Fitness and Health Promotion grad honours mentors through his career

kevin-wilson-2-002From his passion for basketball to his career in physiotherapy, positive mentorships have played a huge part in Kevin Wilson’s life, which is why he is giving back through the National Basketball Youth Mentorship Program Inc.

“Growing up, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by mentors my whole life. My first basketball coach mentored me for years and developed my love for the game of basketball. When I broke my patella at 12 years old, my physiotherapist inspired me to pursue the field of physiotherapy; he would go on to mentor me for years as I completed over 300 volunteer hours within his clinic,” said Kevin. “Although both have unfortunately passed away, their teachings, passion and dedication to my development has not gone in vain.”

Kevin enrolled in Fleming College’s Fitness and Health Promotion program as the first step in his education journey, because this diploma prepares many graduates to pursue a degree in Kinesiology. Kevin’s long-term academic goal is to earn a degree in Physical Therapy.

“Overall, I had a great experience at Fleming College,” said Kevin. “As a student athlete on the varsity basketball team, I loved the fact that the FHP professors were so understanding of my athletic responsibilities. I have nothing but great things to say about the college, the student life, and the professors within the FHP program.”

Kevin credits the program with challenging students to apply theoretical knowledge within a practical setting, as well as providing the necessary tools to be a successful healthcare professional.

“Whether you decide to work as a personal trainer or decide to continue with more schooling, the knowledge received in this program will be utilized for many years following graduation,” said Kevin, who graduated from Fleming in 2014. “To put things into perspective, I am still using the majority of what I was taught in the FHP program.”

After Fleming College, Kevin attended Brock University for Kinesiology and started his own personal training and physical rehabilitation business.

“The FHP program at Fleming gave me the confidence needed to start my own business,” he said. “I wanted to learn more about what it takes to successfully run and manage my own business, and I wanted to earn some income while in school to assist with tuition costs, living expenses, etc. Although not yet a physiotherapist, I wanted to create my own brand and to establish myself as a healthcare professional. I understand the value and benefits of being self-employed, and I hope to enjoy these benefits throughout my entire working career.”

Kevin graduated from Brock University in 2017 and in January of this year he started the National Basketball Youth Mentorship Program (NBYMP) to give back and to promote overall success and health, which is something Kevin views as important as both a future physiotherapist and as a human being.

“I plan to influence the lives of as many youth as possible, similar to how my mentors have influenced my life,” said Kevin. “There are many youth who struggle to find the resources needed to be successful and I hope that, through my program, they can find their path and purpose in life.”

NBYMP is a national youth mentorship program that aims to provide a holistic approach to personal development for basketball athletes under the age of 19. Youth enrolled in this newly-formed program will have access via email to mentorship from high-level Canadian professional and university basketball athletes, online academic assistance from students and graduates of Harvard University, financial advising and development from licensed financial advisors; and access to strength and conditioning coaches, nutritionists, and sports psychologists. Registration is free, but basketball camps, workshops and academic tutoring do have associated fees.

“My hope is that hundreds, and eventually thousands, of kids utilize this mentorship program to achieve great things, both on and off the basketball court. I hope to provide full scholarships for dozens of youth entering college/university programs, and I hope to use this platform to promote the overall health and wellness of youth and individuals across Canada.”

Kevin said his advice to current Fleming FHP students is to soak in all the information, ask their professors lots of questions, and to set long-term goals.

“I will be going back to school this September (2018) to study physiotherapy and this was something that I planned to do even while at Fleming,” he said. “Set a long-term goal and use that as motivation to get you through this program and future programs or ventures.”

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.

Olivia Anderson is excited to travel Ontario for Fleming College

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valedictorian Andrew Vatcher strengthens self-confidence through Fitness and Health Promotion

andrew-vatcherThe Fitness and Health Promotion program not only strengthened Valedictorian Andrew Vatcher’s physical abilities, it strengthened his self-confidence as well.

“Fleming College was a place of great personal growth and development for me,” said Andrew. “I came into school as a confident exterior with a very negative inner self-image. Through great learning and leadership, I obtained the confidence within and self-efficacy that I so desperately lacked. I have learned so much about health and fitness, but even more about myself and view on life.”

His most memorable moment was his first day of college, when faculty member Mary Stever asked students to assemble into two lines facing each other and introduce themselves.

“I can, to this day, recall where fellow classmates stood and where along the line we first met. It was a small thing at the time but looking back on it I can’t help but to smile,” said Andrew.

