Next up for Women’s History month, we’re profiling Dr. Dormer M. Ellis, an electrical engineer and professor who has received numerous awards over the years. Dr. Ellis was born November 22, 1925. She was the only teenager working as a sales girl at Woolworth’s 5 and 10 cent store. She was great at math and could quickly and efficiently give change without having a cash register. She took an interest in math and engineering and when she told a high school teacher that she wanted to study engineering, the teacher tried to dissuade her. However, she didn’t listen and went on to not only study engineering in post-secondary, but to get a PhD in it as well.
By 1950 she was the first woman to be a professor in electrical engineering at the Ryerson Institute of Technology in Toronto. She was constantly surprising people by doing things that were “unexpected” of women at the time. First, by keeping her maiden name when she got married. It's common for academics to keep their maiden names now days because of publications, but at the time she was a trendsetter. She also did the unexpected later by working through her pregnancy, and even marking papers from the delivery room.