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From left to right: Randy Eresman, EnCana President and CEO; Premier Ed Stelmach; Kyle Gaetz, power engineering student; Amy Laurie, power engineering student; Mark Sorenson, Chair of MHC Board of Governors; and Dr. Ralph Weeks, MHC President and CEO. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40010360

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What is real ? real is original. real is sincere. real is Medicine Hat College. The college is unique in many ways but it is our people who make the biggest difference. The college community is shaped by the personalities and capabilities of students, alumni, community members, faculty, support staff and friends who value learning and achievement. The purpose of real is to share information with the community and contribute to the ongoing story that is Medicine Hat College. We welcome your stories, your comments and your participation. The publication will be produced three times annually, perhaps growing in frequency and scope in the months and years ahead. The publication is mailed to alumni and donors, and provided free to the Medicine Hat community. We look forward to sharing real with you. Enjoy!

Volume 1 Issue 1 Office of College Advancement Medicine Hat College 299 College Drive S.E. Medicine Hat, AB T1A 3Y6

MHC’s Olympic Connection BY ROSE PAULGAARD

PUBLISHER Mark Keller EDITOR Rose Paulgaard GRAPHIC DESIGN Tammy Seibel PHOTOGRAPHY Pixeldust Photography Submitted photography

MANDATE Real people. Real stories. Real life. Our mandate for real is to share news and information about the people—students, alumni, employees, and supporters—who make Medicine Hat College a vibrant place to learn and grow. This focus on the ambitions and accomplishments of people is core to the nature of the college and the publication. real will be produced three times annually, perhaps growing in frequency and scope in the months and years ahead. The publication is mailed to alumni and donors, and provided free to the Medicine Hat community. The editor reserves the right to limit, select, edit and position submitted copy. Views expressed in real do not necessarily reflect college policy. real contents may be printed with acknowledgement.

CIRCULATION/ CHANGE OF ADDRESS Contact Carol Thompson at 403.504.3667 or via email at

Medicine Hat College maintains a database of all alumni and donors. This database is used to send you news about MHC, including real, and invitations to special events and requests for support. On Sept. 1,1999, post-secondary institutions were required to comply with Alberta's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. In accordance with this legislation, please respond to one of the following options: please keep my name, or remove my name from the real mailing list

Name ___________________________ Signature ________________________ No response means the Medicine Hat College assumes an individual wishes to remain on the mailing list.


or 25 years, artist Poul Nielsen has been a familiar face around Medicine Hat College and is wellknown for his dedication to the Visual Communications program. What is less known about Poul is that in 1972, he traveled to Sapporo, Japan, and represented Canada in the sport of luge at the XI Olympic Winter Games.

With his success in luge growing, Poul traveled to Europe with the Canadian luge team and spent the next three years training in France, Austria, Italy and Germany. Working closely with the American team, most of Poul’s training took place in Berchtesgaden, Germany, home to one of the fastest luge tracks in the world.

Poul grew up in the rural community of Standard, Alberta, and went on to study art at the University of Montana in 1965. It was there that Poul discovered and excelled at luge, a sport considered “extreme” for the times and higher risk than Grand Prix motorcycle racing. After three years in Montana, he moved to New York City for more schooling and continued his luge training.

“The highlight of the Olympics was the opening ceremonies.”

At the North American Luge Championships in Lake Placid in 1969, Poul placed in the top ten. After meeting renowned Canadian luger, Larry Arbuthnot, Poul was invited to Montréal for the Canadian Luge Championships where he finished in the top three.

Poul knew there was an opportunity to go all the way with luge as the sport was relatively new to the Olympic Games, having made its first appearance in 1964.

Poul Nielsen

Following the World Championships in Europe, Poul’s dream was realized when he was selected to represent Canada in luge at the 1972 Olympic Games in Japan. “The highlight of the Olympics was the opening ceremonies,” says Poul. “It’s something you always carry with you.” Although he did not reach the podium, Poul achieved personal success by making it to the Games. Reflecting on his Olympic experience, Poul would consider changing his strategy if he was able to do it over again. “Now I would go for consistency,” says Poul about his racing. “At that time, you just went for it.” Poul’s last race was in Lake Placid in 1975. He returned to the University of Montana and finished his master’s degree in art and later worked for the Montana Fine Arts Council before moving to Medicine Hat.

Submitted photo (from left to right): Members of the 1972 Canadian Olympic luge team including Doug Hansen, Poul Nielsen, Doug Anakin (coach and 1964 gold medalist in bobsledding), Dave McComb and Larry Arbuthnot at the Olympic Village in Sapporo, Japan.

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s it possible that a person with a pile of seashells and a permanent marker can find a solution to a business communications problem as effectively as a trained graphic designer?

Equally, the owner of a shellfish business discovered that using a permanent marker to scribe contact information on the interior of empty shells provided the message that the business needed to send.

If you ask Giles Woodward, a faculty member with 12 years experience in the Visual Communications program, you’ll discover the answer is a clear yes. “Designers don’t have a monopoly on design,” he explains with an accent that clearly links him to his original home in Burton upon Trent, UK. “Lots of people communicate effectively everyday without the need for a designer.”

The common point in these examples is that successful design brings improvement to people’s lives and solves problems. And whether the problem is that of a homeowner pitching a garage sale, or an ad agency charged with increasing luxury car sales, the best design solution is one that fits the need.

