December 6th, 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the mass shooting of fourteen women (almost all of whom were engineering students) at École Polytechnique de Montréal (now Polytechnique Montreal).
This year, Engineering Deans Canada commemorates this tragic event by celebrating the outstanding work of female engineers across Canada who were touched by this event, but survived and forged a path forward for other women to follow. Engineering Deans Canada invited each of the Canadian engineering schools that offered an accredited engineering program in 1989 to put forward the story of an engineering alumna whose career exemplifies the changes that women have brought to the engineering profession and to Canadian society. These profiles can be seen at www.30yearslater.ca.
Our intention on focusing on these new stories is to move forward from what was lost in the form of young lives, and to put a spotlight on the strength and resilience of those whose lives were touched by the event, but spared to continue their life’s work, and to inspire the expanded inclusion of women in the profession by showcasing the stories of how they have changed the way we think and practice.
In terms of social media we will use the following hashtags
Colette Lepage was born and raised on the outskirts of Sudbury, Ontario in a hardworking, blue-collar family.
She spent much of her youth gazing at the stars, reading astronomy and science fiction books and wondering endlessly about the mysteries of the universe. She had a passion for science and technology so she completed her Chemical Engineering Technology diploma at Cambrian College in 1994.
After working in her field for a few years, she decided to return to school to earn her Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering at Lakehead University in 1999. Shortly after graduating, she was hired by a contracting company as an entry level engineer in the field of Contamination Control at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center near Washington DC.
After a few years of acquiring experience in her field, she would eventually go on to manage the SSDIF (Spacecraft Systems Development and Integration Facility) Cleanroom, one of the largest cleanrooms in the world that housed the Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission space flight hardware and eventually, the James Webb Space Telescope (Hubble's successor) space flight hardware.
Over the course of her two decade long career, Colette also provided her expertise at other notable facilities like the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA Glenn Research Center's Plum Brook Station in Ohio and Northrop Grumman Space Park in California to name a few.
For 20 years, Colette has enjoyed the privilege and honor of being a part of a world class team of scientists and engineers responsible for making new discoveries regarding the universe that continue to re-writing astronomy books.
Presently, Colette continues to support space flight projects on a part-time basis through her own consulting firm which allows her the opportunity to pursue another lifelong passion of full-time travel. Colette now enjoys the best of both worlds. While visiting a National Park with very little light pollution, she can still gaze at the stars and wonder about the mysteries of the universe all while being part of a team of dedicated professionals working hard to unlock those mysteries.