The Force is strong with this one: Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo to receive Distinguished Graduate Award

June 14, 2018

Pablo HidalgoAs a wise man named Obi-Wan Kenobi once said, “In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck.”

And it certainly wasn’t luck, but hard work and passion, that earned Pablo Hidalgo — a Winnipeg-raised Star Wars fan, now working for Lucasfilm in California — a Distinguished Graduate Award from Red River College.

A 1996 alum of RRC’s Creative Communications program, Hidalgo proved to be more than a simple man trying to make his way in the universe. The skills he acquired at College put him on the path to where he is today.

While working at McKim Communications Group, he used networking skills to land a role with one of his clients, Frantic Films.

That leap took him to California, where he was quickly presented with an opportunity from Lucasfilm — to work as a writer and content developer for StarWars.com.

Since then, Hidalgo has become a creative executive as part of Lucasfilm's story development team, earning the unofficial title of Lucasfilm's ‘resident Star Wars geek,’ who’s most often consulted about the timelines and mythology within the ever-expanding Star Wars universe.

He’ll be presented with the award on Sat., June 23, at the second annual FanQuest convention taking place at RRC’s Roblin Centre. He’s also scheduled to speak twice at the event: presenting Inside Solo: The Official Guide (noon, Sat.) and From Winnipeg to a Galaxy Far, Far Away (1:00 p.m., Sun.).

“It feels great to be recognized by Red River College as a Distinguished Graduate,” says Hidalgo. “If anything, my journey has taught me to always take the opportunities that are presented to you and stay true to who you are. Growing up in Winnipeg was integral to growing my Star Wars hobby obsession, and it’s great to receive this award surrounded by people who understand the creative energy you can harness when you live somewhere that’s covered in snow half the year.” Read More →

College hits home run with new beer-flavoured pretzel seasoning

June 13, 2018

Forget about peanuts and Cracker Jacks. Tonight, Red River College will partner with local snack mainstay The Pretzel Place, to launch a new beer-flavoured pretzel seasoning at the Winnipeg Goldeyes’ game at Shaw Park.

The seasoning is the edible innovation of RRC’s Culinary Research & Innovation (CR&I) program, which in recent years has seen substantial growth in the areas of new product development and ingredient applications.

“The demand for culinary research and innovation in our province is increasing, and our CR&I program continues to ‘step up to the plate,’ to develop new and advanced uses for locally grown food while supporting Manitoba’s agricultural and food industry through applied research,” says RRC President Paul Vogt (shown above, with The Pretzel Place owner Sue Leclair).

“This partnership with The Pretzel Place is just one of many delicious examples of new product creation and culinary creativity at work in our community.”

The CR&I program is housed within RRC’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, allowing researchers to tap into the knowledge of accomplished chef instructors, and to recruit students to work on applied research projects with industry.

The program was first launched in 2014, and has increased its activities with help from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). To date, the program has been involved in over 40 industry projects with organizations such as the Manitoba Pulse and Soy Growers, Granny’s Poultry, Piccola Cucina, and MS Prebiotic Inc. Read More →

Pressure cooker: RRC instructor and former student to face the heat together at national culinary contest

June 7, 2018

Chef Gordon Bailey, Red River CollegeNext week, Culinary Arts instructor Chef Gordon Bailey will return to his old stomping grounds in P.E.I., to represent Manitoba at the senior level of the Canadian Culinary Federation’s national competition.

And while the contest is sure to be the usual high-pressure affair, Bailey says the most exciting part so far has been coaching his junior representative — former Red River College student Argie Garcia.

An RRC instructor since 2013, Bailey describes Garcia as a gifted person who cares about his cooking, has a solid work ethic, and performs well under pressure.

“Cooking is about listening to the environment and the food,” says Bailey (shown above), who in 1999 moved from Winnipeg to Charlottetown, where he opened Lot 30, one of P.E.I.’s most celebrated restaurants.

“Food is something where your passion can be distinctly read through the taste and presentation of your plate. A good cook can put their personal story in it, and [Garcia] does that.”

This year’s competition also takes place in Charlottetown, as part of the Culinary Federation’s 55th annual national conference. The contest consists of a Black Box Challenge — similar to the Mystery Box Challenge on TV’s MasterChef — in which competitors from each province will be given 15 minutes to create a menu using a batch of secret ingredients and pantry staples, and an hour to prepare and plate their servings. Read More →

Manitoba music icon Ray St. Germain to receive Honorary Diploma from RRC

June 5, 2018

Ray St. GermainA household name across the Prairies, Ray St. Germain will be recognized this week with an Honorary Diploma from Red River College.

An award-winning producer, host and entertainer on more than 600 TV and radio programs — including Big Sky Country, Rhythms of the Métis, and the 1969 variety series Time for Living — St. Germain’s engaging, creative and passionate storytelling style shines a spotlight on the history of Manitoba, while helping to build an understanding and appreciation of Métis culture across Canada.

Currently the host of NCI-FM Radio’s Métis Hour X2, St. Germain will attend this week’s Spring Convocation ceremony to accept an Honorary Diploma from RRC’s Creative Communication program.

