It’s down to the last details for Hotel and Restaurant Management grad Brittany Stewart

brittany-stewartBrittany Stewart, Hotel and Restaurant Management graduate (Class of 2015), returned to campus on Wednesday to speak with Fleming College students about event planning, education, and gaining real world experience through placement opportunities.

Brittany is the owner of local event planning company Down to the Last Details, where she plans weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, birthdays, holiday parties, and fundraising events. Down to the Last Details has welcomed many Hospitality field placement students to gain real world experience and recently hired Fleming College student Tavlyn Evans as an employee after her placement ended.

On Wednesday, Oct. 11, Hospitality program coordinator Jennifer Rishor welcomed Brittany back to class to discuss her career journey as well as placement opportunities with Down to the Last Details.

“There is no better way to learn about industry ins-and-outs than by working from the ground up,” Jennifer told her students.

Brittany agrees and was happy to spot many familiar faces in the classroom for her guest presentation, as many Hospitality students have already started earning work experience hours through Brittany’s event planning business. Although some event planners are hesitant to take on students due to the 12 to 15 hour event days and hectic schedule, Brittany, who is a certified wedding planner through the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, welcomes the help and enjoys sharing her knowledge with others.

“I like working with a team. You need someone to talk to and to bounce ideas off of,” said Brittany on the team dynamic of event planning.

Brittany plans events as a sub-contractor for The Ranch Resort in Bethany and Down to the Last Details has a number of corporate clients. She is currently planning a Bridal Show in Peterborough and a fundraiser for the Ashburnham Dog Park. With all that is on the go, Brittany is looking for extra hands to help. “You really end up working as a team base to get things done,” she said.

Her interest in event planning was sparked by the 2001 movie “The Wedding Planner,” and although Brittany claims real event planning is not quite as glamorous as Hollywood portrays it, she did share that real event planners do often smile and pretend to be calm around clients while in the midst of a crisis.

This scenario rang true when Down to the Last Details secured their first contract, which was a destination wedding in Mexico. “The average destination wedding is 20 to 30 people, but we doubled that. I had to start big,” she laughed, recalling that the banquet hall’s air conditioning broke before the reception and she scurried to get it repaired before guests noticed.

With five years of event planning experience now under her belt, including a six-month contract position at Peterborough Musicfest, as well as a Fleming College diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Management and a graduate certificate in Event Management from Algonquin College, Brittany said she is always learning something new. “Every time you have a wedding or event, you’re going to learn from it,” she said.

This includes an array of handy items Brittany has accumulated for a tool belt she wears on event days. “For one wedding, the photographer wanted the bride to walk off the trail in Jackson Park. The bride was laidback and fine with it but her heels were very thin, so I pulled out shoe stoppers from my pack and offered it to her,” said Brittany on the importance of small details when planning an event.

The small details are where Brittany starts with teaching her placement students, which includes proper email etiquette and place settings. “Sometimes you have to go back to the basics.”

UNB master’s student Kelly McLean credits Fleming Education Pathways for achieving education goals

Kelly holding a rare male northern pintail during winter banding with the Canadian Wildlife Service in Chatham, Ont.
Kelly holding a rare male northern pintail during winter banding with the Canadian Wildlife Service in Chatham, Ont.

Kelly McLean credits Fleming College’s strong pathway agreement with Trent University for helping her achieve her education goals.

“The transfer agreement with Trent was key to me achieving my schooling goals because I was able to complete a four year degree in two years. If I had to complete all four years I likely would not have gone to university,” said Kelly, who is now completing her Master of Science and Forestry at the University of New Brunswick.

Kelly is a graduate of Fleming’s School of Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences and completed the Fish and Wildlife Technician (2012), Ecosystem Management Technology (2013), and Fish and Wildlife Technology (2014) programs.

“When I started at Fleming I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but the professors were very inspiring and we were exposed to so many different topics that I was able to explore my interests and begin to build a career that I am very passionate about,” she said.

After graduating from Fleming College, Kelly decided to use the education pathway to Trent University because of the strong agreement between the two institutions. She liked that Trent was also small and environmentally focused, and that some of her Fleming peers were also going to attend Trent to add a degree to their resumé.

“Fleming students were well-known at Trent for our field skills, so we were often called upon by our lab coordinators to lead lab work.”

