- Role Model -

JoAnne Norman


Name: JoAnne Norman

Occupation: Plant Civil Engineering, Thermal Generation Long Term Asset Planning Team

Employer: NL Hydro

Education: Bachelors of Engineering (Civil), Memorial University

Hometown: Old Shop, NL

Current community of residency: Blaketown, NL

What does your typical work day involve?

Really a bit of everything, which is why I enjoy it so much. During inspections I spend time outside or in the plant to assess equipment. During a project request/approval phase I typically spend more time indoors. When it comes to project execution I often like to oversee the work personally, as much as possible, so I may spend a majority of my time over a few weeks or months outside. My job is a consistent mash up of team work and solo work. Which is great too because the things you learn while working on a team often help you perform solo work and vise versa. Throughout the entire year I would average the following indoor/outdoor: 60%/40% Office/plant: 0%/100% I am permanently stationed at the Holyrood Thermal Generating Station Teamwork/solo work: 50%/50%.

What do you love most about your profession? Why did you choose this career?

What I love most are the challenges faced in my profession. Sometimes my day is very unpredictable. This can be stressful at times, but it also keeps me interested in my work and I feel I learn so many new things this way. I choose this career for a few reasons; I like science, math and problem solving, I like specializing in an area that only those who have put in the work can practice, I like be finically independent, and I like the wide range of opportunities and career paths engineers can take.

When did you realize you wanted to work in STEM?

By accident. I took a career quiz at school and the result was architectural engineering. They did not have this program at MUN so I choose civil engineering. I had no idea really what it was, but I like pursing things that challenge me intellectually. For example I was good at math, biology and chemistry. I was terrible at physics and calculus, but did civil engineering anyway. I found it hard, but I get "bored" when things are too easy so I continued on and got my degree. Its fortunate for me that the first thing I tried I ended up liking, but I have friends whom I graduated engineering with and they decided to pursue other careers.

What were your favorite subjects in school?

Music, Physical Education, Writing, Art, Math and Sciences.

What advice would you give girls, who are still in school, who might be considering a career like yours?

Engineering is a tough program, it does take time and dedication. It might seem like a large investment to complete (at min) 5 years of post secondary education but in the grand scheme of life, this is so short. No engineer can explain exactly what an engineer does, because the #OPPORTUNITIES (game code) and possibilities are so plentiful.

Why do we need more women in skilled trades and STEM?

In contributing to a diverse work environment, women bring additional perspectives, abilities, thought processes, conflict management skills....the list goes on, that better shape a team and a company. By creating a more diverse work force with having more women in STEM and Skilled Trades, it increases success in the workplace, models opportunities for future generations and normalizes working women in this field.

Who was your role model? What about this person inspires you?

Future me. This might sound so odd but me in 10 years is my role model. What does future me look like, she looks as though she can do anything, as long as she does the work and that inspires me. When I reach that person, I reflect back on where I come and how much I grown, then I look to my next future self:)

What do you do for fun? What are some of your hobbies/activities?

Play is so important and I have many hobbies I cycle through....here are some :) Art-drawing, painting, crocheting writing- songs, never plan to finish novels, journaling, blogging reading-self help, wellness, career, fiction, science, biology, meditation, self healing methods, physiology...pretty much everything outside of engineering because that's my work not hobby. I personally keep those separate. Music-I perform locally (guitar, piano and vocals) outdoor activities-kayaking, swimming, hiking, walking, ATV Meditation-a very important practice :)

What superhero do you relate to most? Why?

I don't have one. Perhaps I'll look into that :)

Anything else you wish to share?

When it comes to deciding what you'd like to do ask yourself this....am I willing to do the work. Don't look at the end goal achieved by those who you do consider a role model, they had to put in the work to get there. Here is an extreme example. As a teen I thought being a musician who wrote and performed her own songs was the coolest thing someone could do. Being famous...wow bonus! But was I going to put in the work it takes to make that a full time career, just listening to the stories of artists and their struggles was cringing to me. But was I willing to commit 6 years of intense study and work terms to become an engineer? Absolutely, that felt right to me. And I still write and perform for fun with my family in my life outside of work. It is great. Lastly, participate in sampling. If you are unsure or what you like to do, try studying 1 career over the course of a month, choose another the following and reflect on it. If you're lucky you might even have the opportunity to shadow or volunteer at a place to get a taste of what a career you are considering is like. For me, I was a waitress in high school, I decided that as much as I loved the environment, I hated working weekends and varying work schedules, I am very routine driven. Having that temporary job over the summer, taught me that:)


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