Wireless Information Networking student Innovates for Change

manveen-on-campus

 

In Canada, only one third of graduates in science, technology, engineering and math – also known as STEM – are women. By increasing women in STEM subjects, we can fuel change that will impact our future, which is why the theme for International Women’s Day this year is #InnovateForChange (source: Status of Women Canada).

Manveen Kour is part of that change. Having studied electronics and communications at the University of Jammu, Manveen is adding a graduate certificate to her resume by taking Fleming College’s Wireless Information Networking program. She plans to grow her career in IT after graduating this spring.

“When I go to clients and look around their businesses, all I see are men. In an entire company, there is only a couple women!” said Manveen, who provides IT services through her Fleming applied project.

“I read online something like 20 to 30 percent of technology professionals are women, but I know companies want to hire women because equality is good. It’s not that the opportunity isn’t there, the women just have to go for it!”

One reason women are underrepresented in STEM subjects and careers, Manveen suspects, is because the interest isn’t nurtured from a young age.

“Where I’m from, India, there is inequality; boys are encouraged to take technology and women are not,” said the Wireless Information Networking student. “You have to encourage an interest in technology from the beginning, from your childhood.”

Manveen says she is fortunate her interest was nurtured from a young age the same way it was for her brother. She credits her father for this and feels very grateful for him.

“My brother would open up the computer and explore it because he was curious, and a lot of girls don’t do that because they’re not encouraged to,” she said. “The family plays a role in this and my father, right from the beginning, told me this is a great career and encouraged me. And I still call him when I have a question or dilemma, and he’s there.”

Teachers also play an important role in development, Manveen explains. She hopes teachers encourage girls and boys equally in developing STEM interests and pursuing careers in this field.

Manveen did feel encouraged by her family and teachers to study electronics and communications at the University of Jammu. During her university internship, she learned cloud computing and wireless networking, and really enjoyed it. She decided to enhance this skillset after graduating and moved to Canada for Fleming’s Wireless Information Networking program.

Manveen at her applied project.
Manveen at her applied project.

“Canada is very welcoming, I didn’t expect it to be so sweet! I love Canada!” said Manveen, adding that everyone she has met at Fleming College has been very helpful.

Faculty members Darren Gethons, Alwyn Appiah and Mamdouh Mina, in particular, are three instructors Manveen credits for their support and motivation. Manveen recommends any students who are struggling to speak with their professors for their help and guidance.

This semester, the Fleming College student has a very busy schedule. In addition to classes and a part-time campus job at the Contact Centre, Manveen is working at Interface Technologies on Wednesdays and Fridays for her program applied project. As her applied project, Manveen is helping provide IT services to clients across the city for Interface Technologies.

“When I was interviewed for my applied project position, I was against three boys. I was the only girl in the interview and I got it!” said Manveen. “I was scared being interviewed against them, but my dad told me he had this vision and I will get it and don’t worry—and I did!”

Manveen recommends this career path to anyone interested in it and to find someone to cheer you on.

“For me, that’s my father. He keeps me going,” she said. “Aim big and don’t settle. Never settle, know you deserve more. Like my father always says, ‘the sky is the limit!’”

International student Hannah Le impresses at Field Placement

Hannah Le (left) with Jennifer Seeley
Hannah Le (left) with Jennifer Seeley

While many students leave the nest for college, Wireless Information Networking student Hannah Le moved to a new country for her studies. Raised in Vietnam, Hannah booked a flight to Canada to learn electronics, telecommunication and programming at Fleming College.

She describes Peterborough, Ont., as a peaceful, quiet city and appreciates the design of the Sutherland Campus building.

“I have had a wonderful experience at Fleming. My classes were so great with lots of excellent teachers, who were not only enthusiastic in class or lab but also gave timely responses to my email questions with very useful information,” said Hannah. “Fleming also had many activities inside and outside the campus, which gave me good chances to meet, communicate and connect with other students.”

The Wireless Information Networking graduate certificate focuses on the design, planning, implementation, operation and troubleshooting of wireless networks. For hands-on, real world experience, Hannah also completed a Field Placement at Genpak, a food packaging company.

“When I searched on the Internet about Genpak and knew that it has many plants in both the US and Canada, I thought this would be a great chance to see how this company handles their business,” she said. “Besides, I can still stay in Peterborough and meet my friends, while exploring the real workplace environment and working culture of the company.”

Hannah describes her colleagues at Genpak as nice, helpful, kind, supportive and encouraging. She said Field Placement has improved her communication skills, programming VBA skills, problem-solving, time management, and productivity. She added that Field Placement and Fleming College has also taught her a lot about Canadian culture.

“Field Placement is a great opportunity to gain experience in the real work environment. In the real world, not everything will be set up and fixed, so you have to face a lot more challenging problems and find the solutions to them,” said Hannah. “Field Placement helps me connect and apply what I have learned to the particular situations and develop my skills.”

Jennifer Seeley, Quality Assurance & Food Safety Coordinator at Genpak, was impressed with Hannah’s work.

“Hannah is one of those students that it just clicks with,” said Jennifer. “She took the placement very seriously in terms of her attendance, promptness and focus. She brought a lot of new ideas (to us) to the table with a number of the small projects that she worked on. Her friendly and curious outlook encouraged us to work a little deeper on some things, so that she could see and understand how things worked and why.”

Hannah had the opportunity to work in four different departments at Genpak: I.T., Engineering, Materials/Inventory, and Quality/Regulatory. Each supervisor was happy with Hannah’s work, writing in their feedback that she is:

  • “very knowledgeable and puts that knowledge to work in not only solving issues, but also learning” – I.T.
  • “always focused on her work and was great at noticing small details that needed attention” – Engineering
  • “pleasure to work with and eager to help” – Materials/Inventory
  • “we all benefitted from her help. She grasped concepts quickly, not only worked well independently but thought about what she was working on and could make valuable suggestions along the way. Hannah is definitely someone who can go far in her field” – Quality/Regulatory.

Fleming College offers many programs that feature Field Placement opportunities. Hannah’s advice to other students who want to excel on placement is to be confident, punctual and respectful, follow the responsibilities given in the Field Placement offer and be prepared, work hard and take it seriously, and do not hesitate to ask your teacher or supervisor for help.