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.

Valedictorian Jacob Gregory graduates from Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technician program with technical skills, industry experience, and lifelong friends

jacob-gregoryThere is one thing Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technician graduate Jacob Gregory will not let control his life: the fear of failure.

The Valedictorian for the School of Trades and Technology, Arts and Heritage, and General Arts and Science hopes his convocation speech inspires graduates to not let the fear of failure steer their lives. “Step out of your comfort zone and take risks,” said Jacob. “That is the only way to learn, grow and achieve greatness.”

Jacob came to Fleming College for the technical skills to deal with control systems, robotics and electronics in a lab environment. “Fleming has one of the best engineering labs when it comes to this type of work,” he explains.

Through the Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technician program, Jacob said he developed critical thinking, communication, teamwork, mechanical and electrical design, computer networking, electronics, process controls, automation controls and troubleshooting skills.

“My experience was amazing,” said Jacob about Fleming College. “I got the technical skills I desired, I got industry experience from the co-op, and had instructors and classmates turn into lifelong friends.”

One of Jacob’s favourite moments in the program was when the system works after hours of wiring PLCs and computers to sensors, and programming computer code to automate the system. “There is no better feeling than turning on the system and it working just like you designed it,” he said.

Jacob describes the Fleming community as inclusive, positive and friendly, and he “100%” recommends the Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technician program to others.

“There is so much work in the instrumentation and controls world. More and more processes are becoming automated and they need people who can design, run and fix these systems,” he explains. “The lab facilities are state-of-the-art and the instructors have been in the industry for a long time.”

Jacob received a job offer from Ontario Power Generation to work as an Instrumentation and Control Technician Apprentice at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, and plans to start work after graduation.

University graduate Sarah Bongelli comes to college for hands-on learning experience

sarah-bongelliValedictorian Sarah Bongelli came to Fleming College looking for a sense of direction.

After graduating from university with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Sarah wanted to gain hands-on, real world experience through a program placement to strengthen her resume and begin a career where she could apply her love of science every day. She discovered the Biotechnology – Advanced program at Fleming College and decided it was the perfect fit.

“I am glad I went back to college, as it was challenging and provided me with more real world experience that I needed,” Sarah explained, citing mock real world exercises such as crime scene processing, court interviews, and presentations.

The Class of 2018 graduate credits the Fleming College program for helping her develop a wide range of skills that she uses every day.

“I found myself really drawing comparisons between college and university, and found that college was – in some ways – much harder than university. The hands-on experience was very valuable and that’s something that you don’t get in university,” she said.

Sarah describes her Fleming faculty as “extremely welcoming, friendly and helpful,” adding that the Sutherland Campus always has a good vibe.

“I would recommend the program, but only if you like science!” she said. “There are a lot of different avenues that you can explore after graduating and the placement is an amazing way to get your foot in the door somewhere.”

Sarah will serve as Valedictorian for the School of Health and Wellness on Thursday, June 7 at 2 p.m., as she earned the School of Health and Wellness Academic Achievement Award. This award is presented to a graduate for academic achievement and significant contribution to the Fleming College community.

“I hope that my speech inspires people to do what they love and to not be afraid of change or boundaries,” said Sarah. “Life can be tough but if you use the tools that you are given, and that you possess yourself, really anything is possible.”

Valedictorian Crystal Dudgeon encourages mature learners that you are “never too old to learn”

crystal-dudgeon-blogCrystal Dudgeon was living in the Netherlands and looking for a new direction in life when her daughter, Customs Border Services student Emily, recommended Fleming College. Crystal enrolled in the Community and Justice Services program, and Emily was happy to give Crystal a campus tour and introduce her to faculty when she returned to Canada.

“Don’t ever question your age, you’re never too old to learn,” Crystal tells mature learners considering going back to school. “Your life experience is hundreds of times more valuable than anything that is written in a book—and be willing to share those experiences with your fellow students. Most importantly, never be afraid that your classmates won’t accept you because there’s room at Fleming College for everyone to belong.”

Crystal describes the Fleming community as diverse and open, and that faculty create an inclusive environment and encourage students to participate in the college community through volunteer opportunities and group work. “It was very easy for me to find a place and I felt welcomed from the first day,” she said

Crystal loved the Fleming community so much, in fact, that it wasn’t long until her youngest daughter Jamie also decided to enrol. Jamie is taking the Police Foundations program.

