Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Get ready and get hired: tips and tricks for the Douglas College Career Fair

The upcoming Career Fair - running Feb. 28, March 2 and March 7 - is an incredible opportunity to meet and network with more than 30 regional and national employers - employers who specifically want to hire Douglas students and alumni.

The question is... Are you ready?

Put your best foot forward with tips and pointers from some of the employers attending the fair.

1. Have a great cover letter and resumé on hand. And follow up!

"Use a template for your cover letter that can be adapted depending on the requirements of the position. Take the chance to prove that you meet the requirements listed in the job posting. If the job requires a driver's license, mention in your cover letter that you have one. Also, follow up after sending in your resumé, but not to the point where you're annoying the hiring manager."

-Katelin Dueck, Employment Coordinator, Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work

2. Do your research and be open minded.

"Consider job searching in other sectors and industries. Most people assume that school districts only need teachers. School districts hire a wide variety of staff, such as education assistants, information technologists, engineers, administrative clerks, accountants, payroll officers, human resources staff and occupational therapists."

-Andrew Jang, Business Development and Marketing Consultant with Make a Future

"From our experience, the people who stand out at career fairs are the ones who dress professionally and ones who researched the companies ahead of time and ask meaningful questions."

-Jessica Brandreth, Talent Acquisition Advisor, Western Region with Yellow Pages.

3. Put your best foot forward.

"We love to meet individuals with a great attitude who enjoy speaking to new people. We're also looking for students who are competitive and goal oriented for our positions."

-Victoria Ross, Administration and Human Resources Manager with Canadian Property Stars  

"One big thing we look for from applicants is punctual and accurate information when we need it. The application process takes a longer amount of time than we would prefer as it is, but if we require addition references or clarified address history in order to process a security clearance, the entire process is put on hold waiting for this info to get to us.

-Sgt. Pat Madderom, Recruiter, 39 Canadian Brigade Group Headquarters

Need some help getting ready? Contact the Student Employment Centre at 604 527 5889 or email sec@douglascollege.ca.

The three-day Career Fair kicks off Feb. 28, 10am-3pm at the Coquitlam Campus and will run March 2 and March 7, 10am-3pm at the New Westminster Campus. 


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Nominations sought for Douglas College Education Council and College Board.

Nominations are now being sought for candidates to fill student representative positions on the College Board and Education Council.

The positions - two on the board and four on the council - each have a one-year term, starting Sept. 1, 2017 and ending Aug. 31, 2018.

The nomination period closes Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2017 at 4pm.

The role of the Douglas College Board is to act on behalf of the public and oversee the affairs - including property, revenue and expenditures - of the College. The Board meets seven times annually, and holds a strategic/educational retreat each year.

The Education Council at Douglas College is responsible for developing policies that reflect the Educational Council mandate in the College and Institute Act.

Information about the elections, as well as nomination forms, can be found at the Registrar's office at both campuses, the Douglas Students’ Union Offices and at the Douglas College elections website here and here. Read more...

Two wrongs make a right for University Transfer Business student

David Denofreo photo

If anyone can attest to the difficulties in finding the right career path, it’s Searaj Alam.

The 23-year-old Douglas College University Transfer student – who is now studying Business Technology Management at UBC – started off his post-secondary education with a sudden change in course.

“I missed the SFU acceptance by one percent, and they wouldn’t round me up, so I enrolled at Douglas College, with plans to transfer as soon as I could,” he said.

Instead, Alam ended up spending three and a half years at Douglas, starting off studying science, then engineering, and finally, business.

“My first semester at Douglas was the most challenging. I failed my first Chemistry course, got a P in English Literature, and was in complete shock. I realized that post-secondary is not high school; it’s a demanding, fast-paced environment that requires focus and dedication,” Alam said.

So he took action. Alam worked with academic advisor and instructors to improve his grades and adjust to college. And his hard work paid off – by the end of his second semester, Alam’s grades had improved significantly.

“After that first semester, I was glad I wasn’t accepted to SFU. It would have cost me a lot more to learn from my mistakes there. Douglas allowed me to get my bearings, make my mistakes and work to better myself,” Alam said. “I’ve recommend to all my friends to start at Douglas.”

His experience also encouraged him to get more involved in the College – specifically the Douglas College Business Association.
“Most of my friends were in business, so I naturally ended up at the DCBA events, where I got to listen to so many inspiring speakers who shared their personal success stories,” he said.

The more events he attended, the more Alam realized he wanted to pursue business. But after already having switched from science to engineering, he was reluctant to make yet another change.

“It was a really difficult decision to walk away from engineering. I had spent thousands of dollars and, more importantly, valuable time and energy, on my studies. Not to mention, I had to explain to family and friends that my graduation time would be significantly delayed,” he said.

Nonetheless, Alam enrolled in his first business course. He loved it, and decided to make the switch. Originally, Alam was enrolled in the Associate of Science program. When he switched, he completed all the first- and second-year business courses at Douglas that would allow him to transfer into his third year at UBC. When he wasn’t studying, he researched career options, and hit on one that would allow him to mesh technology and business: business technology management.

