Fascinated by food, culinary management grad headed back to DC

Graduate Spotlight: Liv Domik

Though she’s crossing the stage and picking up her diploma in Culinary Management, Liv Domik is not quite finished with her DC journey.

That’s because she’s continuing on in the Horticulture—Food and Farming program where she will pick up skills, training and experiences that naturally complement her culinary management background.

“I dream of becoming a food product developer on a corporate level or becoming a chef at a food and drink magazine,” said Domik. “I love to be creative with food and I think an environment like that would be my perfect place.”

Her journey began during the COVID-19 pandemic when she was selected for the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), a school-to-work program that allows secondary school students to complete their high school diplomas while gaining experience in the skilled trades. She began attending DC in February 2021.

“In my second year, I hit the ground running with experience in the industry under my belt and a fire in me to become the person I wanted to become,” she said. “This drive got me a job at The Springwood right out of college.”

Located in Whitby, The Springwood restaurant focuses on locally sourced food and seasonality.

Based on her experiences at DC and working at the restaurant, Domik decided to return to college for the Food and Farming program.

She said she learned key culinary skills for her industry at DC.

“I also got to learn many different cuisines and service styles which felt unique to this program.”

Domik encourages potential students to consider the culinary management program.

“People take the program for multiple reasons,” she said. “Some people take it to learn the language of food and have a deeper appreciation for it while others take it to become great chefs and own their own restaurants.”

Any advice for future students?

“I want you to remember that tough times don’t last, tough people do. Love yourself and just remember we are all a work in progress.”

Are you looking to make a career out of a love for food? Check out these popular programs offered at DC in the Faculty of Hospitality and Horticultural Science:

Cybersecurity student transforms co-op placement into full-time job

Grad spotlight: Melanie Gimoto

For Cybersecurity student Melanie Gimoto, experiential learning opportunities at Durham College (DC) – including a co-op placement – led directly to landing a job in her field upon graduation.

Originally from the Philippines, Gimoto worked as a software developer there before moving to Singapore where she worked as a software engineer and then later as a security assessor.

“That’s where my hunger to understand cybersecurity began,” she said. Gimoto decided to look for a college in Canada, ultimately selecting Durham College’s Cybersecurity (graduate certificate) program.

An honour roll student at DC, Gimoto found the school to be a vibrant and welcoming institution.

“The campus is modern and well-equipped, providing a comfortable and conducive environment for learning,” she said. “The faculty is knowledgeable and approachable, always ready to assist and guide students in their academic journeys.”

She took full advantage of practical opportunities in her program. For example, for a hacking course, she demonstrated the dangers of connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi by simulating a man-in-the-middle attack using a Wi-Fi Pineapple, a device that allows hackers to intercept messages between two parties. She said students at DC get a chance to work on real-world projects through the DC Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation.

“While studying, I was able to acquire a job in the Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE) as a cybersecurity research assistant,” she explains. “It was a really exciting role as we were developing practical solutions for partner companies, even as a student.”

Her co-op placement at CarltonOne Engagement led to a job as a cyber risk analyst.

“The role involves the sophisticated analysis of phishing emails and threat commands and ensuring that potential vulnerabilities are swiftly identified and addressed,” said Gimoto. “In addition, I conduct in-depth risk assessments providing valuable insights into the security landscape and meticulously analyze threat alerts to safeguard the organization’s digital assets and integrity.”

Her advice to students in the cybersecurity program is to look for a community to support them in their learning and she recommends joining professional groups like the Toronto chapter of ISACA, a global association for IT professionals and WiCyS (Women in Cybersecurity).

“Foster a love for learning and you’ll experience continuous growth,” she said. “That’s essential for achieving success in any field where continual learning is of utmost importance, especially in the cybersecurity landscape.”

Are you ready to start your career in IT? Check out these popular programs offered at DC in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Information Technology (SEIT):

Changing career paths and preparing for the in-demand skilled trades industry

Graduate spotlight: Kathryn Fullerton

After beginning her bachelor’s degree in criminology and justice, Kathryn Fullerton felt lost and confused about her future. In search of a new challenge, she applied for the Electrical Techniques program at Durham College (DC) and hasn’t looked back.

“I finally feel like I am headed in the right direction towards developing a career that I find engaging and exciting, and a life I can be proud of,” she says.

Now, as a new graduate, we chatted with Kathryn about her experience at DC, the Canerector Scholarship she received, and her future goals.

What was your favourite part about being a DC student?

My favourite part about being a student was knowing that DC collaborates with community partners. This really helped me learn the skills employers are looking for. Durham College also adapts with industry changes, which helped me feel confident that I would be well-prepared to enter the workforce.

What are you most grateful for from your time at DC?

I am grateful for all the people that I got to meet and connect with. From the amazing professors whose encouragement helped me feel confident in myself and my abilities to the friends I made along the way. It really helped knowing that my professors – who have such vast experience in the field – believed in me. They helped me believe in myself.

What would you say to other female students who are interested in taking the same program as you?

I always felt respected at DC. Sometimes it can feel daunting to be only one of a few females in a class, but I knew I deserved to be there! To another female interested in taking the same program, or any of the other skilled trade programs, I would say go for it. This is a viable career option that’s extremely fulfilling.
What did it mean to you to be a recipient of the Canerector Scholarship?

I was so happy to be selected as one of the Canerector Scholarship recipients. It made a huge impact on my time at DC, the extra financial help made a big difference and helped me focus more on my studies.  I also felt recognized for my hard work. It really made me feel excited for my future in the skilled trades.

What are you looking forward to after graduation?

After graduation I am looking forward to entering the workforce and beginning my journey towards a career I can be proud of. I plan to obtain my electrical journeyman’s license and eventually become a master electrician. After finally finding a career path I am excited for, I am really happy to be starting this new chapter of my life.

