Douglas 360°

How good grades got this student $5,000 a year in scholarships

By Maia Odegaard, Marketing and Communications

Helena Chima always knew she wanted to be a scientist. She also knew it would require a solid education – and a little help from Financial Aid.

After researching her options, she decided Douglas was the perfect place to begin her education. “There are multiple reasons I chose Douglas – small class sizes, more one-on-one time with professors and the fact that I received the President’s Entrance scholarship, which meant all my time at Douglas was paid for.” 

And as long as she maintained a B+ average or higher, Helena could renew her scholarship for up to four years, for a total of $20,000 towards her education.

The Douglas College Office of the President offers 16 entrance scholarships valued at up to $5,000 annually, to be split equally between the Fall and Winter semesters. Recipients are eligible to receive additional renewal scholarships of up to $5,000 per year for a maximum of four years.

Helena graduated with an Associate of Science degree and transferred her credits to SFU to finish a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Physiology. From there, she’ll go to medical school to complete her education.

Do you have questions about the financial side of post-secondary education? Financial Aid has information about scholarships, bursaries, awards you may qualify for, as well as advice regarding student loans and grants.

Financial Aid Advisors are also available on a drop-in, first come, first served basis. Appointments are roughly 30 minutes in length and can be used to discuss your student loans – financial aid options, appeals, fee deferrals, budgeting, and more!

All you’ll gain at New Student Orientation

By Elliott Slinn, Student Engagement

Imagine it’s your first day of college. You wake up, get your bag, grab your coffee (or tea) and make your way to campus. You walk into the building, but where is your class? You search for a bit and then ultimately find it, but now the only seat available is at the back of the room. You notice some of your classmates have already met, and you feel a bit left out – but you made it, all be it a little late and a little sweaty, but you made it.

It’s a short day. The professor introduces themselves and hands out the list of required textbooks for class. You decide you’ll go to the Bookstore and grab what you need before you head home. Then you see the line – it’s long – and you’ll have to wait in it if you want those books. Dread.

Avoid that sweaty dread

Attend a New Student Orientation (NSO) where this is the opportunity to get yourself situated on campus before classes begin, as well as your chance to meet the faculty. You can further strengthen your student/teacher relationship by attending NSO because it allows you to ask any questions, get more comfortable talking to your professors (learn about their office hours), or if you’re ever interested in studying abroad – building that relationship for a reference letter.

Tours aren’t just for musicians!

You’ll also be offered a tour of the campus so you can figure out the layout and where all of your classes will be, as well as know where the cafeteria is located, so you can get your caffeine fix! At the end of the day, there’s a Campus Carnival, which is a great way to make new friends. We play games, give out prizes and the overall atmosphere is one of fun and inclusion!

Get carded

At NSO, you can pick up your books and avoid the lines. You can also grab your Student ID card, which gives you access to the many facilities available to you as a student, like the fitness centre, library, etc. You can save yourself time and avoid stress just by attending NSO.

Make future you happy

Overall, NSO is going to benefit you and add to your comfort level when coming to the College. When you attend, you walk away with new knowledge, new friends and a solid foundation to begin your Douglas College journey.

There’s still time to register!

New West Campus

  • Tuesday, Aug. 20 (AM) – Science & Technology / Sports Science: REGISTER HERE
  • Tuesday, Aug. 20 (PM) – Commerce and Business Administration: REGISTER HERE
  • Wednesday, Aug. 21 (AM) – Humanities and Social Sciences: REGISTER HERE
  • Wednesday, Aug. 21 (PM) – Language, Literature and Performing Arts: REGISTER HERE
  • Thursday, Aug. 22 (AM) – General Studies: REGISTER HERE

Coquitlam Campus

  • Tuesday, Aug. 27 (AM) – Humanities and Social Sciences: REGISTER HERE
  • Tuesday, Aug. 27 (PM) – Language, Literature and Performing Arts: REGISTER HERE
  • Wednesday, Aug. 28 (AM) – Science & Technology: REGISTER HERE
  • Wednesday, Aug. 28 (PM) – Child, Family and Community Studies: REGISTER HERE
  • Thursday, Aug. 29 (AM) – Hospitality Management: REGISTER HERE
  • Thursday, Aug. 29 (PM) – Office Administration: REGISTER HERE

New to Douglas College? Learn the ropes from a Kickstart Coach

Elliott Slinn, Student Engagement

Your first semester at Douglas College will be exciting, but also busy. As a new student, you probably have questions about being a student at Douglas and post-secondary in general, and we’re here to help. Sign up for Kickstart to College, and you’ll get connected to our Kickstart Coaches, who are all senior Douglas College student leaders and can answer your questions through email or the Douglas Students’ app.

A Kickstart Coach can walk you through what to expect on your first day of classes, where to find services on campus and get you up to speed on all the great ways you can get involved in the Douglas College community.

