Thursday, December 17, 2015

Douglas College Music grad finds career path that hits all the right notes

David Denofreo photo

Nicole Broughton was just six years old when she took the first step towards her future career as a music therapist by enrolling in piano lessons.

The Douglas College Music program grad remembers her mother encouraging her to take up the instrument.

“The more you practice, the better you become,” Broughton said. “I love the progress of music.”

The piano major – who is now studying Music Therapy at Capilano University – soon found that her love of music could extend to helping others after using songwriting as a form of catharsis.

“In high school, I took a music composition course and started composing my own work on the piano. It was therapeutic,” she said.

Knowing the impact music could have on feelings and moods inspired Broughton to look into music therapy as a career.

The 21-year-old formed the band The Echos with her friend and fellow Music program alum, Jess Cichos. The duo recorded their debut EP with help from colleagues in the Music Technology Certificate program.

“Our friend built a studio for herself in her basement, so we road-tripped to Kelowna and spent a week there and recorded and did a couple of videos, too,” Broughton, who plays the piano, said.

The EP is currently being mixed and mastered and The Echos plan to have it available for purchase as soon as possible.

The Coquitlam resident notes the resources at Douglas helped her reach her personal – and professional – goals.

“Every time you accomplish one thing, you just have to look forward to what’s next,” she said. “I know that I want to use music to help others the way it’s helped me.”


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Royals basketball player to shine from the sidelines as a sports broadcaster

David Denofreo photo

It’s no surprise to anyone who knows her that Domunique Booker’s first steps were on a basketball court.

The Royal’s basketball player comes from a sports family and proudly admits that the love of the game is in her blood.

“My parents met at a basketball tournament. There’s a life-size cutout of Michael Jordan in my basement. Basketball has always been a huge part of my life,” she said. “We’re a huge athlete family.”

With a background like that, it made sense for the 19 year old to pursue a career in the industry. And while most athletes would love to be on the court or in the field, Booker is looking to shine on the sidelines as a sports broadcaster.

The Douglas College Communications student plans to hone her writing skills before transferring to Ryerson University for the Sports Broadcasting program.

“Ultimately, I would want to be a sideline reporter for any sport really. I would love to have a show – like NBA Countdown – where you can meet the players in a more personal setting,” Booker said. “I’m incorporating something I love into a career.”

The avid YouTube user has also been working on her video and technical skills, shooting and posting family moments, team highlights and more.

“I’m pretty techy and I’m trying to develop that part of myself, as well. So that if I get a job, I’m capable of being in front of the camera or behind it,” she said.

The ambitious teen is also dedicated to giving back in her community and wants to combine her love of sports with her passion for philanthropic work.

She notes an organization like NBA Cares – the league’s global social responsibility program – would be a long-term career goal.

“Giving back to my community is very important to me and I want to continue to do that,” she said.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Douglas College computers find new home in Kenya

Photo Courtesy of St. Christopher's School 

Douglas College computers have found a new home at a Kenyan school, thanks to a recycling program run by the College’s Centre for Educational and Information Technology (CEIT).

Each year, the College replaces more than 400 personal computers as part of the CEIT Evergreen Project. Some of the machines end up at certified environmentally-responsible recycling plants and others find new homes through charitable organizations.

One beneficiary of the program is St. Christopher’s School in Nanyuki, 200 kilometres from the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. The donated computers give students access to online resources they would otherwise not have, said St. Christopher’s School Principal Bernard Muthu.

“It’s a great relief and will change the lives of many kids,” Muthu said, noting the government of Kenya has required schools to integrate e-learning into their curriculum.

The placement of computers at St. Christopher's School was coordinated by Afretech Aid Society, a Delta-based registered charity that has been supporting developing countries for 20 years.

Afretech president Bonnie Sutherland and her husband Don are both former teachers, first travelling to Africa in the 1990s. After visiting a school and seeing textbooks that were 40 years out of date, they wanted to help. Today, Afretech is shipping a variety of educational equipment to several countries in Africa and Asia.

Afretech relies on an army of 50 volunteers and organizations like the Rotary Club to receive and ship donations.

"No one has ever been paid. There are no free trips," Bonnie says. “What we do changes lives.”

- Adapted from an article by Glauce Fleury, CEIT 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Nominations open for 2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards

Nominations are now open for the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards.

The award is presented at graduation each year and recognizes the quality of Douglas College's graduates and their contributions to their community.

Nomination forms can be found online and must be completed and returned to the Alumni Association before March 1.

Previous Douglas College graduates who have received the award include Prizm Media president Karina Hayat in 2015 and eye-care professional Scott Kling in 2014.

For more information on the award, click here

Douglas College Marketing grad lauds practicum experience

Whether on the green or in the office, Horia Dumitru is ready to make a deal.

The Douglas College grad has always been drawn to the world of promotion and sales, which was why he decided to enroll in the Marketing program.

“It was a natural fit,” Dumitru said. “It was very challenging at first, of course, but the small classes and the friendly teachers helped me get on track.”

