Madison Penton heads to Washington with Ecosystem Management Technology class

groupMadison Penton and her 31 Ecosystem Management Technology classmates boarded a bus to Washington, D.C., on January 22 for the Science, Business, and Education of Sustainable Infrastructure: Building Resilience in a Changing World conference.

The conference, which was presented by the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE), is a component of the Urban Ecosystems and Ecosystem Health courses. The event gives students the opportunity to see how a conference is organized and brainstorm ideas for their own conference, which they will host on March 24 at Fleming’s Frost Campus.

Madison and her Urban Ecosystems course team also presented a scientific poster at the conference, which is one of the project options in the Fleming College course. Her team presented on How to play with fire and not get burned: an evidence-based approach to wildfire risk reduction in California.

washington“I think one of the biggest things I gained from this experience was confidence,” said Madison. “During the conference, we really had to put ourselves out there, push past our comfort zones and take chances. Presenting a scientific poster on an international stage was nerve-racking but rewarding. Although it was scary when scientists and professionals approached us, we felt confident enough to answer their questions. Also, because the conference topics were so relevant to our learning, I felt confident to talk to anyone!”

While the conference gives students the opportunity to listen to scientists and environmental professionals discuss topics they are learning about in the classroom, the Fleming College group also had the opportunity to explore the history and culture of Washington.

“I had a great experience in Washington. Not only was the conference an incredible opportunity for networking and professional gain, but having the opportunity to explore an amazing new city was equally worthwhile,” she said.

Madison chose to take Ecosystem Management Technology at Fleming College after completing the Ecosystem Management Technician program, as she said the extra year will benefit her educational pathway to Trent University.

“My experience in the Ecosystem Management program has been nothing but rewarding. I have gained so much knowledge and passion for the environment I live in,” said Madison. “The opportunities I have had through field trips and out-of-classroom experiences, like the Washington trip, have been incredible for my personal gain. These experiences also provide opportunities for team building and have provided me with an opportunity to build friendships that I will treasure forever.”

From high school diploma to Masters degree, Sarah Healey uses Fleming’s education pathways for continuous learning

sarahhealeySarah Healey never expected to love learning. When she started the Specialist High School Major (SHSM) in Business in grade 11, her only goal was to skip a year of college.

“Naturally, at 17 years old, skipping a year of school seemed like a great idea,” said Sarah, who was told the SHSM program would count towards first year in the International Trade program at Fleming College.

“This high school to college pathway was my main priority. Additionally, I truly didn’t believe in myself that I was capable of achieving higher learning until I was attending Fleming,” said Sarah, who took the SHSM program in 2010 to 2011. “Here, I quickly learned that I am able to be successful when I set my mind to it and, to this day, I’m still surprising myself.”

After high school, Sarah enrolled in the International Trade program and participated in the Fleming International Learning Experience (FILE) trip to Europe with the School of Business. During her time at Fleming, Sarah said she matured, developed a passion for learning and business, explored new languages, and made lifelong friends.

“My experience was clarifying,” she said. “I entered Fleming a completely different person than I did leaving.”

One course in the International Trade program that impacted Sarah was Corporate Social Responsibility. “The entire course changed my outlook on education and, as a result, my life,” said Sarah, adding that she decided to continue her education after Fleming to become a stronger candidate in the workforce. “By furthering my education, I believed this would provide me the opportunity to advocate for businesses becoming more sustainable and transparent in their practices.”

After completing her advanced diploma in International Trade in 2014, Sarah used a Fleming education pathway to enter the third year of Trent University’s Bachelor of Business Administration program. She said she was prepared for the transition to university because she developed time management, project management, teamwork and leadership skills at Fleming College.

“I was highly involved with extra-curricular, which definitely aided my experience,” said Sarah, who was part of the Trent Business Students’ Association and served as a delegate at JDC Central, a prestigious business competition focusing on academic, social, athletic and debate-based competitions. “I won awards for my leadership in the school and traveled across the country – literally, Winnipeg, British Columbia and Alberta – advocating for our students and the Business School.”

