Vanessa Raaymakers balances Fleming College studies with PSW work amidst COVID-19

Although the start of her workday has changed, Vanessa Raaymakers is continuing to work as a PSW amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It’s definitely challenged PSWs a lot more,” said Vanessa, who works at Extendicare Lakefield while studying Practical Nursing at Fleming College. “Unfortunately, there is a PSW shortage – even before the pandemic – and now we’re on overdrive to keep ourselves healthy to ensure we keep our residents healthy as well. It’s scary because we can’t physically distance in our jobs.”

To enter the building, Vanessa said she first visits a vestibule to answer a series of questions. She then enters the building and sanitizes her hands, takes her temperature, answers a series of questions in writing and adds her signature.

Vanessa has worked as a PSW for five years, spending the past three years at Extendicare Lakefield. She works day shifts and helps 12 to 13 residents get ready in the morning, which includes dressing, toileting, brushing, feeding, communicating with them and lying them down.

“This isn’t a Monday to Friday job; you talk to people all day, you’re in their personal space and you become like family. They are counting on you,” said Vanessa.

“I love my residents. You go in everyday and you’re there for them, you hear their stories about where they’ve been and about their kids. When you see them happy and you hear about their life, it brings so much happiness to this job,” she explains.

One of Vanessa’s favourite moments working in long-term care was discovering that her house was previously owned by a resident.

“Her daughter had pictures of her room and I showed her what it looks like now, and she just lit up,” said Vanessa. “They told me all that they did to the house and it made her so happy.”

While continuing her PSW career, Vanessa is studying Practical Nursing at Fleming College to gain more critical thinking and hands-on skills. She is currently in her second semester and, despite the disruption due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Vanessa said her experience at Fleming has been good overall.

“Being out of school for a long time and coming back as a mature student, it was difficult,” said Vanessa, who is 25 years old. “But there’s really good support and I was able to ask lots of questions, and there’s lots of help.”

Vanessa said she is already applying skills gained at Fleming College to her PSW role. After learning more thorough and specific terminology in the Anatomy & Physiology course, Vanessa is now able to relay more detailed information to the nurses who create care plans for residents.

The Fleming College student said she has always lived her life according to plan; she has been with her partner for eight years, bought a house at 20 years old, works hard and has a strict schedule. But one thing Vanessa is looking forward to when she graduates is being open to adventure.

“Now that I’m in school, it’s giving me a different perspective and, as I’m getting older, maybe my plan doesn’t need to be so strict,” she said.

Vanessa is currently brainstorming possibilities for the future, including moving north. “My family is from Alderville First Nation and I’d like to see what it’s like in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, and work as a nurse on a reserve,” she said.

But she isn’t setting any plans beyond dreaming of possibilities. Vanessa is not worried because she knows that, with her PSW experience and a Fleming Practical Nursing diploma, there are so many opportunities to make a difference.

Fleming graduate Tyler Leavitt wins 2019 Readers’ Choice for Best Massage Therapist

When Tyler Leavitt graduated from Fleming College in 2018, he never imagined winning the Readers’ Choice Award for Best Massage Therapist after his first year of practice.

“Just being nominated in my first year of practice was an honour itself,” said Tyler on The Peterborough Examiner Readers’ Choice Awards, where he was the Diamond Winner. “I cannot thank everyone enough. From my professors and parents all the way to my co-workers that have pushed me to the place I am now.”

Tyler is a Registered Massage Therapist at The Urban Spa in Peterborough, Ont. He joined the team in March 2018, working as a Spa Assistant while in college, and transitioned to an Urban RMT when he earned his registration in October 2018.

“The success that I have had in my career so far is definitely a correlating factor with the way that we were taught from our amazing staff at Fleming,” said the Fleming Massage Therapy graduate.

“The biggest thing that I found helped me the most was our clinic setting, where we were able to practice in a free and friendly environment with veteran RMTs that could easily help us along the way!” said Tyler about his Spa + Clinic at Fleming College experience, where Massage Therapy students provide therapeutic treatments to diverse audiences.

