Alumni portrait - Monica Havskjold - NTNU Alumni
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Position: Department manager in energy, environment and technology in the consulting company Erichsen & Horgen.
Education: Master/Siv ing NTH (1986) Thermodynamics, PhD NTH (1994) Heat pumps in District Heating, MBA The Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) (2005) Public Management
Wants to make a positive difference
Monica Havskjold was woman number 50 in the history of the civil engineering studies "Machine" when she began in 1982. A common thread throughout her career, which also includes a PhD in heat pump, has been energy and the environment.
- When I finished my education as a civil engineer in 1986, it was a tough time to get a job. I was lucky to get a job at Bærum Energi, who had been given the exciting task of building Europe's first district heating and cooling system based on heat pumps, says Monica Havskjold.
There was also a requirement that a PhD should be completed during the project, which Havskjold describes as a "good match". She had always wanted to get a PhD.
- I finished my PhD specialising in heat pumps in 1994. I worked in an environment at NTH (now NTNU) and SINTEF which was a world leader in the field, so it was a privilege.
Woman number 50 on the “Machine” study
Today, Havskjold works as a department manager in energy, environment and technology in the consulting company Erichsen & Horgen. Previously, she has had her own consulting company, and worked in several state-owned enterprises, such as the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) and Statkraft. She also holds a professor 2 title at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) where she has contributed to establishing the study in renewable energy. Research has always been an important part of all the jobs she has had.
When Havskjold began her master's degree in engineering in 1982, the specialisation was called “Machine” Since then, it has changed its name, and is now called Energy and Environment. Among her fellow students, there were very few other women. She says she was woman number 50 in the history of the university that chose the study.
The desire to learn
- What is the most valuable asset you are left with after your time at NTNU?
- There is so much, not least it has given me a solid, professional foundation. Then there is the desire and ability to learn and attain new knowledge. At the end of the study, we had a lot of good teaching about critical thinking and working methods that have been useful in working life.
Havskjold also highlights the strong network she gained and that she is still in touch with today. She was the leader of the student organisation Smørekoppen and found it social and fun to join in all the social activities outside the studies.
Motivated by teaching
Havskjold finds motivation in working with things that make a positive difference; energy and the environment is the common denominator for all the jobs she has had. She has also always been anchored in research.
She enjoys teaching, and here she thinks she can accomplish something that is in line with NTNU's vision "Knowledge for a better world".
Both teaching and research help to pass on knowledge that contributes to the development of society. She encourages NTNU to continue focusing on studies that help find solutions to climate and environmental challenges.
- We happily recruit students from NTNU. I also think they are good at connecting education with business.
Havskjold recently became a member of the Program Council - Energy and Sustainability at NTNU (Faculty of Engineering). She sees this as an exciting opportunity to contribute to strategic development and quality assurance of the study portfolio within an area that will be particularly important in the future.
Notices increasing interest in the climate and environment
- The world is facing major challenges when it comes to climate and environment. Do you ever lose your motivation?
- I have never been disillusioned. I have always believed that we have to take step by step, that we must do what we can here and now, then it will move forward little by little. And I think it has. I would rather look at the half-full glass instead of the half-empty one.
After working with climate and the environment for over 30 years, she thinks that a lot of positive things have happened in recent years. At the same time, she notices that lack of knowledge is still a problem.
- Both the interest and the demand for knowledge in the private and public sector is like a steep upwards curve. For instance, we receive a lot of requests for finding good solutions in recycling and circular economy, says Havskjold.