A Red River College grad burned rubber and blazed a new trail over the weekend, becoming the first Canadian woman to win a NASCAR-sanctioned race.
Amber Balcaen (Business Administration, 2013) drove her No. 10 Lee Pulliam Performance car straight into the history books Saturday night, pulling from the pack to capture the checkered flag at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia.
The 24-year-old had previously found success on the local dirt track circuit, becoming the first woman in Manitoba to win a championship and carrying on the family tradition established by her father and grandfather, both accomplished racers in their own right.
Saturday’s win came during the second-last race of Balcaen’s rookie season on U.S. pavement, and bumped her to a third-place seat in the overall point standings. She’s earned top-five rankings in 10 out of 13 races this season, including podium finishes in the Limited Sportsman class of NASCAR’s Whelen All-America Series.
In a 2014 interview for RRC’s Going Places blog, Balcaen said her college experience gives her an edge over some of her racing-world competitors, especially when it comes to marketing herself and securing sponsorships.
“Not only is racing a sport, but it’s almost like a business where you need to be that full package,” she said then. “You need to be able to speak to people, you need to be professional, and then on the driving side of things, you need to be physically fit so you’re a good driver.”
Read more about Balcaen’s road to NASCAR.
A recent marketing campaign that gave Red River College grads the VIP treatment has been recognized by the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS).
Last week, the CPRS announced RRC’s 2015 billboard campaign had won the 2016 Manitoba Communicator of the Year (Large Campaign) Award.
Launched last spring by RRC’s Marketing and Web Presence team, the campaign built on the success of previous alumni-focused promotions, by inviting industry partners to collaborate with RRC in showcasing the range of organizations where graduates find employment.
Employers were invited to nominate VIPs from within their organization, then shared a portion of the costs to promote their employees’ success on billboards, bus benches, transit ads and a range of other print and digital media.
With help from RRC’s Alumni Relations office, the pool of respondents was narrowed down to 40 VIPs from a variety of fields, whose images were featured on a series of highly visible ads. In addition to achieving its primary goals (raising the College’s profile, strengthening connections with industry, positioning RRC as a solution to Manitoba’s skilled labour shortage, etc.), the new campaign also generated nearly $40,000 in new revenue.
The College and the winner in the Small Campaign category (the Canadian Museum for Human Rights) will be honoured at an awards presentation and gala on May 4 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
Tickets to the gala are available here.
Congratulations to the inaugural recipients of Red River College’s Seven Generations Award, which provides the means to create seamless educational pathways for the next seven generations of learners.
Launched last fall by RRC’s Aboriginal Student Support & Community Relations team, the $500 awards are available to any Indigenous student who’s the descendant or dependent of an RRC alum. This year’s winners are:
Raven Boulanger, a first-year Community Development/Community Economic Development student. Raven is the daughter of Marcel Boulanger, who graduated from the Aboriginal Language Specialist program in 2003, and Jacqueline Anderson, who graduated from the Criminology and Child and Youth Care programs in 1996.
Raven is an Anishinabe from Berens River First Nation, who graduated from Winnipeg Collegiate in 2011. She attended the University of Winnipeg, where she played on the women’s basketball team — her love for the game led her to play for Team Manitoba in the North American Indigenous Games, where she later returned as a volunteer youth basketball coach.
Raven remains highly involved in the community as a volunteer; her first job was a team leader at the Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre’s summer sports camps, where she developed a passion for coaching youth. She is now the coach for the Anishinabe Pride girls youth basketball team, and also plays for the RRC Rebels.
In addition, she’s a member of the Aboriginal Support Centre’s R-Crew, volunteering her time to take part in Aboriginal student-focused events and planning.
Tanya Vincent, a full-time student in RRC’s Applied Accounting program. Tanya s the daughter of Loraine Trudeau, who graduated from the College’s Library Technician program in 1992.
Tanya is a Métis Franco-Manitoban and the mother of three children; her efforts to continue her academic journey by returning to school are supported by her husband.
In her spare time, Tanya sews beadwork and creates beautiful mukluks, moccasins and gauntlets. She also volunteers at her community church, Paroisse des Saints-Martyrs-Canadiens, as an instructor for the catechism class.
Jeremy Torrie is running a gauntlet every filmmaker knows. He’s pulling together the fine cut of Juliana & The Medicine Fish, his adaptation of Jake Macdonald’s beloved bestselling young adult novel.
There are thousands of takes from this past autumn’s work with stars Adam Beach and Emma Tremblay to comb through, and agonizing choices to face. Does he use the shot where Beach’s dialogue was note-perfect, or the one with the best lighting? When should he cut from one shot to the next? Is there a way to reclaim the out-of-focus footage?
“Those are the compromises you make,” Torrie says of the labour of love, which leans on his talents as writer, director and producer. “Films are not perfect – they’re a microcosm of anything and everything happening during prep, production, post-production… Most people don’t care about the behind-the-scenes stuff, but those are the things you have to deal with in the industry and hopefully come out on top of.”
It’s exactly the sort of industry insider insight — coupled with storytelling craft — that Torrie imparts to students taking Red River College’s AV Short Video Production course, and to those enrolled in the three-month Enhanced Filmmaking Skills & Techniques certificate course, offered in partnership with the Adam Beach Film Institute.
