Fleming GIS graduate Matt Pietryszyn launches COVID-19 Alerts System to share data with the public

When the shift to essential services began in Canada, Qwhery founder Matt Pietryszyn noticed the struggle many people faced with finding localized COVID-19-related information. The Fleming College graduate decided to put his Geographic Information Systems (GIS) skills to use and launched a platform to help keep the public informed.

“While working on another project (ProjectPandemic), I met Sabrina Tang, owner of SaFuture Inc. We discussed how there was so much information about COVID-19 cases on the Internet, yet many people still didn’t know where to get it, in terms of their own communities,” said Matt. “We decided to collaborate on a solution that would send that localized information directly to anyone who registered for the daily or weekly notifications.”

The platform, which is a collaboration between Qwhery and SaFuture Inc., enables people to receive local COVID-19-related data directly to their phone for free. Subscribers receive alerts or daily and weekly summary notifications for confirmed cases, recoveries, tests and deaths within their health region in Canada or county in the United States. The COVID-19 Alerts System utilizes data curated by Esri Canada provided by Health Regions across Canada and Johns Hopkins University for American data.

“We felt it important to keep this a free service because we wanted to be able to help get this information out to everyone who wanted it, with no restrictions or barriers,” said Matt. “We were able to secure a grant from Twilio, a leader in SMS technology, and have been able to support and sustain the COVID-19 Alerts System at a very low cost.”

The response to the platform has been positive, with people subscribing from all over North America. “As subscribers to our service continue to receive their daily notifications, they get a better understanding of the pandemic and what’s happening in their own communities,” said Matt.

The GIS graduate said he entered the industry in 2003 with confidence and a head-start thanks to his Fleming College education, which trained him on industry-standard tools and software and encouraged him to be creative with projects and assignments.

“I believe that my experience at Fleming gave me the confidence to enter the workforce and provided me with a strong network of peers and mentors that helped me since I graduated,” said Matt. “The faculty was very knowledgeable of the industry and having that insight shared with me at the beginning of my career really helped me be confident in my decisions to pursue various roles in GIS.”

After working for the City of Brampton, Esri Canada and the City of Hamilton, Matt founded Qwhery in August 2019 as a creative outlet to experiment with ideas and develop solutions to benefit a wide audience. Qwhery is a leader in implementing voice technology and geographic information systems. Their flagship product, Q11, connects smart home devices and voice assistants to local government open data portals, and the Qwhery cloud helps cities connect their services to residents through smart home technology, open data and community engagement.

Matt is currently focused on connecting Amazon Alexa and Google Home with Municipal Open Data, location-based information and services to efficiently provide citizens with information from their municipality– without needing to search on a website or call 311.

After working in GIS for 17 years and founding Qwhery, Matt continues to use his Fleming College skills and knowledge and highly recommends the program to those interested in this career path.

“I enjoyed my time at Fleming College very much. I got involved through a job at the computer lab and really immersed myself in the program,” he said. “I would absolutely recommend the GIS program to others, and I do every chance I get.”

For information about Qwhery, Location Intelligence and Voice Tech, please contact Matt Pietryszyn at matt@qwhery.com.

Fleming College graduate Kimberly Coe feels honoured to be a nurse

Kimberly Coe, pictured before an N95 surgical mask, face shield and gloves were required as a protective measure.

Kimberly Coe felt anxious when the COVID-19 pandemic began, but now the Registered Practical Nurse feels comfortable with her new normal.

“I feel safe and surrounded by a good group of people,” said Kimberly, who works in the Palliative Unit and Complex Continuing Care at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC).

In Kimberly’s new work routine, she wears street clothes to work and changes into uniform at the hospital. She also wears an N95 surgical mask, face shield and gloves as a protective measure.

But adapting her work routine is worth it because Kimberly loves being a nurse.

“I love it. Is it hard? Yes. But I find caring for people to be a privilege,” she explains. “In Palliative Nursing, it’s not just about the patients, it’s about the families you touch.”

One special moment was when Kimberly received a private Facebook message from the daughter of a patient who had passed away.

