Alumni of St. Lawrence College, Melissa Phelan and Christine Bruce share their impact in the Welding and Medical Lab industry.
St. Lawrence College (SLC) is proud of its alumni making waves across industries. Melissa Phelan and Christine Bruce are two of many women who are passionate about their profession and dedicated to transforming their respective industries for the better.
Welding is a woman’s world
Entrepreneur & Welder
Melissa Phelan is a skilled tradeswoman who is leaving her legacy in the welding industry. Graduating from SLC’s Welding and Fabrication Technician Apprenticeship diploma program, she is now an entrepreneur and self-employed welder who champions young women entering this industry.
“My experience at SLC was phenomenal!” Melissa Phelan exclaimed.
Melissa enjoyed every bit of her experience at SLC by learning from knowledgeable professors who fostered a supportive environment. The program prepared her by teaching relevant industry knowledge, such as welding processes (mig, tig, stick, oxy-fuel) that she still uses today.
The entire experience helped her build confidence to tackle an industry predominantly run by tradesmen. Of course, this has changed with women like Melissa, who won the Premier’s Award for her leadership and impact in this industry.
Her dedication to expanding opportunities for young women and individuals has fueled her entrepreneurial spirit. With plans to use her shop to host introductory welding courses, she uses her expertise to teach safety and promote education in welding to the public.
Melissa’s advice to women interested in welding is to acquire the right credentials through schools like SLC, network with women in trades, and shadow someone doing the welding job they are curious about.
The industry is evolving and Melissa hopes that sharing her accomplishments in trades sparks interest in women and young individuals.
The entire experience helped her build confidence to tackle an industry predominantly run by tradesmen.
Management in the medical lab profession
Senior Director, Laboratory Medicine Program, University Health Network
Christine Bruce is a passionate leader in the Medical Lab Professional (MLP) industry. Graduating from SLC’s Medical Laboratory Program, she is now the Senior Director of the Laboratory Medicine Program at University Health Network (UHN).
Christine’s education at SLC prepared her to advance in careers across private and public roles by teaching the value of MLPs beyond the job. MLPs are responsible for providing 70 percent of patient information —without them, informed decision-making is not possible in treatment.
Christine’s ultimate career goal was to lead the lab medicine program at UHN. On this path, she took the time to understand how to influence the broader laboratory system stakeholders, which laid the foundational knowledge of how the laboratory industry lives and breathes, and where opportunities exist to enhance it, as well as how the patient experience can be improved. This perspective allowed her to stand out when competing for leadership roles. She notably co-led the establishment of the first hospital laboratory to test for COVID-19 in Ontario, under the mentorship of Dr. Tony Mazzulli by making local decisions at the Mount Sinai/UHN Microbiology Laboratory that ultimately benefited the entire province, before transitioning to her current role at UHN.
The typical barriers women may face in male-dominated professions are not true to this women-led industry. However, advancement in leadership roles are competitive and challenging due to the responsibilities of managing enormous and complex workforces.
Christine advocates for women who are interested in leadership roles within this industry to understand the value of delivering care to patients.
SLC prepares women for leadership
Melissa and Christine are exemplary of the mindset that is cultivated at St.Lawrence College. Offering robust curriculums through 100 plus programs, SLC prepares graduates to move the world with confidence in their knowledge and ambition to make a difference.