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Technical support: Interlake instructor gives Computer Skills course an upgrade

April 11, 2019

Dr. Kasongo Kalanda began his journey with technology and education at a time — and in a place — where few people had even heard of computers.

Originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kalanda’s options for post-secondary education were similarly limited as a young man, but he managed to find an opening at a private university, where he was among the first students to register for Computer Studies.

“It was the only available opportunity,” says Kalanda, now a Computer Skills instructor at Red River College’s Interlake and Peguis – Fisher River Campus. “I took things seriously from there and told myself it was this or nothing.”

Kalanda earned a bachelor’s degree in Science and a master’s in Computer Science from L’Institut supérieur d’informatique programmation et analyse (L’I.S.I.P.A.), before moving to pursue both a second master’s and a doctorate in Computing Education from the University of South Africa.

While there, he ran into a problem when his master’s thesis was required in English, a language he’d never had the opportunity to learn. Kalanda asked for three months to figure out how to read and write in English. He says it wasn’t easy, and compared it to a “do-or-die” situation.

In 2008, he was invited to participate in a Microsoft-sponsored program that trained teachers in how to integrate technology into education. During a brainstorming workshop, Kalanda helped come up with the idea to create a classroom technology integration competition for teachers using a World Cup Soccer model.

The end results were called School Technology Innovation Centres, an initiative for which Kalanda became manager for Africa and the Middle East, eventually travelling to more than 50 countries between 2008 and 2013. Read More →

SpaRRCky flies: Student-built electric car cracks top 10 at Shell Eco-marathon

April 10, 2019

For the second year running, a team of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology students from Red River College have taken their battery-electric vehicle — dubeed SpaRRCky — to Sonoma, California for the Shell Eco-marathon.

The team beat their personal best, moving from a 14th-place finish last year to seventh overall in the battery electric category. And while this year’s race was ultimately a success, it wasn’t without its challenges.

“Going into our first run was the most nerve-racking part of the competition,” says team captain Joel Turner, an Electrical Engineering Technology student at RRC. “Our first set of available runs had been postponed due to rain, which furthered our nervousness, but as soon as we got off the line it was high fives and smiles all around!”

Nerves aside, the team also had to deal with various technical challenges. During the first run, SpaRRCky’s cover came loose and the team’s driver (Samantha Sousa, a Welding student who also constructed the racer’s steering knuckle) had to pull over for her own safety and the safety of the others on the track.

“Once we got the car back, we quickly brainstormed and fixed the problem on the fly, got SpaRRCky back in line, and were able to make the next run,” says Turner.

Students with battery-electric racerSousa noted that the first run track was the most nerve-wracking part of the competition, thanks in part to the weather.

“The rain was pushing our time slot back and the pavement was slick. I also had not driven SpaRRCky on pavement yet, only in the gym as we still had snow in Winnipeg,” she says.

But the stress didn’t stop there. “After our third run, a housing bolt had become stripped and we could not attempt another run with the vehicle in this condition,” says Turner.

Thanks to the team’s quick thinking and a visit to a local hardware store, they were able to make the fix and move on to the next run and a seventh-place finish. Read More →

Culinary instructors to rep RRC at showcase celebrating International Women’s Day

March 5, 2019

A quartet of Red River College instructors will join prominent chefs from across the city for an annual culinary showcase celebrating International Women’s Day this weekend.

Culinary Arts and Professional Baking instructors Chantalle Noschese, Kimberly Cooke, Lylah Erkau and Melissa Hyrb (shown above, from left to right) will represent RRC at this year’s Women, Wine & Food fundraiser for the Women’s Health Clinic (WHC) in Winnipeg.

The event — which takes place Friday night at the Manitoba Museum — was first cooked up by RRC alum Kelly Cattani (Culinary Arts, 2005), now the chef at catering service Bluestone Cottage.

Working with Janet Hamel, Director of Development at WHC, Cattani coordinated both the event and its all-female lineup as a means of benefiting the community-based clinic, which has supported women through health services, education and advocacy since 1981.

Come Friday, participating chefs will serve up a mouth-watering menu of canapes, which will then be paired with wine and beer tastings from local vendors.

Members of the RRC team won’t be the only participants with ties to the College. This year’s lineup of chefs also includes Culinary Arts grads Jackie Hildebrand (Hy’s Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar), Connie Klassen (Pizzeria Gusto), Melissa Makarenko (Resto Gare Bistro & Train Bar), Kristel Pastorin (The Grove), Tara Podaima (Little Sister Coffee Maker) and Chinnie Ramos (Mon Ami Louis).