Now, Dumitru is putting the skills he used at Douglas College to use with a new job at a point-of-sales software company where he is currently working on technical support and sales.

“There are a lot of opportunities at this company,” Dumitru said. “There is room to grow.”

The 25-year-old always has his eye on the ball - in the office and out. That’s why he’s been working on his golf game.

“Later on, in the future, when I’m making deals with clients out on the green, we have that bond,” he said.

The client-focused approach was instilled into Dumitru while he was in the Marketing program, where he learned about dealing with clients, the importance of deadlines and focusing on the bigger picture.

For his marketing practicum, Dumitru got to utilize his new abilities when he was tasked with increasing awareness about the College’s Student Employment Centre.

“It gave me the chance to put into practice what we learned in class – writing surveys, interacting with students and focus groups,” he said. “The client – Barb Kojder – was amazing and always there to help.

“I couldn’t ask for more. That practicum made my experience at Douglas so worthwhile,” he said. Read more...

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Free access to Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus for Douglas College students


Full-time and part-time Douglas College students can now access Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus for free.

As part of the College’s licensing agreement, you can access Office tools – including Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, Excel and OneDrive – online without having to install them on your computer.

Two new features are the ability to view, co-edit and share material in real time on any device and the ability to store up to one terabyte of data on OneDrive.

OneDrive is a cloud-storage service from the United States and does not meet the public-sector privacy laws in B.C. and is not supported by Douglas College.

If students prefer to download the software, Office 365 ProPlus can be loaded on up to 15 devices – limited to five PCs/Macs, five smart phones and five tablets.

To sign up for the service using your College email address – which will reflect a personal agreement between Microsoft and the student - see the steps below:

1. Go to

2. Under the Students tab, click the Get started for free link on the left. NOTE: A new screen will ask you to enter your school email.

3. Type your Douglas College email.

4. Click the Sign up link. NOTE: A new screen will ask you to check your Douglas College email account. You’ll have received an email from Microsoft with the Complete Office 365 Education signup link.

5. Forward this email from your Douglas account to any other email account you have and complete the process from there (attempting to complete the process from within your Douglas account will result in an error). NOTE: A new screen will ask for some information.

6. Fill in the blanks.

7. Click the Start button. NOTE: You’ll see the applications available.

For details, please visit or contact Microsoft directly.
For technical support, contact Microsoft directly or visit

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Douglas College baseball player eyes career as diplomat

David Denofreo photo

If someone asked Surya Viswanathan a few months ago about his plans for the future, he wouldn’t have had an answer.

The 19-year-old baseball player was taking General Studies at Douglas College, sampling different classes to see what appealed most to him.

“I had no clue what I wanted to do when I started at Douglas. I originally had come for the baseball program,” he said. “Then I joined the Student Ambassadors Program and that’s where I met some key individuals who helped shape my future.”

Now, Surya is working towards an education in international relations, with the goal of becoming an ambassador for the United Nations. Currently enrolled in the Intercultural and International Studies Program, Surya will transfer to UBC in two years to wrap up his degree.

He credits the Student Ambassadors Program for showing him the importance of finding his passion. Soon after joining, Surya began to mull over plans for his future. The long-time outfielder has always played baseball – even hoping to play professionally – but he needed a Plan B.

Through his work with the Student Ambassadors, Surya was able to see a number of motivational speakers discussing topics that were important to them. Seeing their passion made Surya want to find his own.

“I can’t do the 9-5 thing,” he said. “That’s not me.

“So, I devoted myself to finding what my passion was aside from baseball. I’ve always been interested in being in a leadership position, helping others and I want to travel to every country before I die. I paired those two interests, and international relations was something that clicked for me.”

The unwavering support of his parents – who gave him the opportunity for a better life by moving to Canada from India – allowed him to pursue his passion.

“They let me figure out my own path,” he said.

Surya, who works with the Office of New Students as a supervisor for the Student Ambassador Program, said that his decision to get involved in his school was the best he’s made.

“This job has been the most amazing experience because of all the opportunities it has given me,” he said. “By being a leader, finding out what works for me and what doesn’t – I realized I needed to diversify my options.”


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Douglas College Poem of the Month: December

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 "Out in the Cold" by Stephen Renaud.

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. Read more...

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

New Westminster Police's mobile app to keep community connected

The New Westminster Police Department is encouraging Douglas College students to stay connected with the community through their new mobile app.

Available in the Apple App Store and Google Play, the NWPD app provides up-to-date alerts, information on recruitment, a section to send in tips, and contact information for the non-emergency line, among other features.

“We really wanted to be connected,” Crime Prevention Unit and Reserve Program coordinator Shelley Cole said. “This gives people another tool to stay informed and a way to get our messages out there quickly.”

The app was launched Sept. 15 after a year of development. Its long-term goal is modernizing the way the department connects with those who live, work and go to school in the community.

“We want them to know what’s going on. It's a one-stop shop to help keep you informed and safe,” Cole said.

For more information, visit the NWPD on Facebook, Twitter and online. Read more...