Moyra J. McDill
Moyra J. McDill
Professor Emeritus, Carleton University
Molnlycke, (No State Selected), Sweden

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Close Up
  • Describe what you do in your current work situation.
    With a move to Europe for personal reasons, I've found myself working in the GIG economy.
    As the doctoral students' ombud, I assist PhD students with problems that arise in the course of their studies.
    I do a little freelance research and a little lecturing.
    As a Prof. Emeritus, from Canada, I also review grant applications, papers and applications for promotion as well sit on PhD grading committees.
  • Why did you choose engineering?
    My mother was a science teacher and my father was a military (mechanical) engineer. I grew up in a house they designed and were building together. I suppose you could say I grew up in engineering.
    I loved sports but I was most challenged by math and science. Engineering seemed a natural fit.
  • Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
    Three degrees from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada: B.Eng. (Mechanical), M.Eng. (Materials), PhD (Mechanical).
  • What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
    Early on, I was involved in the consulting side of things. After my PhD, my academic life was that of teaching, research and administration including student advocacy.
    I also volunteered when I could in ways that both supported my work and were personally fulfilling. Now, as the doctoral ombud, my work is mostly in advocacy.
  • What do you like best about being an engineer?
    Engineering is always changing and evolving but the fundamentals, e.g., Newton's Laws, are always there.
    Ultimately engineers problem solve and work to make things better for people.
    The people I have worked with are enthusiastic and caring. It makes going to work more fun.
  • Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
    Development of special finite elements for numerical analysis of manufacturing processes such as welding.
    Involvement with the tribunal (quasi-judicial) portion of a Canadian regulatory body.
    Good teaching evaluations and occasionally, even now, receiving appreciative notes from former students.
  • What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
    I have always been one of the few women in my area. This had both negative and positive aspects. I tried to focus on the positive.
    One major challenge was holding it altogether when I was widowed and had three children to raise. Again, I tried to focus on the positive.
  • Please tell us a little about your family.
    I am married, to an engineer, and live in Europe. My two daughters and my son are also in engineering.
  • What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
    Short term: to stay involved and active in my field and become fluent in Swedish.
    Long term: a healthy and active retirement!!!
  • What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
    My parents, especially my mother; several teachers in elementary and high school; a couple of top-notch mentors/professors; and several informal mentors during my career, have been critical.
    I also used my love of sport to help in my career. It took time and training to develop as an athlete. The same is true for becoming an engineer.
  • What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
    The most rewarding path is not always the most obvious path.
  • Any other stories or comments you would like to share with EngineerGirl visitors?
    It took time and training to develop as an athlete. The same is true for becoming an engineer.
  • Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
    Right now I am reading only Swedish books. I belong to a book circle of professionals, all women, who have moved to Sweden. About every second month we choose a new book - everything from classic literature to detective stories.
    I enjoy walking and several times a month, my husband and I head off for a good walk with a coffee or picnic along the way.
Biography

I am a Professor Emeritus from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and a Commissioner with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. My research interests are in numerical simulation of manufacturing processes such as welding and more recently in biomedical materials. I have also written a few papers related to women in engineering and have published a book for families coping with cancer.

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Education
B.Eng., M.Eng., PhD
Volunteer Opportunities
  • I am willing to be contacted by educators for possible speaking engagements in schools or in after school programs or summer camps.
Latest Questions
  • Brita, Moshi, Tanzania

    Added Thursday, December 15, 2016 at 6:37 AM

    I am really interested in being an aerospace engineer but the problem is I do not know how I can make my dream come true because this course isn't available in our country. Worse is my parents can't afford sending me abroad and are rarely interested on how big my dream is. Sometimes I say maybe it's a mistake maybe I can't handle it but still deep down I feel that is what my heart desires and I am capable. I still pray to God everyday for any opportunity to rise up for me cause in 2018 I will ...
    Answers 1
    Moyra J. McDill, Carleton University
    Answered Thursday, December 15, 2016 at 6:37 AM

    Dear Brita from Moshi,

    Aerospace Engineering is a broad field and there are different ways to train for and work within the field.  You may already know what part of aerospace engineering intrigues you; you may not yet know that.  Think about ...

    Read More
  • Nicole, Melbourne, Florida

    Added Thursday, November 26, 2015 at 1:35 PM

    Hi! I love science and always have been very curious about anything to do with it! I’m in 11 grade and am average at math and fairly good at science . I am considering a degree in aerospace engineering, but am worried my ability to excel in math. I know if I work very hard at it I can do it, but I’m worried that it will be increasingly difficult for me to understand the math that is constantly in aerospace. Thoughts?.
    Answers 1
    Moyra J. McDill, Carleton University
    Answered Thursday, November 26, 2015 at 1:35 PM

     Hi Nicole,

    Your question is a good one because math and science are key prerequisites for the study of engineering but they are not the only prerequisites.  I suggest you look at the requirements of the universities you would like ...

    Read More
  • Alexis, New Orleans, Louisiana

    Added Monday, February 17, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    I'm a high school junior who is conflicted about what engineering to go into. I am currently in an engineering class to see what it's like to get different projects from different fields and so far my favorites have been chemical, aerospace, and mechanical. I was wondering if you could give me some insight about your field of study. What is your normal day like? How was your college experience? Are there any problems or discrimination you have faced? Thank you!
    Answers 1
    Moyra J. McDill, Carleton University
    Answered Monday, February 17, 2014 at 11:19 AM
    Hej Alexis! (as we say Sweden)
    
    Engineering careers have an interesting way of changing unexpectedly.   I am now in Sweden - what an adventure!  If you had told me in high school that I would have the kind of career I have had, in industry, academia and ...
    Read More
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