A life-long interest in Africa takes Samuel Davison to Fleming College

Samuel Davison grew up watching movies and documentaries about Africa, in awe of the incredible biodiversity and ecosystems, and the flora and fauna there.

When he started researching post-secondary schools, Samuel discovered that Fleming College’s Ecosystem Management Technician program includes a mandatory two-week field placement– and one of the three organized placements is in South Africa. 

“It called to me as soon as I researched the Ecosystem Management Technician program,” said Samuel. “I knew that is where I wanted to be before I was even accepted into the program.”

And when it was his time to apply for the South Africa field placement team, Samuel leaped at the opportunity.

“I was all over it,” said Samuel on the highly competitive, rigorous screening process. “I wanted the experience, I wanted to see everything that I have been dreaming of since I was a kid, and the opportunity was right there in front of me so I thought, ‘why not?’”

After submitting his cover letter and resume, completing a fitness test, studying handbooks and project aims, and completing a written test, Samuel was selected for the 2019 Askari Wilderness Conservation Programme team.

Life-changing adventures in the Askari Wilderness Conservation Programme

The Askari Wilderness Conservation Programme gives volunteers the opportunity to contribute to the management, research and monitoring activities on Pidwa Wilderness Reserve. The goal is to secure, increase and improve wild habitats.

During his field placement, Samuel assisted with:

  • Reserve management and data capture, such as birds of prey identification and monitoring, and cheetah monitoring.
  • Sensitive tree protection, habitat rehabilitation and invasive plant control.
  • Darting and relocation of herbivore species and radio telemetry tracking of various species, including elephants and cheetahs.
  • Daily vehicle and equipment checks and fence maintenance, along with data recording.

“This whole experience is a once in a lifetime,” said Samuel. “I don’t mean to sound cliché, but being in South Africa on a conservation reserve surrounded by the most beautiful landscapes, wildlife and people is truly breathtaking.”

One unforgettable experience Samuel had in South Africa was assisting with sable antelope darting and relocation with world-renowned wildlife veterinarian Dr. Peter Rogers, veterinary nurse Janelle Goodrich, and the Askari team.

“You really learn to appreciate an animal when your hands are wrapped around its horns supporting it, feeling the heat and the life within it, your adrenaline pumping but somehow feeling at peace all at the same time. It’s a state of euphoria,” Samuel explained. “Getting this hands-on experience and education from professionals with wild sable was unforgettable and one of the fond memories I will take with me for the rest of my life.”

Samuel said his field placement experience in South Africa developed his interpersonal and teamwork skills, strengthened his work on scientific methods, and helped him make life-long connections.

“I have always been passionate about conservation and the environment, but getting this experience to me was like throwing gasoline on a fire; it completely ignited this passion that was burning inside me,” said Samuel. “It showed me where I wanted to be in the future and what kind of person I want to become. This is an experience of unbelievable value, and something that I will cherish and use to continue driving me forward in my future.”

The Ecosystem Management Technician student is especially grateful to faculty members and trip leaders/organizers Barb Elliot and Mike Fraser, who he describes as role models.

“I can confidently say that these two people have changed my life. Their combined knowledge, wisdom and outright positive and driven attitude do not go unnoticed by anyone that comes across them. They have driven me to be the best person that I can be, academically but equally as a human being,” said Samuel. “They work incredibly hard and expected the same from us, which tells me they really do care about the outcome of what kind of people we are graduating from Fleming College.”

Dean Brett Goodwin (back row, second from left), faculty members Barb Elliot (front row, centre) and Mike Fraser (front row, second from right), and the field placement team.

He was also excited that Brett Goodwin, Dean of Fleming’s School of Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences, joined his group in South Africa.

“It’s not often you get to travel with your professors, let alone the Dean! It’s inspiring to see someone you wouldn’t normally get to meet getting back into science and into the outdoors with the students,” said Samuel.

He “whole-heartedly” recommends the Askari Wilderness Conservation Programme, adding that the experience, skills and work will make an impact.

Fleming’s Ecosystem Management Technician program is the right fit for Samuel

Samuel discovered Fleming College through a friend, who endorsed Fleming based on its strong reputation as an environmental school. Samuel researched the College and was intrigued by the Ecosystem Management Technician program, which featured a mandatory field placement and opportunity to travel abroad.

