Wisdom 2021 - The Polytechnic Journey

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to our students and staff

We know it’s been tough, but so are you.


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EDITORIAL MESSAGE TOP 10 With our 10th President and CEO, Justin Kohlman


On December 8, 2021, Grande Prairie Regional College officially became Northwestern Polytechnic. As preparations continue for our bright future and the unveiling of our new visual identity in early March, both names may be used interchangeably.

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ALUMNI THRIVING Meet Aiden Lutzmann


VITAL LINKS New and expanded healthcare education opportunities

CHEERS TO 70 YEARS Fairview campus celebrates 70 years


Ways to Give



Planned generosity

Maryam Khandani

GPRC acknowledges the homeland of the many diverse First Nations and Métis people whose ancestors have walked this land since time immemorial. We are grateful to work, live and learn on the traditional territory of Treaty 8.

Wisdom is published by the Department of External Relations. Return undeliverable mail to: Wisdom Magazine, Department of External Relations Grande Prairie Regional College 10726 – 106 Avenue, Grande Prairie, AB T8V 4C4

President and CEO Justin Kohlman

Photography Randy Vanderveen

Vice-President, External Relations Cherene Griffiths

Design Jellyfish Design

Contributors Amanda Heiford, Danielle Smith

Printing Printed in Alberta

2021 | WISDOM


In Our


Editorial Message our institution, but the significance goes well beyond our changing appearance. Just as GPRC and that recognizable red square left an imprint over time, Northwestern Polytechnic (NWP) and our new logo will be the symbol of who we are and aspire to be. In the coming months and years, we will have the opportunity to build on our contributions in the region and to forge deep, meaningful and lasting connections with our learning community.

Cherene Griffiths

Vice-President, External Relations

I’m a puzzle person. I like finding the right pieces – be it the little things, big things, people, or places – there’s a sense of achievement when connections are made. As you will read in this issue, the pieces of our polytechnic puzzle are continuing to fall into place. Our new name was officially announced in December and our new look is just around the corner. It is an exciting time for


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We are working steadily to strengthen the links between our campuses and the industries, businesses, communities and valued partners we serve. Whether it is through an established group like our Alumni Advisory Council and the Workforce Advisory Council, or chance meetings with future contributors, there is a tremendous amount of knowledge and goodwill that is integral to our success. It’s all about those timely conversations, great ideas, and collective efforts. As a polytechnic, we are striving for career-focused programming that is responsive to local needs and global market shifts. Students will benefit from classroom theory that is put into practice through workintegrated learning opportunities while workplaces get to inspire and help upskill their future employees.

It is basically pieces coming together earlier than they ever have before. But instead of carefully laying out the corner and smooth edge pieces at the start, we are shifting our mindset. This is an infinity puzzle that will continue to expand and incorporate new components. And when we stand back and proudly look at our progress, we will see and appreciate all the distinct elements that make us whole. With that in mind, this issue of Wisdom is also a bit of a collection of great things. It showcases some of our finest and most impactful initiatives, students, staff members, alumni, and donors. Indeed, there is a lot to celebrate, and this is only a snapshot of the many wonderful stories with GPRC and now NWP roots. Recognizing that this is the dawn of a new era of post-secondary education in northwestern Alberta, this will also be the last issue of Wisdom as you know it. I am delighted to share that we have plans to refresh our magazine to reflect the opportunity ahead. Please know that although it may look a bit different, you can still count on getting your printed copies of your alumni news straight to your mailbox a couple times a year. We will also be working hard to create even more avenues for regular communication so you can stay connected to the campus, and we can discover more about the great impact our alumni are having both near and far. I hope you are as excited as I am to see everything coming together and I look forward to providing updates on our progress. In the meantime, keep sharing your news, ideas and stories at engage@nwpolytech.ca. These are truly the pieces that matter.


Questions with Northwestern Polytechnic’s 10th President and CEO Are you curious about the man who took over the reins at Northwestern Polytechnic in November? In the spirit of learning a bit more about what makes Justin Kohlman tick, we put that old saying ‘there are no stupid questions’ to the test. Here’s what he had to say: 1. What is your favourite thing about northwestern Alberta and why? I love the fact people have been so welcoming and their can-do attitude. So many people have said just “get ‘er done” and they mean it. Whatever the idea, they really genuinely seem open to making it happen.

8. What keeps you busy in your spare time? My happiest spare time is spent shuttling my kids to sporting events. I love cheering them on!

4. What is your best childhood memory? Going to Banff as a fouryear-old. That was the first time I ever got to see the mountains and our first family holiday. Hooked me on the mountains and travel for life.

9. What are your top three books? Podcasts? Podcast is definitely Revisionist History with Malcolm Gladwell. Love every episode. Books there are so many. Harry Potter because that’s a series we really enjoyed as a family. Creativity, Inc. because I loved how a small company like Pixar could influence the culture of Disney. The Alchemist. Love the fact that by exploring the world he discovered happiness at home. I should note that tomorrow I may have a whole new list of favourites though. Lot of great books out there.

