For the first time, Drexel University has appointed a female dean to head its college of engineering.

Sharon L. Walker, a chemical and environmental engineer who has her graduate degrees from Yale and currently heads the engineering school at the University of California, Riverside, will begin her job at Drexel on Sept. 1. She replaces Giuseppe R. Palmese, who has been serving as interim dean.

"Dr. Walker's vision for Drexel includes reinvigorating the curriculum, recruiting more graduate students and providing faculty development that leverages best practices from her current and past engineering higher education leadership roles," said Drexel provost Brian M. Blake.

As an undergraduate, Walker studied at the University of Southern California, and she got her master's in chemical engineering and her doctorate in environmental engineering from Yale.