DC journalism student Tara Sottile earns double work-integrated learning awards

Tara Sottile, a second-year student in the Durham College (DC) Journalism – Mass Media program, has been named a Work-integrated Learning (WIL) Student of the Year at both the provincial and national level.

On March 11, Education at Work Ontario (EWO) announced Sottile as their 2019 WIL Student of the Year. EWO awards the honour to students “who have showcased exceptional job accomplishment, extra-curricular involvement, academic achievement and a strong contribution to work-integrated learning.”

On March 16, Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada) announced Sottile as the WIL Student of the Year in the category of Other Forms of WIL – College. She was one of only four students to be honoured by CEWIL Canada out of more than 40 competitive nominations.

Sottile was put forward by DC’s Experiential Learning team with the support of partner organization Students Offering Support (SOS). Among the highlights flagged by the college were her leadership skills, professional expertise, initiative and creativity, which she demonstrated in particular while participating in an education abroad opportunity in Guatemala, where she worked on a digital storytelling project with local youth.

“Tara has demonstrated the transformative influence that work-integrated learning can have on students,” said Amanda Brown, manager, Experiential Learning, with the college’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “Through service learning experience, she has transformed from a passive-observer to an engaged learner and confident student journalist. She now takes advantage of every opportunity to try new experiences and expand her skills.”

Sottile was also commended for being a champion of WIL at DC, especially international service learning, through her advocacy for expanded WIL opportunities and mentorship of first-year students.

“Tara’s support of work-integrated learning is now contributing to the expansion of similar experiential-learning opportunities between SOS and DC in other areas of study,” said Jamie Arron, executive director of SOS.

In each of their announcements, EWO and CEWIL Canada highlighted Sottile’s passion for writing, broadcast and video production. In addition to her regular studies, she is a radio tech at the student-run campus radio station, Riot Radio, as well as a regular contributor to DC’s campus newspaper, The Chronicle.

Inspired by her WIL experiences gained through her academic program, Sottile is focused on pursuing a career in radio broadcasting after graduating.


REDress Campus Campaign urges move from awareness to action

Awareness has been achieved; now it is time for action.

This was the dominant message of the REDress Campus Campaign at Durham College (DC), a week-long series of events focused on the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirited People (MMIWG2S).

Led by the First Peoples Indigenous Centre (FPIC) at DC and Indigenous Education and Cultural Services at Ontario Tech University, the campaign also brought together community partners including the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, Carea Community Health Centre, The Nourish and Develop Foundation and DC Students Inc.

The week began with the reveal of an installation of red dresses across the college and university’s shared Oshawa campus, each dress symbolizing someone taken by the MMIWG2S crisis. In addition to the dress installation, events were held each day from February 10 to 14, culminating with a memorial march and closing ceremony feast on Friday afternoon.

The campaign was inspired by Métis artist Jaime Black’s The REDress Project, an aesthetic response to the MMIWG2S crisis, which is now a permanent exhibit in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Much like Black’s project, the red dresses installed across DC and Ontario Tech’s shared campus, Ontario Tech’s downtown Oshawa location, and DC’s Whitby campus and Pickering Learning Site, served as a visual reminder of the staggering number of MMIWG2S.

The REDress Campus Campaign included an opening ceremony featuring guest speaker Suzanne Smoke of Alderville First Nation, who is a Women’s Traditional Dancer, speaker, and facilitator, as well as an Anishinaabe Water Walker. On February 11, Kim Wheatley, an Anishinaabe Ojibway Grandmother from Shawanaga First Nation spoke about the connection between violence against women and violence against the land that is causing climate change.

On February 12, the First Peoples Indigenous Centre hosted an arts open house where participants could make a tile necklace to both commemorate MMIWG2S and celebrate the strength and future of Indigenous women, and take part in a traditional beading workshop.

One of the many highlights of the week included the special Global Class conversation held on February 13 between Jaime Black and Cree scholar Karyn Recollet. An associate professor with the University of Toronto’s Women & Gender Studies Institute, Professor Recollet brought the original REDress Project to her university’s downtown campus in 2017. The conversation between the women focused on their work in connection with the crisis of MMIWG2S. A group from the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation also provided a big drum performance to open and close the event.

