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College announces new partnership with North Forge Technology

February 6, 2020

Red River College, North Forge Technology Exchange and North Forge East are joining forces to help more entrepreneurs bring their businesses to life.

The three organizations announced the partnership today at RRC’s ACE Project Space in the Exchange District; they intend to work together to increase the success rate of entrepreneurial activity, provide real project-based learning opportunities for students, and encourage investment and growth in start-up companies in Manitoba.

“We’re very excited to officially grow our partnership with North Forge,” says Haider Al-Saidi (above, second from right), chair of Applied Computer Education at Red River College. “This will allow us to expand the services we provide to our entrepreneurs-in-residence and provide our students with additional resources and technology to enhance their skills.”

RRC will provide office space, access to its UX labs, and other technological resources, while North Forge will provide access to its Fabrication lab. Each party will also engage in cross-promotion of events, services and news.

The goal of the partnership, made official by the signing of an exchange of services agreement, is to create an innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem that benefits Manitoba entrepreneurs and enterprises of all sizes — one that includes RRC students and North Forge’s office locations in Winnipeg, Pinawa and The Pas.

“Start-up companies and entrepreneurs are hard-working, determined and have brilliant ideas, but they may need additional help in developing their concepts into products,” says Teresa Dukes (above, at right), President of North Forge Technology Exchange. “We believe this partnership with Red River College will provide those businesses with the resources, technology and knowledge needed to grow their products, reach their sales and market goals, and add value to Manitoba’s economy.”

Since 2017, there have been 46 projects completed at ACE Project Space, providing opportunities for more than 240 students to work with 18 entrepreneurs and 28 industry clients. North Forge has worked with more than 200 clients since launching in 2011, and has created more than 7,500 prototypes in its labs. Read More →

Jordin Tootoo shares story of hope, hockey and mental health at RRC

February 6, 2020

“I owe my life to this game.”

That’s how Jordin Tootoo summed up his 15-year NHL hockey career when he retired in 2018. Thanks to teammates who helped him grieve the loss of a brother to suicide, Tootoo went on to thrive on the ice for the Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks.

On Wednesday, he shared the story of his journey with Red River College students, instructors and staff.

Tootoo’s visit is part of RRC’s college-wide mental health strategy, Healthy Minds Healthy College, which was established five years ago to foster mental health and enhance mental health literacy at the College.

Jordin Tootoo talks to RRC studentThe need for more mental health resources is urgent, says Tootoo:

“It’s part of Canada that a lot of people struggle with mental health and addiction, suicide. These issues are a national epidemic.”

Of Inuit and Ukrainian descent, Tootoo is the NHL’s first Inuk player. As an Indigenous athletic leader, he says he has long understood his responsibility as a role model. He spoke openly and honestly to an audience of more than 300 RRC students and staff about the growing need for mental health resources, and the importance of fighting taboos around discussing mental illness.

Following his retirement from hockey, Tootoo devoted his time to charity and community outreach, especially in northern communities. He was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal for his work in Nunavut promoting healthy living and encouraging conversations about difficult topics such as addiction and suicide. Read More →

Manufacturing, Nursing grads earn Lieutenant Governor’s Medals

February 4, 2020

Congratulations to the recipients of Red River College’s Lieutenant Governor’s Medals, who were honoured at our 2019 Winter Convocation ceremony on Monday., Feb. 3.

Each year, up to four medals are awarded to graduating students who best combine good character, academic and technical achievement, and involvement in College and/or community activities. This year’s winners are:

Janice Hyde (vice-chair, RRC Board of Governors) presents Jessica Burzminski with her Lieutenant Governor's Medal Jessica Burzminski – Manufacturing CAD

Jessica believes in encouraging women to pursue education and careers in trades. She is not only a two-time Gold Medal recipient — having previously excelled in the College’s Manufacturing Technician program — she’s also a two-time silver medalist at Skills Manitoba’s CNC machining competition. She is currently working as a CNC programmer at Price Industries.

During her studies, Jessica tutored classmates in computer numerical control theory. Outside of school, she volunteers in junior dog handling and cheerleading, and for the Blue Bomber Cheer and Dance Team, where she provides events and marketing supporting.

Her instructors praise her drive, creativity, leadership and ability to connect with people of all ages. According to one of her volunteer supervisors, she sets an example for others through her commitment to excellence.

Janice Hyde (vice-chair, RRC Board of Governors) presents Michelle Queue with her Lieutenant Governor's MedalMichelle Queau – Bachelor of Nursing

Michelle Queau has demonstrated a true commitment to helping others become their best selves. When she returned to school following an 11-year career in academic research, she balanced studies and volunteer work with parenting a young son. She received the Nursing Legacy Award in 2017 and the peer-nominated Nursing Leadership Award in 2019.

