Douglas 360°

Campus events: March 18–22

Don’t miss out – here’s what’s happening around campus this week!

Monday, March 18

  • 7 Stories by Morris Panych – Various times at the Douglas College Studio Theatre. Directed by Thrasso Petras and produced by the Departments of Theatre and Stagecraft & Event Technology, 7 Stories is a meta-theatrical black comedy. Shows run until March 22. Buy tickets here.
  • Free DCBA Tax Clinic – 10am–5pm in the DSU Building, 1st floor, New Westminster Campus. The clinic is free for all Douglas College students and the public (with income restrictions). On until April 30.
  • Used Book Sale – 10am–5pm in the Concourse, New Westminster Campus. Head to the Event Magazine Used Book Sale fundraiser to fill your shelves with some fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s books and more. On until March 20.
  • Art exhibition: Chapan Snares Rabbits – 10am–5pm at the Amelia Douglas Gallery, New Westminster Campus. View the latest works of Burnaby artist Michelle Sound, inspired by her indigenous heritage. Chapan is a Cree word for great-grandparents as well as your descendants. Free and open to the public.
  • Unlocking Doubles Flow 7-8:30pm in the Movement Studio, New Westminster Campus. Presented by the DSU Hoop Club. Learn basic double hoop foundations, turning in circles, identifying grip switch opportunities and tricks to put your tricks together with Laura Loops. Free for Douglas College students and faculty.

Tuesday, March 19

  • Accounting Networking Night – 6–8pm in room 910, 9th floor of the Anvil Office Tower, New Westminster. Hone your elevator pitch and polish your LinkedIn profile. Be ready to meet employers who will be here to recruit students. Register here.

Wednesday, March 20

  • Deloitte Days – 11am–4pm at UBC, Robert H. Lee Building, 6163 University Blvd., Vancouver. Organized by DCBA, Deloitte Days are a series of awesome on-campus events, which enable students to meet the Deloitte team and chat with them on how to make an impact across the organization. Registration is not required. Simply show up!
  • World of Dance – Caribbean – 4:30–5:30pm in the Movement Studio, New Westminster Campus. Stay healthy and happy by swinging to the beats of Caribbean music. No registration required.

Thursday, March 21

  • In Celebration of Women – 1pm in the Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre at the New Westminster Campus. Presented by Arts at One, the afternoon features music of innovative women composers of various times and cultures. Performed by the Mathieu-Chua Duo — violinist Véronique Mathieu and pianist Stephanie Chua.
  • Let’s Talk Pollinators! – 5–6:30pm in Room C1008 at the Coquitlam Campus. Listen to a talk by Dr. Veronica Wahl about the benefits of pollinators in your garden. Presented by the Institute of Urban Ecology.
  • DSU Student Pub Night – 9pm–12am at the Taphouse Coquitlam, 405 North Road. This is last pub night of the semester. There will be no cover and free appies for Douglas students and a DJ starting at 10pm. For 19+ students. Government issued IDs and College IDs are required.

Friday, March 22

  • Baroque Synthesis: Italian, French and German Styles – 1pm in the Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre at the New Westminster Campus. Listen to musicians from Ensemble La Rêveuse (France): Serge Saitta, flauto traversa, Benjamin Perrot, theorbo and Florence Bolton, viola da gamba. Presented by Arts at One and Early Music Vancouver.

Hitting a home run for Indigenous youth

By Maia Odegaard, Marketing and Communications
Photo by David Denofreo

For Sport Science student Sahara Tom, softball has been a part of her life since before she was born – her father has been an umpire for over 25 years – and it continues to influence her career path today.

Sahara followed her older sister Garaline to Douglas College so she could study Sport Science partly because she’d heard wonderful things about the program and the College learning environment, but also because of her passion for sports. Ultimately, her experience with treatment for sports injuries helped her decide on a career as a kinesiologist.

“Sports have been a large part of my life, and have given me countless memories and opportunities to better myself as an athlete and as a person,” she says. “Through my years of playing sports, I have also encountered countless injuries, and have gone through countless hours of various types of rehabilitation, and found kinesiology to be one of the most effective and beneficial.”

Many of us are familiar with chiropractors – Sahara’s original career goal – and even physiotherapists, but few may understand the work performed by a kinesiologist.