DC welcomes more than 900 new international students to campus

This week Durham College (DC) welcomed more than 900 new international students from 65 countries to campus for the 2019-2020 academic year. To help prepare students for the year ahead, an International Student Orientation was held on August 28 at the Oshawa campus.

Dean of International Education, Lisa Shepard, kicked off the event by delivering welcome remarks and advice to international students as they embark on their journey in Canada, encouraging them to find a mentor, make friends and write their own story. Later, DC President Don Lovisa and Dr. Elaine Popp, vice-president, Academic, welcomed students on behalf of the entire college.

Throughout the day, students received guidance on the many services and supports available to them and how to prepare for post-secondary education. They also learned about their health insurance plan, banking in Canada, how to find part-time work and also gained valuable information about building a future in Canada.

The day also facilitated the development of new friendships through fun group activities and a photobooth. After the event students were invited to browse a mini student services fair from Durham College Students Inc., FastStart DC, Enactus DC, the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre, as well as informative booths about residence, cell phones, banking and more.

“For many of our new international students, this is their first time being outside of their home country, so it can be very overwhelming and nerve-wracking.” said Janine Knight-Grofe, manager, International Education. “Our International Student Orientation activities are designed to introduce students not only to life in Canada, but also to life as a member of our DC community, so that when they start classes next week they have all the tools they need to succeed.”

More than 2000 international students will be studying at DC for the 2019-2020 academic year. With additional students expected to arrive as the year gets underway, DC prides itself on offering international students the highest-quality Canadian education, a safe and vibrant campus environment and a fun and rewarding student life – with everything from clubs and cultural activities to sports and recreation – to balance studies with activities outside the classroom.

For more information, please visit the college’s International Education office website.

Durham College partnering with Coding for Veterans

Durham College (DC) is pleased to announce it is partnering with Coding for Veterans, a non-profit, industry-led initiative, to provide customized, accelerated online training in coding, programming and computer software skills through its School of Continuing Education.

Designed to equip retired Canadian military personnel with the skills required to enter and succeed in Canada’s technology-based workforce, the Coding for Veterans Durham College Certificate program provides veterans with sought-after skills in computer programming and web app development, augmented with learning about project management and organizational behavior to support the learners’ transition to civilian industry.

“We are very proud to be using our expertise and experience in offering online continuing education to support this vital initiative,” said Don Lovisa, president, Durham College. “In doing so, we are able to help Canadian veterans gain the skills they need to succeed in their lives after the military while also driving the innovation economy.”

Designed as an online-first organization, the ability to offer technical training regardless of location was imperative when Coding for Veterans was founded.

To register, email info@codingforveterans.com.

Students encouraged to “paws” and cuddle with therapy dogs on November 5

Durham College (DC) students have the opportunity to take a pause from their studies on Monday, November 5 for a quick cuddle session with therapy dogs in the Solace Centre at the Oshawa campus.

Held twice a month in partnership with St. John’s Ambulance, the Paws and Cuddle event allows students the chance to spend quality time with a few furry friends to reduce stress and improve well-being.

“Animal-assisted therapy offers a number of different emotional benefits to students,” says Heather Bickle, health promotion coordinator at the Solace Centre and organizer of the event. “It can lessen the symptoms of depression or anxiety, decrease feelings of homesickness, or just provide students with comfort during a stressful time. We’ve had great feedback from students who have found the event fun and helpful to their overall health.”

Students can drop in to the Solace Centre anytime between 4 and 6 p.m. on Monday, November 5 for a friendly visit with the therapy dogs. The next Paws and Cuddle event takes place on Friday, November 23 at the same time.

Programming offered through DC’s Solace Centre aims to empower students to intentionally engage in their wellness by fostering their development of resilience and grit. The centre offers a wide range of programming and supports, with an emphasis on holistic education, harm reduction, personal welfare and social justice, believing in the inherent worth and potential for growth in all individuals.

For more information on the Solace Centre and its programming, please visit www.durhamcollege.ca/solace

Student Orientation underway at Durham College

With the 2018-2019 academic year soon underway, Durham College (DC) is busy getting ready to welcome more than 7,100 first-year students to campus during its annual Orientation, which runs from September 4 to Thursday, September 13.

