SWE Fellow, dedicated educator, role model, mentor, and violinist
Word reached SWE that Marie S. Kiss, Ed.D., died in 2017. Dr. Kiss taught chemical engineering at Norwalk State Technical College, where she was a role model and mentor to thousands of students over her long career. With a strong research interest in occupational safety, she was also a visiting scholar at Harvard University and developed a curriculum in environmental engineering at Norwalk State.
Born in 1927, Dr. Kiss spent much of her life in Connecticut. She attended St. Joseph College in West Hartford, where she studied chemistry before moving to Louisiana. There, she earned a B.S. in chemistry and physics in 1947, and a master’s in biochemistry in 1951 from Louisiana State University. That same year, she began working as a research chemist at Remington Arms, leaving in 1954. She returned to the workforce in 1960 as a research chemist for Schick Safety Razor. While at Schick, she was awarded several patents on improved razor blades, in the United States, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
Dr. Kiss joined SWE in 1965 and was an active member of the Connecticut Section, serving in a number of positions, including section representative. She judged science fairs and was a member of the board of directors of the Connecticut State Science Fair, was involved in the Engineering Societies of Fairfield County, and served as publicity chair for Engineers Week, among other activities.
Leaving industry, Dr. Kiss began teaching at Norwalk State Technical College in 1968. There, she taught for the next 21 years, focused on chemistry and environmental issues. In 1983, she earned an Ed.D., specializing in chemical curriculum, from the University of Sarasota. Dr. Kiss became the first woman granted the status of professor emeritus from the five state technical colleges in Connecticut, and was also the first woman full professor in the state’s technical college system. Among her honors, she was named a fellow of the Royal Society of Health in London.
She was named a SWE Fellow in 1991. At the time she had retired from teaching and was busy fulfilling a lifelong ambition to be a concertmaster, featured violinist, and symphony orchestra member. She was concertmaster for the Wilton Orchestra and the Sacred Heart University Chamber Orchestra. Additionally, she was a member of the Omnibus International Chamber Orchestra and performed overseas.
Dr. Kiss died at age 89 and is survived by her son and daughter, their partners, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, as well as two sisters.
Anne Perusek, SWE Director of Editorial and Publications
Sources: SWE Archives, personal correspondence, Lesko & Polke Funeral Home tribute archive