5. What are you most proud of in your life? Career? Our 17- and 13-year-old both are pretty darn awesome people. Feeling like my wife and I had a small part to play in that is pretty darn cool.

10. What would be your superpower? The ability to stop time. I would love to have 48 hour days!

to determine what it really means to be a polytechnic and what we can do to exceed everyone’s expectations so that students choose to come and study with us from across our region, our country and across the world.

2. Why the post-secondary sector? It is amazing being in a sector where you get to serve young people who want to learn and get better. Being in that environment is infectious and makes me want to constantly learn and get better.

6. Which one of your teachers made an impact on you and why? My grade three teacher immediately jumps to mind. She was the first teacher that really made me feel she believed in me and that had such a huge impact on me really loving school.

3. What are your goals for our institution during your term? Next year? Next five years? We have just moved from a college to a polytechnic from a legal perspective. However, what I’m really excited about is making that change from a practical perspective. I really believe in these coming months we can work with everyone on our campuses and in our communities

7. What moment would you say was life defining? Moving to Australia. My wife and I gave up our careers at that point and started over without knowing anyone. It was scary but so liberating. Without taking that chance, I wouldn’t have gotten into higher education, we wouldn’t have had an Australian daughter and we wouldn’t have made many wonderful friends and memories. 2021 | WISDOM


Polytechnic First Impressions


As any new parent will attest, choosing the perfect name can be both a thrilling and daunting task. After all, you are responsible for selecting a significant element of someone’s identity and distinction in the world. It’s a decision that should be thoughtful and considerate. Proudly serving northern Alberta for more than half a century, our institution is certainly not a baby. We’ve steadily grown with our communities, walked alongside our valued partners and industry, and learned important lessons at every step. And now, with our new name - Northwestern Polytechnic confirmed, we are in the midst of our biggest transformation yet. The opportunities are infinite and we can’t wait to share this journey with you.


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Impactful Giving

“We wanted to do something positive to support our community.” “It has always been important to us to give back to the community we live in and we are proud to see it go towards the advancement of health and education in Grande Prairie.” Kory Brazel, MNP’s Regional Managing Partner for MNP Peace Region

2021 | WISDOM




Links MNP Support Adds Up Over the last five years, a local accounting firm has been quietly investing in GPRC and the healthcare community. In fact, MNP Grande Prairie has generously donated a total of $100,000 to the College and the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital Foundation.

The annual donations have helped GPRC purchase world-class equipment for our Simulation Lab, including the Noelle® maternal and neonatal teaching system. The female patient and newborn simulators prepare students for key elements of the birthing experience and the nursing care required before, during and after delivery. “We use a variety of simulators in our nursing department for clinical teaching and learning purposes,” explains Lana Bennett, Northwestern Polytechnic Lab Coordinator, Department of Nursing Education and Health Studies. “These tools provide an immersive experience and are integral to improving skills and confidence in advance of actual patient care.”


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Be it a timely donation, productive partnership, leading-edge equipment or meaningful message, our campus community is extremely fortunate to have people building healthcare connections every day.

Health Speaker Series Recognizing the new year is a time to reaffirm commitments to health and wellness, GPRC is proud to announce our new Health Speaker Series. This spring we are planning to host various health care professionals who will share their knowledge and expertise across important topics. Please visit nwpolytech.ca/SpeakerSeries to learn more about the health information coming your way. “By talking about health and well-being we are able to explore new developments and increase awareness,” says Cherene Griffiths, Vice-President External Relations, Northwestern Polytechnic. “We are so fortunate to have great speakers who are willing to share their insight with our learning community.”

International Innovation In 2017, GPRC and Australia’s Holmesglen Institute set off on a shared adventure and we haven’t looked back. What started initially as a student exchange has now officially grown into a rewarding longer-term research partnership that will deliver value on both continents. The Collaborative Online International Learning project – or COIL for short - aims to build international nursing education and research using digital technologies. In 2022, GPRC and Holmesglen will be working together to develop and test various Virtual Reality (VR) scenarios for use in global healthcare settings. “We are delighted to be working alongside our international partners to launch a global online classroom for nursing students,” says Dr. Vanessa Sheane, Vice-President Academic and Research, Northwestern Polytechnic. “This work will not only bring our nursing community together, it will also reveal valuable new ways to learn and collaborate.”

Evaskevich Centre for Health Research and Innovation Paul and Coreen Evaskevich have been generously supporting our institution for more than three decades. Whether serving on the Board of Governors, graciously accepting multiple awards for their outstanding community service, or making the largest individual donation in our institution’s history, the Evaskevich family has been a great champion for post-secondary education for years. We are beyond grateful for the personal and financial investments into our region’s future and for helping the Evaskevich Centre for Health Research and Innovation take shape. Now that the new Grande Prairie Regional Hospital is officially open, we are confident that our research, training, and health and education partnerships, will continue to gather momentum. Keep an eye on our progress as we discover the tremendous power and potential of generosity.

