FIG Task Force on Under-Represented Groups in Surveying




University to boost Engineering among American Indians 
by Wendy J. Woodbury Straight

Personalities: Mary C. Feindt

10th Anniversary of the DVW Working Group "Women in Surveying" 
by Gabriele Dasse

University to boost Engineering among American Indians

by Wendy J. Woodbury Straight

BISMARCK N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's five tribal colleges are collaborating with North Dakota State University (NDSU) to boost interest among American Indian students in math, science, and engineering.

"The program is designed to motivate Indian children to pursue careers in those fields and then nurture them during their studies at tribal colleges and ultimately NDSU," said G. Padmanabhan, the university's chair of civil engineering and construction. Indians make up less than five percent of the students at NDSU majoring in a math, science, or engineering fields, said Padmanabhan. "We would be happy if we could sustain about 20 students coming into these fields from tribal colleges," he said.

Students entering tribal colleges generally are behind in math and science areas, said Erich Longie, president of Little Hoop Community College on the Fort Totten Reservation. "When we encourage them to (pursue) a math and science career, because of the amount of courses required, they usually decline," he said.

Carol Davis, vice president of Turtle Mountain Community College in Belcourt, said children growing up on reservations generally aren't exposed to math and science careers. "Once we introduce the career in its practical aspects, and how to prepare for it once we start having some success, we will have students begin planning when they're freshmen and sophomores in high school, not just when they're freshmen in college," she said.

The program will include a series of summer camps, as well as semi-monthly problem- solving sessions for high school students that will be conducted over the state's Interactive Video Network during the school year.

American Indian students will also be eligible for scholarships and will be mentored as they progress through the college and university system. "The program is currently funded through the summer of 2002 with a $575,000 grant from a U.S. Navy program aimed at generating interest in engineering among minorities. An additional $700,000 is available for fiscal year 2003- 2004 if the project proves successful.

Padmanabhan said the program will be evaluated internally and by officials from other academic institutions. Other tribal colleges in North Dakota are Fort Berthold Community College in New Town, Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, and United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck.

By Wendy J. Woodbury Straight, Professional Land Surveyor,
12 East Fifth Street, Dunkirk, NY 14048, USA, e-mail:


Mary C. Feindt, whose illustrious career has spanned over 5 decades, is a surveyor from Charlevoix in Michigan, USA. This May the Ferris State University conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Business and Industry upon Mary C. Feindt.

In 1994, Feindt celebrated fifty years of private practice in the areas of surveying, engineering, and title abstracting. Last year, she received the prestigious Surveying and Mapping Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Feindt obtained her Master of Science Degree from the University of Michigan, but prior to that, her parents had tried to convince her that engineering was not for women. "Father got me a job with a surveyor friend of the family," she explained. "That was supposed to teach me that the field was too tough for ladies."

Instead, Feindt stayed with the job an entire summer and enrolled in engineering school for the following fall.

After a while, previously skeptical students accepted her as an equal. Professors were leery, she said, and one even threw books at her. Yet, another helped her find her first job after graduation in 1938. "He told me he didn't approve of women in the engineering school," she said, "but he did arrange for me to come here to work."

That was in Charlevoix, where her first surveying job became her home and her career. She worked for an engineering firm, married Lawrence Feindt, and eventually returned to school for the graduate degree. In 1944, the couple bought out her former employer's company and became partners in the practice.

Also that year, Mary Feindt ran for county surveyor and won. She was re-elected in 1948 and later became a fixture in county office. Her business grew to include her son, daughter-in-law, and even the next generation. Her granddaughter Amy Zeitler has won numerous awards for scholastic achievement at Ferris State University.

Throughout the 1980s and 90s, Feindt has represented the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) at meetings of the American Land Title Association (ALTA). Working with Indiana surveyor Gary Kent, Feindt has continued the grueling task of making certain that the long-respected ALTA/ACSM Classifications and Requirements for Land Title Surveys have remained current.

In 1983, Feindt was elected as the first chair of the newly created Forum for Women in Surveying. She led women surveyors in a crusade to eliminate sexist advertising in surveying journals and at surveyors' conferences. Though diminutive in stature, she displayed courage and confidence to the stand up to men who condemned her for engaging in "negative" or "feminist" activity.

With a generous push from the Forum, ACSM adopted several non-discrimination policies for its literature and professional gatherings. Trade journals and state surveyors' associations began to follow ACSM's equal opportunity guidelines.

