Women and Engineering

Our pioneers

They paved the way for women in engineering

During the whirlwind decade of the 1960s, more than a century after its founding, Polytechnique awarded its first degrees to women students. At the time, these graduates could be counted on the fingers of one hand, but their numbers have grown steadily in the decades since.

By daring to choose engineering and venturing into what was then a male bastion, these pioneering women helped change the world of engineering and society. Polytechnique is proud to pay tribute to them!

Gabrielle BodisThe first female graduate at Polytechnique

Gabrielle Bodis, Class of 1959

Graduated in Mechanical Engineering – Electricity
The first female graduate in engineering physics

Denise Valiquette, Class of 1961
The first female graduate in chemical engineering

Pierrette Martin, Class of 1962
Along with Michèle Thibodeau-deGuire and Hermine Borduas, she was also one of the first women in Québec to work as an engineer.

The first female graduate in civil engineering

Michèle Thibodeau-deGuire, Class of 1963
Ms. Thibodeau-deGuire was also the first woman to hold the positions of Principal and Chair of the Board of Directors of Polytechnique Montréal..
The first female graduate in mechanical engineering

Hermine Borduas, Class of 1964, With Great Distinction
She was awarded the Association professionnelle des industriels prize as top student in the Industrial Organization course.
Louise Blais-LerouxThe first female graduate in geological engineering

Louise Blais, Class of 1966
Ms. Blais created the Louise Blais-Leroux undergraduate bursary, which encourages young women from emerging generations to study engineering.
The first woman professor at Polytechnique

Renée Larose, in 1967, in the Department of Engineering Physics
A graduate of the engineering physics program in 1966, she received the Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal, the Arthur Surveyer Gold Medal for overall excellence in her engineering studies, and the Polytechnique Alumni Gold Medal in recognition of excellence during her final two years of studies.

The first female graduate in electrical engineering

Claire Vincent, Class of 1970, With Great Distinction
(no photo available)
The first female graduate in industrial engineering

Lise Gravel, Class of 1970, With Great Distinction
(no photo available)
The first female graduate in mining engineering

Viviane Métivier, Class of 1973
(no photo available)
The first female PhD in applied sciences, chemical engineering

Quach Phung Thi Quy, in 1975
(no photo available)

Sources: Collection of the official Polytechnique Montréal graduate lists. Polytechnique Montréal Archives; Fondation et Alumni de Polytechnique Montréal.