That response might come as a surprise because Woodward dresses with a creative flair, uses language of the design world, and in fact is a very capable graphic designer with international credentials and years of experience. Intrigued with the design solutions

Woodward explains that good design solves a problem for the user. “The designer comes into his own when he doesn’t put himself in front of the solution. First you frame the problem and then you look for the solution.” He believes that good design isn’t “divine inspiration,” as much as it is the byproduct of structured thinking.

that people discover for themselves, however, Woodward recently devoted a year to completing a master’s degree that focused on what might be described as do-it-yourself design. An apt example is the manager of a do-it-yourself lumber store who deployed the supplies available at hand to create signage that grabs attention and builds business. Lumber fastened together to spell out “DIY” in metre-high letters might not be the usual approach to signage, but the solution works.

That lesson is one that he strives to impart to students in the college’s fouryear Bachelor of Applied Arts Visual Communications program. He says it isn’t uncommon for new students to “jump straight to style,” essentially aim for “pretty” design solutions before delving into the communications challenge. Similarly, Woodward laments a tendency to assume technology offers all the communications solutions. He recalls a student, for example, who spent several hours finding the perfect computer font to simulate handwriting for a poster design. Woodward’s question to the student: “Why didn’t you just write it out?” Woodward’s own entrance to the world of design can be traced back to childhood. “I was the kid that hated colouring books and wanted my own pens and paper.” His interests were recognized and supported with extra art classes on weekends. At the age of 14 he landed his

first design job, albeit during a weeklong work experience program organized by the school system.

“The designer comes into his own when he doesn’t put himself in front of the solution. First you frame the problem and then you look for the solution.” Giles Woodward

His foundation year at the former London College of Printing included exposure to ceramics, painting, textiles, print making and more. “They were trying to encourage me to be the fine artist, but I saw myself as a designer. I liked to solve the problem.” So what’s a London-trained designer doing in Medicine Hat? “Several years ago I applied to a job ad that I saw in a UK newspaper. I wondered, ‘Where in the world is Medicine Hat?’ so I got out the atlas and thought, ‘Oh. Canada.’ ”

“That experience blew my mind,” he says. The fast-paced world of a design agency, complete with art directors who drove different coloured sports cars for different days of the week, was a workplace that piqued Woodward’s interest.

A one-year contract was extended to three. Those three years have stretched to 12 and today, Woodward is a Canadian citizen. “I used to like the idea of having relatives in different countries and I didn’t have any; now I am that relative,” he says with a smile.

He continued working, but focused on school as well. “My father was very much, ‘Ok, you’ve shown inclination in art, but you’re going to do academics as well.’ ”

Woodward continues to teach, and as a practicing designer, prefers to focus on communications for social issues.



OPEN HOUSE Yes you can… build your dreams at Medicine Hat College by attending the MHC Open House! Learn about college programs, participate in interactive activities, meet with academic advisors and take a tour of MHC. Call 403.529.3819 for more info.

Medicine Hat Campus

Brooks Campus

Jan. 28, 2010 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Feb. 4, 2010 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

MHC Powers the Future BY MARK KELLER “It’s like moving into this century,” exclaims a happy Jody MacKenzie as she describes the EnCana Power Engineering Technology Centre at Medicine Hat College. MacKenzie, coordinator of the two-year Power Engineering diploma program, is talking about the impact of the recent move to the program’s new home on the Medicine Hat campus. Since the program’s inception in the 1980s, the facility has been located off-site in an old and rather decayed building. Power engineering students Landon Sutton (front), Jonas Hrebeniuk (middle), Trevor Surine (back) learn how to read and operate control systems in the new EnCana Power Engineering Technology Centre at MHC.

CORPORATIONS & FOUNDATIONS ATCO Group Big Eagle Hydro-Vac & Nitrogen Services Calgary Foundation – Cadmus Fund Canadian Fertilizers Limited D & D Oilfield Rentals Deranway Enterprises Ltd. Desert Blasting & Painting Ltd. EnCana Cares Foundation EnCana Corporation Enerflex Ensign Drilling Inc. Esprit Exploration Ltd. Flint Energy Services Ltd. GE Water & Process Technologies Hargrave Ranching Co. Inc. HK Well Service Partnership Swabbing Medicine Hat College Board of Governors Nexen Inc. Pengrowth Management Limited Penn West Petroleum Ltd. Petro-Canada Precision Drilling Corp. Provident Energy Ltd. Rommens Farms Ltd. Seisland Surveys Ltd. Simoneau Group Spartan Controls Ltd. Sprint Canada Inc. Sunwise Engineering Ltd. Trailblazer Drilling Corp. TransCanada Energy Triple H Hydronics United Way South Eastern Alberta Urban Development Institute of Alberta Wolfe Management Ltd.

INDIVIDUAL DONORS Adam, Randy Arelis, Al and Lorene Banasch, Barb Beck, Todd and Shelley Bevan, Ann Carnovale, Ben Chapman, Elaine Chapman, Terry Chomistek, Guy and Shelley Cocks, Jim Cocks, Donald and Kimberly Cowan, Dee Cuthbertson, Ian and Cori Durbeniuk, Mike Germain, John Graham, Colleen Guest, Angela Hellman, Denise Hestbak, Brad Kipta, Betty Knibbs, Connie Labas, Gerry Lehr, Randy and Linda Leronowich, Valerie Mardian, Kari McKee, Michael Medicine Hat College Addictions Counselling Program Medicine Hat College Power Engineering Graduation Classes of Winter and Spring 2004 Medicine Hat College Student Services Staff Miller, Donna Moffat, Ben Patton, Mark Penner, Jacquie Perkins, Estate of Sarah Louise Plante, Pam Sletvold, Martina Sorenson, Mark and Cindy VandenBerg, Allen Vandervaart, Len Walker, Keith and Val Wallis, Peter

