Monthly Archives: October 2015

Curtain rises on student-created documentary Oct. 31

Five Niagara College students will soon see a film they created premiere on the big screen.

Inspiring Potential, an autism awareness documentary they created for Autism Ontario – Niagara Region Chapter, will be featured for a one-time screening at Landmark Cinema in St. Catharines on Oct. 31. The 30-minute documentary aims to help viewers understand autism spectrum disorders (ASD) by explaining it through the personal stories of five local families.

Representatives from Autism Ontario – Niagara Region Chapter approached Niagara College earlier this year with the idea of making a short documentary as part of its autism awareness campaign. A team of students in their third year of the College’s Broadcasting: Radio, Television and Film program, took on the project with enthusiasm as part of a class corporate video project. The team included Kalyna Taras (producer), Jenna Silta (director), Mark Ventresca (camera operator), Brad Curran (audio) and Mac Kropf (editor).

Taras, 23, said the experience was an amazing opportunity for her and the team of students. “We always knew the goal was to have this shown on the big screen which raised our standards and expectations for ourselves and this doc,” said Taras. “I’m most looking forward to the reactions from the five families in the film but also how this will affect the community – both ASD community and local community.”

“This is exactly the type of project we like our students to become involved in; working with members of the local community and creating a production that, in this case, wonderfully documents the lives of children and their families as they address autism,” said Broadcasting professor Bill Boehlen. “This project is a perfect opportunity for our students to create a high quality production for a real-world client and to work with local families whose lives have been affected by autism.”

Taras, a St. Catharines resident, noted that the project not only offered valuable experience in her chosen field but gave her an opportunity to make a difference in her hometown. “Being local, I love contributing and giving back to my community, and this has been a great way to do so,” she said. “I am so proud of my whole team and the work we’ve been able to do for the Autism Society. Doing the project and meeting these families has inspired me to be more involved in non-profits in my community, and to continue creating content that is meaningful to me and has an impact on lives.”

Jordan Shaw, communications and volunteer coordinator for Autism Ontario – Niagara Region Chapter, said the final product exceeded their expectations. “The team of students who created this documentary were amazing to work with on this project. They have been professional and kind, and right from day one they have put their heart and soul into this film,” said Shaw. “We are so grateful for their dedication and enthusiasm and appreciate all the work they have done to help raise awareness about ASD in the Niagara region.”

The documentary premiere wraps up National Autism Awareness Month, and Autism Ontario – Niagara Region Chapter’s Burst the Bubble: Understanding Autism campaign. According to Shaw, more than 5,000 people in the Niagara region have been diagnosed with ASD – a lifelong neurological disorder that affects the way a person communicates and relates to people and the world around them.

“We want people in the community to see this film and come to better understand the lives of families that have been touched by ASD,” said Shaw. “We want people to be aware of the challenges families face on a daily basis, but also to realize that with support, these challenges can be overcome and every individual can have the opportunity to realize their potential. One in 94 people in Canada are diagnosed with ASD and it is by learning about autism that our community can become a more accepting and supportive place for all individuals.”

To learn more about ASD or support the work of Autism Ontario – Niagara Region Chapter, please visit www.autismontario.com/niagara.

The premiere of Inspiring Potential will be held at Landmark Cinema, St. Catharines on Saturday, Oct. 31 at 10:45 a.m. It will begin with brief opening remarks and end with a presentation to the families and students who created the film. The movie is free for the public to attend, due to Landmark Cinema’s sponsorship of the screening.

For tickets visit: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/new-autism-awareness-documentary-premiere-tickets-19230673462

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit NiagaraCollege.ca.

Niagara College helps industry embrace e-business solutions

With support from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), Niagara College’s Research & Innovation division is ready once again to offer small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) access to the College’s resources to provide e-business and technology adoption solutions.

Niagara College will work with as many as 20 local companies, thanks to $50,000 from OCE. Six vouchers are available for companies to access Technology Adoption projects that will focus on technology development and testing/validation activities to support innovation. The remaining 14 vouchers will focus on e-business solutions such as website development, online sales process, digital and social media, and customer relationship management.

“Our new website has greatly improved overall traffic to our retail store and is a huge asset for us,” notes Amy Bond, officer manager with Industrial Pump Solutions (industrialpumpsolutions.com). Bond’s Niagara Falls-based company worked with Research & Innovation last year to enhance its e-commerce capabilities. “Our customers can navigate through our website with ease, which has helped increase our overall sales.” As Ontario’s largest aftermarket and surplus pump inventory supplier, this new easy-to-navigate e-store is essential to their business, she adds.

“There are so many factors that are often affected by change, especially in keeping up with the competition,” says Jaqueline Waspe, executive chef and proprietor at Spring Manor Bed and Breakfast (springmanor.ca/). “Spring Manor’s website needed updating to showcase our amenities and what sets Spring Manor apart from the others.”

For each project, the Research & Innovation team – which includes Niagara College students, recent graduates, and expert faculty members from the New Media Web Design program – met with the industry partners several times during the project, assessing the business’s needs, proposing solutions, and then populating the pages with the relevant content.

“For the past few months we have been exchanging photos and text, and the team has been training me how to manage the site on my own. The site is linked to social media and has a reservation link for guests to inquire about booking a room,” says Waspe.

“Every company needs a strong web presence and e-business tools to compete in today’s increasingly digital world. Our research team has the right tools and talent to work with local companies to provide them with that competitive edge,” notes Marc Nantel, associate vice-president, Research & Innovation.

More information about the funding program, including details for potential industry partners, is available here: http://www.oce-ontario.org/programs/industry-academic-collaboration/collaboration-voucher-program/VEB. Companies interested in partnering with the Research & Innovation team may contact Kristine Canniff, industry liaison officer, atkcanniff@niagaracollege.ca, or 905-735-2211, ext. 7172.

Ontario Centres of Excellence’s Voucher for E-Business and Technology Adoption (VEBTA) program connects eligible companies with the expertise and resources available at Ontario colleges to help their business scale up the development, adoption and implementation of online tools and other technologies to drive innovation. These college projects will lead to new market opportunities for the business, which may include exports.

Niagara College’s Research & Innovation Division provides real-world solutions for business, industry and the community through applied research and knowledge transfer activities. They conduct projects that provide innovative solutions, such as producing and testing prototypes, evaluating new technologies, and developing new or improved products or processes for small- and medium-sized businesses. With funding support from various regional, provincial and federal agencies, students and graduates are hired to work alongside faculty researchers to assist industry partners leap forward in the marketplace. For more information, visitniagaracollege.ca/research.

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit niagaracollege.ca.