Three months earlier, Kimberly had painted that patient’s nails. “In the message, she said it took her three months to find me,” Kimberly explains. “She told me, ‘my mom may not have known you were painting her nails, but I did. And that mattered to me. That made a difference to me.’”

Kimberly loves helping others and has always spent time caring for her family, friends and neighbours. She decided to pursue her dream of being a nurse at 51 years old when, after a late summer night chatting with a friend, she felt encouraged to apply to Fleming College.

Unfortunately Kimberly was not accepted into the Practical Nursing program, but she was encouraged to consider the General Arts and Science – College Health Science (GHS) program (now called Pre-Health Sciences Pathway to Certificates and Diplomas). GHS is a pathway program that prepares students for admission to college programs in health sciences, biology or chemical sciences.

 “The Practical Nursing coordinator at the time said the GHS program would be a good thing for me to do because I had been out of school for a long time,” said Kimberly. “She said it would help get the wheels going and that really appealed to me. I enrolled and it was the best thing for me!”

Kimberly balanced her studies with personal responsibilities, including being a single mom to a 16-year-old and home ownership, and is happy with her decision to return to college. She encourages anyone considering a nursing career to take the Pre-Health program because it prepares students for college and helps with the transition.

“Everything in the GHS program is all useful stuff and it’s a really great way to figure out what you want to do for your career,” said Kimberly. “I loved (coordinator) Susan Hyndman’s biology class; she is a phenomenal teacher and it was an unbelievable learning experience.”

Outside of class, Kimberly worked at the Fleming Campus Store and enjoyed taking study breaks in the Steele Centre. “I would go there to relax and listen to music, talk to friends, and close my books for a minute,” she said. “It’s important to take breaks and have fun too.”

To support her studies, Kimberly used Fleming Tutoring Services and highly recommends this academic support. “I never failed. My marks were high and I made the Dean’s List for the first time in my life!” she said. “People think you only use Tutoring when you’re failing, but you should go to Tutoring right from the start to help you succeed.”

After completing the GHS program in 2017, Kimberly enrolled in Practical Nursing and, during her last year at Fleming College, she was joined on campus by her daughter. Kimberly’s daughter is studying in Fleming’s School of Trades and Technology and Kimberly is proud of her for pursuing this profession.

While her daughter continues studying at Fleming College, Kimberly is proud that her education led to employment. After completing consolidation in the Palliative Unit at PRHC and graduating in 2019, Kimberly was hired immediately as a Registered Practical Nurse.

She highly recommends Fleming’s Pre-Health program to others and said she really enjoyed her Fleming College experience.

“People asked me when I started, ‘are you going to the Orientation?’ and I said, ‘of course I am!’ I loved that day; I had the most fun! And I wear my Fleming College buff from Orientation to the hospital!” she laughs. “I loved those days and I want to go back– I’d love to return and volunteer in the GHS program.”

Fairhaven Long-Term Care feels like second family for Human Resources Coordinator Emily Campbell

Fairhaven Long-Term Care is a special place to work. For Human Resources Coordinator Emily Campbell, it feels like a second family.

“Our home has a great atmosphere. Everyone works together as a team,” said Emily. “I love being part of a team that positively impacts other lives. Whether I am an employee’s shoulder to lean on when they are having a difficult day, or simply taking time to listen and hear employees or residents, I love making residents and staff smile.”

As the Human Resources Coordinator at Fairhaven Long-Term Care, Emily is responsible for recruitment, onboarding and general orientation. She also does Human Resources data entry, serves as education coordinator for the e-learning database, and analyzes and records for the attendance support program.

And amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Emily is also responsible for implementing Human Resources changes to maintain the health and safety of staff and residents.

“There has been lots of change to my job and work routine,” said Emily, who ramped up recruitment to ensure Fairhaven is fully staffed and hired pandemic cleaners for above-and-beyond cleaning of the building.

Job interviews are now conducted online via Zoom instead of in-person, general orientation is compressed into a half-day to help limit the amount of people in the room; and face-to-face interactions amongst employees is very limited, as employees are required to stay in their home unit for their entire shift.

Although there are challenges working amidst the pandemic, Emily loves working at Fairhaven Long-Term Care.

