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High school students invited to Experience OC
CANsave encourages local elementary students to give back
Applied research RIPE with opportunity in the Okanagan
Okanagan chefs ready to get their Soup’s On for a good cause
OC students notch 13 podium finishes at Skills Canada BC competition
Bickley claims back-to-back OC Half Marathon titles
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High school students invited to Experience OC
Okanagan College Media Release

High school students from around the South Okanagan will experience a brief taste of what it’s like to attend college through Experience OC in Penticton next week.

Students in Grades 10 and 11 from the Okanagan-Skaha, Okanagan-Similkameen and Nicola-Similkameen districts have been invited to the College’s Penticton campus to be a student for a day on Tuesday, May 2. Students will have the chance to attend classes led by College instructors and explore the many post-secondary education options offered at Okanagan College.

“This is a great way to inspire our high school students to think about the next steps in their education,” says Barb Sheppard, Trustee for School District 67. “It’s a fun introduction to post-secondary life, and hopefully will be the first step on a solid path to a future career for these youth.”

Hour-long classes will be offered in arts, business, continuing studies, engineering, health and social development, science, and trades, and include topics such as The Science of Sound Capture for those interested in music production; Pasta Demolition, for budding engineers who want to design, build, and destroy pasta towers; and Do You Ever Wonder Who Keeps that Airplane in the Sky? for anyone intrigued by aircraft maintenance.

“I hope some of these students are thinking about getting their hands dirty,” says Sean Jarvis, Chair of the College’s Welding program. “We’ll be there to talk about well-paying careers in trades and show off some hands-on skills.”

Experience OC events are open to high school students and take place annually at the College’s campuses in Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm.

Registration information is available online at www.okanagan.bc.ca/experienceoc until Thursday, April 27 at 4 p.m. 

 

CANsave encourages local elementary students to give back
Okanagan College Media Release

Students in Grades 1-3 from Shannon Lake Elementary learned an important lesson in giving last week when they donated more than $2,000 to the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation as part of their participation in Enactus Okanagan College’s CANsave program. CANsave April 2017

Five classes from Shannon Lake took part in CANsave, which is a financial literacy program developed by Okanagan College students to teach primary students the importance of saving for themselves, saving for their future and saving to help others in need. 

The Enactus team partnered with Valley First, a Division of First West Credit Union, to help further the students’ understanding of how saving can help others. Valley First’s sponsorship of the CANsave program allowed the students to have a larger impact on the charity of their choice, in this case the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation. In addition to the $2,000 the students were able to give thanks to Valley First’s support, they also contributed more than $225 of their own money to support the foundation.

“Valley First is very proud to partner with Enactus Okanagan College to deliver financial literacy programming to over 100 classrooms and 2,500 students in the Okanagan in this school year,” says Marion Henselwood, branch manager at Valley First’s Vintage Hills branch. “It’s a testament to the high demand for financial literacy programs and the important role financial education plays in setting our youth up for success.”

In total, $30,000 will be donated to local charities through the CANsave program, with over half of that money already given to a wide range of local initiatives.

“We are so grateful to the students who chose to support the hospital through their CANsave fundraising,” says Chandel Christie, Annual Programs Officer at the KGH Foundation. “The students speak so maturely about money after participating in this program and it’s so inspiring to see how excited they are to donate the funds to help sick kids get better.”

CANsave has grown since its inception a year ago, and is now being used by teachers in every single province and territory in Canada, impacting almost 100 distinct communities. In the Okanagan, more than 2,500 students have completed CANsave this year, while that number exceeds 6,200 students nationally.

“The growth of CANsave has been an inspiring experience to be a part of,” says Cody Troutman, Enactus Okanagan College founding member of CANsave. “Our community partnerships have helped us grow the program beyond our expectations for the first year.”

 


Applied research RIPE with opportunity in the Okanagan
Okanagan College Media Release

Luke and Noah April 2017 RIPEA visionary Okanagan developer, a 17-year-old carpentry student and an electrical trades instructor/emerging researcher are sharing in the excitement of an applied research project’s outcomes at Okanagan College. Their project is one of many cutting-edge College-industry partnerships that will be spotlighted at an applied research Expo at OC next month.

RIPE (Research, Innovation and Partnerships Expo) is happening on May 9 at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus. The free event is an opportunity for employers, researchers and students alike to learn about how applied research is growing new partnerships and enriching the educational experience for students at the College.

David Chalk, a cyber security and innovation expert, will be giving a keynote speech that day titled “Innovation is Nothing New.” More information about the event is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/RIPEregister. In addition to Chalk, attendees will have a chance to speak with trailblazers like Andrew Gaucher, Lukas Skulmoski and Noah Dorsey.

