Fleming student Mitchell Maracle named one of Canada’s top geoscience students

Earth Resources Technician Co-op student Mitchell Maracle isn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty, which is why the second-year student is excited to participate in the Student-Industry Mineral Exploration Workshop this May.

Each year, 26 of the top geoscience students from post-secondary institutions across Canada are nominated to attend this intense two-week workshop in Sudbury, Ont. This workshop, which is hosted by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, aims to develop future leaders of the mineral exploration and development industry.

“The Student-Industry Mineral Exploration Workshop is a highly competitive application process targeted towards university students, so Mitchell’s acceptance is a big deal,” said Joanna Hodge, Earth Resources Technician Co-op program coordinator. “I am very proud of Mitchell for his well-deserved acceptance and I know he will make Fleming College proud when he goes to Sudbury this May.”

Mitchell is looking forward to the networking opportunity, as well as learning more about the mineral exploration field.

I did my program co-op in the Yukon, helping to find economically viable mineral deposits, and I want to learn more about the industry,” said Mitchell, referring to his co-op placement at Big River Mineral Exploration. At his co-op placement, Mitchell sampled soil, staked claims, worked as a drill hand and at the sluice box, and panned for gold, among other responsibilities.

“I like this career because I like history, and this is the earth’s history, but you can find work in it. I also like that it’s science, so it’s great!” said the Fleming student.

Mitchell decided to take Fleming’s Earth Resources Technician Co-op program after earning his degree in Geography and Environmental Studies at Carleton University and travelling Australia. When he returned to Canada for a friend’s wedding, Mitchell decided he wanted to gain more hands-on skills and train towards a career.

“When I came back to Canada, I decided I should get my career going and the ERT program was right up my alley. I’m glad I chose it, it’s been perfect,” said Mitchell. “I like how hands-on and informative the program is, and I like that the class sizes are smaller—I know all of the professors and students, and the professors care if you’re struggling with anything.”

After he graduates from Fleming College, Mitchell plans to continue his studies at Acadia University, using Fleming’s education pathway to earn his Bachelor of Science in Geology with two additional years of study after Fleming.

“I enjoy learning and feel it’d be better to specialize in the field,” explains Mitchell. “I’m passionate about earth sciences and I want to learn more!”

Meet Social Media Ambassador Joao Borges

Given Joao “John” Borges’s ability to effectively manage a very busy schedule, it is not surprising he is in the Project Management program at Fleming College.

In this post-graduate program, students develop skills and knowledge to efficiently manage all aspects of a project to achieve organizational goals. For John, time management and organizational skills are key to his student success at Fleming, where he serves as Director of Student Administrative Council and Communications Lead in Enactus Fleming, while attending school full-time.

“I love getting involved on campus!” said John. “I have been involved with SAC and Enactus Fleming for almost two years now. I would say these are my favourite ones, as I get to do different things every week, engage and meet students, while improving my  skills and doing good for my campus.”

After graduating from the Business Administration – Marketing program this year, John decided to continue his studies at Fleming College and take the Project Management graduate certificate to further build his resume. His career goal is to work in advertising one day.

“I believe learning about the Project Management areas will be an asset to my career path,” he explains. “Fleming offers a stellar Project Management program and I’ve heard wonderful things from students that already graduated and are now currently working.”

In addition to his studies at Fleming, John also took a part-time position in Fleming’s Marketing Department. He is working as a Social Media Ambassador, creating content for Fleming College’s social media accounts.

“This is a huge milestone for the career path I want to pursue and I believe I will be learning great things with the Fleming Marketing team,” said John. “Secondly, I want to contribute to Fleming and give back to the students, and I want to try to showcase all the great things that Fleming has to offer!”

John loves the “lively and vibrant atmosphere” at Sutherland Campus, the amount of opportunities to get involved, and the support students receive from staff and faculty.

“At Fleming, everyone wants you to succeed, so ask as many questions as you can,” said John. “Try to step out of your comfort zone and take advantage of all the opportunities Fleming provides, because trust me, there’s always something that matches your interests!”

