10 years after high school, Jessica Polley took the “huge, scary step” to attend college

jessica-polleyJessica Polley was very nervous to attend college as a mature student. Among concerns like tuition, being older than her peers and whether she chose the right program for her, Jessica was concerned about her ability to learn something new 10 years after graduating high school.

“Choosing to attend college 10 years after graduating high school was a huge, scary step. It is a big risk to take when you have a family at home to worry about,” said Jessica. “At the time it was terrifying, but now looking back it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

Jessica chose Fleming College because of the dual diploma option. She decided to take the Paralegal and Law Clerk programs at the same time.

“The amazing faculty made learning something new a lot less scary. They truly want to see you succeed and are happy to help when you have questions,” said Jessica, who finished her courses in 2017. She graduated from the Paralegal program in 2017 and officially graduates from the Law Clerk program this year.

Before graduating from Fleming College, Jessica was hired at MacDonald, Charette & Associates in Cobourg, Ont. They worked around her school schedule so that she was able to finish classes and in September 2017 hired her full-time as Paralegal and Legal Assistant.

“I was able to find and obtain a position in my chosen field of study before I had completed both of my programs and I would not have been able to do that without the education I received,” said  Jessica, who now has her Paralegal License and credits her dual diplomas for having a wider range of employment opportunity.

“The field placement preparation course really helps you know how to handle difficult questions in interviews. During my interview I was asked ‘why would you apply for a position that required three to five years’ experience?’ I learned in class to answer this in a positive way, by saying that I considered my in-class learning some of my experience, my field placement gave me further experience, and that I would like to gain the remainder of my experience at this firm.”

Jessica’s responsibilities at the firm include interacting with clients and opposing legal representation, conducting client intake meetings, drafting pleadings and other materials, draft correspondence, and attending to court filings, among other tasks. She currently works as a legal assistant to the family law and litigation lawyer, and assists the firm’s small claims court clients as a paralegal working under the direction of two lawyers.

Jessica said that the skills she developed at Fleming are applicable to her job. “We drafted the majority of the documents and materials that I draft on a daily basis. We also would have to file our completed documents with the ‘Court Clerk’ as part of our assignments,” she explained.

Her advice to prospective mature students is to be social and speak with your peers and faculty.

“When I started school, I had a negative attitude about meeting new people. I felt I was not there to meet friends and that I had no time to have new friends. I was there to learn, not to have fun,” she shared. “I very quickly learned that meeting new friends was a great part of school and I honestly don’t know if I could have made it through the stresses of school without their encouragement and support! If you find the right people, you can still learn while having fun.”

Childhood hospital stay inspired Fleming grad Olivia Anderson to become a nurse

olivia-anderson-blog-photoOlivia Anderson was 13 years old when she decided she wanted to be a nurse. After being diagnosed with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, Olivia underwent an 11 hour surgery to have her spine fused with titanium rods. She was bedridden in the hospital for days, unable to shower due to the incision, so when a thoughtful nurse took the time to wash Olivia’s hair, it made Olivia feel especially grateful.

“It made me feel 100 times better to have clean hair. It was such a simple thing, but it made a profound difference in how I felt during my initial recovery. I wanted to make people feel like that too,” she said.

She enrolled in Fleming College’s Pre-Health Sciences Pathway to Certificates and Diplomas (Class of 2015), which led her to the Practical Nursing program (Class of 2017).

“I loved my time at Fleming and I felt I really made the most of it. I was quite engaged as a student, which is a testament to the environment on campus,” said Olivia. “The community there is something special to be a part of, and it made me want to get involved and give back.”

Olivia was elected three times to Fleming Student Administrative Council, which she credits for boosting her confidence, developing her leadership abilities, and strengthening her ability to advocate for the people around her. “As a nurse, you are an advocate for your patients because you are the one who is providing the hands-on care and really get to see the whole picture,” said Olivia, explaining why this skill is applicable to her career path.

