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

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

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

In the Recreation and Leisure Services program, students learn:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glassblowing graduate Paul van den Bijgaart enjoys the yin and yang of his artistic process in China

Paul van den Bijgaart
Paul van den Bijgaart

It went straight to his core – that feeling of finding his calling – and it happened at a weekend glassblowing class in Red Deer, Alberta.

“As soon as I put the pipe in the furnace, I just knew: this is my passion,” said Paul van den Bijgaart, who was working as a cabinet maker and lighting repairman at the time (2007). “It’s a very rare feeling. There are very few times in my life where I’ve felt that passionately and absolute about something.”

A friend of Paul’s mother had encouraged him to sign up for the beginner glassblowing class at Red Deer College, believing it would benefit his work on lighting fixtures. Paul loved it and used the money he earned at his full-time job to continue practicing glassblowing at a studio in Edmonton.

When the studio closed two years later, Paul decided it was time to fully immerse himself in his craft. He moved to Haliburton, Ont., to take the Glassblowing certificate at the Haliburton School of Art + Design.

“Haliburton was really a changing ground of an intensive few months to see if I really wanted this. It really was a make or break,” said Paul, who describes the experience as life changing.

Every morning he walked across the frozen lake to the Haliburton Campus, where he poured his energy into glassblowing all day. He only left the campus when he was either exhausted or had plans with his friends.

“It’s a magical place to pick up a serious amount of skill in a short amount of time,” said Paul, who credits the school with developing his confidence. “The teachers would push you outside of your comfort zone. When I first got to Haliburton, I asked an instructor how to do something and they said to me, ‘Try, go do it– don’t be scared to fail!’ That continues to contribute to my artistic endeavors to this day.”

After graduating from Fleming College, Paul continued his studies at Sheridan College. During his first year in the Craft + Design program, he met Amy Yang, a talented artist from China with a sleek aesthetic and background in design. The couple became a designer/maker team and traveled together after graduating.

dragonThe original plan was to move to China to get married and then return to Canada, but that plan changed when Paul got the opportunity to teach a workshop in Shanghai.

The couple now works with institutions in China, including the China Academy of Art, and continually returns to Canada to teach workshops.

One difference between glassblowing in Canada compared to China is that hot glass has only just begun growing in popularity as an artistic material in China, said Paul.

“Historically, the Chinese have used glass to mimic other materials, like jade and stone. They typically perceive those naturally formed materials as more valuable,” he explained.

In addition to the perception of glass, the other challenge Paul faces is the language barrier.

“I always thought glassblowing was the most difficult skill I’d acquire in my life, but learning to read, speak and understand Chinese has definitely challenged that,” he said. “My New Year’s resolution was to lead workshops in Chinese and this year in September I was the main translator at an arts event.”

Living in China has helped Paul grow as a person and as an artist. “It’s interesting to rewire your brain. The way they experience and view a lot of everyday objects is very pictographic. For instance in English we say ‘tornado’ and we can picture what that means, but in Chinese it’s ‘long juan feng,’ which literally translates to ‘dragon rolling wind,’” said Paul. “It’s like learning to view the world in a different way.”

Paul returns to Canada to teach intensive classes, but continues to grow roots in China. He is currently creating his own glassblowing studio in Beijing and plans to open a studio in Edmonton one day.

paul_v_02-004“I enjoy everyday objects people can use; a glass of wine at the end of the day, a handmade carafe at the side of your bed,” he said. “It’s important for people to engage with the maker community and for them to understand the work that goes into handmade objects.”

As Paul grows his business, he continues to enjoy the glassblowing process.

“It makes me feel almost every emotion I can imagine: it’s frustrating, calming and relaxing, I can drift away sometimes because it’s repetitive, other times it’s very intense, assessing multiple components simultaneously, it’s a mixture and a  balance,” he said. “Not to bring it back to Chinese philosophy, but there’s a yin and yang to it; you have to get frustrated to know to calm down. I’ve learned philosophy through the material, and found that it can take you to magical places if you’re willing to forget what you know.”

Conservation graduate Maia Balint takes Fleming College skills to Oxford

maia-at-oxford-blogThe skills Maia Balint gained at Fleming College are not only useful in Canada, they are useful around the world!

The Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program provides opportunities for students to take their studies to other countries, where they can gain internship experience in interesting locales. Maia completed her full-time Fleming internship at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, Devon, UK, and made connections that led to her current employment at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford.

“I learned about this opportunity due to the connections I made during my Fleming internship,” said Maia, who works as an Osney Power Station (OPS) Move Project Assistant. “The experiences that I gained while studying at Fleming were directly relevant to the job description and prepared me for the interview.”

