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Genevieve Hamilton, BEng '04

Mechanical Engineering

Finding her way to the nuclear option

While many engineering students with aspirations to work in the nuclear industry gravitate to McMaster for the opportunity to work with the nuclear reactor, that wasn’t the case for Genevieve Hamilton.

In fact, the 2004 Mechanical Engineering grad wasn’t initially aiming her career at the nuclear industry.

But an entry-level engineering support role taught her about the systems and processes that support a reactor, and more than a decade later, Hamilton is Director of R&D Nuclear Facilities at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) in Chalk River, Ontario.

Formerly Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL), Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is the country’s leading nuclear science and technology organization.

“I oversee the way we run our nuclear facilities, keeping an eye out for compliance to regulations, safe, reliable operation, and alignment to research priorities,” she explains.

“I’ve been here for almost 11 years, but working here has been far from static. I’ve discovered that I have a keen enjoyment for leading people, and have gradually taken on more senior leadership positions, growing in my leadership skills and knowledge of the industry as I go.”

Hamilton previously served as director of technical support for the National Research Universal Reactor team. Comprised of a large group of engineers and technicians, the team ensured the high-power research reactor was well supported for safe, reliable operation, completing materials research, investigations supporting the CANDU power reactors, and isotope production.

“In my current role, I am now learning about the relationship between industry and research, so the learning never stops,” she says.

Her personal experience leads her to advise students to keep an open mind about the industry they might end up working in.

“Once you discover your strengths, a little creative thinking may make you realize that those strengths are relevant in industries you never would have considered,” she says.