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.”

City of Mississauga Forestry Inspector uses Fleming education every day

leah-skinner-webCanada Day was extra special this year for Frost Campus graduate Leah Skinner. The Forestry Inspector for the City of Mississauga planned and created a Canadian flag flower bed as part of the Canada 150 celebrations.

This is just one of the many cool responsibilities Leah has at the City of Mississauga. She manages contracts and budgets for boulevard grass maintenance and horticulture, inspects and creates work for City-owned trees, and works with councillors, management and residents to help answer questions and provide feedback.

Her thorough Fleming College education has come in handy with all of her job duties, she said. Leah is a four-time Frost Campus graduate, completing the Ecosystem Management Technician (2009), Forestry Technician (2010), Urban Forestry (2011) and Arboriculture (2011) programs.

leah-skinner-web“Basically all my education at Fleming has been useful in my career choice,” she said. Leah listed tree identification, climbing and safety, disease and pest identification, soil testing, and knot tying as some examples of applicable skills.

“I found continuing my studies would provide a more progressive and more specialized portfolio schooling-wise, completing the programs I chose to do,” she said. “I was unsure at the young age of 17, when I started school, of what I really wanted to be when I grew up. So I started to specialize once I understood what I had my passion for.”

Leah decided to come to Fleming College after attending the Frost Campus Open House. “I felt a sense of ‘coming home’ when I walked in the front entrance. The atmosphere was warm, welcoming, inviting and simply perfect,” Leah explained. “I had been to many other colleges and universities for their Open Houses, and Fleming was the last and final one. I knew from stepping in the building that this was going to be my school of choice.”

She describes her college experience as “enlightening” and “uplifting,” and said she learned a lot about herself during that time.

“I started school as a shy introverted student who sat in the front-right of the class, and didn’t say much and just did my work with my head down; to graduating and accomplishing many different things, such as being the Director of Student Activities and Affairs on the Student Council,” said Leah, who credits Fleming College with transforming her into an extrovert who felt comfortable asking questions in class.

She also volunteered at every Fleming Open House event during the six years she spent at the college. At the event, Leah shared her love of the campus, its programs, and encouraged women to pursue careers in the male-dominated Arboriculture industry.

She encourages everyone to attend Fleming College for their post-secondary studies because of the positive environment and faculty support.

“The professors are 200% invested in their students and it shows every day in class. The teachers would extend their office hours if a student was in need of help, they would stay late after class to help students study… and these are only a few things they did,” she said. “The college in general has a welcoming atmosphere where no one is judged. […] Everyone is simply kind in person and in soul at Fleming and it shows.”

Work is an adventure for Fleming grad Kim Chamberlain

kim-chamberlainEvery workday is an adventure for Kim Chamberlain, a 2016 graduate of Fleming College’s Outdoor and Adventure Education program. During the summer months Kim works as a wilderness and whitewater guide, and during the winter she conducts dog sledding.

“I have been so blessed to be able to do what I love as a career,” said Kim, who is spending the summer as an independent contractor for The Canadian Canoe Museum, Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve, and Luna Adventures.

“I would have to say that every trip that I have done on the Madawaska River with new paddlers has brought some amazing memories,” said Kim. “I love seeing students who have never done whitewater before start out just terrified! On that first rapid they go down it can be a negotiation to even get them to go, by the end of the second day they are just shredding it. Watching the smiling/scared/excited faces coming down the rapids just makes my heart soar every time.”

Kim’s career today looks much different from the life she led years ago. For ten years Kim ran a publishing company in Toronto.

“I decided that I needed a change,” she said. “I packed up and moved to the country with my boyfriend and dog, and enrolled in the program.”

Kim enjoying a whitewater trip. Photo credit: Dylan Willsteed.
Photo credit: Dylan Willsteed.

She chose Fleming College because it offered “the perfect outdoor education program,” and highly recommends it because students earn the necessary certifications, learn about risk management and how to deal with groups.

“Without these skills I wouldn’t be able to do what I do today,” she said.

This winter, Kim will take on a new adventure in the United Arab Emirates. She will work as an Adventure Instructor for Absolute Adventure in Kalba, UAE.

Her advice to current students is to stay positive. “Know that there will be times that you will fall down and think that you’re failing, that you’re in over your head,” she said. “But it’s all part of the experience, your life starts when you pick yourself back up and keep going.”

