Jaimie Creasy didn’t set out to make history — she just wanted to build things.
But historic she certainly is, the first woman ever to graduate from Red River College with a degree.
Creasy is among 2,124 students receiving diplomas, certificates and degrees at convocation ceremonies Monday and today at the Centennial Concert Hall. That includes close to 600 apprentices graduating.
Creasy and six men will receive their degree in construction management, the first since the province allowed colleges to offer degrees. Since all seven already had civil engineering technology diplomas, they entered the degree program in third year.
As a program manager for Manitoba Hydro, Creasy was the only student in her course working full-time. "Everything they were teaching us, I could apply right away.
"We’re in the transmission section, we build substations. I was already in the construction management area — I saw it as a way to advance myself," said Creasy.
"The only other option was to go into engineering... I don’t want to go onto the design side," said the graduate of Garden City Collegiate.
Through her degree studies, "I understand contract law better. They touch on an understanding of everything."
It was 11 years between RRC graduations for Creasy, who’d also gone to University of Manitoba out of high school, randomly taking science courses.
"Red River seems more fast-tracking to getting a job," she said. "When you’re a kid, there’s a stigmatism to going to college instead of university, which is silly."
Creasy was also the only woman in her program when she studied civil engineering technology, and there aren’t many women working in construction. "It’s challenging, for sure, you’re always trying to prove yourself."
There’s overcoming challenges and difficulties to succeed, and then there’s Jason Fillmore.
As a child in Island Lakes, Fillmore was bullied, he suffered stress that required extensive counselling, and his learning disabilities were never diagnosed.
And here Fillmore is now, graduating with a diploma in child and youth care, and working at two agencies that deal with children and youth experiencing behavioural and emotional difficulties.
"Most of the kids I’m dealing with are struggling to find a place to live" on top of all their other issues, said Fillmore. They’re pretty much on their own. "My parents were always there, I always had a house — these kids don’t have that."
The kids are dealing in their early teens with what Fillmore went through until his early 20s, he said. "They’re trying to do that before they get aged out of the system."
Fillmore went to Niakwa School, but chose to pass up his neighbourhood high school, J.H. Bruns, because that’s where his bullies were going. Instead, he attended both Windsor Park Collegiate and Winnipeg Technical College, where he studied auto body painting.
"I ended up graduating when I was 20ish. The field is really hard to get into — I ended up washing cars. It’s hard to find someone to apprentice you," said Fillmore.
Those were hard years.
"I got into the drug scene," he recalled. Fillmore didn’t last long in retail jobs, because he had a math disability. Finally, he tried Red River, where a counsellor recommended Fillmore go to disability services for help.
"I was really afraid of being in college. It was going to be a struggle for me," said Fillmore.
RRC provided counselling and specialized software; he tried prescription medication, but found it left him ‘super-hyper’.
It turned out he had ADHD, dyslexia, and disabilities in reading, writing and math. "Huge gaps in my education," said Fillmore.
Don’t even dream of whining about your hours at work or how much you’d like to sleep in, not after you hear about Adebola Ogunsanya.
Ogunsanya is graduating with a diploma in disability and community support, a tough and demanding two-year course.
That hardly starts to describe Ogunsanya’s life and the demands on his time — he and his wife have two little kids, he’s got two fulltime jobs, and a part-time job.
"It is not easy to combine," said Ogunsanya. "I leave home at 11 p.m. Sunday and I don’t get home until 9 a.m. Wednesday."
"Man, it is not an easy sled. I don’t go for breaks, I sleep," whenever he isn’t in class or on the clock at work, he grabs a few winks, emphasis on the word few.
"Sometimes you have a headache, you have the stress (coming) out of your body," he said.
His fulltime jobs are working with disabled adults at the l’Avenir agency and as a security guard in the Exchange District. He’s also a substitute educational assistant in Pembina Trails School Division.
Now that Ogunsanya has graduated, he’ll fill in that gaping class time not with collapsing into bed, but going to school to upgrade his master’s of business administration to Canadian standards.
The 38-year-old who came to Manitoba from Nigeria five years ago was shocked to find out that Canada wouldn’t recognize his academic credentials.
"I was not happy, after spending years in school," he said. "You can’t just pick up your bag and say I’ll go back home. I said, OK, let me start here."
