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Alumni Engagement

Alumni Profiles

Grad profile: Rachel Ines (Technical Communication, 2006)

January 19, 2012

Racehl InesThere are all manner of misconceptions surrounding the field of technical communication — chief among them, the one painting practitioners as fussy grammar nerds toiling away on text-heavy instruction manuals and other technical documents.

But even more annoying to Red River College grad Rachel Ines (Technical Communication, 2006) is the stereotype that equates the field’s “plain language” approach with a reduction in intellectual content.

“Writing in plain language doesn’t mean dumbing it down,” says Ines, currently the Communications Coordinator for the University of Manitoba’s Centre on Aging. “It simply means understanding how to adapt your writing for your audience. If you’re writing for an academic audience, you’re using terminology they’ll understand. And if you’re writing for the general public, it’s the same thing. But it’s definitely not dumbing things down.”

A longtime Winnipeg resident, Ines graduated high school with dual passions, having excelled in both English and history classes. After spending a year in B.C., she returned home to earn a degree in Anthropology from the University of Winnipeg — which in turn led to positions with Parks Canada and several local museums, as well as a six-month internship in New Zealand.

But Ines wasn’t completely sold on the idea of pursuing additional degrees in Anthropology, so instead turned her attention to a career in writing. At first, she considered training to become a journalist, but later focused on technical communication — a field that allowed her to further explore her love of writing, and to debunk yet another of those pesky misconceptions.

“A lot of people think technical communication is boring — that you just write instruction manuals all day,” she laughs.

Read More →

Leilani Esteban (Child and Youth Care, 2007)

January 13, 2012

She is bubbly, personable, and passionate about building relationships with youth – these are the traits that Leilani Esteban, a Child and Youth Care grad from 2007, embodies as the Program Coordinator for Together in Elmwood/Parent Child Coalition, as well as the Community Coordinator for Elmwood Communities That Care.

And as a mother of five, Esteban is no stranger to dealing with children.

“When I entered the Child and Youth Care profession I was a single mother of four,” she says, “but I was an older adult returning to school as a single mother. And I was looking for a field where I could give back to the community.”

Before entering the Child and Youth Care program at Red River College, Esteban had another job – as a hairstylist. However, she soon realized that her true calling was working with youth.

“I found that I was good at building relationships with youth, so I wanted to take that and I wanted to build on that. I looked into the list of courses for RRC and I thought that Child and Youth Care was best suited to my skills and I guess what my qualities were, so I thought that was a perfect fit.”

For Esteban, her career choice and her family life have a symbiotic relationship.

“My children were growing up and I wanted to know more about how to keep them on the right path. My main goal was to kind of get all the resources I could to be the best possible parent I could and use those skills to build a career.” Read More →

Grad profile: Ellen Barron (Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, 2005)

January 13, 2012

Ellen Barron, a graduate of Red River College’s Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Diploma program, has a career that’s really going places.

Since graduating from RRC in 2005, Barron, an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, has worked in Edmonton, Ottawa, and Sweden in various aircraft engine repair, maintenance, and audit facilities.

Barron grew up on a farm in rural Manitoba, always surrounded by machinery. “I would help rip apart tractor engines,” Barron said with an enthusiasm only a mechanical buff would understand.

After taking a year off from high school, Barron decided to stake out a career for herself. “I had so many interests and they were really broad,” she explained. “So I thought, ‘I like to travel, and I like mechanics, and I like to fly but I don’t want to be a pilot.’” It was Barron’s grandmother who finally suggested she work as an aircraft mechanic. “I thought, ‘I guess someone needs to fix those,’” she added.

Barron would find RRC’s diploma program in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering a perfect fit. “They gave us the theory we needed. We had a bit of practical,” Barron explained. “That’s why I liked the RRC course, because I got to take some of my theory, go out and actually use it.”

Barron entered the program in 2001. “I came into the industry at a really weird time,” she pointed out. “The industry was really bad back in 2001 after the towers fell. Of course, the economy is dictated by how many people fly. So that was a concern for aircraft engineers, like myself.” But Barron didn’t let the tragedy of 9/11 stop her from thriving. Read More →

Grad profile: Dan Dupuis (Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, 2008)

January 12, 2012

From the time he was a young boy, Dan Dupuis has dreamed of working with airplanes. However while growing up, the high cost of earning a pilot’s license was prohibitive for his family.

After graduating high school and beginning to work, it didn’t look like Dupuis’s dream would be possible.