While awaiting the results of her Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination, Olivia applied to work on contract as a Fleming College Grad Recruiter for fall 2017. “I wanted to talk to future students about what a great place Fleming is and what a great nursing program they have,” said Olivia, who was hired by the College to travel across Ontario speaking to a variety of audiences about Fleming programs, services and facilities.

“A skill I really developed during my time as a Grad Recruiter for Fleming was time management. Coordinating my day around appointments, distances between them, knowing how much time I would need to set up/tear down, as well as time to complete any paper work or prepare for future events. This really taught me to see the big picture of the day and not to focus solely on the small stuff,” she said. “As a nurse, there is so much to keep on your radar throughout the day when it comes to coordinating one person’s care, but on a regular day shift you can have four to five patients all requiring a lot of your attention.”

olivia-anderson-blog-photo-2At the end of her Grad Recruiter contract, Olivia was hired by Peterborough Regional Health Centre as a Registered Practical Nurse. She is responsible for the hands-on care of medical and surgical patients, including: medications, wound care, assistance with activities of daily living, administering treatments, performing assessments, providing education and support to patients and families during someone’s hospital stay, raising concerns about a patient to the multi-disciplinary team, and more.

“The best thing about it is that you are always engaged,” said Olivia. “There is never a moment at work where I am bored. I am always on my toes, always thinking about who needs what and when, and constantly reorganizing my day around any changes to the patient’s care plan.”

Her advice to current students is to ask lots of questions, take every opportunity to gain hands-on experience, and learn from those around you and their experience.

Hands-on learning in the hatchery

By: Laura Copeland

lenora3-editWhile searching for a post-graduate program to build on her knowledge and experience, Lenora Dias came across the School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences at Fleming College’s Frost Campus.

Aquaculture caught my eye,” she says, adding that the amount of field work in the program initially drew her in. The compressed, one-year program is the only Aquaculture program offered as a post-graduate certificate in Ontario. As part of the program, students have the opportunity to learn and work in the on-campus salmonid fish hatchery as well as complete a paid co-op placement in the third semester.

“Getting the hands-on work in the hatchery gives you not only the ability to learn more but also the experience before getting into the industry, rather than learning just by ‘the textbook’ in a classroom setting. You can actually work with fish and learn more about them at different stages of life.”

lenora2-editNow Lenora’s personal interests in the field span a number of areas: the different types of aquatic species that can be farmed; how aquaculture can be used for conservation and restorative purposes; how aquaculture aids in sustainability and helps food safety and security; the limited awareness of the aquaculture industry and its benefits; and her own interest in studying and working with aquatic species. She is also working in the hatchery on weekends to further her learning.

Lenora, who was born and raised in Dubai, UAE, is a graduate of Canadian University Dubai with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health Management. She has a passion for nature and wildlife conservation/protection and enjoys a number of hobbies outside of the classroom such as hiking, soccer and basketball, sketching and painting, and playing acoustic drums.

Heading into the program’s final semester, Lenora will complete her co-op placement as an Aquaculture and Aquaponics Assistant with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

“I am looking forward to moving again and getting more hands-on work in a different setting,” Lenora says.

And she is leaving the door open on a career path when she graduates– whether it’s continuing her studies in Aquaculture or moving to the west coast to work on a fish farm.

Fitness and Health Promotion grad honours mentors through his career

kevin-wilson-2-002From his passion for basketball to his career in physiotherapy, positive mentorships have played a huge part in Kevin Wilson’s life, which is why he is giving back through the National Basketball Youth Mentorship Program Inc.

“Growing up, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by mentors my whole life. My first basketball coach mentored me for years and developed my love for the game of basketball. When I broke my patella at 12 years old, my physiotherapist inspired me to pursue the field of physiotherapy; he would go on to mentor me for years as I completed over 300 volunteer hours within his clinic,” said Kevin. “Although both have unfortunately passed away, their teachings, passion and dedication to my development has not gone in vain.”

