30 years later
Thirty years ago, 14 women were murdered at École Polytechnique's engineering school in the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history.
The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science is joining Engineering Deans Canada in remembering the young female engineering students who lost their lives on Dec. 6 30 years ago and in celebrating the achievements of 30 female engineers who have inspired change through their actions in the 30 years since the École Polytechnique shootings.
To commemorate this tragic event and to promote the outstanding work of female engineers across Canada, Engineering Deans Canada (EDC) invited each of the Canadian engineering schools that offered an accredited engineering program in 1989 to put forward the story of an engineering alumna who graduated within three years of the massacre (1986-1992), and whose career exemplifies the value that women bring to the engineering profession and to society.
Meet Trina Alexson, B.Eng. ’87, Memorial University
Heeding her father’s advice that “people are always going to need to talk to each other on the phone” Trina Alexson followed her natural curiosity for building things into the high tech sector, which brought her to her current role as the director, Advanced Services, Cisco Canada.
In her various posts with Cisco through the years she’s moved her family to San Jose and back to Toronto, and she’s helped the company grow from 4,000 employees to over 75,000, to be known globally as the world’s largest networking company. She currently leads engineering teams that work directly with Cisco customers to help them plan, build and operate their networks. Trina has over 25 years’ experience in the information technology industry and has been with Cisco since 1996. Prior to her role in the services organization, she led software development teams responsible for high availability features in Cisco’s premier routing platforms. She holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree (1987) from Memorial University of Newfoundland and an MBA from Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario.
Ms. Alexson hasn’t just climbed the ranks at Cisco—she’s become a true champion of female representation in STEM fields, and has co-authored a book, Bit by Bit, a career guide for young women 15-25 who are considering technology careers, and sees having a women’s point of view as essential to any company’s success. On top of it all, she is a wife and mother of two, and she makes time to mentor those starting careers in tech, and is a genuine advocate for young people getting into the industry.