- Role Model -
Name: Olivia Smith
Occupation: Ocean & Naval Architectural Engineering Student
Employer: Husky Energy
Education: Bachelor of Engineer - Ocean and Naval Architectural, Memorial University
Hometown: St. John's, NL
Current community of residency: St. John's, NL
What does your typical work day involve?
I’ve had a couple of work terms involving different things. I worked on a drawing extraction team, which involved looking at the model of an arctic offshore patrol ship and extracting different items or sections to 2D and dimensioning them, so they can be built. Now, I am working on the maintenance team with Husky for the Searose. I review workpacks to be used offshore for inspections and support the implementation team by learning the systems for upcoming inspections to determine any dependencies for the job.
What do you love most about your profession? Why did you choose this career?
I love that there is always so much to learn. Even in a more specific field such as Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering, things are always changing and progressing. I also love the exposure from working in the engineering field. Through my experience in work terms, I’ve learned so much about all the different disciplines and how multiple engineering disciplines come together to create a team with the same goal.
When did you realize you wanted to work in STEM?
All through grade school I was more interested in the physics and chemistry units of science than biology. This led to me taking physics and chemistry as my science courses in high school, and I especially enjoyed physics. Though I wasn’t as excited about math, I was pretty good at it and took advanced. These interests resulted in my high school teachers suggesting engineering, so I figured I would try it and see if it was a fit. I’m now in term 7 and really enjoying it!
What were your favorite subjects in school?
Physics and English.
What advice would you give girls, who are still in school, who might be considering a career like yours?
Be confident. There have been times when it feels like a man’s world, however through my work terms I have had the opportunity to meet some very empowering women leaders in the work place. You don’t have to adapt to the “man’s world” aspect of the career, having women in the workplace is very valuable and being a woman in STEM is something to be proud of.
Why do we need more women in skilled trades and STEM?
Women often bring a different attitude and perspective to things in the workplace. Having diverse workers allows for employees to further their exposure and learn from people with different opinions and backgrounds. If everybody was the same, advancements would never be made.
Who was your role model? What about this person inspires you?
My current role model is my supervisor at work. She has strong leadership qualities as an engineer with Husky and is undeniably smart. As a female in STEM, she has a questioning attitude and is never afraid to speak up. She is also a mom, and juggles work-life balance to raise her kids.
What do you do for fun? What are some of your hobbies/activities?
In high school I was into competitive dance and competitive powerlifting. Due to a busier schedule, I gave up competing but am still into weightlifting. I love hanging out with my friends, having girls’ nights, and going shopping.
What superhero do you relate to most? Why?
I would say I relate most to Elasti-Woman. Being an engineering student has taught me to be flexible and stretch myself from being a full-time student, to working part time jobs and having a social life. This semester, I am taking an engineering course online, doing a full-time job on my work term, working two jobs part time in the evenings and weekends, going to the gym 5-6 days a week, and maintaining my relationships.
Anything else you wish to share?
Don’t let the opinions of others limit you in what you’re capable of. If there is something you want to chase in this industry, go for it. If you decide to be involved in STEM in post secondary, there are different forms of “rejection” or “let downs” you may feel, such as getting a couple of bad midterm marks, not getting a work term you were interviewed for, or even not getting interviews in the beginning. Use these “set-backs” as opportunities to learn and feel motivated!
Stay in the loop!
Join our mailing list and receive the latest STEMforGIRLS news and announcements.