Iowa Alpha Chapter of Tau Beta Pi

Honored by:LeVern Faidley
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The Iowa Alpha Chapter of Tau Beta Pi – the Engineering Honor Society recognizes the eight women to whom it awarded the Tau Beta Pi Woman’s Badge. These women were among a total of 619 women awarded the Woman’s Badge by 98 Tau Beta Pi chapters throughout the United States between 1936, when the Tau Beta Pi Woman’s Badge was first authorized for presentation to qualified women in engineering, and 1969, when women were accorded full Tau Beta Pi membership.

The first two Iowa State recipients of the Tau Beta Pi Woman’s Badge, Eloise (James) Zimmerman, Architectural Engineering, and Mary (Krumboltz) Hurd, Civil Engineering, were featured in The Des Moines Register on 9 June, 1946.

“In Iowa State’s total enrollment of 5,907 for the quarter ending June 14, 1946 are 1,863 girls. Twenty-three take engineering along with 1,533 men. Engineering Seniors are Mary Krumboltz of Ames (red jacket in the photo) and Eloise James of Davenport, working at a testing machine. Mary, first woman editor of the “The Iowa Engineer,” may go into engineering journalism. Eloise was the first girl ever to receive a Woman’s Badge from Tau Beta Pi. She is in Knights of St. Patrick, another honorary engineering fraternity.”

The Des Moines Register, 9 June, 1946


Iowa State Woman’s Badge recipients
Eloise Zimmerman, '46, ARCH E
Mary Hurd '47, CIVIL E
Jane Templeman, '53, ARCH
Judy May, '58, CHEM E
Karen Gray, '60, CHEM E
Idelle Peterson, '60, CHEM E
Beverly Audeh '61 AERO E
Mardith Baenziger '68 ARCH E

Information on each of the recipients is provided below.


Eloise (James) Zimmerman

Eloise (James) Zimmerman was the first Iowa Alpha recipient of the Tau Beta Pi Woman’s Badge, and one of Iowa Alpha’s first women to be accorded full Tau Beta Pi membership in 1970.

The only woman in many of her college courses, as well as the advance high school courses she took preparing for college, she recalled having a feeling that women were being discouraged from a career in Architectural Engineering. She considered one of her greatest thrills in college being selected as the first Iowa State recipient of the Tau Beta Pi Woman’s Badge.

While a student she spent 2 summers worked for Temple and Temple, Davenport architects. After graduating from Iowa State with a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering in 1946, she accepted employment with Temple and Temple in Davenport, working for them until 1947. Following her marriage to Robert Zimmerman in 1948, she was employed for six months in the Department of Architectural Engineering at Iowa State, while her husband was finishing his degree, after which they moved to Bettendorf, Iowa.

Marriage and motherhood brought no termination to her architecture career. After working as an architect for three years, she passed the four day State Examination and received her professional license to practice architecture in 1952.

She specializing in the design of homes in the quad-city area and Ames. However, she also designed Iowa State’s television station and several other campus buildings. She was active in the quad-city community spending 10 years on the school board, and assisting her husband in the manufacturing company they owned.

Eloise Zimmerman died in 1971.

Mary (Krumboltz) Hurd

Mary (Krumboltz) Hurd was the second Iowa Alpha recipient of the Tau Beta Pi Woman’s Badge in 1946 and one of Iowa Alpha’s first women to be accorded full Tau Beta Pi membership in 1970.

She recalled that her skills and interest in math and science, and a desire to be self-supporting, had brought her to Iowa State to study engineering. She was the only women in her engineering classes. While a student, she served as editor of the “Alumnitems” magazine and in 1945 was elected editor of Iowa State’s “Iowa Engineer,” the first woman to hold that position.

Following graduation with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1947, she learned that the American Concrete Institute in Detroit was looking for someone with an engineering degree and writing skills. With her editorial experience and engineering skills she seemed to be perfect for the position, except they did not want a woman. However, an ISU professor with connections to the American Concrete Institute interceded on her behalf, and she got the job.

Over the next several years, she started a family, pursued graduate study and worked on municipal engineering and land surveying projects. In 1956, she became associate editor of the Journal of the American Concrete Institute, leaving that position three years later to become an independent engineering writer and consultant.

In the early 1960s, the American Concrete Institute determined that since no definitive work on concrete formwork existed in the United States, they would publish one. They requested that she prepare it. Her book, Formwork for Concrete, was first published by the American Concrete Institute in 1963, and she has since been revised it six times. In all, the seven editions have sold more than 125,000 copies, and the book has grown from 350 to 500 pages. It is used as a textbook at universities, colleges, and professional schools and as a reference book throughout the industry. It is widely known as “the green bible of the formwork industry” and has also been translated into several foreign languages.

In 1963, when the book was being published, she believed that it would be a disadvantage for the book to have a female name on it. Therefore, she used her initials “M. K.” and the name of the aurthor, M. K. Hurd, stayed that way through each revision. Only in recent years has it become generally known the author was a woman. She recalled that as a woman working in a predominantly male industry she felt obligated to do a better job than the typical man. In 2004 her success in this regard was attested to by Ward R. Malisch, senior managing director for the American Concrete Institute, who wrote: “Mary’s Formwork for Concrete is the most influential concrete formwork book ever written. Her knowledge of concrete construction is surpassed only by her ability to describe it lucidly, concisely, and in a most interesting fashion.”

