New 24/7 Mental Health support launched for GPRC students

New 24/7 Mental Health support launched for GPRC students

Dr. Katie Stabb
Dr. Katie Stabb shows the new MySSP App that provides GPRC students 24/7 access to mental health supports

GPRC knows college can be a time of change, adjustment, and stress for students and we are here to offer help! GPRC has partnered with Morneau Shepell to bring its students the new Student Support Program (My SSP)! This exciting new program will serve as a support while juggling studies and personal life demands.

“My SSP is an important addition to GPRC’s student mental health supports. The various format options, the 24/7 availability, and the ability to tailor to individual needs is what makes this program special. Students can access professional support at a time, and in a format that works for them. I’m confident that use of this program will help build resiliency and wellness in our student body and college community,” said Dr. Katie Stabb, Registered Psychologist at GPRC.

My SSP is free to use and personal information is kept private. Students have unlimited access to articles, tools, resources, and dedicated My SSP Advisors/Counsellors that can help them succeed during their studies. All My SSP Advisors/Counsellors have a minimum of a Master’s degree in a counselling field, and are licenced to practice counselling.

My SSP Advisors/Counsellors can help with:

  • Adapting to college life
  • Frustration, concern, or uncertainty about any aspect of your life
  • Worries about upcoming exams or disappointment with academic performance
  • Stress related to procrastination and time management
  • Maintaining balance between home, work, and school
  • Being successful at school and post-graduation
  • Relationships with friends and family
  • Stress related to finances and juggling multiple responsibilities
  • Being mentally healthy and much more!

Students may call or chat with My SSP Advisor/Counsellor at any time (24/7) to receive immediate support or to schedule an appointment.

There are many ways to access 24/7 support:

  • Download the free ‘My SSP’ app from your device’s app store (available on Apple and Android devices) to call or chat with a My SSP Advisor/Counsellor
  • Visit the website to access articles, tools, and resources to help you succeed
  • Dial 855.649.8641 to speak to a My SSP Advisor/Counsellor over the phone, 24/7!

This program is confidential within the limits of the law.  No one will know you have reached out unless you choose to tell them.

Stay tuned for more information about the My SSP and reach out to Dr. Katie Stabb in Student Services (H103) if you have any questions or visit to learn more about the on-campus and community supports for students.

GPRC volunteers care for evacuees’ furry family members

Some of the GPRC faculty and staff who helped look after the evacuated animals Tiffany Duncan, Katey Johnston, Lin Roy, Bonnie Danielson, Dr. Chris Mizzi, Lisa Coady, Carl Ball, Rhonda Shaw, and Shannon Ball.

GPRC’s Fairview campus became home for some important members of families evacuated from northwestern Alberta due to wildfires.

First year Animal Health Technology student Dayna McKay who is living on campus during the summer is lending a hand.

The College’s Animal Health Technology program put out the call offering to house any animals for displaced families shortly after the mandatory evacuations started in northwestern Alberta. A few days later, when the Town of Manning was placed under evacuation notice, the local veterinary clinic reached out to ask GPRC to look after the animals it had been housing for evacuees.

“We wanted to make sure the animals were safe somewhere else,” said Kaitie Koch, manager of the Manning Veterinary Clinic.

Shaylene Syrota, RVT, Educational Lab Technologist AHT – Animal Sciences Department and Dr. Christy Barlund, DVM – Instructor – Animal Sciences Department were two of the faculty and staff volunteers.

The clinic had already housed animals from families evacuated from High Level for about 10 days.

When the animals arrived on campus, GPRC’s animal health faculty and staff did an amazing job, said Koch.

“They were incredibly helpful and knew what exactly needed to be done,” she said.

Over the course of the evacuation notice, GPRC housed a total of 11 dogs, one cat and one hamster. The program faculty and staff continued any treatments the animals needed and monitored them daily to ensure they were doing well, explained Rhonda Shaw, Animal Health Technology instructor.

The animals were weighed in and weighed out, had their appetite and attitude monitored daily, and were fed and walked twice a day. The dogs all got time to run in the College’s round pen.

Volunteers would send videos and pictures of the animals to their owners so the owners knew their pets were doing OK. Volunteers hoped the photos would help reduce some of the stress the evacuees were experiencing.

“We were grateful to be able to provide some comfort by having the evacuees know their animals were safe and well cared for,” said Shaw.

Lin Roy, Program Assistant – Animal Sciences Department and Rhonda Shaw, RVT, Instructor – Animal Sciences Department with the first evacuee heading home.

Jill Gaudet’s dog Spike was one of the animals that were cared for by GPRC staff on the Fairview campus.

“I have to thank Manning Veterinary for ensuring Spike was safe by taking him to Fairview,” said Gaudet. “And thanks to GPRC for taking care of Spike. During a very stressful time, it is a relief to know your pet is safe and well-cared for.”

