Accessible Classrooms, Accessible Futures

Accessible Classrooms, Accessible Futures

Whether it is straight after high school or later in life, heading off to college can be an exciting yet nerve-racking process. There are so many questions:

  • Where should you go to college?
  • Can you afford to go to college?
  • What degree should you obtain?

Although these are all necessary questions a person must consider, some prospective students need answers to questions beyond these topics. For people with learning, mental, or physical disabilities, the decision to pursue a post-secondary education is a complicated one.

As someone with a physical disability, I had questions of my own. I was a single mom, I was 25 years old, and I am blind. Most people would ask the typical college questions first but not me. I needed to find out if it was even possible for me to attain a degree with vision loss. I lost my vision when I was 22 years old, so I had never experienced school with a disability.

All these questions and concerns can be answered by the Accessibility Supports and Disability Services (ASDS) department at the Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC). Despite my fears, I decided to contact them. After my first appointment, I felt at ease. I was informed of all the accommodations and services they could offer me:

  • An educational assistant (EA) to assist me to and from my classes, take notes, and guide me anywhere that I need to go on campus.
  • A tutor who helps me with studying, formatting my written assignments, and tackling my extremely challenging math courses.
  • Converting all my textbooks, class handouts, and assignments into an accessible digital format.
  • Provide me with any accessible technology, like a talking calculator or hand-drawn 3D graphs, and note taking software for my EA.
  • For every exam, they provide me with a qualified reader and scribe as well as a distraction-free room.

The ASDS department is full of an incredible caring, understanding, and encouraging group of individuals. With every challenge I have faced over the past three and a half years, the ASDS staff have been there to help. Thanks to their ongoing support, I am in my fourth year at the college and second year in my program with a 3.88 GPA. If you or someone you know are considering making the jump to post-secondary, and have a learning, mental, or physical disability, I strongly encourage you to book an informational meeting with the ASDS department and bring a list of questions and concerns.

To find more information on Accessibility Supports and Disability Services, visit the Grande Prairie Regional College website: https://www.gprc.ab.ca/services/accessibility/  or phone: 780-539-2017.

Submitted by GPRC Student Ambassador, Lyndsie Mcleod.

Meet your Student Success Liaisons 

Meet your Student Success Liaisons 

Have you ever wondered what Student Success Liaisons do? Do you have need to access support and have no idea where to go or whom to talk to?

As student Success Liaison, we are here to SERVE you and to help you access the services and support you need to be SUCCESSFUL at GPRC.

Meet Mercy Balogun:

My name is Mercy Balogun, I am the Student Success Liaison for the Faculty of Arts, Science & Upgrading. I was actually a student at the college 10 years ago. I took the Business Administration diploma program. I came to Canada in 2008 as an international student. As a former student of GPRC, I had my own struggles and I can identify with the ups and downs of being a student. I have a passion for helping people and I am extremely excited being part of an amazing team that makes a difference in Student’s Success

If I had to do this over again, I will choose GPRC! Starting my post Secondary Education at GPRC made all the difference. Thanks to the small classroom sizes and committed staff that were there to support me all the way.

 

Meet Mercy (left) and Christine (right), our GPRC Student Success Liaisons.

 

Meet Christine Tran:

To start with a little bit about myself, my name is Christine Tran and I am the Student Success Liaison for the School of Health, Wellness, and Career Studies! Being a Torontonian transplant, the cross Canada move slightly terrified me as it pushed me out of my comfort zone and into a new community. Alberta has surprised me in so many ways, primarily with the way it welcomes a person without a second’s hesitation. GPRC is founded on its strong sense of community; the supports we have here are a huge component that facilitates this. I am excited to contribute to what makes it home for many at GPRC by helping you with whatever success means to you! We are privileged to have a variety of social and cultural demographics represented at this college, and the position of Student Success Liaison gives me the opportunity to create opportunities for each student to be involved and find a place in our community where they feel accepted and supported. Although my height of 5’2” may seem intimidating… don’t hesitate to pop by, introduce yourself, and say hello!

 

GPRC Student Success Liaisons are available to students from Monday-Friday and we can be reached via email, phone or in person. Stop by the Student Successes desk to say hi! 

Contact Information

Email Mercy 

Email Christine

Congratulations to GPRC Drama Instructor, Michelle Rios!

Congratulations to GPRC Drama Instructor, Michelle Rios!

It’s an exciting time in our GPRC Fine Arts department.

On February 5, the 2018 Helen Hayes Nominations for Theatre were announced in Washington, D.C. and the College’s very own Michelle Rios, Drama instructor in Fine Arts, has been nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress for her recent work in a musical called “In the Heights”.

Photo from Michelle’s website at https://www.mmrios.com/

Broadway veteran Michelle Rios, whose theatrical credits include supporting roles in multiple Tony-Award nominated productions. With a career spanning over 25 years as an actor, singer, educator, writer, director, and theatre facilitator, Rios has worked alongside talents ranging from Paul Simon and Eva Longoria, to Lin Manuel Miranda and numerous Academy Award nominees.

It was love that brought Rios from her native New York to Canada. “I married a Canadian, and I’m proud to call Canada my home,” says Rios, who earned her Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Alberta. ​

“What I hope to instill in the next generation of performing artists, educators and community members is a greater understanding of what goes into the creative process of theatre. It’s a balance of both practice and theory.

“Can you imagine a world without music, films, visual art, and live theatre performances? I often pose that question to individuals who believe the fine arts aren’t viable or significant.

