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DC recognizes more than 200 students at Centre for Success completion ceremony

Hundreds of proud family members and friends celebrated the accomplishments of Durham College’s (DC) Centre for Success (CFS) students during their program completion ceremony at the Oshawa campus on June 20. The CFS is a part of DC’s School-College-Work Initiative (SCWI) and is funded by the Ministry of Education, allowing students to participate in post-secondary courses and apprenticeship training, earning dual credits that count towards both their high school diploma and their post-secondary diploma or apprenticeship certification.

Now in its twelfth year, the SCWI is a partnership between DC and four local school boards – Durham District School Board, Kawartha Pine Ridge School District Board, Durham Catholic District School Board and the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic School Board.

The program is designed to enable on-risk secondary school students to complete their high school academic requirements but in a college setting, offering them access to smaller class sizes, flexible schedules and increased one-to-one access to teachers. In addition, it provides an opportunity for students to earn at least one and potentially more college credits towards their post-secondary education or apprenticeship training at most of the 24 colleges in Ontario This year, 94 per cent of participants successfully completed the program, which exceeds the provincial average of approximately 83 per cent at other dual credit college programs in Ontario.

“It takes a tremendous amount of courage and tenacity to come to a new school and leave behind what is familiar to try something different,” said Robert Wager, director, SCWI and Academic Upgrading. “A lot of our students, due to their circumstances, never had the opportunity to dream. Completing their high school classes on a college campus where they are treated like adults gives them a sense of freedom that they didn’t feel like they had before. That, paired with the opportunity to earn a college credit really motivates them to think positively about their future and what they can achieve.”

Also in attendance at the ceremony was DC vice-president, Academic, Dr. Elaine Popp, who was joined by school board representatives and Ministry of Education dignitaries to show their support for the more than 200 secondary school and adult dual-credit students.

The 2018-2019 school year is the first that the program has been run out of the new Centre for Collaborative Education, which opened its doors to students in September.


DC employees take time to invest in themselves at PD Day 2019

On June 19, more than 450 Durham College (DC) employees took time to invest in themselves by joining their colleagues for a day of thoughtful discussion, growth and knowledge sharing at the college’s Professional Development (PD) Day 2019.

Indigenous student advisors Julie Pigeon and Peggy Forbes led attendees in a smudging ceremony to start the day in a good way before CFL legend and community builder Michael “Pinball” Clemons delivered the program’s keynote address.

The former coach and player for the Toronto Argonauts football team captivated the room with an empowering presentation in which he talked about personal perseverance and the importance of teamwork.

Attendees then broke out into smaller groups to attend three concurrent sessions over the course of the afternoon. This year’s event offered employees a choice from 25 presentations delivered by their colleagues on a variety of timely subjects from meditation and esports to creative problem solving, time management and more.

PD Day is an annual event, organized by the college’s Human Resources department, which enhances employee engagement using thought-provoking presentations and opportunities to reconnect with colleagues and recharge through exposure to new ideas and skills.

With more than 800 full-time employees and approximately 1,000 part-time employees, DC is one of the region’s largest employers and provides more than $900 million to Durham Region in positive economic impact annually. Events like PD Day are one of the many initiatives that help make DC one of the GTA’s Top Employers.


DC student Malcolm Hooper inspires with award-winning speech

“Even at your darkest time, you’re destined for something greater.”

This was the message Durham College (DC) student Malcolm Hooper delivered in his speech at the Speaker Slam “Power of Belief” event in May, winning him the competition.

A second-year business student and captain of the Durham Lords men’s rugby team, Hooper’s win earns him a spot in the Grand Slam event for all Speaker Slam winners to be held in November. Yet the significance of his victory seemingly pales in comparison to what Hooper has conquered in his life.