Andrew initially came to Fleming to better his physical abilities and overall knowledge in different principles of fitness. Through the Fitness and Health Promotion program, Andrew gained skills that span from workout-related abilities (designing and assessing programs, coaching, training) to working with clients who have special needs.

“I have gained a greater ability to speak in front of people with confidence and joy,” said Andrew, who recommends the program to others. “I have learned self-discipline and the integral value of accountability.”

Andrew plans on continuing his education by earning an undergraduate degree in strength and conditioning. His long-term goal is to be a Strength and Conditioning Coach for a professional sports team.

Next week he will take the stage at the Peterborough Sport & Wellness Centre for the School of Health and Wellness afternoon convocation, where he will serve as Valedictorian.

“I put a lot of myself into my time at Fleming and have developed so many great relationships with friends and faculty, so it is incredibly wonderful to be recognized in such a way,” said Andrew on being named Valedictorian.

“It is so much more than just a diploma,” said Andrew. “In fact, I feel that the things outside the course content are every bit as valuable.”

First responder is first choice for Valedictorian Courtney Puterman

courtney-putermanFrom a young age, Courtney Puterman wanted to be a first responder. Whenever a police car, fire truck or ambulance would drive through her street, Courtney would press her face to the window, curious about what was happening.

“I wanted to be in a profession where I was going to make a difference and be able to help people,” said Courtney, who decided to pursue a Paramedic career and applied to the Fleming College program. “I was fortunate to be accepted and am very grateful for it as I truly feel like this was the right choice for me.”

Courtney, who is graduating from Fleming College next week, said her two years in the program flew by. “I can still remember who I sat beside on the very first day and how nervous I was for our first set of final exams. My experience though was really amazing and I owe a lot of that to my peers and staff,” said Courtney. “Our program is a smaller one, which makes it very tight-knit; you can lean on anyone for support and you make some amazing friends.”

Courtney’s most memorable experience was competing in the National Paramedic Competition in Ottawa this spring, where she was one of four representing Fleming College. Courtney said the competition helped her gain more confidence in her skill and ability by putting her education to the test.

“It was also such an exciting weekend as many of my peers and friends from the program traveled to Ottawa in order to cheer us on,” she said. “It was also really exciting to have your teachers there pushing you and cheering you on. They made it very clear that they were proud of us and I think I can speak for the other three competitors as well when I say how awesome that felt. Overall, it was the perfect weekend to wrap up these last two years.”

Courtney, who recommends the Paramedic program to others, said the skills she gained at Fleming include: how to extricate patients from vehicles, how to triage patients in multi-causality incidents, how to do CPR in a moving ambulance, and how to tell someone their loved one has passed away or that they’re having a massive heart attack.

“But like most programs in the School of Health and Wellness, I learnt how to be compassionate, empathetic, professional, an advocate and a leader,” she added.

When Courtney is not working at Oxford County Paramedic Services or studying for the provincial exam in June, she is busy writing her Valedictorian speech for convocation.

The Paramedic graduate was selected to be Valedictorian for the School of Health and Wellness ceremony on Thursday, June 8 at 10 a.m. She will be speaking to graduates from the Paramedic, Massage Therapy, Personal Support Worker, and Practical Nursing programs.

“Each individual put in a lot of effort to be sitting in a seat at convocation and I want my speech to reflect that,” she said. “I want everyone to feel a sense of pride for what they have achieved.”

Courtney also feels pride for receiving this honour at convocation. “I was really honoured when I found out that I was even being nominated,” said Courtney. “I’m very appreciative of this opportunity and I’m really hoping that I do it justice for all the programs.”

Practical Nursing students Olivia Anderson and Matthew Edwards discuss their careers for National Nursing Week

nurses-weekFleming College wishes Practical Nursing students a happy National Nursing Week! This year’s theme is #YESThisIsNursing, which raises awareness of the expanding roles, settings and sectors nurses work in. It is a hashtag to represent how social media can be used to promote advocacy and raise awareness on important issues.

Practical Nursing student Olivia Anderson said National Nursing Week is important because it draws attention to issues facing nursing and healthcare, can advocate for change, and celebrates the achievements and commitment of nurses. She also loves that it is a hashtag.

Olivia has wanted to be a nurse since she was 12 years old, after being diagnosed with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis, which is a curvature of the spine.

