Ellen Hippeli [1922 – 2006]
Ellen Hippeli was born October 18, 1922 in Hartford, Connecticut. She graduated from high school in Bristal, Connecticut in 1939. She attended the Teacher’s College of Connecticut, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in 1943. During the summers, she worked as a Girl Scouts leader at camps around the country.
Shortly after receiving a Master of Education degree from Hillyer College in 1952, Ellen left her teaching career to join the United States Air Force. After completing basic training, Ellen was sent to the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. In 1955, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in physics, specializing in nuclear engineering effects. She graduated from the Squadron Officer School in 1956.
Career Ellen spent five years assigned to projects at the Special Weapons Center in Albuquerque, where she tested the effects of nuclear weapons on humans. She was also sent to Washington D.C. to assist in planning South Pacific nuclear testing projects. In the late 1960s, she studied the effects of radiation on electrical equipment and weapons systems at the Nevada Test Site and at the Norton Air Force Base in California. A trailblazer for women in the Air Force, Ellen was the first woman program director at the Nevada Test site.
During her service, Ellen received the Joint Services Commendation Medal for her work at the Nevada Test Site and the Air Force Commendation with First Oak Leave Cluster. She retired from the Air Force in 1973, having reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After returning to civilian life, she became a manager at Mountain States Bell Telephone and later at the Hanford Westinghouse Fast Flux Reactor facility. She retired from Westinghouse in September 1979.
SWE Ellen joined SWE in 1965 and was named a SWE Fellow in 1998. She was a founding member of the Central New Mexico Section. Ellen was actively involved in the section’s outreach activities to young women.
Other Affiliations Ellen was also active in the Air Force Women Officer Associates and the Retired Officers Association. She served as the president of the local chapter of Quota International, a service organization that provides basic needs to women, children, the deaf, and hard of hearing communities around the world. Ellen was also actively involved in her church
Scholarship The Ellen Hippeli Memorial Scholarship was established in 2015 by the Central New Mexico Section. Incoming freshmen that are US citizens attending a US university is eligible to apply. Nuclear engineering majors are preferred but not required.
References Ellen Hippeli Papers LP002182, https://reuther.wayne.edu/files/LP002182.pdf
Number Available: 1
U.S. citizenship required.