“It is an honour to be part of a collaboration that will make a positive difference in people’s lives for generations to come.” Coreen and Paul Evaskevich


A Message from your


Hello Northwestern Polytechnic Alumni! I have been grateful and honoured to work in student leadership for the past two years as both President and Vice President External. Growing up in the Peace Region has made me admire the hard-working people of our community that contribute to our industries and make Grande Prairie a better place. Many of these people have learned their valuable trades, skills, and professions right here at home. Others have gone on to create positive impacts in other communities. Regardless, they have paved the way for our current generation of learners. The Students’ Association’s objective has always been ensuring a positive student experience and advocating for student needs. These past years, our focus has been on increasing accessibility to our Room of Plenty Foodbank, mental health coverage and awareness, and ensuring student voices are heard. We have collaborated with the Alberta Student Executive Council and the Minister of Advanced Education on Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs, to ensure students are equipped with high-quality education, skills, and training needed to obtain valuable careers post-graduation. Our core goals moving forward are to continue to provide a positive post-secondary experience, improve accessibility, develop the right skills through traditional programs and micro-credentials, and advocate for all groups on campus. I am incredibly excited for the future of our institution. Learners can finally stay in their home community and earn a full degree while building lifelong relationships, friendships, and partnerships. I want to personally thank all the alumni who came before us and make us proud to be from Northwestern Polytechnic. Keep aiming for greatness! John Tiede Students’ Association President


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with Us!

We want to hear from you!




through your milestones, stories and successes.

email us at Alumni@nwpolytech.ca



Fairview Campus: An Energetic 70 Years Young In August 1949, the Fairview Post urged the region’s young farmers to participate in a growing economy as professionals: “No country in the world has better institutions and facilities for training and educating young people for work in the field of agriculture than does Western Canada.”


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Just two years later, in October 1951, the Fairview School of Agriculture and Home Economics opened with 51 students in its inaugural programs, and it has served the community and region ever since. For 70 years, Fairview’s story has mirrored that of Alberta, one dominated by growth and the need to provide the services to support that growth. Its founding in 1951 reflected the post-war expansion and the crucial role agriculture plays in both the Peace Region and the province. In 1978, its establishment as a college with a president and board coincided with the energy boom of that decade; and its current consolidation with Northwestern Polytechnic

followed the peak of the boom in the mid-to-late 2000s, when oil sands production surpassed that of conventional oil. There were twists and turns along the way. In 1958, a fire destroyed the mechanics building and gymnasium. The future of the college was uncertain, only to re-open after a huge public outcry. “I think the fire really proved that the Fairview campus had put down strong roots in the community; roots that have only deepened over time,” says Tony Shmyruk, Interim Dean, School of Skilled Trades. “As a polytechnic, we will continue to grow and develop programs that meet the demands of future generations. We are excited about what the future holds.”

Today, Fairview campus delivers career programs and specialty training, including a wide range of pre-employment and technical options offered as apprenticeship training. Students benefit from smaller class sizes coupled with personalized instruction. Many enjoy close ties with the community – a home away from home.

Distinctive Programming The skills taught in Fairview are often one of a kind, specific for the region, yet applicable all over the world. The Fairview campus is home to the only authorized training centre in Canada for Harley-Davidson® motorcycles. Over the course of this 15-week program, students are trained as technicians for authorized Harley-Davidson® retailers across Canada. Starting in 2022, Fairview will expand its offerings to deliver a program tailored to the repair of classic models of the legendary motorcycle. The Reynolds-Alberta Museum is currently profiling Fairview’s 40-year history of motorcycle training programs, including the Harley-Davidson® program. The exhibit runs until October 2022 and includes more than 30 rare gems from Northwestern Polytechnic’s “Toy Box” collection. “This is an exciting opportunity for us. Visitors get to view our bikes and learn about the history of the Fairview Campus as it pertains to motorcycle repair training, as well as the people, the work and the international scope and influence of our programs,” says Shmyruk. Another program unique to the Fairview campus is the ThinkBIG Service Technician program – a partnership with Caterpillar Inc., and Finning Canada, Caterpillar’s largest dealership worldwide. Northwestern Polytechnic is the only post-secondary institution in Canada to offer this globally recognized training program which gives students the technical knowledge and hands-on skills needed to service Caterpillar equipment.

“Students who graduate from the ThinkBIG program have many career options,” says Darcy Moss, Heavy Equipment Instructor. “Some take on employment with Finning Canada or the heavy equipment industry; others go on to complete apprenticeship and journeyperson certification.”