“It was great to have the support of peers going through the same process,” she said. “Fleming students were well-known at Trent for our field skills, so we were often called upon by our lab coordinators to lead lab work.”

Kelly said the administrative process of moving from Fleming to Trent was “very smooth and seamless” and felt very prepared for university courses thanks to her college education.

“In fact, my thesis supervisor recently commented that I have above average writing, a skill that I attribute to the projects and reports that I completed at Fleming,” Kelly added.

After earning her Honours Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology (2016) from Trent, Kelly spent four months working as a Student Migratory Game Bird Technician for the Aquatic Assessment Unit of Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service, and spent another eight months working as a Wildlife Biologist.

“Having a combined field skill set from college and university has provided me with very employable skills.”

She is now working on a research-based master’s degree at the University of New Brunswick, studying wetland buffer width and the persistence of black ducks in New Brunswick under the supervision of Dr. Joe Nocera. She anticipates completing her Master of Science and Forestry in 2019.

Kelly’s end goal is to work in government science and influence policy around harvested wildlife species. “Having a combined field skill set from college and university has provided me with very employable skills,” she said.

Remembering the good old days at Fleming’s 50th Anniversary

Doug Lavery
Doug Lavery

Fleming College looked a little different 50 years ago. On September 1, 1967, Sir Sandford Fleming College opened its first campus, which had 29 faculty members and 235 students.

The McDonnel Street Campus was located in a renovated textile mill, the Bonner-Worth, in Peterborough, Ont. Doug Lavery was one of the College’s first teachers and said he installed the first computer on campus in 1967.

“It was an old wool mill and they converted it, and they did a fabulous job,” said Doug, who describes Fleming as a “great big family.”

After retiring in 2000 from teaching at Fleming, Doug was happy to return to celebrate the College’s 50th Anniversary at Sutherland Campus. He was also happy to reunite with some of his first students.

Judy Hoard (Airey) was one of these students and one of few females in the Business Administration program.

“I had a wonderful experience at Fleming. My teachers were wonderful and Doug Lavery was one of my teachers who I’ve stayed friends with ever since,” said Judy, who worked as an Advertising Manager at Sears for 11 years after graduating from Fleming in 1970.

“The college was purple and lime green. Everything was in colour in the late ‘60s,” she said.

(l-r) Bill Hinan, Judy Hoard, Tim LeClair, and Phil Heard; Class of 1970.
(l-r) Bill Hinan, Judy Hoard, Tim LeClair, and Phil Heard; Class of 1970.

In addition to attending school dances, Judy spent her extracurricular time cheerleading and playing hockey. “I never used boys hockey skates before and every time I’d hit someone I’d say ‘I’m sorry’ to them, because girls really didn’t do that stuff at that time,” she said.

Tim LeClair, Business Administration Class of 1970, said he helped create athletics and student life at Fleming in his role as first Student Administrative Council President.

“We had to create it all. We had to create two Athletic bodies – Men’s and Women’s teams – and we set up a newspaper and a yearbook,” said Tim, who named the school newspaper after winning a contest. He chose “PURPLE THORN” for the newspaper name because of the campus colour and because the newspaper (which often criticized Student Council) was a thorn to him.

Surprisingly, Tim ended up becoming good friends with the editor of the PURPLE THORN, Phil Heard, who was the second President of Fleming’s Student Administrative Council.

“Tim and I have stayed friends for 50 years. He was the best man at my wedding, godfather to my two children, I’ve worked for him and he’s worked for me,” said Phil, who works in the special events business in Vancouver.

“Fleming at that time was very purple and it was so much fun because it was so new,” said Phil, who graduated Fleming College in 1970 from the Business Administration program. “We did all kinds of things. We played bridge, there were excellent school dances organized by Tim— and everyone would go to the dances, it was that great of a school atmosphere. And we started hockey teams and other teams.”

In addition to all the fun, Phil also focused on academics. He was the first recipient of the IBM Proficiency Award in 1970, which included $300 and a job offer from IBM. Phil opted out of the job, though, as his long hair and relaxed style didn’t fit with IBM’s tie-wearing staff.

Phil and Tim were excited to explore Fleming’s Sutherland Campus and to reunite with peers at the 50th Anniversary Celebration on Friday, Sept. 22. They also helped spread the word about the event to fellow graduates.