“My case was quite severe, which meant that it required some pretty serious surgical intervention. I underwent an 11 hour surgery to have my spine fused with titanium rods. During my stay in the hospital after the surgery, I was inspired by the nurses who cared for me, particularly one,” said Olivia. “One nurse saw how greasy my hair had become and she washed my hair for me while I laid in bed– I wasn’t allowed to shower because of my incision, and it made me feel 100x  better to have clean hair. It was such a simple thing, but it made a profound difference in how I felt during my initial recovery. I wanted to make people feel like that too.”

Olivia, who was elected three times to Fleming’s Student Administrative Council, just completed her fourth semester at Fleming College and is heading into consolidation in orthopaedics this month. She appreciates the amount of options nurses have in their profession, but plans to gain experience before branching off.

“I had the opportunity to shadow an amazing nurse at St. Elizabeth Home Health Care who specialized in palliative care and it really inspired me to pursue community and palliative nursing,” said Olivia. “You may think of home-care nursing as being a little less traditional, but in fact this was how healthcare was delivered for most of history. I loved being in the community because of the variety in your day, the independence and autonomy, and being able to see your clients where they are most comfortable. Being able to see someone’s living conditions is also a great assessment tool when caring for your clients.”

Olivia’s classmate Matthew Edwards also plans on gaining experience in a traditional setting first. “Once I have a few years under my belt, I would love to merge my international development experience with nursing and take my skills abroad,” said Matthew, who is starting his consolidation at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener-Waterloo. “Nurses can occupy a variety of roles outside of their medical distinctions such as advocate, leader, educator and activist, all of which are vital in developing communities.”

Unlike Olivia, Matthew did not grow up aspiring to be a nurse; but wanted to help others through agency and organization work providing support to those in need around the world. He earned an undergraduate degree in International Development and History at Western University and continued his education at Humber College in International Development Project Management.

“After a few forays I decided that life abroad was not for me, but my desire to help those in need was still very much alive,” said Matthew, who has since developed a passion for nursing.

He chose Fleming College after living in Toronto for a few years. “I had my fill of the urban life,” said Matthew. “Fleming College had some of the best ratings with regards to passing rates of the CNO Registration Exam. This sparked my initial interest and Peterborough’s grassroots nature sealed the deal,” he said.

Matthew shared that Fleming College helped shape his nursing foundation. His career goal is to become a Registered Nurse, earn his Master of Nursing, specialize, and continue learning until he retires.

“The nursing profession is constantly changing as new research and technologies become available each and every day,” said Matthew. “In order to provide my patients with the very best, I will have to stay on my toes and always be expanding my education.”

Matthew hopes National Nursing Week raises awareness of what it means to be a nurse. “I fear that people often have a very singular view of what a nurse does, but in reality nurses do it all! There are few professions that require such an enormous range of skills and experiences,” he said. “I hope that National Nursing Week can help people realize just how unique and special nurses really are.”

Pharmacy Awareness Month event at Sutherland Campus is a success

The display for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) by Pharmacy Technician students
The display for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) by Pharmacy Technician students

The Pharmacy Awareness Month celebration at Sutherland Campus on Tuesday, March 14th was a success!

Pharmacy Awareness Month is celebrated every March to educate Canadians about the profession, and provide information on what healthcare services and advice pharmacists and technicians can offer. For their Field Prep course project, Fleming Pharmacy Technician students partnered with community healthcare professionals and/or Fleming students in related disciplines to deliver a unique, complimentary service to the Peterborough community.

“We had the best turn out ever with many people who came to the campus specifically for a service being offered,” said Pharmacy Technician program coordinator Amanda Mushynski. “I expect that it will only get bigger and better each year. It really demonstrated how Fleming College values inter-professional collaboration and education.”

For the Pharmacy Awareness Month event, students and community volunteer professionals delivered free education and services on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Therapeutic Touch Therapy, Heart Health, Mastectomy and Bra Fittings, Breast Self-Exams, Massage Therapy, Indigenous Medicine and Healing, Holistic Nutrition, Yoga, Nutrition, and more.

Heart Health display
The Heart Health display by Pharmacy Technician students

The Heart Health display was hard to miss in the Sutherland Campus main foyer, with a fun photo booth, cookies, and the opportunity to check your blood pressure. “The project was definitely a lot of work!” said Pharmacy Technician student Camryn Walker. “It takes time to do a display like this, but we wanted a photo booth to draw people in and get attention.”

Donny Watson, Paramedic with Peterborough County/City Paramedics, volunteered his time to partner with the Heart Health group.

“It’s good to promote health within the college-level, as that’s where you can start spreading healthy lifestyles amongst the younger generation,” said Donny. “Taking blood pressure is an easy risk-factor to assess. Some people don’t know they have high blood pressure and it’s just a matter of taking it. It can start as early as your early 20s.”