Sahara explains, “Kinesiologists work more with a workout base. They try to find ways to strengthen your whole body. The kinesiologist I work with makes sure that my body is able to do the basic movements before building off of everything. Whereas, I’ve been through a lot of physio where they only address the specific injury.”

 “I’ve been playing softball since I was about five, so coming up on 16 years now,” says Sahara. “I grew up in Nanaimo playing softball and when I was 14, I start playing in the All Native Nationals.”

Her passion for softball doesn’t end there: Sahara is also focused on coaching other young softball enthusiasts. She’s run a softball camp at her reserve in Burns Lake, B.C., and she plans to continue working to bring kids from different Indigenous communities together to play softball. To this end, she has even applied to coach the 2020 Teen B.C. softball team for the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG).

“I love the whole idea of NAIG because they bring a lot of tradition back into Indigenous sports. I think that’s really important to bring more of that into B.C.,” says Sahara. “Growing up, my sister and I also played All Native Basketball and that experience connected us with a lot of other communities.” This was especially important to her as neither of her parents are from Nanaimo.

Sahara also wants to work more closely with ISPARC, the Indigenous Sports, Physical Activity & Recreation Council, as they provide those in Indigenous communities with different sporting opportunities, and are responsible for organizing Team B.C. for NAIG.

“Last year I took some NCCP – the National Coaching Certification Program – modules for different coaching techniques and I got to know Rick Benson, the Executive Director of Softball B.C.,” says Sahara. “The Aboriginal coaching module emphasized the fact that a lot of reservations don’t have the equipment needed to continue playing after we leave, so after telling Rick about my goals, he offered to partner with me and sent some equipment for us to use for the camp.”

Now in her fourth year of study at Douglas, Sahara is close to realizing her dreams. Once she completes her Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching, she plans to register with the B.C. Association of Kinesiologists and continue coaching within the Indigenous communities. And, in her spare time? “I want to play a lot of softball. I’d also like to travel to New Zealand – they have amazing softball teams there. If I could somehow find a way to play softball in New Zealand, that would be truly amazing!

Tech talk: Here’s how you can help us improve our tech services

Douglas’s IT department is working with the Douglas Students’ Union (DSU) to bring better and improved technology services to all campuses – and they need your to help.

On March 20, the newly formed Student IT advisory group will meet with the AVP and CIO of Technology, Brian Mackay, to share their College technology experiences.

Slow Wi-Fi, long waits at the “Quick-Print” station, and not knowing what password to use for which accounts are just a few of the concerns the students say they are all too familiar with.

“We are the ones using these services every day, we know what works and what doesn’t work and what services we need more or less of,” says Paul Wittayaworapat, Director of Campus Life for the DSU.

Members of the Student IT advisory group say they hope these conversations will lead to a noticeable impact on campus.

“The student perspective is especially important during the planning stages of updating or introducing new technology because we bring a very specific user experience to the table and can influence changes and ideas that will serve the growing and dynamic needs of students,” said advisory group member Kyle Maddox.

Brian hopes to tackle many of these issues through technology upgrades and adopting new tools.

“It’s so important to engage with the users of our technology and have them share information and ideas with me on ways to improve our services,” said Brian. “I want to ensure every student has access to the best technology resources to support them in their academic journey.”

Join the IT conversation by sharing your tech ideas or concerns with the DSU. You can contact the DSU on the following media platforms:

  • Douglas Students’ App
  • Facebook (Douglas Students’ Union)
  • Twitter (@thedsu6)
  • Instagram (@thedsu6)

Fine-tuning his passion into a profession

By Anasuya Kesavan, Marketing and Communication

Photo by David Denofreo

As a high school graduate, singer, songwriter and guitarist, Antonio Larosa had never considered a career as a musician. He studied acting and even tried accounting and architecture. Eventually, he turned to music and completed the Basic Musicianship Program at Douglas College to tune his passion into a career.

The Burnaby musician is currently in the process of recording a six-song EP while performing across the Lower Mainland. “I loved to play music, however, I never thought of it as a feasible career,” says Antonio. “I took some time to figure out that if you love something, and you are passionate about it, you can make it work.”