Looking to the future “As a polytechnic, Fairview will continue to be focused on hands-on, experiential learning”, says Justin Kohlman, President and CEO of Northwestern Polytechnic. “We will build on the outstanding history of our institution and continue to capitalize on the opportunity before us in this new realm.” Being a polytechnic means that Northwestern Polytechnic and its campuses will have a deeper relationship to the community and to industry. Programming will increasingly focus on worksite experience and opportunities to remain in the community and develop careers. It will also give students the additional pathways to develop themselves, to return to the pack, and even earn degrees. “The road we are on is uniquely ours,” says Kohlman. No doubt the writer for the Fairview Post would approve.

For 70 years, Fairview’s story has mirrored that of Alberta, one dominated by growth and the need to provide the services to support that growth. 2021 | WISDOM



Loretta Parenteau-English

Loretta Parenteau-English, a Piikaniaki from Treaty 7 territory, has resided in Treaty 8 territory since 1989. Loretta is a proud mother of 5 and a grandmother of 21. Loretta is employed at Grande Prairie Regional College, as an Elder in Residence; she has provided guidance and shared teachings and knowledge with the GPRC community since 2014. Loretta has also been an active member of the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre since 1990. Following her cultural teachings and beliefs, Loretta honours and acknowledges traditional territories when sharing teachings. The value of knowing where you come from and the land where you currently hold space is held and displayed throughout her teachings.

Theresa Gladue

Theresa Gladue is a proud member of the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation, located in Treaty 8 territory. For the past 30 years, Theresa resided in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. She worked as the Aboriginal Student Advisor at the Northern Lights College for 13 years before moving to Grande Prairie to join the GPRC community as an Elder in Residence. Theresa is honoured to have been embraced and taught by many Elders within Treaty 8. She is thankful and humbled to have had the opportunities to share space, receive guidance, and gain numerous teachings from many of her Elders. Theresa is excited to be welcomed to Grande Prairie Regional College as an Elder in Residence. She is looking forward to offering guidance, sharing teachings, and walking with students on their academic journeys.


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ALUMNI Feature

Alumni Thriving

This Alumna has lived all over the world, but credits GPRC roots for her success.

It’s said that everywhere you go becomes a part of you somehow. If this is true, GPRC alumna Aiden Lutzmann is made up of a quite unique collection of experiences and sights. Aiden was born and raised in Grande Prairie and graduated from St. Joseph’s High School. She loved volleyball from a very young age and was noticed by a high school scout who invited her to play for MacEwan University in Edmonton. Excited to try a new city and experience a higher level of play in her much-loved sport, Aiden spent a year playing with the Griffins before moving back home. She hadn’t yet decided on an educational path, so she enrolled in some electives at GPRC, hoping that direction and inspiration might find her. She

Aiden (right) with GPRC Wolves teammate Olivia Abram (left).


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serendipitously met two women through her summer job with the City who just happened to play volleyball for the GPRC Wolves. They convinced her to try out and the rest is history. Aiden was chosen for the roster and quickly enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Recreation, Sport and Tourism (BARST) University Transfer program. The BARST degree appealed to Aiden as she was still trying to figure out her professional direction. “The BARST degree offered flexibility,” she says. “As I still didn’t quite know where I wanted to take my life, I was happy to find a broad program that would allow me to branch out in a bunch of different ways.” Because her credits from MacEwan transferred over, Aiden only had a year’s worth of courses to take, and only a year on the court representing red, black and grey. Fortunately, it was a great year to be a Wolf. The team made it all the way to the Canadian Collegiate

Athletic Association (CCAA) Nationals in Toronto, where they brought home the silver medal. “My year at GPRC was one of the most significant of my life,” Aiden shares. “It was great to get to spend one more year at home with my parents, especially after being away in Edmonton. Even though I had grown up in Grande Prairie, I really expanded my network during my time at the College and, especially through playing volleyball, made some new and lifelong friends.” After the year, it was back to Edmonton to finish her BARST degree at the University of Alberta. The degree includes a practicum, for which Aiden was placed with a local ski and snowboard company that organizes weekend trips to ski resorts in Alberta, BC, and the US. During this time, she started to get glimmers of what her future might be, and it was becoming clear that it would involve travel in one way or another. Little did she know that these glimmers were the beginning of a wanderlust that would eventually take her around the world.