She began working at Fairhaven in May 2018 on a temporary contract immediately after completing Fleming College’s Business Administration – Human Resources Management program. This was followed by a contract in Human Resources at Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board. In April 2019, Emily returned to Fairhaven for a permanent full-time role as Human Resources Coordinator.

“My most memorable experience at Fairhaven was our 2019 Fall Carnival,” said Emily on her best work experience. “Every year, Fairhaven has a Fall Carnival for residents, staff, and their families. The Fall Carnival event includes horse wagon rides, petting zoo, bouncy castle, and barbecue.”

Emily is happy she chose to pursue a career in Human Resources and highly recommends Fleming College. “My overall experience as a student at Fleming was amazing, one of the best life experiences I have had! I gained many friendships and mentors along the way, which I am very grateful for.”

Emily also developed many skills at Fleming College, including self-confidence, presentation skills, and effective organizing and planning.

“Whether it was in-class courses, simulations or placements, Fleming College gave me the knowledge and skills needed in order to succeed in real life, on-the-job situations.”

For those currently studying at Fleming College, Emily’s advice is: “don’t be scared to make mistakes– that’s how we learn. Make sure you ask questions. Get involved in the community and keep smiling!”

Paramedic Josh Hogan is confident in his Fleming College education, skills and knowledge

Although Josh Hogan is still new to the paramedic profession, he feels well-prepared for his career at Peterborough Paramedics thanks to his Fleming College education.

“Between labs and teaching, you’re ready to start as soon as you’ve finished the program,” said Josh, who graduated from Fleming’s Paramedic program in 2019 and General Arts and Science – College Health Science program (now called Pre-Health Sciences Pathway to Certificates and Diplomas) in 2017.

“My experience at Fleming was awesome. There’s an ambulance so you can practise driving, you can practise skills and scenarios anytime, graduates come back to give students feedback, and the faculty are fantastic.”

Josh decided to pursue this career after experiencing a hockey injury that led to paramedics arriving to help.

“I cut my leg badly playing hockey and the paramedics that came did an amazing job,” he explains. “To see how well they did their job and calmed everyone down made me want to do that one day.”

He took the General Arts and Science – College Health Science certificate to build a strong foundation before entering the competitive Paramedic program. He said this certificate helped him feel more prepared for the Paramedic program.

Now that Josh is working as a paramedic, he is certainly experiencing challenges amidst this global pandemic, however he feels confident in his skills and knowledge.

“I still enjoy it, but it is more stressful,” said Josh on working amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. “Before, I wouldn’t feel stressed by normal calls, it would be car accidents that would bring stress; Now, every call is stressful. We’re trying not to bring anything home to family and friends.”

Josh explains that 911 dispatchers do a COVID-19 screening call and, when paramedics arrive, they ask a series of questions to determine whether additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required, such as face shields, masks and gowns. If the patient may have COVID-19, paramedics report to the hospital and bring the patient to a designated arrival area by ambulance.

Another change due to the COVID-19 pandemic is that family members can no longer ride in the ambulance with patients.

“It’s been a learning curve,” said Josh. “We’re not running into scenes; we’re making sure we’re okay first by screening and wearing PPE. I think some of these changes will stay now that we’ve experienced this.”

His advice to others is to continue to be cautious. “Don’t go out unless you need to, wash your hands and, if you’re sick, stay home and get a family member to run your errands.”

Hospitality graduate Sophia Darling uses Fleming College skills at Fairmont Royal York

Sophia Darling, Executive Meeting Manager at Fairmont Royal York, always knew a career in hospitality was the right path for her. But with so many areas of hospitality to work in, Sophia wasn’t always sure what area to focus on.

After working in food and beverage, Sophia believed she should move into culinary as a pastry chef. “But after exploring this idea, I realized that my true passion was working with people rather than cakes!” she laughs.

While navigating the Fleming College website, Sophia discovered the Hotel and Restaurant Management program and realized it was a great fit for her. “I saw that the classes offered ranged from Business and Accounting, to Travel and Tourism, Revenue and Hotel Management, as well as Food Service and Restaurant Operations,” she explains. “The diversity of the classes piqued my interest and I decided to enrol.”