His idea of bringing the tech and business worlds together was something Alam had been mulling over since his switch to business.

“I want to bring people together and make them more effective in their work. With all the advancements in technology and numerous startups opening up in Vancouver alone, I think there’s a need for someone to bridge the gap between tech-savvy individuals and business professionals,” he said.

Now, all that’s left is to graduate from UBC. Once that’s done, Alam will work on his immediate career goals: launching his business, and making the Forbes 30 Under 30.

“I have a lot of learning ahead of me, and I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to get there. But I know this is the right direction,” Alam said.


Meet Douglas College's valedictorians for Winter 2017

This week is a time for celebration for the many Douglas College students who will be walking across the stage as part of the Winter graduation ceremonies.

One small group of students made a lasting mark with their peers and instructors during their time at Douglas. They are the valedictorians. Read below to hear what they had to say about their time at Douglas.

Estera Tepes Billa
Diploma in Music

"I am delighted to say that all my teachers were well prepared, and their passion for teaching enhanced my enthusiasm for learning and helped me excel in everything I was doing. Also, I was surrounded by friendly colleagues who really helped minimize the stress of studying."

Diego Jônio Borba Lins
Post-Degree Diploma in Information and Communication Technology

"Studying at  Douglas College is a unique opportunity. Your time here passes fast and doesn't come back, so study hard and enjoy your time here."

Sandra Loewe

"Many times throughout my six years plus one semester at Douglas, I did not see that light at the end of the tunnel, not even a flicker. There were many times when I thought, "I have had enough! This is too much! It's too hard and time-consuming!" I started six years ago only wanting a certificate in Classroom and Community Support, but little did I know that I would end up not only with a diploma, but with a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care. Being valedictorian is just the cherry on top. I achieved all of this because I didn't give up." 

Jaryn McLean

"I honestly did not know much about Douglas College, but after discussing my educational goals with my health-care manager, I received some great advice. He told me that Douglas College had the best Psychiatric Nursing Program in B.C.. After doing some research, I agreed. Douglas offered a four-year degree program, an excellent range of psychiatric courses and small class sizes."

Julia Timoshenko
Bachelor of Business Administration – Financial Services

"One of the highlights during my time at Douglas was meeting a lot of people from different countries and backgrounds and learning something new and interesting from each one of them; forming what I’m sure are going to be life-long friendships; and  being a part of many exciting, challenging and educational school projects."

Yelyzaveta Yaremenko

"My most interesting memory was working on projects with real companies. That is not only essential learning, but it is an opportunity for students to prove themselves, as some external organizations could become potential employers for them in the future - or at least they might be able to give students a good reference."


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Delving into death metal: University Transfer student researching extreme genre

For roughly a decade, Eric Smialek has been studying screams.

No, his work doesn’t involve anything ghoulish - or illegal.

Rather, the former Douglas College Basic Musicianship diploma student and death metal aficionado is applying linguistic techniques to reveal the intricacies behind the at-times controversial music genre.

“A lot of people who aren’t familiar with the music are surprised by its complexities. Extreme metal
music involves some aggressive thematic material that overshadows its complex aspects. When you’re dealing with subjects like death, violence and Satanism, the focus is drawn to those things,” Smialek said. “I think that’s why sociologists and people in child development were the first researchers to pay attention to this music. It took a while for scholars who worked in music departments to pay attention.”

Smialek’s interest in music first piqued during his time at the College as a general studies student searching for his niche. After taking a music elective, he decided to enroll in the Basic Musicianship program, before switching to the University Transfer program in preparation for a bachelor’s degree.

His focus on death metal vocals started after transferring to UBC in 2004 to enroll in the Bachelor of Arts program with a major in Music. There, he delved into the acoustics of extreme metal vocals for a research project in his Physics of Music class.

Since then, Smialek has obtained his PhD in Musicology at McGill University this past February. He has published on metal music and has given presentations around the world, including in Slovenia, Italy, and the U.K.

“I’m thinking about the kind of specialized screaming sounds you hear in death metal and black metal from the perspective of the musician. My goal is to find out what makes the sounds seem powerful and convincing to people who are invested in them – namely, those who write the music or listen to it as fans,” he said.

Part of Smialek’s research involved recording himself doing death metal vocals, and with the help of a spectrogram – a tool that creates a visualization of the sound being made – he discovered that the change in screams hinged on their vowels.

“That’s when I came up with an argument I haven’t heard anyone else in the world make – the acoustics of vowel formants play a huge role in making this style of voice,” he said. “Vocalists will often sacrifice the intelligibility of their lyrics for the musical expressive aspects of these vowel changes. You can’t understand what they’re saying but it sounds really heavy and really deep,” he said.

He noted physiology also plays a key role in extreme metal, as many of the singers are imitating large beasts through simple tricks, such as rounding their lips to make their vocal tract longer and larger.

“This is how those musicians imitate those sounds that reflect the music content – demons, monsters, gods – it’s a way of training your body to impersonate really impressive abstract ideas,” he said.