Having visited Paris a few years prior, Aiden had always wanted to go back and so applied and secured a lifechanging position as an ‘au pair’ (or live-in nanny) for a Parisian family. “I got incredibly lucky,” she admits. “This opportunity allowed me to travel all around Europe, as I was given two weeks off every six weeks.” And even though her mom had made her promise not to fall in love, she ended up doing just that when she met her partner on a trip to Spain. After Paris, Aiden happily joined her partner in London where she landed a job at a prestigious five-star hotel. “I had known for awhile that it was the tourism aspect of my degree that I was most interested in, but it was actually another set of skills from post-secondary that set me up for success,” she says. “College and university are about much more than academics. My time there taught me how to present myself as articulate and professional. I learned responsibility, how to communicate both in person and in writing, and basically how to adult in the real world.” After a year in London, Aiden packed up once again and took a 40-hour flight to settle (for the time being) in New Zealand with her partner. Thanks to the experience and contacts she has gathered along the way, Aiden landed her dream job as a luxury travel agent – a role that made her finally feel as though she had found her niche. Even though COVID-19 has interrupted her pursuit of this passion, she is happy to have found a job that draws on and makes the most of her experiences, education, and strengths. Aiden credits GPRC and her time here with opening her eyes to the broader world and providing her with skills that have come in handy time and time again throughout her travels. We’re honoured to be one of her fondest memories – there is certainly some competition - and can’t wait to hear what the future holds for her. Somehow, we don’t expect Aiden to stay in one place for too long…

Some of our Wolfpack wander and some stick around, but they all do great things wherever life takes them. Tell us about your adventures since graduating. We love to share your exciting stories. --> email alumni@nwpolytech.ca 2021 | WISDOM




Community and Alumni Awards Recognize Exceptionality The annual Community and Alumni Awards recognizes members of the community for contributions to excellence in education. Established in 2004, the Awards honour the institution and community’s finest.

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The Distinguished Volunteer Award is in recognition of exceptional contributions of time and energy dedicated to the advancement of GPRC and was presented to Mykel Lewsaw. Mykel was recognized for his volunteer work with the annual President’s Ball. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Accounting through GPRC’s collaboration with SAIT. While attending GPRC, Mykel was a regular volunteer for the annual President’s Ball. He always considered it an amazing experience and something he looked forward to attending. Mykel was selected to be on the Alberta Deans of Business Case Competition case team during his third year. He was honoured to be part of this event and appreciated the opportunity to apply the skills he had acquired in the classroom, to real life examples. Since graduating from GPRC in 2020, he has purchased a business where he uses his GPRC education each day.


The Steps to the Greater Alumni Award recognizes the outstanding achievements of GPRC alumni early in their careers. This year, GPRC is pleased to award Sarah Card. Sarah is the producer and founder/ creator of the Bear Creek Folk Music Festival in Grande Prairie. From its inaugural event in 2016, the festival immediately established itself as standing alongside other major Canadian Folk Festivals, bringing in numerous world-class artists, drawing thousands of out-of-town attendees, and garnering national respect and recognition within the music industry. Prior to working on the festival, Sarah had always been involved in artistic projects. She spent over

a decade performing as a violin player in a duo, doing multiple tours across Canada and around Europe and the UK, and releasing three albums on a record label based in Switzerland. She also taught violin for twenty years, first in Edmonton and then at GPRC. During her time as a GPRC student, Sarah completed the Interactive Digital Design Program and Music Diploma in piano. She is grateful for the inspiration that attending these programs afforded her.


The Alumni Award of Excellence recognizes specific, recent accomplishments of alumni. Reid Boulet is the 2021 recipient. Reid was enrolled in GPRC’s Bachelor of Science University Transfer program from 2015-2017, where he completed the first two years of his undergraduate degree. He applied to the University of Alberta Doctor of Dental Surgery program, and was granted early acceptance after only completing two years of undergraduate course work. In 2019, he was awarded his Bachelor of Medical Science from the University of Alberta, and in June 2021, he was awarded his DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree from the University of Alberta. He has been accepted into the University of Alberta General Practice Hospital Residency program to complete a year of additional specialized training with a focus on hospital, trauma and acute care dentistry. Throughout his time in dental school, he spent many weekends volunteering at the student-run SHINE clinic providing dental care to people in Edmonton who cannot afford dental treatment. Reid was also fortunate enough to go on a mission trip to Guatemala for two weeks, providing dental care to individuals in remote areas

who do not have access to regular care. In January 2020, he cofounded Access for All Dentistry which is focused on providing dental care to people who cannot seek dental treatment due to barriers around geographical location or finances. This has brought him to the Yukon territory on two separate occasions, and last year he moved forward with a portable clinic in remote Alberta. Alongside his extracurricular involvement throughout dental school, Reid has also consistently been able to maintain a very strong academic standing in both pre-clinical and clinical work. Reid was born and raised in the Grande Prairie area, and would like to return to the Peace Country after completion of his training. During his time in post-secondary education, he’s learned that nothing is impossible to achieve, it just requires the time, dedication and effort to achieve those goals.

instructors and students. She has always enjoyed helping new students learn the techniques of being a veterinary assistant, as well as learning from them. Peggy then took on the role of Coordinator for the Green Certificate Agricultural Apprenticeship training program for five years. She found travelling throughout the Peace Country promoting agriculture to high school students was very fulfilling. After her five-year hiatus, Peggy returned to the AHT program parttime and currently still helps out with the Animal Care Committee and with students when the need arises. Peggy was 17 years old when she came to Fairview College and had planned to stay in Fairview for only two years. Over 40 years have passed and she considers the Peace Country to be an outstanding place to live and raise a family. More recently, Peggy also proudly served as the Reeve for the Municipal District of Fairview.

