Intersectional Perspectives on Engineering and Technology’s Ability to Contribute to Social Justice

Join Michelle Liu (they/them), P.Eng, JD, MASc as they moderate a discussion on engineering’s potential to advance social justice. The session will explore intersectional perspectives on the ways in which engineering and technology intersect with social justice issues, highlighting potential biases in designs and offering new insights into existing engineering processes. The event, for both industry and academia, is an opportunity to learn from the next generation of engineers and (re)consider engineering’s ability to contribute to social justice.

The panel will be composed of (see bios below):

  • Michelle Liu (they/them), P.Eng, JD, MASc, LEED-GA (moderator)
  • Shivani Nathoo (she/her), P.Eng, BASc
  • Vanessa Matta (she/her), EIT, BASc
  • Allie Kennington (they/them), EIT, BASc

Michelle Liu (they/them), P.Eng, JD, MASc, LEED-GA: Michelle is a 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 and has worked in engineering consulting and construction management. Michelle also holds a law degree (JD) and is pursuing their engineering PhD that they began simultaneously as their law degree at the University of Ottawa. Michelle’s 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 current volunteer work includes serving as Co-Chair of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers’ Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Task Force and a Councillor of Professional Engineers Ontario. Engineers Canada named Michelle one of thirteen EDI Leaders in Engineering Workplaces in 2021-2022. Michelle and their spouse co-created and co-fund the Liu-Kennington Award for the 2SLGBTQ+ Engineering Community, the first of its kind in Canada. Michelle lives and works on the sacred land of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation.

Shivani Nathoo (she/her), P.Eng, BASc: Shivani is a Professional Engineer and a Planner at the Independent Electricity Systems Operator (IESO). Prior to the IESO, she worked for Hatch Ltd as a Smart Grid and Asset Management EIT. She graduated from the University of Toronto in 2019, where she did Engineering Science with a major in Energy Systems, and served as the President of the Engineering Society. Since her time in high school, Shivani has been very passionate about improving equity societally, but especially in the engineering profession. Shivani is very passionate about looking at engineering from a holistic point of view including, ESG (environmental, social, and governance) thinking, ethics, and diversity, inclusion and equity. She is currently co-chair of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers’ Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Task Force, and an Engineers Canada 30 by 30 champion. She has also previously sat on the University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering’s Faculty Council, and Decanal Task Force on Mental Health.

Vanessa Matta (she/her), EIT, BASc: Vanessa is a civil engineering EIT in her final year of law school at the University of Ottawa and holds a BASc in civil engineering from the same institution. Prior to embarking on her legal studies, Vanessa accumulated over three years of professional experience in structural engineering at consulting firms in Ottawa. As a law student, Vanessa has combined her engineering background and emerging legal expertise to excel at internships with Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada and Pomerleau Canada. Vanessa is currently the Executive Editor at the Ottawa Law Review and a Research Assistant at the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. Vanessa’s experience in engineering and critical perspectives gained through her legal studies inform her passion for contributing to dialogues and initiatives that address social issues. She is actively involved in the National Academy of Engineering’s EngineerGirl Program to support girls interested in engineering and serves on the board of ELTOC, an organization providing ESL lessons to newcomers in Ottawa.

Allie Kennington (they/them), EIT, BASc: Allie 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 inclusivity of diverse and marginalized users through the empathetic engineering design process. Allie frequently speaks about the barriers facing trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming persons in engineering and co-funds the Liu-Kennington Award for the 2SLGBTQ+ Engineering Community with their spouse.

Time 12:00 pm ET
Duration 60 mins minutes
Event Leader Michelle Liu (they/them), P.Eng, JD, MASc
Theme Engineers & Politics