Transcription – Meet Joanne Gamage McEvoy
[An animated title for the video series appears, "My STEM Story" where each letter of STEM is spelled out first as Science, Technology, Engineering and Math]
[Joanne Gamage McEvoy sits in front of a white background, speaking to an interviewer off camera]
[Text on screen: Dr. Joanne Gamage McEvoy – Research scientist, Natural Resources Canada]
Joanne Gamage McEvoy: My name is Joanne Gamage McEvoy, and I'm a research scientist with CanmetMINING in the Lands and Minerals sector of Natural Resources Canada. While growing up, my best friend wanted to be a medical doctor, so that's what got me first interested or knowing about science. My brother went into engineering, and I always idolized him, so I copied him and I went to engineering, but I ended up really loving it. I really love the problem solving aspect of it and making sense of different challenges that were applicable to real-world scenarios.
When I was younger, I loved language arts because I had an amazing teacher. But in high school, my favourite subject was physics and math, but also because I had amazing teachers. I just really loved learning, so anywhere that I could feel like I was being challenged, I always really thrived and really enjoyed it.
When I first started working at Natural Resources, I was really surprised at how interdisciplinary and how many faces there are to conversations that surround the natural resource sector in Canada, different people that come to the table, that make decisions on what actually affects the lives of Canadians. And so when I first started working at Natural Resources, I kind of fell into a group of really talented research scientists who I think really pushed me to advance my science and really challenged the way that I see things, and that really helped me, and I would consider them, you know, sort of mentors in that way. In addition, I benefited from a lot of informal mentors, especially women scientists who had been through what I had been through and were able to connect with me on a more personal level. And so I think that that blend of mentorship really influenced me early on, and still to this day.
I really love anytime that I set out to, you know, overcome a challenge or understand a problem, and especially when it's practically. So when I can do something in the lab or something small scale that demonstrates a theory or something that I've been thinking about, that hands-on aspect of it, when you actually see the world behaving the way that it should, it's super rewarding, and that's what I love most about being a scientist.
So some advice that I'd give to someone interested in my field is to be a good communicator because all science depends on being able to tell people why what we're doing is important and how it might affect their daily lives. Don't be afraid to be yourself. Just because you don't look like the others around you, or maybe don't fit in, it doesn't mean that you don't have the ability to produce amazing work, or you might have the ideas that could solve the next big problem. For scientists, I think it's really important to keep others informed, be sure that you're a good communicator, stay engaged, keep part of the conversation. And for those interested in science, continue to communicate with others and so we can all be a part of the conversations.
[Text on screen: #choosescience]
Now that you know my story, I encourage you to start your story. Choose science.