The Class of 2018 graduate said he would recommend Fleming’s Massage Therapy program “in a heartbeat,” explaining, “From what I have seen and experienced in the year-and-a-half I’ve been outside of school – from both employers and other RMTs – Fleming graduates are held to the highest standard.”

Although physical wellness was always important to Tyler, he didn’t originally plan to become an RMT. Tyler previously studied Fitness and Health Promotion at Fleming College and was hired by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada after graduating in 2016. But when the Peterborough branch relocated, Tyler made the decision to train for a new career.

“Loving Peterborough as much as I do, I decided to see what else was out there,” Tyler explains. “I applied to a few programs and something about the Massage Therapy program spoke to me, and the rest is history!”

Tyler says he is able to combine his skills from Fitness and Health Promotion and Massage Therapy to bring the most benefit to his clients.

“Through Fitness and Health Promotion, I was more drawn towards the health promotion side of things, which included a lot of going out into the community,” Tyler explains. “I learned the very valuable skill of not being afraid to really talk to anyone, as well as the ability to educate most on a level that they understand.’

‘This has made one of the bigger impacts on my career so far because once a client is able to understand what is going on with their body, they are able to make the appropriate changes to help themselves get better!”

Tyler’s advice to current students is to ask questions, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and be honest when you don’t know something.

2019 is a big and busy year for Valedictorian Alicia Alvarez

2019 is a big year for Alicia Alvarez.

In June, she is graduating from Fleming College. In September, she is writing the national exam to become registered to practice as a Registered Practical Nurse in Ontario. And in October, she is getting married.

But the Practical Nursing graduate enjoys being busy. While studying at Fleming College, Alicia also worked as a Personal Support Worker at Fairhaven LTC and volunteered on Sundays at Pathway Church.

“I love people and I wanted a career that was challenging and rewarding, while at the same time allowing me to make a difference every day,” said the Class of 2019 graduate. “I have always wanted to be a nurse.”

She is currently busy completing her 10-week nursing consolidation experience, applying the knowledge and skills she gained from the Practical Nursing program in a real healthcare setting.

“Even though I feel like I have so much to learn, the content learned in the Practical Nursing program has already proved useful in the real world,” said Alicia about her consolidation experience.

In Fleming’s five semester Practical Nursing diploma program, students learn concepts and skills related to health and nursing, as well as nursing practices and interventions in specific health situations, and more.

Alicia enjoyed Physiology taught by Kim Patterson and Anatomy taught by Kathryn Jarvis most. She explains, “They were always fun and interactive with great everyday life examples that facilitated our learning.”

She describes her time at Fleming as great, adding, “I loved the outdoor spaces of the Sutherland Campus and made friendships that will last a lifetime. I also had some amazing teachers that inspired me and taught me things you can’t find in a textbook.”

Now that Alicia is finished classes at Fleming, she is busy preparing her Valedictorian speech for the School of Health and Wellness and School of General Arts and Science ceremony.

“I couldn’t believe it!” said Alicia on being selected to serve as Valedictorian. “It took a few days for the news to sink in and then I felt very humbled and honoured.”

In her speech on Tuesday, June 11 (2 p.m.), Alicia plans to remind graduates to never give up, don’t be afraid of failure, and to always fight for your dreams.

After convocation, Alicia plans to work for three to five years and then return to school to continue her education and further develop her skills.

“The healthcare field is constantly evolving, and I believe that continuous learning is essential in order to deliver the best care to patients and families,” said Alicia.

Dharav Pandya credits Campus Health Workshop Series with helping him “fight back and win” to become Valedictorian

Dharav Pandya’s ideal day on campus is arriving for his 8 a.m. lecture, treating himself to a delicious lunch made by Fleming Culinary students, and spending quality time with friends around the fireplace in the cafeteria.

Outside of Fleming’s Sutherland Campus, the international student enjoys paddle-boarding in Little Lake, cycling through the Trans-Canada Trail, and strolling through Millennium Park, among other outdoor activities.

“Peterborough is a beautiful city in all seasons,” said Dharav. “I had so much fun staying in Peterborough.”