She completed her undergraduate degree in 2016 and is now earning her Masters of Arts in Sustainability Studies, CSR Strategic Planning at Trent University.

“I would say Fleming was my primary motivation, the CSR course was a pivotal moment in my education,” said Sarah on why she wanted to earn her Masters degree. “While at Trent I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn about the overarching field of sustainability, which most people mistake for only surrounding the environmental field. Sustainability is a diverse sector that branches out across all fields.”

Her career goal is to work in a senior management position to create strategic sustainability partnerships for corporate businesses.

“I used to think if I didn’t go straight to university from high school I’d never make it there,” said Sarah. “Seven years later I’m graduating from my Masters degree in April and will have nine years of post-secondary education in less than seven years. If I can do it, you can too!”

Fleming is a family experience for PSI student Crystal Dudgeon

Fleming faculty member and ASIS Toronto Education Committee member Brine Hamilton (left) presents Crystal Dudgeon with the ASIS Friends and Family Scholarship
Fleming faculty member and ASIS Toronto Education Committee member Brine Hamilton (left) presents Crystal Dudgeon with the ASIS Friends and Family Scholarship.

Congratulations to Protection, Security and Investigation student Crystal Dudgeon, who won the ASIS Friends and Family Scholarship! ASIS International, a leading organization for security professionals, awarded Crystal with the scholarship based on a letter she wrote about her career aspirations, an essay related to security, a faculty recommendation and her transcript.

The name of the award, ASIS Friends and Family Scholarship, is fitting for Crystal. Unlike many college students, Crystal’s return to school meant spending more time with her family.

Crystal’s daughter Emily is a Customs Border Services student who recommended Fleming’s Law and Justice programs to her mother, who was living in the Netherlands and looking for a new direction in life. Crystal enrolled in the Community and Justice Services program and Emily was happy to give her mother a campus tour and introduce her to some faculty members when Crystal returned to Canada.

“When my mom said that she was coming to the college to take a Law and Justice program, I was really happy,” said Emily. “I think my mom is very smart, she had a lot of knowledge to share. Plus she’s a fun person, having her at the college is great!”

In addition to her daughter’s support, Crystal said she felt very welcomed by the Fleming community. “The students and faculty, particularly in the Law and Justice programs, are vibrant, fun and an engaging part of my experience,” she said. “I have learned a great deal from my fellow students and they have been very accepting of me.”

She decided to switch to the Protection, Security and Investigation program after faculty member Norm Killian presented on the topic in the Strategies for Success class.

“I knew that’s where I wanted to be,” she said. “I have a background in frontline security and the presentation really invoked my interest to return to the roots of my career.”

One of her favourite – albeit most nerve-wracking – program experiences is doing live surveillance exercises, where she follows former CSIS agents downtown Peterborough pretending she is not following them.

Not long after Crystal started Fleming College, her youngest daughter Jamie also decided to enrol.

Crystal (centre) with her daughters Emily (left) and Jamie (right).
Crystal (centre) with her daughters Emily (left) and Jamie (right).

“I was really proud and inspired when my mom was accepted into Fleming. It made me want to move forward with my own education and see us all be successful together as a family,” said Jamie, who is now in her second semester of the Police Foundations program. “She’s going to graduate with honours, which is something I am trying to do as well. She always told us that education is really important and now she is showing us how it’s done.”

Crystal shared that in the beginning she was concerned about navigating her daughters’ boundaries, wondering whether she could sit with them when they were with friends, talk about them to her peers, or tell faculty that she was their mother.

“It turns out that I was over-thinking the entire situation,” said Crystal. “Attending college with my daughters has been a dream come true for me. We get to experience the same challenges and excitements together as a family. Exam weeks can be a tense time in the Dudgeon household but at the end of the week, we also get to unwind and appreciate the support we’ve received from one another. Perhaps the best part, as a parent, I am always on hand for them– now academically as well as emotionally. And hey, what college kid doesn’t want to have mom’s cooking every night?”