Marleen Jenkins also volunteered her time to help share information with the public. Marleen is a certified bra fitter and wig fitter at My Left Breast.

“There’s not a lot of information out there for women looking for this,” said Marleen, who does bra fittings, lumpectomy and mastectomy bra fittings, and wig fittings. “This also goes beyond just a bra fitting. One client came in and talked to me for three days before she could be fitted after her diagnosis. After the three days, she was ready to do the fitting. The unfortunate thing I’ve seen is the young age of the women who are coming in.”

Pharmacy Technician student Amber Nicholls worked with Marleen for the My Left Breast display. Through the project, Amber was surprised to learn how many women are not wearing the right bra for them. “It’s surprising how many people don’t wear the right bra size. They’re uncomfy, spilling out… I’m surprised,” she said. “It’s a matter of awareness. And awareness that you don’t have to struggle alone for mastectomy bras and wig fittings, and services.”

The Pharmacy Awareness Month event not only helped provide health information to the public, but it also helped Pharmacy Technician students develop their project management skills.

Pharmacy Technician student Robyn Peterson, who worked with Moksha Yoga on the Yoga & Mindfulness display, said the experience has been rewarding. “Through this project, I’ve learned how to approach people to participate, I’ve improved my organizational skills, and I’ve learned that there’s so many people in the healthcare community who want to share information with others,” she said.

Pharmacy Technician students plan Pharmacy Awareness Month celebration

Event poster (click to enlarge)
Event poster 

Second-year Pharmacy Technician students are busy event planning this week in preparation of the Pharmacy Awareness Month celebration on Tuesday, March 14th at Sutherland Campus.

Pharmacy Awareness Month is celebrated every March to educate Canadians about the profession, and provide information on what healthcare services and advice pharmacists can offer. For their Field Prep course project, Fleming Pharmacy Technician students partner with community healthcare professionals to deliver a unique, complimentary service to the Peterborough community.

Students and community volunteer professionals will offer free education and services from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Sutherland Campus main foyer on Tuesday, March 14th. This includes information on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Osteopathy, Heart Health, Mastectomy and Bra Fittings, Breast Self-Exams, Massage Therapy, Indigenous Medicine and Healing, Holistic Nutrition, Yoga, Nutrition, and more. For a full list, please visit the press release. All are welcome to attend this event.

Pharmacy Technician student Robyn Peterson
Pharmacy Technician student Robyn Peterson

“We’re working with other members of the community who are involved in healthcare, and sharing information with people who visit the event,” said Pharmacy Technician student and Team Leader Robyn Peterson, whose team is working with Moksha Yoga. Robyn said the Moksha Yoga display will feature yoga demonstrations, information on the health benefits of yoga, and samples of David’s Tea.

“Through this project, I’ve learned how to approach people to participate, I’ve improved my organizational skills, and I’ve learned that there’s so many people in the healthcare community who want to share information with others,” said Robyn. “I hope those who attend the event gain knowledge of what’s available to them in the community. There’s a lot of things healthcare professionals in the community can provide information on.”

Program coordinator Amanda Mushynski agrees and is looking forward to the event. “This event is a great opportunity for students to develop project management skills,” she said. “Students are responsible for sourcing a volunteer, and arranging meetings and appointment times with their volunteer in order to complete a project plan.’

‘Pharmacy Technicians are often depended on to connect patients with supports within the community. Our students are gaining the confidence and knowledge to feel comfortable connecting patients with services such as Meals on Wheels, nutrition, massage therapy, respiratory therapy, etc., ensuring continuity of care,” said Amanda. “We hope to see you there!”

Rebecca Morris leaves the Biotechnology lab at Fleming to swim with sharks in South Africa

first-sharkIt is a challenge for Rebecca Morris to choose her most memorable day on placement. She’s seen a great white shark, which “was both terrifying and exciting”; she’s watched wild whales and dolphins on the Cetacean Project, caught a pyjama shark for a genetic sampling, and swam with sharks to clean a tank at the aquarium.

“All of these were different days and equally memorable,” said Rebecca, who interned at Oceans Research in Mossel Bay, South Africa for her 15-week Biotechnology – Advanced program internship. “However the best was probably one of my last days. We were out on the boat at sunrise for the Great White Shark Study Project where, for the first time in months, we had about 14 Great Whites at the boat at one time and one big, beautiful girl jumped out of the water. Later this day while fishing, a pod of about 30 dolphins were swimming all around the boat. Our skipper slowed down so we didn’t injure any and could admire them. One particular dolphin was swimming close to the surface at the bow of the boat where I was leaning over. It was a moment that I didn’t even want a camera or my phone, all I wanted was to live the moment. It was a day I will never forget.”

