Programmed to succeed: Information Technology a family affair for trio of RRC grads

June 13, 2018 • Written by

Heather & Stu Charles, BIT Block Party, 2018Talking to computers wasn’t a completely foreign concept when Stu and Heather Charles entered Red River College’s Computer Analyst Programmer (CAP) program in 1977.

Almost everyone was familiar with the phrase, “Open the pod bay doors, HAL.”

The CAP program, now Business Information Technology (BIT), had debuted in 1968, the same year 2001: A Space Odyssey introduced the HAL 9000 computer. But when Stu and Heather first met at RRC a decade later, programming languages like COBOL and Assembler were still mystifying to most people.

“Going to school, when people asked, ‘What do you do?’ we had to think of a term to use,” Heather says. “You couldn’t say, ‘Oh we code in Assembler and we use Hexadecimal.’ It was, ‘We write computer programs.’ What’s that? ‘It’s how you talk to a computer.’ ”

Flash forward four decades and the Charles family is still ahead of the computer literacy curve, particularly since Stu and Heather’s daughter Nyssa Charles, 29, graduated in 2012 from BIT with a major in application development.

“We actually have dinner conversations between the three of us that are fairly technical,” Heather says. “So if you were a layperson beside us you probably still wouldn’t understand necessarily what we’re talking about.”

Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds since CAP students wrote programs on punch cards that are considered vintage today. Stu, a 1979 grad, recalls that one assignment was infamous for how frequently students dropped their stacks of meticulously ordered cards.

The evolution was already well underway in 1980. When Heather, a 1981 grad, returned to RRC after taking a year off to explore other career options, the punch card system had been replaced with brand-new Hewlett Packard computer terminals.

“That was my first step into the new world … all the labs had the modern HP computers and we did all the development on those. So I saw that change even in that year.” Read More →

Bird Construction launches new scholarship; channels alumni pride into student support

December 18, 2017 • Written by

Bird Construction award, November 2017Last month at the College’s annual Technology Awards Reception, longtime industry partner Bird Construction launched a new scholarship that exemplifies what it means to be a proud RRC grad.

The first-ever Bird Construction Employee Red River College Alumni Scholarship for the Construction Management Degree Program was awarded to Philipe Bras, who’s currently completing his final year of studies.

Terry Jacobson (shown at right), an RRC alum and 40-year Bird Construction employee, presented the $1,000 award, along with Dom Costantini, the company’s vice-president and district manager.

The new scholarship — the fourth RRC financial award to be made possible by Bird Construction — was created to give company employees a chance to have a positive impact on the lives of College students. It will be presented each year to a student who has achieved outstanding academic success in Construction Management, and is enrolled in their final year of studies.

Bird and its staff — 60% of whom are proud RRC grads — play a vital role in fostering positive relationships with the College through long-term investments in the development of both students and programming.

Many past and current Bird employees volunteer on RRC advisory committees, and the company helps students build successful careers by facilitating project site visits and taking part in the co-operative education program each year. Read More →

UX marks the spot: College to host top tech designer’s January tour stop

December 12, 2017 • Written by

Head shot of Willy LaiRed River College, in partnership with North Forge Technology Exchange, will host a two-day UX Workshop at RRC’s ACE Project Space on Jan. 18 and 19, 2018.

The workshop facilitator, Willy Lai, is an award-winning user experience design leader with over two decades at top tech companies in Silicon Valley including Apple, Samsung, PayPal, Intuit and eBay, and tickets for his only Canadian workshop are going fast.

Just a few of the 40 participant spots are still available and the College would love to see those remaining spaces filled by RRC alumni.

For more information or to register for the event, visit:

Back to nature: Business Administration grad launches handcrafted hair-care line

September 8, 2017 • Written by

Tania Czemerynski, Cze by TaniaTania Czemerynski’s bad hair days are behind her — and she wants to tame your mane, too.