In a capacity room at the Lula Lounge in Toronto, Hooper told of being taken from his biological parents as a child and placed in a foster home, where he was eventually adopted, with a white family in a predominantly white town. Hooper shared how as a mixed-race child he struggled with the juxtaposition between his identity and environment. Then at the age of 16, a falling out with his adoptive parents led to him being kicked out of his home – a moment Hooper refers to as his “darkest time.”

Hooper recalled being atop the roof of his school gym, standing on the edge and thinking about jumping. Luckily, he was eventually able to see positives in his life amidst the struggles.

“I stood up there hoping someone would call the police, not because I wanted to be stopped, but because I wanted someone to care,” Hooper said during the speech. “That was the thought that also made me take a step back towards safety. That I’m not broken. The people who don’t fit in are the people who stand out. The belief that even then at my darkest time that I was going to have a lasting impact on the world and not the pavement beneath me.”

Shortly thereafter, a friend’s family took Hooper in off the street, hoping to help him succeed.

Since then he has done just that.

Through his studies, Hooper is honing his marketing skillset. Although public speaking can be a part of marketing, it wasn’t something he thought he would gravitate towards. However, after receiving a most outstanding marketer award in a competition at the college, he decided to enter a two-minute speed speech competition at DC, which he also won.

Athletically, Hooper has also had plenty of success, captaining the Lords to a 7-1 overall record in their inaugural season in the OCAA, capped off by winning the provincial championship at home.

Over six matches he scored two tries and was named an OCAA East Division All-Star.

Since telling his story, Hooper confesses that the past few weeks have been surreal.

“The video of my speech has had thousands of views and my phone has been constantly going off,” he said. “After I spoke, people came up crying, telling me how it changed their life. My rugby team (Oshawa Vikings senior men’s) played it on the screen at the club and everyone in my life has been super supportive. They have told me it was inspiring to them or thanked me for being vulnerable.”

Hooper has since been approached about telling his story in a book, asked to speak on podcasts and told he should continue to speak professionally. While he appreciates the support and intends to explore all his options in the future, he wants to do it right.

First and foremost, Hooper says he wants to get back to his marketing studies in the fall and the Lords men’s rugby squad.


Regional Chair’s Classic in memory of Roger Anderson celebrates another successful year

The tradition continued on June 13, as 212 golfers came together for the 22nd-annual Regional Chair’s Classic. Held at the Deer Creek Golf and Country Club, the tournament is one of Durham Region’s most popular and well-established fundraising events.

This year $280,000 was raised to support students in financial need at Durham College (DC) and Ontario Tech University, as well as child and youth programs at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences. This brings the total amount of funds raised since the tournament’s inception to more than $6.8 million.

“Once again the local community has stepped up to support children and youth in Durham Region,” said Regional Chair John Henry. “I want to thank everyone involved in making this year’s tournament a success. It couldn’t be done without the support and generosity of our sponsors and the hard work and dedication of the tournament organizers.”

Karim Mamdani, president and CEO, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences; Dr. Steven Murphy, president, Ontario Tech University; Don Lovisa, president, DC, were on hand for the evening’s cheque presentation, also offering their gratitude on behalf of their respective institutions.


DC receives $133,000 in funding from NSERC to purchase beer analysis system

Durham College’s (DC) Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE) is pleased to announce it is receiving $133,000 in applied research funding via an Applied Research Tools and Instruments grant. Awarded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the grant is administered through the council’s College and Community Innovation Program and will be used to purchase a beer analysis system for the college’s Centre for Craft Brewing Innovation (CCBI).

Working alongside the CCBI’s existing Brew Lab and Brew Line, this basic version of a pressurized beer analyzing system, plus a dissolved oxygen module, will help researchers and consultants determine the core parameters of a beer, including alcohol content, original extract, real extract, degree of fermentation and dissolved oxygen from a single sample.

It will be used for applied research projects with craft brewers so they can better understand how their brewing processes function, allowing them to develop and implement improved control strategies, which in turn, results in a consistent, higher-quality brew.