Ogunsanya’s wife had earlier earned a diploma in child and youth care before he enrolled at Red River, and they’ve got a third child on the way.
Once he has his MBA upgraded, said Ogunsanya, certainly he’s be using that disability and community service diploma in an agency — but he hopes to use it by being the boss.
The recipient of this year’s Red River College Honourary Diploma is Stella Blackbird.
Blackbird is from Keeseekoowenin First Nation, a survivor of the residential school system, and one of Canada’s primary keepers of traditional aboriginal knowledge and wisdom. She has served as an elder, traditional healer, medicine teacher and facilitator for healing programs and traditional teachings across Canada and the U.S.
Since 1995, Blackbird has served as elder for Urban Circle Training Centre in Winnipeg’s North End. In partnership with Red River College, Urban Circle delivers certified training in the fields of health care, education, family support work, and early childhood education. As elder, Blackbird provides counseling for students and shares her extensive knowledge of aboriginal culture, traditional medicines and the traditional way of life. She has mentored many young leaders to ensure that the sacred teachings and the traditional way of life are not lost.
Mark Queen receives the Industrial Technologies 2013 Teaching Excellence Award, which recognizes a full-time permanent faculty member who has exhibited exemplary instructional qualities over a sustained period.
An instructor in Red River College’s Civil Engineering Technology department, Queen has been with the college since 1999. Since then, he has instructed a wide range of courses in both the Geomatics Technology and Municipal Engineering Technology programs. Recently, he has redeveloped, reorganized and delivered two courses for RRC’s bachelor’s degree in Construction Management.
Queen has always worked diligently to develop his own course notes, which provide students with information and examples that apply directly to their program. He consults with other instructors for feedback and other supporting information that enhances the material he’s teaching, and often demonstrates how the material relates to courses taught by other instructors within the same program.
He has also taken on the responsibility of developing the first-year Surveying course for RRC’s School of Continuing Education, and manages all students taking the course online.
Before arriving at Red River College, Queen worked in construction and with local survey firms, and as a researcher at Queen’s University, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s in Engineering and a Master’s in Geological Engineering (both with honours). He’s also earned a Diploma in Geomatics Technology from Red River College (again, with honours) and a Certificate in Adult Education.
Lieutenant-Governor’s Medals for Proficiency:
Jocelle Cuvos and Abby Silva
A graduate of Red River College’s Business Administration program, Jocelle Cuvos first enrolled in the hopes of one day becoming an entrepreneur, and of eventually starting her own photography studio — a passion since high school.
Having now completed her studies at RRC (while maintaining a very busy extra-curricular schedule), she plans to continue her education by obtaining a degree from the University of Manitoba’s I.H. Asper School of Business.
While a student at RRC, Cuvos served as president of the Students’ Association, and played on both the soccer and volleyball teams. She says the experiences allowed her to give back to her community, as both an ambassador for the college and a volunteer in such initiatives as the RRC Shinerama, a charity event that raised funds for cystic fibrosis research and care.
Cuvos, a Tec Voc graduate, plans to continue her involvement with the college as a volunteer Student Ambassador (who’ll promote RRC to prospective students) and by attending as many Rebels games as her schedule will allow!
Also a graduate of Red River College’s Business Administration program, Abby Silva was at first drawn to the college by the flexible and diverse career opportunities that awaited her in the field of business.
She plans to leverage her RRC training as an entry point to further accreditation, by pursuing a designation as a Chartered Accountant (CA) while also seeking part-time employment in the accounting industry.
Like fellow medal winner Jocelle Cuvos, Silva was heavily involved in athletics while attending the college (and twice won basketball tournament MVP honours at the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference). A member of the Rebels Women’s Basketball team, Silva, a graduate of Sisler High School, says her involvement in sports kept her motivated and determined in her academic pursuits, by allowing her to develop an active routine that kept her healthy, focused and constantly striving for success.
She plans to maintain that routine as a member of an outside basketball league that also affords opportunity for community outreach, through fundraisers, tournaments and other volunteer-driven events. She attributes her success at Red River College to a combination of hard work, patience, and — most importantly — a positive attitude.
