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Advocate for women in careers in the sciences and engineering
"I have never had a boring day since I was born," states Monique Frize (Who's who of Canadian women 1996), and it is easy to believe in looking at her life. Born Monique Aubry of French-Canadian parents in Montreal, this science-lover was the oldest of seven children. Her parents supported and encouraged her fascination with mathematics and science, although their own interests were artistic and literary.
Frize did not take an easy road when choosing engineering as a career. At the time that she did so, in the early nineteen-sixties, enrolment of women in non-traditional fields was uncommon. She was the first Canadian woman to graduate from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering. She then took a Master of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London, England. She also holds a Master's in Business Administration from the University of Moncton. In 1989, Frize completed her doctorate at Erasmus Universiteit in the Netherlands.
Monique Frize's career took her from Montreal, where she worked as a clinical engineer at the Hôpital Notre-Dame from 1971 to 1979, to Moncton, New Brunswick where she took the position of Director of the Regional Clinical Engineering Service, assisting the medical staff with their equipment. She then became the first Chair of the Division of Clinical Engineering for the International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering. In 1989 she was appointed the first holder of the Northern Telecom-NSERC Women in Engineering Chair at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, where she was also a professor in the Electrical Engineering department. One of the responsibilities of the holder of the Chair is to develop programs to recruit and retain women in the engineering profession.
In 1997 Professor Frize joined the University of Ottawa in the School of Information Technology and Engineering and Carleton University in the Department of Systems and Computer Engineering. She also holds the NSERC/Nortel Joint Chair for Women in Science and Engineering in Ontario.
She is married to Peter Frize, with whom she has a son named Patrick Nicholas.
Monique Frize has received many honours and awards including honorary doctorates from several Canadian universities and the Meritas-Tabaret Career Achievement Award of the Alumni of the University of Ottawa. In 1992 she was inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993.
Throughout her career Monique Frize has been very active in promoting women in leadership roles in careers in the sciences and engineering. She has published many papers, maintains websites, and has recently been giving over 30 lectures per year on the topic. She has also given many school presentations to students in grades 5 to 12 about careers in engineering. It is hoped that with the help of a role model and spokesperson like Monique Frize, women will be more accepted in, and more attracted to, less traditional careers.
"Be what you want to be. Be dedicated to your goal. Believe in yourself." The words Monique Frize uses in her lectures are fitting testimony from a woman who broke with tradition to open doors for more women to participate in science and engineering.
Deshaies, Michelle. "Monique Frize". Femmes d'action. Vol. 25, no 1 (automne 1995). P. 16-18
Frize, Monique et al. "A unique national project to increase the participation of women in science and engineering from Canada" [online]. Debates. 23 September 1999. [Cited July 4, 2000]. Access: www.nature.com/nature/debates/women/women_10.html
Frize, Monique. The bold and the brave : a history of women in science and engineering. - Ottawa : University of Ottawa Press, 2009. 366 p.
May, Elizabeth. Claiming the future : women in scholarship. Ottawa : Royal Society of Canada, c1990. P. 1-4. Title on added t.P. : Se bâtir un avenir
Monique (Aubry) Frize : biography [online]. NSERC/Nortel Joint Chair for Women in Science and Engineering in Ontario. Updated July 2000. [Cited July 4, 2000]. Access: www.carleton.ca/wise/mf_bio.htm
"Monique Frize". Who's who of Canadian women. 6th ed. Toronto: Who's Who Publications, 1996. P. 311
Myron, Hilary ; Padolsky, Miriam. Monique Frize, engineer [online]. Galactics, 1998. [Cited July 4, 2000]. Also available in French. Access: http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/205/301/ic/cdc/science/english/eng/frize.html