The Minister of Education of the Novosibirsk Region pens a letter of official thanks to a young COTES employee
Polina Belyavskaya, a heating engineer at OOO COTES Engineering, was rewarded with a letter of official thanks by the Ministry of Education of the Novosibirsk Region “For proper representation of the Novosibirsk Region and high achievements at the All-Russian Students Contest “I am a professional.” Polina had won in the category “Specialist/Master Degree in Electric and Heating Power” at the contest of 2018/2019. We decided to hold an interview with Polina and find out just how she succeeded in both working and studying, when she took her decision to become a power engineer, and how well young specialists, especially girls, are treated in plants.
Polina, was it always your goal to be engaged in the power industry, or did you wind up where you are as a result of destiny?
I studied in Kemerovo, in an ordinary municipal school. I loved physics, because it explains how nature works. It is always unambiguous: phenomena always have a given explanation. Unlike in, say, philosophy: let’s put it this way, or explain things like this or like that and so many more views… So, first, I decided to pass the Unified State Exam in Physics and in my 10th year of school I moved to Technical School No.23, to be better trained.
I did not want to become a scientist, however, and I needed to choose an area in which a sound knowledge of physics would be in-demand. Naturally engineering was the standout choice. I wanted to move to Novosibirsk because of the better educational opportunities and because of the city itself; I love it. It was a kind of happenstance, I could easily have been matriculated to any faculty at the Novosibirsk State Technical University, since I’m a professional volleyball player, but not to the Faculty of Energy. This is why I chose to enter it.
Was it hard to study? Had you any doubts?
At the beginning of the first year, on the 1st of September, when I first came to the faculty of “Heat Power and Heat Engineering,” it was a pre-graduate student who introduced us into the discipline. Frankly, I was a bit frightened and even wanted to leave this faculty. However, later I became involved in the lectures and, when we finished the boring theory, I really enjoyed it. When I started to work, I fell in love with my profession. I graduated with a bachelor degree in 2017, with honours, this year in June I’ll graduate from a master’s course. I’m going to write my PhD thesis on the calculation methods of the circulating fluidized-bed boilers. I want this to be not just a calculation, but a software tool, in which one may enter data, have results provided automatically.
What do you like in the work of a power engineer?
I’m a heating power engineer, I like to make calculations, to think and to design systems, how they should be arranged and function. At the next stage, I’d very much like to spend several months on the site of a plant and see my design materialized. At the same time, I have to resolve any incidents or problems promptly through expedient means. It is so cool, I would never have an experience like that just sitting in an office.
Are you taken seriously at plants?
Initially no, they don’t. But after demonstrating real work results, when they’d have problems and I’d help in their solution, attitudes changed. This turned more respect and attention to my opinion.
Tell us about the “I am a Professional” contest — how did you decide to take part in it?
I just wanted to try it. The Contest is for students and graduates of many disciplines. I participated in the “Power and Electric Energy” section. First, I qualified through the selection procedure and then I went to Saint Petersburg for the second stage.
We had 4 hours for 10 tasks: 5 in heat power and 5 in electric energy. The tasks were complicated, that was very interesting. However, these were generally taken from student courses: calculate the fuel consumption, determine the air excess at the chamber inlet and so on. One question was practical, it was about the setup: what should be done in the case of a pressure drop in the drum.
Of course, I could rely upon my working experience in relevant areas and I’ve spent many months directly on plant sites. For example, in the case of the air excess determination at the gas turbine plant chamber inlet, I succeeded, because I had already made calculations concerning boilers in my work, where I better learnt and adopted methods for boiler calculations.
The COTES team congratulates Polina on her success! We are really proud of such a young and talented colleague! Recently we celebrated Polina’s birthday, when she was presented with a traditional song by our team, the power engineer’s portrait and many cheerful and sincere wishes.