Aboriginal Language Specialist — Tiffany Cote-McKay
Aboriginal Self-Government Administration — Brianne Sand
Aircraft Maintenance Engineer — Raunak Shashidhara Salian
American Sign Language,English Interpretation — Leanne Kelly Muldrew
Animal Health Technology — Lisa Marie Sandquist Rea
Business Administration (Office Management) — Shannon Smith
Business Information Technology (Web Development) — Benjamin Allan Repay
Cabinetry and Woodworking Technology — Daniel David Tronrud
Child and Youth Care — Karla Mary Hendrickson
Civil Engineering Technology (Architectural) — Kevin Daniel Todd
Community Development/Economic Development — Janessa Ruth Hiebert
Computer Applications for Business — Jo-Anne Kendra Quill
Creative Communications — Alana Michelle Odegard
Digital Media Design — Johanna Schmidt
Digital Media Design — Jaclyn Anna Vadeboncoeur
Disability and Community Support — Jeannine Nicole Blanchette
Early Childhood Education — Cynthia Watcher
Graphic Design — E. A. Ritchot
Greenspace Management — Richard Rene Dionne
Library and Information Technology — Miranda Beth Forrest
Network Technology (CCNP) — Travis Cole Mauthe
Power Engineering Technology — David John Stuart-Edwards
Technical Communication — Jocelyne Helene Claire Olson
STUDENT PROGRAM AWARDS
Aircraft Maintenance Engineer:
Mohammad Jawad Chaudhry, Robert Garry Glover, Dylan J. Pereira, Raunak Shashidhara Salian — Snap-On Tools
Animal Health Technology:
Stephanie Bourgeois, Melanie Anne Hildebrand — Barbara Nagler Memorial
Jenesis Elizabeth Caughy — Merial Canada
Caitlin Christina Fewings — Dr. Nancy Brock Anesthesia
Christine Michelle Filopoulos — Hill’s Pet Nutrition Canada, Small Animal Nutrition
Brandi Elizabeth Nesplak — Canadian Animal Blood Bank, Manitoba Animal Health Technologist Association
Nicole Renee Pelletier — Elsevier Science Canada
Lisa Marie Sandquist Rea — Southglen Veterinary Hospital, Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association
Teja Billie Rae Sigurdson — McPhillips Animal Hospital Nursing
Robyn LeeAnn Winters — Animal Health Technology Faculty
Roxanne Valerie Chornoboy, Kulwinder Ghumaan Grewal — Accounting and Computer Education, Certified General Accountants Association of Manitoba
Michelle Ha, Michael D. Walpole, Jamil Zahoor — Gladys Bell
Luis Canete Santiago — James Wood Institute
Stephane Maurice Dorge, Hayley Rehberg — Paul Charette
Darren Sean Irvine, Adam Bryce Warkentin — Bird Construction Company Limited
Michael Steven Patrick Sagriff — Ernst Hansch Construction Ltd.
Ryan Andrew Stoddart — Flynn Canada
Kevin Todd — Civil Engineering Technology
Alexander Kosnick-Dobson — Geoffrey C. Morrow Memorial
Building Design CAD Technology:
Joel S. Duhaime — TD Insurance Meloche Monnex
Michael P. J. Kelly — Paterson GlobalFoods
Thesaurus-Mariae Villamiel Lucas — Civil Engineering Technology
David Andrew Aubel, Luke Andrew Bergen, Gregorio Alejandro Blanco Rivas, Janelle Allyson Brisson, Cramer Donovan Coulthart, Michel Andre Daignault, Elise Marielle Delaquis, Katie J. Doolan, Shyanne Emily Geddie, Ziang Jin, Zhen Liang, Jennifer Jeanne Marie Usunier, Ying Wu, Yamei Zhou — Academic Achievement Graduation
Patrick Denis Audette — Leslie Snell Certified General Accountants Association of Manitoba
Colby Daniel George Deighton — Business Administration Mentorship, Academic Achievement Graduation
Sarah Kate Dobson-Wood, Guanping Jiang — Leslie Snell Certified General Accountants Association of Manitoba, Academic Achievement Graduation
Wei Du, Blanche Hazel Garma, Michelle Stabner — Business Administration Mentorship
Simmie Beth Globerman, Leanne Marie Vogt, Grace Angelique Wieser — Business Administration Bridging
Kristin D. Kazlauskas, Kate Samantha Morrison — Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce, Academic Achievement Graduation
Sarah Marie Maynard — Academic Achievement Graduation, Peter Nykoluk Memorial
Roline Thi Nguyen — International Student