To ensure Fleming was the right fit for him, Samuel attended the Spring 2017 Open House event before starting school that fall.

“The Open House gave me the opportunity to get a feeling for the faculty, the school and the environment. I needed to make sure that I was investing a piece of my life to somewhere that was going to invest in me and my future as well,” he explained. “I found having students and faculty present at booths, providing information and experiences in each program and service, were key in my decision to feeling like the program and school was right for me.”

Samuel describes Fleming’s Frost Campus as his “home away from home,” a close-knit, small campus community full of caring people.

“The faculty here at Fleming College go to the ends of the earth for their students and continue to do so. They have made my experience over the past two years unforgettable, but so incredibly valuable,” he said. “This program is full of wonderful, dedicated and passionate students who are like-minded but provide many different perspectives, and that is something truly amazing.”

Samuel will attend Fleming College for an additional year to complete the Ecosystem Management Technology program. After that, he would like to pursue Fleming’s Environmental Visual Communication graduate certificate at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. He eventually wants to study conservation and biology in university.

May Nguyen and Ryan Ly pursue Pharmacy Technician career path together

May Nguyen and Ryan Ly at Timmins and District Hospital

In their home country of Vietnam, May Nguyen and Ryan Ly said they are “supposed” to get married and settle down at their age, but the couple didn’t conform to societal expectations.

Instead of following the traditional path, May and Ryan flew to Canada to take the Pharmacy Technician program at Fleming College together. 

“Ryan had to convince his family members to let him study abroad and I was lucky to have my family fully support me with my future plans,” said May, whose father is a licensed pharmacist and successful pharmacy owner in Vietnam. “I have matured into the field of pharmacy throughout my life and find it one of the most rewarding careers available to driven individuals.”

Ryan, who is excited to have a career helping others, agrees.

“Being a Pharmacy Technician and giving a helping hand to people who need it the most is a very respectful and honourable mission,” said Ryan. “I know that although it requires a lot of responsibilities, it pays off with people’s gratitude.”

The couple experience “cold weather, warm people” in Canada

The couple were excited to move to Canada for their studies, despite never having visited the country before. One activity they particularly enjoy in Canada is walking the beautiful trails at Sutherland Campus in Peterborough, where they look for foxes, birds, snakes and bunnies.

“[Canada is] huge landscapes, beautiful nature, nice people, hockey, maple syrup, meatballs, and… it’s really cold! Brrr!” said May. “But we have experienced ‘cold weather, warm people’ here, as all of the people we have met are friendly and kind.”

They describe their classmates as friendly and helpful, and their faculty as professional, knowledgeable and caring.

Fleming’s applied learning prepares May and Ryan for the real world

The applied learning offered in the Pharmacy Technician program at Fleming College, including a pharmacy lab environment as their classroom, is a huge asset to the couple. They explain that students have the opportunity to practise everything from filling and checking prescriptions to non-sterile and sterile compounding, with faculty support through each step.

“This program has really prepared students with the knowledge that they learned in class and lab to go out into the real world. We are already very confident in our skills and techniques that we learned,” said Ryan.

May and Ryan applied their knowledge and skills in the real world during their field placement, which they completed at Timmins and District Hospital (TADH). At TADH, they:

  • packed unit dose and distributed floor stock
  • checked IV medications and reordered when necessary
  • audited narcotic and controlled drugs
  • assisted nurses with tracking medications
  • maintained complete, accurate and secure patient records
  • managed medication incidents or discrepancies
  • medication reconciliation
  • helped in the dispensary
  • returned medication
  • contributed to pharmacy inventory management process.
  • non-sterile compounding, collaborated with Pharmacy Technician and Pharmacist in product label verification, participated in independent double-check process and more.

Ryan Ly at Timmins and District Hospital, where he felt like a healthcare professional during his field placement.

“As an intern, I enjoyed the real-life application of what I was learning in school,” said Ryan. “The best part was talking to patients and preparing their medications. Also, working 40 hours a week allowed me to become close to the team at TADH. They all treated me with respect and helped me grow in my knowledge of the hospital pharmacy setting. I finally felt like I was a healthcare professional and someone on the way to becoming an expert in my field of practice.”

May said this experience gave her the opportunity to network and develop her teamwork skills.

