1. Student Feature
  2. Meet Doreen Lambert

5 years in the Canadian Air Force led her to become a Graphic Designer

Doreen Lambert has swapped a Canadian Air Force uniform for a MAC, and has joined the Graphic and Digital Design department.

“I originally joined in 1990, about 16 years in total. I was studying criminology at Douglas College, but it wasn’t really my thing. Then the college went on strike. So I went home for Christmas, and watched a special about the troops in Egypt, and I was like ‘that’s so cool’. (Lambert had been a Sea Cadet previously, so already had some idea about the territory.)

Doreen went in to the recruiting center in Vancouver on Jan 3 and by March 8 was taking her oath. “It was super-fast,” she remembers “you can wait two years now.” “I was on students loans and life was a real struggle. I saw this as a chance to do better with my life.” Lambert joined the forces as a supply technician, jetting off to Nova Scotia for 11 weeks of basic training – ‘not quite GI Jane stuff, but it was pretty intense!’, followed by her trade course in Ontario.

‘Supply’ is a ‘purple trade’ – you can be stationed anywhere doing anything. In her career Lambert was stationed all across Canada, including a Helicopter Squadron in Edmonton, where she “used to get to fly with them a lot”.

“You supply everything – clothes, food equipment, pretty much anything anyone needs.”

Fate led Doreen from a Supply Technician to a Graphic Designer

Unfortunately a twisted knee, followed by tendinitis in her elbow put an end to her career. “I released myself in 2015. At that time I was also diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder, which is an operational stress injury.” (“I lost 7 friends in 5 years,” she remembers. “Four in Afghanistan, and 3 to suicide when they got back.”) The upside of her situation was that she was able to get funding for school.

“I’ve always been creative; I do vinyl decals and also have a CNC machine. A print shop in Vernon heard about me and asked me to do a job for them. It was a cool place and I ended up volunteering with them a couple of days a week, and that led me to the Graphic Design program here.”

“I’m really enjoying it. I get really excited when I learn something new.” Doreen is especially complimentary about Personal Development classes. “It has been amazing for me. Several times I have stood up and said ‘pay attention to this. This will help you’.”

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