Friday, November 27, 2015

Stay connected with Douglas College this winter

With winter weather and adverse road conditions upon us, please use extra caution when commuting to and from campuses.

As always, if the weather takes a turn for the worse and a campus closure seems likely, Douglas will take steps to inform the college community. Please call the college information line: toll free 1 877 679 0823 or check the Douglas College homepage for the latest information.

What if you wake up to a winter wonderland outside? Please check one of the above information sources before heading into work. Updates will also be sent out to the college community through Facebook, Twitter, and DC Alerts.

Don't want to get out of bed? Sign up for DC Alerts. DC Alerts subscribers get immediate campus closure updates sent via text, email and/or phone messages.

If instructors are unable to make it to class due to severe weather conditions, they will try to contact students in the cancelled class via myDouglas email or another method to prevent them from having to travel to campus unnecessarily.

When campuses are closed due to weather conditions, the doors will remain open and security will be present because of safety considerations. However, no services will be available and it is not advised to travel to campus.

Stay safe out there.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Douglas College to host free workshops in December

Having difficulty checking off all the names on your holiday gift list?

Douglas College’s Coquitlam campus will host two fun activities that may solve the problem.

The College's Institute of Urban Ecology will host two free workshops in December – Making Sauerkraut and Making Seed Paper – with each participant taking home the fruits of their labour.

On Dec. 3, take care of your foodie friend with the Making Sauerkraut workshop. Starting at 6pm, in room B2050, learn how to make your own sauerkraut from a local fermentation expert. Participants are asked to bring a one-litre Mason (or similar) jar and lid, so they can bring their sauerkraut home.

Sign your gardening buddy up for the Making Seed Paper workshop on Dec. 10. They’ll learn how to make homemade paper embedded with seeds suitable for planting indoors or out. Bring a bag to carry home the slightly-damp seed paper. The workshop will be held in room B2050 at 6pm.

To register for either workshop, email


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Douglas College Science grad aims to open specialized pharmacy

When she first came to Canada, Ariana Pourbabak had no friends or family in her new country – and she didn’t speak a word of English.

Fast-forward to a year or so later, and the Iranian-born student had not only learned the language, but was able to step into the role as a tutor for other students at Douglas College Learning Centre.

Now, the Douglas College grad is in her third year of Pharmacy at UBC, after transferring from the Associate of Science degree program in 2013.

“It was very difficult when I first came to Canada. In my first semester, I took biology and pre-calculus and it took me nine hours to understand three pages in the text book,” Pourbabak recalled, laughing. “Then I became a science tutor and I was teaching people how to employ better studying strategies for calculus, biology and chemistry.”

Prior to coming to Canada, Pourbabak had a Bachelor’s degree in Food Science from Iran, but was unable to bring the official documentation over to Canada. Not wanting to give up on her love for science, she decided to start from the beginning in Vancouver.

It wasn’t without obstacles. Pourbabak struggled her first year with articulating the words she wanted to use for her work and research.

“I knew what I wanted to say, but I couldn’t say it or write it properly,” she said. “I told my instructor that English was my second language and that my sentences were not always perfect.

“She was so supportive and that gave me hope and a big boost in my self-esteem. At Douglas, the instructors really do care.”

Through the support system she established while at Douglas – including the opportunity to work at the Learning Centre and as a community leader for Canadian Blood Services - Pourbabak was able accomplish her goals.

“It was a difficult situation. I had no money, so I had to work while I was studying and learning English,” Pourbabak said. “But it got better, and next year, I’m graduating from Pharmacy at UBC. But if I hadn't started at Douglas, I wouldn't be where I am today.

"I always say, ‘if I can do it given the circumstances I had, anyone can.’”

Once she graduates from UBC, Pourbabak plans to honour her father – who died of cancer – by specializing in cancer and having a pharmacy dedicated to cancer medication and support.

“It’s always been my dream,” she said.

Monday, November 23, 2015

This week at Douglas College: all are welcome to enjoy Student Showcase Concert

Here's what's happening at Douglas College: Nov. 23-29

Tuesday, Nov. 24

Alumni Marketplace 
New Westminster campus
Douglas College alumni are offering their wares at the Alumni Marketplace. Proceeds from sales go to student bursaries.

Rec Multi-Sport Tourney
Coquitlam Campus
Gymnasium 3
Enjoy some friendly competition with a volleyball, floor hockey or dodge ball game. Students and staff welcome. Register here

Wednesday, Nov. 25

Alumni Marketplace 
Coquitlam campus
Douglas College alumni are offering their wares at the Alumni Marketplace. Proceeds from sales go to student bursaries.

SFU Beedie Information Session
New Westminster campus
Room 2690A
A recruiter from the Beedie School of Business at SFU will be doing an information session to highlight changes to their Admission requirements for Fall 2016.