Crystal, who is now in her fourth semester, plans to continue her studies at Fleming and earn her Emergency Management graduate certificate, hoping to find a career that allows her to interact with the public in a positive way. Her long-term career goal is to study and possibly teach the history of espionage and spy networks during historical conflicts.

Nicole Soanes aims to make positive impact as Youth Justice Committee Coordinator at John Howard Society of Peterborough

nicole-soanesNicole Soanes wanted a career that would make a positive impact on the community. After graduating from the Community and Justice Services program at Fleming College in 2017, she hit the ground running at the John Howard Society of Peterborough as Youth Justice Committee Coordinator.

“What I love the most about my job is getting the chance to work with youth who are often at a critical moment where they can take one of two pathways,” said Nicole. “I hope to assist clients in making positive choices in order to get on a productive and healthy path in their life.”

Nicole works with youth ages 12 to 17 who have come in contact with the justice system. She conducts intakes with youth, and coordinates restorative justice conferences between her clients and those they have harmed. Nicole also coordinates volunteers who are trained to facilitate restorative justice conferences.

“I love being able to connect a person who has caused harm with the person who has been harmed, and help to promote understanding and healing for everyone involved in a situation,” she said.

Many of the skills Nicole developed at Fleming College are applicable to her job, including the social skills and confidence she gained in the Community and Justice Services program.

“In particular, the Interviewing and Counselling course in Community and Justice Services made me feel extremely prepared to take on my current role,” explained Nicole. “That class was incredibly uncomfortable– sitting in front of all your peers and doing role-plays was a nightmare for me! However, I pushed through and it was so worth it. Interviewing and Counselling gave me the skills that I use every day in my role at the John Howard Society when working with clients.”

Nicole decided to enrol in the Community and Justice Services program after spending two years in university. “I approached the end of my second year and began to question where my degree was going to take me and what my future was going to look like,” she shared. Nicole wanted to make a change and when a friend recommended Fleming’s Community and Justice Services program, Nicole knew it was the right fit for her.

“My experience at Fleming College was absolutely amazing! I am a very introverted person and I often find it’s difficult for me to come out of my shell, to socialize, and to participate in class discussions and activities. At Fleming, that all changed,” said Nicole. “I made wonderful friends, and the faculty in the Community and Justice Services program is indescribable. The support that I found down the Justice hallway was just incredible.”

The Fleming College graduate said her education gave her the knowledge and skills to implement her passions, including the Aboriginal Justice course which ignited her passion for Restorative Justice.

“I honestly recommend the Community and Justice Services program to someone at least on a weekly basis. The two years that I spent in the program have been the best two years of my life,” said Nicole. “I graduated feeling extremely competent and prepared to enter the workforce, and continue to learn and grow. Fleming College and the CJS program made it possible for me to find my passion and find myself.”

Jessica Bekesi credits Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program for earning competitive internship placement

jessica-bekesi-headshotJessica Bekesi was ready to hit the ground running after graduating from the Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program in June 2017. The following month, Jessica started her position at Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre as Preventive Conservation Intern through Young Canada Works.

“The Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program was instrumental in my getting this internship. Without it, I wouldn’t have the education or experience to be equipped for this position,” said Jessica. “The Fleming program is highly respected in the field of conservation in Canada and I feel it definitely had an impact on my application. In fact, one of my co-workers at the Heritage Centre is a fellow Fleming graduate from the ‘sister program,’ Museum Management and Curatorship.”

As Preventive Conservation Intern, Jessica analyzes environmental and storage conditions, and conservation policies to recommend changes to improve artifact care; she is instituting new guidelines for conservation standards and a new condition reporting system; and she is reorganizing parts of the storage area, helping to introduce an integrated pest management system, re-houses artifacts, and creates new mounts and enclosures when needed.

“My career is set on the foundation of knowledge I gained at Fleming College”

“Almost all of the tools and skills I need and use on a daily basis at my internship I developed at Fleming College,” said Jessica. “I learnt proper artifact photography in my class Technology Applications, environmental monitoring and pest identification in Reducing Risks to Collections, specific artifact needs I learnt in abundance in the numerous History of Technology and Lab Techniques classes. […] My career is set on the foundation of knowledge I gained at Fleming College.”

jessica-at-workJessica decided to take Fleming’s Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program after earning her Bachelor’s degree in History and Art History (Honours) at Queen’s University. She wanted to gain hands-on experience in treating museum artifacts and Fleming College’s program seemed like the perfect fit for her goals.