Dharav moved to Canada for Fleming’s Health Information Management (HIM) program, after earning his degree in Biomedical Engineering and working as an associate in medical records review and abstraction. He wanted to study health records and chose Fleming’s HIM program because it covers a wide range of subjects, features work placements, prepares students for the National Certification Examination, and is recognized by the Canadian Health Information Management Association.

“My experience at Fleming College was incredible. The quality of my program is excellent,” said Dharav. “Most of our faculty are working professionals who provide us with real world scenarios and a tried-and-tested current way of working, which has given me a good reference for when I will start working in this profession.”

Dharav enjoyed studying at the Sutherland Campus, describing it as easy to navigate with facilities that make the student learning experience very comfortable, including: water refill stations, silent study areas and group study rooms, a learning centre equipped with computers, a Library and Bookstore, comfortable seating throughout the campus with charging outlets, and more. There are also lots of fun activities and events organized by the Student Administrative Council, which Dharav enjoyed participating in.

But his favourite experience at Fleming was during his third-semester, when he found himself feeling homesick, stressed and sick.

“It was a little too much for me to handle. I was stressed,” Dharav shared. “I am so grateful that I had services available to me right here on the campus. I consulted the Health Services and attended the Campus Health Workshop Series conducted by Counselling Services. At the end, my performance in that semester turned out to be the best one amongst all four semesters. This was remarkable!”

He added, “To have the College support me through different services, and using that support to be able to fight back and win is a great feeling. This experience is very motivating for me and probably the best memory I have!”

Dharav is now graduating as Valedictorian for the School of Health and Wellness. He said he feels honoured to be chosen and is proud to be the first person in his family to serve as Valedictorian.

In his Valedictorian speech, Dharav will stress the importance of education and how knowledge empowers us to do good things in the world and make a positive impact.

“I want to remind us that, through education, we get an opportunity to serve as well, and we shouldn’t miss out on that! Even at our jobs where we get paid, if we work with the intentions of serving the community, or merely helping people around us, that will make our next phase of life rewarding and sweet,” said Dharav.

After graduation, Dharav plans to take the National Certification Examination of the Canadian College of Health Information Management. He would like to work in a healthcare setting and eventually work in clinical documentation, data quality and data analysis.

May Nguyen and Ryan Ly pursue Pharmacy Technician career path together

May Nguyen and Ryan Ly at Timmins and District Hospital

In their home country of Vietnam, May Nguyen and Ryan Ly said they are “supposed” to get married and settle down at their age, but the couple didn’t conform to societal expectations.

Instead of following the traditional path, May and Ryan flew to Canada to take the Pharmacy Technician program at Fleming College together. 

“Ryan had to convince his family members to let him study abroad and I was lucky to have my family fully support me with my future plans,” said May, whose father is a licensed pharmacist and successful pharmacy owner in Vietnam. “I have matured into the field of pharmacy throughout my life and find it one of the most rewarding careers available to driven individuals.”

Ryan, who is excited to have a career helping others, agrees.

“Being a Pharmacy Technician and giving a helping hand to people who need it the most is a very respectful and honourable mission,” said Ryan. “I know that although it requires a lot of responsibilities, it pays off with people’s gratitude.”

The couple experience “cold weather, warm people” in Canada

The couple were excited to move to Canada for their studies, despite never having visited the country before. One activity they particularly enjoy in Canada is walking the beautiful trails at Sutherland Campus in Peterborough, where they look for foxes, birds, snakes and bunnies.

“[Canada is] huge landscapes, beautiful nature, nice people, hockey, maple syrup, meatballs, and… it’s really cold! Brrr!” said May. “But we have experienced ‘cold weather, warm people’ here, as all of the people we have met are friendly and kind.”

They describe their classmates as friendly and helpful, and their faculty as professional, knowledgeable and caring.

Fleming’s applied learning prepares May and Ryan for the real world

The applied learning offered in the Pharmacy Technician program at Fleming College, including a pharmacy lab environment as their classroom, is a huge asset to the couple. They explain that students have the opportunity to practise everything from filling and checking prescriptions to non-sterile and sterile compounding, with faculty support through each step.

