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Beatriz Martin-Perez

What is your current job?

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Ottawa. My work involves teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in Structural Engineering. I also carry out research in the area of concrete durability and reinforcement steel corrosion, and supervise graduate students in their thesis work.

What made you want to pursue a career in engineering?

I always wanted to be an architect. My father was a structural engineer, and he had the opportunity to work in very interesting projects all over Spain, my country of origin. As a kid I was exposed to his work, and thus I always knew then that I wanted to be part of that world. I did 4 years of Architecture (in my country of origin, a degree in Architecture takes 6 years). As I was doing my architectural studies, I was drawn to structural analysis, design and construction. This is what made me realize that I really wanted to become a structural engineer instead.

What’s your favourite part of your job? My favourite part of my job is that I am always learning new things. I learn from my research and the research of others, but I also learn from my colleagues and all students I interact with on a daily basis.

How do you celebrate National Engineering Month? I have occasionally volunteered as a judge in high school competitions.

What advice do you have for young women who hope to pursue a career in your field? Engineering is not only about applied math and science, but also a career in which one can be creative in solving problems affecting the community you live in. Develop good work habits and be persistent and confident. You can do it.

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I obtained my BSc in Civil Engineering in 1993 from the University of Houston (TX). I then moved to Canada to pursue graduate studies at the University of Toronto. I graduated with an MASc in 1995 and a PhD in 1999. My PhD thesis focused on the development of a service life model of reinforced concrete structures affected by reinforcing steel corrosion. As soon as I obtained my doctorate degree, I started working as a researcher at the Institute for Research in Construction of the National Research Council in the area of rehabilitation of urban infrastructure, where I was involved in the development of performance prediction tools for flexible pavement structures subjected to both environmental and traffic-induced loading. I worked at NRC until 2002, when I joined the University of Ottawa. My current research focuses on the experimental testing and numerical modelling of reinforcement corrosion and associated mechanics of damage build-up in reinforced concrete structures.

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