This experience is something Rebecca has been working towards since ninth grade, when she accompanied her father to DOW Chemical for Take Your Kids to Work Day. “It was love at first site,” said Rebecca, who had the opportunity to observe lab work and try the equipment. “Following this, I saw the movie Deep Blue Sea and – even though it is completely inaccurate – the thought of what genetic research has the possibility of creating drew me in. Add in my love of crime shows, books and movies, it was as though the program was made for me.”

Rebecca describes Fleming’s Biotechnology – Advanced program as “tough and demanding,” but adds that “if you honestly have a love of science, it is completely worth every moment.” She credits the professors for being supportive and ensuring every student understands their instructions, and describes her classmates as amazing lifelong friends. She adds that “everyone is friendly. The staff in the cafeteria were always helpful and welcoming, and some even remembered my order at Tim Hortons!”

It was through her program coordinator at Fleming that Rebecca found the opportunity to intern in South Africa and she jumped at the chance. As the Oceans intern, Rebecca was involved with a cetacean study that monitors the behaviour of whales and dolphins, and a great white shark behavioural study that documents dorsal fin pictures for migration type purposes. “The dorsal fin has notches specific to a shark. It is exactly like matching fingerprints through a database,” she explains. Rebecca also worked with benthic sharks, smooth-hound sharks, bronze whaler sharks, and young hammerhead sharks; she helped take genetic samples, measured, tagged them with an acoustic tag, and released them.

“My experience here has been both eye-opening and amazing,” said Rebecca, who is now specialized in shark handling, certified for marine animal stranding, has learned new programs for identification and tracking, perfected fishing knots and a few sailing knots, and is learning to speak Afrikaans. “Coming to South Africa, I expected to be a little lonely and a lot homesick, but now the ocean feels like home. I’ve made some amazing friends, met the man I’m going to marry, and can’t believe how fast the time flew!”

Biotechnology student Sarina Barnes travels to Vancouver for program internship

sarina-barnesSarina Barnes decided to leave the comfort of her friends, family and Fleming College community to integrate theory and practice in a Biotechnology internship. Sarina was selected to complete her program internship at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Biotechnology – Advanced program internship in Semester 5 is designed to immerse students in the operations, processes and protocols of a DNA lab. During Sarina’s internship, she was responsible for planning and optimizing an assay that was being developed to streamline a few of the tests done by the Centre’s clinical team.

“Our BTF faculty encouraged me to pursue what I was interested in and gave me the support that I needed to pursue an internship out of province,” said Sarina of the 15 week, full-time (600 hour) placement. Fleming’s Biotechnology program internship may be implemented at approved private or public sites located locally, regionally, out-of-province or international locations.

“Living in Vancouver was a big change, but a welcomed one. I knew that I wanted to explore what the West Coast had to offer and was willing to work hard to get there,” said Sarina. “Moving away from family and friends to seek out a goal was really hard to do; it was through receiving their love and support that encouraged me as I transitioned to a new city and environment. These past four months on placement have allowed me to grow my skills exponentially and helped to define my interests. If I had to, I would do it all over again.”

Sarina, who chose to study at Fleming College because it offers automation in the Biotechnology curriculum, said her most memorable internship experience was when faculty member Lea Roque – who teaches automation – came for a site visit. “She had a one-on-one with my lab’s director, and I got to show her around the lab and talk about what I do,” said Sarina. “It was a different experience explaining what I was involved in, and really gave me a chance to demonstrate what I’ve learned and apply it back to my education.”

Sarina said she would happily recommend Fleming’s Biotechnology program to others. “It was a wonderful opportunity to gain knowledge on current topics in the field, while having lab experience to reinforce it. I cannot say enough how supportive the faculty is, inside and out of the classroom,” she said.

“The teaching style was very different from what I received at university. Things are much more hands-on, [move] more quickly, it really emphasized engagement with the material,” said Sarina on her Fleming education. “I felt that I was presented with workable knowledge to apply to the real world, which is ultimately what the industry is looking for.”

Now that her internship is complete, Sarina continues to apply her knowledge and skills at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Sarina has been hired as a Research Assistant on a one year, full-time contract at the Centre.