August 23, 2007Her job: Professor, Carleton University and University of Ottawa
Describe what you do in your current work situation?
My main teaching and research area is biomedical engineering. My research consists of two main projects:
1. Develop decision-aid tools for doctors, especially for the intensive care of premature babies.
2. Using infrared cameras, which allow us to measure the temperature of human tissue and bodies and assess pain in babies and adults suffering from a variety of conditions.
Why did you choose engineering?
I wanted to solve problems and help make the world a better place. I also liked mathematics and science and could use these subjects to solve problems in engineering.
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
I was the first woman to enter into engineering and to be awarded a degree in this profession at the University of Ottawa. I chose electrical engineering, then completed a Master's in engineering in medicine at Imperial College in London (UK), an MBA at Universite de Moncton, and finally a doctorate at Erasmus Universiteit in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
Meeting with doctors and nurses to discuss new projects and deciding the development steps of each project is very interesting and challenging. The research itself is a long process and needs a lot of patience to analyze the results and figure out the next steps, but that is also the interesting part. You always discover new knowledge and it is never boring.
What do you like best about being an engineer?
Solving problems and developing new knowledge are the most exciting parts for me.
Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
Seeing the results of my students' research work and the publications we have done together has been most satisfying. I especially enjoy seeing my students get good jobs and have an interesting and well-paying career. I am proud of the patent which I obtained in 1987 for a new electrode design.
What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
There are more women now in this field, especially in biomedical engineering. However, many years ago, I was often the only woman in my classes or at an engineering conference. At the time, I focused on my goals and did not worry too much about this. Now I am very happy to see many more women in our classes and at conferences.
Please tell us a little about your family.
The eldest of a French Canadian family of seven children, I was born in Montreal. My parents were both published authors and were excellent role models in transferring to their children the love of knowledge. I have a very supportive husband who is proud of my achievements and we have a son of whom we are very proud.
What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
Continue my current research and provide guidance and mentoring to students who study and work in biomedical engineering.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
Believe in yourself and try to balance work and life. You could think of ways to make the world a better place for everyone and joining Engineers Without Borders could help you to reach this goal. Enjoy the learning and the challenges.
Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
Languages, travel, and reading are my main hobbies. I also like gardening very much, flowers and vegetables, trees...