Sophia (right) during her Fleming College studies with classmate Cynthia Martschini (née Shaw)

Sophia said Fleming helped prepare her for a career in the industry. As Executive Meeting Manager at Fairmont Royal York, Sophia said she uses skills from Fleming’s Accounting course to provide estimates to clients, knowledge from Revenue Management to quote meeting space prices, and often uses skills developed through sales and client relationships discussions at Fleming College.

“Fleming College allowed me to learn about so many different fields of the hospitality industry,” said Sophia. “I think this helped me understand how multi-faceted this industry is and the benefit of having experience across different industry segments. Through the interactions with my classmates and professors, I also learned the importance of developing relationships and learning from the people around you – group work doesn’t stop when you graduate. You will always have to work with others as a team, and success truly comes from collaboration!”

As a Fleming College student, Sophia participated in the Student Work Experience Program and worked at Fairmont Banff Springs during the summer of 2014. After graduating from Fleming College in 2015, she continued her education at the University of Guelph through Fleming Education Pathways and earned her Bachelor of Commerce Honours in two years.

“Fleming College truly provided the hands-on learning experience that helped me transition into university,” said Sophia. “I learned so much from my fellow classmates and from my program coordinator, Jennifer Rishor. As a student navigating my education and career path, I was fortunate to have Jennifer as such a big proponent to the growth and development of not only myself, but of all of the students in our program!”

Sophia continued to grow her career with Fairmont. She participated in the SUMMIT Leadership Development Program – Food & Beverage Management from 2017 to 2018, and worked as Catering Sales Coordinator, Catering Sales Manager, and is now the Executive Meeting Manager.

Sophia’s advice to current and prospective students interested in this industry is to get involved and network. “You never know who you will come across or work with in your career after graduating,” she said. “Learn as much as you can about all of the different areas of this industry—the more experience you have, the more of an asset you will be!”

Registered Practical Nurse Lori McQuaid stays optimistic during COVID-19 pandemic

Healthcare workers face many challenges at long-term care homes amidst this global pandemic, including preventing the spread of COVID-19 to residents. But Lori McQuaid, a Registered Practical Nurse at a long-term care facility, is staying optimistic.

“I try to give lots of encouragement, extra reassurance, stay positive and keep reminding residents that this is short-term,” said Lori, who explains that residents in long-term care are not allowed visitors right now. “Before long, their son, daughter or loved one will be here to visit again.”

Shopping trips, restaurant outings, bingo games, visiting bands and other activities have been cancelled as a protective measure. To help reduce the group size during meal gatherings, residents are divided in half and two meal services are offered at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“Residents are getting bored because they miss their activities and their visitors. Normally there’s lots of things to look forward to and, right now, we don’t have that so that is hard on them,” said Lori. “When I do medication checks, they’re chattier because they miss that social interaction, so I spend more time with them and chat.”

Lori said web chat calls from family members help encourage residents. She also spotted a couple standing outside the building one day talking to a resident through their window.

“If you have elderly grandparents or parents, keep in contact by phone, Skype or Facetime. Continue physical distancing because you may be a carrier and not know it; but keep in contact. Do your part and do what you’re supposed to do because this won’t go on forever,” she said, also stressing the importance of hand hygiene to prevent the spread.

Lori said her work routine has changed as well. To enter the long-term care home, Lori must answer a series of questions, take her temperature, change into her uniform inside the building (instead of wearing it to work), and must always wear a facemask.

“The purpose of it is well worth it,” said Lori, who drew lips on her facemask to help residents identify her. “We’re free of COVID-19 and we want to keep it that way.”

Lori has worked in long-term care since 2008, hired before she graduated from Fleming College’s Personal Support Worker program. She had enrolled in the PSW program to explore the healthcare field after spending 17 years working at Marina and Sports Bar (including years in management) and earning her Correctional Worker diploma from Fleming in 1995.

“When I had my children, that was my first hospital stay and I felt really inspired by the nurses. I realized this might be for me,” said Lori. “I took the PSW program to learn more about healthcare and I loved it! I loved being a PSW and I wanted to do more, so I became an RPN.”

