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College opens doors to new state-of-the-art Smart Factory

June 28, 2019

Today, with the help of collaborative robots Baxter, Sawyer and UR10, Red River College officially opened the doors to its brand new Smart Factory, a state-of-the-art learning facility and applied research space that will directly support Manitoba’s growing aerospace and manufacturing industries, and RRC’s applied research initiatives.

“Red River College has always been at the forefront of emerging technologies. The opening of the Smart Factory ensures that our students are well-equipped to face the challenges that the future workforce may hold, and to thrive in ever-changing environments,” says RRC President Paul Vogt (shown above, at right).

“These expansions have significant impacts in our community and beyond, as we provide unparalleled access to cutting-edge resources for our partners in the aerospace and manufacturing industries.”

Located inside RRC’s new Skilled Trades and Technology Centre, the Smart Factory is an experiential learning facility and technology demonstration site. It combines emerging technologies in metals additive manufacturing, collaborative robotics and autonomous factory vehicles, flexible robotic work cells, industrial automation, high-speed 3D laser metrology, industrial networking, and many more.

The new facility will enhance learning at RRC by allowing students to experience and work in factory settings. It will also provide Manitoba companies with access to state-of-the-art equipment, research and innovation expertise, and faculty and students — in order to evaluate, develop, demonstrate and implement new and emerging technologies.

The Smart Factory is the result of a $10-million investment — previously announced in 2017 — by the federal government through Western Economic Diversification Canada. In addition to supporting the development of the Smart Factory, this funding also supports the Phase 3 expansion of RRC’s Centre for Aerospace Technology and Training (CATT), located at StandardAero in Winnipeg. Read More →

Skilled trades students build multi-purpose shed for Oak Hammock Marsh

June 26, 2019

If you’re planning a nature walk along the trails at Oak Hammock Marsh this weekend, you may spot a new cabin-like structure along the path.

This week, staff and students from Red River College’s skilled trades apprenticeship programs donated a new multi-purpose shed they’d designed and built for the interpretive centre.

“As Manitoba’s largest institute of applied learning and research, we take a hands-on, learn-by-doing approach to education, and this shed is a true example of this at work,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.

“We are proud to donate this structure to the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre, and to share the talent and craftsmanship of our students and staff with the community to use and enjoy for years to come.”

The shed project was an assignment for students in the Level 3 Carpentry, Level 2 Roofing, and Pre-Employment Electrical programs as part of their academic learning goals. Twenty-four students led by four instructors worked on the structure over five weeks between classroom theory sessions and time in the lab. The windows and doors were supplied by Jeld-Wen and the delivery of the structure was donated by Greg’s Tilt Deck Service.

“This assignment is such an important learning opportunity for the students because it’s often the first time many of them will work together across multiple trades disciplines to apply their knowledge in a collaborative way — much like they will once they graduate and go on to work in industry,” says Carpentry instructor Rob Masi.

“We thought it was a great opportunity to share the students’ completed work by donating the structure to a non-profit organization that could utilize it in a meaningful way, and we are thrilled that the shed has found a permanent home at Oak Hammock Marsh. We hope to work with more community partners who could benefit from a project like this in the future.” Read More →

No cutting corners: Apprenticeship Carpenters showcase skills at annual competition

June 20, 2019

It was a race against the clock, but the contestants who took their time fared best at Red River College’s annual Carpentry Competition.  

The 25th edition of the contest took place June 7 and 8 in the Skilled Trades and Technology Centre at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus. 

This year’s event featured nine graduates of the College’s Level 4 Carpenter Apprenticeship program, each battling to be the best builder. On day one, the competing carpenters wrote an extensive exam worth 30 per cent of the challenge. Day two of the competition saw contestants tasked with building an elaborate “hug bench” with limited time and materials. 

Alex Mackenzie, of PBR Construction in Niverville, Man., was named the competition’s top carpenter, while Walker Enns and Caleb Gossen finished second and third, respectively. 

“A couple guys went right to the last minute. Actually, the last two guys that finished at the last minute, literally, they placed first and second,” says Jeff Martens, the core instructor of the Level 4 Carpentry Apprenticeship program. 

“It’s amazing, the attention to detail. And of course, detail takes time. They used every second that they had.”

Mackenzie (shown above) won a $1,500 shopping spree courtesy of Bosch, while second and third prize were worth $1,400 and $1,000, respectively. The six other contestants all went home with $500 worth of portable power tools and accessories.  Read More →

Students’ Association launches new space for LGBTTQ+ students and allies

June 2, 2019

Red River College is beaming with pride as it prepares to again celebrate Winnipeg’s LGBTTQ+ community.

More than 100 students, staff and College leaders will walk in this Sunday’s Pride Winnipeg parade — just one of many LGBTTQ-related initiatives that reflect RRC’s ongoing commitment to diversity.

This year’s parade happens to coincide with the opening of The Spectrum, a new RRC Students’ Association (RRCSA) space for members of the LGBTTQ+ community and their allies.