Antonio worked on getting a strong foundation in reading and writing music, and learned the core basics of how everything fits together. “Douglas laid the foundation of my career as a musician,” says Antonio. “Theory, scales, practice techniques and practice regiment are skills that I believe every musician needs in his toolbox. The program teaches you how to take that knowledge to the next level. It’s a traditional way of learning, which I think is the best way of learning the fundamentals of music.”

“Whether it’s teaching music or giving a live performance, you need to know the basics. I believe the Basic Musicianship program at Douglas can open up careers in teaching, studio recording, live performance, composition and music therapy. This is the best program to be in when you have little to no music knowledge to get you on your feet for the future.”

At Douglas, Antonio also sang in the community choir and networking with musicians by going to live, weekly performances by experienced musicians. “It’s very inspiring,” says Antonio who recommends local open mic nights to get a taste of performing live. “Learning to sing with others and performing with others is a very key piece to working as a musician.”  

These experiences helped Antonio perform with 11 other musicians in a show called “Bailamos!” which took place at the Empire Theatre in Belleville, Ontario, and aired on PBS in North America.

Antonio Larosa with Marc Devigne (centre) and Michael Daniel Murphy (right) at Bailamos 2016.

Working as a musician is challenging – expressing emotion in a song takes years of practice. There is also a marketing and entrepreneurial side to the profession that a musician has to learn to manage. “Social media is cool if you learn to harness it and use it to your advantage. It can be daunting to expose yourself so much, but it has definitely become a necessary part of this industry. 

“I’m striving to get to the point where I can just play or sing what I am thinking, musically. If you are doing your best, that’s all you can do!” says the up-and-coming musician who believes in enjoying his musical journey and staying focused on his career.  

Tips to get the most out of the Douglas College Career Fair

At the upcoming Career Fair, Feb. 27 & 28 in the New Westminster Campus concourse, you can meet and network with over 25 regional and national employers, as well as professional organizations, who specifically want to meet (and hire!) Douglas students and alumni.

Put your best foot forward with tips and advice from some of the employers you’ll find at this year’s fair.

1. Have a great cover letter and resumé on hand. Also, do your research!

“Resumés, business cards, etc. are nice to have. Employers will usually ask for an online application at some point during the process. Most importantly, bring a great personality, good questions and a genuine interest in the employers.”
– Cindy Huang, Talent Acquisition Specialist, O2E Brands

2. Dress for success.

“For the career fair, we think that students should wear what they would normally wear to a career fair or a job interview. Wearing anything with inappropriate images or profanity is not advisable.”
– Marcy Dabiri, HR Generalist, Transport Canada / Government of Canada

“It’s best to wear business attire if you can, but smart business casual is also usually OK for students attending a daytime event.”
– Marra N., Student Recruitment with Chartered Professional Accountants of B.C.

3. Ask questions, be polite and follow up.

“Create a good vibe by showing initiative when speaking with our leaders. They want to see that you are a go-getter who can take control of the conversation and are able to build relationships. To break the ice, introduce yourself right away and talk about the excitement you have for the role.”
– Michael Leung, BBA, HR Specialist – Recruitment, Shaw Communications

“Students should thank the individual for their time and say it was nice to meet them before walking away from the table. They should get a business card if they are interested in working with that employer. Within a day or two, students should email the individual they spoke with and also connect with them on Linkedin.”
– Marra N., Student Recruitment with Chartered Professional Accountants of B.C. 

4. Remember that Douglas College sets you apart from the crowd.

“Be enthusiastic, professional and proactive. Douglas College provides future-employees with a good understanding of their field for real life application.”
-Cindy Huang, Talent Acquisition Specialist, O2E Brands

“I’m always impressed that Douglas College has a supportive Career Centre to help students navigate their career, active student clubs and an engaged alumni network. All of these things help students prepare for their careers.”
– Marra N., Student Recruitment with Chartered Professional Accountants of B.C. 

Need some help getting ready? Contact the Career Centre at 604 527 5889 or email cc@douglascollege.ca.

The Career Fair runs Feb. 27 and 28, from 10am-3pm in the New Westminster Campus concourse.

Rewriting her story and making a difference

Telka Pesklevits

By Maia Odegaard, Marketing and Communications

Photo by David Denofreo

For Creative Writing student Telka Pesklevits, Douglas College changed from a stepping stone in her post-secondary plan to the setting for her entire educational journey. While she initially planned to transfer her credits into media studies at UBC, Telka stayed on at Douglas and took advantage of all the great opportunities offered at a smaller post-secondary institution.

