Alumni Engagement

News, Profiles and Events

Range of programming preps Business Technology grad for role in project management

December 10, 2019

Aayush Manchanda, Red River CollegeAayush Manchanda is a foreman in the website building business.

A graduate of Red River College’s Business Technology Management (BTM) program, Manchanda is currently working as a Technical Project Manager at Web Wizards Inc., a Winnipeg-based company that specializes in web design and development, with focuses on online marketing, search engine optimization and software development.

In his role, Manchanda is responsible for making sure that everyone is working within scope and following the framework of the team’s assignment. He’s also accountable for tracking the performance of projects and ensuring they come in on time and within budget, and that they ultimately satisfy his clients’ needs and expectations.

As an international student from New Delhi, India, Manchanda’s focus was on getting accepted to a college that had an excellent standing, and a strong success rate of graduates being able to find employment in their fields of study.

“I believe the BTM program is the best in the field, with a rounded curriculum that not only gave me the necessary project management skills but also familiarized me with business law, financial accounting and analysis and economics, along with a variety of other necessary skill sets that you require when operating an IT business,” says Manchanda, who graduated from the program in 2017.

BTM is a two-year diploma program offered at RRC’s Exchange District Campus. The program provides grads with the necessary knowledge and skills to analyze, design and manage projects and businesses related to the field of information technology.

Manchanda, who came to Canada in late 2015, adjusted to life in a new land quite quickly. He says RRC helped him to acclimate to a new country, a new city and a new culture. Within a short time of being here, he was also able to secure employment. Read More →

‘Tis the Season of Giving

December 9, 2019

With the help and generous support of our amazing alumni, Red River College has made significant strides in 2019 to ensure our students succeed and partnerships with industry are strengthened. Here are a few highlights and statistics from 2019:

New Prairie Research Kitchen Opens in Downtown Winnipeg

Darin Brecht and Ralph Eichler, Prairie Research Kitchen

Darin Brecht, Interim RRC President, and Ralph Eichler, Prairie Research Kitchen

Red River College is helping to feed Manitoba’s vital food and agriculture industry through the recent opening of its new Prairie Research Kitchen.

RRC’s newest research facility — and third Technology Access Centre (TAC) — brings together food scientists, culinary arts students and industry on the 11th floor of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. The kitchen supports industry growth through new product development and by providing culinary students with food science skills required by this crucial economic sector.

Food and feed processing is the largest manufacturing sub-industry in Manitoba, accounting for 26 per cent of sales in 2018. Many of the companies working in this area are small and medium-sized enterprises, which the Research Kitchen can work with to help bring new ideas and products to life.

“The Culinary Research team at RRC has been with me from the start,” says Hailey Jefferies, president of Prairie Fava. “It has been invaluable to brainstorm with the team and quickly test some of the ideas. This has helped shape my business and our direction.”

The opening of the Research Kitchen makes RRC the only college outside of Quebec with three federally funded TACs. Its launch speaks to how rapidly the College’s work with industry has grown in 15 years, when applied research first began at RRC.

For more information on how you can support projects at the Prairie Research Kitchen, contact Lauren Konrad, Donor Relations Manager, at lkonrad@rrc.ca.

Indigenous Education at RRC Celebrates 25 Years

Indigenous graduation ceremony

Red River College is quickly becoming the college of choice for Indigenous learners in Manitoba. This year, RRC will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its School of Indigenous Education.

With expanded student supports, new and innovative programming, and an increased financial commitment through a partnership with Indspire, the College continues to grow its commitment to Indigenous student success.

“Forty-three per cent of our students come from other post-secondary institutions — this suggests we should have been their first choice,” says Rebecca Chartrand, Executive Director of Indigenous Strategy at RRC. “We are the step before employment, or where people come to upskill. We’re focused on Indigenous achievement at the College, and it’s important that we look back to see where the successes have been, but also where we need to go next.”

Over the last two years, Indigenous Education has grown by adding new staff, supports and programs that ensure Indigenous peoples have the opportunity to grow into every sector.

No matter which field students choose to pursue, they can learn more about Indigenous culture, participate in ceremonies and connect with Elders at RRC, where enhanced and holistic wraparound supports ensure students are supported — both inside and outside
the classroom.

“Our role is to train people for employment,” says Chartrand. “But from an Indigenous perspective, we want our students to achieve wellness as much as we want them to achieve academic success.”

Price Family Foundation’s Donation to Support Engineering Technology Students

Aileen Najduch, Jessica Burzminski, Gerry Price and Derek Kochenash

Aileen Najduch, Jessica Burzminski, Gerry Price and Derek Kochenash

Students in RRC’s Engineering Technology programs now have the chance to earn life-changing scholarships, thanks to a pair of local philanthropists.

Dr. Gerry Price, chairman and CEO of the Price Group of Companies, and his wife Barb have committed to donating $525,000 to RRC over the next five years.