“I got married pretty young,” he says, which made it difficult to stop working and begin studying for a career change.

It wasn’t until someone connected with Red River College asked Dupuis about what he would consider his dream job to be, that things started to come together.

Dupuis didn’t hesitate. “I answered that my dream job would to be to work with aircraft.”

Shortly thereafter, in 2007, Dupuis began his studies at Red River College. He enrolled in the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Diploma program.

Back in elementary and high school, Dupuis was not a strong student, and found studying frustrating. “I didn’t read very well,” he says.  “I didn’t like the kind of school work we did.”

However, for Dupuis, studying something that he was passionate about made all the difference. Read More →

Health Service Management program marks 10th anniversary

January 4, 2012

Red River College continues to take a lead role in providing management and leadership education to the health sector in Manitoba, through the delivery of its Health Service Management (HSM) program.

In October 2011, a class of 32 students — all of them employees of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority — successfully completed the program, making for a total of more than 200 HSM graduates over the last 10 years.

The program’s success rate demonstrates the College’s continued commitment to leadership in the health service field, and to providing health sector employees with the knowledge and theory to become effective, proactive managers.

“They are acquiring relevant and applied skills and knowledge relating to management and leadership in health services,” says Jo-Anne Shay, Program Director of RRC’s School of Continuing and Distance Education. “It’s a very applied focus, so these are skills that have been identified by the Canadian College of Health Leaders. That is the foundation of this program.”

The HSM program is open to anyone, but is tailor-made for those already employed in management positions or those aspiring to career advancement within the health sector. The WRHA has built its capacity over the years by sponsoring many of its own employees’ as students, and much of the program’s success can be attributed to the participation of key health care professionals who serve as guest lecturers on a regular basis. Read More →

Grad profile: Loretta Sinclair (Early Childhood Education, 2011)

December 5, 2011

Loretta Sinclair“One hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much I had in my bank nor what my clothes looked like…but the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.” (Forest E. Witcraft).

Loretta Sinclair is important in the life of not only one child, but in the lives of all the children she works with.

After a lot of hard work, determination and vision, Loretta recently graduated from Red River College with her diploma in Early Childhood Education. A mother and grandmother from Little Saskatchewan First Nation, Loretta completed a portion of her studies via distance education and the remainder in St. Laurent as part of a community based-training initiative in that Métis community.

Attending classes in St. Laurent meant driving many kilometres back and forth between home and school. This commitment to her education served as a great role model to other students, and Loretta took it upon herself to support and encourage them to complete their studies, as well.

Loretta now works as the director of the childcare centre in her home community and feels strongly about the movement of First Nations communities to meet provincial licensing standards by 2015. She wants Aboriginal childcare centres and families to have the same benefits, licensing, trained workers, and subsidies for parents as mainstream centres.

It is this vision that led to her decision to immediately begin her post-diploma training in the Studies in Aboriginal Child Care Certificate program, in order to achieve her ECE III — a requirement for directors of licensed centres. Loretta is working on this training via distance education and is encouraging other students in her community to begin their training, as well.  Read More →

Promoting the biggest story in town

November 24, 2011

The return of the Winnipeg Jets is the feel-good story of the year. But here at Red River College, we’ve got a different reason to be proud.

The Jets’ entire communications team — responsible for coordinating the May 2011 announcement that turned much of the city’s downtown into a giant victory party — is comprised entirely of graduates of our industry-renowned Creative Communications program.

Even better, the head of the department has for years enjoyed a close working relationship with the program, which he feels provides grads with relevant, real-world training.

“I’ve relied heavily on CreComm, not only for staffing resources in terms of graduating students, but also production resources from the College’s communications and multimedia programs,” says 1998 graduate Scott Brown, now the Senior Director of Corporate Communications for the Jets, the MTS Centre, and True North Sports & Entertainment.

“What the College is doing right now in terms of training is really in tune with what’s going on in the media industry … No amount of training can ever prepare you for what actually happens in the day-to-day of your job, particularly in the sports and entertainment industry. But I know the (CreComm) grads coming in are prepared to learn, and prepared to apply the tools they’ve been taught in a very flexible manner.”

