Breaking the Mold – December
Since 2012, Pam Buck has been the Trade and Technical Department Chair at Northern Maine Community College. Pam’s career at NMCC began in 2008 as instructor of the Computer-Aided Drafting program. Her interest in drafting began in high school when she attended the Presque Isle Vocational Center for two years. It was during this time that the “seed was planted” to pursue a career in drafting. Pam’s instructor also encouraged her to continue her education after high school.
At that time, Pam decided that she wanted to attend a two-year post-secondary program. She attended Vermont Technical College and earned an Associate’s degree in Architectural Engineering Technology. She went on to obtain a Bachelor of University Studies at the University of Maine, which was a self-designed program consisting of business, education, and engineering classes. Pam also attended the University of Southern Maine and earned a Master’s degree in Adult and Higher Education. She obtained her license to practice engineering in 2000.
Prior to her employment at NMCC, Pam had several work experiences in engineering and construction. Prior to owning her own engineering firm, she worked for two other engineering companies in Presque Isle.
In addition to her responsibilities as Department Chair, Pam teaches classes at NMCC including blueprint reading for welders, mechanical drafting and design, and structural design. Teaching and working with students is what she enjoys most about her job. “I also enjoy working with the faculty. I see a real commitment to their programs and everyone is passionate about what they do.”
Even though Pam has worked with a predominately male population since the beginning of her career, gender never crossed Pam’s mind. “I never thought about being the only woman. I was just doing my job.” Fortunately, she has never experienced any discrimination or harassment in the workplace. She feels that women working in a trade profession can benefit from being assertive and confident.
According to Pam, getting hired may be a challenge for women pursuing certain trade occupations. “They may have to work hard to prove themselves.” It’s important for women to demonstrate their knowledge and skills at the job site. “You need to show that you can do the job to gain respect of your peers and employers.”
For females considering a career in a trade, Pam offers advice. “Find something that you like to do. If you like to do it, pursue it, regardless of whether it’s non-traditional or not. Recognize what you are good at, find out what career goes with your skill set, and look into it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.”
As an instructor, Pam wants to see students be successful at NMCC and offers tips for academic success. “Go to class, ask questions and get help if you need it. Instructors and students are here to help you. If you work hard enough and want something bad enough, you will be successful. You’ve got to want it.”