Michelle Liu


Michelle Liu
Ph.D. Candidate (Civil Engineering)

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar (2022-2025)
Vanier 2022 Scholar
Project Coordinator, The eQuality Project (2021-2022)

Work E-mail: michelle.liu@uottawa.ca


Michelle Liu is a PhD candidate in Civil Engineering at the University of Ottawa Centre for Law, Technology and Society, under the supervision of Prof. Jena McGill and Prof. Beatriz Martin-Perez. 

Michelle Liu is concurrently a full-time JD candidate (‘23) in the Faculty of Law, Common Law Section. She is the first person at the University of Ottawa to pursue both degrees concurrently. 

Michelle Liu’s doctoral project focuses on evaluating Canadian building standards and policies through an equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) lens and examining the EDI-related opportunities and challenges facing the engineering profession in meeting its statutory public interest mandates.  

Her doctoral proposal and leadership record both scholarly and in the community has placed her among the 2022-2025 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholars, one of Canada’s most prestigious doctoral awards. She is among the recipients of the 2022 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, making her the only doctoral student in Canada to receive both awards. 


Michelle Liu’s identities and experiences as a Queer and racialized woman inform her extensive and award-winning service work in the community, on campus, and within the law and engineering professions. Michelle Liu has served as the President of the Common Law Student Society, Faculty of Law student representative on the University Senate, and Co-President of the OUTLaw 2SLGBTQ+ Law Students Association since 2021-2022 and has been re-elected to all three positions for 2022-2023. Michelle Liu was the 2021 recipient of the University of Ottawa Rovinescu Award of Excellence for Community Service.  

In the engineering community, Michelle Liu is well-known as an advocate for greater inclusion and diversity, including by serving as an Ontario Network for Women in Engineering mentor, Chair of the Waterloo Engineering Alumni Council, a stakeholder of the 30 by 30 initiative, and by participating in outreach and recruitment events and in engineering admission processes. Michelle Liu is also an appointed member of the Equity Advisory Group of the Law Society of Ontario.  

Engineers Canada named Michelle Liu one of thirteen EDI Leaders in Engineering Workplaces in 2021-2022, which followed her 2019 Certificate of Recognition from City of Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky for her community contributions, and her Kitchener-Waterloo Women of the Year finalist standing in the same year, among other awards. 


In 2021-2022, Michelle Liu served as a Project Coordinator of The eQuality Project, a seven-year research partnership funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and hosted at CLTS. Michelle Liu has also been a Research Assistant to Professor Jane Bailey since September 2020 as well as to Dr. Beatriz Martin-Perez in Engineering, and professor Jamie Benidickson in the Common Law Section. Michelle Liu is currently writing about the history of exclusion in engineering under the supervision of Prof. Constance Backhouse as part of the Feminist Public Interest Fellowship within the Common Law Section in Summer 2022 in addition to her doctoral studies, research assistantships, and student-proposed internships. 

Michelle Liu worked in construction and design at various national and international engineering firms prior to law school and her PhD studies. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Applied Science (Hon BASc) and Master of Applied Science (MASc) in civil engineering, both from the University of Waterloo, and is registered with Professional Engineers Ontario. 


Having moved to Ontario from Montréal, Michelle Liu is French-English bilingual. In the summer months, you can find her paddling down the Ottawa or Rideau River in her canoe or to backcountry campsites across Ontario and Québec to escape the world! 

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