Follow Your Passion

We are often told to follow our passion, but not everyone knows what their passion is. This is not so for Kaitlyn Hoar. Kaitlyn has a passion for and a fascination with India. She is not sure when this began, possibly when she was eight and her grandfather spent several months working in India.

Kaitlyn wanted to share her passion with others at the Astonished! Teaching and Learning Centre (A!TLC). With the help of her companion Hannah, Kaitlyn interviewed someone from Regina whose original home is India. She also did online research, read articles, and watched a documentary about India. On Thursday April 28th, Kaitlyn and Hanna presented Kaitlyn’s story of India to the A! Student Researchers, staff , and U of R volunteers. We learned some about the history, religious diversity, and cultures of India. Kaitlyn and Hanna told us about safety issues, especially for women travelling on their own. Kaitlyn also brought some of the gifts she has received from her cousin while he was living in India. She showed us a sari that is the traditional garment of women in India, and many feet long .

Kaitlyn paid particular attention to what it would be like to live in India, or visit India, if you have a disAbility. She told us about ADAPT (Able Disabled All People Together), a national resource centre for inclusion. ADAPT is making big changes in the culture and accessibility but overall wheelchair travel and inclusion in India is not easy. But none of this deters Kaitlyn, her passion to visit India remains strong.


My Dream Trip by Kennen Dorgan

I am a Student Researcher in the Astonished! Teaching and Learning Centre (A!TLC). I graduated from Grenfell High Community School in 2011. I am the youngest in my family (except for my dog). I have two sisters and one brother. I also have one niece Zoey who I like to cheer on at baseball games. My brother Reed and his wife Renee are having a baby so I will have another niece or nephew by the end of this year!

Two and a half years ago, when I started at the Astonished! Teaching and Learning Centre (A!TLC), I was nervous because everything was new and the University of Regina is a big place. Now I am confident and comfortable with both the people and the place. I am so happy for each day that I spend at the A!TLC. It is a place where I can see my friends and a place where I can give and receive lots of support. Everyone there helps me reach for my dreams and we all have lots of fun together.

Making decisions can be hard for me, but once I know what I want I am focused and go for it. With the support of my family, friends, and Astonished! staff I take on all kinds of adventures. My sister Tanys is a professional photographer and I really like what she does. I want to become a better photographer so I do regular photography exercises as part of my work in the A!TLC. I have a special clamp that holds my iPad to my chair and I use a remote control to compose and take my photos. This helps me keep the iPad steady while I decide what I want in the photograph.

Last fall I was a mentor in the University of Regina Social Work class Issues in DisAbilities Studies. I liked mentoring the social work students in my team. Because I am developing my photography skills we photographed places in Regina that were inclusive. At the end of the course I told my mom “We aren’t focusing on disAbility, we are focusing on ability. I am helping them focus on what they can do to be good enablers in community.”

As part of the Astonished! Summer Literacy program I wanted to learn to text so I could send messages to my sister Lynice (you probably figured out my family is important to me). With the support of the Astonished! staff I really expanded my literacy skills and hope to keep doing so.

Right now I am planning a road trip to Alaska with my mom, dad, and my companion Silvia. It would be easier to fly to Alaska but the airlines won’t let me use my seat insert on the plane and I can’t travel without my seat insert. It provides the support that is necessary for my spine. My dad can make almost anything so he made a way for my seat insert to fit in the truck. We are going to drive to Alaska with our travel trailer. I have already started a blog for my trip. You can follow me at Kennen’s Dream Trip. I chose Alaska as a destination because Lynice and her husband Kris live there.

My next goal is a trip to Mexico! My companion Silvia is from Mexico and I would like to see her country. I have already met a lot of Silvia’s friends and family through Skype and Facetime, and am excited to say “Hola!” in person! There is so much to look forward to.

Designing Together

What do you get when you take one Student Researcher, three Engineering students, two metal fabricators, and team them together in a design project? You get shared knowledge and expertise, you also get a remote control cup holder that works on a power wheel chair.

Fourth year Engineering students Marco Vargas, Mashari Alsulleman, and I.B. Alayyaf, and Astonished! Student Researcher Avery Ottenbreit (above photo), and Ian Matt and Mike McCormick of Anlin Welding and Steel Fabrication of Regina, created a unique remote control cup holder for Avery’s power chair.

Marco, Mashari, I.B., and Avery presented the design at the University of Regina’s annual Project Day. Click here to learn more about the process and the presentation. Thanks everyone for your shared work.

Devising Inclusive Theatre

Kelsey Culbert, Astonished! Student Researcher is one of  five students in the class “Devising Inclusive Theatre”. The University of Regina course is meant to teach people with disAbilities how to express themselves through theatre. It is a first for the University of Regina and a first for Kelsey. The class will have a performance on April 2 at the Shubox Theatre at the University of Regina. The students collectively wrote the piece that will be performed. To read more and listen to a CBC interview with some of the students please click here.