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.

Aloha! from Culinary Management graduate Andrew Craig

The winter season looks a little different for Culinary Management graduate Andrew Craig. Instead of icy cold, snowy weather, the Class of 2012 alum is enjoying sunshine and a warm breeze in beautiful Hawaii.

“The idea of ‘aloha’ is very present and I’ve learned to embrace this. I’m truly enjoying my time on the island,” said Andrew about his Maui lifestyle.

Andrew is the Food and Beverage Manager at the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui, where he is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the LUANA Lounge and assists with managing the Kō Restaurant. The Fleming graduate ensures high standards are met and continuously elevates the experience. He also processes orders, staffing, scheduling, forecasting and event organization for the outlet.

“I love being able to create a personalized and memorable experience,” said Andrew. “I strive to keep everyone happy in the operation so that we can all work together to create amazing moments for other guests and colleagues.”

Andrew relocated to Maui recently for this opportunity with Fairmont. Prior to this role, Andrew was an Assistant Manager at the Fairmont Royal York, a Manager at the Library Bar in the Fairmont Royal York, and spent two years as a Supervisor at the Fairmont Banff Springs through the Fairmont’s Leadership Development Program (now called the Inspire Program). 

“The learning doesn’t stop once you’ve finished your program,” said Andrew. “There is always a new method or variation to be learned about and that’s half of the fun in the job. I’m always taking every opportunity to expand my learning and it’s played a big part in my career taking me to where it is now.”

After graduating from Fleming College, Andrew went on to earn his Bachelor of Applied Business – Hospitality Operations Management at Niagara College, applying some of his Fleming College credits towards a degree. Andrew said he utilized many of the skills he developed at Fleming to succeed in university.

“I gained a kitchen skillset that taught me everything from mise en place through restaurant service execution. I even had the opportunity to create my own business with The Corner on Sixth, which gave me the chance to work through all the many variables associated with running a restaurant,” said Andrew about the skills he developed at Fleming College. “It was an amazing experience that not only showed me many classic culinary techniques and recipes through the labs and classes, but allowed for countless opportunities for off-site events that honed my hospitality skillset in real-world scenarios.”

Andrew said he would recommend the Culinary Management program to others, saying, “Absolutely! It has given me the knowledge and wherewithal to confidently carry out my hospitality career in both culinary and front-of-house managerial positions.”

College is more than a diploma for Rory Morley, it’s a chance to stand out

Rory Morley wanted more from his college experience than just a diploma, he wanted to stand out.

“If you go to college just for classes, then it’s just another course on your CV,” said Rory, Business Administration – Marketing graduate (Class of 2019). “That’s where Enactus comes in.”

Enactus Fleming is a student-led entrepreneurial club where students apply their skills to entrepreneurship, participate in workshops, impact the economic growth of international communities, and start a business on campus. Rory joined Enactus Fleming during his second year, wanting to get more involved in the business world and participate in sales competitions.

Rory’s first competition was the Great Canadian Sales Competition, where he represented Fleming College all the way to the Finals. He started collaborating more with faculty advisor Raymond Yip Choy to become more competitive during his final year at Fleming, going on to speak at the regional competition in Mississauga.

“Raymond didn’t push me, but he really motivated me to do it and to develop those skills,” said Rory on pitching ideas at Enactus competitions against other post-secondary students. “But it’s just a really rewarding group to be a part of. You’re helping genuine people and these are genuine lives. It’s across functions: sustainability, people, business, and more.”

Rory’s favourite project for Enactus Fleming is Project United, which welcomed elementary students from King Albert School in Lindsay, Ont., to Fleming’s Sutherland Campus in Peterborough, introducing them to post-secondary school.

“This is a school that has no money, so there are no field trips at that school,” Rory explains. “So we went to the school and talked to the children there, and gave them a chance to come to Fleming. They came here and built chairs, cooked in the kitchen, took a tour of the campus… and they looked at college as a place they want to be.”

Through Enactus Fleming, Rory said he developed business acumen, teamwork skills, project management, learned how to behave in an executive presence as well as the ability to talk in a business environment, and more.

“As a measure of success, I wouldn’t have the job I have today without Enactus,” said Rory. “In the second stage of my interview, she specifically asked about Enactus.”

Rory currently works as an Account Manager at Gartner, a research and advisory company that provides senior leaders with business insights, advice and tools to build their organizations. His career is based in Egham, Surrey in England and although that took Rory far from Canada, it helped bring him back home.

Rory is from Windlesham, Surrey and what led him to Canada was a love of sport. Rory is a soccer (or “football”) player and discovered Fleming College in Peterborough, Ont., through the varsity soccer team. Rory joined the Fleming Knights and played on the men’s soccer team for three years, and also served as captain.

“For me it was brilliant,” he said. “In the past, I struggled to keep up with academics from a motivation standpoint, but Fleming Athletics gave me the structure of class and sport, and you still have time to enjoy college. And the social side of varsity is brilliant because it gave me friends immediately, who are part of the team.”

Rory’s advice to future and current Fleming students is to separate themselves from the rest.

“Do more than the program because it is competitive out there,” he explains. “Join Enactus, do philanthropy, play a sport, get involved and make the most of your Fleming experience.”

Practical Nursing graduate receives Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal

Honorary Lieutenant-General Richard Rohmer (left) and Rebecca Thomas-Lorenzon at the awards ceremony in Windsor.

Rebecca Thomas-Lorenzon may be a recent graduate, but the Class of 2019 alumna has already made a huge mark as a medical professional with more than 20 years of exceptional service.

Rebecca was recently honoured with the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal from Northumberland County Council. This award recognizes paramedics who have provided pre-hospital emergency medical services in good conduct, industry and efficiency for 20 years or more, serving at least 10 years of street level or air duty involving potential risk.

“I felt very honored to receive the Governor General award, especially being a female,” said Rebecca. “I am the first female working on the road in Northumberland County to receive this award. So many women leave the road to pursue management or teaching and other [jobs] for personal reasons; not many stay on the road 10 years, let alone 23 years.”

Rebecca (right) with her aunt Sharon, who received this award years prior and is retired after 35 years in Waterloo region. Sharon is Rebecca’s role model, along with Fleming faculty member Mary Osinga. “Both are strong female paramedics that have forged the way for other women in the profession,” said Rebecca.

While serving as a first responder with Northumberland Paramedics, Rebecca also decided to go back to school, hoping to increase her career opportunities in the medical field.

“I knew I did not want to go into management,” Rebecca shared. “I took the Practical Nursing course as part of a childhood dream to become a nurse and my desire to do more international work.”

Rebecca chose Fleming College because of its proximity, which made balancing school with her full-time career and personal responsibilities (Rebecca is a mom and wife) more manageable. She chose the Practical Nursing program after speaking with nurses, who recommended this program for the hands-on skills she would gain.

“I developed very good time management skills which helped me get through the past two years,” Rebecca shared about her Fleming experience. “I have a better insight into the healthcare system and healthcare in general, which I hope will be an advantage for me when pursuing the Community Paramedic role coming in 2020 in Northumberland County.”

Rebecca said she is especially grateful for Career Services at Fleming College, which helped Rebecca update her resume and cover letter for employment as an RPN. She is currently working part-time at Northumberland Hills Hospital and says, “I suggest this amazing service to all Fleming students (young and old) and it is free!”

The Fleming graduate has no plans to slow down with her career or her education journey, as one of the quotes she lives by is “End is not the end. E.N.D. means Effort Never Dies.” Her next goal is to pursue her Bachelor of Science in Nursing.