Every Friday, a group of students gets a taste of New England when they travel about 10 miles north to the MacLeish Field Station, a 200-acre wooded parcel in rural Whately, Mass., owned by Smith. There, they set to work, hauling buckets into the snow-covered woods and collecting sap from the maple trees, which is used by a neighboring maple syrup distillery to make one of New England's most emblematic products.
"A love affair" is how Ileana Streinu, Charles N. Clark Professor of Computer Science, describes her relationship with Ford Hall. It is not just the state-of-the-art facilities that she loves, says the Romanian-born scholar recognized for her groundbreaking research in computational geometry, it is also the feel and the atmosphere. "There is so much light here," and the way the space is organized is "conducive to communication and collaboration."
Exploring the woods of the 200-acre MacLeish Field Station is becoming a lot easier thanks to new hiking trails designed and built by Smith students. This summer, student volunteers and a team of interns from the Botanic Gardens working with Reid Bertone-Johnson, landscape studies lecturer and field station manager, and Scott Johnson, outdoor adventure coordinator, began constructing nature trails on the property.
Capitalizing on a four-decade legacy of leadership and innovation in science education, Ford Hall intentionally blurs the boundaries between traditional disciplines, creating an optimum environment for students and faculty to address key scientific and technological developments of our time. Both a structure and a symbol, the new home for the Picker Engineering Program, computer science, chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology is a compelling, visible statement of Smith’s public identity as the women’s college with the strongest programs in science and engineering. Ford Hall is named in honor of the lead donor to the project, the Ford Motor Company Fund.