Melissa Barritt poses with her project at the Colleges and Institutes Canada Student Innovation Showcase in Ottawa. (Photo contributed by Red Deer College)

Red Deer College student shows off project aimed at helping immigrant women

A Red Deer College graduate was part of a group to a student innovation showcase to talk about a study of local immigrant settlement programs.

Melissa Barritt, working with the college’s sociology instructors Choon-Lee Chai and Krista Robson, worked on a project to assess settlement programs and services for immigrant women in Central Alberta. They worked in partnership with the Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Association, connecting with immigrant women to learn about their settlement experiences.

The group attended the College and Institutes of Canada Student Innovation Showcase on Parliament Hill on Feb. 12 and 13.

“I’m so honoured to have been chosen to represent both this project and Red Deer College,” said Barritt. “It meant a great deal to me to be able to connect with people from across the country and share how college students can positively impact community.”

Learning about the settlement experiences of immigrant women, the RDC team was able to identify strengths and weaknesses of local programs and services. They then took these findings and used them to address practical issues within the community.

“When we understand the settlement conditions of immigrant women, then we can work with our community partners to develop solutions,” said Chai.

“As one example of an outcome from this project, we’ve developed a website that serves as a centralized information portal for all settlement services that people might require, so it’s another way to help make the transition easier and to make services more accessible for immigrant women.”

Barritt graduated with a bachelor of arts in sociology, a University of Calgary collaborative degree offered at RDC. She is pursuing a degree in education and wants to become a teacher.

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