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Lambton grad nets prestigious award


A Lambton College graduate is the recipient of a prestigious provincial award to honour outstanding students who have made a contribution to their early childhood education (ECE) program and to their community.

Nancy DeJeu received the Elisabeth van Stam Award, named after the founder of the ECE program at Lambton College. It is granted yearly to one ECE student in the province, and this is the first time a Lambton College student has received the award since it was established in 1989.

"I didn't realize how prestigious the award was until I received it," said Nancy DeJeu, who graduated on the dean's honour list this past spring. She is the only recipient of the award, selected by a panel of judges based on submissions from college students in ECE programs across the province.

"I would love to meet Elisabeth van Stam. I could never fill her shoes," said DeJeu, who juggled school, raising two young children and working at Watford St. Peter Canisius School as a supply secretary and educational assistant.

She also received the Association of Early Childhood Educators, Ontario, Professionalism/Advocacy Award and the Lambton College Volunteer Service Award, and served as the ECE Ambassador and a student member of the program's advisory board.

In their announcement, the judges wrote: "You are a credit to the early childhood education profession and certainly to the spirit of the award, initiated through Elisabeth van Stam's commitment to children, families and professionals over many decades."

"Nancy has all of the fine qualities Elisabeth van Stam tried to cultivate in her students. She is a credit to the ECE profession and to her community," said Jim Elliott, dean, School of Business and Applied Arts, Lambton College.

In 1966, while working locally as a kindergarten teacher and day care operator, van Stam decided the new college should have an ECE program. She approached the college's then-president, Wolfgang Franke, and made her pitch.

In 1967, the college began offering an ECE program and van Stam became its co-ordinator, until her retirement in 1989. Van Stam continues to be involved in the ECE program at Lambton College, serving on the advisory committee to its child care centre, which serves 35 parents a week.

The award recipient is determined by an executive committee of ECE co-ordinators. The selection committee is rotated through the community colleges. This year, ECE co-ordinators from George Brown College made the selection.

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The final year of Conestoga College's three-year co-op program in mechanical engineering technology -- robotics and automation is an intensive one, because at its centre is the design and creation of working, comprehensive projects that encapsulate the academic and co-op work experiences of the program's students.

The final program activity each year is a demonstration of these projects to College officials, industry representatives and co-op employers. It is an excellent forum for the students to showcase their skills and prove their readiness for professional employment. These students complete their program of studies at the end of August.

This year's event takes place on Wednesday, Aug. 13 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Woodworking Centre of Ontario, located at the College's Doon campus in Kitchener.

Three different automated-system projects will be on display.

The first is a system to write and package CDs; the second assembles prefabricated yo-yo parts into a finished product, then packages and seals the product; the third packages film, placing film into a casing, sealing the casing, then boxing and labelling it.

In some instances, these projects use an automated conveyor-type production system, in others a rotary-type system.

More than 30 students will be involved. They have worked on all aspects of their projects, from the idea phase, through project proposals and costing, feasibility studies, design, installation and assembly, troubleshooting, and complete documentation.

The mechanical engineering technology -- robotics and automation program consists of six semesters of in-college study, plus three semesters of co-op work experience.

Emphasis is on combining theoretical knowledge with applied skills in automated industrial processes that use electronics, programmable logic controllers, computers, hydraulics and pneumatics.


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