Adam Wolski took a trail to success through Fleming’s Forestry Technician program

adam-wolskiIt was an interest in forests and ecology that led Adam Wolski to Fleming College’s School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences.

“I wanted to work in the forest, but I needed to learn more about them and the practices used during forestry operations,” said Adam.

He decided to take Fleming’s Forestry Technician program to learn more and describes his post-secondary experience as “incredible.”

This two-year program teaches students to work effectively in natural resources management. It covers traditional forestry skills, such as compassing and tree identification, as well as how to use high tech industry software.

“The teachers and staff are so kind and want to see you succeed, and it motivates you to do the best that you can,” he said.

Adam, who graduated from Frost Campus this year, said he recommends the program to those who are interested in forests, the animals that inhabit them, and how it all comes together as an ecosystem.

Today, the Fleming graduate is happy to call the woods his workplace. Adam is working for Jackfish River Management in Hornepayne, Northern Ontario as a Forestry Technician.

“Due to my experiences at Fleming College, I was able to get this job,” said Adam. “Once I got started, I was aware of the work we were doing because it was all taught to me during the duration of my program.”

Adam is responsible for supervising tree planting and inspection, conducting Free to Grow surveys and post-harvest surveys, and creating harvest maps using ArcGIS and aerial images. His favourite task, he said, is supervising and inspecting the trees during a tree plant.

Adam’s advice to current and future students is to persevere through challenges. “I would like to tell them not to give up on anything,” he said.

UFT students plant for the future on Fleming’s 50th anniversary


To celebrate Fleming College’s 50th anniversary, Urban Forestry Technician students Jessica Carthy and Tyler Petersen wanted to make a positive impact on the next 50+ years. After winning the Green Your Campus pitch competition, the students used the $1500 prize money to plant trees at Frost Campus.

“50 years is a long time if you ask me,” said Jessica. “Imagine what the 100th anniversary could be like if we plant more!”

Jessica and Tyler’s Green Your Campus pitch was to plant trees on campus in honour of Fleming’s 50th anniversary. The competition was co-hosted by Fleming’s Office of Sustainability, FastStart and the Trent Green Team, and featured 10 Fleming groups and 25 groups from Trent University. Projects were judged by Fleming and Trent faculty based on presentation and potential effect on meeting the college’s sustainability plan goals.

“It’s important to be staying just as green as we are gray,” said Jessica, who said her peers and professors air spaded and lifted a Kentucky Coffeetree last fall to another spot on campus to save it. “Planting trees is one of the best possible ways to help our environment. If there are trees, the insects, birds and animals will follow.”

Jessica and Tyler are increasing the tree diversity on campus with the help of Technologist Brian Saxon, using trees native to Canada and different from the existing inventory.

They decided to make the first trees planted extra special by planting them in honour of faculty members Katrina Van Osch-saxon and Tom Mikel, recognizing their excellence in teaching and passion for environmental studies. Jessica, Tyler and their Urban Forestry Technician classmates planted two Red Oak trees for Katrina and Tom because the species is hardy, native to Canada, and will thrive at Frost Campus.

Katrina thanked the students on behalf of herself and Tom at the Women in Trees event on Saturday, April 22. “We know it’s going to be planted right and pruned well,” said Katrina. “150 years from now they’ll be the two nicest trees on campus.”

Jessica said they are going to stretch the $1500 as far as possible, but hopes this idea can be used by other campuses as well. “We would love to see that more trees are planted to celebrate because future students will thank us for it,” said Jessica.


#AllAccessPass: Fleming College grad brings Whyte Museum to social media

meghan-walshWhile many may view the museum world as artifacts behind glass, hushed tones and closed doors, Meghan Walsh hopes to change that.

The Museum Management and Curatorship graduate, Class of 2016, is the Digital Content Coordinator at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff, Alberta. In her newly created role within the Marketing Department, Meghan manages the Museum’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Blogger pages, creating engaging content for events, exhibitions and services.

“Social media has a huge impact on the museum world,” said Meghan. “It’s opened up not only the reach of museums in regards to marketing and advertising for events and services, but it’s opened up the possibility of access to the amazing collections that museums have.”

Meghan added that this online space for interaction has proved beneficial, saying, “We’ve had many people contact us through social media, providing us with information about an archival photo we posted that we can then add to our database records. The potential is truly endless.”