“Everyone jumps in, they just do what’s necessary to achieve excellent patient care,” said May. “Also, this placement provided networking opportunities. We have always been taught that pharmacy is a small world, and I may be working with these people again in the future.”

Field placement leads May and Ryan to employment at Timmins and District Hospital

May and Ryan were both offered positions at TADH after their field placement, on the condition that they pursue licensing after graduation. They are currently In-Patient Pharmacy Assistants and will later become Registered Pharmacy Technicians.


May Nguyen loves that this career path makes an impact on individuals, families and communities.

“No other profession will provide the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life the way a job in healthcare can,” said May on what she loves about this career. “Your work will impact individuals, families, and sometimes communities because you will be assisting healthcare practitioners with treating diseases and ailments, and play an important part in the patient’s well-being.”

The couple are graduating from Fleming College this June and are excited to grow their careers. May’s advice to current students is to never stop learning, even after you graduate.

“The world of pharmacy is changing and is driven mainly by the interests of the patients as they become more aware of their health, especially with easier access to healthcare,” said May. “Be aware of current events and how they might impact the healthcare field. Keep adapting and preparing for whatever changes lie ahead.”

Involvement leads to opportunity, says Construction Engineering Technician grad Tyler Fenton

The construction industry is a consumer of resources and raw materials and a contributor to solid waste, but Fleming Construction Engineering Technician graduate Tyler Fenton is hoping to improve the environmental impact of construction with sustainability.

“Sustainability is not the silver bullet, but it’s a powerful tool to drive change for the better,” said Tyler. “Through pursuing higher levels of sustainability, we can lower the waste produced by construction activities, make the buildings we build healthier for occupants, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the energy required to run these buildings and create more affordable living for people moving into urban areas.”

As a Sustainable Buildings Solutions Coordinator, LEED Green Associate at EllisDon Corporation, Tyler is responsible for ensuring that projects achieve different levels of sustainability certification: LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, Toronto Green Standard certification, or both. Tyler’s department services EllisDon projects across Canada, including hospitals, commercial towers, schools, train stations and institutional buildings.

“It’s very exciting to be a part of such a wide variety of projects that serve many different functions in their communities, but that are all striving for excellence in design, construction and operation,” said Tyler.

Fleming education and network leads Tyler to success

Tyler worked on-campus at the Office of Sustainability while attending Fleming College and one of his responsibilities was to book guest speakers to talk to Trades students about sustainability in the construction industry.

One of his speaking events featured the Director and Program Manager from the Sustainable Building Solutions department at EllisDon and, through this experience, Tyler started growing a network at his dream place of employment.

When he graduated, Tyler emailed the CEO of EllisDon seeking a job opportunity (scroll to “Proud Fleming College graduate” for how they met). Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as Tyler had hoped…

“Because I did not have industry experience, they couldn’t justify hiring me at the time,” he said. “They told me to go get some experience and re-apply in the future.”

So, he did.

Tyler worked as a Construction Coordinator at Dufferin Construction for one year to get the experience he needed. And when he re-applied to EllisDon, he got the dream job this time.

Confidence in the KUBE is why Tyler chose Fleming

Tyler didn’t always dream of working in construction. With a resume ranging from wildland firefighter to tree planter, bartender to labourer, and even a gig in the jewelry industry, Tyler took his time finding the right career fit.

When he decided on construction and engineering, Tyler chose Fleming because the program introduces students to various trades to give them an understanding of the different disciplines they’ll encounter on job sites.

“I was very impressed with the D-Wing in particular,” he said. “In no other educational facility I’d visited had I seen anything like the KUBE. This made me confident that I would be in a good learning environment.”

Adding, “I would absolutely recommend that prospective students go and visit the campus, go to the Open House, because it will give you a perspective on where you’ll be learning and if it’s what you’re looking for.”

Proud Fleming College graduate

“I’m very happy with my Fleming experience and I’m proud to tell people that’s where I went to college,” he said. “Overall, you’ve got a beautiful, newly renovated, top-of-the-line building to learn in, instructors who are passionate and have real world experience, and as many opportunities to learn or get involved as you can handle.”

Now that Tyler has graduated from Fleming, his advice to students is to get involved.

“The more you get involved, the more opportunity you’re going to have when you graduate,” said the Class of 2018 graduate.

While at Fleming, Tyler volunteered with Enactus Fleming, worked at the Office of Sustainability, and collaborated with his program coordinator to research and test permeable pavement.