Marcella Parenteau was also evacuated from Paddle Prairie Métis Settlement and her dog Lolly was at GPRC Fairview.

“I’m so grateful,” said Parenteau. “Being evacuated was very stressful and scary, and having Lolly looked after in Manning and then in Fairview was a relief for me. Thank you for watching her for me.”

Volunteer students, faculty and staff at the Fairview campus provided all this help. They even had a waitlist of people wanting to volunteer.

Cathy Srayko, Toolroom attendant motorcycle certificate program donated five bags of dog food to send home with evacuees when they pick their pets up.

“Staff have been amazing. We had an abundance of people helping,” said Shaw.

All the volunteers received a mini-training session before they had contact with animals.

“You were there for us in our time of need,” said Koch. “We really, really appreciated it. We know how much work it is to look after that number of animals. It took a huge stress and worry off our plate.”

Thank you to all the volunteers who helped feed, water, walk and play with the animals in our care:

  • Lin Roy, Program Assistant – Animal Sciences Department
  • Lisa Coady, Program Assistant – Motorcycle & Recreational Powersports Department
  • Katey Johnston, RVT, Educational Lab Technologist AHT – Animal Sciences Department
  • Shaylene Syrota, RVT, Educational Lab Technologist AHT – Animal Sciences Department
  • Rhonda Shaw, RVT, Instructor – Animal Sciences Department
  • Shannon Ball, Toolroom Attendant – Automotive, Parts, & Engineering Department
  • Carl Ball – Instructor – Motorcycle & Recreational Powersports Department
  • Tiffany Duncan, RVT, Instructor – Animal Sciences Department
  • Bonnie Danielson, RVT, Instructor – Animal Sciences Department
  • Chris Mizzi, DVM, Instructor – Animal Sciences Department
  • Christy Barlund, DVM – Instructor – Animal Sciences Department
  • Dayna McKay, first year AHT student
  • Taryn Dodds, first year AHT student


GPRC Animal Health Technology Staff make sure the animals the college housed on the Fairview campus get to spend plenty of time outside.

Beyond the Classroom: Five Ways Scholarship Happens at GPRC

At GPRC, new knowledge is constantly being created, shared, and exchanged, both inside and outside the classroom.

Our faculty from across all schools and disciplines are often engaged in scholarly activities outside of their ordinary teaching duties. These can include conducting research, creating art or musical compositions, or working with industry to apply existing knowledge in new contexts. The word “scholarship” encompasses the many different types of research and innovative activities that take place at the College.

Scholarship outside the classroom can be one way instructors contribute to their fields, grow as academics, and increase their body of knowledge to pass on to students.

GPRC’s model of scholarship has five areas or ‘realms’. Learn about the realms of scholarship below and meet a few GPRC instructors who exemplify them. Which do you see yourself in?

Application – Applying knowledge to larger social/industrial governance needs; engagement with the broader community for mutual benefit.

GPRC psychology instructor Dr. Connie Korpan applies her research to effect real-world change. Her work falls in the scholarship of application, applying knowledge to larger social governance needs and engaging with the community for mutual benefit.

















Discovery and Creation –Applied research, artistic work, visual art, literature, academic research, invention of a new technology.

For GPRC English instructor Sally Jones, writing, publishing and researching are all part of what it means to be engaged in her field as an informed professor. Her 2015 Research Award from the University of Aberdeen has allowed her to conduct extensive research on 20th century novelist Edith Wharton, whose works are the subject of her PhD dissertation.


Integration – Identifying patterns and trends, synthesizing existing information and ideas for new perspectives; interdisciplinary; cross-trades/professions

GPRC electrician instructor Charles Sanderson’s cross-disciplinary research on solar energy efficiency is leading GPRC on the path to becoming carbon neutral. A proponent of sustainable technology as a potential solution to the challenges facing his industry, Sanderson’s search for more efficient solar energy has enabled unique collaborations between trades and academia.

















Practice – Increasing personal depth of knowledge and currency in one’s own profession/discipline/trade.

GPRC video production instructor David McGregor’s professional practice in filmmaking informs his teaching in the video production courses he teaches at GPRC. By staying engaged in his field, he brings fresh expertise and an always-evolving knowledge set into the classroom to share with his students.

















Teaching and Learning – The systematic study of teaching and learning to obtain a deeper understanding of pedagogical theory and practice and to inform new practice.

Dr. Jodi Peebles, Teacher Education North (TEN) instructor at GPRC, is always looking for ways to improve the experience of her students. She is currently conducting research on the role of collaborative inquiry in teacher education, a process in which education students work together to use a systematic and research-based approach to learning and professional development. Dr. Peebles is also looking at ways that parents and educators can better support the learning of gifted children.




















Learn more about research, innovation, and scholarship at GPRC on our website.

