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Fun on the ice with DC’s president in support of United Way

On March 12, the lobby of the Campus Ice Centre was filled with the smell of fresh popcorn and hot chocolate, for the enjoyment of all who came out in support of United Way Durham Region at the family skate with Durham College (DC) president Don Lovisa. He was joined by DC employees, students and members of the community.

The college has a longstanding history of supporting United Way through its annual campus campaign. This important organization provides funds to the network of health and social services agencies serving our community’s most vulnerable individuals and families.

The event saw Lovisa lace up his skates for the first time in 16 years as he led the way for a fun evening on the ice. While there were some first-time wobbly moves and impressive expert spins, the ultimate winner was United Way.


DC faculty recognized as community sports leader

On March 5, in celebration of International Women’s Day, Durham College (DC) faculty member and alumna, Shauna Bookal, was recognized by the Toronto Raptors and Tangerine Bank for her role as a community sports leader who has inspired, motivated and encouraged positive change in the lives of girls throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

For Shauna, the best part of this recognition was having an opportunity to give some of the female athletes she works with a once and a lifetime experience when she invited them along to a meet and greet with some of the top executives of the Toronto Raptors and Tangerine Bank.

This is the second time the Toronto Raptors has recognized Shauna, a graduate from the Sport Administration program, for her role as a leader in sports, having received their State Farm, Exist to Assist Community leaders Recognition Award in 2016.

Also a teacher for the School of Business, IT & Management in the program she graduated from, Shauna’s involvement in the industry ranges from grassroots activities, like volunteering for basketball clinics and house leagues, to national-level activities, having assisted in running the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Americas Championships as a member of their games organizing committee.

Shauna also volunteers her time and expertise by sitting on large sporting event organizing committees like the Pan Am Games, Invictus Games, North American Indigenous Games and Ontario ParaSport Games.

Growing up she was fortunate to have role models that encouraged her to get involved and give back to the community. Seeing kids laugh, smile and having the time of their lives makes all the sacrifices and the long days worth it for Shauna.


DC and DDSB sign MOU to increase transition and access programming for high school students

Durham College (DC) is pleased to share that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Durham District School Board (DDSB) to further partner on transitions, outreach and access programming for secondary school students. DC president Don Lovisa and Mohamed Hamid, superintendent of education for the DDSB, signed the MOU at the college’s Oshawa campus on March 7 with key leadership from both organizations present.

Under the agreement, DC and the DDSB will see an increase in communication and sharing of information and processes in order to support students and help create a smooth transition from high school to post-secondary studies.

Through greater access to DDSB schools, the college will also extend its RISE programming during key periods in the secondary school academic cycle to encourage students to pursue higher education. Part of the Ontario Post-Secondary Access & Inclusion Program (OPAIP), RISE stands for reach, include, support and elevate. Under the portfolio of the college’s Office of Student Diversity, Inclusion and Transitions (OSDIT), RISE supports current and prospective students who need assistance overcoming barriers that may be preventing them from considering, accessing or pursuing a post-secondary education. Supports include one-on-one coaching, mentoring and dynamic programming.

“This new agreement will help students be better informed and prepared for post-secondary education before they start the application process,” said Shauna Moore, OSDIT student success coach. “By becoming more aware of the doors that are open for them through transition programming, they will be ready to hit the ground running when they arrive at DC.”

The MOU will also allow for future experiential learning opportunities for DC students, strengthen working relationships with the DDSB and enhance diversity and accessibility practices at DC and the DDSB.


High school students get taste of campus life as DC hosts FIRST® Robotics Competition

While competing in the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) Ontario District Durham College (DC) event on March 2 and 3, high school students from across the province also got a first look at where they could be headed next while visiting the college’s Oshawa campus.

For the fifth year in a row, DC hosted more than 1,000 of the province’s brightest young minds, along with their mentors, family, friends and fellow robot enthusiasts, at the annual event. Competitors demonstrated their technological and engineering skills as they operated complex, 140-pound robots they had designed and built in only six weeks.

During the competition’s opening ceremonies, Marianne Marando, DC’s associate vice-president, Academic, shared additional campus highlights with attendees, including the upcoming opening of DC’s Esports Gaming Arena at the Oshawa campus and the work being done in the college’s AI Hub.

After two days of intensive battles, organized with the help of numerous, dedicated volunteers, the following teams comprising the Red Alliance were declared district champions:

  • Team 2220 MMRambotics
  • Team 610 Crescent Coyotes
  • Team 4783 RoboRavens

See all awards winners and results.


Students had a lot of fun while gaining real-world engineering experience, developing leadership skills and learning to work as a team under pressure and tight timelines.

Winners of the DC event now move on to the FIRST® Ontario Provincial Championship at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre in Mississauga, April 10 to 13, where they will compete for a spot at the World Championships that will be held in Detroit, Michigan, from April 24 to 27.

Learn more about FRC.


DC celebrates special connection between donors and students

On March 4, Durham College (DC) recognized outstanding student academic achievement and community generosity at the annual Student and Donor Recognition Evening.

Held at the W. Galen Weston Centre for Food, the event honoured DC’s scholarship and bursary award recipients as well as the numerous individuals, organizations and corporate donors who support students and post-secondary education. The evening also brought donors together with the students who benefit from their generosity.

Other highlights of the event included DC president Don Lovisa paying tribute to the late Roger Anderson, former Durham regional chair and a long-time DC benefactor, as well as remarks delivered by Joyce Payne, a first-year Police Foundations student.

New awards and the donors behind them were also recognized during the event including the following:

  • Viking Fire Protection Scholarship.
  • Mike Shulga Memorial Award.

