Category: courses (Page 1 of 3)

Faith and science: embracing the big questions

As a student and student leader here at CMU, there is so much I could say about this place.

The community of learning fostered by profs who care about my success, small class sizes, and my time living in residence (which I cannot recommend highly enough), have given me more than I could have imagined. My education and faith are actively nurtured here.

But as a Christian, and a pre-veterinary student, the relationship between science and faith is always foremost in my mind.

Katy Neuman, sciences student at CMU, in BioChem class at CMU in May.

At CMU, I have had the opportunity to study both of these subjects at the same time. From the mysteries of the world explored through physics, to studying the lives of microorganisms in microbiology, I have seen how far scientific research has come, and how much we have yet to discover.

That infinite potential for discovery, and the astounding intricacies found in even the simplest organisms reveals to me how great our Creator must be!

My desire to work with animals, and care for Creation comes from my faith. As I study the complexities of the natural world, whether biochemistry or physics, this reality becomes clearer.

At CMU, I’ve been able to study with profs to reconcile the tensions that lie between these two realms. Separating the two now, would be impossible.
Katy Neuman, science student at CMU, with two white puppies.I have lived on a farm my whole life, and have observed the lives of many creatures. Having worked with sheep, the illustrations in Scripture highlighting the relationship between sheep and their shepherd, have come to life.

Jesus calls us to follow Him. He calls us to know His voice, and to allow Him to guide our lives.

There is something about the nature of sheep—the way they listen, follow, and trust their shepherd —that exemplifies how I want to live my life.

There is a deep connection between faith and sciences; a connection that sheds light on big questions. Being able to learn from such a variety of different angles is a privilege. I know it’s preparing me for the future.

CMU is not the only place to try to unravel some of these mysteries, but I know that my life has been forever changed by this place.

Katy Neuman is entering her fourth year of pre-veterinary studies at CMU this fall.

If there’s one thing CMU teaches, it’s interconnectivity

When I chose Communications & Media as my major, I probably wouldn’t have pegged Manitoba Public Insurance as the place that I would be completing my practicum. Nonetheless, that is exactly where I found myself one year ago. I was set to be one of five other students with the title of “Community Relations Assistant,” and as a team, we would be responsible for going around to schools, daycares, and summer events across Manitoba to do bike safety and road safety presentations.

Jason FriesenMy communication did not take the form that people typically think of when they hear the words “communications and media.” There were no blog or social media posts. Instead, I engaged with people face-to-face on a daily basis on behalf of MPI. Though at first glance our job was to state the rules of the road and making presentations, it became obvious that interacting and connecting with communities across Manitoba was far more important.

Many of the events I attended showed this, and were part of larger community gatherings. Not only was our team running a bike safety course, but there were other organizations giving away bikes to kids who did not have one, and members of the community would be barbecuing hot dogs. The events were designed to connect different organizations, and bring the whole community together.

It wasn’t hard to tell that this was meaningful to the communities. At one country fair, a man told me that he had been in a car crash several years ago, and had to go through rehab to recover from the effects of it. He then proceeded to sincerely thank me and MPI for all of the funds and assistance that he had received.

Not only did this interaction make me feel like I was building community, but it really made me feel that even in a large corporation like MPI, everything is tied together. What I was doing was not separate from those collecting payments for licenses, or from those making sure that Manitoban’s are cared for when they are in an accident.

My education at CMU has been much the same. I have taken a wide variety of courses, from communications, to business, to Bible, and science. And somehow, I have been able to find connections between many of them.

Making connections will only help me in my future endeavours. Professor David Balzer summed it up best. “Any other academic discipline can be connected to communications, because you won’t be communicating about communications. You’ll be communicating about science, music, business, and other things.”

Jason Friesen is a fourth year student majoring in Communications & Media

How I found my voice…as a radio cowboy

BRIGHTON

Brighton Thiessen behind the mic at CHVN

Your 18th birthday is supposed to be this great thing. You are celebrating that you are free from the clutches of your parents, and you technically become legal in Canada.

