In the Spotlight: Women in engineering
Women make up about 21 per cent of newly licensed engineers in Canada and 23 per cent in Nova Scotia—and 24 per cent of our engineers at NS Power. While there’s been progress made over the last decade to create more gender balance, women are still underrepresented in engineering classrooms and in the workforce.
Here at Nova Scotia Power, approximately 25% of our engineers are women. It’s a number we’d like to see grow as part of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy.
With International Women in Engineering Day taking place this month, we’re putting the spotlight on Mink, Lynne, Parnian, Mishika and Danya—five engineers working across our business. We asked them to share their perspective and their experiences.
Mink Aich, Electrical Engineer-in-training
I have always been interested in problem-solving and wanted a career where I can make a difference, while also being able to take part in innovative projects.”
My advice to women looking to pursue engineering is to never be afraid to ask for opportunities, advice and questions. There are plenty of opportunities out there, and many people who are eager to support, as long as you take initiative. The only thing you need to enter a career in STEM is the will to do it!”
“We also need more women in engineering because, even though it is changing, engineering is still a male-dominated field. Women are still a bit hesitant to enter engineering roles, and I would have loved to have women engineers as role models growing up.”
Lynne Drover, Senior Plant Manager, Tufts Cove Generating Station
“Engineering doesn’t teach you what to think, it teaches you how to think.” Since studying Chemical Engineering, Lynne has had a unique career in energy—from overseeing wiring inspection and meter services, constructing the NS onshore transmission line for the Maritime Link, managing Nova Scotia Power’s Hydro & Wind assets, to her role today at Tufts Cove Generating Station as the Senior Plant Manager.
“Engineering gives you a great foundation, and it’s a field that offers so much flexibility and possibility. You gain a skillset that is adaptable and provides the freedom to steer your career path depending on your evolving interests and personal life.”
The common thread through all of Lynne’s professional experiences has been leading through transformation and change. It’s what excites her most about working in energy. “We’re changing how we make electricity and moving away from coal to clean energy. I’d encourage any young people who are passionate about the environment to consider a career in energy. It’s a chance to make a difference for our planet.”
Parnian Hajimomenian, Distribution Capital Engineer
Parnian became an engineer because it’s a fantastic field for her to practice her creativity, problem-solving skills and analytical thinking. And as our Distribution Capital Engineer, she’s able to do that and more!
“I think we need more women in engineering because its pursuit really empowers women—I know it’s empowered me! It gives us an opportunity to see our contributions make a positive impact on a larger scale.”
Parnian believes it’s important to set up programs that raise awareness of the benefits of engineering as a profession, to encourage more women to consider it as a career.
“We know diverse workplaces work better, and having more women at the table is truly a benefit for any organization—because each one of them brings a different perspective and many great ideas.”
Mishika Hannedige, Engineer in Training and Planner
Between overseeing contractors and planning maintenance and operational activities, Mishika works on a variety of interesting projects.
“One of my favourite work memories is safely helping replace several components of a generator, engine and turbine, and upgrading the control system of one of the combustion turbine units at Victoria Junction Plant in Sydney, CB—all within 3 months. It was a true team effort!”
Mishika decided to become an engineer because of her love for math as well as solving problems.
Her advice for women who want to become engineers is that there is absolutely no limit, to take a leap of faith and go for it. “It’s aways good to step out of your comfort zone, and you will find many opportunities available for you to learn and grow.”
“I also think we can create awareness and promote early exposure to engineering, by starting at a young age to encourage more women to consider it as a career.
Danya MacGillivray, Maintenance Superintendent, Trenton Generating Station
No two days are the same for Danya, an environmental engineer working in power production. It’s part of what attracted her to a career in engineering.
From identifying potential plant-specific maintenance projects, to improving plant safety and efficiency, to ensuring environmental compliance every step of the day, Danya describes her job as challenging and rewarding.
Her advice for women who are considering engineering is to work hard, use their voice and learn from their experiences. “Someone else once told me to ‘leave a mark’ and that has stuck with me. Whatever you choose to do, do it well.”
Danya also emphasizes that we need more women in engineering because they bring different experiences and perspectives. “We think differently than our counterparts and have a lot to offer from a different lens.”
“I think we can do much more to encourage more women to consider careers in engineering. It’s important for young girls to see women in these roles.”
Danya wants to see schools working to showcase women in engineering. “When I was younger, I didn't know what was out there in terms of STEM careers. I may have taken a path towards power engineering if I had known what it was all about.”
Our employees are our greatest source of energy. Fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce is a top priority, and we’re committed to making more progress. Learn more about our culture at nspower.ca/who-we-are.
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