“Our students now have access to brand new equipment with state-of-the-art control systems. For example, the DCS (a control system) from Spartan Controls is the same as ones used in numerous local industries,” she explains. Contributions of equipment, financial support, and leadership were instrumental to the development of the facility. EnCana’s multi-year pledge of $1 million

gas plants, oil refineries, food processing plants, and other industrial sites right here in Medicine Hat and around the world. The positive regional impact is among the reasons EnCana chose to support the project in one of its last major funding initiatives before the split of the company to create EnCana and Cenovus Energy. Ken Pischke, Vice-President of the company’s Southern Plains Business Unit says, “EnCana has always embraced the opportunity to contribute to the strength and sustainability of communities where we operate and Cenovus will operate the same way. Our employees live in the community and we draw on them for first-hand knowledge of what will help those communities thrive. We take this approach to make a positive impact and work with communities to understand and support their needs.”

“Our employees live in the community and we draw on them for first-hand knowledge of what will help those communities thrive.” Ken Pischke

—matched like all college donations by the provincial Renaissance Fund— was a critical lead gift that launched the college toward a $3.8 million fundraising target. The opening of the facility was celebrated on October 8, 2009, with an event that brought government, business, and college leaders together to celebrate with students and staff. Premier Ed Stelmach; Doug Horner, Minister of Advanced Education and Technology; Jack Hayden, Minister of Infrastructure; Rob Renner, Minister of Environment and MLA for Medicine Hat; Len Mitzel, MLA for CypressMedicine Hat; and Arno Doerksen, MLA for Strathmore-Brooks represented the Government of Alberta. The college was also honoured to welcome Randy Eresman, President and CEO of EnCana. The personal leadership of Eresman and donations from EnCana were key elements of the campaign to build the new facility. The generous private and government support is a direct benefit to students and regional employers, says MacKenzie. “With new equipment and leading-edge control systems, our students develop hands-on skills that they will use on the job.” She explains that power engineers work in any industry where energy needs to be transformed from one form to another. Jobs are found in places like

He continues explaining “education is one of our core values as part of our commitment to the communities where we operate. We understand that a well-educated local workforce helps support our growth, and our investments in facilities for programs like power engineering at Medicine Hat College supply us with a number of potential new employees with the skill sets we need.” Eresman was born in Medicine Hat and is an alumnus of MHC. As a result, EnCana retains strong ties to the school and it is one of the reasons why after the company split, the power engineering facility retained the EnCana name. The new facility is approximately 2,000 m2 of renovated existing space and new construction. The official groundbreaking ceremony took place in September 2007 and the building was completed in time for classes to begin in September 2009. The initial cost of the project as envisioned at its inception several years ago was $8.9 million. However, the budget was increased to enhance the power engineering building and upgrade nearby facilities including the college’s plumbing lab. At September 30, 2009 total project costs were $9.4 million. Visit the new facility during the college’s Open House, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on January 28, 2010.

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Research Matters for Medicine Hat

“We’ve got good people. What they need is a chance, something to plug into.” Peter Wallis



Centre for Research and Innovation in Medicine Hat? The concept is not as far-fetched as one might think. There is growing interest in the community to develop an organization that could support applied research and technology-related activities in southeast Alberta. With representation from the Economic Development Alliance (EDA), National Research Council, Alberta Advanced Education and Technology, Medicine Hat College, and various private industries, the initiative is one that could see real results in a couple of years. “The present situation underlines why we need to diversify our economy,” says Dr. Peter Wallis, the college’s dean of science, who is part of the group creating the research centre proposal. “The way we see it, the province is anxious to

support technical-based businesses. The government already has enough pure research happening. What it wants now is applied research to create economic development.”

happening, but it’s taken the creative resources of Wallis and other college employees to work around existing obstacles.

Wallis, who is currently involved with applied research through the college and his private business, Hyperion Research Ltd., says having a centre for research activities would be a huge opportunity for both the college and community.

One example of these collaborative efforts is a project currently underway for the South East Alberta Watershed Alliance (SEAWA). In operation since 2007, SEAWA’s mission “is to bring together diverse partners to plan and facilitate the sustainable use of the South Saskatchewan River Watershed for present and future needs.”

The college, which has been mandated by the Alberta Association of Colleges and Technical Institutes (AACTI) to encourage applied research, currently lacks the appropriate facilities and administrative support to successfully conduct research-related activities. That’s not to say that research isn’t

Research in the Community

To that end, the first major task for SEAWA has been to create a watershed report. The report, which is no small undertaking, will include everything you ever wanted to know about the

Man Behind the Microscope BY ROSE PAULGAARD

Peter Wallis is passionate about algae. And waterborne disease. And molecular biology. And chemical limnology. And a whole lot more. As a scientist and educator, Wallis has spent his career looking for answers through the lens of a microscope. “One of my problems in life is I’m interested in too many things,” says Wallis, dean of science at the college and local business owner. “Living things under the microscope is hard to beat. I think it goes back to my childhood when I had a cheap microscope and used to culture pond water.” Years later and with science still on his mind, Wallis began his academic career at the University of Toronto with a notion of becoming a doctor but eventually had a change of heart. “In my third year I found, much to my surprise, that you could actually make a living as a freshwater biologist which was a thought that had never occurred to me before. Like a duck finding water, that was all I needed to know,” recalls Wallis. “From there on it was easy, I wanted to be a freshwater biologist.”

