IBET Momentum Fellow Raylene Mitchell aims to change how engineering is done in northern and Indigenous communities

This fall, Raylene Mitchell will begin her studies as a PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at U of T — and while engineering was not where she expected to find herself, she hopes that her experience will help change that expectation for others.

Mitchell grew up in Makkovik, an Inuit community of about 350 people on the coast of Labrador that is only accessible by air in winter, or by sea in summer.  

“Growing up in such a small place, I had never met any engineers, and I didn’t really know what engineering was,” she says.  

“What I did know was that there had been many large engineering projects built in Labrador, and that many of them had later failed. And I knew that none of these projects had included any proper channels to incorporate the community into the early stages of the design process.” 

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