Gaucher, president of GGroup and Catalyst Land Development and current president of the Okanagan’s chapter of the Urban Development Institute, approached the College about a year ago with an idea for a research project that would focus on a plug-and-play infrastructure system to make live, safe, connections between components of a housing system. Gaucher’s goal is to develop a system of modules that can be assembled - and disassembled – as a family’s housing needs grow, shrink or change. One of the challenges was to find ways to build safe utility connections between pre-wired modules that wouldn’t involve having to alter electrical panels, bringing in electricians or tearing walls or structures apart.

“To bring this idea of modularity to reality we need to think about making it easy for families to add another module to their home or take it away as things change,” says Gaucher. “Safe, reliable, dependable and easy connections are vital. And while you’d think there were already-developed systems that meet that criteria, I wasn’t able to come up with any. The idea is to move away from hardwiring all connections to the grid.”

Enter Lukas Skulmoski, an Okanagan College trades instructor and licensed electrician who discovered his research talents while completing his Master’s degree, and is now honing them while working on his Doctorate. With support from Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), through its community engagement grants, Skulmoski and Gaucher began research and scale prototype development.

Their initial work opened the door to student involvement. Noah Dorsey, a Grade 12 student at George Elliot Secondary in Lake Country who is taking the carpentry pre-apprenticeship program at the College for dual credit, brought his skills to the table next.

“I was amazed that this opportunity to engage in applied research opened up for me,” says Dorsey. “Our carpentry instructor explained there was an opportunity to engage in this, and I volunteered.”

Dorsey built scale-size mock-ups to house the components so Gaucher and others can explore how the technology could be applied to real-world construction.

And Dorsey wasn’t the only trades student involved in the applied research project. Before Dorsey came onboard another student – Nicole Thompson - was also involved. She is an apprentice electrician who also has two Bachelor’s degrees. She helped Skulmoski research whether there were existing plug-in systems that might make the grade. They looked at modular housing systems from around the world, looked to the cruise-ship industry where cabins are put together in modules, but to no avail. The systems weren’t appropriate, would not meet Canadian Code requirements, or would require electrical professionals to connect.

Skulmoski’s research eventually led him full circle to a system used in Canadian heavy industry that meets the parameters for Gaucher’s ideas: safe, simple, usable by a homeowner, Code compliant, able to be connected and disconnected while the system is live, and weather resistant. It is a system used in some industrial systems, shorepower connections for large vessels and emergency equipment.

The team’s innovation solution has important features that prevent an arc flash that could prove fatal in instances where voltage and amperage are high enough. Now, with the electrical problems addressed, Gaucher is figuring out other construction and development issues.

“I really appreciate and value the support of the College, Luke, and Noah, and the federal government,” says Gaucher. “The opportunity to innovate and create or refine different approaches to housing needs is clearly here and it’s tremendous to have this kind of resource at our fingertips in the Okanagan.”

 

Okanagan chefs ready to get their Soup’s On for a good cause
Okanagan College Media Release

Some of the valley’s top chefs will be putting their best ladle forward this month at the inaugural Soup’s On events – public soup tastings held in Kelowna and Vernon and presented by Enactus Okanagan College.

Soup’s On has run successfully for the past two years in Salmon Arm, which prompted OC students to serve up the initiative in other communities.

“What started out as a simple idea at an Enactus meeting really came to life and was embraced by the community in Salmon Arm,” explains Soup’s On project coordinator and Enactus Okanagan College member Alexandra Jacques. “I am so honoured and thrilled to have two more communities in the Okanagan jump on board.”Enactus OC Soup's On April 2017

The first event is taking place at 6:30 p.m. on April 27 at Okanagan Spirits’ Vernon location, presented by Prospera Credit Union. Tickets are $25 each and available at participating restaurants Eatology, Kaals Naan Stop, Kal Sports Bar, Intermezzo, and Sir Winston's Pub. Proceeds will benefit the Upper Room Mission and Okanagan College students.

The Kelowna event is happening two days later on April 29 at 5 p.m. in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning at Okanagan College. Attendees will have a chance to sample culinary creations by The Curious Cafe, Basil and Mint, FSH, La Cucina, Westcoast Grill, Waterfront Restaurant and Wine Bar, Bonfire Restaurant, Bouchon's Bistro, Sturgeon Hall, Little Hobo Soup and Sandwich, Train Station Pub, Whiskey-Jacks Pub, Central Public House, Xchange Kelowna and Bliss Bakery and Bistro. Hot and cold beverages will also be served at the event, provided by Pulp Fiction Coffee house and Big Surf Brewery.