Wallis completed an undergraduate degree in zoology and moved on to the University of Waterloo where he continued graduate work. One of his first projects was to spend the summer near the experimental lakes area of Kenora, Ontario to do groundwaterrelated work. Despite the entire watershed burning down only a month after his arrival, Wallis loved being a graduate student and considers it one of the best times of his life. An ad in New Scientist magazine brought Wallis to Alberta where he continued graduate work at the University of Calgary field station in Kananaskis Country. “The thing you had to know about being a graduate student in the late 70s was there were no jobs. Zero. It was the wrong end of the baby boom and there were budget cuts left and right.” He returned to Ontario to finish up his PhD and soon received an offer to return to the field station - an opportunity that he jumped on. “I loaded up the car and my wife who was five months pregnant at the time, and all of our worldly possessions which fit into 15 cardboard boxes and we moved to Alberta. We’ve been here ever since.”

Wallis eventually arrived in Medicine Hat in 1990 following a 12-year term at the field station. Cutbacks of the early 90s forced him to look for work elsewhere so when a teaching opportunity came up at Medicine Hat College, he packed up his family again and headed east. With a whole research program still underway, Wallis joined the college’s science faculty as a part-time instructor with the understanding that he would continue to do research on the side through his private company. Hyperion Research Ltd., which Wallis founded in 1986, specializes in the analysis of water samples from a variety of sources including municipal and provincial governments, regulatory agencies, and health authorities from across the country. After almost 40 years in the science game, you’d think things might start to look the same to Wallis—under a microscope or not—but that’s far from true. Whether he’s leading the science division at MHC, training new students, or conducting research in his lab, it’s obvious he’s right where he’s supposed to be.

South Saskatchewan River and its catchment area. Using online technologies like Google Earth, the watershed report will identify regional issues surrounding water quality and quantity. Wallis, who is on SEAWA’s executive committee, became involved with the organization because of his college connection and background in water research. Making use of the Student Temporary Employment Program and co-funding opportunities through AACTI, Wallis has employed several students over the past year to assist with the water quality research necessary for the report. Most of the project work occurs at Hyperion because the college isn’t equipped for this type of research activity. “I’ve had excellent students working for me–really top notch,” says Wallis, adding that MHC faculty members have also played key roles by lending their guidance and expertise to the project, which is scheduled for completion in 2010. While this scenario has worked for the SEAWA project, the situation isn’t ideal. In order to expand the potential for applied research in southeast Alberta, centralization of knowledge and resources is essential. Wallis envisions the research centre as a one-stop-shop that could connect people with similar interests or experience, and provide them with access to the resources and local support necessary for success.

Supporting Innovation “It’s a common story,” explains Wallis. “People get ideas and start to develop them but pretty soon they are out of money, and the garage isn’t big enough, and they don’t have a business plan, and nobody wants to finance them. It’s pretty tough on your own but many of these difficulties can be overcome if you know the right people.” When considering a project of this nature, expectations are huge and the potential to fall flat is always a concern. To ensure long-term success, Wallis is in favour of a controlled, cautious approach to getting a research centre off the ground, opting for focus and organization over bricks and mortar. “If we had that, we could start hanging all kinds of projects and initiatives on it and eventually get to the point of achieving some kind of critical mass,” says Wallis. “We’ve got good people. What they need is a chance, something to plug into.”

Experience Changes Lives BY ROSE PAULGAARD


or social work student Natasha Morin, the decision to leave the comfort and convenience of her Medicine Hat home and spend two months in Africa on a practicum placement was a no brainer. Her love of travel, combined with the stories her brother brought back after living in Kenya for two years, made the decision easy for her.

“I knew how much my brother learned and what experiences he came back with. I wanted to challenge myself and really fulfill a lifelong dream,” says Morin, who recently finished her social work diploma at Medicine Hat College and is working on electives to apply for the degree program. Led by Richard Gregory, coordinator of the Social Work program, students spent almost eight weeks in the community of Mwandi, Zambia last spring working with local social programs by sharing knowledge and providing support. Gregory’s past experience volunteering for projects in Zambia and Kenya, and his work with AIDS Calgary and the HIV Society of Southeastern Alberta, gave him the necessary background to coordinate this non-traditional practicum placement.

“We live in a reality that the world is becoming a smaller place,” says Gregory, who has worked in the social work field for 25 years. “It is absolutely imperative that we have global knowledge and cultural understanding. It’s all part of looking at the bigger picture.” With that in mind, Gregory set out to develop the curriculum for the trip. In order to make the project feasible, he extended the opportunity to students from his alma mater, Mount Royal College, which brought the student numbers to 14. In preparation for the adventure ahead, students were required to read books and articles about the history and culture of Africa and social issues and social work practices in Zambia. The group arrived in Cape Town, South Africa, on April 28, 2009, after 29½ hours of travel. They spent the following five days touring the city, visiting townships, and learning about the history of South Africa and the influence of apartheid. Although the students struggled with some aspects of what they saw—particularly the township tour which turned poverty into a tourist attraction by exploiting

children—the majority of their experiences were positive.

“This growth will carry me through my career. I know my strengths and limitations now.” Nicole O’Reilly

services team. With this context in mind, they moved on to Mwandi, a small village in the southern province of Zambia where they would spend the remainder of their placement working with programs operated by the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) Mission. After meeting with local leaders, the students quickly got down to work building houses, painting the school, and helping with various social programs, including the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Project.

“Cape Town was a good introduction to Africa for the students,” says Gregory. “Overall, the people we met in the various social programs were very receptive to our questions and to sharing information about the problems they are dealing with.

For Morin, working with the OVC was one of her favourite placements. “It was awesome to see a place where children and teenagers could feel safe and enjoy one another without worries. It was a wonderful experience and I felt we were able to build some great relationships.”

