An Emergency Education
My second research project focuses on the pivotal shift in the American engineering community during and after the Second World War. While military research and production occupied many engineers during the war, some engineers found themselves in the classroom in the name of national defense through the US Office of Education’s Engineering, Science, and Management War Training program. I argue that this emergency program, which offered condensed courses to retrain full-time industrial engineers as well as to train new engineers to enter defense related industries, influenced the landscape of postwar scientific fields through its impact on the careers of many individuals who either taught or enrolled in the courses, such as J. Presper Eckert, Claude Shannon, and Grace Hopper. The program also offered growing opportunities for a more diverse workforce, including a large number of women and minorities. My work seeks to identify how this program impacted the demographics of the engineering workforce and the formation of new interdisciplinary fields, both during and after the war.