“My time with the Creative Writing Department has been such a great experience,” says Telka. “Getting one-on-one feedback in a workshop format really pushed me to pursue creative writing. And, the feedback model has also helped me with my academic writing skills.”

So what does the future hold after graduation? “My plan is two-tiered. I want to write. Poetry with social meaning is my passion and this is a golden age for modern poetry, it would be great to be involved in that,” says Telka. “I would also love to work in a non-profit doing communications. I think working in the non-profit sector would be so inspiring. One of my fellow directors at the student union is currently doing communications for CUPE, something like that would be my ideal.”

Telka is passionate about pursuing a career that combines her creative thinking and writing skills with the contextual social foundation she’s gained during her education. “I want to do something that I know will help change and improve the lives of others,” she says. “Whether on a big scale or a small one, I want to help people.”

There are many groups that she hopes to positively affect over the course of her career, including women, people with disabilities – especially invisible disabilities – and the LGBTQ community. “I’m also Métis,” she adds. “That’s part of why I work for the Aboriginal Student Services centre. Reconciliation is very important to me. Whether or not that’s exactly the work I’m doing, it will be a guiding practice.”

During her time at Douglas, Telka has studied a number of subjects to bolster her skill set, including business, anthropology and more. In addition to her classes, she’s also rounded out her resumé working for numerous departments within the College and as Services Coordinator for the BC Federation of Students. She is currently the Director of College Relations for the Douglas Students’ Union (DSU), a student representative on the Douglas College Board of Directors, has worked for Aboriginal Student Services and was a Student Ambassador – a fairly robust c.v. for a college student.

By being involved in so many areas of Douglas College, Telka has had the opportunity to strengthen her connection with the faculty in a way that isn’t possible with classroom interactions alone. Working for the DSU, as well as her other opportunities to work side-by-side with faculty and staff have been invaluable.

“Being a part of the conversation, offering my perspective as a student and seeing how decisions are made,” Telka says, “helped shape my own decision making process.”

And, when she isn’t advocating for students, you’ll most likely find Telka hunting for hidden gems. “My main hobby is thrifting,” she admits. “The only thing not thrifted in the photo is my jeans!”

4 ways to declutter your digital life

By Nicole Chiu, Communications Officer, CEIT

We all know what it’s like to clean a messy room or organize clutter around the home. But have you ever thought of decluttering your digital life? Organizing your life online keeps your digital mess at bay and can even protect you from cyber-crime.

So, what can you do to declutter?

1. Leave it in the Cloud

Upload your computer and mobile files onto the Cloud and use folders to organize your documents, images, videos, and more. As a Douglas College student you have access to 1 terabyte of Cloud space on OneDrive, an internet-based file storage provided by Microsoft Office 365. That’s enough space for:

  • A Word document with 85 million pages
  • Over 300,000 pictures
  • 41 days of video footage

Additionally, you have access to a collection of services from Office 365. This service allows you online access to applications like Word and PowerPoint. Best of all, your files save automatically to your OneDrive storage while you’re working, freeing you from worrying about losing your work because you forgot to hit ‘save,’ or your computer crashed. Files uploaded onto your OneDrive will be private, secure, and accessible from any device from any place with an internet connection*.

For more information on how to use Office 365, visit the Office 365 page on the Douglas College website.
*When you leave Douglas College as a graduate or otherwise, you will lose your access to OneDrive and your files will be deleted. If you know you will soon be leaving Douglas, move your files onto your computer or upload them onto another Cloud storage service, like a personal version of Microsoft OneDrive. 

2. Keep your inbox clean

Check and clean your inbox often. Also, remember to empty out the junk mail. Move unwanted emails to your junk folder and create folders for important emails. Want to access all your email in one place? Simply forward your College email to your personal email account.

To learn how to forward emails sent to your College email address, visit the College email in Office 365 page.

3. Manage your passwords

If you have a number of different passwords to remember, try using a free password manager like LastPass. It helps you create strong passwords and remembers them for you. It’s especially important to make strong passwords for all your accounts. It will ensure that your information is safe from online attackers.