“Attending College with my daughters has been a dream come true for me, we get to experience the same challenges and excitements together as a family. Exam weeks can be a tense time in the Dudgeon household, but at the end of the week we also get to unwind and appreciate the support we’ve received from one another,” Crystal shared in a previous interview when she won the ASIS Friends and Family Scholarship.

She decided to switch into the Protection, Security and Investigation program after hearing faculty member Norm Killian present on the topic in the Strategies for Success class.

“When I realized that it was far more comprehensive and was aimed much higher than frontline security, I knew it was the right choice for me,” she said. “My main concern was that I might be too old, so I had a chat with a rather bemused Norm who assured me that I was not and I switched programs the next day.”

Through the Protection, Security and Investigation program, Crystal said she developed her critical thinking skills and embraced her leadership and public speaking abilities.

“I saw many of my classmates develop and grow so much over the two years that I spent with them and that was, in part, due to the obvious interest that our professors took in all of us. I’m very glad they were adept enough to recognise each of our personal strengths and subtly encouraged us to expand on them,” Crystal explained. “I feel that my experience was so remarkable because my classmates and professors were such a large part of the process and, being as fantastic as they were, it was easy to love every day that I spent in class.”

On Wednesday, June 6, Crystal will serve as Valedictorian for the School of Justice and Community Development – Justice Programs convocation ceremony. Crystal shared that her speech focuses on personal journeys and the people who walk them with us.

“I hope that it will prompt everyone to pause and reflect upon their journey through the last two years and lets them fully appreciate the efforts that they put into themselves,” she said. “I know the value of having supportive, unfailing companions to support me; I’d like to accentuate the importance of believing and trusting in those who are willing to hold us up when we need the courage to keep going and put that one more foot forward.”

Two of Crystal’s supporters are her daughters Emily and Jamie. “Emily, who is graduating with me, said that she ‘just sort of knew the whole time’ that it would be me speaking at convocation. I had to laugh at that, the poor kid just can’t get away from my constant chatter!” laughed Crystal, on what her daughters think of her being named Valedictorian. “My youngest daughter, Jamie, is very excited and proud that I am the Valedictorian.”

After graduating from Fleming College, Crystal plans to enrol in the Bachelor of Professional Arts in Criminal Justice program at Athabasca University, with the goal of working with youth and women.

“I feel that continuing with my education while I’m still in the groove is the best course of action for me,” she said.

Self-discovery and being silly is what makes the Child and Youth Care program special for Valedictorian Brittany Parsons

brittany-parsons-blogBrittany Parsons’ favourite thing about the Child and Youth Care program is that she gets to be silly while learning.

“I’ve had many spectacular moments in the program over the three years. Our program is a lot of games and activities,” said Brittany, who opted for a silly pose for her Fleming College graduation photo. “I decided to pick a silly one to embrace how silly Child and Youth Care practitioners can be when working with young people. Can’t be serious all of the time.”

Brittany has known she wanted to spend her career working with young people since 2011, when she began working at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul overnight summer camp.

“It was there I discovered my love for working with young people. Not only did I love working with young people, I loved being in the present moment with them,” she explained. “Also, I reflect back to my years as a young person and I remember how amazing my CYC practitioner was in my school; she was always there and with a positive attitude—things I aspired to be. The CYC program was a natural fit for me.”

Brittany moved from Toronto to Peterborough to take the Child and Youth Care program at Fleming College, which prepares individuals to provide care and treatment for children or adolescents experiencing a range of social, emotional, behavioral, or learning challenges.

“Coming from Toronto, it was an adjustment to live in a smaller town. The Fleming College community welcomed me with open arms from the moment I went to the Open House as a prospective student. I felt such amazing vibes and truly felt like I belonged,” she said. “One of my favourite things was hanging out within the College because of the powerful energy amongst the halls from staff and students. I also say as I drive up to Fleming, it’s like another world surrounded by trees.”

Through the Child and Youth Care program, Brittany said she developed counselling skills and professionalism, learned how to share space, advocate for herself and others, and more. She completed her program placement at the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care, and was the first placement student they ever had.

