International Day of Women and Girls in Science with Nici Darychuk

Lady in safety gear infront of a paper mill

To celebrate International Women’s Science Day, we’re sharing of the stories of female employees who do amazing work at our Paper Excellence mills. Our interview with Nici Darychuk.

Nici Darychuk is the Manager of No.5 Paper Machine in our Port Alberni mill. She grew up as a farm girl in a small town, and her love for nature was the reason behind why she studied science. She has a master’s degree in biology from the University of Victoria.

How did you come to work at Paper Excellence?

“I was working in the pulp and paper department in UBC. At that time, UBC had a collaboration with Catalyst.” Through that collaboration, Nici learned about openings in our mill in Powell River. “Eager to move back to a small town, I applied for the open positions at the mill. It took me two tries to land the job and by the summer of 2014 I was employed as a Stock Prep and Bleach Plant Operations Specialist. I have since transferred to Port Alberni division in 2020. This year marks my 10th anniversary.”  

How did you get your start in the paper manufacturing industry?

“I had the opportunity to visit a mill and it made me realize how manufacturing is such an exciting place to be. You must expose yourself to different things to find what intrigues you.”

What is your workday like?

“I am responsible for the team that manufactures paper on the Number 5 paper machine. My day-to-day varies, it starts with me getting up to speed on events from the previous shift, determining what needs follow up, and solving problems. Sometimes I’m out in the mill observing and assisting operations, other times I’m attending meetings about new products, and reporting to higher management.”

Why do you like your job?

“I like the non-stop knowledge I am fed in this industry. It’s learning that never stops. I have only been in the role for five months therefore it is still a learning curve for me. A satisfying part is problem solving; in a fast-paced environment I’ll gather information, figure out the problem and help find a solution. Also, I love the team aspect of it, the interplay between different people in different roles but we all work together and have the same goal of creating the end product.” 

What challenges do you face in your work because you’re a woman?

“I am fortunate that I have not come across anyone with the wrong attitude. Everyone at the mill has been very supportive.”

What would you tell girls who are thinking about a career similar to yours?

“It’s a great career and when starting school, I never imagined my path would lead here. It is honestly great; I can’t imagine myself doing anything else! In this industry, there are many opportunities and room for advancement. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and your weaknesses can be developed, so don’t let anything stop you. Even if you don’t feel confident, act confident.”