Engineering at Illinois dedicated “The Quintessential Engineer” on Friday, April 28, 2017. The new statue, located outside the Micro + Nanotechnology Laboratory, is the product of a campaign started four years ago by an ECE ILLINOIS graduate student.
In 2013, Sakshi Srivastava, then an undergraduate at ECE, began a petition for a statue on campus that would serve as an inspiration for the young women pursuing careers in the predominately male field of engineering.
“I stumbled across an article about how public art conveys the sentiments of a community,” Srivastava stated in a press release from Engineering at Illinois. “I realized that having a statue erected can show our commitment to younger students that we endorse their dreams.”
Attendance at the dedication ceremony was not deterred by rainstorms. It began with remarks from Andreas Cangellaris, the dean of the College of Engineering, who sees the statue as just one step taken in recent years to address stereotypes and encourage diversity in the field.
Krunali Patel, vice president and general manager of Texas Instruments, spoke about the company's decision to fund the statue and announced a new scholarship for women in electrical and computer engineering at Illinois.
Angie Wolters, Women in Engineering Associate Director, discussed the process from ideation to installation. Srivastava also shared her experiences collaborating on the project.
The artist, Julie Rotblatt-Amrany, was also in attendance. She spoke about her effort to create a piece of art that reflects all young women.
“The face, the expression is one of wonder, exploration, and knowledge, one of curiosity and perseverance. She represents a multi-racial female, a young professional woman at work..Always thinking, on the move,” Rotball-Amrany told the Big Ten Network ahead of the dedication. “This piece is meant to engage the University’s students, faculty, and visitors. It reflects the era in which she is from. It is about the engineer’s journey. There is space for the observer to interpret what will be in her future; it allows for mystery and engagement.
“The Quintessential Engineer” has received national media attention, including coverage by the Big Ten Network, U.S. News and World Report, The News-Gazette, The Daily Illini, Fox Illinois, Smile Politely, Pantagraph, WSIL 3, Chron, Fort Bend Herald, Lexington Herald Leader, ARGUS-PRESS.com, WTAX News Radio, WDBR 103.7 fm, and Peoria Public Radio.