“This experience allowed me to focus on my passion for legislation and writing,” said Brittany about her placement. “In my final semester, I published two articles and that moment was an emotional one because it was a dream come true, but also the beginning of something wonderful.”

Brittany “100%” recommends this program to others because it offers faculty who are currently in the field, networking opportunities, great course content, and the opportunity for students to learn more about themselves as individuals.

“My experience was one of self-discovery, which I never imagined happening. I uncovered my purpose, values and beliefs,” she said. “There were moments where I felt like I couldn’t do it, especially when I lost my grandmother in my final year, but my peers and I became so close (like a family) that they became my support system early on and really encouraged me. My faculty were more than professors, they were mentors. Having such a small group of students, we were able to make real connections; that was something I knew I couldn’t get in the city, I wanted to be more than a student number.”

On Wednesday, June 6, Brittany will join her peers and faculty at the School of Justice & Community Development convocation ceremony, and will serve as Valedictorian. “My desire is that my fellow graduates, even supporters in the room, leave wanting to find ways to learn more; to never forget the connection and roots they have at Fleming; finally, to go with the motion of life as this is the first step to the most rewarding careers.”

After graduation, Brittany will work as a Child and Youth Care practitioner for York Region District School Board. She is also part of a conference committee through the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care to create the Provincial Conference being held at Fleming College’s Sutherland Campus next year. Her future goal is to complete her Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care through professional development opportunities to continue growing as a professional.

“My designation is not a title to me, it is who I am,” she said.

Haliburton School of Art + Design Valedictorian Amy Black feels “fortunate” to have an amazing art school in her hometown

amy-black-focus-on-flemingValedictorian Amy Black didn’t have to look far for a leading arts education. Born and raised in Haliburton, Amy feels fortunate that she could earn her diploma at the Haliburton School of Art + Design.

“I am incredibly fortunate to have such an amazing art school in my hometown and was able to study what I love so close to home,” she said. “The school itself is truly amazing. The environment is constantly filled with good vibes and pure talent. My overall experience with HSAD was absolutely incredible. I have gained so many memories and friends that will last a lifetime.”

Amy took the Integrated Design diploma program, which focuses on the fundamental design skills and critical thinking abilities to become a successful designer in any design discipline.

“It was an amazing introduction to design and the different fundamentals of art combined,” she explained. “I also chose this program because I really admire [program coordinator] Barr Gilmore for teaching something he is so passionate about and has firsthand experience with the working field of design.”

Reflecting on her time in the program, Amy said she particularly enjoyed a class field trip to a local thrift warehouse to discuss the sentimental value people place on “stuff.” She also loved her fibre arts project from her first week in the program, where she covered a retro chair in old jean material and flower print pants. “It was one of my coolest pieces throughout the whole year,” Amy said. “The school actually had it in their Maker Space for a while.”

As part of the Integrated Design program, students also have the opportunity to earn an art certificate. They can chose from the following Haliburton School of Art + Design certificate programs: Artist Blacksmith, Ceramics, Digital Image Design, Drawing and Painting, Fibre Arts, Jewellery Essentials, Glassblowing, Moving Image Design, Photo Arts, Sculpture, or Sustainable Building Design and Construction.

Amy decided to take the Photo Arts program for her certificate, explaining, “I myself have a love for photography. Ever since high school I have loved taking pictures. I chose the Photo Arts program because it is a traditional darkroom approach to photography and I really wanted to learn how it was done.”

Amy said that through her post-secondary education, she has developed a lot of technical skills through hands-on experience. “I wasn’t very computer savvy and now I’m what they call a ‘pro,’” she laughed.

As she bids farewell to the Haliburton Campus, receiving both a diploma in Integrated Design and a certificate in Photo Arts, Amy delivered the Valedictorian address at the convocation ceremony on Friday, May 25. Through wit and sarcasm, Amy hopes her speech reflects light, relates to her peers, and leaves graduates feeling proud of what they achieved.

Amy said she would “100% recommend” the Integrated Design diploma to anyone with a love for art and design in need of direction to find their style and passion. Her career goal after graduation is to continue her photography journey and work for a fashion magazine.