In her contract role at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, Maia works with artefacts every day. “A lot of the artefacts are really amazing and beautiful,” said the Class of 2018 graduate. “My favourites include pocket microscopes and homeopathic medicine kits full of tiny jars substances— many of which are poisons!”

Maia is responsible for assessing and packing artifacts, and said Fleming prepared her well for the role, including how to complete documentation for object assessment and general handling techniques. Maia also references the information she gained from the two-day packing workshop led by Paul Marcon from the Canadian Conservation Institute.

maiabalintatworkMaia wanted to move to Oxford because her partner is doing his PhD there. She describes Oxford as very pretty and adds that being affiliated with the university makes a big difference because the most beautiful parts are only accessible to university staff and students.

But this isn’t Maia’s first time living in the UK. After graduating from the University of Toronto, where she studied history, Maia took bookbinding courses in the UK and did an internship at the Design Museum in London. Her interest in bookbinding, which also includes courses at the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild and an internship at the Robertson Davies Library in Toronto, is what led her to pursue a career in conservation.

“Most practicing bookbinders also do conservation work,” Maia explained. “I wanted to learn more about the various materials that are used in bookbinding and I was attracted to Fleming’s emphasis on hands-on skills.”

The Fleming College graduate said she would recommend her program to others. “I think the Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program provides a great introduction into the conservation of a wide range of materials,” she said. “It gives students a wide variety of practical experience, which reflects the type of work that goes on in museums.”

Police Foundations grad Montana Fazi takes Fleming education pathway to UOIT

35251086_2064016697170090_7086100957796237312_nWhen Montana Fazi crossed the convocation stage to receive her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), she felt grateful for Fleming College Police Foundations faculty for helping her reach this milestone.
“I am truly beyond thankful for all of the Police Foundations faculty,” said Montana. “They played a huge role in my education decisions and successes. It was because of their encouragement and guidance that I continued learning to pursue my education and career goals. When I struggled through university, I pushed through those struggles because I wanted to make them proud and succeed.”

Montana graduated from Fleming’s Police Foundations program in 2015, describing her two years at Sutherland Campus as her best years yet.

“Fleming College provided a lot of fun ways to get involved in the campus community. I took advantage of this and made the best of my college experience,” said Montana, who was involved in the Street Team, First Aid Support Team, International Student Club, and International Peer Mentoring. “These experiences allowed me to grow as an individual, meet new people, and gain transferable skills.”

Montana also credits the Police Foundations program with helping her gain transferable knowledge and skills, which she used for a Fleming education pathway to UOIT the following May (2016).

“There are a few differences between college and university that I have noticed,” said Montana, who graduated from UOIT with her Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Justice this year.

She explained that Fleming has group work and scenario learning exercises to apply course material, and has small class sizes.

“I feel that Fleming did prepare me for university,” said Montana. “I was able to identify theories and concepts that I learned in college courses that came up again in university courses. Being prepared and already having knowledge of the material made transitioning into university courses smoother.”

Montana enjoyed her time at UOIT and credits the Student Learning Centre staff and professors with making access to disability services a great experience. She said they accommodated her needs, pushed her to succeed, and were there for her.

She recommends Fleming’s education pathways to other students who want to expand their skills and get both the college and university experience.

“I was able to gain the hands-on experience through college, while also gaining experience in independent learning through university. Both of which are valuable experiences that I can bring with me into my field of work,” she said.

CYC graduate and Valedictorian Brittany Parsons hopes to empower others with learning disabilities

brittany-parsonsWhen Brittany Parsons was told she has mild dyslexia and short term memory in grade 5, it was labelled as a “hurdle” and a “roadblock.” She grew up being pulled out of classes and made to feel different from her friends.

“It was really hard growing up,” said Brittany. “I tried to compensate and seem like I didn’t have one. I worked so hard to want to be like everyone else. But in high school it was challenging, because my friends were all in academic and I knew I had to do applied.”

In 2011, Brittany began working at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul overnight summer camp and realized her interest in working with young people as a career. After feeling inspired by an amazing Child and Youth Care practitioner at her school, Brittany decided this career was a natural fit for her.

She attended Fleming College’s Open House event and spoke with Child and Youth Care (CYC) graduate Rachel Charles about the CYC program, which prepares individuals to provide care and treatment for children or adolescents experiencing a range of social, emotional, behavioral, or learning challenges. 30 minutes into their conversation, Brittany decided Fleming College was the right college for her and later moved from Toronto to Peterborough for her post-secondary education.

“With a learning disability in your younger years you are pulled out of classes and they make you feel different. Here at Fleming, you aren’t meant to feel different, they just give you the tools to help you,” said Brittany. “Even the word ‘accommodations’ doesn’t sound bad, as opposed to when I was younger in school and it was called a ‘hurdle’ or a ‘roadblock.’ It’s a nice way of doing things here.”

