Since 1967, Durham College has been steered by its ideals of an unwavering commitment to student success, high-quality programs led by exceptional professors with real-world experience, graduates who’ve gone on to outstanding career success and a treasured relationship with the community.
Innovation in science and technology continues to change the way we live and the employment landscape in the country. STEM education increases employability and provides students with an in-demand skill set to respond to these changes. Colleges are uniquely positioned to teach students the critical thinking and analytical skills required to succeed through collaborative and interdisciplinary STEM education. In a quest to inspire the younger generation to pursue STEM-related studies, Durham College (DC) sponsors and hosts several STEM-related events throughout the year. At DC, students are taught by expert faculty who provide hands-on learning opportunities using the latest technology.
Since opening its doors in 1967, Durham College continues to live its mission, which is ‘the student experience comes first’. With campuses in Oshawa and Whitby and a learning site in Pickering, DC is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017, alongside its more than 12,000 full-time post-secondary and apprenticeship students, 1,400 full- and part-time staff and over 81,000 alumni. The college offers more than 140 full-time and nine apprenticeship programs in a number of different disciplines, enabling students to develop the skills required to meet the demands of today’s job. Named as one of Canada’s top 50 research colleges, DC also focuses on applied research through its Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE).
Home to nine academic schools, DC is able to offer hands-on, experiential learning in a variety of fields, including launching its first degree, an Honours Bachelor of Healthcare Technology Management, the first program of its kind in Canada. Other programs unique to DC include Music Business Management and Horticulture – Food and Farming.
New facilities were also recently constructed to support the college’s Welding Engineering Technician program and the college will be launching a new graduate certificate in Data Analytics in September 2018.
With the establishment of Durham College’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE), the college is able to facilitate and champion applied research, while also giving students the opportunity to participate in research project design and execution.
ORSIE recently held its first-ever Celebrate STEAM (science, technology, engineering, architecture and mathematics), an event to showcase applied research and capstone projects by students from the School of Science & Engineering Technology.
Alongside DC’s School of Science, Engineering & Technology, the School of Business, IT & Management also offers a number of STEM-related courses, especially in IT. The college has completed a number of IT-related applied research projects and is increasing its focus on Artificial Intelligence applied research in collaboration with industry partners.
Students in STEM-focused programs are given the opportunity to work with technical equipment within their classes, while also completing field placements so they can use the skills they are learning in class, in real-world situations.
Through applied research, under the supervision of faculty researchers and in collaboration with industry partners, students develop their skills in problem-solving, teamwork, communication – while refining their technical STEM skills.
The college sponsors and hosts several STEM-related events throughout the year. These include: FIRST® LEGO League and FIRST® Robotics competitions. Also, they encourage participating in the Durham District School Board’s (DDSB) Girls in STEM Day, which focuses on promoting STEM-related studies to female students.
Notable Alumni of Durham College
With more than 81,000 alumni, DC hears numerous stories of professional success and the positive impact their alumni are making on the lives of others. One of those alumni is Brent Lessard. After graduating at the top of his class from Durham College’s Mechanical Engineering Technology program in 2014, Brent co-founded rLoop Inc., a non-profit online think tank and talent resource company that focuses on developing and launching world-changing technology. rLoop worked on the Hyperloop, which is the brainchild of Elon Musk at SpaceX. Brent, along with his collaborators, made a name for themselves with SpaceX by winning the Hyperloop Pod Innovation and Best Non-Student Hyperloop Design Awards.
Philip Pritchard, Durham College graduate of the Sport Administration program, travels the globe to promote the game of hockey, the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF) and museum as well as exhibits its collection. In addition to his responsibilities with HHOF, Pritchard has served for many years on the board of directors for International Sports Heritage Association (ISHA) as well as the Canadian Association of Sport Heritage. In 2009, he received the Schroeder Award, the ISHA’s highest honor.
A Staunch Technologist Giving Back to the College
Amit Maraj works as both a full-time Professor in the School of Business, IT & Management at DC and is a principal investigator with the college’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE). His primary area of research focuses on the various spaces of modern day Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) and his specific interest includes Natural Language Processing using deep learning. He is currently involved with several of DC’s AI research projects including studying speech recognition for closed captioning using AI and exploring the abilities of modern AI-based techniques to predict student success.
Amit holds a Computer Systems Technician Diploma from Durham College, a Bachelor of IT in Networking and Information Technology Security from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), and is currently working on a Master of Computer Science at UOIT. “DC has a unique approach to education,” says Maraj. “The professors that choose to teach certain subjects and the small classroom sizes are really beneficial and conducive to a great learning environment.”