After interviewing with Nina Skorupska, energy industry leader and Chief Executive at the Renewable Energy Association, we wanted to share her incredible story of becoming the first female Power Station Manager for RWE in the UK and why she thinks being an engineer is the coolest job on the planet…
Ms Skorupska tells us her energy career began with a love for Science as a child. Her older sister, who was studying Chemistry and Maths at university, would have her sit and observe her studying, to which Nina became inspired.
“My sister was the first one in our Polish immigrant family to go to University. She took the time to share her knowledge with me and I would just devour encyclopaedias.” Nina begins.
“I also loved Star Trek and wanted to boldly go where no woman had gone before! (Laughs)”
Nina has over 30 years of experience in the energy industry. She was also the first female to be appointed as a Power Station Manager at RWE Npower in the UK. We couldn’t help but wonder how a female establishes a career so typically male-dominated?
“I had an influential Professor teaching me Physical Chemistry at the University of Newcastle, who was internationally renowned for looking into carbon research.” Nina continues.
“For my doctorate, I started to learn about how coal was formed, about Geochemistry. I could identify where the different coal came from if you gave it to me. I could look under a Microscope and tell you which part of the world it came from and whether you could burn it efficiently to make steam in particular designs of boilers of power stations. The aim was to make sure we made the whole process as efficient as possible”
“I had an innate desire to learn and solve problems, so this was very exciting for me. I got my PhD and began working. Building on my research, I was predicting how coal would burn in different power stations around the world.“
The gender gap in the energy industry is still highly imbalanced, even today. With many graduate schemes being put on hold, particularly within oil and gas, it’s incredible that there is still a distinct lack of women working in energy and engineering.
“I’m really proud to be on the board of Directors of the WISE (Women into Science and Engineering)” says Nina.
“We need to teach the younger generation that Science is an exciting pathway to an extraordinary career. It’s a really worthwhile thing and it affected my soul, my very being!”
“If you’re a graduate, sign up to every different program you can. Then you’re aware of all the opportunities out there. If you’re employed at a big corporate company, ask what your career’s potential avenues are. If you’re working for a small company, remember that you’re helping that company grow and those opportunities for your career should also be growing.”
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