We met some very committed individuals who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of the people they work with.”

Several students demonstrated their initiative by organizing presentations and group projects that covered a wide range of social issues including problem drinking, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, sexual abuse, domestic violence and its impact on children, and myths and misconceptions surrounding HIV/AIDS.

The next stop for the group was Livingston, Zambia, where students received a brief overview of the area, how local programs are run, and some of the challenges faced by the social

realLIFE . 6

Nicole O’Reilly was one of these students. Drawing on experience gained from a previous practicum placement with AADAC, O’Reilly was able to adapt her knowledge and apply it to the local situation in Mwandi. “The social work program prepped me well for this experience and the [Africa] practicum provided me with an opportunity to put what was taught into practice,” says O’Reilly, adding that the trip wasn’t only about social work but personal development as well. “This growth will carry me through my career. I know my strengths and limitations now.” Being in Africa also gave O’Reilly and her fellow classmates a greater appreciation for how we live as Canadians. One of the most obvious differences in the standard of living between these two countries is housing. While the average Canadian is fortunate enough to have a roof over their head, that’s not the case for many Zambians. To help provide housing for those in need, the students were divided into several groups that were in charge of building four homes for local families. Built from termite excrement, these mud structures would house up to eight

people in one room – no five bedroom, three bathroom dwellings here. Each house cost $1,000 and three local organizations—the Sunrise Rotary Club in Medicine Hat, the Medicine Hat Rotary Club, and the Brooks Rotary Club—donated $2,250 to help support the construction of these homes. “One of my favourite moments was working on one particular house for a grandmother whose home had been broken into,” says second-year student Krystal Delaurier. “When the doors and windows were put in place, she was so grateful and happy to feel safe again.” According to Gregory, the impact of this kind of work—whether it was building a house or sharing knowledge about a particular issue—was considerable as it transformed people’s lives and in some cases, planted the seed for some significant changes in attitudes. While there were plenty of positive moments for the students, there were many difficulties too. “The most challenging thing for me was dealing with issues of HIV,” says Morin, who struggled with the community’s approach to prevention of this widespread disease. “It was one of

“Going to Africa was an eye opening experience in more ways than can ever be explained. It is something you have to witness for yourself to truly understand the beauty as well as the tragedy of such a place.” Natasha Morin Submitted photos.

those times where you must come in as a professional and not impose your beliefs and values, no matter how strongly you feel about them.” Issues surrounding HIV/AIDS weren’t the only sources of culture shock. Differences in religion, language, and gender roles, as well as the lack of services and treatment options for people with special needs, were all areas that pushed the group to a greater level of awareness. Even a visit to a local social work program in Lusaka was a reminder of how privileged they were as students. With only three textbooks and no technology for a class of 60, our Canadian students gained a deeper appreciation for the resources available to them back home. “There were many challenges that came from being together 24 hours a day, seven days a week, however, each student identified personal and professional growth from the experience and almost all of them were able to meet their desired learning outcomes,” notes Gregory. “A lot of times we are very focused on issues and problems in our own backyard. Something like this gives us a larger perspective and at the same time, puts things in perspective.”

A perfect example of this was Delaurier’s realization of her fussy food habits once she was surrounded by those who had nothing. “I came home so grateful of everything we have,” she reflects. “I’ve learned so much about myself, my values and my beliefs. I think you need to know about yourself before you can help others.” And when the students weren’t busy helping others, they had several opportunities to experience the beauty and wonder that is Africa. Riding elephants on a safari in Botswana, camping in the wilderness, and bungee jumping off the world famous Victoria Falls were just a few of the activities they were able to enjoy. For Morin, the memories she brought back from Africa will stay with her for a lifetime. “Going to Africa was an eye-opening experience in more ways than can ever be explained. It is something you have to witness for yourself to truly understand the beauty as well as the tragedy of such a place,” says Morin. “I met some of the most inspiring people of my life there and it is something I can never forget.”

Proud to be a



orraine Schacher is a proud mom, there’s no doubt about it. Photographs of her “kids”—12 to be exact—are on display in her Medicine Hat home, each smiling face bringing a special memory to mind. There’s Sakura from Japan who is going to school in Buffalo, New York; Daniel from Korea who still phones at Christmas; and Mandy from Hong Kong who now lives in Burnaby, British Columbia, and is planning to volunteer at the 2010 Olympics. These kids are part of a special international family and Lorraine and her husband Stan, as part of Medicine Hat College’s (MHC) Homestay program, are their “Canadian mom and dad”.

Lorraine first learned about the Homestay program four years ago through a friend and stopped by the college for more information. There she discovered that 38 students from China were arriving in two days and the college still needed more families to host them. Having met all the basic requirements for homestay families, a home inspection was booked for the next day and the Schacher‘s first international student placement arrived the day after. Although the decision to participate in the Homestay program was relatively spur of the moment, it’s one that Lorraine has never regretted. “I’ve always been interested in people from other places so when this opportunity came up, we took it,” says Lorraine, whose own children are both grown and have families of their own. The impact of that decision is evident throughout the Schacher's home. In addition to the many photos of trips and activities they’ve shared with their international family, Stan and Lorraine have a special room dedicated to the gifts and mementos students have given them over the years. Beautiful silk scarves, delicate stenciled artwork, traditional figurines, Japanese kimonos (made by Kazena’s grandmother), and a complete collection of the Beijing

Olympic mascots (sent from Shelly’s father) are just a few of the treasures that students and their families are remembered by.

