Michael Tamosauskas builds a ‘golden’ resume in the geological field

A thick fog quickly rolls in while Michael Tamosauskas collects glacial till samples atop a mountain in Nunavut. With his nearest colleague at least 100 metres away, Michael’s radio alerts him that an emergency helicopter pick-up is on its way before the pilot loses more visibility.

When the roar of the helicopter sounds close, all Michael can see is the thick, white fog enveloping him. “I was kind of panicking because if they couldn’t pick me up for a certain period, I would have to camp out on the tundra overnight,” said Michael.

The helicopter pilot, with Michael’s crew on board, struggles to spot Michael and, when he does, there is nowhere nearby to safely land. 

“I made the decision to sprint – and fall – down the side of this mountain to flatland, where he was able to pick me up… with him and my crew laughing at my tumble down the mountain,” said Michael.

Fleming Career Fair leads to summer employment at GroundTruth Exploration

The opportunity for Michael to spend his summer working at GroundTruth Exploration, a mineral exploration company, came from attending the annual Career Fair at Fleming’s Frost Campus. At the time, Michael was an Earth Resources Technician Co-op student looking for work experience in his field.

Michael has spent the past couple summers working for GroundTruth Exploration; first in Nunavut, later in Labrador. The company, based in Dawson City, Yukon, is involved in gold exploration projects across northern Canada and begins a new project in Alaska soon.

As an Exploration Field Technician, Michael marked soil sample site locations, collected soil samples and described their physical attributes. He worked four weeks on, one week off, and then another 4 weeks on, with workdays being seven to eight hours.

“Nunavut was a very unique place to work,” said Michael, adding that his camp was approximately 200km north of the nearest town, Rankin Inlet, and had about 200 people working there. He describes the camp as well-developed, including a wastewater treatment facility, clean washrooms, and professional chefs who cooked for everyone.

“While working in Nunavut in the summer, I was subject to 24/7 daylight, which took a while to get used to; although I was always so tired by the end of my workdays, I did not need darkness to fall asleep,” he said. “Also, the lack of trees on the tundra made it easy to spot all sorts of wildlife, such as caribou and wolves.”

He returned to GroundTruth Exploration the following summer and was assigned a project in Labrador, where he was one of a five-member crew.

“I found life in Labrador a little more rough,” Michael said, explaining that his crew assembled their kitchen/office tent, dry tent, and personal tents to sleep in. “The scenery of Labrador is gorgeous, although the bugs I had to deal with daily were horrendous. To make my workdays bearable, I needed to wear bug nets and apply bug spray on my skin every 20 minutes or so.’

‘Although, the helicopter rides and the interesting rocks I spotted up there made up for it!” he added.

This summer, Michael will be working in Dawson City, Yukon, as a Geologist, sampling soil and rock using a GeoProbe. He will then utilize X-Ray Fluorescence to determine whether the samples have high concentrations of arsenic and/or iron, which can indicate gold.

Co-op placement and applied learning gives Michael Tamosauskas a competitive advantage in geology field

Michael has always found Earth dynamics extremely interesting, so when he began exploring post-secondary options, his heart was set on geology. But with mainly college-level high school credits, Michael ran into issues trying to get into a university geology program.

He met with his guidance counsellor to research college geology programs and discovered that Fleming College’s Earth Resources Technician program features a paid, six month co-op, which he believes is incredibly valuable. Michael enrolled in the program and describes his two years at Frost Campus as an excellent experience.

“For my ERT Co-op term, I was a Geotechnical Field Technician for Golder Associates. This summer experience was an excellent foundation for my career, as I had no prior relevant work experience,” he said. “That experience on my resume has drawn interest from every job interviewer I have had so far.”

After graduating from Fleming in 2017, Michael used Fleming’s education pathway to Acadia University to earn his Bachelor of Science in Geology.

“Before I went to Fleming, I believed I was not fit to go to university. But I realized my potential throughout my two years there,” said Michael. “I give ERT faculty a lot of credit because they did a great job teaching the complex subject of geology within a two-year span and prepared me well for studying geology in university.”

Michael recommends the ERT program to others because of its applied learning opportunities, including field trips, projects within the Drilling and Blasting facility, and mandatory co-op placement.

“I found that this experience gave me quite the advantage compared to my fellow university students, since the university approach is mainly theoretical rather than practical,” he said.

Michael plans to gain more experience as a mineral exploration geologist and is interested in focusing on the business side of mining in the future. He is currently enrolled to complete his Honours project with an Acadia University professor and, once he graduates from his degree program, Michael would like to pursue graduate studies and conduct research with an economic geology professor.

Health Information Management student uses university and college to build a strong healthcare resume

Sarah Mandarano never considered college. As an academically strong student in high school with an interest in medicine, Sarah only ever considered university.