Coleen Pagar, Crystal Tamara Dawn Alice Smith, Amber M. Stade, Yue Zhang — Peter Nykoluk Memorial
Kirk Joseph Smith — Norm Konowalchuk Memorial
Shannon Smith — Academic Achievement Graduation, Business Administration Bridging
Mindy Lee Tucker — Matthew Matczuk Memorial
Tabea Unruh — Bison Transport
Yuqing Zhang — Leslie Snell Certified General Accountants Association of Manitoba, Academic Achievement Graduation, International Student
Business Administration Integrated:
Grady Patrick Doyle, Henry Langit, Paul Lorne Sigurdson — Academic Achievement
Business Information Technology:
Julia Marie Albig, Dustin Matthew Green, Robert James MacPherson, Gannon Mulcolm McGibbon, Benjamin Allan Repay, Joseph Avegail Tadiarca — Accounting and Computer Education
Hyung Ki Choi — Accounting and Computer Education, Paterson Global Foods
Kelly Kolisnik — Ricoh Canada
Collin William Allan Quick — Paterson GlobalFoods
Michael Sunico, Clayton Gary Wallace — Accounting and Computer Education, MTS Academic Excellence
Pascal Marc Vachon — Henry Penner Memorial
Cabinetry and Woodworking Technology:
Aiden Strothers — Academic Achievement, H. C. McGregor Memorial
Daniel David Tronrud — H. C. McGregor Memorial
William E. Zenert — Academic Achievement
Nathaniel Anore Alejandro, Ryan Samuel Groombridge, Wayne Thomas Kear, Brian Peter Paul Smoley, Lesley Ann Smyth, Jared Tyler Storimans — Pre-Employment
Dawn M. Dueck, Adrian Michael Greene, Marc Mitchell Lapointe, Brody Jordan Stoneham — H. C. McGregor Memorial
Cody Charles Seguin — David McClelland Memorial
Child and Youth Care:
Kendra Danae Bell — Ross A. Johnston
Rebecca Lynn Brown — Knowles Centre Justice Jim Smith Memorial
Maegan Erin Carbotte — Macdonald Youth Services
Chelsea Champagne — New Directions for Children, Youth, Adults and Families
Chelsea Ashley Connelly — Project Neechewan
Karla Mary Hendrikson — Naturas, Ross A. Johnston
Bretton Ann Meyer — Child and Youth Care Workers Association of Manitoba, Ross A. Johnston
Isabelle Nathalie Moreau — MK (Community Services)
Carrie Anne Smith — Ross A. Johnston
Angeline M. Thackeray — Manitoba Association of Residential Treatment Resources
Teighan Judith Turner — B & L Youth Services Cameron Lecuyer Memorial
Lorraine Norma Williams — Susan McDonald Memorial
Jennifer Jeanna Verghetti — Marymound
Commerce/Industry Sales and Marketing
Michel Alexandre David — Outstanding Student
Sarah Ruth Tait — Academic Achievement
Diego Sacha Todres — Outstanding Sales Performance
Timothy James Davidson, Sadie Lynn Esashko, Brett Erik Gustafson, Jorge Felipe Antonio Laba, Yared Tekle Melketsadik, Michael William Tucker — Winnipeg Construction Association
Matthew Raymond Holoka — Manitoba Heavy Construction Association, Cornerstone
Ashwin Kadaba, Devan Hugh McLenaghan, Dominique Jacob Pereira — Paul Charette
Julia Katrine Vossen — Manitoba Heavy Construction Association
David Wiebe — EllisDon Excellence
David W. Baxter, Graeme E. D. Coleman, Meghan Brandy Franklin — Eric and Jack Wells Excellence in Journalism
Marianne Gisele Champagne-Brunet — Bob Brandson Student
Meaghan Cardine Joy Crane, Kyle Matthew Jahns, Natasha Lee Woloschuk — Don Wittman Memorial
Emily Rose Doer, Jaclyn Mary Dyck Leskiw — S.A.M. Advertising Award for Excellence
Elizabeth Alexandria Fraser — Manitoba Community Newspapers Association, Eric and Jack Wells Excellence in Journalism
Ryan Sean Kessler — Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Jack Matheson, Eric and Jack Wells Excellence in Journalism, Don Wittman Memorial, Shaw
Megan Ambre Merasty — Broadcasters Association of Manitoba Aboriginal
Alana Michelle Odegard — Canadian Public Relations Society Manitoba
Brittany Denise Paulhus — University Women’s Club of Winnipeg
Bettina Ruth Pogson, Bryan Wrede — Shaw
Luke Anthony Reimer — Robert Drinnan Memorial, MTS Allstream
Zachary R. Samborski — John Harding Memorial
Kristen Ann Shaw — Advertising Association of Winnipeg, James S. Purvis Memorial
