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Business and Technology students partner with local law firm to create web app for low-income clients

November 21, 2017

BA and ACE students with Evans Family LawIt’s being billed as the “TurboTax for law,” and Red River College students are helping to bring it to the web.

Students from the College’s Business Administration program and Applied Computer Education (ACE) department have partnered with Winnipeg’s Evans Family Law Corporation, to develop an interview-based web application that allows users to access and fill out basic family law documents themselves.

In the works since last year, the app is slated to be built and brought online by RRC students sometime in 2018.

“Access to justice, particularly in family law, has been recognized as a serious issue with the legal community for some time,” says Business instructor George Allen. “It is believed the kind of technology this project is looking to implement could play an important role in addressing some of the access issues inherent in the current system.”

Allen says the project would be designed to provide Manitobans with access to court forms using intelligent documents, and to use an interview-style dialogue process for gathering client data — much like TurboTax does to complete federal and provincial tax forms.

The prospect of saving thousands of dollars in legal fees could be particularly attractive to the large number of working Canadians for whom the ability to retain a lawyer is out of reach due to costs.

“If you’re working and you’re making a certain level of income, and you have a divorce proceeding or a wills and estate issue, you won’t qualify for Legal Aid because you make too much money or you own property,” says Allen (shown above, fourth from right). “You may also be in a situation where paying $300 an hour for a lawyer is really a hardship, or even out of the question.”

“An uncontested divorce or separation is really a straightforward process that most paralegals would normally be doing under the guidance and underwriting of a lawyer. So we’re looking at taking those forms and that process and providing it at a low cost to this particular population that otherwise likely wouldn’t have access to it.”

Greg Evans, principal at Evans Family Law, says the idea is to provide some of the same services already offered at Winnipeg’s Legal Help Centre, only for an online audience.

“People are much more used to having services provided online or through online websites and applications,” says Evans (shown above, second from right). “It’s an idea that takes a look at what potentially might be the wave of the future, particularly with simple legal documents.” Read More →

Nursing students win big at international skills competition in Shanghai

November 20, 2017

Shanghai International Nursing Skills Competition 2017A pair of Red River College Nursing students have returned home from an international skills competition with some well-deserved hardware and a greater sense of pride in their work.

Second-year student Elyse Griffith (shown above, third from left) and third-year student Rachel Rubin (holding flag) took first place amongst international student competitors, and earned a silver medal overall, at the seventh annual International Nursing Skills Competition in Shanghai, China, earlier this month.

“Being able to participate in this competition was an incredible experience, and I know I will be a better nurse for having participated,” says Rubin. “I was proud of how we represented RRC on an international level and showed what our students are capable of. It was a great opportunity to learn more about nursing in other countries and see the strengths of the participating students from all around the world.”

This year marked the first time RRC sent a team to the competition, which is hosted by the Shanghai University of Medicine and Health Sciences (SUMHS) in cooperation with the Shanghai Nursing Education Group. To earn their medal, Griffith and Rubin faced off against 15 student teams from around the world— all testing their abilities to assess and react and perform various medical procedures in a series of simulated medical situations. Read More →

Culinary Arts grad takes top honours at Gold Medal Plates competition

November 9, 2017

Mike Robins, Gold Medal Plates 2017For the second year in a row, a Red River College grad has taken the top prize at an annual competition showcasing the local culinary scene’s best and brightest.

Chef Mike Robins (Culinary Arts, 2010), of Osborne Village eatery Sous Sol, claimed the prime podium spot at this year’s Gold Medal Plates competition in Winnipeg. He now advances to the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna.

Robins edged out the competition with a perfectly seared scallop dish that judges described as “so simple [and] so delicious” — though they went on to concede the rest of the elements on his plate were anything but basic.

“Headlining in terms of umami-saturated flavour was a superb sauce — a beurre blanc made from a dashi broth and enriched with miso, [Robins’] homemade Dijon-style mustard, lemon, wine, and the liquor from the raw scallops,” reads a rave posted to the event’s blog site.

