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CICE student builds confidence behind the camera


Justin Patterson (photo taken and provided by Justin Patterson, Patterson Photography)
Justin Patterson, photographed by Justin Patterson

Justin Patterson, a second-year Community Integration Through Cooperative Education (CICE) student, is gaining confidence behind his camera lens. Justin is busy building his photography portfolio, both off-campus and through his CICE program and elective Business courses.

Justin is currently combining his photography passion with his Introduction to Business class. For his social media project, Justin marketed his availability to take photos via email and Facebook, photographed participants, and shared the photos online with a description of each subject. Project participants include faculty members Kim Healy, Les Smith and Chef Mike Sterpin, among others. Justin also photographed Hospitality, Tourism, Human Resources, Business, and Marketing students in the Career Search (BUSN 27) class for their Linkedin headshots recently.

Kim Healy, photographed by Justin Patterson
Kim Healy, photographed by Justin Patterson

“Most people don’t have the opportunity to photograph teachers,” said Justin, who credits “good lighting, a good camera, and good people” for what makes the perfect picture. And thanks to the knowledge he’s gained through the Introduction to Business and Marketing courses, Justin said there’s an added bonus to photographing people. “When I photograph people, they share that picture with other people—they’re doing the marketing for me. And then the people they showed the picture to come to me to get their photo taken,” he explained.

College-level Business classes are just one of the many doors the CICE program has opened for Justin. “I looked into the CICE program and thought it would be a good opportunity for me to go to college and get a job after,” said Justin, who has a learning disability.

The two-year CICE certificate program at Fleming College is open to adults with learning exceptionalities (communication, intellectual, physical and/or multiple). The program has a focus on building foundational literacy skills, applied learning experiences, active community participation, and strengthening independence.

Chef Mike Sterpin, photographed by Justin Patterson
Chef Mike Sterpin, photographed by Justin Patterson

“I like that there’s help, it makes it easier on you. And I get to take other courses, like Intro to Business and I took Marketing. Those classes helped a lot and showed me how to market and run my own business,” said Justin, who has his own photography business called Patterson Photography.

Justin confided that right now he is torn between photography and computers. Justin is doing his CICE Co-op placement at reBOOT Peterborough, where he fixes computers, installs software, tests monitors, and other tasks. But he said the two interests are compatible. “I knew computers before my placement because I’m always editing photos on my computer, but I gained a lot of computer skills there—I can build them and take them apart,” said Justin. “Maybe I’ll work on computers as a day job and do photography as a side business?”

Les Smith, photographed by Justin Patterson
Les Smith, photographed by Justin Patterson

Justin said he would recommend the CICE program to others. “It’s a good opportunity for people with disabilities to have a college experience and it’s a good opportunity to get a job after this program,” he said. Among the skills he’s gained, Justin lists business, photography, and social skills. But mainly, he has gained confidence in himself. “When I took my first Marketing course, I asked my Integration Facilitator Lisa to sit on the other side of the room. I didn’t want the other Marketing students to know I had a learning disability,” he said. “Now, I can share that with other people.”