Tickets for the Kelowna event are $20 and available online. Visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/soupson for more information. Proceeds from the Kelowna event will benefit the Central Okanagan Food Bank and will also aid Okanagan College students.

Foodies take note: attendees will once again be invited to sharpen their pencils and don their judge’s hat. Like previous Soup’s On events in Salmon Arm, both the Kelowna and Vernon events will follow a people’s choice format.

“Throughout the event, attendees have the opportunity to score each soup and vote for their favourite,” explains Jacques. “At the end of the night, the chef whose soup earned the most votes will take home the Soup’s On trophy.”

Enactus Okanagan College is a student run non-profit organization. Through events like Soup’s On, Enactus OC students raise funds to support their entrepreneurial and philanthropic programs in the community. Examples include Silver Surfers, a program that helps seniors boost their comfort level with technology in order to stay connected with loved ones, and CanSave, a program that provides basic financial literacy to elementary school students.

 

OC students notch 13 podium finishes at Skills Canada BC competition
Okanagan College Media Release

Five Okanagan College students have punched their tickets to Winnipeg, MB to compete in the Skills Canada National Competition next month, after gold medal-winning performances at the provincial competition in Abbotsford last week. The five gold medalists were joined on the podium by eight more OC students who earned four silver and four bronze medals, in categories spanning a host of trades and technology disciplines, from Aerospace Technology to Refrigeration.

OC was the best in the province in the areas of Automotive Collision Repair, Automotive Service, Carpentry, Culinary Arts and IT. Brendan Battersby, a second-year student in the College’s Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology (NTEN) program won gold in IT – Network Systems Administration. Kurt Breton, a level 4 apprentice earned gold in Automotive Service, while Lukas Pfob, also a level 4 apprentice, took the top spot in Carpentry. Siobhan Detkavich, a dual-credit Culinary Arts student at Okanagan College and Southern Okanagan Secondary School, came away with Gold in the Culinary Arts (Secondary) category.

Skills BC Provincials 2017Andreas Roth, a level 3 apprentice, won gold in Automotive Collision Repair – a category swept by OC. Roth was joined on the podium by Caleb Loewen who brought home the silver medal and Marcel Kaemmerzell, who earned bronze.

“As a first time competitor, I did everything I could to prepare ahead of time, but it was definitely a new and unique experience for me,” says Roth. “I’m really excited for nationals. I am going to practice hard and try my best for another good result in Winnipeg.”

Roth and his fellow Collision Repair competitors were evaluated on their skills across a variety of tasks, including welding, plastic and metal repair, and damage analysis over the 6.5-hour competition.

Collision Repair instructor Danny Marques said while preparation plays a big role in students’ success, it is their ability to perform under pressure that is the determining factor on competition day

“We couldn’t be prouder of these three students – and all the students who represented OC and themselves so well at the competition,” says Marques. “As coaches, we obviously try to mentor the students as much as we can, but ultimately they are the ones competing and it’s their ability and motivation that sets them apart.”

Overall, Okanagan College students captured a dozen medals at the competition, which was held on Wednesday, April 5 at The Fraser Valley Trade & Exhibition Centre in Abbotsford. Other institutions that took part included Vancouver Island University, BCIT, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Camosun College, Northern Lights College, University of the Fraser Valley, Riverside College, Thompson Rivers University and Vancouver Community College.

Okanagan College students placed as follows:
Gold
Brendan Battersby – IT – Network Systems Administration
Kurt Breton – Automotive Service
Lukas Pfob – Carpentry
Andreas Roth – Automotive Collision Repair 

Silver
Jason Clair – Electrical
Caleb Loewen – Automotive Collision Repair 
Tijana Nelson – Cabinetmaking
Brandon West – Heavy Mechanical

Bronze
Marcel Kaemmerzell – Automotive Collision Repair
Patryk Norek – Automotive Service
Bryce Mackay – Aerospace Technology
Rob Cordonier – Refrigeration

Gold medalists earn a berth to the National Skills Canada competition on May 31-June 3 in Winnipeg. The national competition attracts more than 500 competitors who compete in 40 contest areas. The program was launched in 1994, and is the only national multi-trade and technology competition for young students and apprentices in the country.

 

Bickley claims back-to-back OC Half Marathon titles
Okanagan College Media Release

OC Half 2017 Bickley2Kelowna’s Brad Bickley returned to Okanagan College’s annual half marathon on Sunday and claimed his second title in as many years. Bickley placed first in the 15
th annual event with a finishing time of 1:13. Patrick Schryburt finished second at 1:17 and Jeff Vogt’s time of 1:19 was good enough for third.