College appoints new Truth and Reconciliation Manager to lead in commitments to Indigenous Education Blueprint

February 7, 2019

Carla Kematch, Red River CollegeAs part of its commitment to advancing Indigenous achievement while strengthening ties between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, Red River College has appointed its first Manager of Truth and Reconciliation and Community Engagement.

Carla Kematch will lead the College in its commitment to Manitoba’s Indigenous Education Blueprint, a pledge to advance Indigenous education in the province — and to make Manitoba a centre of excellence for Indigenous education, research, languages and culture.

As one of nine post-secondary signatories to the Blueprint — which takes action on recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada — the College recognizes it has an important, proactive role to play in supporting reconciliation efforts in the province.

“A key priority for the College is to strengthen our partnerships and continue to advance Indigenous achievement in our communities, and education is the key to improving the lives of Indigenous people and to improving Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations across Canada,” says Rebecca Chartrand, RRC’s Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy.

“Our role as a college is to ensure we create the programs, supports and opportunities that allow Indigenous people to demonstrate their leadership and innovation in all facets of our society. We are looking forward to the skills, experience and perspective that Carla will bring to the team as we address Truth and Reconciliation throughout the College.”

Kematch arrives at RRC with 30 years’ experience working within Indigenous communities in a variety of capacities, including the development of training programs for staffs, community clients, board members and other partners, in areas such as policy development, needs assessment, implementation plans, and evaluation and delivery of group training. Read More →

Culinary students serve up victories at national chefs challenge in Toronto

January 31, 2019

In the immortal words of Guy Fieri, Red River College students Argie Garcia and Anthony Carino took the judges to Flavourtown during the Young Chef’s Challenge in Toronto last weekend.

Garcia (shown above, at right), a Level Two Apprentice Chef, finished in first place at the event, while Carino (at left), a Term 6 Culinary Arts student, finished second.

They were two of six student chefs from across Canada selected to participate in the challenge, hosted annually by the World Association of Chefs and Cooks.

Each chef was given three hours to create a three-course meal that showcased creativity, taste and kitchen organization. They also had to incorporate a set list of ingredients, including chilled salmon (appetizer), beef striploin (principal plate) and dark chocolate and tea (dessert).

“These two talented young chefs had world-renowned judges scrutinizing all of the flavours they built and every move they made in the kitchen, so to have them both come out on top is an incredible feat,” says RRC Chef Instructor Gordon Bailey (shown above, at centre).

As the first-place chef, Garcia will now have the honor of representing Canada at the World Chefs Congress, taking place in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in 2020. Carino’s talents also earned him an offer to join the Canadian Junior Olympic Chef Team in Prince Edward Island.

“Argie and Anthony demonstrated their technical skills and knowledge in the kitchen on the national stage, and they did so with such a high level of poise and professionalism. They represented the College and the province proudly,” says Bailey.

“To watch them grow over the last two years into the chefs they are today has been an incredible experience as a fellow chef, and as an educator. I look forward to seeing where their career paths take them – with this achievement, and as they build their craft in this business in the future.”

Interlake Campus business instructor makes marketing a ‘family’ affair

January 10, 2019

When it comes to career, Carmen Kaethler always accounts for family.

Kaethler is the lead instructor of the Business, Accounting and Management certificate program at Red River College’s Interlake Campus in Selkirk.

A mother to two young daughters, she also works part-time from home as an accountant for Elite Sports Injury, a network of physiotherapy clinics in Winnipeg.

Kaethler began instructing at RRC in 2017, and now spends about 12 hours a week teaching such courses as Financial Accounting 1 and Introduction to Canadian Business.

“I like the flexibility because it allows me to continue to give real-world experience to the students,” says Kaethler, who’s been a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) since 2013. “I’m still practising in a current local business, so I can give relevant examples to [my students] in class, instead of just talking about my past.”

Kaethler brings approximately 17 years (and counting) of office- and business-related experience to her classrooms.

“I love teaching and I love business, so being able to show that to students — to help them understand accounting, and make them see that it’s not that scary — I find it enjoying and quite rewarding,” she says.

In addition to accounting, Kaethler also has an entrepreneurial side. She’s a local publisher for Macaroni Kid, a website that publishes “hyper-local” e-newsletters and websites promoting products, events, activities and destinations for moms, kids and families.” A Transcona resident, Kaethler focuses on family events in east Winnipeg. Read More →

College establishes academic partnership with top-tier university in India

January 7, 2019

Red River College will partner with Chitkara University — one of India’s leading teaching and research institutions — to deliver innovative programming and continue efforts to internationalize the College and compete on the global stage.

“Red River College is a global operation, and growing in stature in the area of international education,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.