Meet Social Media Ambassador Hilary Wright

Hilary Wright grew up with a passion for animals and nature, which is why it’s so important to her that future generations get this same opportunity.

“With our current climate crisis, I wanted to do my part to ensure future generations will be able to enjoy the wildlife we’ve all had the chance to enjoy,” she explains.

After earning a certificate in Performance Horse Handling from University of Guelph – Ridgetown Campus, Hilary enrolled in the Ecosystem Management program at Fleming’s School of Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences.

“Ecosystem Management not only educates me on how I can make a difference for the animals I care about, I get hands-on experience every week!” she explains. “I love studying Ecology because the more I learn, the more I can see how everything and every action is connected in some way. It’s both incredibly challenging and beautiful to realize how we’re all linked together.”

The second-year student says she loves the hands-on learning opportunities that Fleming College offers, as well as the amazing faculty.

“I love having the opportunity to be in the field practicing the skills I’ll use in my future career,” she said.  “Paired with having the most passionate and experienced faculty who truly take the time to know you… it’s a unique experience!”

Outside of academics, Hilary loves participating in the fun clubs and activities at Frost Campus. As a member of the Foraging and Bushcraft Club, Hilary explores acres of campus land with her club members searching for plants they can eat or craft into tools. She also loves Auk’s Lodge events, such as karaoke night, pub night, and even a Bob Ross-themed paint night.

“There are so many fun things to do on campus!” said Hilary, whose advice to new Frost Campus students is to get involved and try as many things as you can. “Whether it’s operating a drill rig, climbing a tree or trying your hand at Loggersports, there are so many once-in-a-lifetime events you don’t want to miss out on!”

Next semester, Hilary is excited to have another once-in-a-lifetime experience: she is travelling to South Africa!

Hilary and a group of Ecosystem Management students are spending the winter semester abroad through a partnership with the Askari Wilderness Conservation Programme.

“Every year, up to 10 students from EM get to spend their fourth semester living on a wildlife conservation reserve in South Africa,” said Hilary. “I can’t wait to experience this for myself!”

Hilary is enjoying her Fleming College experience so much that she is now a Social Media Ambassador with Fleming’s Marketing Department. She is creating social media content, such as Instagram Story videos and Facebook photos, that highlights her experience at Frost Campus.

“I can’t wait to show everyone the crazy things we as students get to do everyday!” said Hilary. “Whether we’re in the field planting trees, in the lab analyzing invertebrates or enjoying a pub night down in the Auks Lodge, we’re always up to something new and exciting!”

School Within a College inspires Shelby Baldino to strive for success

Shelby Baldino never imagined herself graduating from high school, serving as Valedictorian for her class or attending college, but thanks to School Within a College, Shelby achieved more than she thought possible for herself.

“I never in a million years thought I’d graduate high school, let alone be Valedictorian. It was a great experience,” said Shelby. “When I got the message, I cried. In high school, I was put down a lot by my teachers and peers because they didn’t think I was making an effort, but I had depression and that’s what was stopping me.”

In high school, Shelby had poor attendance, struggled with authority figures, and was battling depression. Her guidance counsellor introduced her to the School Within a College program, a partnership between the school board and Fleming College.

School Within a College offers a college learning environment for senior secondary students to complete their Ontario Secondary School Diploma credits. The program includes a dual credit course, where students are able to earn one college credit.

“I loved it! It’s more of a college setting and it’s up to you to do the work. For me, it was a better environment and I felt safer, and the people who work here are more approachable and try to help,” Shelby explains.

“My attendance got a lot better— I used to not go to school at all. After being in this program, I saw how much I could get done in a day and that made me feel good,” she said. “I went from 50s and 60s in high school to 70s and 80s here. That made me feel good and made me want to come. It influenced me to try harder.”

Through the School Within a College program, Shelby said she improved her attendance, time management skills, organizational skills, work ethic and more. She also felt supported with her mental health and is especially grateful for being introduced to the Peterborough Sport & Wellness Centre.

“When my teacher Amy brought me to the Wellness Centre and I saw how everyone just does their own thing, I realized this isn’t bad,” she said. “Now I find exercise is relaxing and it makes me feel better if I’m stressed.”