The equipment, which is being supplied by Anton Paar, a well-known manufacturer of high-quality high-accuracy lab instruments that find many applications in the food and beverage industry, is able to automatically carry out the analysis of various key parameters in parallel on a single sample. It can also correct sample filling errors, cross correct results to improve accuracy and self-calibrate against distilled water, making the analysis system an industry standard.

The purchase of the new equipment, sees the CCBI join the ranks of the LCBO, as well as many larger breweries, all of whom have adopted the same system for their labs due to its superior reliability, ease of use and speed of analysis.


Durham College recognizes student achievement at 2019 Spring Convocation

On June 10, 11 and 12, more than 3,000 Durham College (DC) students received their credentials during this year’s Spring Convocation. Friends, family, the college community and special guests celebrated students’ success and inspired them to keep reaching for their goals.

Held at the Tribute Communities Centre in downtown Oshawa, graduates from the schools of Hospitality & Horticultural Science; Business, IT & Management; Professional and Part-time Learning, Health & Community Services; Interdisciplinary Studies; Justice & Emergency Services; Media, Art & Design; Science & Engineering Technology and Skilled Trades, Apprenticeship & Renewable Technology received their diplomas and certificates.

Guest speakers at each ceremony were:

  • Adam Hare: Petley-Hare Insurance Brokers president, entrepreneur and business leader. Member of the Insurance Brokers Association of Durham Region board of directors, executive advisor to Lakeridge Health’s Launchpad committee, Young Broker of the Year in 2016 named by Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario, former professor in the School of Media, Art & Design, and 2006 graduate of Multimedia and Design program (now known as Interactive Media Design) both at DC.
  • Melissa Farrow: Hospital for Sick Children program co-ordinator, field practicum advisor and professor, member of a number of community child and youth agencies, 2009 graduate of Social Service Worker program and 2011 graduate of Child and Youth Worker program (now known as Child and Youth Care) both from DC.
  • Brandon Bird: Bird Mechanical chief executive officer, member of the Education committee for the Mechanical Contractors Association of Toronto, chair of the DC’s Mechanical Techniques program advisory committee, and 2012 graduate of DC’s Level 3 Plumber Apprentice program.

Over the course of the event, the college also awarded three Alumni of Distinction awards. Nominated based on their extraordinary contributions to society while achieving career success, the following alumni received the award

  • Bev Woods: A 1986 graduate of the Dental Hygiene program and a 1984 graduate of the Dental Assisting program.
  • Brandon Bird: A 2012 graduate of the Level 3 Plumber Apprentice program (now Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing).
  • Cailey Jones: A 2010 graduate of the Early Childhood Education program.

For more information about Spring Convocation, including links to videos of each ceremony, visit www.durhamcollege.ca/convocation. To learn more about this year’s Alumni of Distinction winners visit www.durhamcollege.ca/alumniofdistinction.

 


DC’s AI Hub and the City of Oshawa host Securing the Future of Technology Tech Talk

On June 7, Durham College’s (DC) Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Solutions (the AI Hub) held its fifth Tech Talk, focused on creating new opportunities based on technology and innovation. Sponsored by the City of Oshawa, the discussion explored the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) projects and how technology excellence in the local community is a catalyst for growth.

Industry professionals, government representatives and students attended the panel discussion hosted by Tanmay Bakshi, the world’s youngest IBM Watson programmer and an artificial intelligence expert; Tushar Singh, a serial entrepreneur and chief executive officer and founder of Minute School, and Mahdi Raza, co-founder and chief executive officer of SiberX, and lead of the CISO Forum Canada.

The panelists deliberated about growth success factors in the city through technology and innovation. They highlighted DC’s focus on experiential learning, as well as initiatives implemented by the city, including hands-on talent development, a scalable educational system and opportunities for collaboration with companies, enable students to gain real-world experience and prepare them to lead sustainable technology projects for the benefit of the community.