In addition to mentoring and tutoring her peers, Michelle has volunteered countless hours for organizations where she can bring new ideas about nursing curriculum and practice to the table. According to one of her referees, “When facing a challenge, Michelle perseveres. When given a choice, she always chooses kindness.”

She works as a registered nurse in cardiac sciences at St. Boniface Hospital, and as a research assistant at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba.

Public health advocate to receive RRC’s first honorary degree in nursing

January 29, 2020

The recipient of Red River College’s first-ever Honorary Degree in Nursing has dedicated herself to enhancing equity, promoting public health, and shaping the nursing profession in Canada.

Dr. Claire Betker’s nursing career has taken her from public health and primary health care to education, research, administration and advocacy. In each new role, she has reached across professional disciplines and levels of leadership, finding innovative solutions to challenges facing health-care policy and delivery.

“I believe in the power of nursing,” she says. “All nurses are leaders. Over more than 40 years, I’ve seen real change take place because of the influence of good, solid nursing at all levels.”

Among her own remarkable accomplishments, Betker led a team at the Public Health Agency of Canada charged with defining core competencies still used today for public health practitioners working in public health organizations, academia, workforce development and professional associations.

And as Executive Director of the Population and Public Health Branch, Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living, she helped develop public health policy, standards, programs and services that have been adopted across the province.

“This honorary degree is extraordinarily meaningful to me personally because it brings me full circle,” she says. “Starting with my bachelor of nursing degree, education has opened countless doors and prepared me well to meet the challenges ahead.” Read More →

RRC students launch new ASL Club to sharpen signing skills

January 22, 2020

Eager to enhance their communication skills by gaining practice outside the classroom, students in Red River College’s Deaf Studies and American Sign Language — English Interpretation programs have teamed with Deaf students from other programs to launch a new ASL Club.

The club — which is open to all RRC students, Deaf or not — allows members to teach other new skills in a safe, welcoming and fun environment.

It borrows its acronym from American Sign Language, the most common method of communication used by Deaf people in North America, and the one currently being taught to a number of the students who comprise the club’s inaugural roster.

Evan Husack, a Social Innovation and Community Development student at RRC, was appointed leader of the club shortly after it formed. So far, Husack and fellow co-founder Stephanie Jebb — both of whom are themselves Deaf — say they’re pleased with how things are progressing.

“It’s been going really well and it’s a safe space for people to use their signs,” he says.

Husack (shown above, at left) believes it’s important that all RRC students who plan to work with or in the Deaf community join the club, as they stand to learn a lot of things that can’t be taught in a classroom.

“The biggest thing to really improve your skills is to socialize with the Deaf community, if you actually want to get better,” Husack says.

“Being able to socialize [and] meet real Deaf people, that’s where you develop your skills.”

The ASL Club meets every Wednesday from noon to one p.m., in room F314 at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus. Read More →

True North to debut new jerseys featuring logos designed by RRC grad

January 16, 2020

The Winnipeg Jets and the Manitoba Moose will take to the ice this weekend in jerseys bearing Indigenous-inspired logos designed by a Red River College graduate.

Leticia Spence, who completed RRC’s Graphic Design program last year, created the logos while on a work placement with True North Sports + Entertainment.

They’ll be featured on warm-up jerseys worn by the Jets during their pre-game skate on Friday, Jan. 17, and on game jerseys worn by the Moose on Saturday, Jan. 18. Friday’s game coincides with the second annual Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre (WASAC) Night hosted by the Jets, and Saturday’s game with the Moose’s Follow Your Dreams Day.

Leticia Spence (centre) with WASAC participants“It’s pretty surreal to me,” Spence told CBC News last week, when the teams’ new gear was unveiled at the Neeginan Centre as part of the NHL’s “This Is Hockey” initiative, which aims to promote diversity and inclusiveness in hockey.

When Spence first designed the logos, she wanted to avoid resorting to feathers or circles with four points, symbols she felt were overused in representing Indigenous culture. Instead, she reviewed artifacts, researched the work of modern Indigenous artists, and turned to members of her family and home community — Pimicikamak First Nation — for inspiration.

“Each tribe has a visual language to express their views of the world,” she said at the time. “I wanted to show that we’re united by including motifs, symbols and patterns from many different Indigenous cultures and tribes in the logos.”

Funds raised from last year’s WASAC Night and Follow Your Dream Day went to support WASAC events taking place this weekend, when 60 students from northern First Nations will travel to Winnipeg to take part in tours and activities, including a group skate with Indigenous role models such as Olympian Brigette Lacquette.

When the new logos were first unveiled last year, WASAC co-founder Kevin Chief said his initial response was amazement and pride.

“I felt proud of being Indigenous, proud of the mentorship and support from RRC, proud of the partnership between Leticia and the team at True North, and proud to be able to showcase her work on this scale,” he said.

