University of Ottawa grad returns to territory for job with utility company

Electrical engineer a first for Nunavut


RESOLUTE BAY – Joannie Pudluk, 24, is Nunavut's first native-born electrical engineer.

This June he graduated from University of Ottawa. Now he's enjoying a few weeks of relaxation at his parent's house in Resolute Bay, playing video games, snagging the odd Arctic char, and catching up on rest.

It's much deserved. For the last four years, he hasn't had much time to himself.

"There's school, then you do homework until you sleep, then there's school again," he says.

He was also happy to escape the humid, 30 C summer weather in Ottawa and return home, where it's been about 15 C for the last week – hot enough for him.

Later this month he moves to Iqaluit, to take a job as an electrical engineer with the Nunavut Power Corp, where he's worked for the last three summers.

"I was getting homesick after the last year. I wanted to go home, and a lot of my friends are in Iqaluit," he says.

Pudluk, who is the son of former MLA Ludy Pudluk, left home during Grade 12 to live in Yellowknife with his sister. But when he left for university, it was his first time living by himself in the South.

"It was pretty hard living there. Especially not knowing anybody," he says. But he says he was so busy with school most days, "I got over it."

It took a while to adjust to the university workload. "In high school, you'd have learned one thing a week. In university, you'd need to learn a new thing a day."

Still, he managed to graduate without pulling too many late nights, or developing an addiction to coffee.

He had a backup plan, in case engineering didn't work out.

"I was either going to be a teacher, or a police officer. I thought it would be cool to teach high school, because you get summers off."

He hopes to work for the power corporation for a few years. Eventually, he says he'd like to start his own business in Nunavut, although he's not sure yet what services he'll offer.

"It really depends what's needed, I guess. I'm thinking about it all the time."

He'd also like to travel.

"I'd like to go to the tropics. All my friends have been there, and they say it's really nice."

His advice to other young Nunavummiut? Keep at school. "It'll help you for the rest of your life."

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