Lori took Fleming’s bridging program to Practical Nursing and graduated in 2013, working as a Registered Practical Nurse in long-term care since then. In 2017, she added Fleming College to her resume as a Nursing Lab Technologist to help train future nurses.

As a Registered Practical Nurse in long-term care, Lori is responsible for giving medications and treatments to residents, caring for them and creating care plans, meeting with doctors to discuss residents, and more.

“In my opinion, it’s a wonderful career choice and it’s very rewarding. I thoroughly enjoy what I do,” said Lori.

“My passion is caring for the elderly and helping them. My rule of thumb is that one day that’s going to be me, and I feel they should be treated with the utmost respect– and I hope I’ll be treated the same.”

Practical Nursing grad Ashley Davidson perseveres amidst pandemic

There is an eerie quiet and uneasiness as Ashley Davidson enters her workplace at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. To enter the building, the Registered Practical Nurse must stand in line (spaced six feet apart from colleagues) at a designated staff entrance to answer screening questions.

“I feel more anxious going in the doors,” said Ashley, who works in the Pediatric Unit. “I have to wear a mask every day, which makes it harder to interact with people because it’s hard to hear what I’m saying through the mask. It’s also hard for me because I have asthma.”

Ashley is grateful for the generous PPE donations from the community that have helped to ensure she has the equipment she needs. She also shared that PRHC recently started providing hospital scrubs to its frontline healthcare workers to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 to the families of healthcare workers.

“This has been one of the scariest aspects to all of this: the possibility of bringing it home to family members. Although, since community cases have been popping up, we are all basically at equal risk of spreading it right now,” said Ashley, who is grateful for her family’s – and her work family’s – support during this unprecedented time. “It doesn’t seem to matter which unit you work on in the hospital either, so it’s so important to thoroughly wash your hands frequently!”

Although it is nerve-wracking, the Fleming College graduate said it is important for her to work in this field. “It’s what it’s all about, it’s what everyone in healthcare is here for. We’re helping people who can’t help themselves,” she explains.

Ashley aspired to work in healthcare since she was 10 years old, when her father was diagnosed with brain cancer. She grew up watching paramedics help her father during his seizures and sickness, which motivated her to pursue this career path.

“My dad has had brain cancer for 15 years and that really influenced my career choice,” said Ashley, who was also inspired by her mom for the adrenaline rush of the medical field.

“And I always knew I would go to Fleming because Fleming is a five-minute walk from my home and, with my dad being sick, I did not want to move far,” she explains.

Ashley enrolled in the General Arts and Science – College Health Science certificate program (now called “Pre-Health Sciences Pathway to Certificates and Diplomas”) to prepare for the competitive Paramedic program, which she was ecstatic to be accepted into after completing the certificate.

“I did well in preparatory Health Science and it helped with the transition into Paramedic, which I did for a bit,” said Ashley. “But while I was in the Paramedic program, I had a bad flare-up with my asthma in the winter and my doctor recommended this may not be the best path. I wanted to work in healthcare and I realized that nursing may be the best path for me. I believe that everything happens for a reason and I do think this ‘alternative’ is actually the better option for me.”

Ashley graduated from Fleming’s Practical Nursing program in 2017, consolidated in the Emergency Department at PRHC, and was later hired to work in the Integrated Stroke and Rehabilitation Unit. She also has experience working in Canterbury Gardens Retirement Residence and Central East Correctional Centre.

In January 2020, Ashley decided to gain experience and develop her skills in the Inpatient Women & Children Unit at PRHC, where she assesses mothers and babies after delivery, draws bloodwork on the newborns, monitors for low blood sugars, does PO/IV medication administration, IV insertion, catheter insertion and removal, gives baby baths, teaches breastfeeding and bottle feeding, conducts postpartum assessments, does phototherapy for newborns with jaundice, and takes care of post-gynecologic surgery patients as well.

“There’s a lot of teaching in this unit which I think is what I love best, because I really love teaching,” she said.

In addition to teaching new parents, Ashley also teaches nursing students for clinical experience and works as a Practical Nursing Tech at Fleming College.

“I always loved having students at PRHC and helping shape the way they look at the field, seeing how they learn and what they’re getting into,” said Ashley. “When I learned of this opportunity at Fleming College, it seemed pretty cool because it’s not a typical nursing job. The students inspired me to pursue it and it’s been a really positive experience.”