I spent my 18th birthday packing up my things and moving to a first floor dorm room at Poettcker Hall. I felt as though I was still a high school kid who was still too young to understand what goes on at university. That first year, I struggled in class, and I wondered why I even was going to school in the first place.

I considered dropping a couple of times, but there was that little itch in the back of my head saying that I should stay, and that your time at CMU would be worthwhile.

Fast forward to now, and I am graduating this year, and I am currently doing a practicum assignment working as an on-air host at CHVN radio in Winnipeg. I guess it makes sense for me considering I am a Communications & Media major with a Biblical and Theological Studies minor, and CHVN is the only Christian radio station in Winnipeg.

Looking back on my time here, I realized that every course I took at CMU prepared me to be an on-air host, which I didn’t think I could do at first. I guess the moment I realized was in my first-year Media Workshop class. One of our fun end-of-the-year projects was to come up with a cool 30-second audio commercial for the Carnaval BBQ restaurant at the Forks.

For some odd reason, I got picked to speak in a ridiculous cowboy accent.

So I am sitting in the recording booth and it’s not going very well. I decided to take it one step further by just overdoing the accent. Communications & Media Professor David Balzer comes over the loud speaker and says that was too much, but the whole class said, “No that’s perfect.” In that moment, I felt like I truly found my voice.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the CMU community as well. I’ve had the chance to learn from great professors, great staff members that will drop anything that they are doing to talk to you and to see how your day is going, and my fellow classmates who turn what could be a regular old university class into a fun-loving environment that you can immediately feel comfortable in. I don’t know if there is a better community than CMU.

I recently had a conversation with the program director at CHVN. He said, “When I first met you, I wasn’t sure this was going to work because you were  quiet reserved individual who liked to keep to himself. Now, three months later, you are doing lots of on-air stuff for us, and it’s really worked out.” And then he said, “I like you a lot, and I kind of don’t want you to leave.”

Right now, I don’t want to leave CMU, but I know that my journey here is complete, and I have grown from a high school kid who sort of knew what he wanted to do, to being able to see that I can do anything that I put my mind to.

Brighton Thiessen is graduating in April from CMU’s Communications & Media program

My practicum experience: real life learning

ircom house

Greetings! My name is Louisa Hofer. I am in my fourth and final year of a social science major.

 I decided to do my practicum during the school year as a part of my overall semester, rather than doing an intensive practicum during the summer like many of my friends and fellow students have done. The people I worked with spoke to me along with my readings, professors, and other conversation partners. This helped me learn in a way that I might not have otherwise and in a way that I really needed at the time.

My practicum took place last semester at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba, or IRCOM, as it is more commonly known. IRCOM, is a lot of things. It’s a safe and affordable transitional housing complex for newcomers. It is also home to a multitude of transitional aid programs for both IRCOM residents and members of the West End and West Alexander communities. These programs include English classes, finance classes, job connection services, countless youth and children’s programs, and much more.

IRCOM is a also group of staff available for questions; many of them who had been newcomers themselves and participated in the very IRCOM programs that they now help run. These staff members also do a lot advocacy work—they attend conferences, panels, and write to politicians regarding relevant policies. IRCOM is a lot of things to a lot people.

"The City" with Prof. Chris Huebner

“The City” with Prof. Chris Huebner

While involved at IRCOM, I was also taking a course called: “The City: Theological and Philosophical perspectives” with Prof. Chris Huebner. It’s one of those courses that haunts everything…the kind that seeps into a ridiculous amount of your thought. We read Plato, Augustine’s City of God, Foucault, and more all while watching
the HBO show The Wire, which uncovers the broken lives of people in Baltimore, MD. In a violent revealing it showed us the corrupt and messed up policies and market forces that seem to screw these citizens over in ways akin to the mischievous terror of the gods in a Greek tragedy.

thewireThe Wire does this in both a shocking and brilliant fashion. It showed the utter failure of bureaucracy, and caused me to question my faith in humanity’s ability to organize ourselves. If that wasn’t enough, there were other events happening that were certainly not inconsequential, not the least of which was a significant election and the profound mass migration of refugees.