Kevin enrolled in Fleming College’s Fitness and Health Promotion program as the first step in his education journey, because this diploma prepares many graduates to pursue a degree in Kinesiology. Kevin’s long-term academic goal is to earn a degree in Physical Therapy.

“Overall, I had a great experience at Fleming College,” said Kevin. “As a student athlete on the varsity basketball team, I loved the fact that the FHP professors were so understanding of my athletic responsibilities. I have nothing but great things to say about the college, the student life, and the professors within the FHP program.”

Kevin credits the program with challenging students to apply theoretical knowledge within a practical setting, as well as providing the necessary tools to be a successful healthcare professional.

“Whether you decide to work as a personal trainer or decide to continue with more schooling, the knowledge received in this program will be utilized for many years following graduation,” said Kevin, who graduated from Fleming in 2014. “To put things into perspective, I am still using the majority of what I was taught in the FHP program.”

After Fleming College, Kevin attended Brock University for Kinesiology and started his own personal training and physical rehabilitation business.

“The FHP program at Fleming gave me the confidence needed to start my own business,” he said. “I wanted to learn more about what it takes to successfully run and manage my own business, and I wanted to earn some income while in school to assist with tuition costs, living expenses, etc. Although not yet a physiotherapist, I wanted to create my own brand and to establish myself as a healthcare professional. I understand the value and benefits of being self-employed, and I hope to enjoy these benefits throughout my entire working career.”

Kevin graduated from Brock University in 2017 and in January of this year he started the National Basketball Youth Mentorship Program (NBYMP) to give back and to promote overall success and health, which is something Kevin views as important as both a future physiotherapist and as a human being.

“I plan to influence the lives of as many youth as possible, similar to how my mentors have influenced my life,” said Kevin. “There are many youth who struggle to find the resources needed to be successful and I hope that, through my program, they can find their path and purpose in life.”

NBYMP is a national youth mentorship program that aims to provide a holistic approach to personal development for basketball athletes under the age of 19. Youth enrolled in this newly-formed program will have access via email to mentorship from high-level Canadian professional and university basketball athletes, online academic assistance from students and graduates of Harvard University, financial advising and development from licensed financial advisors; and access to strength and conditioning coaches, nutritionists, and sports psychologists. Registration is free, but basketball camps, workshops and academic tutoring do have associated fees.

“My hope is that hundreds, and eventually thousands, of kids utilize this mentorship program to achieve great things, both on and off the basketball court. I hope to provide full scholarships for dozens of youth entering college/university programs, and I hope to use this platform to promote the overall health and wellness of youth and individuals across Canada.”

Kevin said his advice to current Fleming FHP students is to soak in all the information, ask their professors lots of questions, and to set long-term goals.

“I will be going back to school this September (2018) to study physiotherapy and this was something that I planned to do even while at Fleming,” he said. “Set a long-term goal and use that as motivation to get you through this program and future programs or ventures.”

Riding the wave of experiential learning

By: Laura Copeland

blog-photoThe surf’s up for 15 Fleming College students who are working on a multi-faceted project to help a west coast surfboard company expand overseas.

Swell Composites Supply Ltd., based in Richmond, B.C., is sponsoring three applied projects for business students. Applied projects, available within certain programs in the School of Business and School of Trades and Technology, see students spend their final semester finding innovative solutions to a real-world challenge. The students gain academic credit and on-the-job experience. At the same time, the project results provide new information, answer questions, contribute to planning, and lay the groundwork for future innovations.

For Swell Composites – Entropy Resin’s Canadian partner that is the Importer and Distributor of the complete range of composite materials used in Fiberglass and Resin manufacturing within the sporting goods, custom manufacturing and marine industries in Canada -, a team of students in the International Business Management program have been creating a logistics and export manual that will aid the company in exporting to international markets. As well, two groups of Global Business Management students have been analyzing the markets of targeted, specific countries.

International Business Management student Duy Vong says working in teams on the applied projects has been both eye-opening and uplifting.