Ashley said she recommends this Fleming College program because of the amazing faculty and hands-on learning. Her advice to healthcare students is to get lots of experience and explore different areas of healthcare to discover the best fit for you.

And her advice to everyone is to “wash your hands! Stay home! Flatten the curve!” Adding, “I really hope this opens people’s eyes and reminds them to slow down a little bit and really take in each moment and be grateful for each day that we are given.”

Kim Magee makes a difference as Front Porch Project photographer

As Kim Magee approaches homes in Lindsay, Ont., individuals, couples, families and sometimes even pets emerge from their front doors with a bright smile to greet her. Kim is a Front Porch Project photographer, snapping family portraits from a distance in exchange of a donation. The Fleming College graduate has raised $2,775 in the past four weeks for Kawartha Lakes Food Source.

“It’s fun, people loved it! They get to smile and there’s not a worry on their face in that moment. They’re happy and stress-free for a minute amidst it all,” said Kim, who has photographed 48 families, Caressant Care Long Term Care staff, Queen’s Square Pharmacy, South Pond Farms, Action Car and Truck Accessories, and Kawartha Lakes Paramedics, among others.

Kim is one of many photographers participating in the Front Porch Project, where photographers fundraise to help support their communities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Kim chose to fundraise for Kawartha Lakes Food Source to help those in need, encouraging financial donations as Kawartha Lakes Food Source can turn every dollar into six dollars worth of food.

She said the experience has been a pleasure for her and has been keeping her busy. In February 2020, all of Kim’s upcoming photography bookings were cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. When a friend told Kim about the Front Porch Project, she jumped at the opportunity to pick up her camera again and make a difference in her community.

“It felt good to be out there shooting because I hadn’t been in a while, and it’s that connection with people,” Kim shared. “Knowing we’re all in the same boat right now, it just makes you appreciate the little things more. I’m capturing this moment in time, and I’m feeling the love out there because we all need it right now.”

Kim is happy to call Lindsay, Ont. her home after moving from Emo, Ont., near the Minnesota boarder, to take the Fish and Wildlife Technician program at Fleming College’s Frost Campus.

“I grew up watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, which was like a National Geographic Channel-type show. They’d capture and tag wildlife on the show and my favourite was when they went to Africa,” said Kim, who dreamed of being a wildlife photographer in Africa after learning photography in high school. “I found the Fish and Wildlife program perfect for me, because I like to explore fish and wildlife, and it would help towards my dream of being a National Geographic photographer.”

Kim developed many relationships at Frost Campus, including amazing friendships, getting married and starting a family, which is why she decided to stay in Lindsay after graduating in 1992.

“The friendships I made at Frost Campus, including my friendship with the former manager of the Mary Street Residence, they became my family. They are my family and my son views them as aunts and uncles. I got such a great foundation in Lindsay,” said Kim. “It takes a long time in a new community to set roots and make friends. If I hadn’t had those people around me, I probably wouldn’t have stayed. These people are wonderful and it’s all why I’m still here. Plus, the Lindsay area is also very similar to my hometown. It’s a great place to be!”

After graduating from Fleming College, Kim worked at a mall photo lab and would display her nature photography in the frames to help sell frames. It wasn’t long until shoppers started asking Kim to photograph their weddings, which she denied for a long time (“why would I take pictures of people?” she laughs) until she finally agreed to photograph a wedding for $50. She was hooked and has been in the business for 26 years.

“My Fleming College education has stayed with me my whole life. I know how to work with nature in both my personal life and my career,” said Kim. “And my dream of Africa has never left my head. I’ll save for the big lenses and one day I’ll be photographing big cats in South Africa. That’s the retirement goal!”

Fleming graduate explores coastal habitats aboard Leeway Odyssey science vessel

Ecosystem Management graduate Paul McCarney had an adventurous August on the Leeway Odyssey science vessel with Oceana Canada and the Nunatsiavut Government.

Paul, who is the Research Manager at the Nunatsiavut Government, went on a 10-day expedition to explore the coastal habitats of Nunatsiavut in Northern Labrador.