Thursday, Nov. 26

Career Workshop
Coquitlam Campus 
Room B3011
The last of the three-session workshop involves discussions and activities aimed at helping you learn about yourself and the career decision-making process in a supportive and friendly environment. To register, call Student Services at 604-777-6185, or visit Room A1050.

Arts at One - Student Showcase Concert
New Westminster campus
Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre
Students to perform. Free.

Maritime Field School information session
New Westminster campus
Room 2201
Friends, parents and questions all welcome. Find out how to gain nine credits in seven weeks.

Road to Employment
New Westminster Campus
Without passion for work, prior experience or a vision and willingness to say “yes” to opportunities, youth today find themselves leaving post-secondary insecure as to why they attended.
Come and meet Clinton and Denis, watch the first part of the docuseries Road to Employment, and participate in a Q&A.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Douglas College business student transitions to career as an accountant

When trying to decide what his future career should be, Omar Castro took a personality test.

The results suggested a career in accounting, but the native of Mexico took a different route, pursuing a law degree instead.

After 13 years, one successful law firm and a number of years teaching as a law professor, Castro realized there may have been something to the test he took years earlier.

After moving to Canada in 2011, Castro enrolled at Douglas College to study Sociology; however, he quickly switched to Accounting. Now, the junior accountant at Loren, Nancke and Company CPAs is working towards his Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation.

“I interviewed some of my instructors, who offered very sound advice. I attended a CPA information session organized by the Douglas College Business Association and the attraction kept growing,” Castro said. “I dug further and found Douglas offered all the prerequisite courses on a very flexible schedule.”

Castro notes that his time at Douglas was a big factor in his success. As a newcomer to Canada, a father and a husband, he had many responsibilities to balance with school. He recalls one instance when he was between jobs as Christmas approached.

“I had no money to buy my kids and wife anything. Suddenly, I got a phone call from Douglas College’s financial office offering me a Christmas hamper as a gift. I will never forget that,” he said. “In times of trouble I always had the support of the Financial Aid office; many of my courses where paid by bursaries, awards and scholarships from Douglas College.”

Castro added the College provided a wealth of knowledge about potential sources of employment, skills needed in his field of interest and advice regarding his career change.

“It’s very easy to get lost in a sea of information, and the academic advisors were always the beacon on the beach for me,” he said.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Douglas College to screen documentary at New Westminster campus Nov. 26

A pair of University of Victoria graduates turned filmmakers will be on hand Nov. 26 for a screening of their docuseries at Douglas College.

Denis Luchyshyn and Clinton Nellist will present the first part of their three-part series, Road to Employment, which focuses on the struggles of employment for youth in Canada.

The 5pm screening will take place at the New Westminster campus on the Omnivex screen in the concourse and will be followed by a question-and-answer period with the recent UVIC grads.
Part one, titled Engage, is focused on inspiring action and explores “actionable advice on the topics of networking and persistence.” 

The 27-minute film –  crowdfunded through Kickstarter – also reveals what drove Luchyshyn and Nellist to drive across Canada and film their experience as they searched for answers to how youth can build relevant and sustainable careers.

The event is free and open to the public. Popcorn will also be served.

For more information or to reserve tickets, visit

Sunday, November 15, 2015

This week at Douglas College: Find out how to manage anxiety with help from counselors

Here's what's happening at Douglas College Nov. 16-22

Monday, Nov. 16

Downton Abbey Meets Jerich Tennis Club: The Legacies of Social Exclusion in Tennis
Coquitlam Campus
Room B3011
Douglas instructor Dr. Rob Lake will speak about the history of tennis, viewed through the lens of hit TV period drama Downton Abbey.
Using Downton Abbey as a window to view the issues of tennis's 150-year history of elitism, sexism, racism and xenophobia, we can come to appreciate how the sport was, is, and will certainly continue to be, a microcosm of wider British and North American societies. RSVP to Elaine Innes 

Wednesday, Nov. 18

Career Workshop 
Coquitlam Campus
Room B3011
Session two of the three-session workshop involves discussions and activities aimed at helping you learn about yourself and the career decision-making process in a supportive and friendly environment. To register, call Student Services at 604-777-6185, or visit Room A1050.

Thursday, Nov. 19

Tips for Managing Anxiety
New Westminster Campus
Room 3345
Join Douglas College counselors at this workshop on Anxiety to understand more about what anxiety is and how it affects you, learn practical tips you can use right away, gain access to resources and referrals too. Register online.

Friday, Nov. 20

Book launch: Jewish Feeling: Difference and Affect in Nineteenth-Century Jewish Women’s WritingNew Westminster Campus
Ameilia Douglas Gallery
English instructor Richa Dwor will launch her book, Jewish Feeling: Difference and Affect in Nineteenth-Century Jewish Women’s Writing. For more, click here. Read more...