“This program has really prepared students with the knowledge that they learned in class and lab to go out into the real world. We are already very confident in our skills and techniques that we learned,” said Ryan.

May and Ryan applied their knowledge and skills in the real world during their field placement, which they completed at Timmins and District Hospital (TADH). At TADH, they:

  • packed unit dose and distributed floor stock
  • checked IV medications and reordered when necessary
  • audited narcotic and controlled drugs
  • assisted nurses with tracking medications
  • maintained complete, accurate and secure patient records
  • managed medication incidents or discrepancies
  • medication reconciliation
  • helped in the dispensary
  • returned medication
  • contributed to pharmacy inventory management process.
  • non-sterile compounding, collaborated with Pharmacy Technician and Pharmacist in product label verification, participated in independent double-check process and more.

Ryan Ly at Timmins and District Hospital, where he felt like a healthcare professional during his field placement.

“As an intern, I enjoyed the real-life application of what I was learning in school,” said Ryan. “The best part was talking to patients and preparing their medications. Also, working 40 hours a week allowed me to become close to the team at TADH. They all treated me with respect and helped me grow in my knowledge of the hospital pharmacy setting. I finally felt like I was a healthcare professional and someone on the way to becoming an expert in my field of practice.”

May said this experience gave her the opportunity to network and develop her teamwork skills.

“Everyone jumps in, they just do what’s necessary to achieve excellent patient care,” said May. “Also, this placement provided networking opportunities. We have always been taught that pharmacy is a small world, and I may be working with these people again in the future.”

Field placement leads May and Ryan to employment at Timmins and District Hospital

May and Ryan were both offered positions at TADH after their field placement, on the condition that they pursue licensing after graduation. They are currently In-Patient Pharmacy Assistants and will later become Registered Pharmacy Technicians.


May Nguyen loves that this career path makes an impact on individuals, families and communities.

“No other profession will provide the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life the way a job in healthcare can,” said May on what she loves about this career. “Your work will impact individuals, families, and sometimes communities because you will be assisting healthcare practitioners with treating diseases and ailments, and play an important part in the patient’s well-being.”

The couple are graduating from Fleming College this June and are excited to grow their careers. May’s advice to current students is to never stop learning, even after you graduate.

“The world of pharmacy is changing and is driven mainly by the interests of the patients as they become more aware of their health, especially with easier access to healthcare,” said May. “Be aware of current events and how they might impact the healthcare field. Keep adapting and preparing for whatever changes lie ahead.”

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.

Paramedic student puts knowledge into action by helping stroke victim

Left to right: Shannon Walmsley, Davis Sheridan, and Donna Walmsley.
Left to right: Shannon Walmsley, Davis Sheridan, and Donna Walmsley.

Donna Walmsley started her day on February 4, 2019 just like any other Monday, volunteering at Community Care Ennismore and running errands around town. She didn’t feel any different that morning than any other morning, but February 4th is the day Donna had a stroke.

“I was fine,” said Donna. “I went to Giant Tiger and started driving to No Frills, and then I felt like I couldn’t see.”

Donna missed her first turn into the plaza and then remembered there is a second entrance, which she managed to pull into and park. Realizing no one would notice her inside the vehicle, Donna willed herself to move.

“I opened my car door and I didn’t know if I could walk, I didn’t know if I could make it across the parking lot, but I needed to get to a public space,” said Donna, who describes the feeling as extreme dizziness. Donna made it inside the No Frills and held onto the vegetable shelves to prevent herself from falling.

Luckily for Donna, Fleming College Paramedic student Davis Sheridan was grocery shopping that day.

“I told the employees to call the Paramedics because they weren’t sure what to do. I comforted her until the ambulance came and I did a stroke assessment on her, checked her pulse, and calmed her breathing,” explained Davis, who is in his final semester at Fleming. “She felt dizzy and she couldn’t stand up, she was worried about her dog being at home and no one being there, and she also mentioned her daughter Shannon.”

When Paramedics arrived, Davis reported all of this to them.

