Thursday, June 7, 2012

Doing what they love: Douglas College valedictorians

by Tracey Denofreo, Marketing & Communications Office

Graduation. It’s not an ending, but a beginning. At Douglas, we’re proud to be a part of so many amazing beginnings, like those we celebrated this week at our Summer 2012 Graduation ceremonies. We know that every student has a great story, so we’d like share those of some of our valedictorians as they head off to do what they love. 

 Mihalis Schindle
Certificate in Music Technology

I always dreamed of creating and composing music. Now technological breakthroughs have given us something amazing and wonderful: the means to create music in whichever way we please. What once cost a quarter of a million dollars now sits on our desks with a glowing screen waiting for us to produce our next piece of art. This is a mind-blowing concept to comprehend when looking back on how music was produced a decade or two ago, when it still typically belonged to the expensive recording studios and audio production businesses.

Now almost anyone on earth can collaborate, share, and create music with a computer and the Internet. The Music Technology program at Douglas College has opened my mind to a whole new world of possibilities and opportunities in the music industry.


Samantha Grey
Diploma in Community Social Service Work

Going into the community social services was a natural decision for me. Being involved in my community - I'm from the Assiniboine Nation in Sintaluta, Saskatchewan - was always an important part of my identity, and applying to the Community Social Service Work (CSSW) program at Douglas was just another way for me to contribute and grow as a person.

Having the opportunity to connect with a variety of people on such a personal level is the greatest satisfaction of being a social services worker. I’ve worked on the Downtown Eastside and it has honestly been the most joyous time of my life. The strength, resilience and perseverance of the people who live there fill my heart with so much hope and admiration. It motivates me to be passionate about social justice and inspires me to the best community social service worker I can be!

Ken Alger
Diploma in Psychiatric Nursing

My experience at Douglas has changed the way I interact with others. The main focus of the Pychiatric Nursing program is to build a therapeutic rapport with clients. Our culture does not foster empathy towards one another. For example, if someone is upset because he or she failed a test, a typical, non-empathic response in our culture would be to say, ‘You will be fine. It's just one test. Don't worry about it.’ Before the program, this would have been my response, and I still work on overcoming these old habits. However, this shows a lack of understanding of what that person is experiencing.

The Psychiatric Nursing program teaches numerous communication techniques that help us support each other as well as acknowledge that each experience is unique to that individual. The techniques are not just for school or nursing. Applied universally, they build a community that accepts one another and helps one another to get meaning out of our lives and situations.

Marie Breton
Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care

I became a child and youth worker in 1985 because I hoped that I could inspire and effect change in others. I continue to be a child and youth worker today because it inspires me to be the best person that I can be. When I decided to come back to school and get my Child and Youth Care degree, I feared that I would have nothing in common with the other students. I expected to be the only 40-something in a class full of 20-year-olds. What I discovered was a terrific bunch of accepting people of various ages like me looking to share their experiences and grow together to make a difference for others – a shared vision!

Marguerite Sans
Diploma in Animal Health Technology

I’ve always loved animals and felt driven to help and care for them. As a zookeeper for a few years, I valued the skills and knowledge that animal health technologists bring to animal care. My studies at Douglas College struck a chord with me; each day I learned something I hadn't realized I’d always wanted to know.

One of my fondest memories from my time in the Animal Health Technology program was meeting a Terrier dog from a shelter. He had come in for an exam and blood work and was very anxious, so I kept him by my side during a class. In that brief hour I knew we had bonded. Two weeks later he was back for a neuter and he greeted me with such enthusiasm, I knew he remembered me. He already had an adoptive family ready for him, and I knew he would be a wonderful addition to their family.

 Irene Pickell
Diploma in Health Information Management

After raising my children I decided I wanted to return to the workforce. I had a degree in Computing Science and Math but needed to update my skills. Health Information Management combined my system analysis skills with health information. I had never studied biology or been employed in health care, so I thought that this would be good challenge. The wealth of new information in my biology classes was sometimes overwhelming!

I made some very good friends through the program and enjoyed working with the faculty at Douglas. They are all very caring and are invested in helping you succeed.