For your Douglas College accounts, use a minimum of 15 characters and a combination of at least three of the following:

  • Lower case letters
  • Upper case (capitol) letters
  • Numbers
  • Special characters, i.e. !@#$%^&*()_+=~`.

Take the password test to validate the strength of your password. Aim for a password that will take over three million years to crack.

For more information on accounts and passwords, visit the Logins & Passwords page.

4. Clean your computer once a year

The second Monday in February is National Clean Out Your Computer Day. Sure, you can give your PC or Mac a good dusting and wipe-down, but the real magic happens when you update and get rid of old files. You’ll be amazed at how much faster your computer works by following these tips:

  • Update all your software and ensure you have the latest operating system
  • Uninstall old applications and delete old files you no longer use
  • Back up important files onto your OneDrive storage

Challenge yourself and tackle all four ways to declutter your digital life. Or, ease yourself into it one-by-one. Whatever you decide, you’ll feel digitally refreshed and organized.

UK journalist launches writing career at Douglas

By Maansi Pandya, Professional Communication grad 

It was 2016, and I had just completed my undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia. While UBC had been an excellent challenge and a great first step in my education, I still felt like I had a lot more to learn. Like many young people early on in their careers, I was overwhelmed by my options and unsure of what my next step should be. I’ve always been a creative person and have loved writing since childhood, but I didn’t know how to translate my love of writing into a career. I decided the obvious next step was to continue my education. Then came the tough part, deciding where to study next!

I knew I wanted a career where I could be creative, tell stories and hone my craft as a writer. After some lengthy research into several post-graduate programs with a creative focus, I eventually discovered Douglas College’s Professional Communication Post-Degree Diploma. Joining the program turned out to be the best decision I’ve made and eventually helped me find a career I love: journalism.

At Douglas, I took courses in public relations, magazine writing, editing, copywriting and more. I came away from each course feeling fulfilled, inspired and excited about what I had learned.

The smaller class sizes meant each student was given undivided attention and constant feedback, which proved to be invaluable in my growth as a writer. I also had the best instructors I could have asked for, each incredibly knowledgeable and supportive of my growth.

One of the many high points of the program was taking Roberta Staley’s journalism course, where I had my first foray into the exciting world of reporting. My first assignment was to report on Vancouver’s chapter of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington for the Vancouver Observer. Interviewing marchers and hearing their stories was a thrilling experience.

Next, as part of the program’s work placement, I interned at Vancouver and Western Living magazine. The internship turned out to be a key turning point for me. It gave me the opportunity to be published in a well-known magazine and further improve my writing skills. Getting feedback from professional editors was incredibly rewarding. I also made lifelong friends in the process.

My internship eventually led me to become a freelance writer for Canada Wide Media’s BC Living magazine. Freelancing was a fun, completely different world. It involved lots of invoices, emails and follow-ups, but also gave me the chance to create my own schedule and be in charge of what I wrote. For anyone interested in freelancing, the best advice I could give is to find a way to organize all your upcoming projects that works best for you. Personally, I found bullet-journaling to be a very practical, less restrictive way to keep track of all my deadlines. Freelancing can be unpredictable. I sometimes went from having three articles due a week to one a month.

Since graduating from Douglas, I moved to London, England, to pursue my journalism career. I’m extremely excited for what’s to come and am very grateful to my instructors at Douglas for all their wisdom, guidance and for helping me find my passion.

Information sessions for the Post-Degree Diploma in Professional Communication are on now at the New Westminster Campus. Register now!

Maansi Pandya is a freelance writer and journalist from Vancouver. After graduating with BA in Sociology from UBC, she earned a Post-Degree Diploma in Professional Communication at Douglas College in 2018. Maansi has written for BCLiving, Western Living, Vancouver Magazine and the Vancouver Observer. She now lives and works in London, England.

Featured image: Visual of Maansi’s report on
2017 Women’s March on Washington for the Vancouver Observer.

How Gen Zers can – and should – start investing their money

By Maia Odegaard, Marketing and Communications

Investing: It might seem like a topic off limits to the young – stock portfolios are seemingly synonymous with the wealthy and well established. But if you’re earning money, you should be saving and making sure you’re earning interest on that money. So, why aren’t young people investing?

