Montreal’s École Polytechnique achieved a significant milestone Friday: It handed out its 50,000th degree.
The honour was presented during a graduation ceremony at Palais des congrès.
The recipient, Eva Terriault, completed her undergraduate degree in computer engineering. She follows in the footsteps of Gabrielle Bodis, the first woman to graduate from the institution 60 years ago.
“I really enjoyed my years at Polytechnique,” said Terriault, who plans to go on to obtain a master’s degree in environmental science.
“I have big plans,” she said. Terriault not only plans to get her master’s degree, but to work abroad in developing countries and eventually work on the management side of engineering.
Terriault said she pursued engineering due to her interest in the intersection between creation and hard science.
Her mother, Dominique Longtin, is equally an engineering graduate from Polytechnique. Longtin said she was very happy her daughter was following her path and pursuing the profession. “She was always very good in mathematics, so it was natural for her to go into that field,” she said.
Terriault said she never gave the aspect of her gender much thought.
“I never thought about it until I was in the program,” said the recent grad. She noticed people’s surprised reactions when she would tell them she was studying computer engineering.
“They were surprised that I liked it,” said Terriault.
Raphael Christian-Roy, Terriault’s boyfriend, said he’s proud of her.
WATCH: Women in STEM