“I loved my time at Fleming College,” said Jessica, who developed close relationships with her peers and professors due to the program’s small class size. “All of our teachers were so obviously passionate about their work and all had experience within the field– most of who are still actively working in museum conservation. Feeling how much the instructor’s cared about the class and the information was infectious and such a pleasure to be a part of.”

She added, “I was amazed at the equipment available to me in the labs and feel so lucky to have been able to learn with these tools.”

The Fleming College graduate said she would recommend this program to aspiring conservators because it helped her develop a deeper passion for her career. And for students currently in this program, she recommends networking, asking questions, and putting in as much time as possible into work and labs. She also recommends using the library, explaining, “the resources there are amazing and catered so well to this field like nowhere else I’ve seen. Conservation books can be few and far between and very expensive, so having the library was a huge asset.”

Sustainability intern Rob Monico aims to make waves in water conservation

rob-monicoBetween organizing the Frost Campus Bioblitz and Del Crary Park Shoreline Cleanup events to researching water conservation strategies and rain water catchment systems, Rob Monico kept busy interning at Fleming College’s Office of Sustainability.

From June to December 2017, Rob has been working as the Water Conservation and Sustainability Intern through the Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) Clean Tech Internship program. He is responsible for researching water conservation strategies that can be implemented at Fleming College campus locations.

During his internship, Rob researched a rainwater catchment system for the Frost Campus Living Wall, and community gardens at Frost Campus and Sutherland Campus, which he hopes the college will implement in the future. “I also updated the Residence Green Living Guide to educate students on how to conserve water. For example, play a song while you shower to keep the shower under five minutes— just don’t play ‘Free Bird’ or ‘Stairway to Heaven,’” he laughed.

While part of Rob’s internship was research-based, the Water Conservation and Sustainability Intern also spent time organizing sustainability events. Rob was part of the leadership team for the Peterborough/Kawarthas/Northumberland Envirothon, which was held at Sutherland Campus in April. The event challenged local high school students to compete in environmental science tests and the winning team went on to compete in the Ontario Envirothon held at Frost Campus.

In September, he executed the first 24-hour bioblitz at Frost Campus, which is a biological inventory to help quantify the number of species in a given ecosystem to assess the decline in biodiversity. He coordinated a visit from Leslie Frost Public School that day as well, welcoming 300 elementary students to campus to learn about different ecosystems.

Shoreline cleanup
Shoreline cleanup event at Del Crary Park

The following month, Rob led a Fleming College shoreline cleanup at Del Crary Park in Peterborough, Ont., which was in partnership with World Wildlife Fund Canada as part of their Living Planet @ Campus program. Rob said 60 staff and students came to the cleanup on Saturday, Oct. 14 to help.

Needless to say, with all of this event planning and water conservation research, Rob certainly put his Fleming College education to use. Rob is an Ecological Restoration Honours B.Sc. – Joint Trent-Fleming Degree/Diploma graduate (Class of 2016) and a Project Management graduate (Class of 2017).

“I developed my project management skills through this internship, which was great because I finished that program here,” said Rob, who previously worked as a student employee and completed his Project Management applied project at the Office of Sustainability. “I also developed communication and leadership qualities as I started to oversee student workers and their projects, as well as event planning.”

Rob’s advice to current students is to take initiative. “Don’t wait for doors to open or expect that doors even exist, kick them down or make your own opportunities,” he said. “Fleming is all about ‘Learn, Belong, Become’ and they are all about making opportunities, accommodating student ideas, and getting involved in the community. You don’t know unless you ask!”

Rob credits Fleming staff and faculty for accommodating his request to blend his student worker role at the Office of Sustainability with his Project Management studies, so that he was able to combine his work with his academics.

