Nathalie Tufenkji

Nathalie Tufenkji




Professor and Canada Research Chair, Chemical Engineering & BEng 1999, Chemical Engineering

What was your inspiration for pursuing Engineering?

I was inspired to pursue a degree in chemical engineering because of my interest in environmental engineering and the development of technologies for environmental remediation and water treatment. In high school, I enjoyed mathematics, chemistry and biology so engineering was a natural choice for me.

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

A career in engineering gives us the opportunity to learn and work at the cutting edge of science and technology. Female engineers have the opportunity to work in highly interdisciplinary fields such as environmental engineering, biomedical engineering and advanced materials. We can contribute to the design of safer and more sustainable technologies, materials and processes.        

Why did you choose McGill?

I had some of the best years and learning experiences of my life during my undergraduate studies at McGill. We worked hard, but we also played hard. It was a natural decision for me to return to my alma mater. I wanted to give back to the community that helped shape me as a professional and I wanted to teach future generations of researchers and engineers. I am very impressed with our students at the graduate and undergraduate levels and the students who lead and participate in important organisations such as the student-run club “Promoting Opportunities for Women in Engineering (POWE).”          

Do you have anything else to add?

I will leave you with a quote from my own role model, Marie Curie, who was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the only woman to win in two fields, and the only person to win in multiple sciences. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris. In her words: “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”

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