The permeable pavement project led Tyler to representing Fleming College, the Office of Sustainability and FastStart at the 2017 OCE Discovery event, where he met EllisDon CEO Geoff Smith (who Tyler emailed for an interview when he graduated).

“In my experience, the connections I made through my student worker position in the Office of Sustainability opened the door to my dream job,” he said. “And the skills and knowledge I gained from the program and from the instructors I got to know allowed me to land the job. It wouldn’t have happened that way if I hadn’t gotten involved in the things that I did.”

From dairy farm to paralegal practice, it’s all about community for Janet Heeringa

Janet Heeringa at her home office

Raised on a dairy farm, Agriculture degree in hand, and a share in Karlina Farms Ltd., it’s hard to believe Janet Heeringa owns a paralegal practice. But after renovating the front of her barn for an office space, Janet Heeringa Paralegal Service is open for business!

“My hubby and I completely renovated the office space,” said Janet. “This also is convenient for my brother because, if he requires help, I am here to help him… small jobs, of course.”

Janet chose to open her own practice to continue the flexible work hours and freedom to set her own work pace that she enjoyed for 15 years at Karlina Farms Ltd., where Janet was her own boss.

“I love agriculture, as it is a family business and lifestyle,” said Janet, who earned her Agriculture degree in 2003 from Kemptville College (University of Guelph) and, alongside her brother Richard, took over daily operations of Karlina Farms Ltd. in exchange for a share.

But in 2016, Janet and her family made the difficult decision to sell their milking herd. The need for updated, expensive equipment and their uncertainty of the Canadian quota system drove them to this decision.

And the dream to one day help the agriculture community as a paralegal is what drove Janet back to school.

“I have always wanted to help and educate people. I have found that, through agriculture, I have been able to educate people on our Canadian dairy industry and why we are lucky to have a closed system here in Canada,” said Janet. “With Law and Justice, I can now help people with their problems and also educate them on various issues.”

Janet took the Law Clerk and Paralegal programs at Fleming College. Since these programs share three semesters, Janet was able to earn a second diploma with one additional semester of study.

“Honestly, I was very nervous coming into Fleming as a mature student. I felt I would be the oldest student in the class!” said Janet, who is a wife and mother of three daughters. “On the very first day, my fears were eased seeing the range of students in my program. I made a friend, Emily, right away in the parking lot. We stuck together for three semesters and are still friends today!”

There are advantages to attending college as a mature student, as well. Janet explains that she was more dedicated to her studies, had better time management and workload management at Fleming College compared to her first post-secondary school experience.  

“I also found, having done college at 19 and again in my mid-30s, that I could concentrate better—even with children as a distraction,” she said. “If I had the time, I would do most assignments at school during my free time and avoid doing these things at home with the family distractions.”

Janet graduated from the Paralegal program in May 2018 and the Law Clerk program in August 2018.

“My experience at Fleming was wonderful. I made lifelong friends, expanded my network of professionals and absolutely loved the teaching staff,” said Janet, crediting faculty members Diana Collis, Barb Moyle and Amy Maycock for their help throughout her studies and for setting Janet up to be a strong, independent and successful paralegal.

“I would highly recommend the Paralegal and Law Clerk programs,” she said. “These programs engage your mind and teach you to look at situations from a neutral and objective view. It teaches you to be a better person, and how to become involved in your community and help the people of your community you want to work in.”

International student Oanh Ho wins Female Business Student of the Year – Fleming College

For five years, Oanh (“Jo”) Ho worked in the hospitality industry in Vietnam, feeling exhausted from long work days in a busy city. She decided it was time for a change and wanted the adventure of studying abroad.

“I was born and grew up in the hustle of Ho Chi Minh City, and now I preferred something different, something unique and with a slower pace,” said Jo. “I’m happy with my choice of starting the new journey here at Fleming College.”

She chose the Global Business Management (GBM) program because it relates to her previous education in hospitality and career experience. Jo also feels that the length of this program (two years) gives her enough time to immerse herself in her studies, as well as Canadian culture and lifestyle.

“I treasure every moment I am here,” said Jo, who started the GBM program in January. “I’ve got to try my best whenever I have the chance; work hard at school, gain experience at my part-time job, participate in the Enactus Fleming group, and optimize but also balance my time budget efficiently before I graduate.”