“Over the past few years, we have significantly increased our efforts to internationalize the College, and the signing of this agreement with Chitkara University will allow us to continue to encourage academic collaboration, educational exchanges and innovative joint research projects with a leading institution in India.”

The College is exploring pathways to establish a satellite campus at Chitkara that will enable RRC to deliver the two-year Business Information Technology (BIT) program to students studying in India, beginning in the fall of 2019.

The proposed one-plus-one delivery model will also create new opportunities for students to complete their final year of studies here in Manitoba, and for RRC students to study overseas — part of the College’s student mobility strategy. Read More →

College to host public forum on safety in the Exchange District

December 5, 2018

In partnership with the Exchange District BIZ, Red River College will host a public forum on Safety in the Exchange on Tue., Dec. 11, at 7:00 p.m. in the Roblin Centre (160 Princess St.)

Members of City Council, the Winnipeg Police Service, and the Exchange District community will join to discuss ideas, solutions and opportunities for enhancing safety in Winnipeg’s Exchange District. All are welcome and encouraged to participate.

Red River College continues to be proactive in maintaining a safe and secure environment for staff and students. Recently, the College enhanced its security services at the Exchange District Campus and implemented a mobile street patrol unit that runs every day from 4:00 p.m. to midnight.

The College has also added onsite security and Safe Walk services at the Language Training Centre (in the VIA Rail Station on Main Street) and has extended the hours of security coverage until 11:00 p.m. at the ACE Project Space on McDermot Ave. (In addition to the 24/7 coverage already provided at the Roblin Centre and Paterson GlobalFoods Institute.)

Staff and students are encouraged to access the Safe Walk program, and to download RRC’s Mobile Safety App, which provides quick access to RRC Security and Safe Walk, and sends important campus safety alerts directly to users’ smartphones. The app is available for iOS, Android and Blackberry devices and can be downloaded here.

RRC looks forward to working alongside community leaders to establish even more ways to ensure Winnipeg’s downtown remains a vibrant place to learn, live and work.

Learn more about RRC’s Safe Walk program, and Security Services at the College.

Commitment to lifelong learning earns RRC its ninth Top Employer designation

November 28, 2018

It’s no secret that Red River College, Manitoba’s largest institute of applied learning, exists to educate and train students across Manitoba. Today, RRC celebrates its commitment to creating personal and professional learning opportunities for employees — almost half of whom are alumni themselves — an accomplishment that once again earns the College a spot on Manitoba’s Top Employer list for nine years running.

“When it comes to educating students, providing training and research opportunities, and meeting the needs of industry — what we’re doing is working,” says Melanie Gudmundson, RRC’s Chief Human Resource Officer. “And it’s the dedicated efforts of our staff and faculty members who make this statement a reality every day, through their commitment to the College and our students.

“This is why we are continually striving to build a work environment that has programs and supports, including training and professional development opportunities, that ensure staff and faculty success.”

Learning is a core value at Red River College, which is committed to providing an exceptional learning environment for employees, as well as students. As such, the College focuses on staff learning and development-related activities and events, led by industry experts and members of the larger RRC community.

“Every week you will hear of a different department hosting an event. From research lunch and learns, to traditional Sweat Lodge ceremonies, to mental health speaker series, to daily fitness classes — there are countless opportunities for staff to engage in new professional and personal development activities,” says Gudmundson. Read More →

RRC to welcome Bear Clan Patrol founder for presentation on personal safety

November 21, 2018

James Favel, founder and executive director of Bear Clan Patrol Inc., will host a presentation on personal-safety best practices this Fri., Nov. 23, at Red River College’s Exchange District Campus.

The presentation will also explore the role and function of the Bear Clan Patrol, and how students and staff can get involved in their communities. It’ll be hosted by RRC’s Indigenous Education department, and will provide a safe, inclusive environment in which attendees can learn from Favel’s growing — and widely celebrated — volunteer-based organization.

The College is committed to the safety of all its staff and students; engaging community experts like Favel is just one of the ways RRC is working to enhance and maintain personal safety.

The initiative also falls under one of the College’s strategic goals: to strengthen partnerships with Indigenous communities and advance Indigenous achievement.

Operating out the Ndinawe Youth Resource Centre in the city’s North End, the Bear Clan Patrol is comprised of volunteers who work with the community to increase security in the inner city in a non-threatening, non-violent and supportive manner. The Patrol is a community-based solution to crime prevention, one that provides a sense of safety, solidarity and belonging to both its members and the communities they serve.

Favel’s presentation takes place at noon in Room P107 at the Roblin Centre.

Photo credit: Nardella Photography