Proud but Precarious: 2SLGBTQ+ Engineering perspectives

Wednesday, June 26, 2024 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

Although Pride celebrations attract widespread participation and attention each year, the rights and safety of 2SLGBTQ+ persons in Canada are more at risk than they have been in decades. Among other reports, CSIS has identified the anti-2SLGBTQ+ movement as one of the greatest domestic terrorism threats facing our country now and for years to come. Earlier this year, CSIS named the attack on a gender studies class that took place on our very own campus in 2023 as among the examples of “extreme violence against the 2SLGBTQI+ community or against other targets they view as representing the gender ideology ‘agenda.”

Join 2SLGBTQ+ Waterloo Engineering alumni and current students in a conversation about their journey from student to the workplace, how they leverage and navigate their 2SLGBTQ+ identity as current/future engineers, and the historical and emerging challenges facing this community. Examples of anti-2SLGBTQ+ actions that should concern the engineering community include the resistance to move toward gender-neutral washrooms in building designs and development proposals’ disregard for Hanlan’s Point’s cultural importance as Canada’s oldest Queer space.

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Speaker Biographies:

Allie Kennington

Allie Kennington (they/them) is an environmental engineer-in-training at AtkinsRéalis (formerly SNC-Lavalin) in Ottawa. They specialize in hydrogeology, site assessment and remediation, and environmental regulation and compliance. Allie earned their BASc in Geological Engineering from the University of Waterloo and is currently pursuing a Master of Applied Science in Civil Engineering at the same institution. Their research focuses on enhancing the inclussion of diverse and marginalized users through the empathetic engineerin

Arden Song picture

Arden Song (she/her) is a MASc student in the Department of Management Science and Engineering who completed her BASc in Management Engineering from Waterloo in 2023. She is a former two-term president of the University of Waterloo's branch of EngiQueers, a student group that provides a safe, accepting space for queer engineering students. For her contributions to the Waterloo community as president of EngiQueers, Arden was a recipient of the Liu-Kennington Award for the 2SLGBTQ+ Engineering Community in 2022.

Michelle Liu picture

Michelle Liu (they/them) is an Ottawa-based, Queer, racialized, and non-binary engineer, soon-to-be lawyer, speaker, consultant, and researcher. Michelle earned their Honours BASc and MASc in civil engineering from the University of Waterloo, after which they worked in construction and design for various national and multi-national consulting engineering firms. Michelle’s experience of racist, homophobic, and gender-based violence in engineering empowered them to pursue their law degree (JD ’23) and engineering PhD simultaneously at the University of Ottawa. Michelle’s engineering PhD research, for which they received both the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship, uses sociolegal frameworks to understand the relationship between technological designs and the dominant norms in engineering such as masculinity and meritocracy. Michelle’s short-term goal is to become a professor of both law and engineering and to run a law practice advocating for equity-seeking people who experience discrimination in STEM workplaces.

Tessa Pugh

Tessa Pugh (any pronouns) is a current Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Waterloo.  At the university, she has been president of Engiqueers, a lead of Mech Mentorship, and is currently a team lead of Waterloo Rocketry, an amateur student rocket team. They hope to share their insights on bringing student leadership to professional environments, as well as how to balance their safety with public visibility.