When he’s not speaking at conferences about the nuances of death metal, Smialek is teaching classes at McGill on a part-time basis, including an intro to Jazz class this winter. He has also taught classes on popular music, classical-music appreciation, and critical thinking about music.

Many of the classes Smialek teaches are designed for students with no prior training to music, which brings him back to his time at Douglas, when he first discovered he wanted to forge a career in music.

“I feel like I really learned to learn to read music at Douglas College. It was a fertile ground for creativity,” he said. “Douglas College is an especially supportive environment where students have many low-stakes opportunities to learn through mistakes. The sense of community among peers and mentors is remarkably strong. The result is a very motivating place where music making and a general feeling of exploration happens everyday.” Read more...

Monday, February 6, 2017

To close, or not to close, here are the answers

Many people have asked how Douglas College makes decisions on opening the campus versus closing.

Douglas College serves a diverse community from a wide geographic area where conditions can significantly differ. It is not possible to account for every personal circumstance, so information for as much of our community as possible is taken into consideration.

Closure decisions are made by a small group at the College concerned with safety and operations. The paramount concern is for the safety of our students and employees. When considering to close the campuses, factors that influence the decision are:

  • Student and employee safety
  • Campus accessibility
  • Transit availability
  • Road conditions (in the case of snow, or other weather)
  • Weather forecast
  • Day-of activities or special events for groups using the campus
  • Other post-secondary closure decisions

Decisions are made with the information available at the time and take into consideration what may happen in the coming hours. Following any decision, conditions continue to be monitored and updates are provided as soon as they are available.

Each person knows what is safe for them and we support individuals to make these personal decisions. Whatever choice is made, we encourage the entire Douglas community to be flexible and patient. Read more...

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A career in criminology or psychology? Douglas student chooses both

David Denofreo photo

All it took was one class for Brittany Fox to switch up her plan of being a criminal lawyer.

And, if she’s being completely honest, she didn’t even want to take Psychology 101 – a required course for her Criminology diploma – in the first place.

“I totally went into that class kicking and screaming. I didn’t want to take it. But once the class began, it was like a light went off,” Fox said.

When she applied to the Criminology diploma program, Fox wanted to become a criminal lawyer. But after the psychology class, she hit on a new direction that would pair both her interests – criminal psychology.

Fox is mulling over which career to pursue but is determined to help people who are struggling – either as a prison counsellor or by working with people with addictions.

“My interest comes from curiosity. I want to know what leads people to do what they do, how their experiences shape their actions and decision-making processes,” Fox said.

She credits the engaging classes and knowledgeable instructors at Douglas College for sparking her interest.

“I love how the teachers get to know you here, they know your name and you can have a one-on-one conversation with them,” Fox said. “My most memorable experiences at Douglas have been in the classroom – I get so energized and interested in the topics we go over.”

While her career goals are still up in the air, Fox said ultimately plans to get her bachelor’s degree in Criminology at Douglas, then hopes to get her master’s degree at SFU – and eventually become a professor who would inspire students like her.

“I’m really motivated, and I look forward to coming to school because I love what I’m learning,” Fox said. “Who knows where I’ll go from here?” Read more...

Psychology degree student plans to promote healthy living on First Nations reservations through sport

David Denofreo photo

For Garaline Tom, basketball is more than just a game. It’s a connection to her culture.

A member of the Lake Babine Nation – located on the banks of Babine Lake in central B.C. – Tom and her parents moved from the reserve to Nanaimo when she was young. Her parents, she said, were looking for better opportunities for their children.

“But the flipside was that I had to leave my culture and my family, which was extremely difficult,” Tom said.

After immersing herself in school sports, the Douglas College Bachelor of Applied Psychology student discovered a love of basketball. Through playing in exhibitions, such as the All Native Basketball Tournament, the game became the connection she was seeking to her heritage.

“It was so important to me because I was able to meet other First Nation youth and visit different reservations,” she explained. “It was something I hadn’t had before.”

Her love of basketball led her to Douglas College, where she made the varsity team. She initially was mulling over a career in athletics, but through her work as president of the Student-Athlete’s Council and Aboriginal Representative for the Douglas College Students’ Union, Tom discovered a passion for advocacy.

“I don’t know if I would have found out how interested I am about social issues and working with First Nation youth if it wasn’t for my involvement with extracurricular activities. Douglas helped me become more of an activist,” she said.

With a Sport Science Diploma already under her belt, Tom’s next step is to complete her Psychology degree – and maybe even a Master’s degree – before taking off across the country – and eventually the United States – to visit reservations and encourage healthy living to youth through sport.

“I have a very personal connection to mental illness. I have battled numerous mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, for many years and continue to struggle,” Tom said. “I have lost a family member and close family friends to mental illness and suicide – which is a huge problem on reservations.”

Tom aims to promote healthy living on reservations as a mental-health worker while encouraging sports as a healthy outlet for youth.

“I want to spread hope among Aboriginal youth to help them see that they are capable of so much more than they think. There are so many possibilities beyond the borders of their reservation,” she said.