“This is an area that is important to Inuit communities in this area, and the marine environment is so important,” said Paul on the culturally and ecologically significant habitats. “We do a lot of science work, but there’s not a lot of science work at the bottom of the ocean—there’s not much exploration done there and that’s the base of the whole habitat. Through this expedition, we’ll get a better sense of this area, monitor changes, see the species, and get a better understanding of the ecosystem and what’s going on in these areas.”

The team collected data and used cameras to record the habitats in coastal bays and fjords, including kelp forests, rocky reefs and open water areas surrounded by seasonal sea ice. Watch this video filmed by Fleming Environmental Visual Communication graduate Caitlin McManus for a glimpse of what they discovered.

“Being able to see the foundational part of the habitats and the ocean and the world is extremely productive. We were able to see coral sponges, sea stars, kelp habitats… there’s so much diversity and we’re able to see it right from the bottom of the ocean,” said Paul on the expedition.

The Fleming College graduate says he uses his education every day in his role as Research Manager, describing it as key to his career. His understanding of identification and looking at images in quadrants, assessments, social and political impacts, and more, are just some of the skills Paul uses daily that he gained at Fleming.

“What I love about Fleming is that the programs are inter-disciplinary. There’s a focus on science, and then you apply it to the social and political issues,” said Paul. “At the Nunatsiavut Government, we’re not just focused on science, we also protect the Inuit communities, the people and the environment. So that understanding from Fleming is useful.”

Paul believes in the Ecosystem Management program so much that he came back to teach in the program for two years after graduating. “I loved it!” said Paul. “I recommend it to everyone I’ve spoken to. Everyone loves it there.”

Photo credit: Oceana Canada/Evermaven

Fleming graduate Tyler Leavitt wins 2019 Readers’ Choice for Best Massage Therapist

When Tyler Leavitt graduated from Fleming College in 2018, he never imagined winning the Readers’ Choice Award for Best Massage Therapist after his first year of practice.

“Just being nominated in my first year of practice was an honour itself,” said Tyler on The Peterborough Examiner Readers’ Choice Awards, where he was the Diamond Winner. “I cannot thank everyone enough. From my professors and parents all the way to my co-workers that have pushed me to the place I am now.”

Tyler is a Registered Massage Therapist at The Urban Spa in Peterborough, Ont. He joined the team in March 2018, working as a Spa Assistant while in college, and transitioned to an Urban RMT when he earned his registration in October 2018.

“The success that I have had in my career so far is definitely a correlating factor with the way that we were taught from our amazing staff at Fleming,” said the Fleming Massage Therapy graduate.

“The biggest thing that I found helped me the most was our clinic setting, where we were able to practice in a free and friendly environment with veteran RMTs that could easily help us along the way!” said Tyler about his Spa + Clinic at Fleming College experience, where Massage Therapy students provide therapeutic treatments to diverse audiences.

The Class of 2018 graduate said he would recommend Fleming’s Massage Therapy program “in a heartbeat,” explaining, “From what I have seen and experienced in the year-and-a-half I’ve been outside of school – from both employers and other RMTs – Fleming graduates are held to the highest standard.”

Although physical wellness was always important to Tyler, he didn’t originally plan to become an RMT. Tyler previously studied Fitness and Health Promotion at Fleming College and was hired by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada after graduating in 2016. But when the Peterborough branch relocated, Tyler made the decision to train for a new career.

“Loving Peterborough as much as I do, I decided to see what else was out there,” Tyler explains. “I applied to a few programs and something about the Massage Therapy program spoke to me, and the rest is history!”

Tyler says he is able to combine his skills from Fitness and Health Promotion and Massage Therapy to bring the most benefit to his clients.

“Through Fitness and Health Promotion, I was more drawn towards the health promotion side of things, which included a lot of going out into the community,” Tyler explains. “I learned the very valuable skill of not being afraid to really talk to anyone, as well as the ability to educate most on a level that they understand.’

‘This has made one of the bigger impacts on my career so far because once a client is able to understand what is going on with their body, they are able to make the appropriate changes to help themselves get better!”

Tyler’s advice to current students is to ask questions, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and be honest when you don’t know something.