Bill Hinan, a Civil Engineering Technology graduate from the Class of 1970, was one of the graduates they invited. But this isn’t the first time Tim informed Bill about something at Fleming.

“I thought I was too late to apply for college,” said Bill, remembering the summer of 1967. “Tim LeClair told me about Sir Sandford Fleming College and told me they have an engineering program.”

Bill, who was told “engineering is the best profession to get into” when he was five years old, had his heart set on going for this program. When Fleming accepted him, he was thrilled to start his career.

“The community college education system was suited to me and I did well,” said Bill. “I got a B average at Fleming College after spending seven years in high school. I spent seven years in high school, which meant that I failed a lot.”

Bill said the hands-on college approach suited him and he enjoyed his time in college, which is why he returned to catch up with his classmates at the anniversary event. The group all reunited in the foyer of the new Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre, armed with old documents and photos, happy to reminisce back to their Fleming years.

Ruixin (Rayna) Li feels like a ‘true Canadian’ after Fleming 50th Anniversary Night at the Peterborough Petes

Ruixin (Rayna) Li, left, beside SAC Student Services & Clubs Coordinator Sarah-Jayne Riley.
Ruixin (Rayna) Li, left, beside SAC Student Services & Clubs Coordinator Sarah-Jayne Riley.

Ruixin (Rayna) Li was excited to attend her first hockey game ever at Fleming 50th Anniversary Night at the Peterborough Petes, but it was made extra special for the Fleming International student because she got to perform the ceremonial puck drop.

Fleming 50th Anniversary Night at the Peterborough Petes was September 21st and recognized the College’s 50th Anniversary. Rayna, who is an International Student Ambassador at Fleming College and a Director on the Fleming College Student Administrative Council (SAC), was asked by Fleming SAC to drop the puck on the ice at the home opener game.

“I thought I just got free tickets, I didn’t realize I got to drop the puck until a few days before the game,” said Rayna, who moved from China to take Fleming’s Business Administration – Accounting program. “It’s like winning the lottery for me. My first hockey game and I get to drop the puck? It’s like a miracle.”

To prepare, Rayna researched hockey online and watched YouTube videos of the game. “I didn’t know how to drop the puck. Should I throw it like a basketball?” she said. After her research, Rayna felt ready.

“The act is simple but it’s so special to drop it in that moment because it is the College’s 50th Anniversary. Dropping the puck felt like a fresh start in that moment for the next 50 years of Fleming College,” said Rayna, who is in her second year of studies at Fleming College.

She thanks the College and Fleming SAC for the incredible opportunity. “I never thought I’d get to walk on a red carpet like a movie premiere,” said Rayna, referring to the red carpet laid on the ice for the ceremonial puck drop. “I called my mom and friends in China, and they’re all proud of me.”

Walking in front of a large crowd at a hockey arena would’ve been out of Rayna’s comfort zone just one year ago when she first came to Canada.

“When I was in China I was the quiet girl, and my first month here my English was so bad so I was quiet here too,” she said. “I stopped at the SAC Office asking how I could get involved. I wanted to improve my English and I was lonely because it was only my boyfriend [a Frost Campus GIS graduate] and I here.”

SAC helped Rayna get involved on campus and in the community through volunteer opportunities, which she said helped build her confidence. She took the Leadership program at Fleming, got hired as an International Student Ambassador, became a SAC Director, and got a part-time job at Burger King to earn extra money.

“Now I am very outgoing. It has also built up my time management skills,” said Rayna, who enjoys having a lot on the go. “I got the highest GPA in my first year and I do not find it stressful, it is a driving force for me. My English is good now, and Fleming College and SAC really helped me.”

In addition to thanking the College for helping her gain confidence, Rayna also credits Fleming for making her a hockey fan.

“I like it because it’s a fast-paced game and it’s a very Canadian game. The audience cheering feels very enthusiastic and positive,” she said. “My friend said I’m a true Canadian now.”

Annie Brough adds Fleming post-grad to her resume for a competitive edge in job market

annie-broughAnnie Brough needed an edge in the competitive job market, so she decided to add a Fleming College post-graduate program to her resume.