“First things first, Generation Z is not saving enough money,” says Peter Goel, Contract Instructor – Accounting at Douglas College. “They’re spending too much on things they don’t need, like high-end electronics. Most of them are working, but they’re not saving. The mentality just isn’t there.”

This isn’t just true of the younger generations, Peter points out. People from all walks of life are living beyond their means. With a growing population and the rising cost of housing, education and everything else, we should all be putting our money to work.

“Money saved today and properly invested will allow you to buy the things you want, like houses and cars, in the future,” says Peter.

With so many options for investing, it can seem intimidating. So what should the novice investor consider?

“There are many ways of investing your money. You need to understand the type of return you’re getting. The dividends paid out on your investment are important, but you may also want to consider capital growth” i.e., the increase in the investment’s value, or the difference between its current worth and what you paid for it.

“One thing you should know when you’re researching what you want to invest in: Risk and return go hand in hand,” he cautions. “Consider what you’re willing to risk and how you can best achieve your investment goals.”

What’s step one?

“Start saving now,” says Peter. “Put aside 10-20 percent of every paycheque. Next, open a trading account at your financial institution, as well as a tax-free savings account. Then start researching a few simple investment options, like utilities or telecom companies.

There are ample online trading platforms available, TD for example, has a platform that’s incredibly user-friendly, and for a generation that came of age with smartphones and tablets, online trading was practically designed for Gen. Z.

“Learning the platform is a piece of cake,” says Peter. “It takes roughly 30 minutes to learn to use an online trading platform, and you don’t need to bank with the institution in order to use their platform. There’s so much flexibility with mobile apps, you can trade from anywhere, anytime.”

Peter recommends looking up tutorials on udemy.com and YouTube as an introduction to trading stocks and managing your own portfolio. And as for what shares to buy? “Look at the economic environment,” he says. “And pick a sector that interests you, such as technology, oil and gas, cannabis, or even food and beverage.

“Once you’ve got a nest egg, start trading and making money!”

Framing the world with a different pair of glasses

By Anasuya Kesavan, Marketing and Communications

A successful career can mean different things to different people. For Dispensing Opticianry grads Sara Moshurchak and Dana Dempsey, success means bringing creativity and customization to producing unique eye wear in an industry dominated by mass production.

Sara, a Regina native, is the owner of Mosh Framemakers, a one-of-a-kind Canadian optical store that specializes in custom-made, hand-crafted eye wear. She says, “As far as I know, I’m the only female eye-wear designer doing this type of work in Canada.” Dana Dempsey is her licensed optician who is also training under her and learning the art of “making people feel great about themselves with a pair of glasses.”

The Douglas College alums believe their success lies in polishing and refining the skills they gained in the two-year Dispensing Opticianry Program, where they got to apply their classroom learning in practicums.

 “If you didn’t know a single thing about opticianry, Douglas College is the right call,” says Sara, who has 18 years’ experience in the business. “The majority of what we do as opticians is practical and impossible to teach. Skills are gained through experience and time. The in-depth program at Douglas College made me an attractive hire.”

Dana, who graduated in 2016, says, “I liked the smaller class sizes, individualized learning experience and support. We learned skills that can make an average optician a great optician.”

The two say that to truly embrace their profession, newcomers should specialize and bring their unique personality into their practice. Sara, who comes from a family who make their own toys and clothes, was always keen to create hand-crafted products. She took an apprenticeship with Klaus Sebök, a German optician, whose old-school method of making hand-crafted frames she found inspiring. This eight-year association led her to create a niche in the eye wear business and eventually strike out on her own.

A firm believer in mentorship, Sara says it’s important to find a person whose work you admire and then seek their guidance. “My curiosity and eagerness to learn has brought me so far. Do not be afraid to ask questions, and never refuse an opportunity to learn. You may have to do unglamorous work for months to gain confidence.”

Currently, she designs and produces individualized frames inspired by personal stories. They can take anywhere between six and 30 hours to produce. Sara says filing, sanding and polishing frames by hand and “seeing an idea transform into a product that has so much meaning and personal story” gives her a special satisfaction.

Dana, a former paramedic, was inspired by the idea of helping people see. She also liked the idea of a short work-related college program that was close to home.  “I like working with people and with my hands,” she says. “To be able to say that I designed and made glasses, and made someone happy, is my ambition.”