Friday, November 13, 2015

Douglas College Health Science Speaker Series presentation on Nov. 16

The Douglas College Health Science Speaker Series continues with another event slated for Nov. 16.
Dawn McDonald and Jennifer Wright will share a presentation at the Coquitlam campus focusing on their work providing palliative care in the West African country of Ghana.

McDonald - a nurse educator, administrator and clinician - will present her team's work with Wright - also a nurse - through the Share The Care Project for Palliative Care with the Korle-Bu Neurosciences Foundation in Ghana.

The Share The Care Project works to arrange for palliative-care professionals and educators to visit Ghana to assist, consult, educate and assess educational programs and delivery of palliative-care services. 

The hour-long presentation aims to bring awareness to the project and why it is important. The Douglas College Health Sciences Speaker Series is free and open to the public. The event starts at 10:30am and will be held in room A1470.  


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Douglas College student's work displayed at Coquitlam Public Library

A Douglas College History student is commemorating Remembrance Day with a unique project that delves into the life of one soldier.

The display – created by Vanessa Stewart – stems from a project assigned to her by History instructor Ashleigh Androsoff. The original piece consists of a suitcase of “memorabilia” designed to commemorate New Westminster resident and First World War soldier William Alexander Atkins.

Stewart – daughter of Coquitlam mayor Richard Stewart – crafted elements of Atkins’ personal story, including a diary, letters home, and newspaper clippings, drawing from information gathered from Atkins’ service file and from her research into Canada’s participation in the First World War, Androsoff explained.

“Her intention was to create a memory box someone might have kept on the top shelf of their bedroom closet,” Androsoff said. “For example, she created a photo wallet for Atkins, knowing this is something that soldiers would have carried, which would be one of the items that comrades would rescue from a fallen soldier and return to his family. She also packed a hat, a watch, and reproductions of Atkins’ war medals for increased effect.

“It’s one thing to understand history on an intellectual level, it’s another to understand it personally.”

The project, which Androsoff began assigning to her class in 2014, was inspired by Coquitlam city archivist Emily Lonie, who is active with the Lest We Forget Project. The project, led by Library and Archives Canada, aims to connect youth to Canada’s history by making military service files available in person and online.

“They could get intimate with the past,” Androsoff said. “The students were able to see high-quality, digitized records for individuals and see the variations of handwriting and anecdotal comments. Those aspects really personalize it.”

Androsoff noted that it can be hard to have students connect with the distant past. A project like this helps them meet the people who fought for their country 100 years ago – and those who lost their lives, like Atkins, who is buried at Vimy Ridge.

“I find it rewarding when I see what the students have come up with. I’m really proud to have our students’ work featured in the public library because it emphasizes part of the job we are doing here at Douglas College: preparing students to make intelligent and exciting contributions - whether it’s academically, in their community or in their professional life,” Androsoff said.

Stewart’s display will be at the Coquitlam Library’s City Centre Branch until Nov. 16. Read more...

Douglas College English instructor to launch book Nov. 20

Richa Dwor can pinpoint the exact moment she fell in love with researching Anglo-Jewish literature and culture.

The Douglas College English instructor was sitting in her Modern Jewish History class at UBC nearly a decade ago when she as assigned a book report. On the list of books was Romance and Reform in Victorian England by Michael Galchinsky.

"I saw the title of this book and I thought, 'it's Jewish women, it's Victorian and I have to read it,'" Dwor, who is wrapping up her first semester at the College, recalled. "So I did, and it opened my eyes. I've always loved Victorian novels - I was majoring in English - and that book showed me that in this huge field of study, there is something that could be my thing."

Now, Dwor has written her own book, which she will be launching at the College's New Westminster Campus Nov. 20.

Entitled Jewish Feeling: Difference and Affect in Nineteenth-Century Jewish Women's Writing, Dwor explores the impact of literary works by Jewish female authors and brings affect theory to Jewish Studies to trace Jewish difference in literary works by nineteenth-century Anglo-Jewish authors.

“What I’ve done is look at the writing of Jewish women to consider how they are navigating religious identity and, in particular, national identity,” Dwor says. “The argument of the book is controversial and I think it’s an original argument that in certain Jewish reading practices we can detect affect.”

Dwor – who has been researching the subject for nearly a decade and holds a PhD in English Literature from the University of Nottingham – notes that affect can be detected in the way the authors write to generate feeling and to further perpetuate the openness of the text for interpretation.

“That is an important idea in Rabbinic forms of interpretation of sacred text,” she says. “Through comparison, I show that the way that these women conceive of affect in text is different and distinctive – it comes from a tradition of religious thought rather than a gendered idea of sentimentality.”

Dwor will launch her book on Nov. 20 at Douglas College’s New Westminster Campus, 700 Royal Ave., in the Amelia Douglas Galley at 4pm. The free event is open to the public.

Dwor will also speak at the Jewish Book Festival on Nov. 22, 10-11am at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver, 950 West 41 Ave. Admission is by donation.