To celebrate the 125th anniversary of women getting the vote, School-gen is profiling some of our own Genesis women who are passionate about STEM and energy. The bravery and leadership of the suffragettes paved the way for women to pursue a range of different career options, and science is just one of these. This week, we profile Martina Perez Casajuana, who works at our Tekapo hydro scheme and is passionate about problem solving!

Hi Martina! What’s your role at Genesis? I am a Hydro Operator Maintainer.

What does your job involve on a day to day basis? My role involves doing lots of different things around the hydro scheme at Tekapo. A hydro scheme makes power from water from our rivers and lakes. Around 60% of New Zealand’s power comes from hydro. There are three main things my team and I are responsible for:
• We look after all the machines and the associated equipment, dams and local power lines.
• We manage the safety around the plant. That means keeping ourselves and others safe and ensuring we look after the environment.
• My favourite part is solving problems like managing outages, isolating and restoring generators, power lines, and things like that.

What did you study at school and/or university that prepared you for this role?
I found every subject at school important. From maths where you learn about numbers to PE where you learn how to push yourself to improve and how to work in a team. I studied Marine Engineering in Barcelona which helps me with my current job. However, among all the papers I did I think that the key thing I took away from university is more abstract than specific facts or knowledge. It taught me how to be persistent when you want something, how discipline pays off. To be critical with the results. How to find information, analyse it and discard what is rubbish from what is not!

What do you enjoy most about working in a scientific role?
What fascinates me about science and what I do is that we can make power, which is something we can’t hold in our hands, from something you can hold in a glass – water! I like that every day is different, every day you learn and the more you learn, the more you realise there is more to learn.

Would you encourage kids to get into science and how?
If you are curious, if you are all the time asking WHY? And HOW? Then, YES go for it! Thankfully science is not for everyone, otherwise we would not have lawyers. But if you do want to, remember that to be a good scientist, engineer, etc you still need to learn all the subjects at school. One day you may be writing an important scientific paper for a scientific magazine, and a spiral is not the same as a helicoid, so you also need to know about language. Everything is important in different ways.