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As the child of a U.S. Army officer, Ansley Cox ’03 has spent much of her life observing how her father’s female colleagues and the female children of officers adjust to a structure strongly rooted in male thought and behavior.

“Seeing that made me interested in gender in the workplace and how women and men interact,” says Cox, a double major in A.B. engineering and art.

Cox, who plans to study architecture in graduate school, chose to pursue the issue for her senior honors thesis, which focuses on gender differences between male and female architects. Her adviser for the yearlong project is David Veshosky, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and A.B. engineering program chair.

“She’s doing a good job,” he says, noting that Cox is motivated and very interested in her topic.

Veshosky has shared his research through articles in scientific journals, book chapters, and papers presented at conferences in the United States and Canada. He is a member of the research faculty at the Engineering Research Center for Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems and a research associate at the Center for Innovation Management Studies. His past roles include researcher at the NATO Oceanographic Research Center in La Spezia, Italy; port and transportation industry consultant; and project manager for port studies in the United States, Kenya, and Egypt.

“Professor Veshosky has been great to work with,” Cox says. “He is very supportive, and I think he is just as interested in this project as I am. He has helped me narrow my thoughts and has connected me to people who can answer my questions. Lafayette has also been very helpful. The library has plenty of information on women in architecture, and every professor I’ve approached has been more than happy to help.”

Cox hopes to understand how the architect thinks and works, and in turn see “what women are able to offer to the profession because of the different ways that they work, think, and react compared to men,” she says.

She spent the fall semester researching the history of women in architecture and the issues that women face in the field. This semester, she’s interviewing 15 male and female architects, asking them how they approach problems and work with clients, and what motivates them in their careers.

“Also, I am asking them to show two of their most successful pieces of work and explain to me why they consider these works so important,” says Cox. “Because of the differences between men and women, perhaps women will consider a piece that pleases their client most successful while a man will praise a piece of his work in which he was able to create exactly what he wanted.”

Cox says she appreciates Lafayette’s unique A.B. engineering major, which is giving her thorough grounding in engineering while allowing her to take courses in other areas.

“It has given me valuable knowledge that will be useful in my job search,” she says. “It has also given me the flexibility to explore my other interests.”

Captain of the women’s lacrosse team and a member of the Leonardo Society for A.B. engineering majors, Cox studied in Italy during the fall 2001 semester.

Categorized in: Academic News