4 5 The Distinguished Alumni Award was established to recognize GPRC alumni for outstanding accomplishments in their professions, and/or in service to their community, society or GPRC. GPRC honoured alumna Peggy Johnson with the award.

Peggy grew up on a ranch west of Stavely, Alberta, where experiences with cattle, horses, dogs and cats were part of her family’s everyday life. In the fall of 1974, Peggy and her husband of two weeks set off for Fairview, Alberta where she was enrolled in the new two-year Animal Health Technology (AHT) Diploma Program at Fairview College. After graduating in 1976 she began working for Fairview College as a technologist / instructor in the AHT department. Peggy taught in the AHT program full / part-time for 25 years where she worked with many wonderful

The Board of Governors Award of Distinction is the College’s highest tribute to individuals or groups within our community. This award has been established to honour individuals whose actions have made exceptional contributions to our community and to the advancement of higher education. Jane Manning is the 2021 Award of Distinction recipient. Since arriving in the Peace Region in the early 1980s, Jane Manning was dedicated to serving the community, including the GPRC Board of Governors between 2016 and 2019. A career opportunity brought her to the community, but she met and fell in love with a widowed homesteader from Silver Valley. They married, and Jane embraced a new way of life with Don Seekins, his farm, and four kids.

Along with this new way of life, she had a 40-year career that spanned the nursing spectrum. Manning worked in a 30-bed hospital, and then directed Grande Prairie Public Health, before transitioning into regionalized Health Services. In this role she was part of Senior Management team responsible for Continuing Care, Home Care, Regional Health Services, Rehabilitation, and Property Management. GPRC’s nursing program had just started when Jane arrived in the community. Knowing that if nursing students graduated in the region, they’d stay and work in the region, she was a strong supporter of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing collaborative degree with the University of Alberta. Jane served on the GPRC Nursing Advisory committee and supported students in accessing practicum experiences in the region’s health care facilities. Retirement offered more time to serve the community, particularly its more vulnerable members. Jane worked on the Wapiti Community Dorm Society board, which is connected to Rotary House Emergency Shelter, the Interagency Council on Homelessness, Seniors’ Advisory Council of Alberta, AHS’s Patient and Family Advisory Committee, AHS Strategic Clinical Network for Population Health, United Way and Rotary. The Community and Alumni Awards also inducted 16 new members to the GPRC President’s Council. The President’s Council consists of individuals who have completed service to GPRC on the Board of Governors or Alumni/ Foundation Board of Directors, volunteered as Chair of a major fundraising event, made a planned gift to the College, or received a distinguished award at GPRC. 2021 | WISDOM


donor feature


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Our friend,

Glenn Although he held the position of Acting President and CEO of GPRC for a mere eight months, Glenn Feltham’s impact within our community was significant in the moment and will be felt for many years to come. Faculty and students will tell you what a pleasure it was to get to know Glenn. But the truth is, we were all lucky to have had the opportunity to connect with him, considering he had already settled into his well-earned retirement when he joined the team at GPRC. In the spring of 2021, the institution was at a pivotal moment and Glenn arrived just in time to help us contemplate our polytechnic future. His experience, thoughtfulness, and personable nature were a gift that was evident as he steered us along a pathway for success. Prior to his interim position with GPRC, and before he retired with plans to travel the world with his wife Tammi, Glenn served as President and CEO at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) for nearly nine years. And

while joining our wolfpack meant that travelling the world would have to wait, Glenn did manage to travel a bit as part of his mission to gain a deeper understanding of our region, signature industries, and potential partners. Glenn’s Excellent Adventure was a week-long road trip that took Glenn and his wife throughout northern Alberta. More than simply a sight-seeing excursion, Glenn approached the trip as an opportunity to listen to the needs of our neighbours and to begin identifying how GPRC must position itself to be a positive and transformative force within the region. It was also a great chance for us to get to know the ‘real’ Glenn as his humour, down-toearth attitude and people-first perspective shone through each post. “Today begins my listening tour,” wrote Glenn on the first day of his excellent adventure. “Yesterday (Sunday) we drove our RV from our farm near Bashaw (halfway between Stettler and Camrose) to Edson. I loved driving the RV – squishier than a minivan but less so than a grain truck. A few things flew out of cupboards, but we are learning.”