The Fleming College graduate said her favourite part of the job is exploring behind-the-scenes at the Whyte Museum.

“We’ve experimented with two Facebook Live video sessions, giving people behind-the-scenes tours of exhibits as they are installed and afterwards,” said Meghan. “I was also lucky enough to accompany our Curatorial Assistant on a tour of the collections facility with a group of immigrant women from all over the world participating in a writing workshop called the Shoe Project. Seeing the women’s reactions to some of the artifacts, eager to learn more about the stories behind them, was fantastic to see.”

Although this is Meghan’s first time working in the Marketing Department, it is not her first time working at the Whyte Museum. The Museum Management and Curatorship grad completed her Fleming College program internship there, gaining experience in the Heritage/Art Department and the Archives/Library Department.

“The staff were amazing and really mentored me– not only in the technical skills that I needed to do my job, but also in the career skills needed to succeed in my future career,” she said.

After graduating from Fleming College, Meghan worked as the Curatorial Assistant for the City of Greater Sudbury Museums on a one-year contract and then took a six-month contract at the Whyte Museum, where she worked as the Collections Management Coordinator for the Alpine Club of Canada Library Collection. From there, she stayed on at the Whyte Museum in the new Digital Content Coordinator position.

“The Museum Management and Curatorship program at Fleming definitely prepared me for my current position,” said Meghan. “The simple fact that I had the chance to learn about social media in museums first-hand through the Education and Public Programming course of the MMC program gave me great experience. It was also basically what initially planted the seed in my brain about the potential behind social media in museums.’

‘Also, the experience that I gained in the MMC program in regards to all the different departments of a museum gave me an advantage because Marketing and Communications does deal with every department and it’s important to have a basic understanding of how they function and what their purpose is,” she said.

Fleming College paves ‘path to the perfect career’ for Accounting Technician Valerie Lumley

valerie-lumleyWhen Valerie Lumley first applied to Fleming College, she didn’t realize the Business Administration – Accounting program would be the perfect fit for her. But the 2015 graduate, who is now an Accounting Technician at Gauvreau & Associates CPA, is happy she made the switch.

Valerie originally came to Fleming for the Health Information Management program but, after two weeks in class, realized the medical field wasn’t right for her. After reflecting on her previous education in Office Administration, Valerie remembered an accounting course that she loved.

“I decided to take the opportunity to study accounting since that was a previous love I had found,” said Valerie. “I just didn’t realize when I first took it that accounting was the field I truly wanted to start a career in.”

She describes her Fleming experience as excellent and would recommend this program to others, explaining that it covers different aspects of the business world (human resources, accounting, marketing, etc.) and explores a variety of accounting and finance-related positions.

Along with that, the teachers in all of my courses were wonderful,” said Valerie. “They were always willing to help and spend any extra time needed with students to better understand the material. The professors definitely helped me to succeed in the accounting program.”

In her position at Gauvreau & Associates CPA, Valerie is responsible for bookkeeping and payroll for multiple clients, as well as some administrative tasks. Valerie particularly enjoys payroll, which is why she is pursuing her Payroll Compliance Practitioner designation through the Canadian Payroll Association.

“The most exciting experience from my job so far is simply seeing how all of the knowledge gained from the accounting program translates to real life; seeing numbers in action, solving problems as they come up, and understanding the ‘why’ from where the numbers come from,” said Valerie, who added that the software skills she developed at Fleming, including QuickBooks and Excel, are relevant as she uses them daily.

She also appreciates that Fleming taught her not to depend solely on technology. “When on a computer and using software, the program can do a lot for you; however Fleming taught me how to understand the numbers and where they come from, rather than just depending on the software to do everything correctly,” Valerie explained. “It helped improve my analytical skills and understanding of accounting to see where there might be discrepancies or when something needs to be questioned.”

Her advice to current students is to never give up, even in moments of frustration and stress. “If you are willing to push through, do the work, learn the material and be confident, the dreams you have in school can and will become a reality,” said Valerie. “Fleming helped pave the path to the perfect career for me and, without Fleming, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Second career’s a charm for Human Resources Management grad Allison Bowes

allison-bowesAfter three years in healthcare, Allison Bowes wanted a career change.

“I was struggling between just getting enough education to upgrade my skills to get another job or taking the harder path, which meant more school, to truly pursue my passion and dream of becoming an HR manager,” said Allison, who took six months to make a decision.