“I have been very lucky to work with an incredible group of people who are super supportive. They always help me whenever I’m in need and help me get over my weaknesses and turn them into strengths.”

Duy added that working on the project has been an “incredible journey” thanks to the sponsor, Swell Composite Principal Cofounder Jimmy Stewart, who is also a Fleming alumnus.

“He has taught us meaningful, real-life lessons, and he has provided a lot of information to helps us get our work done more easily and more quickly.”

Arielle Smith, an International Business Management student, says the three teams were “synergistic” and helped each other grow and develop over the semester. Like Duy, she also appreciated the support from their sponsor throughout the project.

“As a past Fleming graduate, Jimmy knows what it’s like to be in our shoes. He’s been able to offer us advice on what to do after we leave Fleming, advice about the industry, and has been a great overall guide for the project. He’s gone through information with us to ensure we have a solid understanding on the material, which has helped us in giving him an overall better final product,” she said.

Both Arielle and Duy said that communication between students and across projects presented a bit of a challenge at times.

“In order to be successful as a team, you need to have an effective channel of communication, to make sure that everybody is on the same page. Distance does not, and will not, stop a team from being successful as long as you know how to overcome the challenges,” said Duy.

Arielle says she is grateful for the applied project opportunity, as it will help her move forward into a career.

“With the experience I’ve gained from working for Swell Composites, I feel more prepared to enter the workforce than ever before,” she said. “I think it has been invaluable not only to myself but also the other groups. It’s easy for teachers to recreate situations for students to participate in, but there’s nothing like the real-life experience that we learned from the applied project.”

From Peterborough, Ontario to TVO, Kevin D’Innocenzo shares his career journey with Museum Management and Curatorship students

kevin-dinnocenzoWhen Kevin D’Innocenzo gave a passionate presentation on “Bringing Back Heritage Minutes” to his Museum Management and Curatorship peers six years ago, little did he know that not only would more Heritage Minutes air, but that Kevin himself would earn a job at TVO.

TVO is a provincial television station that airs educational programming. At their Toronto-based office, Kevin works diligently as the Media Researcher/Archivist.

“The best thing about my job is getting to represent the diversity of Ontario through media and having the opportunity to influence Ontarians across the province,” said Kevin. “It’s humbling to have that responsibility.”

Kevin’s responsibilities include clearing copyright for all media used in television programs, documentaries and organizational initiatives, including audio, video, images, and literary works; interpreting Canadian copyright legislation; archiving new media that TVO films and produces, and more.

“Did my Fleming education prepare me for my job? Absolutely,” said Kevin, who graduated from the Museum Management and Curatorship program in 2012. “My responsibility during the exhibit in MMC was to research, negotiate and license the exhibition we put on at Peterborough City Hall. It’s called ‘We Were There: Stories of Peterborough in Times of Conflict’ and it’s still there– we got to do a permanent exhibition.”

After earning his Bachelor of Arts in History at Trent University in 2007, Kevin travelled the world, and taught and developed English curriculum in South Korea. “After spending several years overseas, I realized my affection for ethnographic studies. Paired with my lifelong love for museums, it was a natural choice for me to pursue dreams of working in the field of cultural heritage,” said Kevin.

From 2012 to 2013, Kevin served as an E-Volunteer at the Royal Ontario Museum and then was hired as a Project Assistant on contract at the Ontario Museum Association for a year. In 2014, Kevin was hired as an Exhibitions Consultant at Lord Cultural Resources, the world’s largest cultural professional practice that plans and designs services in the museum, cultural and heritage sector.

In July 2017, Kevin was ready for a change and took a job at TVO in the archives. “Seeing my name on the credits of The Agenda with Steve Paikin for the first time, I was like, ‘mom, take a picture!’” he laughed.

Kevin recently returned to his old stomping grounds at the Fleming Annex, Peterborough Museum & Archives, to speak with current Museum Management and Curatorship students about his career path and college experience, as well as to share advice.