Dan Carrocci uses drilling knowledge, geological skills and entrepreneurial spirit to make Determination Drilling a success

Dan Carrocci (centre) with third-semester Fleming College Drilling students.
Dan Carrocci (centre) with third-semester Fleming College Drilling students.

With a business plan and a diploma in hand, Dan Carrocci was only 21 years old when he walked into a bank to request a loan. The Fleming College graduate needed the money to purchase a geotechnical drilling rig to start his own drilling business, Determination Drilling.

“I saw a demand for it,” said Dan, who graduated from both the Resources Drilling and Blasting Technician (2003) and Geological Technician (2005) programs at Fleming’s School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences. “I could combine both worlds; I know how to drill and I know what’s in the ground. I went into the bank with my business plan and they seemed to realize the demand as well.”

With the goal of one day being a full-service drilling contractor, Dan purchased the rig and hired one employee. 14 years later, Determination Drilling is now a full-service drilling company that specializes in environmental, geotechnical, water well, geothermal, hydro power, solar, wind, and mining/exploration drilling with 22 employees and growing.

And that first rig Dan purchased at 21 years old is still in use, along with 10 geotechnical drill rigs, seven solar rigs, one water well drill, and many other small portable rigs for limited access projects.

“We’ve had sustainable growth,” said Dan on Determination Drilling’s success. “And by being so diverse we haven’t been at the mercy of economic downturns. When one industry goes down, another goes up; when mining is down, the geotechnical side is up as a result of government infrastructure spending, for example.”

Determination Drilling has travelled across Canada for thousands of drilling projects, including exploration drilling of kimberlite pipes in James Bay, diamond core drilling of iron ore in Newfoundland and Labrador, mining and infrastructure projects in Nunavut, geotechnical drilling on the 400 series highways in Ontario, and more.

Dan on the job holding rock core
Dan Carrocci, pictured here holding rock core

“What I love is that it’s challenging. Nothing is easy, you have to wear many hats. You have to be a mechanic, a geologist, a weatherman, and a little bit of everything to make it work. There are long hours and long days, there’s cold and heat…,” said Dan. “It’s a huge accomplishment when you defy all odds and make the impossible happen.  We have a team of dedicated, smart and determined operators that are the key to Determination Drilling’s success– teamwork makes the dream work!”

One of Dan’s favourite work experiences is drilling in Bathurst Inlet, Nunavut, where he takes a two-hour helicopter ride over the Arctic Circle in – 60 degree weather to get to the job site. “It was like the ultimate camping trip…with wolverines,” said Dan.

He also enjoys taking breaks to bond with staff, which includes bringing them hot chocolate and barbequing on the site. “I want my employees happy,” he said. “It’s a tough job and I’m proud of the way they represent our company. We’re all best friends and look out for each other like a big family.”

75% of Determination Drilling staff are Fleming College graduates, mainly from the Resources Drilling Technician and Heavy Equipment Operator programs. He credits the college as being a very valuable hiring resource.

“These teachers should be working at NASA and they stay on top of the industry” – Dan Carrocci on Fleming College faculty

“They graduate with the fundamentals, tooling identification, very strong safety knowledge; and usually have their DZ license, which saves me as an employer from having to pay for it,” said Dan. “Their instructors are excellent. I see Brian Gerry (Earth Resources Technician Co-op program coordinator) and Steve Wilkinson (Resources Drilling Technician program coordinator) at the PDAC every year working on their own dime to keep up-to-date with current technologies and industry trends. These teachers should be working at NASA and they stay on top of the industry. They deserve a lot more credit; without their passion for the industry, where would we be? I certainly would not have the same quality of drillers, and I might not have even become a driller at all without their leadership.”

As a safety advocate, Dan truly appreciates Fleming’s emphasis on safe working practices. Every employee at Determination Drilling is educated in drilling safety practices, and has First Aid/CPR training and common core training. Dan also delivers safety presentations in North America, Australia and England, and in 2009 he hosted a safety conference at Frost Campus and invited drilling managers from around the world.

“For the International Drilling Safety Conference, Fleming provided a venue for that,” said Dan, who is thankful for the strong network he has at Fleming. “I can always call my college professors for help when I’m in need of advice or direction.”

