Douglas 360°

Campus events: April 8–12

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

Monday, April 8

  • 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 10.
  • 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. On show until April 20.

Tuesday, April 9

  • Douglas College Research Day – 9:30am–12:30pm in the AB atrium at the Coquitlam Campus. Check out the interactive booths that display some awesome student research projects. Come and support innovation.

Thursday, April 11

  • PCP/CPM Information Sessions – 4–5:30pm in room N2217 at the New Westminster Campus. This event is for payroll practitioners looking for information on Payroll Compliance Practitioners (PCP) and Certified Payroll Managers (CPM) certification through the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA).

Winter 2019: a semester in photos

We made some noise for mental health, took home gold at the CCAA National Championships, put on two fantastic theatre productions and so much more. Here’s a look back at pictures from the Winter semester.

How to avoid scams this tax season

By Nicole Chiu, CEIT

Tax season is upon us and scammers are hard at work looking for potential targets. Everyone, students included, should be extra cautious during this time of year when receiving calls, text messages and emails from people claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). These online attackers will impersonate the CRA to try to trick you into revealing personal or financial information. 

Whether it’s a phishing email saying you’ve received a financial aid refund from student loans, or a text message with an e-transfer saying it’s from the CRA, falling prey to these scams could result in identity theft and leave you at a financial loss.

Here’s what you need to know when you receive a call, text message, or an email from someone claiming to be from the CRA.

Things the CRA will never do when contacting you:

  • Contact you by text message – the CRA never uses text messages to communicate with taxpayers
  • Ask for information about your passport, Care Card or driver’s license
  • Demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit card or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon or others
  • Use aggressive language or threaten you with arrest or police action
  • Leave voicemails that are threatening or give personal or financial information
  • Give or ask for personal or financial information by email and ask you to click on a link
  • Email you a link asking you to fill in an online form with personal or financial details
  • Send you an email with a link to your refund
  • Set up a meeting with you in a public place to take a payment

Things the CRA might do when contacting you:

  • Ask for financial information such as the name of your bank and its location
  • Ask you to pay an amount you owe through any of the CRA’s payment options
  • Take legal action to recover the money you owe if you refuse to pay your debt
  • Notify you by email when a new message or a document, such as a notice of assessment or reassessment, is available for you to view through a secure CRA portal
  • Email you a link to a CRA webpage, form or publication that you ask for during a telephone call or a meeting with an agent (this is the only case where the CRA will send an email containing links)

If you think you’ve received a fraudulent email or text message do not respond to the message. Do not click on any links or open any attachments. Delete these messages. If you receive a suspicious phone call, do not give out any personal information and end the call. If you think you’ve been tricked into providing your personal or financial information, contact your local police.

To learn more about protecting yourself from scams and frauds, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website.

To learn more about IT Security and tips to be safe online, visit the Douglas College IT Security page

Campus events: April 1–5

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

Monday, April 1

  • 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 10.
  • 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. On show until April 20.
  • Infinity tricks ‘n tricks ‘n tricks …!!! 7–8:30pm in the Movement Studio, New Westminster Campus. Presented by the DSU Hoop Club. In this upbeat workshop, learn tricks to move on both sides in one fluid motion and create infinity moves.
  • Zappostrophe!  – 7:30pm in the Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre at the New Westminster Campus. Part of the Spring 2019 Concert Series, the evening features the music of Frank Zappa. Directed by Blair Fisher. General admission $10, seniors $5, students free. Tickets at the door.

Tuesday, April 2

  • National Biomechanics Day – 10:30am–1:30pm in the Movement Analysis Lab, room N2223 at the New Westminster Campus. Check out some awesome activities to find out more about your personal biomechanics. Activities are open to everyone and space is unlimited!
  • An evening of Jazz – 7:30–9pm in the Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre at the New Westminster Campus. Part of Spring 2019 Concert Series, the event features the Douglas College Dues Band, directed by Jill Townsend, with special guests Impressions Big Band. Presented by the Music Department. General admission $10, seniors $5, students free. Tickets at the door.

Thursday, April 4

  • Student Showcase Concert – 1pm in the Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre at the New Westminster Campus. Presented by Arts at One, the afternoon features Long & McQuade Student Recognition Awards.
  • Prideful Easter – 4:30–6:30pm in room 110, Douglas Students’ Union Building at the New Westminster Campus. Join DSU Pride Collective’s event for games, food and some good vibes.
  • Current Soundwaves VIII – 7:30–9pm  in the Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre at the New Westminster Campus. Presented by the Music Department, the event features outstanding projects by Music Technology Diploma grads and performances by the Douglas College Fusion Bands. Directed by Robert Caldwell. Free admission.

Reading between the lines

By Maia Odegaard, Marketing and Communications

Think about all of the things you read before you even arrived at work this morning: the newsfeed on your phone, the expiration date on a carton of milk, the text splashed across bus shelter advertisements. You probably didn’t notice how much you were reading. Now imagine how different your morning would have been without that essential skill we so easily take for granted.  

As this national literacy organization found, “one in five Canadians struggles with reading, writing or math, and millions more do not have the essential skills to succeed in today’s economy.” Enter the Douglas College I-CARE Literacy Program, which provides one-on-one tutoring for reading and writing and serves approximately 30 to 50 adults each year with the help of roughly 40 literacy mentors from around the Lower Mainland. This diverse group of volunteers includes one Douglas College student who gives his time, even while juggling a full course load, part-time job and other commitments.

Dustin has been an I-CARE mentor for two years

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I graduated, and teaching was something I always considered,” says Dustin G. “I saw it as a great opportunity to help someone and to work on my own personal goals, seeing whether I wanted to take on the challenge of teaching as a profession.”

