Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Douglas College in the news: April 2015

Want to find out what's making news at Douglas College? Then check out this roundup of recent headlines:

Douglas College creates maker lab in the River Market
Georgia Straight

Douglas instructor shortlisted for prestigious prize
New Westminster Record

New West invited to annual UNIBUG forum
New Westminster Record

Nontraditional school programs help students discover new careers
Georgia Straight

You can also find our latest news releases on the Douglas College website.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Douglas College helping to raise awareness about mental health

Douglas College Criminology instructor Heidi Currie will talk
during an upcoming event in Coquitlam about mental health.
Douglas College, Coquitlam Public Library and the City of Coquitlam are holding a series of exhibits and presentations to encourage community discussion about mental health. A Journey in Mental Health Care takes place in at the library’s City Centre Branch May 4-8, coinciding with Mental Health Week.

As part of the event, Douglas College Criminology instructor Heidi Currie will deliver a talk on the intersection of mental health needs and criminal justice. We interviewed Heidi to learn more about the event and issues around mental health.

What do you hope the A Journey in Mental Health Care event accomplishes?

The event title captures it so well – we are inviting the public to learn more about the journey we have made in mental health care, from the earliest days of hospital care at Riverview to contemplation of the future of psychiatric care. I am really proud of the City of Coquitlam as the new trustees of the artifacts from Riverview Hospital for investing in an event that invites public access and promotes discussion on mental health – where we were, and what the issues and needs continue to be.

What work have you done related to mental health?

My primary academic interest has been in mental health and the justice system. One of the most profound failings in mental health care following deinstitutionalization has been the very high rate of criminalization of persons with mental health needs into correctional facilities. In addition, we see the extraordinary use of valuable police resources in the management of disruptive mentally disordered persons in the community. I don’t accept a position that advocates that the “best place” for a mentally disordered person who commits a crime is in prison. My experience in the justice system has taught me that the best place for a person with mental health needs is in a compassionate health care environment, whether that be via progressive community care or in hospital.

What topics will you cover during your talk?

My session will address the intersection of mental health and criminal justice from a number of aspects – policing, the courts, and corrections. But this is just part of the discussion I hope to have with attendees; I’d like to explore with the public why we have left so much of the work of mental health care to legal interventions and processes – rather than in health care and medicine. It’s an increasingly important discussion to have. I have invited other professionals to attend the session with me, and I hope we can all have an informative discussion together.

A feature of A Journey in Mental Health Care is the Riverview Hospital artifacts exhibit. Why is this exhibit important?

I expect that people will have a natural curiosity as to the early interventions and treatments undertaken in hospital. It is one thing to read about the past, another to see it. So, although the artifacts will be out of context in that they are not being viewed in the hospital environment, there is great value in viewing these items first hand; from uniforms to hospital implements and technology as it was. I am hopeful that this exhibit will foster a less cynical and better informed understanding of the necessity and intent in mental health care of the past, and how we might engage in future management of mental health needs in our community.

Heidi’s talk takes place Thursday, May 7 at 7pm at the City Centre Branch of the Coquitlam Public Library, 1169 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Douglas College Music Technology student unlocks his talent in the studio

                                   David Denofreo Photo

Being a successful music producer takes more than just passion, creative vision and an ability to work well with musicians.

It also requires an in-depth understanding of the technical side of working in a studio.

The desire to gain that expertise is what drew Logan Kirkness to the Music Technology certificate program at Douglas College.

“Being a musician with an interest in all kinds of music and production, and having had friends that took the program themselves made taking it the perfect decision,” Logan says.

The one-year program provides training in sound engineering, music software, audio engineering and music production.

Students also gain practical experience working with state-of-the-art equipment in on-campus recording studios.

Logan has long been passionate about music and recording. He is a guitarist and singer, and he has experience working in a recording studio as an assistant engineer.

But to move his career ahead, he knew he needed some formal training.

“The Music Technology program has given me more than enough knowledge and experience for me to feel comfortable in the audio recording and production workforce,” Logan says.

“I feel comfortable around all forms of audio equipment and software used both in live and studio applications.”

The Music Technology program has been a good fit for Logan. Besides gaining new knowledge and skills, he has made connections with a studio and joined a band.

“A certificate course cannot always cover everything but the Music Technology program manages to provide a large amount of practical knowledge and experience into a one-year program.”

To learn more about the Music Technology certificate program, visit the Douglas College website.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Douglas College walking tour explores downtown New Westminster—then and now

Construction of the Douglas College New Westminster Campus.
Join Douglas College Geography instructor Earl Noah for a fun and informative walking tour on Saturday, May 2 at 1pm.

The walk will focus upon the historic and contemporary landscape of Downtown New Westminster. It will explore the changes and, hopefully, memories and experiences, of the participants in some of the schools.

A short walk around Douglas College may occur at the end of the field trip. Among the questions to explore are: Why is Douglas College here? How has the educational landscape changed since the 1860s? What are the recent changes?

The walk is part of the Jane’s Walk project. Jane’s Walks are free, locally organized events that bring people together to explore and appreciate their neighbourhoods.

Event details

Saturday, May 2
Meet at 8th Street and Royal Ave.
New Westminster
Free and open to public

For more information, visit the Jane’s Walk website.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Douglas College Poem of the Month: April 2015

Poem of the Month showcases outstanding work written by Douglas College students.

Each month, the Creative Writing Department displays posters across both campuses featuring a new poem.

Click on the image to the right to see an enlarged version of this month’s poster, featuring "No Salmon Run for the 99" by Jesse Pipe.

All Douglas College students are eligible to enter the Poem of the Month competition. Featured poems are selected by a committee of instructors.

