Joanna West


Joanna is a UTM Honours Bachelors of Science graduate as of 2014 with a Specialist in Geology and Minors in Physical Geography and Environmental Management. Joanna was a Medical First Responder with ECSpeRT for the last two years of her undergrad and then joined the executive team as our Divisional Staffing Officer for a year while working as a teaching assistant at UTM. Today Joanna is completing geochemistry research at the University of Toronto’s downtown campus, and has travelled the country performing outreach in the mining and geology field.

Why did you decide to join ECSpeRT?

“I had previous first aid experience as a lifeguard in Trinidad, and had actually just completed an NLS course at UTM before learning about ECSpeRT. I went to an info session and the two MFRs described how the team operated and I was really interested in getting involved after that. Turned out to become one of my closest families at UTM during my undergrad!”

What is your fondest memory of ECSpeRT?

“Hard to pick one, but three that definitely come to mind:

- My MFR course in 2012. I’m still good friends with those who were also in my course, and I had an excellent instructor. One of the best learning and bonding experiences I’ve had. Our instructor, Augusto, also staged a full diabetic emergency with one of his colleagues. We still don’t forgive him for the heart attack he cause some of us.

- Collingwood trips. These were fantastic! Hard work deserved some hard play!

- Fondest actual MFR memory – One of the end-of-year student banquets that involved everything from too much alcohol to fights and police. A variety of patients all in one go. Definitely required some serious team coordination.”

What is the most rewarding skill you acquired during your time at ECSpeRT?

“There were so many skills gained being a part of this team, but for me, leadership was especially one. Starting from observer and going all the way to Divisional Staffing Officer, I learned to organise and coordinate events and team members and take charge of situations all while respecting the work of fellow members and executives. Being an MFR in itself was definitely a boost in leadership and confidence skills. A special shout out to Justin Migchels for his advice and mentorship throughout my time at ECSpeRT.”

What advice do you have for current ECSpeRT members and those who aspire to join the team?

“For current members – enjoy it, but pull your weight. You are part of an amazing group and will form so many close friendships (especially on those overnight and event shifts!) Always remember too that the office is a shared space for your colleagues as well, and respect for fellow members and executives is crucial. And most of all, DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS! It is a place of learning and practising your skills!

“For those who aspire to join: I’d say do it, just be sure you can make the time commitments for training and shifts. And you don’t need to have a bio (or related) degree or background to join. I didn’t take a single biology or human health course throughout my entire undergrad career. The drive to help, volunteer and build yourself in a team is are the top qualities you need to get started.”