Kevin’s tips to current students are:

  • Focus your interests and build experience around them
  • Be enthusiastic
  • Network
  • Understand what you want to get out of a job
  • Volunteer
  • Don’t be afraid to fail and learn from it!
  • If you’re not a good writer, become one
  • Be tenacious

Kevin said he recommends this Fleming graduate certificate program because it prepares students for the real world.

“There’s a theoretical component of the program, but what sets it apart is the applied learning, which I was able to take with me and use to this day.”

Fleming Innovation Conference


Fleming College’s Organizational Development Team welcomed faculty, staff and community partners to the Kawartha Trades & Technology Centre on Wednesday, March 7 and Thursday, March 8 for the first ever Innovation Conference. Participants also included guests from Trillium Lakelands District School Board and Georgian College.

More than 100 participants attended to learn how to develop innovative thinking, creative mindsets and adaptability, which are required qualities needed to thrive in the 21st century.

“The Innovation Conference was a huge success, we are so proud of the outcome” said Human Resources Consultant Lynn Watson. “All of the speakers and workshop leaders exceeded our expectations and we feel very motivated to apply their lessons into our work.”

The Innovation Conference kicked off with keynote speaker Dr. Gerard Puccio from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State.

“Creativity is the ability to modify self-imposed constraints,” said Dr. Puccio, encouraging the audience to think without judgement. “Don’t think with the brakes on,” he explained.

According to Dr. Puccio, creative thinking helps with problem solving, innovation, collaboration, and more. He went on to explain “future-proof careers” – careers least likely to become automated – and said the qualities of these careers are that they require creative problem solving, adaptability, and social intelligence.

Following the keynote, Fleming’s Vice-President Academic Judith Limkilde moderated a panel discussion featuring Paul Downs, Past President of Nexicom Inc.; John Gillis, CleanTech Innovation Specialist at the Peterborough Innovation Cluster; Hajni Hos, Executive Director at the New Canadians Centre – Peterborough; and Dr. David Laude, Chemistry Professor and former Academic Administrator at the University of Texas at Austin.

The panelists discussed how they use innovative and creative thinking in their fields. Many also praised the college for their contributions to the community. Ms. Hos thanked Fleming College for its help and support of newcomers in Peterborough, and Mr. Downs commented on the significant number of Nexicom staff who are Fleming graduates.

“50% of our staff are from Fleming,” said Mr. Downs. “I don’t know what the magic is that you do here, but they come and they are all eager to learn […] They have an inner desire and drive to continue to learn and grow within the company.”

After the panel discussion, participants had the opportunity to interact with the Fleming Innovation in Action display, which showcased innovative ideas and achievements of staff and students. The display reflected how Fleming College currently encourages creativity and innovation.

In the afternoon, participants enjoyed professional development workshops led by Dr. Puccio (“Creative Leadership”), Marysia Czarski (“Creative Problem Solving”), Tara McDonough (“Leadership Dimensions”), and Dr. Laude (“Student Success: Building community across diverse student populations).

Dr. Laude returned for the second day of the conference to dive deeper into student success and retention, delivering a keynote speech on “The Student Centered Campus,” sharing experience as both a faculty member and an administrator at the University of Texas at Austin.

“When I walk across campus, how many doors can I open and walk in?” said Dr. Laude, explaining how a student feels a sense of belonging on campus. Dr. Laude went on to explain how to change a culture on campus and how to get new ideas to catch on within a culture.

After Dr. Laude’s presentation, Fleming’s Learning Design and Support Team took over to further explore innovation in their afternoon panel workshop focused on Best Practices for Supporting International Students.

While no date is currently set for 2019, Fleming’s Organizational Development Team looks forward to hosting a second Innovation Conference in the future.

Advanced Water System Operations and Management student Sainil Shaikh shares World Water Day campus solutions

sainil-shaikhDid you know that every 10 seconds at Fleming College’s four campus locations, we use almost one litre of water for washing our hands? Advanced Water System Operations and Management (AWSOM) student Sainil Shaikh has been researching water use at the college and brainstorming solutions.