Dr. Glenn Feltham continues his thoughtful legacy with new bursary award. And learn we did from a great teacher who now can add intrepid RV captain to his lengthy list of accomplishments along with community builder. Not only does Glenn leave behind a legacy of goodwill, partnership and a commitment to putting both students and the community first, he is now establishing a direct financial contribution to the future learners of our institution. The Dr. Glenn Feltham Bursary Award has been established and will award $2,500 to students in need. Applicants can qualify for this new bursary by demonstrating an emergency financial need. Learn more at gprc.ab.ca/services/financialaid. So now, as our institution looks toward our bright polytechnic future, we want to honour and thank Dr. Glenn Feltham for all his efforts and contributions. In his short time with us, Glenn left an indelible impression on our students, our executive and our regional partners. We hope he realizes, however, even as he travels the world, that once a wolf, always a wolf. 2021 | WISDOM



Business Opportunities Northwestern Polytechnic and the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) are working together to bring quality postgraduate studies within reach. In August 2022, our Grande Prairie campus will welcome the first UNBC Master of Business Administration (MBA) cohort.

... in less than two years, students can transform their personal and professional trajectory.


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“We are extremely excited to carve out this outstanding postgraduate pathway with UNBC,” says Northwestern Polytechnic Vice-President, Academic and Research, Dr. Vanessa Sheane. “This is a timely development that gives our learning community members the opportunity to reach their professional and academic goals right here in the heart of northwestern Alberta.” Developed with working professionals in mind, students will appreciate the flexible schedule (only one in-person weekend a month) and the ability to fit the course work around existing employment commitments. Students will examine contemporary business theory such as organizational behaviour, marketing, finance and more, with a unique lens on northern topics and issues.

partner with Northwestern Polytechnic to deliver our MBA program, which includes a unique focus on business, economic and social conditions in northern Canada.” Not only is this a great development for a region that is teeming with opportunity, but it is also fantastic news for current and future professionals who want to hone their critical thinking, creative problem solving, and interpersonal skills. Applications for the Grande Prairie cohort of UNBC’s MBA program are being accepted until March 15, 2022. For more information, please visit nwpolytech.ca/MBA.

The classes will be small and there will be a focus on creating connections between participants and business professionals from surrounding communities. The UNBC MBA has also been designed as a 21-month degree program, meaning that in less than two years, students can transform their personal and professional trajectory. “The new Master of Business Administration cohort in Grande Prairie provides students from across the Peace region the opportunity to study business theory, gain practical knowledge and unlock new career opportunities,” says UNBC Interim President Dr. Geoff Payne. “We are pleased to

2021 | WISDOM


We have various programs available to our alumni as well as many services, both on and off campus that offer premium rates.

through your milestones, stories and successes.

Explore & start saving today! nwpolytech.ca/AlumniBenefits

In 2021, our institution added to our internal honours with the launch of new Vice-President Academic and Research Awards.

Outstanding Teacher Award Nominated by faculty peers and awarded to individuals who go above and beyond for their students and colleagues by demonstrating outstanding teaching.

Distinguished Teacher Award Presented to a tenured faculty member who makes exceptional contributions to their teaching environments, as well as to the teaching environments of other instructors.

In 2022, our institution will be adding a third internal honours award.

Faculty Research Award Recognizes an exceptional GPRC faculty researcher who has dedicated a minimum of two years of service at GPRC and who engages in research. This recipient, nominated by faculty peers, showcases remarkable teaching in each of the following criteria: • Impact on students • Level of community engagement • Originality • Alignment with GPRC research goals

Learn more at nwpolytech.ca/Awards

CONGRATULATIONS to the following 2021 award recipients: Dr. Daryl White Distinguished Teacher Award Carolyn Vasileiou Outstanding Teacher Award

2021 | WISDOM


donor profile

The C. Rode Family Bursary A Personal Choice, A Community History


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“We see the value of doing whatever we can to help...” When Cathy Rode worked as a life insurance advisor at Morris Financial Group, she noted that about a dozen of their policies designated Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC) as the beneficiary. As an alumna of the College, she stored that information away for another day. When she retired from Morris Financial in April 2020, she and husband Craig made a personal choice – to set up the C. Rode Family Bursary, a planned gift that uses a life insurance policy to provide a benefit of $1,200 annually to a student at GPRC in greatest need. That decision is in keeping with the couples’ long relationship with the institution and the community. In 1976, Cathy, then Cathy deGit, arrived in Grande Prairie from Fort Nelson to study physical education and play basketball. Within two years she had left to marry Grande Prairie native Craig Rode and start a family. As Craig established a career as a parts technician, Cathy returned to GPRC, enrolling in the education and english programs. She continued with courses into the 2000s, and the instructors at the College became her friends. Cathy and Craig have three children, all living in Grande Prairie, two of whom studied at the institution, in the millwright and digital design programs. Then 15 years ago, Craig was hired as an instructor for the parts technician program. “It was the furthest thing from what I thought would happen,” he says. Yet the connections to the College grow ever stronger today: “Now a grandchild has been accepted into GPRC’s Bachelor of Science program.”