The Forum developed a scholarship in Feindt's honor, and last year, she was pleasantly surprised to bestow the first award of that scholarship upon her own granddaughter.

For many years, Lawrence Feindt accompanied his wife to national conventions. After his death, she carried on alone and later became an ACSM delegate to worldwide conferences. Travelling to every major continent for meetings of the International Federation of Surveyors, Feindt has often taken a family member along with her.

However, independence remains her priority. She is frequently spotted at major events, arriving or leaving alone, undaunted by any other tourist's customary jetlag or environmental disorientation. Though Feindt has a large, devoted circle of family members and professional colleagues, she is generally seen as the solitary persona of a legend, revered by all.

By Wendy J. Woodbury Straight, Professional Land Surveyor,
12 East Fifth Street, Dunkirk, NY 14048, USA, e-mail: 

10th Anniversary of the DVW Working Group Women in Surveying"

by Gabriele Dasse

At the booth: Gabriele Dasse, Chair of AG FiV and Dr. Hans Josef Platen, President of DVW.



Among others the reception was visited by FIG Vice-President Robert W Foster, Director Markku Villikka, Vice-President of DVW Andreas Drees and Prof. Stig Enemark, chair of FIG Task Force on Mutual Recognition.




The German member association of FIG Deutscher Verein für Vermessungswesen DVW established a Working Group "Women in Surveying" (AG FiV) in 1989. After years of work the Working Group now has a broad acceptance and is supported financially by DVW, but has unfortunately not been integrated in the structures of DVW.

The AG FiV organises a lot of activities during the annual INTERGEO, the German national congress and international trade fair, to promote and support women in the field of surveying profession.

There were several reasons to celebrate the 10th anniversary of AG FiV during the INTERGEO in Hannover 1-3 September 1999 with a reception at the DVW booth:

A women network in the field of the surveying profession was built up.

AG FiV is represented at the DVW booth in the exhibition area during the INTERGEO, which offers a good opportunity to get in contact with female and male colleagues.

AG FiV arranges panel discussions and presentations to support women in surveying, for example "How to establish an Enterprise" or "Reform of the Curriculum at Universities and Polytechnics". This events are part of the congress

The annual meeting of AG FiV is also held during the INTERGEO with a high participation quota.

There are a lot of women in DVW, who support and shares the work of AG FiV.

AG FiV is represented at the home page of DVW and publishes regularly information concerning the working group in the professional journal of DVW called ZfV.

From left: Gabriele Dasse, Gerda Schennach, Käty Hofer Buser und Regina Kistermann-Stötzel

During the INTERGEO 1999 in Hannover the AG FiV arranged a panel discussion "Women in the Surveying Profession – a Comparison of Countries - to have comparing notes about the situation of women in surveying in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. The participants on the stage were Gerda Schennach from Austria (also delegate of FIG Commission 7), Käty Hofer Buser from Switzerland, Gabriele Dasse from Germany and the chair of this discussion Regina Kistermann-Stötzel from Germany.

The participants explained how the situation of women in the surveying profession changed during the last 10 years in this three German speaking countries. Especially the professional carries of the present women caused a broad discussion. The motivation to study surveying was astonishing similar. For all women was important to realise a talent in mathematics and techniques in the profession. The participants of this panel discussion are successful in profession. But Käty Hofer Buser and Regina Kistermann-Stötzel had to change the profession for a part time job to arrange children and profession. Particular in Switzerland is a lack of child care. Fortunately both found back the way to the surveying profession and stated that a wider range of qualification could also be a chance.

The result of this 1,5 h discussion was to encourage women to find their own way, but also to think about how this way should looks like. Regina Kistermann-Stötzel: "All of us, men and women, have to work on the issue that women have good changes of vivable perspectives and careers, on one hand in the surveying profession on the other hand in society. This is important for education and for employment."

By Gabriele Dasse, Kleinfeld 22a, D-21149 Hamburg, Germany; e-mail:

Editor: Chair of the Task Force on Under-represented Groups in Surveying
Ms. Gabriele Dasse, Kleinfeld 22a, D-21149 Hamburg, Germany
Fax + 49 40 2375 5965
Tel. + 49 40 2375 5250,
web site:

4/99, month of issue: December

© Copyright 1999 Gabriele Dasse.
Permission is granted to photocopy in limited quantity for educational purposes.
Other requests to photocopy or otherwise reproduce material in this newsletter should be addressed to the Editor.