“Ray is someone who embodies the values of Red River College and serves as an inspiration to many of the creative young people who are receiving their diplomas alongside him today,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.

“This is the highest honour given by Red River College, and is reserved for individuals who have achieved considerable success in their lives. We have tremendous respect for Ray, who has dedicated his life to sharing the stories of Métis people, and opened the door for others to do the same.” Read More →

Recipients of Spring 2018 Lt.-Gov.'s Medals for Proficiency announced

June 4, 2018

Congratulations to the most recent recipients of Red River College's Lieutenant-Governor's Medals for Proficiency, who'll receive their awards as part of our 2018 Spring Convocation ceremonies on June 5 and 6.

Each year, up to four Lt.-Gov.'s Medals are awarded to RRC students who best combine good character, academic and technical achievement, and involvement in College and/or community activities. This year's winners are:

Cheryl Janz — A May 2018 graduate of Red River College’s Disability and Community Support program, Cheryl Janz finds happiness in helping people.

Having worked in the disabilities services field for 20 years, Janz says being able to go back to school and improve her knowledge was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity she didn’t want to miss out on.

“I’m someone who believes in lifelong learning,” says Janz. “And what I’m taking away from completing the course is more knowledge and understanding. That’s something I can share with others and will make a positive change for the people I support.”

The structure of the program — theory, practical work experience, and self-reflection — is something that resonated with Janz.

“Because there’s people in the program coming from different organizations and experiences, you get to hear a variety of perspectives and ways of doing things,” she explains. “Each course had a self-reflection component where I could take what I learned and ask myself, ‘What I can change, why I do things the way I do, and how I can do better to inspire equality?’”

A mother of three, Janz says the decision to go back to school was one that was fully supported and encouraged by her family, and by her manager at enVision Community Living, an organization that provides services to persons with disabilities in Southeastern Manitoba.

“It’s been an adjustment for everybody but it’s worth it,” she says.

Outside the classroom, Janz spends time with her family as much as possible. When she’s not cheering on her kids at soccer matches, curling games or school events, you can find them volunteering together for Faith and Light, Variety Children’s Charity and the Circle of Hearts Family Support Network.

Felipe GomesFelipe Tadeu Matoso Gomes — Felipe Gomes always dreamed of moving to Canada to pursue his passion for business and creative marketing. Two years ago, that dream became a reality, when he packed his bags and moved to Winnipeg to enrol in the Business Administration program at Red River College.

Born and raised in Recife, a city in Northeast Brazil, the 27-year old was working as an engineer when he deciding to switch countries and careers.

“I spent a lot of time researching different schools and various business programs,” says Gomes. “I’ve always had a passion for marketing, but I wanted to find a program where I could learn the basics and have an opportunity to explore the various fields of business. RRC’s Business Administration program stood out to me as a program where I could test my general knowledge and get a sense of what I really liked before majoring.”

Gomes recalls being overwhelmed with the support he received from instructors, classmates and the larger College community.

“My dream has always been to work in a creative industry, but I had doubts this would be possible because English is not my first language,” he says. “My reservations quickly went away once I began my studies. The program provided me with the knowledge, experience, support and confidence that I needed to succeed.” Read More →

New bursaries announced to support Indigenous students

May 31, 2018

Indigenous Graduation Pow Wow 2018Today, as part of its first Indigenous Education Open House, Red River College has announced it will provide financial support for up to 85 students enrolled in one of five new academic programs being launched this fall.

Offered in partnership with Indspire, a leading national Indigenous charity, RRC’s new School of Indigenous Education Award will cover the full cost of tuition, books and supplies for students enrolled in one of the following new academic programs:

“Red River College is working to create a seamless flow of wrap-around supports for aspiring Indigenous students, to help increase enrolment and graduation rates across the College,” says Rebecca Chartrand, RRC’s Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy. “These bursaries will help remove the existing financial barriers that many of our learners face.

“We are proud to partner with Indspire, (a group that) recognizes the important work we are doing as a College and has made an investment in a bright future for Indigenous students in our community.”

Supporting Indigenous student success is one of the key pillars of RRC’s five-year strategic plan. Through this initiative, the College will continue increasing access to post-secondary education for Indigenous learners in Manitoba.

“This partnership is another step in the direction of transforming education for our youth so they can in turn transform their families, communities and Canada,” says Roberta Jamieson, President and CEO of Indspire. “We are grateful for the support of Red River College and for the work they are doing to advance Indigenous achievement and education.”

Indigenous students who’d like to learn more about available programs and supports are invited to attend the Indigenous Education Open House, which runs from 1–7pm today (May 31), at the Notre Dame Campus.

Portage Campus recognized as chimney swift champion

May 30, 2018

RRC Chimney Swift ChampionsRed River College’s Portage Campus has a vacancy for some feathered friends.

For its efforts in restoring an old chimney to create a hospitable habitat for birds, RRC has been presented with the Swift Champion award from the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative (MCSI). Over the summer of 2017, two swifts were spotted using the chimney a number of times, indicating the restoration was a success.