2019 Female Business Student of the Year – Fleming College Award winner

It is this work ethic, enthusiasm and involvement in the community that led Jo to win the 2019 Female Business Student of the Year – Fleming College Award at the Women’s Business Network of Peterborough’s Women In Business Awards.

Faculty member Raymond Yip Choy canvassed faculty for nominations and said Jo received the most votes. In the nomination form, Raymond writes, “From the time that Jo started her Global Business Management program at Fleming College, she stood out as a leader. Not only has she been very diligent in her studies, but she has also taken the time to get involved in campus activities and is always looking for ways to give back to the community.”

He adds, “Her peers and her professors all agree that she is exactly the kind of woman that will make a real difference to the business and the wider community.”

Jo said she was surprised to receive an award after only three months in the country and was very excited to be chosen.  

“In class, the front row is my favorite spot to sit, as I always prioritize studying because this experience is a huge investment from my parents. With an estimated GPA of 3.5 after my first semester, my efforts are paying off,” said Jo.

Jo said she is a mature student and the only Vietnamese student in her program, which forces her to immerse herself in a different culture, get involved, and develop her language skills.

“I strongly believe that a person can evaluate an issue as a challenge or a chance, it’s mostly up to their mindset,” said Jo, who views this as a chance.

Leading Enactus Fleming

One chance Jo took was getting involved in Enactus Fleming, a student-led entrepreneurial club where students apply their skills to entrepreneurship, participate in workshops, impact the economic growth of international communities, and start a business on campus.

“When I first came to Fleming, I knew I had to find that club!” said Jo, who found Enactus Fleming on her first day. “I heard of Enactus before coming to Canada as I was inspired by another Vietnamese student, who is the president of Enactus at Bow Valley College in Alberta. I watched her updates from Regionals to Nationals and then to the World Cup, and the spirit of the people at these events is what triggered me to want to become one of them. That’s when I added ‘join Enactus Fleming’ to my To-Do List.”

A few months after joining Enactus Fleming, Jo presented at the regional pitch competition in Mississauga, and on April 3 she was elected as President of Enactus Fleming. Now, Jo is helping prepare the team for the national pitch competition in Vancouver.

“My favourite experience in Enactus isn’t one thing or time, it’s our meetings that we have every Wednesday,” said Jo. “The quality of the time we spend together is important and we have become friends who can share about school and life. Enactus has given me the chance to expand my network with Indians, Brazilians, Canadians and Russian.”

Jo credits previous president Emily Scott for believing Jo could lead Enactus Fleming, and faculty member Raymond Yip Choy for his dedication to the team and his guidance.

Peterborough is Jo’s perfect place for college

When Jo isn’t busy studying or meeting with Enactus Fleming, she is playing in the bell choir at Sacred Heart Church, working part-time at Zaffron Grill, or spending time with new friends at the Trent Valley International Coffee House group, which she recently joined.

“Peterborough is a great place to focus on studying and engage in interesting activities. With a smaller campus community, it is a good chance for international students to get involved with on-campus activities and have fairly less pressure and competition than bigger cities,” said Jo.

“I would definitely recommend Fleming College to other international students because not only is the school good, but also the students and the faculty make your experience even better. I really believe that Canada has treated me so nice since I first came and I really believe the chances for international students are always available for everyone.”

Health Information Management student uses university and college to build a strong healthcare resume

Sarah Mandarano never considered college. As an academically strong student in high school with an interest in medicine, Sarah only ever considered university.

“My parents told me ‘you’re going to university.’ That was my path,” she explained. “I honestly never even looked at colleges because it was always university. There was no point in looking.”

Sarah left her hometown of Peterborough, Ont., after high school to study Bio-Medical Science at the University of Guelph. Sarah chose this major because she wanted a career in the biomedical field and Biology was her strongest high school subject.

Feeling homesick, Sarah decided to move back to Peterborough after first year and transferred into Trent University’s Biology program. She loved her experience at Trent, including the smaller class sizes and faculty.

“In high school I thought I’d be a doctor and then in university I considered being a physiotherapist, but around my third year of university I looked into the HIM program at Fleming and realized I would really love that,” said Sarah.

HIM, or Health Information Management, is a two-year diploma program where students learn to use technology to capture and analyze data, and create health information for healthcare delivery use, and financial and management planning.