While Dustin decided not to become a teacher – he’s now studying Political Science at Douglas College – he’s dedicated to helping his learner achieve her goal of becoming a confident reader and writer. “I’m committed to staying with I-CARE until I have one learner who’s satisfied,” he says.

Dustin has been a volunteer for close to two years and has worked with the same learner the entire time. They have reached several milestones together. “We’ve had a couple of firsts,” he says. “The first full paragraph that we wrote – she wrote, actually. I’m just there to help or point out a missing letter – that was great.” Now, whenever they hit a roadblock, he’s able to point to that achievement and say, “You wrote this. Don’t forget that you wrote this, and it’s very well written.”

The learners vary in age and background, with roughly half of them having grown up in Canada. Over the past 40 years, Vancouver’s population has changed and as such, the I-CARE Program’s clientele have changed, too.  

“Quite a few of our learners are people who had no opportunity to go to school as children and have struggled for a long time,” says Nancy Walker, I-CARE Coordinator. “Their spoken English is very good. They’ve been working for a long time and raising children, who have helped them improve their English. But reading and writing don’t come by osmosis.”

If you’re a Douglas College student interested in becoming a tutor with the I-CARE Program, email Nancy ( or call 604 527 5409 to find out when the next tutor training session is happening.

“The act of giving back to the community is really great,” says Dustin. “To be able to apply knowledge that I take for granted every day and help make another person’s life better, it’s very fulfilling.”

Making an investment in a smart education

By Anasuya Kesavan, Marketing and Communication

Photo by David Denofreo

Kim Banh knows the value of a dollar—and of a good education. Growing up on a tight budget with his single mom, who worked at a fast-food joint to support three children, taught him financial-planning skills. He used it to plan his education in Commerce and Business Administration and realize his dream of graduating from a university with the Douglas College-SFU degree program.

On completing high school, Kim dreamed of a university degree and a steady career. However, with more than one part-time job, he had to balance his time and resources. After doing extensive research on B.C. post-secondary institutions, Kim chose Douglas because he wanted to maximize his return on investment and chalk a straightforward path to university.

“I always wanted to study at UBC or SFU,” he says, “but, I had to balance the cost and my work hours.  I chose Douglas because the cost of tuition, class size and university transferability were very appealing.”

Kim took the Douglas College-SFU dual-degree program and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Economics from SFU. He says the one-on-one time with instructors at Douglas helped him do well in his courses.

 “Getting access to instructors is very important in the initial years. Douglas is a close community, and it’s easier to reach out for help.”

Despite a busy work-school schedule, Kim started volunteering as a Student Ambassador, which refined his skills in public speaking, event planning and marketing. One thing led to another as Kim took on the role of Marketing and Promotions Assistant for Douglas Student Life. He says it gave him the confidence to give presentations to large audiences and taught him negotiation and team-building skills. It also helped him find a part-time job as a Financial Planner.

“My education and experience at Douglas College has given me the knowledge, skills, confidence and poise to deal with all sorts of clients,” says Kim. “I really do owe a lot of my success to Douglas College, my instructors and the mentors that I’ve met here, and the friends that I’ve made.”

Today, Kim is a confident young banker, with a full-time job as a Financial Planner at RBC Financial Planning. At some point, he plans to get an MBA. He offers this advice to students who want to excel in their studies – and in life: “You can’t get anywhere without working hard. Keep your grades up. Get involved and volunteer in the community.”

Serving up a career in the hospitality industry

By Anasuya Kesavan, Marketing and Communications

Alexandre Quattrucci desired a peaceful life, safety and a career in hospitality. A former casino player development specialist who looked after the Latin American markets, he came from Brazil to Vancouver and Douglas College to start afresh.

With several casinos and good weather, Vancouver was a natural choice. “I wanted a new career in the hospitality industry,” says Alex. “I like working with people and enjoy numbers. I was also prepared to go back to school to succeed.”

At Douglas, Alex approached the Career Centre for advice on entering the job market for his industry training that is required to complete his Hospitality Management Diploma Program. Here he learned how to write a Canadian style resumé and cover letter. “It was the best thing that has happened to me,” says Alex. “My coach helped me prepare for an interview and also recommended me for a job at the Starlight Casino.”

After six months, Alex transitioned from the Casino to the hotel industry through the Douglas College Hospitality Fair at the Coquitlam Campus. “This is an excellent event. You are interviewed on the spot,” recalls Alex, who was hired by the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel.

Alex’s journey at Douglas began when an international consultant referred him to two colleges in the Lower Mainland. A mature student, Alex chose the Hospitality Management Diploma Program at Douglas for its reputation. He started having doubts when fellow students in a Vancouver English language course warned him that Douglas was a tough school.

“I was afraid. How would I cope? I was coming back to school after such a long time,” says Alex.

However, all his apprehensions were in vain. He enjoyed his courses, which gave him an understanding of running a hotel, managing food and beverages, rooms, beds and budgets. “There were many interesting courses including Business Law, HR and entrepreneurship. Douglas gave me an understanding of the hotel management business as a whole,” recalls Alex.

“Hotels deal with people. We also have to do cost control and budgets.”

As the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel’s Houseperson Alex has earned several Bravo Grams, a recognition by colleagues and clients, and an Employee of the Month award in July 2018. “It’s an awesome company to work with. I want to grow in this industry,” says Alex.

“The best thing that has happened to me is meeting the coaches at the Career Centre. There are so many opportunities for students to excel and find jobs. Most importantly, they are committed to job train you.”

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.