Sunday, July 14, 2024

Multi talented grad blazes his own trail

By: Ryanne McIsaac

Simeon Mercer recently graduated from the Construction/Industrial Electrician (CIE) program at College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) Burin campus, and his journey to get there was full of interesting twists and turns.

“I have worked in professional sports for many years,” he said. “During my time at CNA I was working for the Newfoundland Growlers as one of the official DJs. I was even part of group of people who developed and created the ‘Release the Hounds’ entrance video during the 2023 playoffs.”

Originally from Mount Pearl, Mercer also spent some time behind the camera.

“My background in professional sports isn’t only as an official DJ or music producer,” he explained. “I worked for years as a camera operator, which then led into other miscellaneous tasks when they came up such as music production, video editing, social media content creation, stadium lighting operation, and other game presentation-related tasks.”

Simeon Mercer recently graduated from the Construction/Industrial Electrician (CIE) program at College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) Burin campus, and his journey to get there was full of interesting twists and turns.

Mercer was even an athlete himself.

“I started working for the St. John’s Ice Caps, former Winnipeg Jets and then Montreal Canadians affiliate, while I was still attending Mount Pearl Senior High school,” he noted. “After high school, I went to play football in the Canadian Junior Football League for the Vancouver Island Raiders, British Columbia Football Conference.”

His next adventure took him to Toronto, where he tested his skills in a master audio recording arts program.

“While there, I met, worked and performed with many artists in all genres from hip-hop and rap to indie rock to electronic dance music,” he said. “I even met two of my good friends, who now operate as Martnello and Josh Lukas. We were a DJ and music production trio known as LowFrequency. I went on to produce music for TV shows and movies. You have probably heard my work without even knowing it.”

Looking forward to starting his new career, he says that the path to success is often a winding one.

“Despite my academic record at CNA, 4.0 GPA last time I checked, I am most definitely not a textbook student,” he said, adding he has failed several times to attend university. “I am a walking example of how your grades don’t and will never define you or what you are capable of doing. If anyone tells you differently, you probably don’t want to work for or with them anyway.” 

From the DJ booth to electrical panels

Reflecting on his time at CNA, Mercer fondly recalls the exceptional support he received from the staff and faculty. He says it was a positive experience from day one.

“All the staff were great! Everyone from the front office was very helpful since the day I contacted the Burin Campus,” he explained. “On the first few days, we were welcomed to campus and Janice [Moulton] made it a priority to meet and interact with every student around the school grounds.”

With a work term in the electrical field coming up, he’s looking forward to building a career in the electrical trade.

“My instructors were great, Bill Howse made every day interesting, and Scott Barter went above and beyond to ensure we succeeded,” Mercer said. “Elizabeth Parrot, the Student Development Officer, was very helpful with anything any student needed. Danial Flight and Theresa Cousins always had meals ready for students on time. A huge thank you to all the staff at CNA Burin!”

It’s a sentiment shared by CNA’s Associate Vice President of Campus Operations, Fergus O’Brien.

“In representing CNA’s executive team at graduation ceremonies, I have found it rewarding to see how the faculty, staff, and administration of CNA has touched the lives of so many people across Newfoundland and Labrador and beyond,” he said. “Yet, the most rewarding part of these events continues to be the opportunities they have given me to talk to inspiring students like Simeon and learn how their life’s journeys have taken them to the physical and virtual doorsteps of our campuses. To think that students with such rich tapestries of lived experiences like his continue to see the value in upskilling their education should give us all hope as we strive to meet the ever-changing needs of a diverse labour market.”

CNA’s Campus Manager in Burin, Janice Moulton, hopes to welcome more students like Mercer in the future.

“Simeon embraced self-directed learning and excelled in his program,” she said. “He had such a positive influence on campus. Simeon will be remembered as one who directed his own path and pursued his passions with determination. As a mid size Campus, our students are able make valuable connections with their peers and with faculty and staff. I enjoy watching students, not only shape their careers, but build lifelong friendships.”

For more information about the CIE program, please visit Construction / Industrial Electrician-College of the North Atlantic (cna.nl.ca).

For more information about CNA’s Burin campus, please visit College of the North Atlantic – Burin Campus (cna.nl.ca).

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Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne is Editor of CNA Currents. Born and raised in Stephenville, NL, Ryanne moved back to Newfoundland after spending 16 years in Calgary, Alberta. Ryanne has a Journalism Diploma from College of the North Atlantic and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cape Breton University. She worked for many years as a reporter and freelance writer. She is happy to be back in her hometown and working for CNA.

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