“Water is not just a form of H2O, it is the element that gives life on this planet,” said Sainil for World Water Day (March 22), which focuses on the importance of water. “Our future is lying in this, so we should do something about it.”

This year’s theme for World Water Day is Nature for Water, which explores nature-based solutions to water challenges. Sainil, who is doing his program co-op with Fleming’s Office of Sustainability, credits Fleming with already implementing solutions. The current five year sustainability plan targeted a 10% reduction in water consumption across the College by 2018; this target was achieved in 2016. Further reduction targets will now be identified.

“We don’t sell water bottles on campus and we have a Sustainability Action Plan. In the KTTC, we have a rain water harvesting system where rain water is collected and used to flush toilets and urinals. The normal flushing capacity of urinals is 3.8 litres per flush, but in the KTTC the urinals use 0.5 litres per flush,” said Sainil. “At Frost Campus, we have a constructed wetland, which treats water for a particular zone of the campus. We also have the Centre for Advancement of Water and Wastewater Technologies located at Frost.”

But there is still work to be done, explains Sainil. Through his research for the Office of Sustainability, Sainil discovered that water usage tends to be higher at the beginning of each semester and that washrooms are the main source of high water usage. One of Sainil’s suggestions is to add automatic faucets to all washrooms (they are currently in some washrooms, including facilities in the KTTC), which would reduce the litres per minute used from 5-6 to 0.18.

Sainil also plans to create an awareness campaign around the use of water on campus. “No one knows that we are wasting this much water every day,” he said. “My friends got surprised when I told them these numbers.”

Sainil came to Fleming College from India after discovering the AWSOM program and Frost Campus’ strong reputation in the environmental field.

“It has been amazing!” he said. “It’s a good campus, it has more of an environmentally friendly surrounding. There’s nature and a trail, the Centre for Advancement of Water and Wastewater Technologies is on campus, there’s a living wall… it feels good. I enjoy studying in such a good institution.”

He has also been enjoying his co-op at the Office of Sustainability, which is located in the Sutherland Campus.

“Everyone is so supportive. If I come up with ideas, they always support me,” he said. “It’s been a good, free environment where no one pushes me, they just support me.”

He is proud of the work he has done through his co-op and the knowledge he has gained through his program. “I am in the AWSOM program doing awesome things at Fleming,” he said.

Make a difference through Community and Justice Services

Community and Justice Services is one of six programs Law and Justice students may enter after Common First Semester, but while the other five programs – Customs Border Services, Law Clerk, Paralegal, Police Foundations, and Protection, Security and Investigation – bring a certain uniform or job duty to mind, Community and Justice Services (CJS) may seem more vague.

cjs-studentsWhat is CJS?

“The CJS program prepares graduates to work in the community and institutional settings with individuals who are involved – or at risk of becoming involved – with the criminal justice system,” said program coordinator Cindy Gervais. “This career path is extremely rewarding and challenging, because graduates are helping individuals to address risk and promote resiliency.”

Applied learning

One component of this Law and Justice program is the 15-week field placement, where students earn 520 hours in the field networking and gaining real world experience.

Jennifer Guerin, Correctional Manager at Warkworth Institution and member of the CJS Program Advisory Committee, welcomes CJS students on placement to Warkworth Institution, where they observe operations and interventions. She credits the CJS program with preparing students for the field.

“The program teaches the student what is important to bring into a federal institution, such as the stresses on dynamic security and the art of communication. The five week on-site interaction with a group and inmate interviews gives them a hands-on experience prior to placement,” said Jennifer, referencing the Field Observation course students take in their second semester. “All of the students are well-versed on professional boundaries and dynamic security practices.”