From that heavy and heady space that challenged and lamented the big picture, I would go to IRCOM and assist in little things. On any given week I would do some office work, some filing, or build some IKEA furniture. It was an odd juxtaposition to be assisting in the mundane functions of a non-profit organization with all of those thoughts going on in the background. I approached this place expecting to see people that were troubled and perplexed, but I saw a lot of “just living”—people just going about their day.

My time tutoring in IRCOM’s homework program definitely my favourite task. This program was started by IRCOM kids themselves a few years back and has expanded into quite the endeavour. There are around 60-70 kids all doing their homework (or sometimes not doing their homework) with 5-10 tutors every night.

It is quite the beautiful chaos to see kids from different linguistic, cultural, and religious groups in the same room coming together almost every day. From what these kids have said, this learning community has provided a significant boost in facing an unfamiliar educational system.

MBInfographiconRefugeesMBInfographiconRefugeesI had been with people who were going about their business, navigating life and forming a little learning community, but this night was a small glimpse into how these lives have so often been cast into controversy and into a narrative of danger, or of crisis and charity. It was a glimpse into how the way they were being narrated and the outcome of the U.S. election would severely effect people who would be trying to make a similar journey that they had.

There has been a lot to be said for what is going on here, of the protests and the marches attended by these folks, but also the quiet resistance lived-out in the form of everyday life that dwells beyond the labels of danger, of crisis, and charity that people always seem to ascribe.

I’m not sure how this mess will turn out, but it has been an honour to be with these people who just keep doing their thing.

Louisa Hofer is a fourth year student in social science

MCC Student Seminar Ottawa

16864477_158321838009479_5644719291756880739_nOver reading week, I had the opportunity to attend the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) student seminar in Ottawa. There were 30 students who attended from across Canada, including four from CMU and two more from Menno Simons College. The theme was Gender, Peace, and Conflict: Exploring the Intersection. We looked at how government organizations, non-profits, and individuals interact with this theme in their work. 

One of the benefits of being in Ottawa was that we were located right in the heart of Canada’s government. We sat in on question period in the House of Commons and had a tour of the parliament buildings. We also heard from MP Hélène Laverdière and Senator Mobina Jaffer, who have been involved in the implementation of the UN Security Council’s declaration on Women, Peace and Security.

Before attending this seminar, I had little knowledge of Canada’s National Action plan or the many different committees which make up our government system to encourage action. There were times when I felt disillusioned with the government and frustrated with what seemed to be emptyPastedGraphic-1 actions and not enough financial contribution to women’s projects. But I was inspired by hearing these two passionate women who are advocating for policy change.

In addition to hearing about the role of government and policy, we heard from non-profits and grassroots organizations about the importance of women’s groups. We spoke with people from KAIROS, Oxfam, the Nobel Women’s Initiative, and international workers from MCC. It was fascinating to hear how gender is influencing the peace process in Colombia, the importance of including women in peace processes, and how the Nobel Women’s Initiative is calling our “feminist prime minister” to invest in women’s grassroots groups.

The seminar looked at the importance of including a gender lens in conflict analysis, emphasizing that one cannot simply “add women and stir.” Between 1992 and 2011, 9% of negogoal-16-conflict-400-entiators in peace talks were women, despite the fact that a peace process in far more likely to succeed when women are included. It has left me wondering why it is so challenging to adopt an approach that includes women, both locally and internationally.

What stood out the most was having the opportunity to talk with other students whose stories and life experiences are different from my own. These students pushed me to think in new ways and ask different questions. I am grateful for the time we spent learning together.

For more information, visit Canada’s National Action Plan and the MCC Ottawa Advocacy Office.

Laura

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