A Centennial College Success Story
CENTENNIAL BREEDS SUCCESS IN ITS DOMESTIC AND OVERSEAS STUDENTS
By MARK TOLJAGIC
Toronto’s Centennial College is finding remarkable success as a thriving academic community shared by both domestic Canadian students and many international students who welcome the opportunity to learn in Canada.
The college’s reputation and profile are rising: Centennial scored the highest student satisfaction (76 per cent) and the highest employer satisfaction with its graduates (94 per cent) among the six public colleges in the GTA last year.
Being a multifaceted institution teaching some 260 programs, success can be found in a wide array of fields, everything from robotics to culinary arts to filmmaking. Here’s a rundown of a few of the honours Centennial College’s students and graduates have collected this year to date.
Robotics the star at tech fair. In Centennial’s engineering technology programs, students learn their profession by getting busy with their hands, building and creating as they acquire essential career skills. Frequently what they create is worth showcasing at the college’s annual technology fair.
The winning team of Automation and Robotics students Akash Mangukiya, Chirabhai Bhayani, Dhaval Dadhania, Kuldip Bhesadadiya and Ozgur Tuncel designed and assembled an automated package sorting system, not unlike ones used by Amazon and FedEx.
Their conveyor belt utilizes two pneumatic cylinders and a scanner that can read the barcodes on every package and send signals to the programmable logic controller, which decides which pneumatic cylinder is going to activate to redirect the package.
It sounds simple, but in reality their creation is complex. The team wasn’t just focusing on the mechanical, electrical or software elements. The project entailed everything, it was very well designed, and it went well above the level of what was taught at college.
“This project was based on a practical application,” Dhaval explains. “We added some of our own stuff and what we learned from Centennial College. We learned a lot, like real-time applications, and how to put what we learned in the labs into real life.”
Canadian Microsoft Office champ. Binh Tran, an International Business student, is joining two students from British Columbia to represent Canada at Certiport’s 2018 Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship in Orlando, Florida, in early August. She was named a 2018 Microsoft Office Specialist National Champion, along with Alexander Ratner and Karrah Parke.
“Binh Tran took the COMP126 course and obtained a perfect score on the Excel 2016 Core MOS exam,” says professor Kerri Shields, coordinator of the Certiport Authorized Test Centre, which runs the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exams at Centennial.
“Students must not only obtain a perfect score, but do it in record time. Scores and times are measured by Certiport across the globe,” she says. As national champs, Tran and the two BC students have earned an all-expenses-paid trip to represent Canada at the 2018 World Championship.
More than 150 champions from around the world will be competing in Orlando for a chance to win a $7,000 scholarship and the title of “World Champion” in their respective categories. The three young national champions are representative of the incredible talent that is coming out of technical education in Canada.
Winning Oscar gold. Centennial Graphic Design graduate Jiayin Wang had her hands full holding the golden, and heavy (4 kg), Oscar statuette after her team and employer, Double Negative, won the Academy Award for Visual Effects for their production work on the movie Blade Runner 2049 presented during the 90th Academy Awards in March.
Jiayin had contributed to the film as a computer graphics artist, one of dozens who crafted the intricate digital effects that make the dystopian world of Blade Runner 2049 so visually compelling. Double Negative is one of the world’s leading visual effects and animation companies for feature film and television, with studios in London, Vancouver, Montréal, Los Angeles, Mumbai and Chennai.
At the same time, Nikita Lebedev, a graduate of Centennial’s Animation program, worked as a lead modeler on The Shape of Water at the MR. X digital studios in Toronto. He created the water creature’s haunting face and its communicative expressions that left audiences awestruck. The Shape of Water led the Academy Awards, winning Best Picture and Best Director (for Guillermo del Toro), as well as Oscars for production design and original score.
Nikita, who has also held Oscar in his hands, has since returned to share his knowledge and skills with students as a professor in the very program he had studied at Centennial. He is regarded as an excellent teacher, in addition to being a working artist in the industry. Hiring great talent is another tenet of Centennial’s success.
Centennial’s bees make sweet work! It hasn’t won any awards yet, but Centennial students and staff recently celebrated a new local creation: honey! Thanks to the establishment of four bee colonies on campus less than two months ago, the little workers were unusually quick in gathering enough flower nectar to produce the college’s first harvest of golden sweetness.
“It was entirely unexpected,” says Chef Samuel Glass of the college’s School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, who originally proposed the idea of bringing beehives to campus. “Nobody anticipated honey this early in the process, not even our expert beekeepers.”
Local and sustainable are the “buzzwords” of the college’s culinary and baking programs, reflecting the industry trend that sees consumers seeking local food products that are grown with minimal impact on the ecosystem. Whether it is integrating local honey into the college’s kitchens, or discussing sustainability and food theory, having an apiary on site provides a great learning opportunity.
“The bees are doing extremely well,” says Glass. So much so that the first harvest took place in early July, mere weeks after the colonies were established. The professional beekeepers spun the hive trays in a centrifuge machine and filtered about 8 litres of honey. On July 20 culinary students packaged the honey, filling 30 250-ml jars, which were immediately sold out.
“It’s the complexity of the honey that makes it different from any other honey,” says Glass. “The nearby crabapple trees were instrumental in that, as well as the variety of other vegetation growing around the campus that’s conducive to beekeeping.”
Centennial’s honey has an almost zero carbon footprint, as there’s no transportation involved.
By using the honey as a natural sweetener in recipes – along with crabapple byproduct that could be used for jams and jellies – it’s a positive step towards “field-to-fork” cooking.
For more information, visit www.centennialcollege.ca