Brittany used academic accommodations and counselling services during her three years at Fleming.

“Having a career in a helping profession, I feel like it’s unrealistic for me to be perfect,” said Brittany. “I used it knowing I was almost at rock bottom, but you can feel great and still go to counselling. It’s a type of mentorship that is a healthy relationship, where you can share with no judgement.”

Brittany describes her time at Fleming as one of “self-discovery,” where she realized her purpose, values and beliefs. She enjoyed her experience and said her peers felt like family and her faculty felt like great mentors.

Through the program, Brittany said she “learned to learn my learning disability,” explaining that she learned how to advocate for herself and discover what she needs to be “unstoppable.”

“Once you learn what you need, what people once saw as a disadvantage becomes your biggest asset,” she said.

Brittany graduated this month and won the top school award, the School of Justice & Community Development Academic Achievement Award. This award is presented to a graduate for academic achievement and significant contribution to the college community. As such, Brittany was selected to deliver the Valedictorian address at convocation.

When she stood at the podium on June 6 at the School of Justice & Community Development ceremony, Brittany introduced herself by saying, “My name is Brittany Parsons. I am a first generation student, an individual who’s proud to say lives with a learning disability, and today I will graduate from the Child and Youth Care program.”

Three years ago Brittany said she would not have felt comfortable sharing her learning disability with a crowd of people, but since coming to Fleming she feels empowered to share her story.

“Some say having a learning disability is embarrassing. When you openly say it, it becomes empowering and no longer a roadblock,” she explained. “There’s always someone in your life that’ll say you can’t do something and with a learning disability you hear that 10 times more often. Once you are accepting and ready to love yourself with your learning disability, you will learn your purpose and can do whatever it is.”

Brittany is now working for York Region District School Board as a Child and Youth Care practitioner. She plans on completing a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care and eventually earn her PhD.

“This dream would not have been possible three years ago. I have been blessed with amazing faculty,” she said. “The thought of university is scary, but I learned that if I start early and advocate for myself, it will be possible. I’m applying this fall and will do it part-time online while I continue to work in my field, Later, once it can be a smooth transition, I will transition to full-time studies because I know I can do it!”

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.

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.”

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.”

Conservation grad swaps snow for palm trees at the University of Miami

laura-fedynyszynLaura Fedynyszyn, Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management graduate (Class of 2013), swapped the cold Canadian weather for sunshine and palm trees in Miami, Florida this winter.

The Fleming College graduate is working at the University of Miami Libraries as the Andrew W. Mellon Conservation Fellow, where she performs conservation treatments on rare books and paper objects from the permanent collections on campus.

“I love the range of objects I get to work on. We have maps and manuscripts dating back to the 15th century but also a wealth of new materials, such as zines. Each pose their own preservation problem, so every day is something new,” said Laura, who creates a variety of mounts and supports for objects on display, and works with an installation team to set up the exhibits.

Laura’s previous experience includes conservation contracts at Library and Archives Canada, The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, and the John M. Kelly Library at the University of Toronto. She decided to move to Miami in November 2017 because of the amazing career opportunity the university presented.

“The other faculty I work with are knowledgeable and supportive. We have a new and wonderfully outfitted conservation lab with a lot of equipment I have never gotten to work with before, so it’s been a great learning experience,” said Laura. “Canada is home, but I must say it’s nice to skip winter!”

Laura credits her Fleming education for preparing her for the Fellowship at the University of Miami, especially the work completed during her final semester.

“That semester provided me with a solid foundation and gave me excellent exposure to the type of media I came to love working with the most,” said Laura, who explained that book and paper conservation was the area of focus during final semester of the Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program.

Laura came to Fleming College after earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking at OCAD University. She was attracted to Fleming’s graduate certificate because it offered experience working with a range of objects, such as metals, ethnographic objects, textiles, and paper.

“I was interested in learning about the collections management and preventive conservation side of things too, as I know conservators at many small institutions are often tasked with these facets of collections care as well,” said Laura. “The Fleming program provided a great balance of all the different aspects of conservation and collections care.”

Laura describes her Fleming College experience as “amazing” and keeps in touch with many of her classmates. She describes the courses as intense and well-structured, with lots of hands-on projects, and appreciates the wealth of knowledge her instructors brought to the classroom from their extensive work experience in the field.

Her advice to current students is to be willing to move for opportunity. “Being mobile and able to go where the work is helps a lot, especially when you are just starting out,” she said. “Be open to any and all contracts that are in the realm of conservation. For example, I took a two-week contract at Cambridge Galleries and was able to expand that into over a year of work conserving their permanent collection and planning for a new storage vault. You never know what great opportunity is just around the corner.”