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Women in IT

“I was always curious to know how things worked; constantly wanting to fix broken radios or open things up to see how they ticked.”
Charmaine's biography

Charmaine completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering at Concordia University. She began her career with the Energy Management department at CAE, in Montreal, where she developed software for the control of complex power systems. While still working at CAE, she went on to pursue graduate studies at McGill University. After only 3 years of balancing full-time work life with graduate studies, she earned her Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering. Charmaine’s career evolved from software development to project management, when she joined the telecom sector at Ericsson Canada. Charmaine later enjoyed a couple of years of spending time at home raising her two young daughters. When she returned to the workforce, she discovered she had a passion for teaching the very IT and technology skills which she had acquired over her studies and career. She joined Cegep Heritage College in Gatineau, Quebec as a teacher in the Electronics and Information Technology department, where she currently works full-time today. As no stranger to tackling multiple challenges at once, in 2011/2012, Charmaine also worked for the Department of National Defence where she had a chance to maintain her project management skills – all while still working as a teacher full-time and raising a young family. Charmaine spends many volunteer hours maintaining websites for various organizations such as the softball league she plays in and the synchronized swimming club her daughter is involved with. She is also a Girl Guide leader and values the importance of encouraging young girls to be self-confident and to develop leadership skills.

I currently work at Cegep Heritage College in Gatineau, QC as an instructor in the Electronics and Information Technology career program. I develop and teach a variety of courses such as Analog and Digital Circuits and Software Programming.

Teaching in a technical field is a way for me to pass on my experiences and to hopefully inspire and encourage girls to consider pursuing a technical career. It is a very rewarding job and I enjoy working with the younger generations. Working in a technical field always remains exciting and challenging because it is constantly evolving.

I loved applied math in school and so it was natural for me to be drawn to Electrical Engineering. I was always curious to know how things worked; constantly wanting to fix broken radios or open things up to see how they ticked. After learning about software in school, I realized this is something I could spend many hours a day doing and enjoying.

As a child, I never aspired to continue studying after high school. It took a lot of convincing from a good friend of mine to go to university. I struggled the first couple of years, thinking I had made the wrong decision. I found a lot of the courses uninteresting and often very challenging. All the while I watched my student loans grow. Somehow I found the strength to continue and finally graduate. Since then, I have found all my jobs extremely gratifying and a lot more interesting than anything I learnt in school. My advice is to never give up. Even if there are times when it is too difficult and moving forward seems impossible, persevere, because the end result is worth it. So many doors open up when you have a technical degree especially for women.

I spend time with my family, read novels (fictional) and stay active. After thinking all day about technology and often spending many hours in front of a computer, it is nice to take a break and do something completely different as well as socialize and get some exercise.


Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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