“My parents told me ‘you’re going to university.’ That was my path,” she explained. “I honestly never even looked at colleges because it was always university. There was no point in looking.”

Sarah left her hometown of Peterborough, Ont., after high school to study Bio-Medical Science at the University of Guelph. Sarah chose this major because she wanted a career in the biomedical field and Biology was her strongest high school subject.

Feeling homesick, Sarah decided to move back to Peterborough after first year and transferred into Trent University’s Biology program. She loved her experience at Trent, including the smaller class sizes and faculty.

“In high school I thought I’d be a doctor and then in university I considered being a physiotherapist, but around my third year of university I looked into the HIM program at Fleming and realized I would really love that,” said Sarah.

HIM, or Health Information Management, is a two-year diploma program where students learn to use technology to capture and analyze data, and create health information for healthcare delivery use, and financial and management planning.

Sarah was introduced to the program by her boyfriend’s stepsister and cousin, who both work at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) and are Fleming HIM graduates.

“I didn’t want to be hands-on, I didn’t want direct patient contact, but I wanted to use my expertise,” Sarah explained. “In this, you get to use a computer all day – and I’m from the generation who grew up on computers, so I’m good with that – and you get to use medical information.”

She finished her Honours degree at Trent University and then enrolled at Fleming College, using some of her university credits towards her diploma.

“I think my university experience helps,” said Sarah. “I was always studying at Trent and I had a high course-load, so I know how to prioritize time, and I think it helps having a degree long-term for my career. But I wasn’t getting a job I loved through my degree; and there’s lots of university graduates, but not a lot of jobs. I wanted my resume to stand out and I want a job I love. My program size at Fleming is small, it’s a specialized skill, and I know I will get employed from it.”

Sarah said she loves the HIM program at Fleming, especially the faculty.

“It is so interesting and the teachers explain things really well. We have our own lab with the two big screens and it feels really comfortable, and it feels like they’re preparing you for what your workday will be like,” said Sarah.

“I want to work at PRHC and it’s nice that our teachers also work there! One works in the Health Records Department, so we have connections and it’s nice to know we’re meeting people who can help us in our career,” she said.

Sarah is in her fourth semester at Fleming and has been recommending the program to her university friends.

“They don’t know what to do, so I tell them about this program and how it complements my university degree really well,” she said.

Police Foundations grad Montana Fazi takes Fleming education pathway to UOIT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fitness and Health Promotion provides a stepping stone to university for Haily Whitelock

Version 2Haily Whitelock’s high school co-op placement at a physiotherapy clinic is what inspired her to pursue a career helping people with their fitness goals. Unsure whether being a physiotherapist was the best fit, or if there was a better suited career opportunity in the health field, Haily decided to enrol in Fleming’s Fitness and Health Promotion program to explore her options.

“I would recommend this program to anyone interested in the health field. I believe it is a good starting program for those who are unsure of which direction to take,” said Haily, who graduated from the Fitness and Health Promotion program in 2017. “With the bridging opportunities available through this program, there are plenty of opportunities to continue onto other fields of study.”

Haily developed her interest in physiotherapy and rehab treatments throughout the program and decided to take advantage of Fleming’s education pathway agreement with the University of Guelph-Humber. She was able to enter third-year of the Bachelor of Applied Science in Kinesiology program and plans to graduate in 2019.

“With this opportunity, I had the option to take both fitness and health, and work towards my kinesiology bachelor’s degree,” she said. “I have talked to many employers and business owners and they are looking for graduates who have been to both college and university, as they believe college provides candidates with skills while universities give them an adequate background in the areas of study.”

Haily enjoyed her experience at Fleming College, describing her professors as helpful and enthusiastic to answer questions. “With small class sizes, it is a great learning environment where you can feel comfortable amongst peers and engage in class discussions freely,” she explained. “I feel in bigger schools they are limited to this kind of engagement, as the class sizes are huge and it can be intimidating speaking up to start a discussion in a big lecture room.”

She felt well-prepared for university after attending college, having developed her study techniques, ability to write helpful class notes, meet project deadlines, and prepare for exams. For that reason, Haily credits Fleming for being a great stepping stone to university.

“Fleming is a lot different from high school, there is still a lot of responsibility you have to take, but the professors are always there to help when needed and, being small class sizes, it is easy to connect with your professors,” she said. “In university, the class sizes are much bigger and in order to make an impression on your professor you need to put yourself out there and step out of your comfort zone.”

After she graduates from the University of Guelph-Humber, Haily plans to write the kinesiology exam to become a regulated kinesiologist. She hopes to continue her studies and earn her master’s degree in either occupational therapy or physiotherapy.

