Celebrating International Women & Girls in Science Day with Shannon Million-Bell

To celebrate International Women & Girls in Science Day, we’re sharing of the stories of female employees who practice science every day at a Paper Excellence mills.

Shannon Million-Bell, Pulp Lab Technician, Meadow Lake
Shannon Million-Bell graduated with an honours degree in botany from the University of Calgary. After university, she and her husband decided to return to their hometown of Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan to settle down. She’s now worked as a Pulp Lab Technician at Meadow Lake Mechanical Pulp, a Paper Excellence company, for 14 years.

What does your team do?
“My team’s primary responsibility is to perform quality testing on our pulp product. The mill produces different grades of pulp and each grade has different parameters the pulp must achieve so it can be sold as a specific grade and used for a particular purpose. Some of the things we test for are bulk (thickness), tensile (strength), brightness, freeness (a measure of the rate water drains out of a pulp and water mixture).”

What do you like about your job?
“This job lets me use the practical lab skills and general lab protocol and procedures that I learned at university and I enjoy performing the actual testing. There’s enough routine and non-scheduled work to keep things interesting. In particular, on-demand testing keeps the team busy. If production has a concern and they want to check how the pulp is somewhere in the process, they’ll bring us an extra pulp sample they would like testing done on.”

What do you like about small town living?
“It’s nice to be able to go to work and not have to travel a long distance to get there—especially with home life and kids and whatnot. I just started snowmobiling this year and in the summer we spend as much time as possible at the local lakes. We live on 10 acres just outside of town and I grow a vegetable garden. It’s a good life.”