“I’ve witnessed first-hand how the fine arts are not only entertaining, but also educational, healing, and essential to our day-to-day existence. Through drama, students may strengthen their public speaking skills, explore self-expression, and improve interpersonal relationships in a safe environment that is also highly collaborative.

“Regardless of their career path, the skills they learn through drama will only enhance their professional and personal journeys.”

One of Michelle’s Drama classes at GPRC.

Rios has taught in various academic institutions, including the University of Alberta, and has led theatre workshops across the continent, from Juilliard in New York to the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton. She now continues to share her talents at GPRC.

The awards will be presented May 14, 2018. Once again, our sincere congratulations to you, Michelle for this prestigious honor.

Read more about Michelle and her career path here.

Learn more about the Drama program at GPRC here.

Check out the student success story we wrote on one of Michelle’s students, Emily here.

Meet Nicole; Your New Student Success Liaison!

Meet Nicole; Your New Student Success Liaison!

Hey GPRC, meet your new Student Success Liaison!

So what exactly can our GPRC Student Success Officers and Liaisons help you with?

“As Student Success Officers, we will act as a contact point for students to offer assistance in accessing various resources within the college and in the surrounding communities. We want students to gain the supports they need, both academically and personally, to ensure that they are successful in achieving their post-secondary goals. We will regularly check-in with students and provide information to help them to continue moving forward.”

Pretty cool, right? So don’t hesitate to reach out!

Now, let’s get to the fun part! We’re excited to introduce you to the newest member of our GPRC Student Success team.

“Hello! My name is Nicole Bowes and I am the new Student Success Liaison for Health, Wellness and Career Studies. I recently graduated from Athabasca University finishing my Business Management Degree with a major in Human Resource Management. I was fortunate enough to complete my degree collaboratively with GPRC while having an amazing time all throughout the process. I will cherish the time I spent as a student at GPRC, and I look forward to the time I will spend here supporting current students.

I am a self proclaimed crazy dog lady, with one French Bulldog and one Boston Terrier. In my spare time I love travelling and spending time with my dogs. Just this past summer I was fortunate enough to renew my vows with my husband in Edinburgh Scotland, the place we met. It is an amazing European city; the architecture, the atmosphere, and the history are incredible. After travelling Scotland we went to France, Holland, Germany, Italy, and ended our tour in England. I feel so fortunate to have explored these places, just don’t ask me to pick a favorite, because they were all so special!

I am extremely excited to support and aid students through their academic journey. As a recent GPRC graduate I believe I will be able to relate, support, and help students progress forward on whatever path they should choose.”

GPRC Student Success Officers are available to students from Monday-Friday and we can be reached via email, phone or in person.

Nicole Bowes
Student Success Liaison
School of Health, Wellness and Career Studies
Office: J120, Grande Prairie Campus
Email: NBowes@gprc.ab.ca
Phone: (780) 539-2761

Alaina Archibald
Student Success Officer
School of Trades, Agriculture & Environment
Office: FAC131, Fairview Campus
Email: AArchibald@gprc.ab.ca
Phone: (780) 835-6763

Mercy Balogun
Student Success Officer
Arts, Education & Upgrading
Office: C310, Grande Prairie Campus
Email: MBalogun@gprc.ab.ca 
Phone: (780) 539-2942

Meet Mercy; Your New Student Success Officer!

Meet Mercy; Your New Student Success Officer!

Hey GPRC, meet your new Student Success Officer!

My name is Mercy Balogun and I am the new student success officer for the Faculty of Arts, Science and Upgrading.

In August 2008, I moved from Nigeria (West Africa) away from my family and friends and everything I have always known to Canada for school at GPRC (Business Administration Program). It was a huge step for me as I have never lived away from home. I was very young and nothing prepared me for the weather of Alberta. With the help of new friends, I started to adapt to my new environment. Seeing snow for the first time ever in December 2008, was an exciting experience!

I had my own struggles as a student but starting at a small community college, like GPRC made all the difference.

In my leisure time, I love to spend time with my family and friends, I love to read books, meet new people and I love to travel. One of the things on my bucket list is to travel and see the world. Travelling I believe is part of education. It makes you experience new cultures, food, environment and a new way of life.

I am looking forward to providing support and resources to help students achieve their academic and personal growth. As a former graduate of GPRC, I definitely identify with the ups and downs of being a student. I am very excited to meet all the students and start my new role. Mercy joins Alaina Archibald as one of the College’s Student Success Officers.

Check out the blog post we did welcoming Alaina here.

So how can these Student Success Officer’s help you?

“As Student Success Officers, we will act as a contact point for students to offer assistance in accessing various resources within the college and in the surrounding communities. We want students to gain the supports they need, both academically and personally, to ensure that they are successful in achieving their post-secondary goals. We will regularly check-in with students and provide information to help them to continue moving forward.”

Pretty cool, right? So don’t hesitate to reach out!

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GPRC Student Success Officers are available to students from Monday-Friday and we can be reached via email, phone or in person.

Alaina Archibald
Student Success Officer
School of Trades, Agriculture & Environment
Office: FAC131, Fairview Campus
Email: AArchibald@gprc.ab.ca
Phone: (780) 835-6763

Mercy Balogun
Student Success Officer
Arts, Education & Upgrading
Office: C310, Grande Prairie Campus
Email: MBalogun@gprc.ab.ca
Phone: (780) 539-2942