“Button-sized slices of zucchini, pickled in apple cider and cider vinegar flavoured with turmeric and mustard, stood upon dots of puréed carrot. A half teaspoonful of pickled mustard seed was carefully judged — not too tangy — while fresh dill fronds and a cool herb oil made with sorrel, dill and chives brought a little chlorophyll to the party.

Mike Robins' seared scallop dish“Potato also featured, but in a most unexpected way. They had been put through a Chinese turning slicer, emerging like string, which [Robins] dyed black with cuttlefish ink, wrapped around a cannoli tube and then deep-fried into crispy spirals.”

Each year in cities across the country, Gold Medal Plates regional events find chefs battling each other and the clock — with just 90 minutes to prepare and serve their culinary creations to a crowd of 600.

Dishes are then judged by a panel of food critics and culinary experts. This year’s judges included RRC’s Jeff Gill (Director, Food Services), former College staffer and MasterChef Canada contestant Mike Green, and last year’s regional winner, Culinary Arts alum Jeremy Friesen, of Pizzeria Gusto.

The events also double as a fundraiser for the Canadian Olympic Foundation, which supports the technical, scientific, medical and coaching needs of Canada’s athletes.

The national competition takes place Feb. 2 and 3, 2018.

Photo credits: Peg City Grub/Mike Green

Instructors showcase emerging classroom technology with 'early adopters' from across Manitoba

October 20, 2017

RRC's Jon Ferber (centre), showcases drone technologyWhiteboards and overhead projectors are some of the things that come to mind when the average person imagines a classroom — but that image is quickly changing. Today, educators from across Manitoba are at Red River College learning how they can incorporate new and emerging technologies — including drones, video games and virtual reality — in their classrooms.

“These are the early adopters,” says Dr. Eva Brown, Emerging Technology instructor for RRC’s Teacher Education department. “Our goal with this [workshop] is twofold: to prepare educators for the expectations and learning styles of their students, and to show how educators can prepare learners for what is in front of them.”

“Today’s learners are more familiar with technology than a pen and paper. Their pen and paper is a tablet or a computer. We need to embrace technology as a mechanism for engagement and 21st century learning.”

The workshop was developed by Brown and fellow instructor Daryl McRae — along with new media technician Jonathan Ferber, from the College’s eTV Learning Technologies media lab — in partnership with the Manitoba Association of Computer Educators, as part of a year-long project supported by RRC’s Program Innovation Fund.

Focusing on emerging drone technology, the team members have been researching feasibility, interest, regulations and legalities — while also becoming certified drone pilots themselves — to assist in the development of drone-based curriculum at the College.

Rounding out the roster are RRC media technicians Murray Toews and Dylan Smitzniuk, who’ll lead the virtual reality and games components of today’s workshop.

“Evolving education is about sharing knowledge,” says Norm Gould, President of the Manitoba Teacher's Society. “Today, teachers are attending different workshops across the province to learn new skills and will share that knowledge in their classrooms, at their schools and across their divisions.

“The fact is that most students in the K-12 system have grown up with technology in their hands. It's important for us as educators to understand technology and adapt it to our lessons to meet the needs of our students.” Read More →

Inaugural Hospitality Homecoming set to celebrate alumni achievements, prep current students for success

October 16, 2017

Jane's restaurant, Paterson GlobalFoods InstituteYou’ve heard the phrase ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’? Well, for one day next month, the more cooks, the better.

On Tue., Nov. 7, the College’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts will host its first Homecoming Dinner for graduates of the Culinary Arts, Professional Baking and Patisserie, and Hospitality and Tourism Management programs.

The event will celebrate the achievements of the school’s alumni, while raising money for the Student Travel Opportunity Fund, which helps Baking and Culinary Arts students compete in national and international competitions, and provides Hospitality and Tourism Management students with opportunities to enhance their skills through travel.

Recently, the Fund allowed two Baking students to attend a four-week-long course in Germany, and six Culinary Arts students to participate in the Cook the Books competition in Toronto.