In 1976 she began working as an engineering writer/consultant, preparing technical reports and programs for companies and individuals. In 1981 she became the editor-in-chief of Concrete Construction and later served as the senior engineering editor. Her skills and determination served her well, and over the years she has conducted dozens of seminars and lectures, and published more than 230 journal articles.

 She was a member of numerous societies and organizations, including the Society for Technical Communication, the American Society of Civil Engineers (Life Member), and is a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute. In 2004 she became the first female recipient of the Marston Medal, the highest award bestowed by the ISU College of Engineering, which honors college alumni for outstanding achievement in engineering and is named for Anson Marston, Iowa State’s first engineering dean. She also received the Henry C. Turner Medal from the American Concrete Institute and was recognized alongside Thomas Edison by the Engineering News Record as one of the construction industry’s “top 125 people of the past 125 years.”

In 2013 she was selected to receive the Alumni Merit Award by the ISU Alumni Association Club of Chicago. Unfortunately, Mary Hurd passed away September 27, 2013, just weeks before she was scheduled to receive this honor.

Jane (Frudden) Templeman

Jane (Frudden) Templeman was the third Iowa Alpha recipient of the Tau Beta Pi Woman’s Badge, graduating from Iowa State with a Bachelor of Architecture in 1953. She considered herself greatly honored to have been awarded the Tau Beta Pi Woman's Badge, but recalls being excluded from attending Iowa Alpha meetings and other chapter activities.

In the spring of 1953 she was the recipient of the Alpha Rho Chi medal, awarded by the Department of Architecture to a graduating senior for leadership, scholarship and merit. Upon graduation she found that no architectural firms would grant her an interview and was hired by the Meredith Publishing Co. in Des Moines as assistant to the Building Editor of Better Homes and Gardens. The Building Editor was also a licensed architect, and in addition to her regular job, she worked for him part-time in the evenings and on weekends. 

In the summer of 1954 she married Dr. Clyde C. Templeman, a veterinarian, and moved to Williams, a community of 500 people in central Iowa, where she became active as a wife and mother, raising a family of three children, serving as receptionist for her husband’s veterinary practice and providing support and leadership in local community, church and school activities.

In 1977 she resumed her career as an architect, being hired by the architectural firm of Kivett and Myers/a division of Howard, Needles, Tammen and Bergendoff in Kansas City to write construction specifications. She also served on the national board of directors for the Construction Specifications Institute. In 1982 she passed her licensing exam and became an Architect Member (AIA) of the American Institute of Architects. She later took a position as project manager for the Kansas City office of HOK Architects and in 1990 she was the first woman selected as president-elect of the Kansas City chapter of the American Institute of Architects. While she considered the study and practice of architecture a wonderful experience and enjoyed interacting with the interesting and creative people she met working as an architect, in 1990 she gave up her professional career to return home to Iowa to care for an elderly parent.

An ISU Foundation governor (emerita) and a past member of the ISU Alumni Association Executive Committee, Jane Templeman is now retired and living in California.

Judy (Risdall) May

Judy (Risdall) May was the forth Iowa Alpha recipient of the Tau Beta Pi Woman’s Badge, graduating from Iowa State with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1958. After graduation she moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, to work as a cost estimator for Columbia-Southern Chemical Corp, a division of Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. She was the first woman to work in their pilot plant, gaining practical experience in designing a cost effective process for producing chemical products. However, because of resistance to a woman working in the pilot plant, before being “allowed” to work there she had to obtain special dispensation from the company.

After three years in Texas, she was hired by Douglas Aircraft Company (later part of McDonnell-Douglas and now Boeing) and moved to Santa Monica, California to work in their plasma jet testing facility, where the ablative properties of materials used to build the aircraft were determined. After a layoff, she was hired by IBM as a Systems Engineer and trained in programming, wiring boards for their business equipment, and acting as a bridge between IBM and engineers at the North American Aviation facilities in southern California. Having had no prior computer exposure, she credited her engineering education at Iowa State and her training at IBM with her success in performing these new responsibilities.

In 1964, she married Roger May, an electrical engineer from the University of Michigan, whom she had met while working at Douglas Aircraft. At that time, California state law would not allow women to work after the 7 month of pregnancy. Therefore, she was forced to end her employment at IBM when she and her husband were expecting their first child and she became a "stay-at-home" mom for the next 17 years, raising a family of 2 girls and a boy. During this time, she volunteered at her children's school, setting up and teaching various scientific programs and classes and was president of the P.T.A. In 1976 she received the California Honorary Service Award for the contributions she had made to her children’s school. 

In 1981, at the age of 45, she "re-entered" the work force being hired by Hughes Space and Communications Company as a material and process engineer, with a strong emphasis on thermal passive control materials and processes. In 1986 she received the NASA Certificate of Recognition for the creative development of a material for the radar and communications sub-system for the Space Shuttle. This was followed in 1990 by the Top Cost Improvement Award at Hughes Space and Communications Company (over $9 million dollars in savings in the thermal blanket material and production area); presented to her by the president of the company at a special celebration. In 1997, she was awarded a U.S. Patent for a "Passive Intermodulation Shield" material for the antenna area of spacecraft.