Sarah was introduced to the program by her boyfriend’s stepsister and cousin, who both work at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) and are Fleming HIM graduates.

“I didn’t want to be hands-on, I didn’t want direct patient contact, but I wanted to use my expertise,” Sarah explained. “In this, you get to use a computer all day – and I’m from the generation who grew up on computers, so I’m good with that – and you get to use medical information.”

She finished her Honours degree at Trent University and then enrolled at Fleming College, using some of her university credits towards her diploma.

“I think my university experience helps,” said Sarah. “I was always studying at Trent and I had a high course-load, so I know how to prioritize time, and I think it helps having a degree long-term for my career. But I wasn’t getting a job I loved through my degree; and there’s lots of university graduates, but not a lot of jobs. I wanted my resume to stand out and I want a job I love. My program size at Fleming is small, it’s a specialized skill, and I know I will get employed from it.”

Sarah said she loves the HIM program at Fleming, especially the faculty.

“It is so interesting and the teachers explain things really well. We have our own lab with the two big screens and it feels really comfortable, and it feels like they’re preparing you for what your workday will be like,” said Sarah.

“I want to work at PRHC and it’s nice that our teachers also work there! One works in the Health Records Department, so we have connections and it’s nice to know we’re meeting people who can help us in our career,” she said.

Sarah is in her fourth semester at Fleming and has been recommending the program to her university friends.

“They don’t know what to do, so I tell them about this program and how it complements my university degree really well,” she said.

Wireless Information Networking student Innovates for Change

manveen-on-campus

 

In Canada, only one third of graduates in science, technology, engineering and math – also known as STEM – are women. By increasing women in STEM subjects, we can fuel change that will impact our future, which is why the theme for International Women’s Day this year is #InnovateForChange (source: Status of Women Canada).

Manveen Kour is part of that change. Having studied electronics and communications at the University of Jammu, Manveen is adding a graduate certificate to her resume by taking Fleming College’s Wireless Information Networking program. She plans to grow her career in IT after graduating this spring.

“When I go to clients and look around their businesses, all I see are men. In an entire company, there is only a couple women!” said Manveen, who provides IT services through her Fleming applied project.

“I read online something like 20 to 30 percent of technology professionals are women, but I know companies want to hire women because equality is good. It’s not that the opportunity isn’t there, the women just have to go for it!”

One reason women are underrepresented in STEM subjects and careers, Manveen suspects, is because the interest isn’t nurtured from a young age.

“Where I’m from, India, there is inequality; boys are encouraged to take technology and women are not,” said the Wireless Information Networking student. “You have to encourage an interest in technology from the beginning, from your childhood.”

Manveen says she is fortunate her interest was nurtured from a young age the same way it was for her brother. She credits her father for this and feels very grateful for him.

“My brother would open up the computer and explore it because he was curious, and a lot of girls don’t do that because they’re not encouraged to,” she said. “The family plays a role in this and my father, right from the beginning, told me this is a great career and encouraged me. And I still call him when I have a question or dilemma, and he’s there.”

Teachers also play an important role in development, Manveen explains. She hopes teachers encourage girls and boys equally in developing STEM interests and pursuing careers in this field.

Manveen did feel encouraged by her family and teachers to study electronics and communications at the University of Jammu. During her university internship, she learned cloud computing and wireless networking, and really enjoyed it. She decided to enhance this skillset after graduating and moved to Canada for Fleming’s Wireless Information Networking program.

Manveen at her applied project.
Manveen at her applied project.

“Canada is very welcoming, I didn’t expect it to be so sweet! I love Canada!” said Manveen, adding that everyone she has met at Fleming College has been very helpful.

Faculty members Darren Gethons, Alwyn Appiah and Mamdouh Mina, in particular, are three instructors Manveen credits for their support and motivation. Manveen recommends any students who are struggling to speak with their professors for their help and guidance.

This semester, the Fleming College student has a very busy schedule. In addition to classes and a part-time campus job at the Contact Centre, Manveen is working at Interface Technologies on Wednesdays and Fridays for her program applied project. As her applied project, Manveen is helping provide IT services to clients across the city for Interface Technologies.

“When I was interviewed for my applied project position, I was against three boys. I was the only girl in the interview and I got it!” said Manveen. “I was scared being interviewed against them, but my dad told me he had this vision and I will get it and don’t worry—and I did!”