“Participating in competitions motivates students to strengthen their technical skills, learn new techniques and practice at elevated skill levels,” says Karen McDonald, Chair of Hospitality and Culinary Arts at RRC.

“Our programs are strengthened when students can participate in high-level competitions, and bring back new skills they’re eager to share in the culinary labs. Similarly, students in Hospitality and Tourism programs benefit from educational travel by experiencing local cultures.”

 Read More →

College engineering team to watch sparks (and SpaRRCky) fly at international eco-marathon

October 4, 2017

RRC Shell Eco-Marathon teamA rush of electricity will race through Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus this winter.

For nearly two years, a team of students from the College’s Electrical Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology programs have been meeting every Wednesday to design and build a battery-electric race car.

This April, the vehicle will make its raceway debut at the Shell Eco-Marathon in Sonoma, California, where it’ll compete against more than 1,000 student-made cars from high schools, colleges and universities across North and South America.

The RRC team’s goal? To build the car that can go the furthest distance while using the least amount of energy.

This morning, students offered a sneak peek of their work to RRC President Paul Vogt, while officially announcing the car’s name: SpaRRCky.

“This is one of the best examples of applied learning,” says Vogt. “When you combine industry-led training with highly motivated students and faculty expertise, you can achieve great things. I am very proud that our College is a place where we can turn vision into reality, and I can’t wait to see how our racer performs in California.”

Students can enter the competition in one of two vehicle categories: Prototype, which challenges teams to enter futuristic-looking vehicles with maximized efficiency, or UrbanConcept, which focuses on practical road designs.

For both categories, teams can use any of seven official energy sources, including conventional fuels such as gasoline and diesel, or alternative fuels such as hydrogen, ethanol, gas-to-liquid (GTL), compressed natural gas (CNG), and battery electric technologies. Read More →

Painting a picture: College to host art exhibit depicting realities of mental illness

October 2, 2017

Artbeat Studio exhibit

Red River College will play host to an exhibition from Artbeat Studio this week, providing staff and students with opportunities to see and understand the realities of mental illness.

Running Tue., Oct. 3 at the Notre Dame Campus, and Thu., Oct. 5, at the Roblin Centre downtown, the exhibit is one of several events planned to mark Mental Illness Awareness Week, the aim of which is to raise awareness of — and reduce the stigma surrounding — mental health-related issues.

“As a post-secondary institution focused on the health and well-being of staff and students, the College believes Mental Illness Awareness Week is an important initiative to be engaged in,” says Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator at RRC.

“Our priority is to create opportunities for the entire College community to learn more about mental health through education, and to foster a safe, responsive and supportive environment in which to talk about mental illness and how it impacts those we study and work with.”

Other events taking place this week include a presentation on strategies for coping with anxiety (delivered by the Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba), and another on schizophrenia and psychosis, delivered by the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society.

This year’s programming expands on previous efforts to raise awareness of the many community supports available to staff and students, among them Artbeat Studio, a peer-directed, recovery-oriented program providing studio space and mentorship to artists living with mental illnesses. Read More →

Twist and shout: Paterson GlobalFoods Institute celebrates fifth anniversary with pretzel-making tutorial

September 22, 2017

Susanne Gessler, Paul Vogt and Brian Bowman, Paterson GlobalFoods Institute 5th anniversaryMayor Brian Bowman and Red River College President Paul Vogt joined students from RRC’s Professional Baking and Patisserie program this morning to mark the five-year anniversary of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute with a friendly pretzel-making bake-off.

The two were assisted by Suzanne Gessler, proud RRC graduate and owner of The Pennyloaf Bakery, a small-batch artisanal shop on Corydon. Gessler coached Bowman and Vogt while sharing her experiences as a baker and business owner — one who set aside her career as a civil servant to attend RRC’s Exchange District culinary school.

Gessler is one of more than 600 graduates who’ve passed through the doors of PGI since it became the new home to RRC’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts in 2012.