Judy May and her husband retired from Hughes Space and Communications Company on the same day in 1998 and they currently enjoy spending time with their grandchildren.

Karen (Foster) Gray

Karen (Foster) Gray was the fifth Iowa Alpha recipient of the Tau Beta Pi Woman’s Badge, graduating from Iowa State with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1960. She recalls being honored and pleased to receive the Tau Beta Pi Woman's Badge when she was a student in Chemical Engineering.

She worked as a chemical engineer/physical chemist after graduation and when she and her husband started their family, she chose to stay at home and raise their children. Her husband, James A. Gray, was also 1960 ISU Chemical Engineering graduate and he went on to receive a PhD degree in Chemical Engineering from Iowa State in 1965. His employment by the Dow Corning Corporation took them to Midland, Michigan where they established their home. Her husband worked for Dow Corning for 35 years until his retirement, and she recalls that during this time she had very little to do with chemistry, per se, except for several years when she taught high school chemistry to adults desiring to work for the Dow Corning Corporation.

Karen Gray passed away on July 25, 2012.

Idelle (Johnson) Peterson

Idelle (Johnson) Peterson was the sixth Iowa Alpha recipient of the Tau Beta Pi Woman’s Badge, graduating from Iowa State with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1960. While at ISU she was active in the student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, holding a number of offices. She was also a member of the Iowa State Players throughout her years as an undergraduate, performing in yearly theater productions including “The Innocents”, “I remember Mama,” “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “The Lesson.”

After graduation, she married Leonard Dean Peterson, a PhD student in Mathematics, and remained at Iowa State to pursue graduate studies, received a Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering in 1964 and a PhD in 1968. Her research was done at the Ames Laboratory and involved the growth of gadolinium single crystals and the recrystallization of zinc.

Idelle’s professional career included one year at the McDonnell Douglas Research Center in St. Louis and over 20 years with the U.S. Army in St Louis, working in aviation research and development.

Idelle has three children and since retiring has lived in Bourbon, Missouri.

Beverly (Birchmier) Audeh

 Beverly (Birchmier) Audeh was the seventh Iowa Alpha recipient of the Tau Beta Pi Woman’s Badge. She was the first woman to graduate in Aerospace Engineering from Iowa State receiving her B.S degree in 1961.

As a student, she was always at the top of her class. Classmates recall an attempt to have her grades, which was generally well above everyone else, excluded in calculating the average score in her classes in order to make the scores of other students look better. The suggestion didn’t fly, however.

Following graduation she spent a year studying in England on a Fulbright scholarship. Prior to returning to Iowa State to work on a Masters degree she and Nadeem F. Audeh, a fellow student at Iowa State, were married in Lebanon, where she had the opportunity to meet his family.

Beverly completed her M.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State in 1963 and she and her husband move to Huntsville, Alabama. She was initially employed by the Heat Technology Laboratory, Inc. working on the turbulent mixing of concentric reacting jets and her husband joined the Electrical Engineering faculty at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. She subsequently was employed by Lockheed Martin as a Research Engineer at their Space Systems facility in Huntsville, Alabama.

Currently she is retired from the Lockheed Martin Corporation, and her husband is Professor Emeritus, Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Alabama, Huntsville.

Mardith Baenziger

Mardith Baenziger was the eighth and final Iowa Alpha recipient of the Tau Beta Pi Woman’s Badge, graduating from Iowa State with a B.S. in Architectural Engineering in 1968. She also received a Master of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering from Iowa State in 1969.

From 1970 to 1975 she worked as an engineer and project engineer for a consulting engineering firm in Akron, Ohio, mainly involved in commercial, institutional and light industrial structures. In 1976 she moved to Wisconsin to attend graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison earning a Master of Science degree in Engineering Mechanics in 1978 and a PhD in Civil Engineering in 1981. While studying at the University of Wisconsin, she was also a teaching assistant and instructor. When she started work on her doctorate degree, her sons were 1 and 3 years of age and she commuted three hours to school each day, while continuing to do all of the normal work of a housewife, cooking, cleaning, laundry and child care.

After receiving her PhD, she returned to Iowa State University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering in 1981. As a single parent with two sons she had the challenge of balancing her professional career with her private life. A measure of her success in this regard was the 1985 ISU Faculty Award she received for Excellence in Teaching, Research, and Service in Civil Engineering. In 1986 she was one of only three tenured women faculty members in the ISU College of Engineering, alongside 201 tenured men, with another ten women and 67 men working toward tenure in the college. At that time, civil engineering students were predominately men, over 90 percent, and therefore, the classes she taught were often comprised almost exclusively of men.

While a faculty member, her main areas of professional interest included structural dynamics and analysis, computer methods of analysis and design, computer graphics and engineering education. She retired in 2007 as an Associate Professor, Structural Engineering, and continues to live in Ames.


Updated 10/14/2013