“I wasn’t having any luck finding a job in geography with just my BA,” said Annie, who graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2015 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Geography with minors in Global Studies and French. She then worked various jobs, including work as a hostess, farm and market worker, server, and teaching piano lessons.

“When I was job searching, I noticed there were a decent number of GIS job postings. As a creative, artistic person, I decided that my best chances for success would be to pursue further schooling in GIS,” she said.

Annie exclusively applied to Fleming College’s post-graduate Geographic Information Systems – Cartographic Specialist program because it was highly renowned and had positive reviews online, the program was only three semesters long, and Annie felt her artistic skills and geography knowledge would help her succeed in the Cartographic stream.

“It wasn’t until I attended the GIS Open House that I really understood what I was getting myself into. Seeing all of the amazing work the students accomplished made me super excited to get started, but it also terrified me. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to succeed in the program,” said Annie. “Thankfully, I met a friend from Laurier at the Open House who was just finishing the program, and he gave me some idea of what to expect in the upcoming months and words of encouragement.”

Her experience at Frost Campus was enjoyable and she describes the teachers as fantastic and helpful. She loves that the school is quiet and peaceful, features big windows to let in lots of sunlight, and is full of plants.

Fleming College also made Annie feel more confident about her job prospects, which was why she attended in the first place. Annie said her teachers emailed students job opportunities, related class material to real-life situations, introduced new job prospects and ideas, and welcomed guest speakers from the industry to class. And it worked out, as Annie was hired on contract by Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA) as a GIS Assistant after graduating this year.

“My Fleming education definitely helped me get this job. During my interview, I was asked technical questions about various GIS applications, terms and systems. Without my Fleming education, I wouldn’t have been able to answer the majority of the interview questions,” said Annie. “The Career Centre at the school was also key to my success. They helped to mentally prepare me for the interview, and provided a general idea of what to expect and how best to conduct myself professionally.”

As GIS Assistant, Annie develops and modifies the creation and implementation of geomatics databases; supports projects, including reports, databases, analysis and mapping requests; creates and prepares maps, graphs and other documents for presentations, training and publications; and provides staff with technical support on GIS software, and more.

“The best thing about my job at CLOCA is the people and the opportunities. The people at CLOCA are so friendly and supportive, I felt at home the moment I walked through the door on my first day,” said Annie. “I feel like my Fleming education never ended! I have learned so much at CLOCA, it’s almost hard to comprehend– and I can’t wait to keep on learning!”

Annie said she “100%” recommends the GIS – Cartographic Specialist program at Fleming College. “If you want a job in GIS, apply to this program, it will get you there. Quite a few organizations exclusively hire Fleming GIS graduates,” she said. “The school prepares you for the real world and the teachers are professionals in their fields, with a lot of first-hand experience in many different areas, provinces and countries.”

Olivia Anderson is excited to travel Ontario for Fleming College

olivia-andersonOlivia Anderson looks forward to sharing information about Fleming College with prospective students after she completed two programs at the college. Olivia was hired by Student Recruitment to work as a Grad Recruiter, travelling the province speaking to a variety of audiences about Fleming programs, services and facilities.

“I am really looking forward to meeting students interested in the Nursing program, and sharing my experience and advice with them on things I wish I had known before I started the program,” said Olivia, who took Fleming’s (what is now called the) Pre-Health Sciences Pathway to Certificates and Diplomas (2015), which led her to the Practical Nursing program (2017). “Hopefully I can make their transition into college an easier and more enjoyable experience.”

Olivia has wanted to be a Grad Recruiter since last year, when she saw Fleming College Facebook Page posts on the 2016 Grad Recruiters, Emily, Kyle and Kelly, and their adventures that fall.

“The idea of traveling Ontario, meeting perspective students and sharing my Fleming experience with them seems like an absolute blast to me,” she said. “I love Fleming, so I’m excited to inspire other students to come here and make the most of their college experience.”

One of the things Olivia loves most about Fleming College is the close-knit community. “I can’t walk through the halls without seeing someone I know and stopping for a quick chat. Everyone is very friendly here and it makes this campus a very enjoyable place to be,” she said. “The faculty here truly care about your success here and want to get to know you as more than just a number.”

Olivia also loves living in Peterborough, which she describes as having all of the amenities of a city but with a laid-back, natural environment. Her favourite spot on campus is the Student Administrative Council office, which has a beautiful view of the forest. “It also has a constant flow of people, so you can meet some very interesting people from many of the different programs in the school,” she added.