Meet four of the Kickstart Coaches here to answer your burning questions. Then sign up for Kickstart to College!

Julia Brown, Associate of Arts Degree, 4th year
“Ask me about events happening this Fall Semester!”

Jerson Sabio, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, 4th year

“Ask me about how to get involved outside the classroom! Douglas is great because of its close-knit community. It’s easier to volunteer, join a club and make friends then at a big post-secondary institution.”

Kathy Wu, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, 4th year

“Ask me for hot tips. For example, if you opt into the College health insurance plan, head to the Douglas Students’ Union to get your benefits card and find out what’s covered!”

Abby Verigin, Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching, 4th year

“Ask me about the fitness classes I teach on campus or the Student Wellness Awareness Team (S.W.A.T.)!”

Don’t miss this Summer’s best local events

Looking for fun, free, family-friendly activities to keep you busy in the city this summer? Look no further! Douglas is supporting cool local events in New Westminster, Surrey and Vancouver. You’ll even find us onsite at some of these festivals and parades! Stop by and say hi; we’ll have games, prizes and more to make it worth your while.

Surrey Canada Day

To kick off the summer fun, we’ll be celebrating Canada Day in Surrey. Swing by our booth to test your knowledge of all things Canada for the chance to win sweet prizes! There will also be live music, rides, food trucks and fireworks. See you there!

Monday, July 1
Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre
176 Street and 64th Avenue, Surrey
Admission: Free

Fridays on Front

Every Friday, from July 5 to Aug. 23, check out Fridays on Front in New Westminster, presented by Douglas College and the New Westminster Business Improvement Association. The 600 block of Front Street will be closed off to vehicles and filled with artisan vendors, food trucks, live music and more. Stop by, grab a cold beverage and stroll through the street with your friends and neighbours while enjoying the riverfront breeze and scenic views. TGIF!

Friday, July 5–Friday, Aug. 23 (every Friday)
600 block of Front Street, New Westminster
Admission: Free

Uptown Live

Don’t miss New Westminster’s ultimate street party! There will be a full schedule of live concert performances – including Douglas Music grad Nicole Audrey – plus 20 food trucks serving up tasty treats, interactive exhibits, artisan vendors and a beverage garden. Covering more than six city blocks, this free Saturday event offers no shortage of things to do. Be sure to stop by our booth to test your knowledge of music trivia for the chance to win cool prizes!

Saturday, July 20
6th Ave. and 6th Street, New Westminster
Admission: Free

Vancouver Pride

This is a historic year for Pride, marking the 50th anniversary of both the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada and the Stonewall Riots in New York City. If you’re heading to the West End (from Robson and Thurlow Streets all the way to Sunset Beach), look out for Douglas College and the Douglas Students’ Union during the parade as we come together with the greater LGBTQ2S+ Vancouver community in celebration of diversity and inclusion.

Sunday, Aug. 4
West End, Vancouver
Admission: Free

New West Culture Crawl

The Amelia Douglas Gallery is part of the Crawl again this year, presenting City Squares, drawings, textiles and paintings by John Steil, Judy Villett and Martha Jablonski-Jones. Opening reception Sat., Aug. 10, 1 – 3pm, featuring refreshments and live music.

Aug. 10 – 11
New Westminster
Admission: Free

New Westminster Pride

New West Pride is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year! At the end of a full week of festivities, enjoy the incredible Pride Street Party in downtown New Westminster, including food and live entertainment. Douglas College and the Douglas Students’ Union will be there with fun activities and a shady tent, so be sure to pop by. Plus, Douglas is proud to present the awesome Pride window displays competition for local businesses – the winner to be announced at the Street Party!

Saturday, Aug. 17
Columbia Street, New Westminster
Admission: Free

From glaciers to volcanoes: the 2019 Iceland Field School in photos

Photos by Susan Smythe, Department of Geography and the Environment

As participants in the June 2019 Iceland Field School, 12 students and three instructors spent four weeks in classes at Douglas prior to travelling to Iceland.

Once there, they explored the breathtaking landscape and studied how this island nation is working to provide opportunities for alternative energy and sustainable development, including waste management services, energy use, biodiversity and urban design.

Additionally, the group learned about the processes that shape the Earth’s surface, such as glaciers, rivers, tectonics and more by visiting geysers, active fumaroles and volcanic landscapes. They also investigated Iceland’s role within the North Atlantic region, its history, culture and socio-economic environment.

Learn more about the Iceland Field School here.

Meet the valedictorians of June 2019!

Before they crossed the stage, we caught up with all eight of the June 2019 valedictorians to ask them about their most unforgettable moment from their time at Douglas.

