Portraits of our people

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Wider Horizons put out a call this spring for faculty and staff members to pass along the names of colleagues who make a difference in their lives and in their jobs. The short stories and photos on the following pages reflect just a small sliver of the hundreds of talented, thoughtful, and hard-working members of the Lethbridge College team.

 

Amanda Guccione

Academic Advisor – International Focus
{ @LethCollege since 2013 }

Loves:
• Convocation Day. She gets to meet many students on their first day on campus and gets a thrill seeing them cross the stage.
• Her rescue shepherd/collie mix named Mozzie (the best Christmas present ever).
• Pottery, which she has been doing for about three years, and travelling, which she would love to do even more.

In her own words:
“Student Services is where my passion is. I love talking to the students and helping them solve their problems. That is the best part of my job.”

Amanda Guccione graduated from Lethbridge College’s Fashion Design and Marketing program in 2006.

 

Cheryl Meheden

Business Administration instructor
{ @LethCollege since 1996 }
Loves:
• Travel. Considers herself a global traveller and global thinker. Most memorable trip was to the Galapagos Islands for her 50th birthday.
• Learning. Degrees include a B.A., B.S., MBA and PhD. Says she recognized at an early age that education was the ticket out of poverty.
• Dogs, picnics outside, championing worthy causes and big open skies.
In her own words:
“My favourite day of the academic year is probably around day 21. That is when everything congeals and really comes together. It’s still new enough to be fresh, and by that time, I know who the students are, they know who I am, and there is this conversation that flows freely. It’s wonderful.”

Cheryl Meheden won the Lethbridge College Students’ Association and Faculty Association Teaching Award in 2015.

 

Dave Kennedy

Business Administration/Accounting instructor
{ @LethCollege since 1985 }

Loves:
• All sports, especially playing hockey and golf. Has been inches away from a hole in one – and plans to keep shooting for that goal – and played on provincial championship teams for eight different sports.
• Travelling, especially when he can accompany college students on the study tour to Europe.
• Trivia and everything about it, including the time he met Jeopardy-winner Ken Jennings and made an accounting instructor’s joke about H&R Block – the answer Ken finally missed on his 75th day on the show.

In his own words: “I still love what I am doing – I can’t imagine stopping.”

Dave Kennedy received the Lethbridge Police Service’s Award of Exceptional Recognition in 2007 for his “awareness and actions [after] finding a youth suffering from hypothermia and taking immediate action for his safety.”

 

Shoja Mazidi

Computer Information Technology instructor
{ @LethCollege since 2008 }

Loves:
• Teaching and mentoring inquisitive college students and helping them discover their creativity.
• Soccer, whether it’s the indoor games he plays in Lethbridge, the various games he referees each year in the district, or the refereeing training clinics he leads to prepare new refs to do the challenging job.
• Giving back to the community. Before moving to Lethbridge, he volunteered with the Tetra Society in Calgary, creating customized assistive devices for people with physical disabilities, and in Lethbridge he is active in (and is now a board member of) the Southern Alberta Technology Council.

In his own words:
“Teaching is the greatest profession. Not only do you get to teach, but you get to learn at all times it is learning and discovering the world around you for the love of your students. You do it because you love it..”

Shoja Mazidi is a longtime community volunteer who is active with the Southern Alberta Technology Council and other community organizations.

 

Donna Kalau

Child and Youth Care instructor
{ @LethCollege since 1991 }

Loves:
• Seeing students grasp a concept they had been struggling with (sometimes she sees these “a-ha” moments happen right before her eyes) and the fantastic colleagues she works with.
• Walking in the coulees, and being part of the Playgoers of Lethbridge, where she works onstage as well as backstage and will receive a lifetime achievement award this fall.
• Having been in the very first cohort in the college’s new Child and Youth Care program 30 years ago, which she describes as a fantastic experience.

In her own words:
“I always look forward to the final seminar for our second-year students, just before Convocation. We have a bit of a closing ritual, and we pass back a letter they wrote to themselves during the first few weeks of their first year. It’s so cool to see how far they’ve come.”

Donna Kalau graduated from Lethbridge College’s Child and Youth Care program in 1986 and was named a Distinguished Alumna in 1992. She won the Lethbridge College Students’ Association and Faculty Association Teaching Award in 2014.

 

Bertil Johansson

Exercise Science instructor
{ @LethCollege since 1987 – retired summer 2016 }

Loves:
• Keeping in touch with the people he taught and coached, a list which includes everyone from Olympic hopefuls to faculty colleagues to multiple generations of families.
• Having helped launch the college’s Exercise Science program in 2005.
• Every day that he had a chance to make a difference in the life of a student or an athlete.

In his own words:
“I was in the hospital when one of our runners was running at nationals. She called from Quebec and said: ‘Coach. I won.’ And it was the first time anyone from the college won a national title. I wasn’t even there – and didn’t have to be. They were prepared. We as faculty and coaches, we influence students. We are there in spirit – they can hear our voice.”

Bertil Johansson coaches the Kodiaks men’s and women’s cross country teams and indoor track teams and was named the ACAC cross country coach of the year for 2015-16.

 

Cherie Reitzel

Interior Design Technology instructor
{ @LethCollege since 2015 }

Loves:
• The first week of classes, when it smells like fall and feels like fresh starts.
• Making design plans and investing the time needed to see them come to life. Current plans include helping the college become the leading design technology school in western Canada and building a mountain home that reflects her own innovative style.
• Music. She has been singing since she was five, giving music lessons since she was 14 and making the world’s best music videos with her children, ages 15 and 13, for the last few years.

In her own words:
“I am at the end of my first year at Lethbridge College and, honestly, it has been the best year of my life. I have had so much fun, have felt so welcomed and have been so challenged.”

Cherie Reitzel taught at Sheridan College for 15 years and Georgian College for six years before coming to Lethbridge College.

 

Jim Manzara

Massage Therapy instructor
{ @LethCollege since 1989 – retired summer 2016 }

 

Loves:
• Teaching the 500 or so students who have come through the college’s Massage Therapy program, which he helped launch in 1996.
• Dragonboating. With 14 years of experience coaching, steering and some paddling, he is now steering for two teams primarily: the college’s mixed team and Team ID. He will also be steering for a Regina team called “Pond Scum,” which competed in nationals in Ontario in August and will compete next year at the Pan Am championships in Puerto Rico.
• Travelling. He is hoping retirement – and dragonboating – will bring more opportunities to travel the world.

In his own words:
“Every day is a new chance. Every day brings something new to the students you are trying to teach. Every day you are looking to see their eyes light up when they learn something new and it all makes sense.”

Jim Manzara won the Lethbridge College Students’ Association and Faculty Association Teaching Award this spring.

 

Rina Hu

Cash Receipt Specialist in Accounting Services
{ @LethCollege since 2008 }

Loves:
• Travelling. After moving to Canada from China in 2002, travelling throughout North America and Asia has been an important part of her life.
• Working at the college after having been a student here.
• The colleagues she works with in Accounting Services, who make every day at work a great day.

In her own words:
“I like my job, and people here are so nice. In my department, everyone is willing to help with any questions you may have.”

Rina Hu graduated from Lethbridge College’s Business Administration program in 2008.

We encourage readers to post stories about other favourite Lethbridge College faculty and staff on the college’s social media channels, and to email us at WHMagazine@lethbridgecollege.ca for future issues. We know there are so many more stories to tell.

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