The best thing Olivia learned from Fleming College, she said, was that there is more to life than academics. “Which sounds funny since I learned this while attending an academic institution,” she said. “The opportunity to volunteer, travel, organize student events, be a voice for students, be a part of committees and more has taught me things no book could ever describe. I have learned many unteachable life skills through my experiences at Fleming, most of which took place outside of the classroom.”

University Transfer grad Jacob Hadley hopes to inspire those unsure about post-secondary school

jacob-hadleyGrad Recruiter Jacob Hadley does not take his college certificate and university degree lightly. For Jacob, who dropped out of high school at 16 years old, crossing the convocation stage at Trent University this year was a dream come true, and he thanks Fleming College’s University Transfer  program for helping him achieve this milestone.

Jacob stopped attending classes in grade 10 and when he decided to go back the following schoolyear, seeing his friends a year ahead of him in grade 11 made Jacob decide to drop out. He began the process of trying to earn his Ontario Secondary School Diploma through online and Independent Learning Centre courses, and earned his GED at 20 years old.

“It was taking a long time to complete each course and I had many credits to complete to obtain my high school diploma,” said Jacob, who was anxious to catch up to his high school peers. It was Jacob’s mother who found Fleming College’s unique General Arts and Science – University Transfer program, which enables students to experience university-level general arts and social sciences courses while earning credits towards a university degree. Jacob’s older brother attended the program first and was successful, so Jacob decided to enrol.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to study, or if I wanted to study at all, but the program gave me five university credits at Trent and I could pick what I wanted to focus my studies on when I got there,” said Jacob. “It was a broad course of social sciences and writing techniques, which gave me a good perspective of what I wanted to study after. Most importantly, I learned how to write at a university level, which helped me immensely when it came to essays and research papers at Trent. I don’t know how my mom found out about this program but I’m forever grateful she did— thanks mom!”

Jacob enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and sense of community at Fleming. He said students not only build relationships with their peers, but also get to know their professors and stay connected after graduating. “This is especially beneficial with the professors who work in their field and can help find jobs for their students,” he added.

Jacob credits college with helping him become social and outgoing, explaining, “I was very reserved before coming to Fleming College and, while at school, I learned to come out of my shell and I really enjoyed meeting new people.” His favourite spot at Sutherland Campus is the Steele Centre, where he played pool, attended events, and enjoyed concerts.

He completed the two-semester certificate program in 2013 and went directly to Trent University, graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration, with a specialization in Marketing and Consumer Culture, this past June (2017).

“Fleming’s UT program completely prepared me for university, especially entering the first and second-year courses where such a large portion of grades were based on writing ability,” said Jacob. “The preparation and feedback I received from my professors in the UT program helped me receive high marks in this area, which greatly reduced stress and anxiety.”

Now that Jacob has completed his studies at Trent University, he is returning to Fleming College– but this time as a staff member. Jacob was hired by Student Recruitment for a Grad Recruiter position, where he will travel the province this fall speaking to a variety of audiences about Fleming programs, services and facilities.

“Fleming gave me the opportunity to get back into education after a lengthy hiatus and I wanted the chance to talk to other people who may not believe college is right for them. There’s always an opportunity for someone in post-secondary education, you just need to find the right place for you,” said Jacob. “I hope I can help guide these students down the right path and one day they will be as grateful as I am to have chosen Fleming College.”

Hospitality graduate Alexander Molnar puts passion for travel into action

alexander-molnar-web-photoAlexander Molnar is excited to explore Ontario this fall as a Grad Recruiter for Student Recruitment at Fleming College. Grad Recruiters travel locally and across the province speaking to a variety of audiences – secondary school students, young adults, parents, teachers and school guidance counselors – about Fleming programs, services and facilities.

The travel aspect of the job is well-suited to Alexander because he is a 2017 graduate of Fleming’s two-year Hospitality diploma program, which is aimed at students who want travel, adventure and meeting new people as part of their career plan.

“I am looking forward to being on the road and getting to see the parts of Ontario that I have never seen before,” said the Grad Recruiter. “We live in a beautiful province filled with so many great places and attractions that I have never gotten a chance to fully explore. Although I will be busy talking to folks while I’m out there, I am going to take advantage of every opportunity to visit sites and explore cities.”