“I’ll never forget my cohort – it was a pleasure getting to know such a great group of caring and compassionate women :)” – Kali McVeigh, Bachelor of Social Work, 2019 Valedictorian
“I’ll never forget my first day at Douglas – returning to school after so many years, ready to face new challenges and achieve my dreams.” – Woonam Choi, Post-Degree Diploma in Project Management, 2019 Valedictorian
“I’ll never forget standing on stage with my classmates, my friends – it was opening night of the musical we had written and we felt so proud of what we had created.” – Sarah Prato, Bachelor of Performing Arts, 2019 Valedictorian
“I’ll never forget walking away from my last final exam at Douglas, reflecting on the hard but rewarding journey I’d taken to get to that point.” – Carmen Gonzalez, Bachelor of Business Administration – Accounting, 2019 Valedictorian
“I’ll never forget the support and encouragement that I received from my instructors at Douglas – they were awesome!” – Jenny Newman, Bachelor of Arts in Applied Criminology, 2019 Valedictorian
“I’ll never forget reconnecting with my friends from high school on my first day at Douglas. We’ve been inseparable ever since!” – Estrella Blackstock Pedroso, Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching, 2019 Valedictorian
“I’ll never forget reflecting on what we learned and sharing a few laughs and tears with my cohort at the end of each academic year at Douglas.” – Jennifer Parks, Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation, 2019 Valedictorian
“I’ll never forget running around Douglas, screaming and creating cheerful noises during Make Some Noise for Mental Health.” – Hau Vu Duy Nguyen, Post-Degree Diploma in Information and Communication Technology, 2019 Valedictorian

Basic income and the future of work

By Elliot J. Rossiter, Philosophy Instructor

There are a growing number of people who think that we are on the cusp of transitioning to a “post-work” future where the majority of working-age adults will not possess full-time jobs due to both the influence of automation and the rise of the gig economy. While any discussion of the future of work should be tempered with a recognition that people often overestimate their ability to predict the future, it is worth considering the question of how we would live in a society where there are fewer stable, full-time jobs.

One idea that is becoming increasingly popular is that of basic income, which holds that everyone should be given a regular sum of money that provides some measure of economic security. Indeed, the B.C. government recently set up a committee to explore the feasibility of implementing such a project in the province. While there are some differences among various basic income policy proposals – including the appropriate level of support, the frequency of distribution and the administration of benefits for children – the core idea is that support should be given unconditionally, without any means of testing or requirement to work.

One closely related variant to basic income that has been tested in Canada – and often simply referred to as basic income – is a negative income tax, which is a tax system that provides supplemental income for those whose earnings fall below a certain threshold. The Mincome experiment tested this system at various sites in Manitoba during the 1970s, but political commitment to this project gradually waned due to a combination of inflationary pressures, high unemployment and changes in government.

Recent years, however, have seen a renewed interest in basic income. The system was tested again in Ontario, with a pilot project launched in 2017 under a Liberal government. But the new Progressive Conservative government, elected last year, ended the pilot, criticizing it for allegedly making recipients less socially productive by receiving money without any strings attached.

Elliot J. Rossiter, Douglas College Philosophy Instructor

It is worth noting, however, that research on Mincome shows that workforce participation did not generally decline as a result of basic income except for women engaging in care work and teenagers staying in school. Furthermore, preliminary research from the Ontario pilot does not suggest any decrease in socially productive activity.

Despite the evidence that basic income recipients would not be any less socially productive, the objection that basic income would lead to economic freeriding by recipients who stop working is still popularly held.

In considering the relationship of basic income to the nature of work, it is worth stepping back to reflect more deeply on the meaning of work – and this will become increasingly important to consider if futurists are correct that there will be fewer jobs in coming years. We tend to equate work with paid employment; but this tendency is a relatively recent phenomenon, and I argue that it ultimately finds its roots in certain strands of modern philosophy beginning in the 17th century that hold that the standard for what can be known consists in what can be measured quantitatively and mathematized.

Prior to the modern period, work was generally identified either in a person or in a product. In other words, work was thought of in terms of a person using their deliberation and agency to produce some good of benefit to the wider community. But with the advent of the drive to measure and control that is prevalent in much of modern thinking, work increasingly became identified with a process measured in terms of things like labour hours and marginal productivity. In thinking of work this way, the subjective aspects of work and the broader social purpose of various goods and services tend to fade into the background.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the quantitative measurement of various phenomena, such as the economic activity of human beings; but we go deeply astray in our understanding of the world – including the nature of work – if we reduce what can be known to what can be measured.

To properly grapple with the question of the future of work, it is necessary to recover the subjective and social dimensions of work: indeed, work should best be understood as a task performed by a person for the benefit of the community around them. My current research involves taking the capability approach to human development – an approach pioneered by scholars like Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum – and applying it to an analysis of the nature of work. I defend a capability approach to work, which holds that meaningful work is an activity that develops one’s own capabilities while promoting the capabilities of others in one’s community. Examples of this type of socially productive activity could be a mechanic troubleshooting and repairing a vehicle, a musician directing a community choir or a parent caring for a child.