Homestay Program The Homestay program was introduced at the college over 12 years ago and there are now 50-75 student placements in the city at any given time. With compensation, homestay families are required to provide students with their own bedroom, a desk and quiet study area, three meals a day, and laundry facilities while students are responsible for their own toiletries and transportation. As students are here to learn a new language, English must be the family’s first language and all members of the household over 18 years of age are required to do a police check. According to Michele Josey, Student Retention Officer for International Education at the college, each family has their own reasons for choosing to share their lives with an international student. Some families want to learn more about other people and want their children to be exposed to new cultures and ideas too. Other homestays are older families like the Schachers whose children are grown, leaving them with an “empty nest”. The important thing to note is homestays are not traditional room and board arrangements. Families are encouraged to spend time with their students and immerse them in Canadian life. “When selecting families, we ask what they plan to share with their student and hope that it will be a cultural exchange experience for both sides,” explains Josey.

For the Schachers, sharing as much of their lives as possible with their students is a priority. Their international kids have had the opportunity to experience a wide variety of places and activities, including camping in the Rocky Mountains, celebrating traditional Canadian holidays, and attending Chinese New Year events in Calgary. The homestay experience with the Schachers is truly a family affair as the students also get to know Lorraine and Stan’s son, daughter, and grandchildren. “Our whole family embraces the students. They all want to share in their lives and activities,” says Lorraine, noting that they recently attended the Irvine Rodeo with their students to watch her granddaughter barrel race. Stan plays in an orchestra so the Schachers and their students will often attend dances together as a family.

Adventure Abroad As a result of the Schacher’s generous hospitality, many of their students are looking forward to returning their kindness as Stan and Lorraine prepare for their own adventure abroad. The couple plans to travel to China and Japan in the next year or two to visit the people who have so deeply impacted their lives. “Sakura has sent us homework for our trip,” says Lorraine, smiling as she pulls out Japanese language discs and phrase books. “We are really looking forward to this trip. We’ve never had passports before.”

For the Schachers, being part of the Homestay program has been a rewarding experience. They believe having international students in the community connects the world and teaches us to have tolerance and respect for other beliefs and religions. “Not everyone has a chance to travel to all these places,” says Lorraine, listing the many countries international students come from including Japan, China, Korea, Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico, Switzerland, and Saudi Arabia – just to name a few. “MHC is doing a wonderful job of bringing that diversity to our community. It is such a part of our city now to have students from other countries living here. It makes the world a smaller, better place.” And while their international kids may come and go, Lorraine knows they are never far away. A phone call, sykpe conversation or facebook message is all it takes to stay connected these days. “Stan and I are their Canadian mom and dad and always will be.” If you are interested in being a Canadian mom or dad by opening your home to an international student, please contact Michele Josey, Student Retention Officer at Medicine Hat College by calling 403.502.8449 or emailing Lorraine’s International Family (from left to right): Ching-Wen (Christina) Liao, Lorraine and Stan Schacher, and Sungeun (Nina) Park.

realLIFE . 8 with Michael Morimoto

BY ROSE PAULGAARD real caught up with Michael Morimoto, a former MHC Conservatory student who recently won the woodwind class at the National Music Festival and is now studying saxophone in France.

Q. How old were you when you

started studying music? Have you always played the saxophone or have you studied other instruments? I began studying saxophone at the ripe old age of 10. I have studied other instruments as well, including the piano which I started playing at the age of 5.

Q. What’s playing on your iPod right now?

Beethoven’s Symphony no. 7.

Q. Who or what has been the

most important influence to you musically? In addition to my teachers, who have been a major influence, I think the most musically influential people are those I studied with during my undergraduate degree. I have been very fortunate and privileged to have studied alongside Allison Balcetis and Po-Yuan Ku who are Doctor of Musical Arts students at the University of Alberta.

Q. Why did you choose to play the Q. What was the motivation for saxophone? What attracted you to the instrument?

I chose to play the saxophone because I was drawn initially to its jazzy characteristics. Though I study classical saxophone at the Conservatory of Bordeaux, my love for classical music came from playing the piano.

Q. What style of music do you most enjoy playing? Who’s your favourite composer? I definitely enjoy playing music that is intense, captivating, and often virtuosic. I like many composers – anything from Rachmaninoff to Berio!

you to pursue a career in music?

Feeling the sense of accomplishment from a successful performance. There have been few performances in which I felt satisfied but these are the ones that make music worth the long journey!

Q. What advice would you give to music students who may be struggling with their studies and wondering if the hard work is worth it?

The most enjoyable part of music for me is overcoming these difficulties and, as a result, being rewarded the opportunity to share a part of myself through my music. I hope I can be a good example because I was not talented in the technical difficulties of playing the saxophone. I overcame difficulties that many players have no issues with. It was frustrating but now I can appreciate music even more. I usually have a good laugh when players come up to me and say I have good technique. I have worked countless hours on the basics of the saxophone while other players were learning more and more pieces. Technique is still the bulk of my practice.


What accomplishments are you most proud of in your musical career? I am most proud of having had the opportunity to play the Jacques Ibert Concertino da Camera with the University of Alberta Symphony Orchestra. This was a long journey for me. I placed second in the Academy Strings Orchestra in my second year of university. During my third year, I attempted to win the University Symphony Orchestra division but to my dismay, I did not even make it to the final round. This was truly frustrating, but then it finally all came together in my fourth year when I won the University Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and was finally granted the opportunity to play at the Winspear Centre for Music with the University Symphony Orchestra. Another accomplishment I am proud of was when I won the 16 & under category at the Provincial Music Festival of Alberta. This was the first time I went to the Provincial

Festival and it was my first taste of accomplishment from the hard work I put in.


