering at Cooper Union.

As a young child, Baum and her family were forced to flee their homeland by the Nazi invasion and occupation of their country. After escaping from Poland to the Soviet Union, they traveled across Siberia to reach Japan. From there, the family immigrated to Canada, before entering the US and settling in Brooklyn, New York, where Baum, an only child, attended Midwood High School.

Baum received her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1959 from City College of New York, where she was the only woman in her class. Baum went on to earn her PhD in engineering in 1965 from the Polytechnic Institute of New York (now the New York University Tandon School of Engineering). After obtaining her doctorate, Baum worked in the aerospace industry, notably for Sperry Rand Corporation and General Instrument Corporation.

In 1984, Baum was hired by the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn as Dean of its School of Engineering—becoming the first woman in the US to hold such a position. In 1987, Baum was appointed Dean of the Albert Nerken School of Engineering at the Cooper Union in New York City.

Baum is married to the retired Queens College physicist, Paul Baum. The couple have two daughters and two granddaughters. From her position of influence in the field, Baum has worked hard to break the glass ceiling in engineering by actively encouraging young women and people of color to pursue careers within the profession.

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Featured in our ranking of The Most Influential Women in STEM

According to Wikipedia, Eleanor K. Baum is an American electrical engineer and educator. In 1984, she became the first female dean of an engineering school in the United States, at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Now retired, in 1987 she was made dean of the Albert Nerken School of Engineering at Cooper Union. She was also the first woman president of the American Society for Engineering Education , and has served as president of Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology .

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