Mary-Jean Eastman

Mary-Jean Eastman






Principal and Executive Director, Perkins Eastman & BSc Arch 1971



What inspired you to pursue a degree in the Faculty of Engineering?

As a child I was interested in building toys and design problems and by the time I was in high school I knew I wanted to be an architect. However, no one encouraged me. I entered McGill first in General Science and quickly transferred to Honors Mathematics which was much more challenging. After the first term I gained the self-confidence to go to the School of Architecture and arranged to transfer the following year.

Why is it important for women to be involved in the Faculty of Engineering?

The most obvious reason is that the discipline needs the best minds and one half of the population is significantly under represented. In addition, there is research that indicates that women in management positions create positive economic impact and higher employee engagement. Women are also much more likely than men to support environmental and social causes. Society needs women engineers.

Why did you choose McGill?

I loved the city of Montreal and wanted to attend the best university possible. McGill was the logical choice. My parents were both McDonald College graduates and felt a connection to McGill.

Do you have anything else to add?

In their education, North American women are still told too often that they are not good at math and science.  By the time they get to high school too few consider a career in engineering. This is not true in architecture where women are attracted to the design and societal aspects of the profession. School systems need to do a better job of encouraging and engaging women in the joys of science and mathematics.


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