Inset photo credit: Gary Solilak, CBC News Winnipeg

RRC research chair among latest Order of Canada appointees

January 13, 2020

Portrait of Jan SandersonA Red River College research chair has been named a member of the Order of Canada, in recognition of her lifelong commitment to the health and well-being of young children.

Jan Sanderson, a research chair with the College’s School of Health Sciences and Community Services, was among 120 new companions, officers and members of the order announced by the Governor General in December.

Sanderson was recognized “for her leadership within Manitoba’s pubic service by promoting improved quality of life and health for children.” She was one of only three Manitobans to receive the designation, along with physician and researcher Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg and TV and film producer Louis-Frederic Paquin.

Sanderson says she grateful to those who nominated her for the honour, but noted the irony of being singled out for work in the field of early child development, where “every success depends on partnerships and collaboration.”

“I have been incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to work with amazing, committed people across multiple sectors — government, non-profit, academia, health and education — to support children and their families,” she says.

“And now the opportunity with the research team at RRC seems like the icing on the cake. The work that is done by this quiet but mighty team is impacting on children’s well-being locally, nationally and around the world.” Read More →

New art installation for Innovation Centre celebrates Indigenous history

December 18, 2019

When Jackie Traverse was 13 years old, she would sneak out of school to watch an artist paint a Jackson Beardy mural on Selkirk Avenue. Now, 37 years later, she’ll be creating the artwork for a prominent corner of Red River College’s new Innovation Centre, a 100,000-sq.-ft. building in Winnipeg’s Exchange District.

“As a kid I remember thinking, ‘Just wow.’ It was such a big deal for me to see a building with Native artwork being put on it. It was the first time I had seen something like this, on this scale, that felt like it was for me,” she says. “So for me to be doing the same thing now, it makes me proud.”

Traverse is a multi-disciplined Anishinaabe artist who works predominantly with paint on canvas. She was born in Winnipeg and knew she wanted to be an artist from the time she was four years old. A graduate of the University of Manitoba’s Fine Arts program, Traverse is known across Canada for her powerful art, which speaks to the realities of being an Indigenous person.

The College collaborated with the Winnipeg Arts Council in the search for an artist for the project, which will be featured both inside and outside the building’s fourth-floor ceiling, spanning approximately 1,000 sq.-ft. The large overhanging parapet, a gesture to the historic warehouse architecture, was a perfect canvas for a piece of public art to be seen from blocks away, and to act as a lantern atop the new building.

Out of the five artists who were shortlisted to present, Traverse’s concept and story won over the panel.

“The concept she presented was very powerful and resonated with us,” says Patrick Kuzyk, chair of RRC’s selection committee. “One of the goals of the Innovation Centre is to create a hub where students, businesses, entrepreneurs and community members can come together and collaborate on ideas. Her concept depicts a traditional gathering place and we were inspired by the connection.” Read More →

Holiday Hours at RRC

December 12, 2019

Red River College will be operating on restricted holiday hours, effective noon, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019.

During the break, general access to the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses will be limited to the following hours:

  • Dec. 24, 2019: Regular hours until 12:00pm, then closed for the remainder of the day
  • Dec. 25-26, 2019: Closed (no access)
  • Dec. 27-31, 2019: 8:00am to 4:00pm
  • Jan. 1, 2020: Closed (no access)

Regular hours of operation will resume at 7:00am on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020.

Lab access at the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses during the above hours will be limited to the classroom labs listed below. Students who are in one of the designated labs prior to closure will be given a four-hour grace period (until 8:00pm) to complete their studies or project before being asked to leave. Read More →

Masonry master named Apprenticeship Manitoba’s Instructor of the Year

December 9, 2019

The office of Brian Gebhardt, a Masonry instructor at Red River College, is reminiscent of the classrooms adjacent to it: surrounded by projects and artwork made of bricks, with a layer of dust on every surface.

Gebhardt is everything one would expect from a mason — covered in the same dust that cakes his office, with calloused hands hardened from almost 45 years in the trade.

For 30 of those years, that dust has been a byproduct of his work at RRC, and this year he received the highest honour an apprenticeship instructor can achieve when he was named Instructor of the Year by Apprenticeship Manitoba.

Gebhardt doesn’t let a little dust bother him; after all, he’s been working with bricks since his first construction job right out of high school, where time spent watching and talking with masonry veterans sold him on the trade.

“They seemed to enjoy what they were doing, and wage-wise it was what I was looking for,” he says.

To get a foot in the door, Gebhardt cold-called as many masonry contractors as he could to ask for a job, which he eventually landed — through what he’s convinced was a real-life game of Telephone.

“I phoned them and said, ‘I want to be a bricklayer,’ and I think he thought I said, ‘I am a bricklayer.’ And he said, ‘Have your tools tomorrow at 1700 Taylor,’” Gebhardt recalls with a smile.

“I picked up some tools — I had none — and I showed up at the job.” Read More →