“We are going through ride-outs right now in the Paramedic program,” said Davis, referring to the fourth-semester Paramedic Consolidation course, where students work regular shifts in an ambulance with a paramedic crew. “I am doing mine with Northumberland Paramedics right now, which is working with real patients, so this situation felt natural to me and I was comfortable. I felt very prepared through school and experience.”

Donna and her daughter Shannon are very grateful to Davis. On Monday, March 4, they visited the Paramedic Lab at Fleming’s Sutherland Campus to thank Davis in person.

“You’re going into this career and I think it’s nice to go into it having a happy story to hang on to,” said Shannon, who teased her mom when she met Davis.

“My mom loves red hair,” said Shannon.

Donna added, “Shannon said to me, ‘leave it to you to find a redhead!”

Recreation and Leisure Services placement is ‘gold’ to Keary Dean, who went to Whistler Olympic Park

keary-deanKeary Dean believes you get out of life what you put into it, which is why the Fleming College graduate chose a program that speaks to his values and could help him begin a career and education journey that’s meaningful to him.

“It seemed like a great place to start when you were, like me, unsure of what exactly to do career-wise. Because the job opportunities are so varied, it gave me room to be flexible and figure things out along the way,” said Keary of Fleming’s Recreation and Leisure Services program. “This program valued the elements of good-natured fun, leadership development and healthy living—this stuff really appealed to me. Lastly, I was sold on the potential of having an adventurous placement experience.”

In the Recreation and Leisure Services program, students learn:

  • how to manage and develop recreation programs
  • marketing and human resources
  • event management and facilities operations
  • inclusive recreation
  • research
  • leisure and lifestyle enhancement, and more.

In this program, students also develop leadership skills and gain new skills through field trips such as rock climbing, high/low rope, canoeing, kayaking, theatre, golf, swimming, caving and hiking. At the end of the program, students apply their skills in a four-month placement.

“My experience at Fleming is best described as a period of exponential personal growth, facilitated by my teachers, the courses and especially my fellow classmates,” said Keary, who graduated in 2018. “There were so many opportunities presented while at Fleming and I really made it my goal to try as many new things as I could—the old adage you get out of life what you put into it comes to mind.”

One of those opportunities was the program placement, and Keary knew just the place he wanted to spend four months…

“Because I had visited B.C. the summer prior to my final semester – and the trip made such a positive impact on me – I knew I had to go back,” he said. “If you want to have meaningful experiences, you first need to be in touch with what is meaningful to you.”

Keary said he worked hard preparing for the move and planned out all the little details before heading to B.C.

“If you have family or friends that live outside of your hometown, or you have travelled in the past, use those connections. Use your networking skills to your advantage and don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone and everyone,” said Keary on what advice he would offer current students. “Investing in travel is worthwhile and enriches your life in many ways!”

runwhistlerKeary spent his placement at Whistler Olympic Park and was later hired as Guest Service Representative, where he fit guests with cross-country and snowshoeing gear, provided equipment orientation and trail recommendations, and covered the entry booth to the Park.

“The coolest experience on the job was learning how to cross-country ski and then actually racing in a 15km event called the ‘Payak Loppet.’ I grew up snowboarding, but never skiing, and I found it thrilling learning a new sport,” he said. “Generally speaking, being way out in the wilderness, surrounded by mountains, is both awe-inspiring and humbling. It is a different lifestyle out here, people really love where they live. There is a level of enthusiasm that is undeniable.”

Keary credits Fleming College with developing his time management skills, accountability and professionalism, which are all skills he used on the job.

“Having deadlines for course work, having a weekly structure, being accountable to your classmates… these are practical skills to hone and are crucial for success in the working world,” he said.

After the summer work season ended, Keary headed to Vancouver to study nutrition at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. He plans to utilize his Fleming education and nutrition knowledge in a career as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist with a specialization in sports nutrition.

His advice to all students is to make self-care the number one priority. “Eat well, exercise and find creative outlets,” he said. “Take time to feel good about your daily accomplishments.”

Paramedic students will brave the cold for Polar Bear Plunge

Christian Bell, Kaitlin Glab, Demi Asselin, and Brady Wills.
Christian Bell, Kaitlin Glab, Demi Asselin, and Brady Wills.