After completing her Ontario Secondary School Diploma, Shelby decided to continue her studies at Fleming College. She is currently in her first semester of the Law Clerk program with plans to earn a dual diploma in Law Clerk and Paralegal.

“I have nine siblings and I’m the first one in my family who will graduate from college. My mom said, ‘you’re not allowed to drop out!’ It’s exciting, but I’m also nervous because I’m setting the bar for everyone after me,” Shelby explains. “It’s showing them that you can struggle and make it. Even if you have problems, you can do it.”

Shelby’s long-term career plans are to finish the Law Clerk and Paralegal programs at Fleming College, use an education pathway to earn a degree at Ontario Tech University, go to Law School, work as a lawyer for 10 years and then apply to become a judge.

“Back in high school, I never would think to push myself. But after graduating with good marks and being Valedictorian, I might as well strive to be the best that I can be,” said Shelby.

Bowman Allen takes on World Firefighter Combat Challenge

Bowman Allen isn’t afraid of a challenge.

“Hard work is a choice and I’m not one to shy away from it, so I will be doing all I can for my future,” said Bowman, Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training.

The Fleming Fire Combat Team member is flying to Montgomery, Alabama for the World Firefighter Combat Challenge. From October 21 – 26, competitors will perform physically demanding tasks that simulate the demands of firefighters in emergency situations. This includes climbing a tower, hoisting, chopping, dragging hoses, and rescuing a dummy that weighs 175 lbs.

“I’m looking for an experience I won’t easily forget,” said Bowman about the competition. “I’m hoping to qualify for the final day, and am excited to experience the American course, talk to the different firefighters and departments from around the world, and hope to see some familiar faces from the past season.”

Bowman has been training regularly since Nationals, with a focus on leg strength and endurance to conquer the tower portion of the race faster, and is prioritizing sleep, nutrition, and recovery.

He joined the Fleming Fire Combat Team in February, wanting to try a new sport, compete, and network with firefighters from across Canada.

“Being on the team has been a great experience, getting to know each member of the team and the coaching staff,” he said. “The season would not have been as incredible had it not been for my teammates and the experiences we all were able to share.”

He also enjoyed his experience in the Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training program, which is taught at the Eastern Ontario Emergency Training Academy (EOETA) in Norwood, Ont. The EOETA applied learning environment features a burn tower, roof props, door props, search and rescue maze, confined space prop and new high intensity propane training props.

“The fire grounds and equipment we have access to is awesome and the environment we have because of the facility makes it all that more real,” he said.

Bowman chose this program because he wanted a rewarding career where he could make a difference.

“I feel being able to serve my community, help others, and have a positive impact on life and safety as a firefighter is the most rewarding career I could ever have,” Bowman explains. “Being a real-life superhero for my children is also pretty amazing.”

Bowman is currently serving as a firefighter in Cavan Monaghan and hopes to convince more department members to get involved in the Firefighter Combat Challenge one day.

Fleming Fire Combat Team’s Declan Fitzpatrick set to compete in World Firefighter Combat Challenge

Fleming Fire Combat Team member Declan Fitzpatrick is heading to Montgomery, Alabama to compete in the World Firefighter Combat Challenge.

This intense competition demonstrates the firefighting profession’s rigors to the world. From October 21 to 26, competitors will perform physically demanding tasks that simulate the demands of firefighters in emergency situations. This includes climbing a tower, hoisting, chopping, dragging hoses, and rescuing a dummy that weighs 175 lbs, while wearing firefighting gear.

“I joined the team because I wanted the challenge and the experience of FireFit. The career networking was a bonus,” said Declan, who took Fleming’s Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training program and joined the Fleming Fire Combat Team in February, 2019. “It has been a lot of fun training and competing this year; we had an incredible group of people on the team this year, competitors and coaches.”

Declan qualified for the World Firefighter Combat Challenge last month at the FireFit Worlds & Canadian National Championships in Oshawa. He achieved an incredible 1:24 in his first year competing in FireFit, making him the fastest new competitor in Canada and earning him the 2019 FireFit National Rookie of the Year award.