To learn more about submitting poems, contact the Faculty of Language, Literature and Performing Arts at 604 527 5465.

More information about the Creative Writing Department is available on the Douglas College website.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Music student makes her violin sing

For much of her life, Gizelle Rocha has been in love with music. Whether the genre is jazz, blues, Celtic, or classical, she’s always eager to share her talent on the violin.

Gizelle, who has autism, originally came to Douglas for the Career and Employment Preparation Program, and has gone on to become a music student at the College. She plays in the college jazz band and a local symphony orchestra.

We caught up with Gizelle to ask her about her interest in music:

What is your main area of focus as a musician?

My main focus is the violin. I have been playing for more than 12 years, since grade 5, and I never stopped taking lessons. I love it too much to abandon it.

Why did you pick the music program?

This program gives me not only the experience, but also the opportunity to perform in large ensemble, which I’ve never done before. Also, I can gain more knowledge and extend my skills as a musician who likes stringed instruments.

What do you like about the program?

Good friends who would treat each other like family and great teachers. Good Classical and Jazz music, as always. But more importantly, the love and support from every musical student who are accepted for their extraordinary gifts.

What have you gained in the program?

I have learned about teamwork from performing in two different ensembles, improving my ear training skills and singing, and also how to become your instrument. After learning the technicalities, you can learn how to express through your instrument.

To learn more about music studies, visit the Douglas College website.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Douglas College Child and Youth Care student gives back

                                                                  David Denofreo Photo
Meredith Graham has faced many difficulties in life. She left home when she was a teenager, couch surfed, and graduated high school while living in a group home. She also has bipolar disorder.

But none of that has stopped her from pursuing her career and educational goals.

Meredith works as a youth and family development worker for a Burnaby non-profit and is studying in the Child and Youth Care program at Douglas College.

“Some days are brighter than others and it is an ongoing learning process for me to appreciate that my history does not determine how I must live my life,” she says.

“And it has all come full-circle. I now work in a group home I used to live in.”

Meredith says she was inspired to take the Child and Youth Care program because of the impact her former youth workers had in her life.

“My youth workers showed me that I was worthy of love and respect simply because I exist. They were huge instruments in my symphony of resiliency."

“When I listened to the voice inside me that told me I have something to offer kids like me, I decided to become a child and youth care counsellor. Douglas College was my first choice.”

Outside of school and her day job, Meredith is passionate about film, theatre, and writing.

She sees art as a therapeutic tool and uses spoken-word as a narrative to tell parts of her story and as a tool that allows her young clients to express themselves.

After Douglas, Meredith intends to pursue a doctorate in counselling psychology and one day combine her love of supporting people with her passion for theatre by opening a theatre therapy studio.

“It’s a relatively new therapeutic tool with incredible potential,” she says.

“I have a deep passion for theatre. It was my saving grace and my place of solace in my darkest times."

“To create a studio that would be a safe space for someone to embrace who they are, discover answers to their questions, find resolutions to their conflicts, and find the fire in their soul—that would be my dream.”

To learn more about the Child and Youth Care program, visit the Douglas College website.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Therapeutic Recreation students presenting research at U.S. conferences

Danielle Lawless is one of the Therapeutic Recreation
students presenting research this month.

Therapeutic Recreation students from Douglas College are travelling south of the border this month to talk research.

Five 3rd-year students are presenting the results of their research projects at the National Council for Undergraduate Research Annual Conference at Eastern Washington University in Spokane.

The research covers a range of topics including helping children with disabilities, stress-reduction strategies, social needs for people with dementia and more.

The students are Danielle Lawless, Arlene Buckham, Ashley Lancz, Maggie Bosse and Jennifer Fader.

Meanwhile, three 4th-year students are presenting at the Washington State Therapeutic Recreation Association Annual Conference in Seattle.

They will be talking about how they benefitted from the experience of being research assistants as part of Imagining Inclusion, a project focused on the lives of people with mental illness.

The students are Katryna Koenig, Radka Prihodova and Suezin Kang.

Also, students Louise Joycey, Maggie Bosse and Tara Speirs are presenting research for a BC Therapeutic Recreation Association webinar.

To learn more about the Therapeutic Recreation program, visit the Douglas College website.

Related Douglas College stories


Friday, April 10, 2015

Douglas College creative writing instructor shortlisted for prestigious poetry award

Russell Thornton, a Creative Writing Instructor at Douglas College, is in the running for the $65,000 Griffin Poetry Prize.

Thorton, shortlisted for his 2014 book The Hundred Lives, is among the group of Canadian and international writers announced as finalists on April 7.

The other finalists include: Eleanor Goodman and Wang Xiaoni for Something Crossed My Mind; Marek Kazmierski and Wioletta Greg for Finite Formulae & Theories of Chance; Michael Longley for The Stairwell; Spencer Reece for The Road to Emmaus; Shane Book for Congotronic; and Jane Munro for Blue Sonoma.

Thornton, the author five other books of poetry, has previously been a finalist for the BC Book Prize and Governor General’s Awards. He is also a winner of the League of Canadian Poets National Contest and the Ralph Gustafson Prize.

The winners in the Canadian and international categories will be announced during an event on June 4.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Video: Student Research Day 2015 at Douglas College

The Atrium at the Coquitlam Campus was filled with rows of project displays for the annual Student Research Day on March 30.

Students from a variety of programs were on hand to talk about their research into sport science, health, chemistry, psychology, and much more.

Check out the videos below for a look at some of the projects:

Student research on hand soap vs. hand sanitizer

Student research on social networking among youth

Student research on the psychology of short-term dating

Student research on chemical synthesis