Durham College partners with NEXT Canada to provide AI mentorship

Durham College (DC) has been selected by NEXT Canada, a national non-profit focused on increasing national prosperity by accelerating the development of high potential entrepreneurs and innovators, to provide vital connections between experienced Artificial Intelligence (AI) mentors and students enrolled in the newly launched NextED AI Business Strategy & Application Course. A pilot initiative for NEXT Canada, NextED is powered by Riff Learning, a spin-out company of MIT Media Lab, and is quickly establishing itself as Canada’s premier AI-adoption program for business.

“The profile of the Durham College Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Systems has been steadily rising since its launch a little over a year ago,” says Don Lovisa, president, DC. “To now be partnering with NEXT Canada and working alongside other AI experts from MIT and Oxford University, among others, is an incredible testament to our DC team and the work being done in our AI Hub.”

The Next ED AI Business Strategy & Application Course leads students through an intensive eight-week program focused on developing a disruptive AI innovation and learning hands-on techniques to apply AI to a specific business problem. In the last four weeks of the course, as participants develop a business plan for an AI solution, DC will support students by providing them access to mentors who are AI Hub industry partners.

“DC’s AI Hub mentors will bring expertise in really diverse sectors, including customer service, health, real estate, shipping and logistics, agriculture, digital media, finance and education,” says Debbie McKee Demczyk, dean of the college’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “Delivering these mentorship services as part of the NextED course capstone project is an exciting opportunity to further demonstrate and strengthen DC’s leadership in the Canadian AI ecosystem.”

The AI Hub at DC offers industry partners access to technical expertise, state-of-the-art facilities and platforms, and student talent, to help them uncover business insights while providing intelligent and autonomous solutions that increase their company’s productivity and growth.


DC students test their skills and collaborate in emergency simulation

On February 23 and 24, more than 175 Durham College (DC) students put their classroom and lab training into action and to the test in an intense, two-day emergency simulation exercise at the Oshawa campus.

Bringing together students and employees from the schools of Justice & Emergency Services, Health & Community Services and Media, Art & Design, as well as peers from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, the exercise followed a detailed script that saw volunteers simulate a mass-casualty emergency stemming from an explosion.

Unfolding in real-time, day one was dedicated to the emergency simulation while day two focused on mock trials generated from the previous day’s events. The exercise provided students with valuable experiential learning as well as a better understanding of how members of emergency services, health and social services, legal services and the media work together during an emergency.

Students from the following DC programs participated:


DC heads to the Gens game

On February 22, more than 135 Durham College (DC) alumni, employees and students spent the evening at the Tribute Communities Centre, watching the Oshawa Generals take on the Mississauga Steelheads during the college’s annual Alumni Night.

Held each year, Alumni Night at the Oshawa Generals is a chance for DC the DC community to come together to reconnect over some great hockey and a private reception.

Linda Flynn, DC’s associate vice-president, Office of Development and Alumni Affairs and Michele Roberts, president of the DC Alumni Association, represented the college during the ceremonial puck drop. Never one to miss out on a sporting event, DC mascot Lord Durham also got into the action by giving away t-shirts and hats to the crowd.

DC also sponsored the intermission entertainment, testing the knowledge of game goers with college-related trivia.

The evening was capped off with a win by the Generals.


DC celebrates International Development Week

From February 4 to 9, Durham College (DC) took part in Global Affairs Canada’s International Development Week (IDW). Held to celebrate Canadian contributions to poverty reduction and international humanitarian assistance in the developing world, this year’s IDW theme at DC was “Together for Equality.”

The college’s International Office organized a number of events for the campus community to mark IDW with a focus on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by all United Nations member states in 2015.

A non-profit marketplace took place in The Pit on February 4, giving students the opportunity to meet representatives from local and international non-governmental agencies and community based organizations to learn about internships, volunteer placements and causes to get involved with.

February 5 saw students and employees gather for a screening of the movie I Am, a documentary from the director of Bruce Almighty and Ace Ventura, where intellectual and spiritual leaders discuss global challenges and what we can do to address them.

On February 6 DC graduates living and working overseas came together in real-time, thanks to the college’s Global Classroom, to discuss how their experiences have changed their view of the world and their role in it.

The week ended with a screening of the Kenya Education for Employment Program (KEFEP) documentary. Captured, scripted, edited and produced by four DC students and two faculty, the crew spent three weeks in Kenya documenting KEFEP, a five-year initiative funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada focused on strengthening and supporting technical and vocational education and training in Kenya.

International projects at DC are tied to the SDGs and the college’s Internationalization and Global Engagement Plan, which clarifies its global vision for the next three years. The plan provides a foundation for students, employees, communities, and industry partners to understand how DC will infuse internationalization and global engagement into the fabric of the institution and help students learn locally and engage globally.

Of the importance of IDW, Bogumila Anaya, manager of International Projects and Partnerships at DC said, “Canada has made a commitment to the 17 UN SDGs to build a more peaceful and environmentally-balanced planet for everyone. International Development Week gives us a chance to showcase some of the work the college is doing on those fronts while also raising global awareness within the DC community.”


Program Information Night highlights unique DC offerings

Prospective students and their families got a closer look at some of Durham College’s (DC) unique programs at the Program Information Night held on February 11 at the Oshawa and Whitby campuses.

The interactive event provided attendees with an opportunity to tour DC’s signature learning spaces and have their questions answered by knowledgeable faculty and staff.

Among the event’s highlighted programs were the new Carpentry and Renovation Technician diploma, which offers a co-operative education option, and the diploma-to-degree business programs offered jointly by DC and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

For those who missed Program Information Night or who want to learn more about the DC student experience, the college’s annual Spring Open House will be held on Saturday, March 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.