Designed to help first-year students acclimatize to college life, meet staff and faculty, explore student services and enjoy the college’s Oshawa and Whitby campuses, Orientation also provides students with an opportunity to learn more about program expectations and student clubs, all while developing new friendships.

“Orientation sets new students up for success by helping them establish a community of support on campus,” says Krista Licsi, student orientation and transitions co-ordinator, Office of Student Diversity, Inclusion and Transitions. “They can step out of their comfort zone to meet other first-year students, learn about their program and discover opportunities to get involved in campus activities, all of which will help them should they encounter any barriers while completing their program here at DC.”

This year’s Orientation includes over 25 activities to help introduce students to college life, including the First-year Fun Fair on September 4, followed by the men’s and women’s soccer teams in the 8th annual Campus Cup later in the day, pitting the DC Lords against the UOIT Ridgebacks.

New this year are a few activities, like the LGBTQ2+ Paint Night and Social on Wednesday, September 5, designed to help members of the campus LGBTQ2+ community make connections on campus; and the Black Student Success Network social event on Wednesday, September 5, providing students with opportunities for mentorship, wellness and social engagement.

For a full list of Orientation activities and more details please visit www.durhamcollege.ca/orientation.

Students meet their future employers at DC Job Fair

As part of its annual Career Week, Durham College (DC) hosted its largest Job Fair to date on February 7. Coordinated by DC’s Career Development office, the event offered students and alumni access to more than 80 organizations – a welcome increase over last year’s event.

Held in the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre at the college’s Oshawa campus, the job fair brought students together with representatives from organizations representing a mix of economic sectors, including business, community services, manufacturing, skilled trades, information technology, engineering, health care, hospitality and justice.

Participants were also able to access unique services, such as the Speed Networking Hub. They received advice from alumni, industry experts and business leaders about career paths and networking and learned key skills to maximize success in the workplace.

Students interested in learning about opportunities in skilled trades were able to attend the Tradesmart Career Fair at the Whitby campus, which was also held as part of Career Week. There, they had access to 30 employers, representing another significant increase in the number of participating organizations.

DC’s Career Development office is a student’s gateway to all things career-related at the college. The Career Development team offers a range of services including support for career exploration, resumé building and employment letter writing, interviewing skills and job search strategies.

For more information visit www.durhamcollege.ca/careerdevelopment.

DC hosts orientation for new international students

On Friday, January 19, Durham College’s (DC) International Office hosted its third international student orientation welcoming 370 students throughout the month.

Designed to provide new international students with helpful information about living and studying in Canada and at DC, the full-day session covered topics including adapting to the Canadian classroom, immigration matters, health insurance, working part time, and reviewing the support services on campus.

DC is now home to more than 1,300 international students, representing 54 countries from around the world.

DC welcomes students back to campus

Durham College (DC) employees are welcoming students back to campus in a variety of ways as the fall semester resumes. On November 21, the Aboriginal Student Centre held ‘welcome back’ smudging ceremonies to help reconnect the campus community by bringing students and employees together to release negative energy and restart the fall semester in a good way.

On November 22, DC employees staffed locations at the Oshawa and Whitby campuses and Pickering Learning Site to help students fuel up for their return to class by providing them with healthy lunches on behalf of the college.

Grads-to-be learn about convocation and alumni benefits at Countdown to Grad

Durham College’s (DC) spring and fall 2017 graduates-to-be enjoyed more than just a free lunch during the college’s annual Countdown to Grad events held at the Oshawa and Whitby campuses and Pickering Learning Site.

The events provided students with a fun opportunity to find out everything they need to know about their upcoming graduation while also learning about alumni benefits, career development services and convocation details. They also enjoyed a free slice of pizza and received a gift from the Alumni Association.

The events, sponsored by the Durham College Alumni Association, were held on March 7 (Oshawa campus), March 9 (Whitby campus) and March 10 (Pickering Learning Site) and over 500 attended.

For more information about DC’s spring 2017 convocation ceremonies, please visit the Spring Convocation page.