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Value-added perk: Ontario Tech students benefit from career-path collaboration with Durham Regional Police Service

Faculty of Social Science and Humanities holds first-ever ‘Discover Your Path’ professional development series for students

'Discover Your Path' professional development session for Faculty of Social Science and Humanities students at Ontario Tech University.
'Discover Your Path' professional development session for Faculty of Social Science and Humanities students at Ontario Tech University.

When you are a high school student deciding which university to attend, one differentiating factor to consider is the kind of work-integrated learning experiences you’ll have access to throughout your studies. It’s a consideration that Ontario Tech University takes seriously, and is well-known for delivering on.

As part of this effort, Ontario Tech’s Faculty of Social Science and Humanities (FSSH) recently launched ‘Discover Your Path’, a special three-part professional development (PD) training series for students, in collaboration with the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS). As the newest addition to the large suite of FSSH Experiential Learning opportunities, the PD lectures were led by DRPS Chief Administrative Officer Stan MacLellan, an active community volunteer with a variety of organizations that support vulnerable populations. MacLellan also serves as Chair of the Canadian Society of Evidence-Based Policing.

“Durham Region is lucky to have Ontario Tech students interested in working in our communities,” says McLellan. “The impressive group of students in this training series demonstrated how a university education, previous experience and a desire to make a difference provide employers in our Region with great opportunities. It was a pleasure to work with the group and I look forward to hearing about their future impact in our community and beyond.”

“I am delighted to report that we had students from all FSSH programs participating in Discover Your Path,” says Dan Walters, Practicum and Internship Co-ordinator, FSSH. “Aspiring to a career specifically in policing was not a requirement. The objective was to have students meet with someone sharing insights about their potential careers, to help our future graduates recognize and understand the value of their FSSH degree, make new community connections, and focus on where they’d like to go with their career after university. Given the overwhelmingly positive response, this is a series we intend to continue.”

Students also interacted with 2023 Ontario Tech Forensic Psychology graduate Lindsay Collin-Rooney, who was the Governor General’s Silver Medal recipient for highest grade-point average for a student graduating from an undergraduate program.

“Witnessing the students’ growth was incredibly inspirational,” says Collin-Rooney. “They came in with an open mindset and left with a glowing ray of confidence. I am beyond proud of the students’ success in this professional development series and strongly suggest it continue.”

Each student completing all three extracurricular sessions in October and November received a certificate of recognition from DRPS and FSSH, in a ceremony at DRPS headquarters.

Selected FSSH student testimonials

“I recommend all FSSH students attend this series, because anyone can benefit from professional development, from learning what their skills are, what they like and don’t like, to understanding how to present in front of people. The skills you learn here are not the skills you learn from writing an exam or attending a lecture. Stepping outside of your comfort zone can help tremendously in character development if you’re willing to take a risk.”
-Tina Cotoc, fourth-year student, Criminology and Justice

“I recommend this course to any other students who need help recognizing their current skills and where they can improve. This class helped a lot with understanding how to turn everyday life activities that I might have seen simply as habits, into traits and skills.”
-Brendan Sorenson, fourth-year student, Political Science

“I found the ‘Discovering Your Path’ professional development series immensely valuable in shaping my decisions regarding career pathways and enhancing my resumé. It provided an insightful glimpse into the workforce beyond university. I believe experiences like this are crucial for Ontario Tech University students, as they bridge the gap between theoretical learning and real-world connections.”
-Moiez Ahmad, first-year student, Criminology and Justice

“I definitely recommend this to other students who want to learn how to identify and discuss their skills in their career decisions, resumés, and interviews.”
-Farwa Jawanshir, third-year student, Legal Studies

“I greatly appreciate this fantastic program that helped us realize our strengths and weaknesses. We do not often get chances to work with professionals who volunteer their time to help us as students build our careers, and show us the value of successful internships and volunteering.”
-Shamala Sevugan, fourth-year student, Legal Studies

“This series not only taught us the foundational aspects of picking a career, but also paved our path for personal success. I believe every student could benefit from this. There was a very evident change in each participant’s confidence and self-esteem by the end. Truly incredible what was achieved in three short sessions.”
-Bibhusha Dhital, fourth-year student, Criminology and Justice

“After taking this professional development course and speaking with Stan MacLellan, I feel like I have solidified my career path. I know where I want to end up. Stan asked us in the final session: ‘What do you need to get out of your career?’ It was a question I hadn't asked myself yet and potentially would not have. And in my mind, I just knew I wanted to have research and publishing opportunities. Stan provided me with names of psychologists he is acquainted with so that I can ask more specific questions to people in my area of study (Developmental Psychology). From scholarships and massive amounts of academic help (including workshops, peer tutoring, and learning initiatives like the Science Café), to the amazing profs I have met, Ontario Tech has provided a tremendous university experience.”
-Stephanie Parish, fourth-year student, Psychology

“It was really nice to come together with like-minded peers from different faculties. Having a recent grad participate in it was great too.”
-Kristen McKinnon, fourth-year student, Legal Studies