Student Success
a group of students and instructors pose for a picture
Back row, left to right: Keagen Salomons, Brody Anderson, Bryan Towpich, Natalie Barfuss. Front row, left to right: Sarai Torres Moreno, Trinh Simpson, Riley Branchflower, Anastassiya Bornstein, Hailey Matula.

Lethbridge College students in three different programs had the unique opportunity this semester, to work on real-world projects for the betterment of the community.

The City Scholars program is a work-integrated learning (WIL) initiative of the City of Lethbridge. It partners post-secondary students and employees at the college and university with City staff on various applied research projects.

Three college projects were showcased at the City Scholar Symposium Tuesday – one from the Centre for Business, Arts and Sciences and two from the Centre for Technology, Environment and Design.

The Business Incubator Feasibility Study involved students in two sections of instructor Natalie Barfuss’s Advanced Small Business Management class. They worked on a feasibility analysis for the City to assess the potential for installing sea cans, or shipping containers, near Casa that could be rented to small businesses in need of space downtown. Students researched costs, demand, potential risks and issues, and made recommendations for best outcomes.

A student from each section, Brody Anderson and Keagen Salomons, combined the groups’ work and presented it at Tuesday’s symposium.

“As a student, it’s really cool to be a part of something that’s real, not made up, and see if it actually develops in the future,” says Anderson. “It would be great to be able to say that I was part of that. It will also be useful later in life looking at new business opportunities for myself to pursue. If I want to move into new markets, I can use the information that I researched for my WIL course.”

In the Immersive Architecture project, Architectural Animation Technology (AAT) students embarked on the challenge of repurposing the historic Bowman Building for a non-profit organization of their choice. Students researched and analyzed the space requirements for the non-profits and created a video animation to go along with their design proposal to demonstrate their skills in space planning, 3D modelling, drafting and video creation.

"I work towards giving students the tools they need to accurately represent real environments in a 3D world and create awareness of the architectural spaces we inhabit and their surroundings,” says Sarai Torres, AAT instructor. “We’re always questioning how we can apply human-centered design to enhance our lifestyles and respond to the current needs of our community. Working with the City of Lethbridge has given our students the opportunity to ideate and present real design proposals to real clients."

AAT students Riley Branchflower, Anastassiya Bornstein and Sara Tallon were selected to showcase their work at the City Scholar Symposium.

Finally, in the Block Modeling for Civic Commons Precinct project, Virtual and Augmented Reality (VXR) students used photogrammetry to 3D capture the Courthouse in the downtown Civic Commons. Tyler Waldron, lab field technician, assisted by operating the drone.

The project was part of instructor Trinh Simpson’s Advanced Media Capture Course in the VXR program.

"One of my goals is to impart valuable skills and knowledge, and what better strategy to inspire learning than by presenting students with authentic challenges from real clients,” says Simpson. “Our work with the City of Lethbridge has transformed their understanding beyond the theory, prompting them to ask, ‘What additional skills do I need in order to solve this problem?’”

Simpson says capturing the Courthouse in southern Alberta's mid-January cold snap posed unique challenges and incited the students to rapidly pivot and adjust. “This is the beauty of that partnership,” she says, “real clients, real problems, real learning!"

VXR students Bryan Towpich and Hailey Matula were on hand at Tuesday’s symposium to present the work done by the class.

City Scholar projects are generally initiated by the City of Lethbridge based on operational and strategic needs, but they can also be proposed by students and employees. For the projects described above, the college was contacted directly by City staff either through the Work-Integrated Learning office or through connections made from past collaborations. If you’d like to know more or get involved, contact the WIL office.