“Being Rookie of the Year is very rewarding and has made all the time and commitment put in that much more worth it,” said Declan, who has maintained his routine of home workouts and weekend training with the Fleming Fire Combat Team. “In Alabama, I am hoping to achieve a time of less than 1:40, which is the cut-off to get into the ‘Lion’s Den’, a prestigious ‘club’ that is very difficult to become a part of. Even if that doesn’t happen, I will still be thrilled to have taken part in the FireFit Worlds.”

Declan enrolled in Fleming’s Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training program because being a firefighter has always been his dream job.

“Being a firefighter has always appealed to me because it’s a challenging and very rewarding career that will allow me to do a lot of good for my community,” he said. “I have enjoyed my time at Fleming, both in the course and on the FireFit team. We had a great group of people in the course, as well as the instructors.”

Keeping strong cultural and spiritual ties is important to Fleming Grad Recruiter Rebekah Rego

Fleming College’s commitment to helping every student succeed is what makes it so special to Rebekah Rego.

“Everyone here is dedicated to your success,” explains Rebekah. “Faculty and staff strive to help and want to see you succeed!”

As an Anishinaabek student, success to Rebekah means maintaining her strong cultural and spiritual ties, which is why she connected with Indigenous Student Services.

Indigenous Student Services at Fleming aims to help students transition into college by providing support, information and resources, cultural programming, and by acting as a link to the college and wider community. It quickly became Rebekah’s favourite place on campus.

“Indigenous Student Services felt like my home away from home,” shared Rebekah. “Indigenous Student Services provided me support and a safe place to strive as an Anishinaabek student. Their services include Elder visits and a medicine room.”

She added that the staff are supportive and provide cultural programming that fits everyone’s schedule to ensure events and programming are easily accessible.

Rebekah graduated this June from the Social Service Worker program with the Indigenous Perspectives Designation. She thoroughly enjoyed her Fleming experience, including the Sutherland Campus, Fleming staff, academics and the extracurricular activities she was involved in.

“I felt like I was a part of the Fleming community,” said Rebekah. “I had such amazing and meaningful experiences during my time at Fleming.”

At Fleming College, Rebekah said she was able to learn valuable skills while developing herself as a professional.

“My program helped me prepare for the working world while I also learned how to give a voice to those who cannot, be involved in community events, organize a student club and have the responsibility of being on committees,” she said.

Rebekah feels so strongly about Fleming College that she is joining the Student Recruitment team this fall as a Fleming Grad Recruiter. Rebekah will be travelling across Ontario to share information about Fleming with prospective students.

“I am really looking forward to being able to share my enthusiasm for learning and my passion for Fleming so that other potential students can see the valuable opportunity Fleming presents for their future careers,” said Rebekah. “I cannot wait to meet students across the province and share my experiences and knowledge with them.”

Weekly class inspires career change for Michelle Ménard

When Michelle Ménard was in high school, she felt lost about what to do next.

“I was not aware of all of the opportunities,” said Michelle.

She decided to take the Bachelor of Arts – Honours program at the University of Guelph followed by an Event Management graduate certificate at Humber College. After graduating from Humber College in 2014, Michelle moved to Edmonton, Alberta and worked in the hospitality and event industry for five years.

What changed Michelle’s path was a community silversmith class that she had signed up for as a fun activity to do once per week for four months.

“There’s nothing quite like the feeling of completing a piece from one of your own designs,” said Michelle, who fell in love with jewellery creation through the class.

Michelle realized this career would combine her artistic passion with the business skills she had gained from work and post-secondary school. She wanted to pursue the idea further and discovered the Jewellery Essentials program at the Haliburton School of Art + Design (HSAD).

“I had looked at a few different schools but noticed that their curriculum had a lot of electives that, as a mature student, I had no interest in,” Michelle explains. “The certificate program was appealing to me because I had already attended post-secondary school and I discovered that HSAD offered an intensive, 15-week program that would have me learning straight away. I visited the campus and the decision felt right.”