“Today we celebrate not only the tremendous impact the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute has had on education in our city, but also the positive impact of the College’s expansion into the Exchange District,” says Vogt.

“Restoring heritage buildings and bringing thousands of students and staff to the area has sparked new economic activity and helped revitalize this iconic community.”

Before its restoration, PGI was home to the Union Bank Tower, Winnipeg’s first and oldest skyscraper — and at one time, the tallest building in Canada. Today, the LEED Gold-certified building houses RRC’s culinary, hospitality and baking programs, as well as the College’s first-ever student residence, which is running at full capacity this year.

PGI is a key component of RRC’s Exchange District Campus, which also includes the nearby Roblin Centre on Princess Street. The campus will soon undergo a massive expansion with the construction of a 100,000-square foot Innovation Centre. Fundraising efforts supporting the new state-of-the-art facility are now underway.

“Red River College continues to be a strong anchor and foundation supporting the growth and revitalization of our downtown and the Exchange District,” says Bowman. “It’s great to celebrate the five-year anniversary of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, a building that continues to help foster round-the-clock activity, and it’s great to see people increasingly recognizing the Exchange as a place to visit, live and spend money.” Read More →

RRC celebrates 30-year partnership with China’s Shenyang Institute of Engineering

September 19, 2017

Delegation from Shenyang Institute, at Notre Dame CampusWhat began as an English language training partnership 30 years ago has grown into an opportunity for students in Northern China’s industrial centre to harness advanced skills in three top industries.

This week, delegates from the Shenyang Institute of Engineering (SIE) are visiting Red River College to continue growing that relationship, and to tour the Exchange District Campus and the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. The delegates were greeted at the Notre Dame Campus Monday morning by RRC President Paul Vogt.

The relationship between the two institutions began in 1987, when RRC and SIE exchanged staff and faculty to offer English language training in Northern China.

Since 2010, students in Shenyang have been able to enrol in joint degree programs for Electrical Engineering Technology, Power Engineering Technology, and Hospitality and Tourism Management. These students have the option of completing the three-year programs entirely in Shenyang — with curriculum provided by RRC — or they can complete their first two years of study in China and travel to Winnipeg for the final year.

The partnership has grown steadily since its early days, with more than 1,000 Chinese students now enrolled for the 2017/2018 academic year.

“It’s connections like this that put Red River College, and Winnipeg, on the map as a hub for the engineering and hospitality industries,” says Vogt. “The hands-on learning students receive is crucial to their success and we’re happy to be able share that with our partners in Shenyang.” Read More →

Rattling pans: RRC chefs doing culinary battle in support of CancerCare Manitoba

September 19, 2017

Claire Snowball, Red River College chefA pair of Red River College chefs will go head-to-head against some of the culinary community’s best this weekend, serving up on-the-fly creations while raising money for a worthy cause.

Representing RRC’s Food Services department, Claire Snowball and Jon Royal are among eight teams of competitors taking part in Kitchen Kumite: Clash of Pans, a culinary battle of innovation, passion and speed being held to benefit CancerCare Manitoba.

The Iron Chef-style event takes place at the Kitchen Sync on Donald Street, where chefs will attempt to create the best dish using different surprise ingredients from each competition. The quarter-finals take place this Sun., Sept. 24, while the semi-finals and finals will be held Sun., Oct. 1.

As is often the case in local competitions of these kind, Snowball (shown above) and Royal will be competing against a number of fellow RRC graduates, including Paul Eccles (Clementine), Mike Robins (Sous Sol), Jackie Hildebrand and Alex Poitras (Hy’s Steakhouse), Jeremy Senaris (MasterChef Canada runner-up), Mark Sobervinas (Fruit by the Slice), Matty Neufeld (Pine Ridge Hollow), and Stephen Strecker (ERA Bistro).

The event is the brainchild of local chef Allan Pineda (Baon Craft Lumpia, Baon Manila Nights), also a Culinary Arts grad from 2006.

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