From high school diploma to Masters degree, Sarah Healey uses Fleming’s education pathways for continuous learning

sarahhealeySarah Healey never expected to love learning. When she started the Specialist High School Major (SHSM) in Business in grade 11, her only goal was to skip a year of college.

“Naturally, at 17 years old, skipping a year of school seemed like a great idea,” said Sarah, who was told the SHSM program would count towards first year in the International Trade program at Fleming College.

“This high school to college pathway was my main priority. Additionally, I truly didn’t believe in myself that I was capable of achieving higher learning until I was attending Fleming,” said Sarah, who took the SHSM program in 2010 to 2011. “Here, I quickly learned that I am able to be successful when I set my mind to it and, to this day, I’m still surprising myself.”

After high school, Sarah enrolled in the International Trade program and participated in the Fleming International Learning Experience (FILE) trip to Europe with the School of Business. During her time at Fleming, Sarah said she matured, developed a passion for learning and business, explored new languages, and made lifelong friends.

“My experience was clarifying,” she said. “I entered Fleming a completely different person than I did leaving.”

One course in the International Trade program that impacted Sarah was Corporate Social Responsibility. “The entire course changed my outlook on education and, as a result, my life,” said Sarah, adding that she decided to continue her education after Fleming to become a stronger candidate in the workforce. “By furthering my education, I believed this would provide me the opportunity to advocate for businesses becoming more sustainable and transparent in their practices.”

After completing her advanced diploma in International Trade in 2014, Sarah used a Fleming education pathway to enter the third year of Trent University’s Bachelor of Business Administration program. She said she was prepared for the transition to university because she developed time management, project management, teamwork and leadership skills at Fleming College.

“I was highly involved with extra-curricular, which definitely aided my experience,” said Sarah, who was part of the Trent Business Students’ Association and served as a delegate at JDC Central, a prestigious business competition focusing on academic, social, athletic and debate-based competitions. “I won awards for my leadership in the school and traveled across the country – literally, Winnipeg, British Columbia and Alberta – advocating for our students and the Business School.”

She completed her undergraduate degree in 2016 and is now earning her Masters of Arts in Sustainability Studies, CSR Strategic Planning at Trent University.

“I would say Fleming was my primary motivation, the CSR course was a pivotal moment in my education,” said Sarah on why she wanted to earn her Masters degree. “While at Trent I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn about the overarching field of sustainability, which most people mistake for only surrounding the environmental field. Sustainability is a diverse sector that branches out across all fields.”

Her career goal is to work in a senior management position to create strategic sustainability partnerships for corporate businesses.

“I used to think if I didn’t go straight to university from high school I’d never make it there,” said Sarah. “Seven years later I’m graduating from my Masters degree in April and will have nine years of post-secondary education in less than seven years. If I can do it, you can too!”

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.

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.”

Mackenzie White goes ‘behind-the-scenes’ at Fleming thanks to student jobs

mackenzieMackenzie White is not only experiencing Fleming College as a student, but as an employee as well. The Accounting graduate (Class of 2017), who starts Business Administration – Human Resources Management this fall, has been working at the college for more than one year.

“I believe I have had a very unique experience here at Fleming College,” said Mackenzie, who has been a student worker for three departments. “It hasn’t just been the typical classroom experience, but rather behind-the-scenes.”

Mackenzie is spending this summer in Human Resources, and has previously worked for Facilities, and Advancement and Alumni Relations.

“I believe Fleming tries to give their students opportunities to learn and grow further than just the classroom,” she said. “I am thrilled that when I do graduate, I will already have HR experience to add to my resume.”

As the Human Resources Office Assistant, Mackenzie updates job boards, creates brochures and documents, does data entry and research, social media postings, assists with projects, and more.

Mackenzie came to Fleming College in January 2016 as an Accounting student, believing this was the right career for her. But after a Human Resources course in spring semester, she wanted to make a change.

“I wanted to continue to learn and pursue further learning around HR. It was after that term, I knew I was going to complete the rest of my Accounting diploma and make the switch over to HR,” she said.

The transition is made easy, Mackenzie said, thanks to Fleming College’s Education Pathways. Through the pathways option, the Accounting graduate is able to complete the Human Resources Management advanced diploma with just one additional year of study.

“In spring 2018, I will graduate again and be presented with a three-year HR advanced diploma in addition to my two-year Accounting diploma,” she explained. “I am extremely proud to be able to say I will have two different diplomas in less time than it would take me to complete both programs.”

And with payroll being such an important aspect of Human Resources, Mackenzie knows her accounting skills will still be put to use.

“The Accounting business program has given me a great head-start in being successful in my future,” she said. “With a variety of introductory courses, I have a good background in the different aspects of the workplace. Not only just accounting, but marketing, economics and – of course – human resources.”