Brown, who upon graduating spent six years as the late-night and weekend sports anchor for CTV Winnipeg, is supported in his current duties by Communications Coordinators Kalen Qually and Christina Caligiuri — both fellow CreComm grads. Together, they’re responsible for all communications on behalf of True North, MTS Centre, and the Jets, including printed publications, media relations, press releases and press conferences. Read More →

Grad profile: Kelly Seifert (Volunteer Management, 2010)

November 23, 2011

Kelly Seifert on football fieldThey’re the unsung heroes of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ world: The small army of volunteers comprising the Big Blue Flight Crew, without whose hard work and dedication game days wouldn’t even get off the ground.

Equally invaluable? The person tasked with directing the Flight Crew to success — in this case, Red River College grad Kelly Seifert, who earned her Volunteer Management credentials in December 2010.

Seifert, who completed the program via RRC’s School of Continuing & Distance Education, now works as the Volunteer & Event Staff coordinator for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, overseeing the 200-plus volunteers who provide such game day services as ticket scanning, ushering, shuttle service, and on-field promotions.

As she points out, volunteers are a crucial component of the game day experience, and their efforts help to ensure operations run smoothly.

“Some people think they just want to watch the game or get free tickets,” says Seifert of her volunteers, who also assist with concerts, amateur games and even administrative work at the Canad Inns Stadium site. “But it’s more than that. A lot of them come because they want to connect to the community, or meet new people, or experience the behind the scenes action of the football club. I’m so glad they come out and want to dedicate their time to us.”

Seifert had prior experience with volunteers when she signed on with Red River College. Having already completed RRC’s Recreation Facilitator for Older Adults program in 2005, she worked frequently with volunteers while serving as recreation facilitator for various long-term care facilities.

At the time she enrolled in the program, she was working as recreation director for the town of St. Laurent; she landed the job with the Bombers while competing the program by distance. Read More →

Grad profile: Janell Melenchuk (Aboriginal Self-Government Administration, 2010)

November 22, 2011

She wanted to learn more about the history of Aboriginal people in Canada. Now, she’s helping to shape their future.

As Events Coordinator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, RRC grad Janell Melenchuk (Aboriginal Self-Government Administration, 2010) plays an integral role in giving voice to survivors of the residential school system.

“I’m constantly learning,” says Melenchuk, one of hundreds of success stories who graduate each year from RRC’s School of Indigenous Education. “To be involved with this work — to meet with survivors and hear their stories, and to be part of something that will have an impact on Canada’s history — is really amazing.”

Formerly a resident of Creighton, Saskatchewan, Melenchuk enrolled at RRC because she wanted to learn more about Aboriginal culture, in particular, governance practices and the history of First Nations people in Canada. While a student here, she benefited from the attention and wisdom of her instructors, as well as the many resources made available by the College’s Aboriginal Student Support & Community Relations department.

“The support that you receive from the staff and the teachers is overwhelming,” says Melenchuk, who’s currently completing her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Winnipeg.

“There’s always somebody there that will assist you and have your back — whether financially, or just in your personal life. Especially when you’re dealing with the stress of moving to a new city — they’re amazingly supportive, and you don’t always get that at educational institutions.” Read More →

Grad profile: Jonathan Epp (Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, 2002)

October 25, 2011

Jonathan Epp_Jonathan_Epp20111019026When you spend a year working in a foreign country — in a part of the world you’ve only heard stories about — the actual “working” part can be kind of a necessary evil.

But when the country in question is Angola — and the work involves flying a Cessna Caravan over much of south-central Africa — it’s probably fair to say there are worse ways to spend 12 months.

Just ask Red River College grad Jonathan Epp, who got a bird’s-eye view of Africa as a pilot and aircraft mechanic with Mission Aviation Fellowship, a faith-based international group that provides charter flights to doctors, missionaries and aid workers in developing nations.

A native of small-town Saskatchewan, Epp had never been outside North America before, and was quickly taken by the beauty of Africa’s landscape — the sweeping grasslands and mountains, plunging cliffs and waterfalls. He says he expected to encounter some culture shock on arrival — a lack of amenities and certain creature comforts — but admits to feeling even greater shock when he returned home to Winnipeg.

“After being there for a year and coming back, it really shocked me how materialistic we are,” says Epp, who graduated from RRC’s Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Apprenticeship program in 2002, and now works as an instructor for the program at the College’s Stevenson Campus on Saskatchewan Avenue.

“Here, everyone wants a bigger house, or they’ve got to have a big screen TV and two cars and a boat. And we work so hard for it — we work these long hours, 50, 60 hours a week. I came back and thought, ‘What are we doing this for?’” Read More →