Their scholarships will recognize high-achieving Engineering Technology students, providing them with the financial support needed to minimize time spent working to pay for tuition and rent, or simply to survive.

“If you can barely keep food on the table and have a part-time job just to survive, you might not be able to put your best effort into school,” says Dr. Price. “Students need to put in long hours, but if you’re broke, you’re in trouble because you need to eat and sleep, too. We want these scholarships to provide more time for students to focus on their studies, so they can be the best they can.”

Through the Price Family Foundation, the Prices already fund approximately 200 scholarships each year, and are particularly committed to supporting those who don’t always have champions — children, single mothers and families in distress.

Jessica Burzminski (shown second from left, above), a 2018 Manufacturing Technician grad, says she benefited greatly from similar supports while a student.

“The one thing I am most thankful for … is the ease it gave me,” she says. “I have no family here in Manitoba that were able to help support me financially, and when I was finding it difficult to work and study, these generous offers helped me to pursue my studies and goals.”

With this announcement, the Prices will now support an additional 40 to 60 students every year. Our thanks to Gerry and Barb for their support and generosity.

ACE Project Space and new Innovation Centre Receive Generous Support from RBC

Students in ACE Project Space

Red River College extends its sincere gratitude to RBC, for the recent contribution of $300,000 in capital to support the College’s ACE Project Space and the new Innovation Centre.

The ACE Project Space is an interactive workspace where students, entrepreneurs, non-profits and corporations collaborate to bring unique ideas to life. Under the guidance of staff and faculty, students of the Business Information Technology, Business Technology Management and Information Security programs work with industry clients to create prototypes, products and services that can be introduced to market.

The experiential model used in the ACE Project Space will be applied to all programs in the College’s new Innovation Centre, set to open in 2021. The Innovation Centre will bring together students from different programs to work together with businesses and entrepreneurs on real-world products and solutions.

RBC’s gift was made through its Future Launch program, which will invest up to $500M over the next 10 years in programs and opportunities that help youth gain work experience, grow networks, acquire new skills and enhance their mental well-being.

A Year to Remember

Funding the Future: A record-breaking $3,252,316.68 in student awards were distributed in 2019.

Innovation: Five new learning facilities opened in 2019: The Smart Factory, Gene Haas Innovation Lab, Prairie Research Kitchen, MotiveLab, and Jan den Oudsten Vehicle Technology & Research Centre.

Industry Partnerships: 916 students completed industry-relevant co-op learning programs in 2018-19.

Holiday greetings

Thank you to our family of alumni and supporters for continuing to stay in touch with Red River College. We wish all of you a safe and joyous holiday season.

Your investment makes a significant difference in the lives of Red River College students. Help us to elevate student success by making a gift and joining our growing philanthropic community. For all inquiries and giving support, please contact the Development office at 204.632.3031.

Community Development grad pays it forward in facilitator role at Mount Carmel

December 5, 2019

A Red River College grad is giving back to her adopted hometown by helping recent arrivals to Winnipeg — just like she was helped 12 years ago.

A 2010 graduate of RRC’s Community Development/Community Economic Development program, Catherine Biaya knows how it feels to be in an unfamiliar city with nothing to her name but her clothes and her family. The challenges that come with moving to a new home and adapting to a new culture would feel overwhelming to anyone — but are especially so to those coming from a war-torn country.

Biaya and her family first moved to Winnipeg in 2007 as government-sponsored refugees after they were forced to flee to Uganda from their homeland in the Democratic Republic of Congo when war erupted across the nation.

After two years in Winnipeg, Biaya decided she wanted to go to school, and enrolled in RRC’s Community Development/Community Economic Development program (now called Social Innovation and Community Development).

Biaya said she was attracted to the College by its culture and course timeline.

“Going to the university, taking four years, five years, would not be beneficial — would be too demanding,” she explains.

While at RRC, Biaya had to handle numerous obstacles, from teaching methods that differed from those she was used to in Africa, to learning how to use PowerPoint for the first time. She credits her teachers and classmates for helping her adapt to these challenges.

“I would stay after school, tell them ‘I didn’t understand it very well, could you explain it to me?’” says Biaya.

“They would sit with me, summarize it, explain it. It really helped.” Read More →

Partnership with Shenyang Institute provides head start for Electrical Engineering grad

November 26, 2019

Sophie Shi, Red River CollegeSophie Shi knows that knowledge is power.

A 2018 graduate of Red River College’s Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) program, Shi works as a junior electrical designer at Hatch. A global engineering firm, Hatch supplies project and construction management services, as well as consulting and operational services to the mining and metals, energy and infrastructure industries.

Shi, who is from Liaoning province in northeastern China, started at Hatch a year and a half ago on the strength of her final project in the EET program.