Snow, ice and chilly weather may deter you from taking a dip in the Trent River this winter, but for a group of Paramedic students, it is an invitation to challenge themselves.

Demi Asselin, Brady Wills, Christian Bell and Kaitlin Glab are braving the cold this Saturday at Campbellford Lions Club Park for a good cause. They will be testing the waters at the 27th Annual Polar Bear Plunge, a fundraiser for Campbellford Memorial Hospital organized by the Auxiliary to the Campbellford Memorial Hospital. Money raised will go towards purchasing equipment.

“I’m scared but excited!” said Demi. “I’ve jumped out of a hot tub and into the snow before, but never a lake.”

Kaitlin, who organized the team, encouraged her friend and said it will be fun.

“I used to go to school in B.C. and I did it in October with some friends,” explained Kaitlin. “We heard about a person named Wim Hoff, who calls himself The Iceman, and submerges himself in water—so we tested it out because it’s supposed to boost the immune system. We lasted 15 minutes.”

Brady said that while he has never taken a dip during the winter, he does have wonderful memories of jumping in the lake first thing in the morning at summer camp. Brady said that the water is very cold in the early morning, even in the summer, so he’s hoping that experience will give him a competitive edge.

An article featuring past Paramedic students inspired the students to do the Polar Bear Plunge.

“There’s an article on the bulletin board (in our classroom) of Paramedic students doing it, so we want to carry on the tradition,” said Brady. “And we want to do it. It’s for a good cause.”

Christian agrees. As a former pediatric cancer patient at Kingston General Hospital, the cause is an important motivator for him. Christian is an active fundraiser, mainly for pediatrics, and recently fundraised for Make-A-Wish. Christian knows the positive impact fundraising has on hospitals and is happy to challenge himself to help Campbellford Memorial Hospital.

For those who would like to support the group at the Polar Bear Plunge, please email Kaitlin at kglab17@gmail.com.

Massage Therapy graduate Ashley Brzozowicz Dykstra wanted a healthcare career that makes a positive impact

ashley-brzozowicz-dykstra-blogAshley Brzozowicz Dykstra’s career criteria is that it is flexible, self-driven, and helps others. She decided that massage therapy met her requirements and, considering Fleming College is close to home and offers this program in a compressed two-year format, Ashley enrolled in Massage Therapy at Sutherland Campus.

Fleming’s five-semester, challenging and rewarding Massage Therapy program provides students with an excellent academic foundation and strong applied skills. Every week, students put their skills into practice at The Spa + Clinic at Fleming College, the onsite clinic supervised by a Registered Massage Therapist. The program has earned a great reputation, with a consistently high (over 90%) overall graduate employment rate.

“Working in the student clinic was by far my favourite experience of the program. It was awesome to get hands-on time working with real clients,” said Ashley. “Seeing how the practical application of everything we learned in class can make a difference to a client was very rewarding and put things into perspective for me.”

Ashley describes this Fleming College program as challenging and engaging. She also said the instructors and support staff are dedicated to ensuring students can succeed while having a good experience in the process.

“I already had experience with studying, but Fleming helped me develop my practical, hands-on skills,” she said. “There is a big difference between understanding something in a textbook or lecture and being able to apply that knowledge in a practical setting.”

After winning the top school award, School of Health & Wellness Academic Achievement Award, Ashley will be Valedictorian at the School of Health & Wellness convocation on Thursday, June 7 at 10 a.m.

“I hope people appreciate the importance of teamwork and can continue to work together after graduation,” said Ashley, on what she hopes people take away from her convocation speech.

Teamwork was a big part of Ashley’s Fleming College experience and made it a positive one for the Massage Therapy graduate.

“In my program, the students spend a lot of time together and became a dynamic team by the time we made it to the end of the program,” she said. “The instructors are also very engaged and ensure you feel like you are an important part of the program.”

After convocation, Ashley will be writing two provincial exams and completing her registration with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario. She plans on working at the 360 Wellness Clinic in downtown Peterborough.

“It is pretty amazing to be a part of a healthcare profession where people enjoy and really look forward to their appointments,” said Ashley.