Fleming’s Haliburton Campus is nestled in the beautiful Haliburton Highlands, overlooking Head Lake in the town of Haliburton. The community is welcoming and known for amazing scenery and an eclectic community of resident artists.

At the Haliburton Campus, Michelle enjoyed the Great Hall, the Maker Space, and the surrounding forest for fresh air and inspiration. She said the quiet town offers lots of great activities to do and features beautiful scenery, including Skyline Park for a stunning view of the town and Head Lake.

“The community is friendly and the campus atmosphere with small classes offers the perfect place for students to connect,” said Michelle. “I was not expecting to make friends in just four months but, to my pleasant surprise, I ended up building connections with classmates that truly meant the world to me and that I will always remember.”

In addition to making friends, Michelle said the benefit of intimate class sizes is the in-depth personal training students receive from faculty. Faculty know students by name and can answer questions and provide help and guidance when needed.

“I fell in love with the atmosphere,” said Michelle. “Most of my time was spent making memories and creating in the jewellery studio. It’s a room fully equipped with possibilities and is where I felt most happy on campus.”

She adds, “After my program, all of my initial uncertainties about going into jewellery vanished. I learned that jewellery making is the career I want to pursue.”

Michelle graduated from the Haliburton School of Art + Design this June and will stay connected to the college by working as a Fleming Grad Recruiter this fall. As part of Fleming’s Student Recruitment team, Michelle is travelling across Ontario sharing information about Fleming with prospective students.

“I became a Grad Recruiter because I want to mentor young students and assist them in the overwhelming process of deciding their educational future,” she said. “I recall being in high school and feeling lost in terms of what I wanted to do next. I was not aware of all of the opportunities and I want to help as many students understand the exciting options to prepare them for careers.”

Michelle is most looking forward to promoting the arts and answering questions from students.

Timing is everything for Grad Recruiter Alannah Kennedy

Timing is everything.

The first time Alannah Kennedy came to Fleming College, she started right after high school in 2008, she didn’t feel ready for post-secondary school and she left during the winter semester.

The second time Alannah came to Fleming College, she was a mature student in 2017, she felt ready and excited to begin her studies, and she proudly completed the Office Administration – Executive program.

“I chose to return to Fleming and commute from Oshawa because I never forgot how Fleming made me feel; Fleming was like a family and everyone is very inclusive and really cares about you and your success,” said Alannah. “When I made the decision to return to school, Fleming was my first and only choice.”

Alannah’s favourite thing about Fleming College is the support offered by faculty and support staff, who truly care about every student.

“You’re not just a number here. Our college community genuinely cares about you and your successes, whatever that may look like. Faculty and support staff know you by name, not your student ID number,” Alannah explains. “We are at an advantage being a mid-size college; there’s lots more one-on-one opportunities to help you succeed. And our programs give you a lot of hands-on work experience via simulations and/or out in the industry.”

During breaks from her classes, coursework, and working and volunteering on campus, Alannah enjoyed a hidden gem at Sutherland Campus, which she recommends to others.

“If you follow the pathway behind the school by the cafeteria… in behind the Library you come to this one opening that has a bunch of shrub with a little bench and, in behind, is this beautiful rock pathway that leads up to doors that are off the main foyer,” she describes. “I really enjoy the beauty of the rock steps, the shrubs and forest in this particular area. Not a lot of people use this area, so it’s a nice place for me to sit and clear my head.”

Alannah has come a long way since her first Fleming College experience and, now that she has finished her program, she doesn’t want to say good-bye. Instead, she will be working with Fleming’s Student Recruitment team as a Fleming Grad Recruiter.

“I feel like sharing my story and my experience at Fleming College will speak volumes to students and that’s why I wanted to be a Grad Recruiter,” said Alannah, who will be travelling across Ontario sharing information about Fleming College with prospective students.

“I am not much of a traveler; I would love to do some travelling but I am honestly a momma’s girl, so I tend stay close by my mom,” said Alannah. “This opportunity is allowing me to get out of my comfort zone and letting me experience our big beautiful province and meet different kinds of people, so I am really excited to be just experiencing new adventures and seeing where the road leads me.”

