A self-proclaimed lifelong learner, Maria Halfyard has been studying at Memorial University on and off since 1995.
It’s education she applies to her role as manager of applied research and industrial projects at the Fisheries and Marine Institute’s (MI) Centre for Marine Simulation.
Three degrees—and counting
This month, Ms. Halfyard completed her third Memorial program—adding a master of maritime management to her master of business administration and her bachelor of science (biochemistry-nutrition) with a business minor.
“I love to learn and am always looking for opportunities to enhance my knowledge and understanding of areas that interest me,” she said.
At CMS, Ms. Halfyard provides a high level of quality management to the projects she oversees, whether it’s industrial response training, research and development activities or capacity building. She decided to complete her master of maritime management to broaden her knowledge of the maritime sector, which in turn would help her provide an enhanced level of service to the clients she works with.
‘Understand and respond’
“In my role at CMS I meet people from around the world and am challenged to help solve difficult problems encountered offshore, so it was important that I knew more about the industry to be able to better understand and respond to my clientele,” she said.
“Knowledge is power, and for me, it has helped build my confidence and ability to influence decisions and move things forward.”
Ms. Halfyard says that while her role at MI influenced her decision to complete the degree program, she was also personally interested in the courses offered in the program and in developing her skill set.
“Knowledge is power, and for me, it has helped build my confidence and ability to influence decisions and move things forward,” she said. “With a broader perspective, I can help build upon the successes the Centre for Marine Simulation has achieved to date and look to how we will respond in the future as needs change based on the global market.”
Outside the office, Ms. Halfyard is no stranger to learning and encourages others to do the same. She is an associate member of the Company of Master Mariner of Canada (N.L. division), a not-for-profit organization established to encourage and maintain high and honourable standards within the nautical profession and to uphold the status, dignity and prestige of the marine service.
She volunteers to lead the organization and facilitation of a nautical skills competition, an MI-facilitated event that has taken place for the last five years. Ms. Halfyard says it’s “very rewarding” to watch nautical science students apply their education and skills to a series of challenging exercises.
She is also an event co-ordinator with the institute’s social club where she helps organize functions that bring the MI community together.
“We have over 200 employees in our social club so putting off fun events is a great way to meet them, especially new hires. Building an enjoyable and inclusive work environment helps increase productivity,” she said.
“I’m also learning another language and may even pursue a PhD at some point.”
Ms. Halfyard graduated with a master of maritime management during Memorial’s spring 2016 convocation session and, while she’ll continue to put her new knowledge to work at the Centre for Marine Simulation, you can be sure there’ll be more to come.
“I’m the kind of person who can’t stay idle for long, so I’m exploring some business opportunities to tackle in my spare time,” she said. “I’m also learning another language and may even pursue a PhD at some point. It’s exciting to have these options in front of me.”