“Red River College is committed to creating a safe campus environment by fostering an atmosphere of respect, equity and support, and ensuring everyone has the chance to work, learn and access services in an inclusive and welcoming manner,” says Christine Watson, RRC’s Vice-President, Academic.

“Participation in events like Winnipeg Pride, and the creation of spaces like The Spectrum are just a few ways we can create more opportunities for students and staff to meet like-minded individuals and allies, feel comfortable talking about their identity and experiences, and build a supportive and inclusive College community.”

Developed by the RRCSA with support from the College, The Spectrum is available for meetings and events aimed at students and allies, and to provide information on internal and external supports relevant to the community.

RRCSA executives say the space’s name was chosen to denote inclusion for everyone, as “The Spectrum” has a double meaning, invoking both the rainbow (a widely used symbol among the LGBTTQ+ community), and the spectrum of gender and sexuality.

“It’s essential for post-secondary institutions to create an environment where students feel safe and are free to interact and share with their community, and be themselves, so we are taking a proactive approach in supporting our marginalized students in a visible manner,” says Carmen McIntosh, the RRCSA’s Vice-President Academic and one of the coordinators of the space.

“The goal with safe(r) spaces like The Spectrum is to provide support to students who may feel as though they have nowhere else to turn. Students can come and meet others who share similar experiences and build a supportive community of allies.” Read More →

Making learning fun: Instructor caps off RRC career with Teaching Award of Excellence

May 29, 2019

Cathy Skene, Red River CollegeAt 65 and close to retirement, Cathy Skene is the 2019 recipient of Red River College’s Students’ Association Teaching Award of Excellence.

A Certified Professional Accountant, Skene began her career at RRC in 1981 as an evening instructor of Financial Accounting. Since then she’s taught in the Accounting, Teacher Education and Continuing Education departments and is currently winding down her career as an online instructor in the Certificate in Adult Education program.

In their award submission, Skene’s students praised her knowledge of the subject material, her inspirational teaching style and her availability in and outside of class.

Skene says her enthusiasm for teaching comes directly from her students.

“They bring out the best in me,” she says. “I feel so lucky to have been a small part of their lives, and I’m so very happy that they enjoyed having me.”

In their submission, many of her students wrote that she makes learning fun. Skene says she strives to make the classroom an enjoyable atmosphere.

“Most people learn better when they’re relaxed, and enjoying the process,” she says. “The learning objectives of each course are essential, but there are also ways to add to the experience, by talking about what the students want to learn.

“And as adult learners, they bring a great deal of knowledge with them. It’s necessary to acknowledge and incorporate what they already know. We all learn from one another. A cooperative and supportive atmosphere means everyone can be a winner.”

Crunching numbers and crushing the competition: Financial planning students set their sights on national challenge

May 28, 2019

For the second year in a row, Red River College Business Administration students have banked a first place victory at the 2019 Western Canadian Institute of Financial Planners (CIFP) Case Challenge Competition, and will now square off against the best in the East next week in Vancouver.

The four students — (shown above, from left) Suzie Nguyen, Ron Eric Venezuela, Scott Lobban and Desiree Huang — and their Financial Services Specialization instructor, Maria Vincenten, have spent countless hours practicing and preparing in the hopes that this year they’ll come home the national champions.

“Students come to Red River College to gain the skills and knowledge that will make them employable,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “Competitions like the CIFP Case Challenge provide our students with opportunities to practice problem solving, hone their innovation skills, strengthen their ability to communicate and work within teams, and acquire real-life experience that will ultimately lead them to a successful career.”

“We are so proud of these students and their instructor, who are representing Red River College on the national stage and are truly demonstrating the value of hands-on, applicable learning.”

The CIFP Case Challenge lets students take the skills they’ve learned in the classroom and apply apply them in a fast-paced simulation of a real-world scenario.

Teams of three are sequestered in a room with a copy of a multi-page financial case study, then given just two hours to develop a case analysis, recommendations and an implementation plan.

Once completed, students then have up to 20 minutes to present their findings to a panel of judges (all of them financial services professionals). During this time, students must convince the judges that their solutions are viable and are the best solutions for the case. The team that makes the best and most persuasive case presentation wins. Read More →

School’s out for summer, but learning continues at RRC youth camps

May 24, 2019

Whoever said summer school was a drag clearly hadn’t heard of Red River College’s summer youth camps. For any child who dreams of building their own race car, or cooking like Canada’s next master chef, RRC has a number of fun-filled, hands-on camps returning by popular demand this summer.

“Red River College takes great pride in being a valued member of the community. Summer camps are just one way we are able to introduce young people to many potential career paths in a way that is interactive, engaging, and most importantly, fun,” says Christine Watson, RRC’s Vice-President, Academic.

“We’re thrilled to offer a variety of different camps throughout the summer months in our state-of-the-art facilities and taught by our industry-leading instructors.”

Each summer, the College week-long interactive learning experiences for students aged 10 to 14. This year, RRC is pleased to offer the following summer programs: Read More →

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).