Are you ready to start your career in the skilled trades? Check out these popular programs offered at DC in the Faculty of Skilled Trades & Apprenticeship:

Social Service Worker grad driven by passion for helping others

Graduate Spotlight: Ajurenmisan Emiko

For Ajurenmisan Emiko, social work is more than a job. It’s a calling to make a difference in the world.

The new graduate of the Social Service Worker program at Durham College (DC) is ready to get out there and help those in need, regardless of their circumstances.

“Social work is a profession of hope and compassion. The world may think in good or bad and black or white, but as social workers, we are grey,” she said. “We are the spot in between, a safe space with no judgement and no discrimination; only advocacy and a strong passion for equality and equity.”

From courses in counselling techniques and group dynamics to community outreach projects and placements at various agencies, the program gave her the practical skills and experience needed to work in the diverse and complex field.

“The past two years have been an incredible learning experience. I’ve gained valuable knowledge and insights into the world of social work,” she said. “I’ve met inspiring professors and fellow students who share my passion for positively impacting people’s lives. I also had the opportunity to work alongside dedicated professionals who inspired me to continue on this path of making a positive impact in our community.”

Though she’s always had a passion for helping others, the curriculum gave her a solid academic foundation, from courses in psychology to specialized subjects like counselling techniques, case management, and addictions and mental health. There was also a strong emphasis on gaining practical experience with a required student placement of over 600 hours at different agencies. That allowed Ajurenmisan and her fellow students to apply their classroom knowledge in real-world settings, working directly with clients and communities.

“My experience and the connections I made here showed me the power of empathy and care. It’s incredible how a compassionate ear and genuine support can make a world of difference in someone’s life,” she said.

Her goal is to provide compassionate support as a counsellor and to help people work through the struggles and issues they are unable to share with others out of fear of being judged or misunderstood.

As she moves forward in her life and career, she’ll look back fondly at DC.

“I’m filled with gratitude for the knowledge and skills I’ve acquired here,” she said. “I’m thankful for experiencing this amazing chapter in my life at Durham College. I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned and apply it to create meaningful change in our community.”

Does a career in social services appeal to you? Check out these popular programs offered at DC in the Faculty of Social & Community Services:

New graduates ready to provide compassionate care to children

Graduate Spotlight: Alexis Joyce and Khala Sutherland

After completing six semesters in two years, the new graduates of Durham College’s (DC) compressed Child and Youth Care program could probably use a rest.

But instead of taking a breather, Alexis Joyce and Khala Sutherland have already found employment and are ready to make a difference in the lives of children and their families.

We spoke to Alexis and Khala about their time at DC, what they learned in the program, and their plans for the future.

What was your DC experience like?

Alexis: The professors made an effort to learn everyone’s names, hobbies and future goals. They made our classrooms a positive and safe environment for reflection, advocacy and self-determination. Each professor gave me a new outlook on the field and pushed me to continue in my development.

Khala: I could not have been more pleasantly surprised at just how quickly the two years went, how much knowledge I gained, and how many real-world, transferable skills I garnered. There were key faculty and students who made the journey a complete success. I loved being a DC student because I grew into a confident, knowledgeable and employable individual in my field.

How did the program help you prepare for your career?

Alexis: The program was a fantastic start to my career. The professors used assignments that were based on real scenarios. The goal was to give us employable skills that could directly be used in the field. I felt very prepared when applying for my current position and am confident in my skills. DC provided me with a positive experience that really pushed me towards a better version of myself. I am very thankful for the opportunity to develop my skill set and set meaningful goals.

Khala: In my final placement, I chose to be a student clinician at the Durham College Care Clinic. Through that, I had the wonderful opportunity of being a facilitator with the Youth Job Centre in Bowmanville. A colleague and I created evidence-based presentations on life skill topics such as self-esteem, conflict resolution and problem-solving. We presented about a dozen times, creating relationships and building rapport with young people. This role was one I didn’t ever think to do, but that opportunity opened my eyes to how I could do the same thing. I applied to Durham Family Court Clinic (DFCC) in Oshawa, and in August I was offered the job as a violence prevention program coordinator.

Would you recommend the program to future students?

Alexis: My experience with the program was very positive. I had an amazing time getting to know all of my professors and classmates. The program is really based on practical work that is directly related to your chosen future field of employment. For example, if you’re really interested in being a child and youth care practitioner for a school board, the professors help you do assignments from that perspective. Overall, I strongly recommend the program.

Khala: I would say go for it. You won’t know your capabilities until you take a chance. This program is well-rounded, it gives you practical, hands-on skills, and then provides the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned. There are many benefits, not only to you as a professional, but as a person in the community where you can think from a trauma-informed, person-centred stance. You will become more compassionate, more caring and more understanding of the diverse needs of others.

What do you love most about DC?

Alexis: My favourite part of DC was the environment. The college always had fun events occurring around the campus that allowed students to make friends. It is important to have a post-secondary experience that you really feel a part of and that you as an individual are making a difference. DC provided me with that experience.

Khala: I love that DC is a diverse, yet inclusive school. It never felt like I was out of place or didn’t deserve to be there. I believe that the culture created at DC and the willingness to grow in cultural competency shows where their heart is.

What are your future goals?

Alexis: I am continuing my education working towards a bachelor’s degree in both child and youth care and psychology. I am also working as a part-time child and youth care practitioner getting to experience the amazing path the youth are on. In the future, I would love to complete a master’s degree and possibly work in a clinical setting!

Khala: My future goals are to continue to work with youth, children and families in a plethora of mediums, in the community and in schools, assisting them in creating and meeting their goals and reaching their full potential.

Does a career in social services appeal to you? Check out these popular programs offered at DC in the Faculty of Social & Community Services: