Over the last five weeks, to celebrate the 125th anniversary of women getting the vote, School-gen has been profiling some of our own Genesis women who are passionate about STEM. Our final profile is on one of our General Managers Rebecca Larking, whose study of hydrology (water) prepared her well for her current role looking after Operations, Trading and Environment for Genesis.

Hi Rebecca! What’s your role at Genesis? I am a General Manager at Genesis responsible for our Operations, Trading and Environmental activities.  What this means is overseeing the operation of our control centres (that run all day every day) that operate Genesis’ thermal and renewable generation assets; the trading of energy (which also happens all day every day) and securing, and enhancing, access to natural resources through the acquisition and management of resource consents. This role also has significant accountability for achieving positive relations with Iwi and stakeholders within the rohe and communities Genesis operates.

What does your job involve on a day to day basis? Oooohhh, it can involve so many different things, I am lucky to have a job with heaps of variety.  Any day could involve a visit to a power station to do a safety walkdown, discussing what is happening with the weather and lake levels and the impact of these on the electricity market, or a meeting with Iwi and other key stakeholders. Or I could be supporting community initiatives such as kiwi recovery programmes or our own Whio Forever programme with DOC, investigating events that have happened or learning new things, meeting with Council or Government representatives, negotiations, flood and water management – all sorts really!

What did you study at school and/or university that prepared you for this role? I studied Geography and Sciences at school and did much the same at University.  I studied at the University of Otago and have a Bachelor of Science Honours degree and Master of Science degree, both in Geography.  I studied hydrology (water) and glaciology (glaciers) and a lot of my day job involves water management now, so I get to work directly in the science field I studied at university.

What do you enjoy most about being a scientist? Being able to work in all kinds of different environments and the places science has taken me to.  I have travelled throughout the South Island doing science research and was very lucky to go to Antarctica while doing my Honours thesis.  Now, for work at Genesis, I travel all over New Zealand to amazing places like Tekapo, Waikaremoana, Hau Nui and Taupo! I love being able to use scientific knowledge in a business context to help make decisions on the operation and management of our assets and our activities.  I also love being able to share this information with others and of course learning more.

Would you encourage kids to get into technology and how? YES!  Science is cool and could lead to so many career options that we cannot even imagine right now!  There are heaps of ways to get into science such as studying science at school, or getting curious and doing experiments at home and school.  If you are a young woman at high school check out the following link and sign up to participate in Girls with Hi-Vis next year!  This is an annual event that allows women to get hands on experience of the infrastructure industry.  This is an awesome initiative from Connexis, who are the Infrastructure Industry Training Organisation learning partner: http://www.connexis.org.nz/careers/girls-high-vis/ . There are loads of ways to get into science careers too and you don’t just have to limit this to university study.  Lots of trades involve scientific study so look into trades too! Check out http://www.connexis.org.nz/ for information on infrastructure trades.

That’s great Rebecca! Anything else to add? If you don’t think science is for you, take another look! And young women at school who enjoy science, take a look at trade opportunities.  Trade careers use science, your analytical brain and a bunch of amazing skills you may not even realise you have yet and these skill sets are sought after in the trades.  You could be an electrician, an engineer, or running generation equipment.  GO FOR IT!

Facebook post: In our final profile celebrating our Genesis Women in Science – to celebrate 125 years of women having the vote in New Zealand – we profile Rebecca Larking. She has a background in hydrology (water) and is now in charge of several teams at Genesis – and gives some tips to young women thinking about getting into science or trades.