Follow GPRC Research and Innovation on Facebook and Twitter to see more faculty scholarship.

Peace Country Western Dance Class is Back!

Peace Country Western Dance Class is Back!

Peace Country Western Dance class is back! So grab a partner and a round we go!

Do you watch from the sidelines as others enjoy community, wedding and social dance opportunities? These lessons, hosted by the Peace Country Western Dance Club will provide the instruction necessary to start you on the path to confident, knowledgeable enjoyment of the dance floor. Each lesson ends with 15 minutes of practice time to reinforce skills taught that week. Final session will be a review and social dance where you can celebrate your new knowledge of social dancing. Instruction will introduce you to line dancing, Progressive Two-step, East Coast Swing, social dance etiquette and a group mixer. The final class will feature a fun Christmas Dance Party.

Dates: Thursdays, Oct. 26 – Dec. 7 (7 individual sessions)

Times: 7-8:15pm

Location: M121 Fitness Studio

Community Member: $95.00
GPRC Staff: $85.50
GPRC Student: $24.00

Registration Deadline: Oct. 25


Visit the GPRC Fitness Centre desk if you have any questions.

“Will this be on the Exam?”: Why Doing Research Matters in the Real World Too

“Will this be on the Exam?”: Why Doing Research Matters in the Real World Too

Submitted on behalf of Taylor Merkley.

A lot of students detest writing research papers. For some, it’s an unpleasant but necessary task, like scrubbing the toilet or taking out the trash. Some students simply don’t see the value in writing research papers at all. After all, why would anyone waste their time sifting through stuffy academic journals and confusing online databases for answers to questions that have no practical basis in reality?

That’s what some people say when I tell them about the research that I did for a communications course in my fourth year of university. “You studied prime ministers’ speeches?” some people scoff. “But why? Isn’t that boring? What can you possibly get out of that?”

The surprising answer is – a lot, actually.

Not that it was all fun. I wouldn’t describe combing through eight months’ worth of transcripts from Prime Ministerial bridge naming ceremonies, budget announcements, and campaign speeches fun, exactly. But the tedious work of analyzing and coding the 59 speeches delivered by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2015 not only yielded some fascinating results, but also led to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: a trip halfway around the world to present my findings at an international research conference in Athens, Greece.

I never thought that prime minister speeches would be something I’d be interested in. Does anybody actually even listen to those? I wondered at first. Who cares? What does it matter?

But the more I learned about it, the more I saw how significant something as mundane as a bridge naming ceremony can be. Words spoken by powerful people are powerful: words distribute power, they articulate it, and they take it away. And the closer I looked at the speeches, the more I could see patterns beginning to emerge. I felt, for the first time, the excitement that only a researcher can feel – the thrill of discovery.

The paper’s first draft earned a humble A-minus from the course, but my co-authors and I recognized that the project was an opportunity to shed light on an issue that was important to us. We continued to work on the paper over the summer break, and upon our return to school in the fall, we had written a new draft; around forty typed pages that were the product of countless hours of blood, sweat, and (sometimes literally) tears.

Three-quarters of the Prime Minister Speeches research team, post-presentation at the ATINER Research Conference in Athens, Greece. From left to right: Scott Archer, Jamie Malbeuf, & Taylor Merkley (missing from the photo: Amanda Seymour-Skinner, who missed the conference to attend law school in Australia); May 9, 2017.

With the enormously appreciated help of a couple of supportive faculty members, we submitted the paper to the ATINER Conference in Greece and – to our great surprise and excitement – it was accepted. We received funding from the university to attend the overseas conference, and spent an unforgettable week in Athens. We met scholars from Brazil, Israel, Slovenia, Australia, and countless other places. We presented our paper and attended the presentations of others; we participated in round table discussions about the emergence of “fake news,” about the effect of feminine iconography in political upheavals, about popular representations of conflict in the Middle East, and a number of other equally fascinating topics. We cruised the Greek islands of Paros, Aegina, and Hydra; enjoyed a cultural evening of traditional Greek music and dance; and networked with PhD candidates and university professors from around the world.

Now that the trip is over, my research team and I have submitted the paper for publication in an academic journal. If it is accepted, it will mean another round of gruelling edits and rewrites and deletions and additions, but it will also mean the opportunity to share what we have learned with a larger audience and maybe even improve our community. Our research journey is only just beginning.

Even if this incredible opportunity had not been given to me, I would still insist to students that research is meaningful and “worth it.” I learned so much, not just about content analysis and coding categories and the mechanics of political rhetoric, but about myself and my own capabilities and passions. Research is a tedious chore only if you choose to make it that way. But if you decide that you will use research as a way to better yourself or your community or society at large, and if you push through and overcome the tedium and frustration and dead ends and all the rest of it, you may just surprise yourself at what you can do – and at what opportunities might await you.