Manveen recommends this career path to anyone interested in it and to find someone to cheer you on.

“For me, that’s my father. He keeps me going,” she said. “Aim big and don’t settle. Never settle, know you deserve more. Like my father always says, ‘the sky is the limit!’”

Paramedic student puts knowledge into action by helping stroke victim

Left to right: Shannon Walmsley, Davis Sheridan, and Donna Walmsley.
Left to right: Shannon Walmsley, Davis Sheridan, and Donna Walmsley.

Donna Walmsley started her day on February 4, 2019 just like any other Monday, volunteering at Community Care Ennismore and running errands around town. She didn’t feel any different that morning than any other morning, but February 4th is the day Donna had a stroke.

“I was fine,” said Donna. “I went to Giant Tiger and started driving to No Frills, and then I felt like I couldn’t see.”

Donna missed her first turn into the plaza and then remembered there is a second entrance, which she managed to pull into and park. Realizing no one would notice her inside the vehicle, Donna willed herself to move.

“I opened my car door and I didn’t know if I could walk, I didn’t know if I could make it across the parking lot, but I needed to get to a public space,” said Donna, who describes the feeling as extreme dizziness. Donna made it inside the No Frills and held onto the vegetable shelves to prevent herself from falling.

Luckily for Donna, Fleming College Paramedic student Davis Sheridan was grocery shopping that day.

“I told the employees to call the Paramedics because they weren’t sure what to do. I comforted her until the ambulance came and I did a stroke assessment on her, checked her pulse, and calmed her breathing,” explained Davis, who is in his final semester at Fleming. “She felt dizzy and she couldn’t stand up, she was worried about her dog being at home and no one being there, and she also mentioned her daughter Shannon.”

When Paramedics arrived, Davis reported all of this to them.

“We are going through ride-outs right now in the Paramedic program,” said Davis, referring to the fourth-semester Paramedic Consolidation course, where students work regular shifts in an ambulance with a paramedic crew. “I am doing mine with Northumberland Paramedics right now, which is working with real patients, so this situation felt natural to me and I was comfortable. I felt very prepared through school and experience.”

Donna and her daughter Shannon are very grateful to Davis. On Monday, March 4, they visited the Paramedic Lab at Fleming’s Sutherland Campus to thank Davis in person.

“You’re going into this career and I think it’s nice to go into it having a happy story to hang on to,” said Shannon, who teased her mom when she met Davis.

“My mom loves red hair,” said Shannon.

Donna added, “Shannon said to me, ‘leave it to you to find a redhead!”

“We’re no different if we can do the job” Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing students Amanda, Amy and Kayla

women-in-trades

 

When you walk into the multi-story KUBE structure in the Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre, Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing students Amanda Hancock, Amy French and Kayla Wilford do not stand out amongst the group of students welding pipes, finding parts, and polishing finished projects.

And that’s just the way they like it.

“I don’t feel any different,” said Amanda on being a woman in trades. “They help when needed and I love it here.”

Amanda’s classmate Amy agrees, adding, “We all help each other out.”

It wasn’t too long ago when there weren’t many female students in trades programs at Fleming College. Since 2014, when the Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre opened at the Sutherland Campus, enrolment of female students grew from 3 per cent to 12 per cent.

Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing program coordinator Neil Maika said that while trades may still be a male-dominated industry, women employed in trades careers is on the rise.

“There is an immense opportunity here. Multiple employment paths are becoming available,” said Neil. “Also, all of my students are great. They respect each other, they help each other, and they are all very professional. All students are treated equally by both faculty and their peers, whether female or male.”

First-semester student Amanda said she did have some concerns before she enrolled.

After hearing amazing things about Fleming College from her brother, who took the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning program, Amanda decided to give trades a try three years after graduating from high school. Amanda chose the plumbing program based on the recommendation of her friend’s stepfather, who is a plumber and loves his profession.

“I was worried about it myself, but they’re all nice. It’s no different being a girl here,” said Amanda. “We’re no different if we can do the job. And all the guys here are very friendly, kind and supportive.”

Her classmate Kayla, on the other hand, had no hesitation enrolling in the Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing program right after high school.

“I spent the last two summers working in trades with a friend. I helped with renovations, basic labour, installing showerheads, things like that,” said Kayla, who graduated from Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School last year. “I was torn between going straight into an apprenticeship or taking this program. I decided to take this program to help figure out if plumbing is the trade I want to do, instead of going straight into a specific apprenticeship.”

In the Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing program, students learn a variety of trade-specific skills. They are also introduced to installing, maintaining and repairing piping systems in residential, commercial and industrial settings to enhance employment opportunities.

Amy French, a mature student who started college after having children, said she chose the program based on job prospects.

“I’m told women in trades are wanted and needed, and specifically asked for, so here I am,” said Amy. “I chose plumbing because plumbing was the most expensive construction cost, and I want to build my own house one day. I feel like it’s the right career path.”

Amy said she feels being a mature student gives her an advantage. She feels more mature now than she did right after high school, she doesn’t party, and she is very focused on finishing school.

Her advice to current students is don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Amanda added that there are many resources available for help, such as asking faculty when you have questions, signing up for tutoring, and taking advantage of D2L.

Kayla reminds students to stay focused on school. “Pay attention, get your homework done, get your projects done—focus,” she said.

Recreation and Leisure Services placement is ‘gold’ to Keary Dean, who went to Whistler Olympic Park

keary-deanKeary Dean believes you get out of life what you put into it, which is why the Fleming College graduate chose a program that speaks to his values and could help him begin a career and education journey that’s meaningful to him.

“It seemed like a great place to start when you were, like me, unsure of what exactly to do career-wise. Because the job opportunities are so varied, it gave me room to be flexible and figure things out along the way,” said Keary of Fleming’s Recreation and Leisure Services program. “This program valued the elements of good-natured fun, leadership development and healthy living—this stuff really appealed to me. Lastly, I was sold on the potential of having an adventurous placement experience.”

In the Recreation and Leisure Services program, students learn:

  • how to manage and develop recreation programs
  • marketing and human resources
  • event management and facilities operations
  • inclusive recreation
  • research
  • leisure and lifestyle enhancement, and more.

In this program, students also develop leadership skills and gain new skills through field trips such as rock climbing, high/low rope, canoeing, kayaking, theatre, golf, swimming, caving and hiking. At the end of the program, students apply their skills in a four-month placement.

“My experience at Fleming is best described as a period of exponential personal growth, facilitated by my teachers, the courses and especially my fellow classmates,” said Keary, who graduated in 2018. “There were so many opportunities presented while at Fleming and I really made it my goal to try as many new things as I could—the old adage you get out of life what you put into it comes to mind.”

One of those opportunities was the program placement, and Keary knew just the place he wanted to spend four months…

“Because I had visited B.C. the summer prior to my final semester – and the trip made such a positive impact on me – I knew I had to go back,” he said. “If you want to have meaningful experiences, you first need to be in touch with what is meaningful to you.”

Keary said he worked hard preparing for the move and planned out all the little details before heading to B.C.

“If you have family or friends that live outside of your hometown, or you have travelled in the past, use those connections. Use your networking skills to your advantage and don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone and everyone,” said Keary on what advice he would offer current students. “Investing in travel is worthwhile and enriches your life in many ways!”

runwhistlerKeary spent his placement at Whistler Olympic Park and was later hired as Guest Service Representative, where he fit guests with cross-country and snowshoeing gear, provided equipment orientation and trail recommendations, and covered the entry booth to the Park.

“The coolest experience on the job was learning how to cross-country ski and then actually racing in a 15km event called the ‘Payak Loppet.’ I grew up snowboarding, but never skiing, and I found it thrilling learning a new sport,” he said. “Generally speaking, being way out in the wilderness, surrounded by mountains, is both awe-inspiring and humbling. It is a different lifestyle out here, people really love where they live. There is a level of enthusiasm that is undeniable.”

Keary credits Fleming College with developing his time management skills, accountability and professionalism, which are all skills he used on the job.

“Having deadlines for course work, having a weekly structure, being accountable to your classmates… these are practical skills to hone and are crucial for success in the working world,” he said.

After the summer work season ended, Keary headed to Vancouver to study nutrition at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. He plans to utilize his Fleming education and nutrition knowledge in a career as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist with a specialization in sports nutrition.

His advice to all students is to make self-care the number one priority. “Eat well, exercise and find creative outlets,” he said. “Take time to feel good about your daily accomplishments.”