Talk about your experience studying saxophone with MarieBernadette Charrier at the Conservatory of Bordeaux. What does a typical day look like for you? I have been in France for about two months now and it is very exhausting but very exciting! Knowing very little French (I took two spring semesters of beginner level French) is proving to be quite exhausting, but I am finally settling in. A typical day consists of five or six hours of practice. In one week, there is one rehearsal for orchestra d’harmonie (concert band essentially), one rehearsal for chamber music and a full day of lessons. By a full day of lessons, I mean that you share one giant lesson with everyone in your class which includes technique, sonata class, and private lessons making it much like a master class. Studies with MarieBernadette Charrier are intense and it is best to be well-prepared for her class. I am learning a lot!

Q. How did your experience with the MHC Conservatory prepare you for where you are now? I have to thank the MHC Conservatory for the basic musicianship skills I acquired. Also competing in the Medicine Hat Rotary Music Festival gave me much more experience than many of my peers. My stage presence is adequate now because of the MHC Conservatory.

Q. Where do you want your

music to take you in the next five to 10 years? In the short-term, I would like to start adjudicating, lead more master classes and perform more often. For the longterm, I hope to move to a full-time position at a conservatory or maybe even a university.



Gala 2010 Submitted photo.

Support the arts in our community. Proceeds from the Gala silent auction will benefit scholarships, program enhancement and community performances.

Saturday, February 20, 2010 Medicine Hat College Theatre 6:30 p.m. Cocktails and Silent Auction 7:30 p.m. Performance Reception to follow Tickets are $40 per person, for sale at the Cultural Centre

Learning for




n December 8 at noon, Nada Dulle will be doing her happy dance. Not because she won the lottery or finished her Christmas shopping early, but because she will have just handed in her last exam at Medicine Hat College, signifying the completion of her management degree. What started as just one evening class about human resources management in 1998 turned into a life-changing experience for this mother of three. Inspired by Jacquie Penner, her former instructor and current dean of business

While she was no stranger to post-secondary learning—she had been studying by correspondence through Dalhousie University since 1995—this would be her first time setting foot in a college classroom. She was 38-years-old. With guidance from Jacquie about how to navigate the college system, Nada set out to achieve her goals with an impressive level of determination. “This was something I had to do, something I wanted to do, and I don’t regret any minute of it, not one minute,” says Nada.

“I’m very much an advocate for education. It doesn’t matter how old you are you can always learn something. It’s very much a passion for me to learn and to encourage others to do the same.” Nada Dulle at MHC, Nada looked into other learning options and made a life changing decision. She quit her job where she had hit the proverbial “glass ceiling” and returned to school full-time as a business administration student. “I had a grade 12 education and was going nowhere,” recalls Nada, adding that all of the job postings required two years of business administration or some form of higher education.

While some may feel intimidated about returning to school, Nada embraced the experience and considers the exchange between the generations a valuable opportunity for all ages. “I would get a kick out of attending the first day of classes and looking around thinking, ‘I could be these guys’ mom!’ ” laughs Nada, adding that her time as a student also helped her to relate to her own children and inspired them to con-

t ’ n Do et! g r o f 009 BER 2


lasses Day of C t s a L 04 egin Exams B Break: 8 1 7 0 s Christma sed 24-31 lo C e g Colle

tinue learning. “Getting to know all the younger people in the classes was a good experience for me. It was actually quite interesting that they would ask my opinion on things that were being discussed and how I dealt with it when I was their age. It was a tremendous experience.” Despite the ongoing challenges of balancing family and school, Nada made it through the program and graduated in 2001 with diplomas in business administration and marketing. With her new credentials, Nada landed a job with the City of Medicine Hat and worked in various departments before moving into her current position of Administrative Coordinator of the Planning and Building Department where she runs the front office and manages a staff of seven people. Even with two diplomas behind her and a successful career underway, Nada’s passion for learning continued. After being notified by MHC that the college and Athabasca University were joining forces to offer various degree opportunities, Nada decided it was time to return to the classroom. Taking just one class a semester for the last five years, Nada continued to work fulltime while pursuing her degree. “Overall, my experience has been lifechanging. I wouldn’t have my job with the City if I didn’t have this education which has given me the confidence to share my ideas and be who I am.”

Having access to higher learning in the community is an opportunity Nada thinks everyone should take advantage of, no matter what their age. The quality and variety of education offered at the college, plus the benefits of being able to stay in the community, make MHC an obvious choice in Nada’s books. “For some people, they think it’s scary to go back into a college setting, but everybody there has the same purpose – to learn and be all you can be,” says Nada, who knows first-hand that there are people and services in place to support you every step of the way. “I think half the time people are their own worst roadblocks. If you can get out of that mindset, the sky’s the limit.” Although she plans to take some time off from the classroom this winter following the completion of her degree, Nada’s academic journey is far from over. With a master’s degree as her ultimate goal, she intends to start researching opportunities in the new year that will help make her dream a reality. “I’m very much an advocate for education. It doesn’t matter how old you are you can always learn something. And it might not even be the course material per se, it’s the experiences with your classmates and instructors. It’s the whole embodiment of the learning. It’s very much a passion for me to learn and to encourage others to do the same.”