Graduate success

Nicole Soanes
Nicole Soanes, Youth Justice Committee Coordinator at John Howard Society of Peterborough

Nicole Soanes took Fleming’s CJS program because she wanted a career that would make a positive impact on the community. After graduating in 2017, Nicole hit the ground running at the John Howard Society of Peterborough as Youth Justice Committee Coordinator.

“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,” said Nicole.

As Youth Justice Committee Coordinator, 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.

Her most memorable career experience thus far is attending the National Restorative Justice Symposium in Ottawa as a field professional. “I was able to learn more about Indigenous traditions and Sacred Circles and one of the origins of restorative justice, which are the Maori tribes from New Zealand. When I first started to research and learn about restorative practices, I thought it was a small niche, and I have since learned of the massive – and growing – impact that restorative work is having around the world.”

Nicole’s passion for restorative justice was ignited after taking an Aboriginal Justice course during her first semester at Fleming College. Following the course, Nicole launched an initiative in her hometown to implement restorative justice practices for youth before they enter into the justice system, and during her final semester at Fleming College she applied for her current job.

Her advice to current students is to try to grow and improve each day, go outside of your comfort zone, talk to your peers and reach out for help when needed. “Most of all, find your passion. I can tell you that it is amazing to completely love what you do every day.”

SSW student Rebekah Rego raises awareness through Strengthening Indigenous Allies Club

Rebekah
Rebekah Rego smiles for a photo by the Tipi at Sutherland Campus.

Rebekah Rego, co-president of the Strengthening Indigenous Allies Club, is currently busy hanging red dresses around Sutherland Campus. From March 19 to 23, red dresses will be on display to raise awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women, encouraging the Fleming community to remember the women lost.

“If they don’t know about it, I hope they look into it; hopefully it makes them curious and question why this injustice is happening to our communities and to our women. If they do know about it, then I hope they feel supported,” said Rebekah on what she hopes people take away from the display. “Because of the posters, it’s already starting conversations and getting people thinking. It’s great.”

The Social Service Worker (SSW) student credits Métis multi-disciplinary artist Jaime Black for inspiring her display. The Winnipeg-based artist created The REDress Project, an installation art project that uses red dresses as a visual reminder of the crimes against Aboriginal women.

On Tuesday, March 20, Rebekah is organizing a march and candlelight vigil from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Sutherland Campus main lobby. “I thought it would be great to have a night to remember and honour our women,” said Rebekah.

Rebekah reactivated Fleming’s Strengthening Indigenous Allies club with the support of her BISHKAA mentor, Tish, who previously led the group and is now co-president with Rebekah. But taking a leadership role is nothing new for Rebekah, who has been a passionate social activist since childhood, travelling with her mother (SSW program coordinator Cristine Rego) since she was 10 years old to attend conferences and movements on Indigenous issues.

In grade 10, Rebekah worked with Indigenous mentors to secure funding for a focus group to develop an Indigenous approach to respond to bullying in the Sudbury Catholic School Board. In grade 11, Rebekah participated in the Mkwa Ride-along Program with Sudbury Regional Police. And in grade 12, Rebekah was one of 20 Indigenous students chosen to attend Osgoode Hall Law School for one week to study Indigenous justice and be introduced to law school. She also co-published an article with her mother entitled Ensuring a Culturally Safe Practice in Working with Aboriginal Women.

“I’m a huge activist within the community,” said Rebekah, who said her social activist goals are awareness and reconciliation.

Since her goals are to make a difference, Rebekah said that Fleming’s SSW program seemed like the perfect fit for her. “My mom is a social worker, so I grew up and realized this is something I wanted to do—be a helping hand in the community,” she said.

Once she graduates from Fleming, Rebekah’s goal is to join the RCMP and work in northern communities.

She describes her Fleming experience as wonderful and appreciates the welcoming, positive environment. “I love the multicultural atmosphere here. It is a very inclusive environment where we’re free to do what we want,” she said. “I’ve really been supported here by my professors and peers, by Aboriginal Student Services, as well as by the Student Administrative Council.”