Exciting careers can start close to home and to prove it, Metro tracked down some of Canada’s most successful graduates doing careers they love.
Jon Cassar, Algonquin College
Emmy-award winning director and executive producer Jon Cassar is perhaps best known for directing and producing the first seven seasons of the hit television show 24. He received an Emmy Award for his directing work on the show in 2006, and says his career has really been the stuff of dreams.
“My life has been very much like the TV shows and films that I make — it’s been like a dream that essentially came true,” Cassar said.
Cassar, 52, graduated from Algonquin’s Radio and TV Broadcasting program in 1983 and says his experiences at the school have stayed with him all his life.
“Some of the teachers are still the same ones as when I was there, and many people that are still in the business are some of the very best friends that graduated with me,” he said.
Kristel Guthrie, University of Toronto
A graduate of U of T’s Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, 28-year-old Kristel Guthrie created IMAGINE, Toronto’s first student-run medical clinic to provide health care to homeless and lower-income patients in need. The clinic features students from a variety of medical programs providing holistic health care under the supervision of professional physicians. Guthrie, who loves giving back to the community, also works for COTA Health, which provides health care for adults with mental illnesses.
“The idea of giving health care access to marginalized populations is a big part of why I became a nurse in the first place,” Guthrie said.
Robert J. Sawyer, Ryerson University
Sci-fi author and futurist Robert J. Sawyer is the only Canadian — and one of only seven writers in history — to win all three of the world’s top prizes for best science fiction novel of the year. A graduate of Ryerson’s Radio and Television Arts program in 1982, Sawyer, 49, says that while he never planned to be an on-camera personality, he took the storytelling skills he learned in the program to heart.
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“Even though I didn’t want to be on-air, I was very interested in the art of storytelling,” he said. “I learned how one structures a story. The lesson is that any education is useful because the skills are often adaptable to any arena.”
Elliott Chun, Humber College
Just five years since graduating from Humber’s Public Relations Post Graduate Certificate program, 29-year-old Elliott Chun heads up public relations for Canada’s largest electronics retailer, Future Shop. As communications manager, Chun manages PR for 144 stores, blogs about new gadgets from trade shows, and checks over every press release before it goes out. A true gadget guy, he relishes the excitement of his career.
“I have a love of technology and gadgets and now having the opportunity to be immersed in my work is awesome. There’s never a dull moment,” Chun said.
Matthew Bamsey, Carleton University
Starships and spacewalks are Matthew Bamsey’s thing, so it was only natural for the 29-year-old to seek out work at the Canadian Space Agency. After graduating from Carleton’s Aerospace Engineering program in 2004, he was selected by the CSA for it’s National Astronaut Recruitment Campaign. He made the finals; while he didn’t get chosen for the program, he now works for the CSA as a researcher, working to make longer trips — such as an outing to Mars — possible with advances in food, air and water transportation.
“We’re lucky here in Canada to have such a great program and such exciting projects that are going to push our science and technology further,” he said.