“I did some research and found that HR was a growing field and there were lots of different options for work,” she said. “Looking back on my choice now, I am so glad I decided to go back for what I truly wanted.”

Allison made the decision to enrol in Fleming College’s Business Administration – Human Resources Management program, which teaches students how to optimize the potential of employees while maximizing the effectiveness of the organization.

“I had a very positive experience and enjoyed my studies overall. I think that’s the difference when you find something you really love, for me it just didn’t seem like school,” said Allison, who graduated Fleming College in 2016.

“Classroom discussions were always about relevant and timely issues that brought about great discussions among my peers,” she said, adding that program faculty were very supportive and available outside of class time to help.

“I would recommend students who have a passion for the field of HR to consider coming to Fleming,” said Allison. “Being an HR professional has a lot to offer those looking for meaningful work in the business world and there is a variety of jobs out there to work in.”

Allison is now working at Christian Horizons as the Recruitment and Employee Relations Specialist. She is responsible for interviewing candidates, researching how to attract qualified candidates for developmental services jobs, increasing brand awareness at job fairs and colleges, and staying ahead of the company’s hiring demands. Allison also sits on the District Office’s leadership team and plans the annual summer family retreat.

“I love what I do. I enjoy interviewing and meeting people who are passionate about working in the developmental services field. This is something I am proud to be able to do on a weekly basis,” said Allison.

“There are quite a few special things that I have been extremely honoured to be a part of at Christian Horizons,” she shared. One example was a concert featuring the amazing talent of people who use their services, and another example was seeing her Fleming HR program coordinator Joanne Tully at her first Human Resources Professional Association meeting.

Allison said Fleming prepared her for the work world, especially because the Human Resources Management program features courses and placements to gain theoretical knowledge and practical experience.

“My advice to current students is get as much experience and knowledge from those currently working in the field. This will help you not just get job ready, but have a better idea of what area of HR you may be interested in working,” she said. “There are lots of opportunities out there. Work hard and be proud of the field you are in– it’s a great one!”

From a Cantonese Opera prop to a Peruvian spear, Kaitlin Chamberlain’s workday is always interesting

chamberlain-textile-takedown-2Kaitlin Chamberlain, who is graduating from Fleming’s Museum Management and Curatorship program this year, does not have a boring workday.

“One moment I’m pulling a Cantonese Opera prop and the next I’m trying to find a home for a Peruvian spear. It’s always an adventure when I’m in there,” said Kaitlin, who works for the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Museum of Anthropology.

“I’m incredibly interested in the museum’s collection. Other collections I’ve worked with have focused on the region the museum is located in or on a specific medium, but the collection here is worldwide and I’m constantly amazed by what I find in storage,” she said.

As the Collections Assistant in the Collections Care, Management and Access Department, Kaitlin is responsible for organizing and facilitating visits to the collection and maintaining object storage. She installs and rehouses objects, creates mounts and performs inventories, and assists the Collections Manager, Loans Manager and Research Technician on their projects.

“A lot of the job responsibilities are things I was taught at Fleming and had a chance to actually do,” said Kaitlin. “When asked in the interview whether I had the experience, I was always able to answer with a quick example from my time at Fleming in addition to work experiences.”

Kaitlin said her Fleming applied learning in textile mounting came in handy this week, when the Collections department had to de-install the Layers of Influence exhibit, which is made up entirely of textiles. Kaitlin will be re-rolling the textiles and re-installing them into their home locations over the next few weeks, so she is grateful for the lesson and practical assignment she completed at Fleming.

Kaitlin came to Fleming College after earning her Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Archaeology from Wilfrid Laurier University and working one summer at the City of Waterloo Museum.

“Aside from the Fleming program being highly recommended, I wanted to balance out my resume,” she said. “I had gotten a university degree where I learned about theory and the history of collections/museums, and I wanted to compliment it with hands-on experience.”

She said her experience in this Fleming College program was intense, fast-paced and rewarding, and that her faculty and peers were very supportive. She added that the work itself is also very rewarding and that she is already recommending Fleming’s Museum Management and Curatorship program to others.

“I would recommend it for the same reason I decided to take it, it gives you the hands-on experience within a museum setting,” she said. “The program’s partnership with the Peterborough Museum & Archives is brilliant.”

