By: Michelle Rowe-Jardine and Austin Spearman
Humber College sees thousands of gowned students passing from Convocation directly into the working world each year. Every issue we take a look at what some of these former students have done with the skills they obtained during their time at Humber.
Advertising- Account Management Postgraduate Certificate, graduated 2015
Graduating from the Advertising Account Management program in 2015 allowed Jay Fleming to both change up his career and to move to the other side of the country.
Inspired by a lecture on advertising, Fleming enrolled in the post graduate program at Humber to gain the tools he needed to land a job at John St. Advertising.
“I was pretty lucky in terms of the instructors that I had that were very cool in terms of knowing the industry,” he says.
Fleming worked at John St. Advertising for about four years as a brand strategist where he quickly learned one of the hard truths about advertising: it’s a labour of love.
“I think people kind of glorify these jobs like, ‘Here, work in a fun industry with creative people’ … and that is true but it is a ton of work and you kind of have to be ready to devote your life to it,” he says.
Fleming was devoted enough to move all the way to Vancouver when he got a job doing brand strategy with Lululemon.
“The big achievement for me was making a leap from an agency to a client …and being the only brand strategist really at the company,” he says.
Journalism Postgraduate Certificate, graduated 2018
Amy Chen graduated from the Journalism post-graduate program in 2018 and she could never have guessed that a year at Humber would have changed the trajectory of her career.
After studying political science and history at UofT, Chen came to Humber with the intention of getting the skills she needed in order to do crime and political reporting.
But that all changed when she covered an e-sports tournament for Humber News.
“In order to not get kicked out for photography, I competed in it and my team and I won,” she says.
Covering the Overwatch esports event took her reporting to a whole new place. Now Chen is a freelance writer with Comics Gaming Magazine.
Chen says one of her proudest moments was interviewing some of the people behind World of Warcraft about the future of the game.
“It’s just a game I know I love and being able to talk with the people that I’ve read about has been amazing,” she says.
Chen says that for students enrolled in the program at Humber, it’s important to “really get out there and do journalism.”
“Sure you can do a phone call — that’s great. Going into an event itself and talking with people there and taking photos… that really takes journalism to the next level,” she says.
3D Animation Advanced Diploma, graduated 2018
Milan Malata graduated from the 3D Animations program at Humber in 2018 but he’s already landed himself a job in the industry.
He was hired right out of school as a technical artist at Ubisoft Toronto.
He decided to attend Humber after noticing that a highly respected person in the industry was teaching at Humber College.
“There was one specific professor who was kind of a buddy of mine who I originally found online based on his tutorials … his name was Paul Neale,” he says.
During his studies, he says some of the best times he had was pulling all-nighters to get his work done.
“We would stay overnight at the school to do some rendering at night and try to fight off the security guards who were trying to kick us out of the school.”
But the tutelage of industry veterans and commitment to hard work aren’t the only things that helped him get to where he is today.
“The biggest advice I can give anybody within the industry and our program specifically is, what I’ve seen in the past is that people forget they need to learn how to learn first. It’s very important to be able to understand how they can learn to troubleshoot something, not just follow a tutorial step-by-step,” he says.
Radio Broadcasting Diploma, graduated 2009
After graduating in 2009, Meghan McPeak began volunteering as an announcer and sideline reporter for McMaster University’s basketball teams. The former MVP point guard used her knowledge of the game to earn her strong reputation for announcing basketball.
In 2013, the Canadian National Basketball League brought on McPeak as the first ever female play-by-play announcer. McPeak stayed with the NBL until 2015, when she continued to shatter barriers by becoming the first and only female play-by-play broadcaster in the NBA Development League.
Since 2015, McPeak has been the voice of the Raptors 905 and has been featured in multiple NBA TV and Toronto Raptors broadcasts. This fall, she became only the second woman in 30 years to call an NBA game.
McPeak originally attended Fanshawe for Fitness and Health but ultimately saw Humber as the better fit for her. She studied radio broadcasting as she wanted to explore a new field.
McPeak says one of the biggest surprises she had after graduating was the gap in between finishing school and her first paying gig; she waited four years.
She says people coming into the radio broadcasting program shouldn’t take their professors for granted; their expertise is extremely valuable.
“Listen to what your professors say,” she says. “Take from the experiences they have and utilize their knowledge.”
Post-Production Certificate, graduated 2017
After finishing a four-year Film and Media Program, Laura Menheere went to work in art departments in the film industry. She realized that she missed doing post-production and editing. So, she returned to Humber and enrolled in the Post-Production program.
She graduated one year ago, and has been working on a freelance basis ever since, sometimes working on multiple projects at once.
She says one of her biggest accomplishments has been working on a web series that ran in several festivals. The series, 1001 Ways to Wonder, was nominated for awards, including Best Documentary Series at the TO Web Fest.
Menheere says one of the biggest misconceptions people have is that the industry is fun, easy and doesn’t require a lot of work. In reality it requires a lot of thought and a willingness to work hard.
Her advice to new students in the program: ask a lot of questions and try everything during your time at Humber.
Journalism, Print and Broadcast, graduated 2018
Murissa Barrington graduated from the Journalism Print and Broadcast program in 2018 and found herself working at Canadian Living before the year was up.
Barrington says she picked the journalism program at Humber over other schools in the province because of its superior facilities, hands-on opportunities and professors who have extensive experience in the field they’re teaching. Her time at Humber allowed her to build professional connections that she keeps to this day.
“Think about it as networking starts in first semester,” Barrington says.
After graduating she says she was surprised by the amount of opportunities there are in the digital world.
“Often times you hear these stories that all these publications are shutting down. But seeing the fact that we’re so well-equipped with the things we are taught at Humber … even if any actual hard copy print publication is shutting down there’s another website opening up.”