One day, Dan said, perhaps he’ll be the one at the front of the classroom… but only as a guest speaker to share his experiences with the next generation of drillers. Dan still enjoys being out in the field learning every day and loves the adventure, plus – he added – it’s tough to get dirty in a classroom.

Fred Batley: 40 years of service

By Laura Copeland, Communications Officer
fred-batley-photoOver the last four decades, Fred Batley has seen a lot of change at Fleming College.

Fred, Athletics Coordinator, recently celebrated 40 years of service at Fleming. Starting out at McDonnell Street as a program assistant in the Recreation Department in 1977, Fred recalls there were only about 800-1,000 students at the time.

Today, Sutherland Campus has 4,800 students and is highly ranked in the college system for the quality of its athletics programs and facilities.

And along with Fleming’s evolution, has come Fred’s personal and professional growth over the years. He moved on from his initial position to become intramural coordinator in 1980 and since then has held various roles.

“I was fortunate to work in many different areas throughout my time: teaching, different roles in the Athletic Department, and coaching Fleming varsity teams. I was able to challenge myself and grow over the 40 years.”

While the College has grown immensely since its early days, Fred says that some things remain the same.

“One thing that has not changed is the student-centered focus in which the student is a name and not a number. Fleming remains a caring institution, which is always prevalent… to this day.”

In his current role, Fred says he truly enjoys working with the students and student athletes on a daily basis. And reflecting on his many years of service, Fred says he is most proud of Fleming’s progression to become ranked #7 in the OCAA for overall medals – impressive for a small college. Other career highlights include the construction of the Peterborough Sport and Wellness Centre and the Fleming Sport Complex as well as his time served as a two-time OCAA and CCAA president.

“I feel this has helped Fleming College become well known and respected in Ontario and Canada,” he says.

Born and raised in Peterborough, Fred says he was always involved in sports growing up and initially wanted to become a physical education teacher. He came to Fleming after attending Western and Trent universities.

He has been married to his wife Judy for 35 years and has two daughters – Sarah, a chiropractor in Toronto, and Stacey, a teacher in Red Deer, AB – and a two-year-old granddaughter, Sophie.

And while he is still passionate about athletics, he spends a lot of his time away from work volunteering with the St. James Players.

“When I was younger I played a lot of sports. But most of my time now is spent with the St. James Players, over the past 25 years. It is a local community theater group, which puts on two musicals a year for youth and adults. And I am currently the Chair of the Board for the St James Players.”

(In fact, Fred was in the recent St. James Players staging of Mary Poppins at Showplace Peterborough.)

As he moves into his 41st year at Fleming, Fred is enthusiastic and emphatic about his time at the College.

“I have really enjoyed working at Fleming with the students, staff and faculty – because it is a great place to work!”

Congratulations Fred!

Within the walls of the Haliburton School of Art + Design, Christina Dedes feels like she belongs

christina-dedes-blogThe first time Christina Dedes encountered the bright red doors at the Haliburton School of Art + Design (HSAD), she stopped in her tracks to read the quote “Within these walls, the walls within disappear.” Nervousness washed over her as she entered the building, and ever since that day Christina has felt a resolute sense of belonging.

“Within these walls, I’ve had powerful breakthroughs, emotional breakdowns, and moments of complete silence and meditation. Collectively, these emotional experiences have allowed me to grow into myself. Coming to HSAD has been a self-revealing experience, rooted in truth and authenticity,” she said.

Christina began her post-secondary journey in the Visual and Creative Arts Diploma program and is spending her second year in Integrated Design. She plans to receive both diplomas in 2019 after three years of study.

“It was inspiring to see my classmates develop and grow throughout the semester, and we supported each other through all the long days and sleepless nights.”

She describes Visual and Creative Arts as challenging but said it helped her develop a strong work ethic. She also gained a better understanding of materiality, form, composition, and digital programs like Photoshop.