“[The project] was about home energy monitoring by using SEL (Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories) company software and equipment,” says Shi, 26, who did her co-op placement at Hatch. “[Hatch] was using SEL company software and equipment, that’s why they were very interested in my final project.”

Shi’s duties at Hatch include assisting engineers with 2D and 3D drafting works, as well as project deliverables, including reviews of vendor drawings, cable lists, and some basic interconnection drawing design work.

Shi says she enjoys working at Hatch, which has an office location in downtown Winnipeg.

“I never feel bored,” she says. “At Hatch, engineers are highly qualified, they teach me before I start the project drafting work. I get the chance to understand and learn the electrical design. My manager provided me 40 hours of 3D modelling training when I entered the company.”

“In addition, Hatch provides exciting social events for us after the work day every month.”

Shi came to RRC through a partnership with Shenyang Engineering Institute in China. This meant that she was able to skip the first year of EET and go straight into year two of the 28-month diploma program. Read More →

CreComm grad named Global News’ Europe Bureau Chief

November 18, 2019

Crystal GoomansinghCongratulations to Red River College grad Crystal Goomansingh, longtime reporter and news anchor, on being named the new Europe Bureau Chief for Global News.

A 1999 graduate of RRC’s Creative Communications program, Goomansingh will be stationed in London effective January 2020. Since 2015, she has served as Global’s nightly news anchor for multiple markets across Canada, including Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal.

An award-winning journalist with experience as a reporter, anchor and national correspondent, Goomansingh has covered stories throughout the world since joining the Global team in 2007. Career highlights include a series on the manhunt for two murder suspects that stretched from B.C. to Manitoba last summer, as well as a stint covering the Afghan War from Kandahar for Global National.

Most recently, she’s been the face of the multi-market content (MMC) project launched by Global in 2015 — a model of newsgathering that was recognized with a prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Innovation from the American Radio, Television and Digital News Association in 2017.

“I am thrilled and humbled to be able to follow in the footsteps of the talented, insightful, and dedicated journalists who have held this position previously for Global News,” says Goomansingh. “I am passionate about journalism and providing Canadians balanced and contextual information about events happening around the world that shape our collective understanding of one another.”

Goomansingh launched her career in Winnipeg after graduating from RRC, working first in radio for stations in Dauphin and Kenora before moving on to TV news gigs at A-Channel and later, Global National’s Winnipeg office.

“I love the program,” she said of RRC’s CreComm offering, in a 2016 profile for the College. “I’m a big supporter of it. Even to this day, when I find out that someone’s a CreComm-er, I make a point of saying, ‘Hey, I am too. What was your year?’”

Building a better Manitoba: Construction industry leader receives Distinguished Graduate award from Red River College

November 15, 2019

The vice-president of one of Manitoba’s leading heavy construction businesses — E.F. Moon Construction Ltd. — is the latest recipient of Red River College’s Distinguished Graduate Award.

Jack Meseyton, who’s also the chair of the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association, graduated from RRC’s Civil Engineering Technology program in 2005 with a diploma in Municipal Engineering Technology. His passion for, and commitment to the heavy construction industry in Manitoba, along with his dedication to the community of Portage la Prairie, set him apart and made him an outstanding candidate for RRC’s highest achievement.

“I am very humbled, excited and proud to be receiving this award,” says Meseyton. “I am a very strong believer in higher education and learning — our company has several RRC grads working with us. So, I am proud to have attended the College, proud to have RRC grads and alumni working for me, and very, very proud of this award.”

The Distinguished Graduate Award honours and recognizes RRC’s finest graduates — those who have distinguished themselves in both their chosen profession and their community through outstanding achievements in one or more of the following areas: humanitarianism, professional excellence, and community service.

Meseyton was a clear and deserving candidate for this honour, as he’d demonstrated all of the above in his life, through achieving professional excellence in construction and also by giving back to Portage’s community in a big way. Examples of this include his work fundraising for the United Way, his personal involvement in the Portage Potato Festival and for Merit Contractors Association of Manitoba.

“Red River College is proud to honour Jack Meseyton with the Distinguished Graduate award. His professional achievements exemplify the kind of commitment and leadership we strive to teach our students every day. They also represent the important contributions that RRC graduates make to Manitoba’s economy, including the heavy construction industry,” says Christine Watson, Vice-president Academic at RRC. Read More →

Community connections: Business grad expands network via volunteer and mentorship roles

November 12, 2019

Kanupriya Sidhu, Red River CollegeKanupriya Sidhu knows that when you help others, you help yourself.

Sidhu came to Canada from Punjab, India in early 2016 to study Business Administration at Red River College. While here, she sought out volunteering opportunities as a way of adjusting to a new country and culture.

“The first year I was pretty much trying to adjust to what was going on. Everything was different,” says Sidhu, 21, who graduated from the program in 2018.