The Tech Talk learning series is hosted by DC’s AI Hub. Past topics have included the application of AI in areas such as special-needs education, cybersecurity, real estate and manufacturing. The college’s next Tech Talk, to be held in July, will focus on AI and the cannabis industry.

In addition to the Tech Talks, watch for details as the City of Oshawa and DC welcome the finals of Global CyberLympics games to campus on Saturday, October 26. Teams from all over the world will compete in areas such as web application exploitation, malware analysis and cryptography among others.


Durham College hosts its first Enable AI Summit

On June 6, Durham College’s (DC) Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Solutions (the AI Hub) held the Enable AI Summit, the first conference of its kind within the Durham Region.

Showcasing the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) both locally and across the Greater Toronto Area, more than 120 industry professionals, students and faculty members converged around core AI applications, with a focus on solving complex business operational problems.

Hands-on workshops that focused on blockchain, compliance, machine learning in cybersecurity and solutions development were the core of the day’s programming. Participants developed the cutting-edge skills required to adopt and apply AI into business strategies to improve efficiencies.

AI phenom Tanmay Bakshi, provided the summit’s keynote address. Hailed as an “all-around tech extraordinaire”, ABC News has noted, “the Canadian teen has become a global force in programming”. The best part? He’s only 15 years old and is self-taught. With 298,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel Tanmay Teaches, he is also the world’s youngest IBM Watson programmer, an algorithm-ist, author and artificial intelligence expert.

Enable AI attendees were treated to an engaging presentation from Bakshi, which touched on how machine learning algorithms can be utilized in cyber security and health care innovations.

Housed within the ORSIE, the AI Hub offers industry partners access to technical expertise, state-of-the-art facilities and platforms, and student talent to uncover business insights while providing intelligent and autonomous solutions that increase companies’ productivity and growth.

Plans are already underway for the Enable AI Summit 2020.


Durham College Fine Arts – Advanced students receive award from Royal Canadian Navy

Durham College (DC) is proud to congratulate Nicole Fleming, Marie Elizabeth, Cali Maldonado and Paul Hutchins, students from DC’s Fine Arts – Advanced program, and professor Dani Crosby, for the Bravo Zulu medals awarded to them by the Royal Canadian Navy for their artwork on the Navy Painting Project. The ceremony was part of the Whitby Station Gallery’s 17th Annual Juried Art Show Reception and Awards Presentation on May 23 that featured artwork from students in the Fine Arts – Advanced and Foundations in Art and Design programs.

Greg Murphy, executive dean, School of Media, Art & Design, presented the awards to the DC students on behalf of the Royal Canadian Navy, in recognition of their outstanding work celebrating the navy’s history and heritage through their artwork. The student-created pieces feature ships, navy heroes in uniform and historic moments like the Battle of Normandy and the Battle of the Atlantic using acrylic and oil paints on canvas.

Students worked closely with DC faculty members and navy authorities, including Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd and Major Graeme Davidson, for insight and guidance, providing them with a unique experiential learning opportunity on a collaborative project.

The artwork created through the Navy Painting Project will be displayed at the Royal Canadian Navy headquarters in Ottawa.


Graduate Fair showcases DC’s specialized graduate certificate programs

Recent graduates and those hoping to further their post-secondary education got a closer look at some of Durham College’s (DC) specialized graduate certificate program offerings at the Graduate Fair on May 29 at the Centre for Collaborative Education on the Oshawa campus.

The interactive event provided attendees with an opportunity to tour DC’s signature learning spaces, attend a graduate certificate panel with DC alumni and have their questions answered by knowledgeable faculty and staff at the networking and program booths.

Among the event’s highlighted programs was the new Artificial Intelligence Analysis, Design and Implementation graduate certificate, which prepares students to meet the demand for AI-literate practitioners.

For those who missed the Graduate Fair or who want to learn more about the DC student experience, please visit www.durhamcollege.ca/grad or connect with the Recruitment Office at recruitment@durhamcollege.ca or 905.721.3126.