His love of exploring is also why Alexander recommends Fleming College to prospective students.

“No matter the course, whether it be in business, trades or arts, all have components outside of your typical classroom,” he said. “One of my favorite days at college was traveling to Toronto with Hospitality and the Tourism students to go see the inside workings of hotels. We got to go underneath the Fairmont Royal York and explore their massive tunnels that run under their facility, as well as visit the penthouse apartment at the Trump Hotel. We got to see what we were getting ourselves into and really immerse ourselves in the world of hospitality. The hands-on and applied learning that Fleming College offers gives you a new way to learn that you won’t get anywhere else.”

Alexander wants to help spread the word about Fleming College because he hadn’t heard of it when starting his post-secondary journey. It was Alexander’s move to Peterborough for Trent University that led him to the local college.

“Coming from Ottawa, the school was new to me when I came to Peterborough,” said Alexander, who switched to Fleming College after the move. “I am so glad I did attend Fleming because the knowledge and experience I gained here I will take with me for the rest of my life.”

The Hospitality graduate praises Fleming as a great school with a friendly campus environment. “All the staff are very approachable and everyone is super friendly,” he said. “Anytime I’ve had a question about classes or need guidance of any sort I’ve always been able to find someone to talk to, whether it’s an instructor or another member of the faculty.”

Alexander gives a special shout-out to the staff at Breaktime, which is credited as his favourite spot on campus. “The ladies there are amazingly nice, always talking to you about your classes or how your day was. They remember you over breaks, even summer, and are the sweetest people,” he said. “Also if you remember your coffee card and get to the free coffee they’ll even do a happy dance for you, which is always great fun.”

Earth Resources Technician Co-op is a gem for Fleming graduate Crystal Smith

helicopterCrystal Smith was stuck between a rock and a hard place when considering her post-secondary options for geology. As a kinesthetic learner, the applied approach of college appealed to Crystal; but industry professionals recommended a university degree. Luckily for Crystal, Fleming College’s Earth Resources Technician Co-op program offers the best of both worlds through Education Pathways.

“I still haven’t stopped talking about my experiences at Frost Campus, so I would say it was great! The programs at Frost Campus offered so many opportunities to learn outdoors and gave me the confidence I needed going into outdoor and industrial workplace environments,” she said.

Crystal recommends Frost Campus to those wanting to gain skills for resource and environmental industries, and to those who prefer an outdoor learning and working environment.  “Also with the new GeoCentre being developed, it’s a great time to take the opportunity of using new labs and modern equipment,” she added.

After graduating from Fleming College in 2016, Crystal used Fleming College’s Education Pathway to Acadia University in Nova Scotia and entered into the third-year of the Bachelor of Science in Geology program.

“Nova Scotia has an amazing geological history and the variety of rock types in such a small province makes for a great place to study,” she said.

Crystal said she shares the knowledge and skills she gained at Fleming College with her peers at Acadia, and that Fleming prepared her for university in terms of time-management and hard work.

“I would recommend the Education Pathway to any Fleming grad that thrives to learn more about geology and would like to travel and experience the East Coast,” said Crystal. “Since I have been at Acadia, I have developed a greater understanding of petrology and continue to learn in detail about igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, along with their economic importance.”

This summer Crystal put her knowledge and skills to work as a Field Assistant (Summer Student) for the Department of Natural Resources, Geological Division, where she stayed with three geologists and two other students.

As a Field Assistant, Crystal conducted soil sampling, surficial mapping, operated vehicles (including off-roading vehicles), and navigated using GPS, compass and maps. Once samples were collected and dry, they were processed in the lab; Crystal’s lab duties include splitting samples, sieving, operating a portable XRF for geochemical analysis and performing clast lithologies.

“Exploring by helicopter was hands-down the most exciting thing I did all summer. My field supervisor allowed me to navigate to a site using a GPS and a LIDAR map while in the helicopter and the best part of it all was flying around with the door open,” said Crystal.

Crystal credits Fleming College for preparing her for this job. Through Fleming’s Earth Resources Technician Co-op program, Crystal learned how to navigate using GPS, compass and maps. And through the program’s Digital Image Interpretation course, Crystal learned how to use LIDAR images and remote sensing images, which helped her navigate and interpret results.