“Studying wasn’t really hard for me. I was a bright student and I was doing well with my courses. I wanted to focus more on fitting myself into this culture and community, to get to know people and feel more comfortable and more at home in this place if I’m going to stay here for awhile.”

Sidhu acted as a Diversity Ambassador at RRC, a role that saw her promoting diversity on campus, providing peer support and assisting in the organization of events and activities.

“I used to volunteer a lot on campus, just because it kept me busy and also helped me interact with new people,” she says.

“I learned a lot about how the community thinks, how it works, and a lot about the culture of Canadian people. I also got to interact with instructors and management while organizing the activites. Volunteering added a lot to my experience here.”

In addition to her ambassador work, Sidhu also co-chaired RRC’s Student Refugee Program (SRP) committee, an initiative of World University Service of Canada.

“Every year, the SRP sponsors a student refugee and we support them on campus,” Sidhu says.

“I went to Ottawa in August 2017 and there was a leadership training program for SRP committee heads. That was a whole new experience because I got a chance to interact with people from more than 100 colleges and universities from all over Canada.” Read More →

Seeing through you: EET grad lands sought-after role repairing diagnostic imaging equipment

October 29, 2019

John Hamilton’s profession is the picture of health.

A 2012 graduate of Red River College’s Electrical Engineering Technology program, Hamilton works as a field service engineer at Philips Healthcare, where he maintains and repairs diagnostic medical imaging equipment. That includes machines related to X-ray, ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT) scanning, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and nuclear medicine.

In other words, if someone can see right through you, it means Hamilton is doing a good job.

“We’ll get calls from different hospitals around the region. My territory is Manitoba and northwest Ontario, so I’ll go as far as Dryden to do work,” Hamilton says. “Usually we get a call that there’s an issue or something wrong with their system and we’ll go in and troubleshoot, order parts and repair.”

Prior to entering the EET program at RRC, Hamilton was halfway through a computer science degree at the University of Winnipeg, but found it wasn’t the right fit for him.

“I didn’t like it because I was going to be just sitting in front of a computer all the time, doing coding and not working hands-on as much, so when I heard about the Red River program, I signed up for it,” he says. “I really enjoyed the program because it gives you some aspects of that (computer science) but it also gives you a lot of hands-on skills as well.”

“I like that the program covered a lot of different areas. It wasn’t too focused on one stream. I was able to do some biomedical courses in there too, so I got a taste of what I’d eventually do. It was everything from PCB (printed circuit board) design to how circuits work, so it gave me a really well-rounded knowledge.” Read More →

Grow with Google Workshop

October 23, 2019

Ready to attract new customers and learn all about succeeding online? Red River College is offering an exclusive opportunity to grads and alumni: one FREE seat to the Grow with Google workshop where you will receive training from Googlers to learn how to grow online using a Google My Business listing, online marketing, search engine optimization and more.

Workshop Details

Date: Friday, November 8
Time: 3pm to 6pm
Location: The Manitoba Museum

The contest is available to all RRC grads and alumni, particularly those:

  • Who own or work for a small business.
  • Interested in entrepreneurship.
  • Interested growing in the online space.

To enter, fill out our contest form by noon on November 1 and be entered to win one FREE seat to Grow with Google.

Open to all RRC grads and alumni. The draw will be held on November 4 and the winner will be contacted via email.

Enter the Contest

Package deal: Machining grad’s skill set prepares him for range of roles in manufacturing

October 15, 2019

Jesus Bojorquez, Red River CollegeJesús Bojorquez is the total package.

A graduate of Red River College’s Precision Metal Machining program, Bojorquez works as an assistant operator at Winpak Ltd., a company that manufactures and distributes packaging materials.

Bojorquez, who is from Cancun, Mexico, credits RRC with helping him to develop a comprehensive skill-set that has enabled him to be a go-to guy at his workplace.

“What I learned from my teachers is not just how to run the machines, but to respect the machines. You need to take care of them. If you know how they work, you know when something is wrong and you know how to fix it,” says Bojorquez, 36, who graduated from the year-long pre-employment program in 2016.

“I’ve been with Winpak for almost two years, and because of the knowledge that I acquired from Red River, my supervisor always moves me from one area to another to another. I’m one of the few people that knows how to be in every single side of the department.”

In Mexico, Bojorquez worked in the sales department for a hotel and resort operator. With a desire to work with his hands (and hotel/resort work hard to come by in wintery Winnipeg), Bojorquez opted to pursue an entirely different path at RRC.

“I chose Precision Metal Machining because it was the first step for me to go into Mechanical Engineering Technology, which is also at Red River,” Bojorquez says.

“But my family grew — I have two kids now and another coming, so it was not that easy to continue. Then I started working, and everything changes in our life. I want to go back to Red River eventually, but not to go into Mechanical Engineering Technology. Now, I want to do Aerospace Manufacturing.” Read More →