We are incredibly proud of every Selkirk Alumni and the difference they make within their communities.
We love to acknowledge and credit the accomplishments of Selkirk Alumni. Read more about our graduates and tell us your story.
Digital Arts and Millwright/Machinist Program
Combining a knack for problem solving, interest in pushing technological limits and knowledge gleaned from his studies at Selkirk College, Ben Marken entered a new world of discovery by figuring out a way to help NASA with its mission of interplanetary exploration. Ben placed fifth in NASA’s Advanced Lightweight Lunar Gantry for Operations (ALLGO) Challenge with his solution called the ALLGO Tubecrane.
“It's like taking three of those inflatable tube men you see outside of car dealerships and gluing the bottom of each one to a golf cart,” Marken says when asked to put his submission into simple terms. “Strap a crane on top, send it 380,000 kilometres into space and hope everything works. The short answer is that it's just an expandable gantry crane for unloading cargo.”
Out of 132 total accepted entries that appealed to a community engineers, designers, manufacturers and students, Marken’s concept came in fifth overall. He was the only Canadian entry to reach the final contest. A graduate of Nelson’s LV Rogers Secondary in 2016, Marken entered Selkirk College’s Digital Arts Program straight out of high school. With a passion for learning and a superb talent for problem solving, he further built on his formal education in the college’s Millwright/Machinist Program on the Silver King Campus. Marken currently works for Selkirk College in the Selkirk Technology Access Centre.
Discover Marken’s design projects at his website.
Business Administration Program
Having spent much of his life studying abroad in the UK, China, and in Canada, Wesley Fakrogha understands firsthand the challenges that international students face in finding accommodation, building local connections and securing employment. It was these difficulties that inspired Wesley’s new startup company, Stuuli. Stuuli is an information hub with the aim to make student life easier. Stuuli provides students with a safe and secure platform to exchange goods, search for jobs and join events in their local area.
In addition to his understanding of the international student experience, Wesley attributes the success of his company to the skills he gained in the Selkirk College Business Administration Diploma.
“I had previously completed a computer science degree, which is what got me thinking about tech startups, but I knew nothing about owning a business. The program taught me so much about marketing and overall business operations.”
Since graduating in December 2020, Wesley has been focused on increasing awareness for Stuuli – and it’s working! Stuuli was one of three local startups featured in the recent Kootenay Pitch Competition.
“It was easy for me to pitch my business because I feel so passionately about it. My experience at Selkirk College was elevated by the connections I made through volunteering and student activities. I encourage all students to get involved on campus and in their local communities as a way to meet friends and gain practical skills for future careers. Stuuli makes that easier.”
Wesley certainly made the most of student life during his time at Selkirk College. He volunteered his time to connect fellow students through his positions as a student ambassador and a peer tutor. He also served on the Board of Governors as the elected student member, where he provided insight on the student experience and made recommendations to improve student life during the COVID-19 pandemic. He describes his best memory at Selkirk College as the In addition to working on Stuuli, Wesley has stayed connected with Selkirk College since graduation by taking on a paid research internship with the Selkirk College Applied Research and Innovation Centre.
Digital Arts Program
Lured by the idea of exploring the rugged mountains and artistic culture of rural British Columbia, in 2014 Lynn Trinh made the bold decision to pack up her life in Brampton, Ontario and make the move out west. She had recently completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Media, Information and Technoculture from Western University and was ready to launch her career in British Columbia. As she grew her roots in the Kootenays, her background in media and passion for authentic storytelling through film eventually led her to the Digital Arts Program at Selkirk College.
“I have always been driven by creative curiosity and a desire to tell stories through digital media. My bachelor’s degree provided a foundational knowledge of how to harness the power of media to foster culture, community, diversity and environmental awareness. Now I was looking for a program that would further develop my technical skillset.”
As a student, Lynn appreciated the small class sizes and the hands-on experience offered at Selkirk College. “The program helped me to develop my potential as an artist, especially in film and graphic design. Because of the small classes, I became close with my classmates who are now working alongside me in the industry. It’s exciting to know we got our start together, but have all ended up in really interesting, different places.” Lynn’s unique skillset and passion landed her for the digital arts sector has led her to become the Kootenay Screen-Based Industry’s first Regional Program Manager. Her current role is dedicated to empowering and supporting local filmmakers with the aim of making more film production possible in our rural region.
Beyond creating a home for the Kootenay’s screen-based professionals, Lynn uses digital arts as a tool to advocate for social and environmental change. Most recently she produced a series of films to educate viewers on the ecological importance of the Upper Columbia region for the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. As a Vietnamese Canadian filmmaker, Lynn is passionate about using her films to fuel conversations about cultural diversity in rural British Columbia.
"I think we are seeing a really incredible shift in film right now towards stories being told through a more diverse lens. The Black Lives Matter Movement was pivotal in that shift, and it has really stirred up so much great conversation in the arts and culture realm about diversity, equity and inclusion. I think film and visual media is so integral in bringing these changes into effect. Film is not only how we make meaning of our world, through relating to the narratives and characters we see on screen, but it is a way for us all to gain an understanding of others by teleporting us into someone else's shoes and making the invisible, visible."
Lynn is grateful for the Selkirk College Digital Arts Program as an important step in her development as an artist, both professionally and personally.