We can have better discussions of our economic future if we expand our understanding of work beyond paid employment. To fully evaluate the social effects of a policy like basic income, it is necessary to consider not just the willingness of recipients to participate in the traditional workforce but also to engage in a broad range of capability-promoting activities. In this regard, results from a number of pilot projects seem to indicate that recipients are more likely to care for loved ones, to seek training to improve their work skills and to volunteer in the community. As we consider how we can flourish in the midst of economic challenges facing the future of work, basic income is an idea that is certainly worth exploring further.

Elementary school in Kenya to use Douglas College computers

By Nicole Chiu, CEIT

Dozens of Douglas College computers are making their way to classrooms at the Endana Primary School in Kenya. These computers will help enhance the school students’ learning experience through technology by providing them with access to online learning resources.  

When College computers are upgraded every few years, older computers, which are in good condition, are donated to local rotaries that ship it to places where educational resources are in short supply or are non-existent.

With the help of Bonnie Sutherland, Vice President of the not-for-profit, Rotary World Help, Douglas College computers will continue to be used for educating students. Bonnie has been supporting education efforts in developing countries for over 20 years.

“One of our goals is to install a library at Endana Primary School – a remote, desolate, dusty school with very few amenities,” she says. “What we do with these computers will change lives.”

Each year, the College replaces more than 400 computers. Some of the machines end up at certified environmentally-responsible recycling plants and others find new homes through charitable organizations.

Building an IT career with Co-op

By Anasuya Kesavan, Marketing and Communications

Manupreet Kaur wanted real work experience. Despite having a degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from India, she had never had an actual job.

“During my engineering degree, I took a few internships” she says. “But they were more like trainings. I wanted a job where I could work with professionals and practise my skills. Nothing beats the hands-on experience that you get by working on the field in a real work environment.”

Manupreet Kaur

When she came to Douglas and enrolled in the Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Computer and Information Systems, she discovered the Co-op program, which enables students to apply for paid, full-time work terms related to their area of study.  Work terms are usually four or eight months and take place after a student has completed the second or third semester of their academic program.

With Co-op, Manupreet learned how to write a cover letter and resumé, look for job opportunities and practise interview skills. However, getting hired was not as easy.

“I applied for more than 20 jobs and got seven interview calls,” she says. “However, as a fresher with little experience, I got rejected by all. But my Co-op coaches continued to support me with additional preparation for interviews and encouraged me to keep on applying for more jobs.”

Manupreet found success by her eighth interview. She was hired as an Application and Infrastructure Student Analyst with the City of Edmonton.

“Although I was going to spend eight months in the Edmonton winter, I was on top of the world.”

At her workplace, Manupreet was one of two Co-op students providing support for a new software application to internal clients.

“When you are at school you get to do small projects,” she says. “Co-op gave me the opportunity to work on the POSSE Enterprise Platform, which is a big and complex system. While I was doing a lot of coding and making minor and big fixes in real time, I learned to deal with real, genuine problems that users face.”

“There was lots to learn, and that was challenging and exciting at the same time.”

She also got the opportunity to work on a mobile app with her fellow Co-op student, from Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton.

Now, with real work experience under her belt, Manupreet is confident in finding work in the IT field after she graduates.

“I recommend Co-op to all students,” she says. “It’s the first step to start a career. I learned both technical and non-technical skills that will help me get more job opportunities within the IT sector.”

Students of 15 academic programs at Douglas College are eligible for Co-op. If you’re a student looking to gain skills and work experience, email the Career Centre at or call 604 527 5889.

Get support from Douglas College counselling services

By Angela Katsamakis, Student Affairs and Services

College can be a stressful and confusing time for many students. Often, this has an impact on school performance. It may be helpful to talk to someone who can assist you with managing personal challenges and easing the pressure of college life.

Counsellors, located at both New Westminster and Coquitlam campuses, are trained to provide short-term personal counselling, career counselling and support with academic petitions or appeals. You may want to visit counselling services for free support if you are having trouble in areas such as:

  • Managing personal stress
  • Relationship problems
  • Grief
  • Family related concerns
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Adjusting to college life
  • Setting career goals
  • Making career choices
  • Understanding your rights and responsibilities according to College policy

How do you make an appointment?

Simply phone or visit in-person to make a 50-minute appointment. If you are in crisis, urgent appointments are available most afternoons.

Locations and hours

New Westminster Campus, room S4600
604 527 5486
TTY: 604 527 5450
Open Monday to Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm

Coquitlam Campus, room A1050
604 777 6185 
TTY: 604 777 6179
Open Monday to Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm

You aren’t alone – Counselling Services is here for you. More information is available on the Douglas College website.