“We’re honoured to accept the Swift Champion award and to continue our role in protecting the chimney swifts,” says Guy Moffat, Portage Campus Manager. “It’s been amazing to see the work our facilities team has put in to restoring the chimney, and to be able to witness the swifts flying in and out of their summer home. Part of RRC’s Strategic Plan includes fostering sustainable growth – not just for the College, but for the entire province. This is just one way we contribute.”

Chimney Swift in flightThe chimney swift is a small brown bird, often described as a “cigar with wings,” that enjoys roosting and breeding in brick chimneys. The species’ population has declined significantly in Canada since the 1970s and is now listed on both the provincial and federal Species at Risk registries.

When a volunteer from MCSI noticed upgrades being made to the Portage Campus chimney in 2016, they let the College know it had been identified as a designated chimney swift habitat.

That awareness resulted in changes to the original repair plans, which would have closed off the chimney with a metal cap. Now the top of the brick chimney remains intact, with an opening that allows swifts to enter and roost. The College’s efforts also ensure toxic gases won’t collect in the nesting area. Read More →

Open door policy: Health Information Management instructor nabs Teaching Award of Excellence

May 29, 2018

She’s going out on a high note.

When Eileen Oleski retires next year, she can rest assured she’s had a positive impact on her students. The coordinator of Red River College’s Health Information Management program is the recipient of this year’s RRC Students’ Association Teaching Award of Excellence.

Each spring, the RRCSA recognizes an instructor for their outstanding teaching practices and dedication to students. In the nomination submission that led to this year's honour, Oleski’s students praise her knowledge of subject material, her fun and flexible style of teaching and her eagerness to go the extra mile.

“Eileen always made sure her door was open to students,” one student wrote. “She often reminded [us] that if we ever needed extra help or guidance, she would always be there to make sure we succeed. I personally have taken her up on this offer and am glad I did. Eileen gave me the boost of confidence I needed.”

Oleski, who has taught at RRC since 2008, says her enthusiasm for the program comes directly from her students.

“They say I inspire them, well, they really inspire me,” she says. “You’re in the classroom, it’s all about them and their future. I always say, ‘I just set the foundation.’ The rest is theirs to build and take to where they want to go. The possibilities are there.”

Eileen Oleski, RRC Convocation 2018A certified HIM professional through the Canadian Health Information Management Association, she earned her B.A. in Allied Health Sciences from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, worked in HIM roles at Seven Oaks General Hospital from 1981 to 2003, and was a health record consultant for the Manitoba government before arriving at RRC.

“I still do a lot of networking with a lot of my colleagues from my past, ensuring that the industry standards are being adhered to,” Oleski says. “We’re trying to teach the students what’s currently out there, and with technology changing, we’re constantly changing here, as well.” Read More →

Province to provide free access to SECD resources for early years practitioners and students

May 18, 2018

SECD ManitobaThe province will cover licensing fees to provide students and professionals across Manitoba with free access to the Science of Early Child Development (SECD), a suite of online learning resources developed by Red River College.

SECD includes regularly updated living textbooks and modules that offer current research and links to practice through a convenient online portal, accessible via computer, tablet and smartphone.

“We are making a first-of-its-kind investment in the early years fields in Manitoba to increase professional development opportunities, encourage independent study, strengthen the sectors that work with children and families, and improve the quality of services for Manitoba families,” says Families Minister Scott Fielding.

“Living textbooks are a cost-effective way to continually expand knowledge and provide educational opportunities to everyone involved in the sector.”

The province will provide $365,000 to RRC through the Canada-Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the federal government, opening up province-wide access for two living textbooks and three additional modules.

This will eliminate the license fee currently required to register, which will benefit hundreds of students and teaching staff, as well as early learning and child-care professionals, family child-care providers, teachers, public health staff, community organizations and any Manitobans interested in the impact of early experience on lifelong health and well-being. RRC will oversee the initiative and report to government on annual usage.

Read More →

Challenge accepted: Academic coordinator strives for personal bests — in the classroom and beyond

May 7, 2018

Michael Whalen, Red River CollegeBe it academic or athletic, Michael Whalen is always up for a challenge.

Whalen is the academic coordinator of the Related Math and Science department, teaching into the various trades at Red River College. He’s also an avid cyclist and cross-country skier, going to great lengths to put himself to the test.

The 57-year-old says sport has had an influence on his scholastic style.

“I expect that everyone is in class to do well and work together, and has that common goal of performing to their best,” he explains.

“One of my mottoes is that ‘Every student deserves to be challenged.’ Whether it’s the weakest in the class who is challenged just to meet the standard, or someone who is more gifted and could easily meet the standard. I try to push them too, by giving them more advanced problems.”

Originally from Montreal, Whalen started teaching at RRC in 1996, after earning a B.P.E. in Physical Education from the University of New Brunswick and a M.Sc. in Biomechanics from the University of Manitoba.

For about a decade, he taught a health and wellness course to students in the College’s Community Services programs, while also running Recreation Services programs. Facing a reduced role due to restructuring of the Community Services programs, Whalen applied for an instructor position in the Related Math and Science department, and landed it. Read More →