“One of the biggest skills that I continually used in the field and lab was safety awareness, mainly on trenching sites,” she said. “Safety awareness was constantly stressed to students at Fleming College and after being in the field I am grateful that I know what to watch out for.”

Crystal’s advice for current students is to know when you need motivation and to seek it. “I’ve always felt inspired to learn more after listening to professional geologists tell their stories and share their great adventures in the field,” said Crystal. “My favorite was a lecture told by a Fleming graduate who also transferred to Acadia, who came and gave a speech to undergraduate students. I could relate to the academic route and at the same time the worldly adventures that person had throughout their career gave me enough inspiration that moment to gladly study more.”

Collaboration is key for Conservation graduates

alison-and-priscilla-blogConservation is a collaborative effort for Conservator Alison Freake and Conservation Intern Priscilla Lo at the Provincial Archives of Alberta.

Both are graduates of Fleming College’s recently renamed Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program, which trains students in preserving various aspects of arts and heritage for future generations. Priscilla graduated in 2016 from the Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program and Alison finished what was then called Collections Conservation and Management in 2001.

“Fleming graduates have a solid understanding of the materials they are working with and an eagerness to learn as much as they can in order to do the best job,” said Alison, who is mentoring fellow Fleming grad Priscilla. “There is a willingness to take part in broader activities and an awareness of the importance of institutional workflow and how we, as conservators, are able to contribute in so many different areas.”

As a conservator, Alison is responsible for the physical condition of records held by the Provincial Archives of Alberta, which includes: manuscripts, bound volumes, photographic prints and negatives, maps, architectural renderings and other archival materials. She is involved with exhibit design and installation, site visits, preservation training, collection evaluations, and special events, and teaches workshops for the Archives Society of Alberta and various post-secondary institutions.

Alison said her Fleming education is relevant and helpful to her career, and its holistic approach to collections care has proven useful as her job duties have expanded. Her program internship also helped her gain real world experience that proved beneficial down the line.

“My internship project was the assessment of a parchment collection for the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (now The Rooms – Provincial Archives Division), which was very relevant to my position at the Archives,” she said.

Alison moved to Peterborough for her graduate certificate after completing a Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her advice to current students is to be prepared to move around, get involved in the conservation community, and remember the importance of relationships.

“The Fleming conservation community is a very strong presence in our field, since there are graduates working in many heritage/memory institutions in various capacities. As a profession, it is important to have our members participate in a collegial manner, and the common educational background plays a substantial role in our community,” said Alison, who is the current President of the Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property.

Alison enjoys welcoming recent graduates into the field through mentorship. She is currently mentoring 2015 graduate Priscilla Lo, who is interning at the Provincial Archives of Alberta through the Young Canada Works Post-Graduate Internship.

“Priscilla has been a great deal of fun to work with!” said Alison. “The Young Canada Works Post-Graduate Internship is meant to give a boost in practical application of skills in a larger institution and she has been doing a great job in the conservation lab. She seems to be enjoying her time here, so my goal is to make sure she gets what she needs from us, even while her work plays such an important role in our preservation program.”

Priscilla is responsible for treatment, collections care, and outreach projects such as repairing glass plate negatives, item-level collection assessment and treatment of paper-based records, as well as taking part in site visits and facility tours. Like Alison, Priscilla said her Fleming College education is useful in her job.

“In our course on paper objects, we had the chance to carry out treatments on a paper object of our choice. The practical skills I learned while doing this treatment gave me experience to work on treating paper objects at my current job,” she said.

Priscilla added that she still uses her class notes from school and encourages current students to take lots of photos and extensive notes while doing treatments. “You may use a technique or method later on in the future for a similar object,” she said. “Also, keep all your notes– the group notes compilation will help you greatly in the future!”

Priscilla is enjoying her internship experience thus far, especially being mentored by Alison.

“It’s encouraging because Alison is so good at what she does and she’s been at the Archives for so long,” said Priscilla. “She’s a great mentor and encourages discussion whenever possible. She’s genuinely interested in helping me strengthen my skills and my portfolio.”

Priscilla hopes to pay it forward one day and be a mentor herself to pass on her knowledge and skills to an emerging conservator.