And to those currently in the program, Kaitlin’s advice is to apply to jobs regardless of the experience they want or location. “The process can be disheartening in the beginning because you feel like you’re sending resumes off into the void, but you never know what doors will open,” she said. “I certainly didn’t expect to hear back from a museum on the opposite side of the country.”

Conservation students to honor college namesake in ‘Meet the Real Fleming’ exhibit

Fleming College namesake Sir Sandford Fleming is being honored during the 50th anniversary of the college. Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management students are curating the Meet the Real Fleming exhibit, which opens Saturday, April 1, 2017 during Fleming’s Spring Open House.

Sir Sandford Fleming
Sir Sandford Fleming

Sir Sandford Fleming was born in Kircaldy, Scotland in 1827 and moved to Peterborough, Ontario, Canada in 1845, where he drew and printed the first map of the city. Sir Sandford was an engineer and innovator. He designed Canada’s first postage stamp, the Three Penny Beaver; led plans for the Intercolonial Railway, was director of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, and Chief Engineer of the Northern Railway; and invented Universal Standard Time, which was adopted worldwide in 1885.

In 1897, Sir Sandford was knighted by Queen Victoria for his accomplishments. The regalia he wore to the knighting are just some of the artifacts that will be displayed at the Meet the Real Fleming exhibit.

“We’re learning lots of personal stories about Sir Sandford that people may not know,” said Conservation student and Lead Project Manager Raene Poisson. “He saved a portrait of Queen Victoria from a burning building, which she mentioned at his knighting.”

Conservation student Raene Poisson
Conservation student Raene Poisson

Raene is excited for the exhibit and enthusiastically discusses the artifacts she and her classmates are working on in the Sutherland Campus Conservation Lab. In addition to his regalia, the exhibit will also display Sir Sandford’s brass rolling ruler, a ruler with visible (possibly Sir Sandford’s) prints on it, and a dress belonging to his wife (believed to be her wedding dress), among other items. These artifacts are normally on display at Hutchison House museum in Peterborough.

“The students are so enthusiastic about the topic and working with the personal effects of Fleming, the namesake of the college,” said Fleming Conservation program coordinator Gayle McIntyre. “The students have embraced the topic. It’s a complete synthesis of the curriculum; all of the courses come together. It shows teamwork and collaboration, time management, and research. The project is the perfect blend of art, science, engineering and creativity.’

Gayle McIntyre and Katie McEvoy

‘Students are experiencing back of house museum functions – such as the planning and preparation of the artifacts, and text for the exhibit – through to the front of house museum functions, including exhibit installation and public engagement,” said Gayle. “This class is rich in positive energy and fresh ideas. Faculty are proud of their efforts!”

Raene agrees. “Everything we’re taught in the program is used in this project,” she said.

Her classmate, Katie McEvoy, is part of the Interpretive Planning Group that helps promote the upcoming exhibit. Katie manages the Sir Sandford Fleming Twitter account, tweeting first-person as Sir Sandford to help others learn about him. Her team also chatted with Trent radio, held a bake sale, and made a Sir Sandford Selfie cutout for students to take cellphone pictures with.

“At the exhibit opening, I’m most excited to get feedback on our work,” said Katie, who will organize Sir Sandford-themed activities for children to enjoy at the April 1st event. “It’s our first time doing an exhibit start to finish, so receiving feedback from students and staff to see how we did will help us measure our success.”

The students have also been fundraising for the exhibit. On February 22, they hosted a bake sale in the Sutherland Campus main foyer to raise money and awareness of it.

Sutherland Campus Bake Sale
Sutherland Campus Bake Sale

One of the project managers at the bake sale was Lindsay Sisson, who said she hopes students will feel connected with Sir Sandford at the exhibit. “We’re hoping to connect with the student population by sharing what Sir Sandford was doing at our age and lesser known facts about him,” she said.

One Sir Sandford story the Conservation students adore is how Sir Sandford fell in love with his wife, Ann Jane (“Jeanie”).

“He was riding a horse-and-carriage with Jeanie when they crashed into a tree,” said Lindsay at the bake sale. “That crash was when Sir Sandford fell in love with her and they later married. Sir Sandford also used the tree stump to make a family picture frame.”

Weeks later in the Conservation Lab, Lindsay’s classmate Raene shares the same story as being her favourite Fleming fact. “The more I research about him, the more I fall in love,” says Raene. “I just love the story of how he fell in love with his wife!”

The students hope guests at the Meet the Real Fleming exhibit will feel the same.