- Role Model -
Name: Amanda McCallum
Occupation: Geologist, Education, Outreach & STEM Communications
Employer: President at Ignite Education Inc.
Education: B.Sc., B.Ed., Memorial University; MCPM, York University
Hometown: Ramea, NL
Current community of residency: St. John’s, NL
What does your typical work day involve?
Each workday is different, depending on the project and time of year. As a prospecting geologist, I spend time during the summer months doing field work, grassroots prospecting and mineral exploration. This work is balanced with office work, writing, and working on creative STEM communications and marketing projects.
What do you love most about your profession? Why did you choose this career?
I enjoy taking complex, technical topics and tailoring communications to a variety of audiences. My work allows me to connect my geology and science background with creative projects and communications. This field of work has provided the opportunity to travel to many incredible places, including remote locations throughout Newfoundland and Labrador and around the world. I spent my childhood living in Ramea, an island located on Newfoundland’s southwest coast. Given there were no trees, much time was spent outdoors exploring the rocky hills and beaches. During my second year of university after enrolling in an elective Earth Sciences course, I was hooked. Shortly afterwards, I declared my major.
When did you realize you wanted to work in STEM?
During the summer of Grade 11, I completed the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Student Summer Employment Program (SSEP). I worked at the Marine Institute’s Centre for Marine Simulation (CMS) at the St. John’s Campus, designing icebergs for the Ship’s Bridge Simulator. It was an incredible experience and opened my eyes to a career in STEM.
What were your favorite subjects in school?
Math, Science, and English
What advice would you give girls, who are still in school, who might be considering a career like yours?
Be open to taking different courses and exploring new experiences to broaden your options. It’s not always about figuring out what you want to do, as much as eliminating what you do not want to do! Taking time to learn about yourself, your likes, interests and passion.
Why do we need more women in skilled trades and STEM?
It’s time to change the narrative. We need to celebrate women and girls who are working in STEM and Skilled Trades and continue to work together to remove barriers that hold them back. I would like to attend a project’s meeting, whether it is sitting around a board table or conducting field work and not have to count the number of women in attendance.
Who was your role model? What about this person inspires you?
What do you do for fun? What are some of your hobbies/activities?
Happiest outdoors! I enjoy hiking. My goal this year is to hike the entire East Coast Trail. I also enjoying gardening,T traveling, photography, collecting rocks and minerals and spending time with my family.
What superhero do you relate to most? Why?
Wonder Woman. She’s a warrior and a beacon of hope.
Anything else you wish to share?
Amanda was the Project Manager and Geologist with Discovery Global Geopark to lead this international project to secure Newfoundland and Labrador’ first UNESCO Global Geopark designation.
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