“It was inspiring to see my classmates develop and grow throughout the semester, and we supported each other through all the long days and sleepless nights,” said Christina. “I am really proud of the VCAD class for all of our collective accomplishments, and for allowing ourselves to grow into new and wholesome human beings. By the end of VCAD, we were all a little less terrified of what was to come and a bit more confident of our abilities to create a better future.”

A self-portrait of Christina Dedes.
A self-portrait of Christina Dedes

Looking back, Christina said those long days and late nights were some of her favourite HSAD moments, including ordering pizza to campus to enjoy with her classmates while working on projects. And despite feeling exhausted, Christina said she wouldn’t change a thing.

She decided to continue her studies at Fleming’s Haliburton Campus by enrolling in the Integrated Design program, which helps students discover what kind of designer they are meant to be.

“The creator of the program, Barr Gilmore, has created a diploma that gives a well-rounded view of the design world. Whether you’re learning about the history or applying the theory into your own design drawings, you can be confident that the skills you are building in the classroom will benefit you in real-world scenarios in the future,” said Christina, who enjoys using the Maker Space on campus, which features a laser cutter, plotter printer, and two 3D printers for students to use.

“The Haliburton School of Art + Design is unlike any place you’ve visited before, and it’s likely you’ll never come across a place like this again.”

She started the program on a high note, winning the MacBook Pro contest Fleming College hosted. Since most of Christina’s assignments are done through Adobe programs, having a laptop has helped her work on-the-go.

“The Haliburton School of Art + Design is unlike any place you’ve visited before, and it’s likely you’ll never come across a place like this again. Regardless of your skill level, you will be welcomed into the HSAD community, where you will meet many like-minded individuals who come from all over Ontario,” said Christina. “I cannot stress enough how fortunate the students are to be surrounded by so many compassionate and skilled artisans, designers, and creatives during the school year. The building itself offers space for every type of creative pursuit, and the beautiful, meditative campus will keep you grounded during your studies.”

From childhood museum visits to CEO of Western Development Museum, Joan Kanigan has a lifelong passion for heritage

joan-kanigan-editJoan Kanigan, Chief Executive Officer of the Western Development Museum, has always had a passion for museums and heritage. Some of her earliest memories are of visiting museums in Regina with her family, learning about the world around her and what life was like in the past.

“Museums are places of connection and not only was I connecting with my family, I was developing a broader understanding of the world and our place in it,” said Joan.

She grew up to earn a Master of Arts degree at Trent University followed by a graduate certificate in Museum Management and Curatorship at Fleming College.

“What I enjoyed most was that almost all of our classes were held in the Peterborough Museum & Archives,” said Joan about her Fleming College experience.

“Everything we were taught was complemented with actual experience,” she said. “For example, instead of just talking about how to design exhibits, we got to create an exhibit for the museum– right from conception to opening it to the public. The hands-on experience, which is part of the program, was very valuable.”

Joan, who graduated from Fleming College in 1995, said she recommends this program because it is an excellent introduction to all facets of museology.

“What I appreciated most about the program was the practical skills that we learnt in addition to the theoretical background. It’s one thing to talk about how to do something and another to have the opportunity to learn by doing.”

22 years after graduating from Fleming College, Joan is now CEO of the Western Development Museum, which has four museum branches throughout Saskatchewan. Joan is responsible for providing strategic leadership and management in the areas of financial, risk and facilities management; board administration and support; fundraising; program and service delivery; people leadership and community relations.

Recently she amalgamated the collections, conservation, and research departments into a single curatorial department, which is a change Joan is proud to have implemented.  “The excitement the staff involved in this change are bringing to the process is incredibly rewarding,” she said. “It is amazing to see how much creativity and passion has been unleashed by bringing these departments together. Everyone is working more collaboratively and there is a real sense of purpose being shown by everyone in the department.”

Her advice to current students is to never stop learning. “Since graduating, I have continually worked to develop new skills and gain a greater understanding of governance, leadership and management,” said Joan.

“The skills and knowledge you gain through formal education is just the beginning,” she added. “I have been working for non-profits and museums for over 20 years and there is still so much more learning and development I can do to better serve my organization and our communities.”