Czemerynski is the founder of Cze by Tania, a Winnipeg business that specializes in all-natural hair and beard care products for women and men. Czemerynski launched Cze (pronounced ‘Chay’) in the fall of 2015, but the roots of her hair care business go back a little further.

“I started (making hair care products) because my hair was super dried out — it was broken and brittle. I didn’t do it with the intention of starting a business,” Czemerynski says.

“I started making my own home remedies sometime in 2013. I started to research different oils and things to make my hair grow out, because my hair was broken — it wasn’t growing. My boyfriend was like, ‘Your hair feels like a mop.’ I had spent so much money on store-bought products, so I started to make my own and it was really noticeably different within six weeks.”

A 2012 graduate of Red River College’s Business Administration program, Czemerynski went on to earn a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Manitoba two years later.

She had entrepreneurial ambitions, but initially Czemerynski was only sharing her home hair remedy with family and friends. It wasn’t until co-workers (at her former serving job) asked to try her “magic hair oil” that Czemerynski realized she had a potentially profitable product on her hands — and her head. Read More →

Electrical Engineering Technology Homecoming

August 22, 2017 • Written by

Over the summer, Electrical Engineering Technology instructors and alumni got together at the Notre Dame Campus for an evening of reminiscing, stories and catching up.

Below are photos from the event.

Creative Communications Media Awards on Friday, April 21st! Please attend!

April 19, 2017 • Written by

We invite you to join us for the 14th Annual Creative Communications Media Awards! The 2017 CCMAs will be held on Friday, April 21, 2017, at the Canad Inns – The Metropolitan Entertainment Centre.

This year at the CCMAs, we invite you to relax in a sophisticated 1920s speakeasy. Sip a cocktail and unleash your inner Gatsby at the peak of prohibition.

The Creative Communications Media Awards (CCMAs) is a chance for Creative Communications students to show their hard work and be recognized for their achievements. The awards night creates an opportunity for students and professionals in the communications industry to network and connect. Awards are given to students for outstanding work in a variety of categories. ︎Doors open at 6:30p.m.

Awards start at 8:00p.m. Tickets are $20. There are complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cupcakes as well as a cash bar.

To reserve tickets or for more information, contact Hailey Gajadhar and Hannah Gehman at

William Prince Concert: Indigenous Alumni Reception Recap

November 18, 2016 • Written by

RRC Indigenous graduates got together for an evening of networking and reminiscing on November 17, 2016 at the College’s School of Indigenous Education alumni reception. Guests were treated to a concert by William Prince, prayers by RRC elder Mae Louise Campbell, and a welcome song by Aki Ikwe drum group. It was a beautiful evening filled with friends, family, and community members. Thanks to everyone who was able to come out – see you at next year’s reception or at another alumni event in the near future.

Trades alumni reception postponed

November 7, 2016 • Written by


Unfortunately, due to low attendance, the trades alumni reception scheduled for November 9, 2016 at the Notre Dame Campus has been postponed until next year. However, in the New Year, we hope to offer you a sneak peek tour of the new Skilled Trades and Technology Centre and show you many of the building’s exciting features.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you would like to know more about the College, our new build, or any of our trades programs, please let us know. We will gladly take you on a campus tour, grab a coffee, or arrange a meet-up with your past instructors.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact the Alumni Engagement department at or 204-632-2359.

We appreciate your understanding and truly look forward to reconnecting with you again soon.

Calling all Indigenous Grads: William Prince Concert & Alumni Reception November 17

November 4, 2016 • Written by

The drum is a powerful instrument. Indigenous people throughout Turtle Island refer to it as the heartbeat of Mother Earth. It is used in many spiritual and sacred ceremonial practices. Some say the beat of the drum has the power to change natural elements, including the weather. It is believed to have the power to heal sickness, and some believe it has the power to send messages both to the animal world and to the spirit world.

Stop by RRC’s Notre Dame Campus for an incredible evening that includes a concert by William Prince, a singer/songwriter from Peguis First Nation, and an opening ceremony featuring traditional drumming and prayers by an RRC elder.

Read More →

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