Sometime since his hiring and her retirement, Craig and Cathy formed an idea for planned-giving with a bursary targeting students in most need. “It can be a real financial burden to go to school. If we can help anybody with the expenses, even a little bit, we want to do so,” says Craig. Cathy continues, “We see the value of doing whatever we can to help, whether it’s with our time and talents, or this life insurance program, which is a really easy way to help.” She notes that you don’t have to be wealthy to donate. They purchased a joint/last survivor insurance policy in the amount of $50,000 which will go to GPRC upon their passing. They donate by paying a premium of $90 a month, to keep the policy active. And there are tax benefits to consider as well. Any excess funds in the bursary will support the Terri-lea O’Neill Memorial Award, a student of Cathy’s from Fort Nelson who passed away in a highway accident. This annual $250 award is available to a female athlete who has achieved the highest academic standing while GOOD DEEDS - GREAT TIMING. participating on a Planned Gifts impact students through Wolves team. bursaries, scholarships, new equipment, and campus improvements. “GPRC is an A planned gift may include: important part of our lives, a part of · bequests in your will the community. · a gift of life insurance We want to · portion of your retirement fund see its success.” The C. Rode · annuity Family Bursary · trust will ensure that · other residual interest gifts they are part of More information can be found at that success, in nwpolytech.ca/Giving. perpetuity. 2021 | WISDOM


Communities are built by outstanding individuals.

We are grateful for Kenneth Beaton’s tireless work and passion for people and baseball. The Kenneth Beaton Field will always be recognized as a place for community, connection and sport.



Northwestern Polytechnic is a key research and innovation hub in northwestern Alberta, and every day our students and faculty are engaged in applied learning experiences to help solve real world problems. Students like Maryam Khandani who, thanks to the Exelon Generation Women in STEM Student Research Award, spent her summer exploring how to treat a contagious and deadly disease in honey bees. Benefiting from the tools and resources available through our ground-breaking National Bee Diagnostic Centre (NBDC), and under the expert guidance of faculty members Patricia Wolf Veiga and Dr. Kouadio Bedie, Maryam explored how a certain antibiotic can inhibit growth of a disease called American Foulbrood in bee populations. “When the opportunity arose for me to conduct my own research through this grant,” explains Maryam, “I chose to focus my project on the treatment of a contagious and deadly disease called American Foulbrood, or AFB. AFB is the most common and harmful disease in honey bee populations in Canada. My work involved finding the minimum concentration required of an antibiotic called Lincomycin to completely inhibit the growth of AFB. This information could help labs like the NBDC better screen samples for antibiotic resistance.”


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Research opens our eyes to the world, and to ourselves.

Women make up only 28% of the workforce in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Northwestern Polytechnic is giving women equal opportunities to pursue and thrive in STEM careers which will help to narrow the gender pay gap, enhance women’s economic security and ensure a diverse and talented STEM community. Maryam says that she not only learned a great deal through her hands-on, practical experience, but that she also gained some understanding about herself and the value of a welcoming and inclusive environment. “I learned about bees and pollination diseases, but I also learned a lot about patience and how to properly make mistakes,” Maryam says with a smile. “Beyond just a diagnostic and research lab, the NBDC provides a great sense of women-led community. It’s given me the opportunity to grow and learn, and it’s an environment that I really feel [like] myself in.” Our NBDC is the first comprehensive laboratory in Canada to provide a full array of diagnostic services for honey bee pests, pathogens, and parasites. It provides diagnostic services for beekeepers, researchers and agencies across Canada, and also supports research in a variety of other agriculture and forestry industries (animal nutrition and forage quality, crop and animal residues, pest entomology, bioremediation and more).

innovation opportunities and partnerships available to Northwestern Polytechnic students. There are currently more than 15 different granting or funding opportunities to support a wide range of research interests and ideas, looking at everything from business innovation to advanced microbiology, sustainable systems to human health and wellness. “We want students and prospective researchers to know that they don’t have to have everything figured out before they come to us,” says Dr. Andrew Dunlop, Dean, School of Applied Research, Northwestern Polytechnic. “We are here to help with every aspect of the research process, including developing a proposal, getting in touch with possible partners, securing training, and helping to access and manage research funds. If anyone has an original idea that they believe could make a real impact on our community and our world, we want to hear from them.”

“My goal is to hopefully go into research and academia, and this project was an incredible opportunity to see what reallife research is like,” explains Maryam. “I’ve been passionate about honey bee health since my junior year of high school when I was able to work at the NBDC as a summer student. I hope the research I did this summer contributes to the huge amount of effort going into our fight to save the bees!”

As in Maryam’s case, where her award was geared specifically to encouraging the participation of women in STEM initiatives, there are many opportunities for those who are typically under-represented in the world of science and research. This includes support for ideas relating to artistic productions and entrepreneurship, and programs focused towards first-year students, Indigenous students, persons with disabilities and newcomers. We anticipate that these opportunities will continue to grow as we move through our transition into a polytechnic institution.

The Women in STEM Student Research Award is just one of many research and

To learn more about our Research and Innovation visit nwpolytech.ca/Research. 2021 | WISDOM