OACYC provincial conference inspires Child and Youth Care student Denise Borg

Program coordinator Heather Sago (left) with Denise Borg

Child and Youth Care student Denise Borg loves to learn, which is why she signed up to attend the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care (OACYC) provincial conference.

“I felt like this would be a huge learning opportunity,” said the third-semester student. “I’d be able to introduce myself to people in the field and hear their stories, and learn a lot more about what career I’ve put myself into.”

Denise is one of 230 participants who attended the sold-out conference this June, which welcomed local, provincial, national and international speakers to Peterborough. Entitled “Weaving Perspectives: Challenging Ourselves and Others Through Storytelling and Narratives,” the three-day conference featured keynote speakers, panel presentations and interactive workshops that explored ways to enhance relational care practice, methods and models, and encouraged attendees to continue working towards excellence.

“One workshop moved me that I began to think of ways that me, as a student, could begin to make a change,” said Denise on the Working with young people experiencing death, loss or bereavement workshop. In that workshop, the group discussed that while there is a program for helping youth deal with the grief of losing a loved one, there is no program in place for new foster children dealing with the grief of losing the life they had been living before being placed in foster care. “The next workshop I attended was about influencing change in your organization [Influencing organized culture], and those two workshops together had the wheels turning in my head.”

Denise explains that when children are taken to a foster home, there is a “tiptoe period” where they try to behave, be good, and always do everything right so they can stay and not be moved. It is a huge life change, with new rules, a new home, and new people.

“I want to help foster kids deal with that form of grief,” she said. “Having someone to be there to work with that young person, to ask them if there’s anything you can do to make them more comfortable in this situation or happier, or any extracurriculars they want to do, or if they’re missing something from their culture that they want… just having someone there to support you with this, that is huge.”

From the ages of 11 to 16, Denise lived in foster care in her home province of Nova Scotia, bouncing from foster home to foster home before running away to move back with her mom.

“There was no one I could trust or talk to about being in care,” said Denise. “You’re taken away from your family and put in a stranger’s house. You don’t feel safe surrounded by strangers.”

When Denise read the description of Fleming’s CYC program, she felt inspired. “I thought, this is the person I needed in care. I wanted that, and I want to be that person,” she said. “I lived with addictions for four years of my life. When I saw I could work with young people who live with addictions, I thought ‘If I could work with foster kids who live with addictions or out of care with addictions that would be essential.’ If I had someone that I could have gone to and discussed my issues with, I don’t think I would’ve fallen down the path that I did.”

Denise said she reflected a lot about her past at the OACYC provincial conference and her experiences in foster care. One powerful moment Denise experienced during the conference was listening to Ziigwanbinesii Charles sing at the sunrise ceremony, opening ceremony and closing ceremony.

“My heart filled with so much love that I cried. It was so beautiful to hear her sing,” said Denise. “When I was in Nova Scotia, I was in a Mi’kmaq studies course and Ziig sang one of the songs my teacher sang to me when I was in school. It touched a part of my soul.”

She said the conference experience has also been beneficial in discovering more ways she can help others.

“I don’t think that I would have made the connections I did or that I would’ve thought about the grief that foster kids go through when they’re apprehended– and that there’s nothing in place for that,” she said. “It’s been beneficial, and I’ll take everything I learned and put towards my practise and next two years of school.”

Denise said she is enjoying her time in the CYC program at Fleming College and attributes it for her personal growth over the past year. She said the program’s inclusion of self reflection has helped her to move forward.

“I’ve had a lot of heart-to-heart moments with some of my professors and that makes the program that much more enticing,” said Denise. “You can tell Heather, Aurora, Cherylanne and Patricia really care, they are willing to meet you where you’re at– all of the teachers, really. My legislation teacher is the woman I inspire to be; Lisa Fenn inspires, has so much passion, she is my role model.”

Denise is excited to continue learning and developing skills for her career path. She said the OACYC conference confirmed that this is the right fit for her.

“Hearing other people’s outlooks and experiences put me in a spot where I need to do this. This is who I am meant to be,” she explained. “I feel it in my heart that I’m in the right place.”