The fusion of art and business savvy is critical, Torrie says, for young filmmakers hoping to go on to full careers.
“Just because it’s artistic doesn’t mean it’s not a business,” he explains. “That’s what someone like me can bring to the table: to allow for the appreciation it’s not just a story – the story is absolutely important – but beyond that, there is an entire industry.”
“When you’re able to bring real business experience to a teaching setting, you’re going to set people up for success.” Read More →
Congratulations to the latest recipients of Red River College’s Lieutenant-Governor’s Medals for Proficiency, which will be awarded tonight and tomorrow as part of our Winter Convocation ceremonies.
Each year, up to four medals are awarded to RRC students who best combine good character, academic and technical achievement, and involvement in College and community activities. This year’s winners are: Read More →
Congratulations to Red River College grad Dan Blair, who was named one of the Future Leaders of Manitoba at last night’s awards gala.
Blair, who completed RRC’s Business Information Technology program in 2015, took the top spot in the FLM’s 20-25 category, where he faced competition from both the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba.
A self-described technology entrepreneur, Blair has launched several companies since graduating from RRC, including Bit Space Development Ltd. — a local consulting firm that helps small- and medium-sized businesses explore and implement such technologies as virtual reality, 3D printing and modern frameworks — and PanoPla, a new Innovation Alley startup that helps businesses, realtors and schools share virtual tours and other VR content.
A regular presence at educational conferences like SAGE (Special Area Groups of Educators) and EdCampWpg, Blair also works with local schools to bring 3D printing, virtual reality and single board computing into the classroom.
As well, he supports and organizes a number of community-based groups, including Winnipeg Android (a user group for Android developers and students), Winnipeg Web and Mobile Developers, Kids Code Winnipeg and Ramp Up Weekend. He was a finalist in Innovate Manitoba’s Pitch Day 2015 competition, and one of the winners of Ramp Up Weekend 7 last spring.
While still a student at RRC, Blair earned a number of recognitions, including the Co-operative Education Manitoba (CEM) Co-op Student of the Year Award in 2014. More recently, he’s been working with RRC’s Accounting and Computer Education (ACE) department, to mentor students and help build a project space where they can work with local startups to build their skills and learn more about business and technology.
A former Red River College student with ties to both TSN and CTV Sports was inducted into the Manitoba Media Roll of Honour this month, for his dedicated service in sports journalism.
CTV Winnipeg sports director Shawn Churchill, a 1993 graduate of RRC’s Creative Communications program, was inducted on Jan. 22 at the 60th annual Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association awards dinner.
Born in Saskatoon, Churchill enrolled at RRC after earning his Bachelor of Arts degree. He got his start in TV news working at a small station in Dauphin, eventually making his way to CKX in Brandon, then MTN (now City-TV) and CTV Winnipeg.
In 2004, he began working as a reporter for TSN; over the years, his career has found him covering multiple Grey Cups, World Curling Championships, Pan Am Games and the Memorial Cup.
Churchill wasn’t the only CreComm grad recognized at this year’s MSSA dinner. Current CreComm student Danielle Doiron received the Jack Matheson Memorial Award, named in honour of the former Winnipeg Tribune and CJOB commentator, and established to provide financial support to sports media aspirants.
A cabinetmaking instructor from Red River College has won a prestigious provincial training honour from Apprenticeship Manitoba.
Todd Birtwhistle received this year’s Instructor of the Year honour at the Manitoba Apprenticeship Awards of Distinction, which recognize excellence in training and education.
An employee at the college for the last eight years (and himself an alum of RRC’s Apprenticeship Cabinetmaker program), Birtwhistle picked up the award at a reception in Winnipeg on Nov. 5.
His students describe him as an excellent instructor who enables apprentices to develop technical skills and self-motivation by giving them the tools and information they need to succeed, while also allowing them to make mistakes and supporting them when they take on increasingly complex tasks.
In addition, he encourages his students to strive for excellence and to take responsibility for their own learning, while always being there to assist and answer questions.
Birtwhistle (shown above, working with Grade 9 students during RRC’s Take Our Kids to Work Day) is known for regularly arriving early to open the Carpentry shop for his class, and for staying late to help students master difficult concepts or tasks. Read More →
Applications are still being accepted for the College’s new Seven Generations Award, available to any Indigenous student who’s the descendant (or dependent) of an RRC alum.
Launched last fall by RRC’s Aboriginal Student Support & Community Relations team, the award seeks to create a seamless educational pathway for the next seven generations of learners. Two awards worth $500 each are available each year.
Application requirements include:
- Must be a full-time student (and provide enrolment/registration letter)
- Must be of Aboriginal ancestry
- Must fill out a general RRC awards application
- Must submit a 500-word essay, which includes an explanation of your relationship to the RRC grad in question, as well as a description of your career goals, community involvement and cultural awareness
Application packages can be dropped off at RRC’s Aboriginal Centre (F209, Notre Dame Campus). The deadline for submissions is Fri., Oct. 30.
For more information, please contact Joan Machendagoos at 204.632.2363 or email@example.com.
Shown above: Recent RRC grad Tynan Selkirk (at left) joins his father, fellow RRC grad Rob Selkirk, in announcing the launch of the Seven Generations Award at an Aboriginal alumni event in 2014.