A call about a suspicious gold coloured SUV and its three occupants approaching the Clock Tower at Thompson Rivers University officially started one of the largest joint operation emergency-response training exercises seen in British Columbia – and a precedent-setter in Canada’s post-secondary sector.
“Campuses and other public institutions have been the site of troubling emergency situations over the past several years,” explained Stacey Jyrkkanen, TRU’s Manager of Safety and Emergency Preparedness. “We hope this never happens at TRU – but preparing for the possibility is part of our overall purpose to support and protect all who come here to learn and teach.”
Thompson Rivers University is proud to support Genome BC’s now-enhanced capacity to foster responsible resource development through genomic research initiatives.
On Wednesday, the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification and representatives of Genome British Columbia announced that Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is contributing $715,000 to Genome BC to support priorities that natural resources industries have identified as being critical to longer term success, and that will also help Western Canadian small and medium enterprises grow their international markets.
According to the federal government, this project will lead to concrete examples of how these applications could work in industry settings, with the goal of increasing integration across all areas of the natural resource sectors.
“Thompson Rivers University has a rich history of research that benefits the natural resource sectors of our province,” says Dr. Lincoln Smith, director of research partnerships and enterprise creation at TRU. “We are well-placed to expand our work in genomics and support the commercialization of new technologies.”
Thompson Rivers University researcher Dr. Lauchlan Fraser is already leading a $300,000 Genome BC-funded project that uses genomic technology to improve strategies for monitoring the impact of the Mount Polley Mine tailings breach on the ecosystem, and to provide recommendations for environmental remediation.
“We are proud to partner with Genome BC and are extremely pleased by the federal government’s investment into genomic research,” said Dr. Will Garrett-Petts, associate vice-president of Research and Graduate Studies at TRU
Some of the partners that Genome BC will be working with include:
- FP Innovations
- Marine Harvest
- Summerland Varieties Group
- BC Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences
- BC Wine Grape Council
- BC Food Processors Association
- Lower Mainland Horticultural Improvement Association
- BC Honey Producers Association
- Ministry of Agriculture, Plant and Animal Health Branch
- British Columbia Agriculture Council
- University of Victoria
- Thompson Rivers University
- University of Northern British Columbia
- Genome Alberta
- Genome Prairie
Dr. Lincoln Smith
Director, Research Partnerships and Enterprise Creation
Had it not been a chance conversation many years ago, Lois Peters may not have found her calling or receiving an award for her efforts from a provincial organization next week.
Lois Peters—an instructor in the Education and Skills Training (ESTR) program for those with cognitive learning disabilities—is being honoured by the organization Disability Resource Network of BC for Post Secondary Education on May 21 during its annual conference in Vancouver. She is receiving the Award of Excellence for Programs for 2015.
The chance conversation those years ago came during her first job at the Vancouver School Board where she assisted in the testing and assessment of students with learning disabilities.
“I met this woman and she asked, ‘Why do we put people into institutions like prisoners when all they’ve done is be born with one little gene that’s off or there’s an accident at birth? Prisoners get a term and people with disabilities get life.’ That really resonated with me, and I have been involved ever since in trying to make our communities accessible for everybody,” said Peters, who also has the distinction of being TRU’s longest serving employee at 45 years of service.
ESTR is a full-time, nine-month program where students receive job readiness skills and training in three specific areas—kitchen assistant, retail worker, and automotive assistant. Learning takes place in classrooms, labs, and at work placements. As the one tasked to write the funding proposal to government, Peters played a significant role in bringing ESTR to TRU in the early 1990s.
In its early days ESTR was known as the Vocational Skills Training Program and attracted almost 20 students a year. It’s grown to where this past fall 42 were enrolled, 36 did practicums this spring, and 35 will participate in Convocation next month. Six to seven students a year are from outside of Kamloops with this year’s crop from Merritt, Clearwater, 100 Mile House, Lytton, and Lillooet. Those from outlying communities stay in Kamloops and live either in a shared living situation supported by Kamloops Community Living BC or independently on campus.
After all the years and many students later, what about the job gives her a charge and puts a smile on her face? Students gaining confidence and maturity through their learning is significant, but seeing them working is the bigger payoff.
“What really, really, motivates all of us in our area is when we see our students actually working in the community. When you go to a grocery store and you see them working. When you go to a restaurant and there they are. And as a result, they are contributing members of the community and they are able to live a much more enriched life.”
As for the award, what does it mean to Peters?
“The award validates ESTR and the role the program plays not just in Kamloops, but the region and parts of BC. The award is humbling and it feels good, but of course it wouldn’t be possible without everyone around me and the support of my colleagues.”
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