Amanda Simoes — Women in Media
Kathryn Elizabeth Slimmon — Broadcasters Association of Manitoba Television Production
Owen Brady Swinn — Broadcasters Association of Manitoba Radio Production
Matthew Peter TenBruggencate — Professional Writers’ Association of Canada, Manitoba Chapter
Amanda Rae Thorsteinson — Eric and Jack Wells Excellence in Journalism, Shaw
Sara Elizabeth Wasiuta — Advertising Association of Winnipeg
Dental Assisting Level II:
Nicole Darlene Bonenfant — Manitoba Dental Association, Dental Assisting Faculty, Drs. J. Perry and N. Boorberg Additional Skills
Susan Dawn Cutler — Sinclair Dental, Drs. J. Perry and N. Boorberg Additional Skills
Dawn Dumontet — Sinclair Dental, Dental Assisting Faculty
Tracey Lynn Engel, Candace Nicole Lyons — Manitoba Dental Assistants Association
Karen Friesen — Dental Assisting Faculty
Nicole Christine Froggatt — Germiphene
Chelsie Hirsch — Sinclair Dental, Sunstar Americas
Lisa Marie Lambert — Manitoba Dental Association, Hu-Friedy, Dental Assisting Faculty
Marisa Diana Lemire, Laura Edith Elizabeth Wiebe — Sunstar Americas
Digital Media Design:
Ranee Dong — Digital Media Design Award of Excellence
Jonathan Abram Dueck, Jonathan Jyles Klassen — Vision TV
Rim Schewczyk, Ashley Candace Wiebe — Women in Media/CHUM
Disability and Community Support:
Warren Claude Harris — MK (Community Services)
Amanda-Dawn Leochko, Denita Rose Siemens — Jason Mueller Memorial
Evan Donald Wicklund — Association for Community Living Winnipeg
Early Childhood Education:
Sharan Cheema — Irene Stratford
Nicole Jean Dubois, Nicole Anne Tanasiciuk — "Our Children, Our Ways"
Leah Ranae Edmonds, Nehal Ebrahim Elbogdady — MK (Community Services)
Brittany Holm, Skye Strong — Early Childhood Education Student
Lingli Li — Frances Evers Early Childhood
Andrew Joseph Ross — Pat Lucki Memorial
Melody Elaine Seaton — Dr. Gretta Brown
Martin Richard Dobson, Michael J. Halligan, Christien Thomas James Harding, Neil David Schofield — H.C. McGregor Memorial
Vanessa Spring Winkworth — International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Electronic and Network Technician:
Kevin Edward Davis — Jessica Miner
Environmental Protection Technology:
Cathilyn Greaves, Raisa Jerao — Elizabeth Ptashnik Memorial
Sabrina Sai-Yun Leung, Caitlyn Mae Peters — Frank M. Fowler Memorial
John Palson — Civil Engineering Technology
Damion Bernard — Louis Picard Memorial
Neil Christensen — Alberta Land Surveyors Asssociation
Leo Paul Duval — Association of Manitoba Land Surveyors
David F. D. Eng — Bryan I. Dreger
Travis Edwin Hubble — Alberta Land Surveyors Association, Association of Manitoba Land Surveyors, Private Members
Lori-Ann J. MacDonald — Certified Technicians and Technologists Association of Manitoba
Crystal Rachelle Carrette, Matthew David Kehler — OnWard Draw-On
Chui Choy — Valerie Fostey Memorial
Eric John Nocon Dizon, Darcee Rynae Lytwyn — Dennis Pankiw Memorial
Abra Dueck — Mandy Coyne Memorial
Mike David Haynes — OnWard Achiever
Sarah Marie Kruger, Kristin Masters — Harold and Doris Margolis
E. A. Ritchot — S.A.M
Andrea Emeline Tria — S.A.M, Terry Kuzina Memorial
Graphic Design — Advanced:
Dustin Kane George — Dennis Pankiw Memorial
Bradley Dean Gerbrandt — Barbara Cook Endres
Christian Lloyd Gutierrez Gilbang — Bruce Gillespie Collection, Harold and Doris Margolis
Richard Rene Dionne, Timothy Michael Konsorada, Jennifer Leigh Roscoe — Greenspace Management Faculty
Matthew Alexander Kellas, Andrew Grant McComb — Manitoba Golf Superintendents Association
Julianne Shea Marinelli — Greenspace Management Faculty Practicum
Amanda Nicole — Rental Experts, Morgan-Gravel
Jade Alexis Raizenne — Manitoba Horticultural Societies Hortscape
Marshall Anthony West — Rental Experts
Health Information Management:
Carman Dale Sorochynski — Outstanding Student
Ricardo Bernadus Van-Amelsvoort-Barran — MED2020 Health Care Software Inc., Manitoba Health Information Management Association, Salumatics Inc.