APRIL 20 10


02 Good Fr iday: College Close d 09 Last Day of C la sses 12-23 Exam s Begin

15 Alberta Family Day: College Closed 16-19 Study Break: No Credit Classes 2200 Annual Concert Gala

JANUARY 2010 01 New Year’s Day: College Closed 04 College Re-opens 05 All Classes Begin Day 18-20 Student for a Day 27-29 Student for a 28 Open House

MARCH 20 10 26 Convocatio n Application Dead line


@ Home

Men’s Ba sketball Jan 15 vs Lethb Jan 23 ridge 8 p.m. v s MRU Feb 5 8 p .m. v s Briercre Feb 6 st 8 p.m v s Briercre . Feb 20 st 3 p.m vs SAIT . 8 p.m. Women’s Basketba ll Jan 15 vs Lethb Jan 23 ridge 6 p.m. vs MRU Feb 5 6 p .m. v s Briercres Feb 6 t 6 p.m v s . Briercres Feb 20 t 1 p.m vs SAIT . 6 p.m. Check o ut for the 2 010 vba ll sched ule!

realNOTES . 10

Business alum honoured with provincial award New Brunswick native Chantal Gallant didn’t know much about Medicine Hat except it was country star Terri Clark’s hometown, but that was enough for her to take a second look. A self-proclaimed country girl, Gallant thought the Hat would be a good fit and moved west to enroll in Medicine Hat College’s Office Administration Management program.

MHC Students Gain Global Perspective BY ROSE PAULGAARD


mid the chaos of Bangkok traffic, culture shock hit home for Merissa Mattson when she and 13 other Global Tourism and Marketing (GTAM) students travelled to Thailand earlier this year. The purpose of their trip was to study the tourism industry in Thailand but they returned to Canada with so much more, including a greater understanding of the Thai people and their culture. “We wanted our students to understand the tourism industry in another country and culture,” says Sharlene Hertz, GTAM program coordinator. “We went to Thailand to see something different and we did.” The trip was arranged through MHC’s International Education office, taking advantage of the strong ties the college has been building in Southeast Asia. Thailand was specifically chosen because of its status as a hot tourist destination, and of which first-hand experience would benefit students entering the tourism industry. In lieu of their final practicum, students were required to study cultural awareness, health and vaccine requirements, group dynamics, and safety precautions to prepare for their adventure. Upon arriving in Thailand, the MHC group was taken care of by Mahidol University International College. A packed itinerary kept students on the move as they attended a variety of tourism, culture, and language classes. Submitted photos.

From understanding why you must never point your toes at a Buddhist shrine to learning the proper way to bow at an introduction, students received a crash-course in all things Thai. They also had opportunities to get an inside perspective on many tourismrelated organizations including the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Bangkok Airways, and various hotels and resorts which would not have been accessible if travelling on their own. In addition to learning about the Thai tourism industry, students also had opportunities to explore the many attractions of this beautiful country. As part of one excursion to Ayutthaya, the old capital of Thailand, students were given the chance to ride on the back of an elephant as well as visit many ruins and temples. Sampling the local cuisine, learning the art of Thai cooking, and soaking up the rays on the beaches were also highlights of the trip. No matter where they went or what they did, the students were embraced by the warmth and generosity of their host country. “Everyone should go and experience Thailand for themselves,” says Mattson who will continue learning about other cultures when she travels to Korea in the new year. “Travelling to other places opens your eyes in so many ways.”

The move paid off when Gallant landed a practicum with the province’s Sustainable Resource Development (SRD) – Land Division. This shortterm opportunity eventually became a permanent position that earned Gallant a Deputy Minister’s Award for her work on the Provincial Grazing Reserves (PGR) Multi-use Reconstruction Project. Gallant, who has a background in agriculture, worked with people from all over the province to coordinate the project which reviews PGR land usage, provides work to local operators, and builds future capacity. “Being new to the job, it was the coolest thing ever,” says Gallant about receiving the award. “It puts more value to the work that you do and creates a sense of pride that people recognize what you’ve done.”

Nursing student brings home another gold medal For the fourth straight year, the University of Calgary (U of C) gold medal award for nursing has gone to a Medicine Hat College student. The nursing degree program at the college is offered in partnership with the U of C, and the gold medal is awarded to the graduating student with the highest overall average in all nursing courses offered at both institutions. This year’s recipient, Sarah Woods, was considered a “role model for healthy living” whose exceptional writing skills and grasp of population health made her well-deserving of this award. “Sarah was a very mature student in the way she conducted herself, and was committed to her classes and to nursing,” says instructor Dr. Florence Melchior. “She also had a very good grasp of the process needed to bring projects forward.” According to Melchior, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome in the nursing program is the demanding work load. Students who have previous postsecondary experience, like Woods and other gold medal recipients, tend to have an advantage in the program because they are familiar with the level of work required.

New scholarship benefits Aboriginal students Aboriginal students interested in studying at Medicine Hat College may benefit from the support of the Saamis Teepee Association and their recent endowment of $30,000. With priority given to those entering fine arts or visual communication programs, first-year students will be eligible for an annual scholarship made possible by this generous donation. The Association, which was incorporated in the early 90s, was working towards building an interpretive centre on the Saamis Teepee site. Due to the length of time it would take to fundraise for the proposed centre, the Association decided to fold in 2009 and donated some of its assets to the college in honour of one of their members, Rick Filanti. Filanti is an avid art collector who was responsible for the purchase of Medicine Hat’s landmark teepee after the 1988 Winter Olympics in an effort to celebrate the heritage and culture of Native People and promote their art. “We want to continue to support and celebrate aboriginal culture and heritage by supporting aboriginal students at Medicine Hat College,” says Anita Neefs, former board member of the Saamis Teepee Association. “The students will then be able to go out in the community and continue to celebrate aboriginal culture.”

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Profile for Medicine Hat College

real: December2009  

Medicine Hat College publication features stories about alumni, students, and donors as well as news and special event information.

real: December2009  

Medicine Hat College publication features stories about alumni, students, and donors as well as news and special event information.