Abiola Afusat Bakara — Academic Achievement
Svitlana Baryshnikova — Outstanding Student
Introduction to Business Information Technology:
Owen Peterson, Hoangnam Vu — Accounting and Computer Education
Library and Information Technology:
Jennifer Silvia Borgfjord McLeod — Library and Information Technology
Amanda M. Gajausky — Manitoba Library Association
Ebony Lynn Novakowski — PAR Excellence E.Q.
Diana Elizabeth Saunders, Darren Gerard Wesselius — Betty Andrich Memorial
Paul Ikkert, Ryan Steck, Devyn James Toews — C K Machine Tool & Industrial Supply
Ivan Kucher — Ted M. Konyk, Dynamic Machine Corporation
Collin Emerson McDougall, Patrick Anthony Unruh — Thomas Skinner Cory N. Stewart — H. C. McGregor Memorial
Andre Whynot — Ted M. Konyk, H. C. McGregor Memorial
Municipal Engineering Technology:
Robert Boger — Frank M. Fowler Memorial
Hannah Jayne Compton, Jeremy Curtis Estrella — Stantec Consulting Ltd
Remigio Espiritu — Manitoba Good Roads Association
Supun Fernando — Neelin Wilson Construction
Louis Eugene Maluk — AECOM
Doug Murray — Robert Kwok Memorial
Kerri Joy Reckseidler — Lewis Instruments
Steven Mark Repa — F. Ross Browne CSC
Luc Rheal Bernard, Larry Giesbrecht, Jason Hatland, Cameron Kenneth Jackson — H.C. McGregor Memorial
Jared Debreczeni, Anthony Penner — Wolseley Mechanical, Steve Murowski
Justin David McInnes, Tyler K. McNaughton, Blake Joseph Molinski, Darien William Pitt — Pre-Employment
Power Engineering Technology:
Rhandy Bambalan — Eric Littler Memorial Award
Musavuli Matata — Karel Van Helden Memorial
David John Stuart-Edwards, Zhefei Xie — Institute of Power Engineers
Power Engineering Technology:
Tarsem Singh Kalsi — H.C. McGregor Memorial
Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technician:
Cory Adrian Brownson — H.C. McGregor Memorial
Structural Engineering Technology:
Vladislav Andreyev, Derek Miles Condon — Paul Charette
Kyle Morgan Arneson, Daniel Mulaire, Darren Spring — Ernst Hansch Construction Ltd
Kimberly Barrion, Paolo Alcazar Ferrer — Beach Rocke Engineering
Miguel Marcelo Fulugan — Paterson GlobalFoods
Jason Daniel Guenther — Neelin Wilson Construction
Michael Brendan Hayward — AECOM
Landon William Little — Ken Rist Memorial
Allan Scott — Frank M. Fowler Memorial
Anna Elizabeth Wor — Flynn Canada
Dwayne Clifford Chartrand, Dennie Shawn Lewicki — H.C. McGregor Memorial
Jessica Lee Patrick — Phil McGregor