In the female half marathon, three Kelowna runners took the top spots. Tracy Dayman was first (1:33), Heather Greig was second (1:40) and Carolyn Hawes finished third (1:43).OC Half 2017 Dayman2

In the 10 KM event Kelowna women dominated with the winning time posted by Jane Jones (44:56), followed by Rachel Garrett (46:40) and Laura Staniewski (47:15).

OC Half 2017 Mitchell2The men’s 10 KM was won by Michael Mitchell (36:32), followed by Quinn Middleton (37:53) and Michael Denman (39:42).

The half marathon relay event was won by team “Backadders” of Vernon. The five runners covered the 21.1 KM distance in a time of (1:40). Team members included: John Glennon, Brent Helland, Jeff Trca, Steve Broderick, and Brent McWillis.  

“Today’s race was what we’ve come to expect at the OC Half Marathon,” said Christine Ulmer, Race Director. “We had a competitive group of runners vying for the top spots and we also had an impressive group of recreational runners who enjoyed the course and all of the fun associated with running. We had a great group of volunteers and the food from Okanagan College’s Culinary and Pastry Arts at the finish line was a highlight for most of the people I talked to.”

The Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay is an annual not-for-profit event that raises funds to support student bursaries. Event sponsors include: Canadian Springs Water, the Kelowna Capital News, Save On Foods, Okanagan College Culinary and Pastry Arts, Starbucks, and the Orchard City Amateur Radio Club.

Aid stations were generously operated by enthusiastic volunteers from: Orange Theory Fitness, Spinco, Okanagan College Trades and Apprenticeship, and The Woman’s Place.

Complete race results will be available online: www.okanagan.bc.ca/halfmarathon.

 

Renowned photojournalist Juste to speak at Okanagan College

Internationally-acclaimed photojournalist Carl Juste has spent three decades bringing into focus the struggles of Haitians in the U.S. and abroad. Next week he’ll speak about his life behind the lens in a free lecture at Okanagan College.

carl juste web photo

After fleeing his homeland under threat of persecution, Haitian-born Juste and his politically active family settled in Miami’s Haitian community in 1965. He won a scholarship to the University of Miami, and although he initially intended to become an engineer, the call of his inner voice as a photographer was one that could not be silenced.

“I must fight with every breath to breathe life into my art, to bear witness not only through the camera, but through my eye,” says Juste. “It is that pursuit which keeps photojournalism alive.”

Event Details:

Who: Photojournalist Carl Juste
When: 6 p.m., Thursday, April 6, 2017
Where: Lecture Theatre, Okanagan College, 1000 K. L. O. Rd, Kelowna, BC
What: Free lecture, photo op

Juste has pursued photojournalism all his adult life, and since 1991 has served his community through his work at the Miami Herald. His long-term projects include “Lost in America,” a comprehensive piece on the INS, the United States’ Immigration and Naturalization Service (now known as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services), which oversees entry into the U.S. and citizenship processes for foreign born persons. 

His project “Haiti: A Nation in Turmoil,” is an ongoing professional and personal project documenting the struggles of Haitians in the U.S. and around the world. 

In his lecture at Okanagan College entitled “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night: Requiem for a Life in Photojournalism,” Juste will share stories from his life in the field. He will also explore how photojournalism continues to cast a light on the struggles of those experiencing racial, social, political and economic oppression while photojournalists like himself face the same struggles.

“So many have chosen to treat it as if it’s a dying art, but photojournalism lives and flourishes in places where it is most needed,” explains Juste.

“Carl Juste’s passion for his activism and his art is unparalleled,” says Jillian Garrett, a professor of Communication at Okanagan College. “He brings ideals and ideas that will inspire the listener – from the importance of community, to the ability to engage critically and thoughtfully with the world around us, to the desire to greet each day with passion and a sense of purpose.”

“Given the amount of discord and turmoil that exists in the world, voices like Carl’s that speak for truth and social justice are more important than ever.”

Juste has received numerous awards for his work from Pictures of the Year, Society for News Design, Best of Photojournalism and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

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SFU professor sounds alarm on danger of toxins to children’s brain development

 

Can the pesticides on your lawn and flame-resistant baby clothing cause ADHD and autism in children?

According to environmental-health expert Dr. Bruce Lanphear, even exceedingly low-level exposures to toxic chemicals can contribute to premature births, intellectual disabilities and behavioural problems.  

Lanphear will reveal key aspects of the research supporting the link between widespread exposures to toxic chemicals and childhood disorders in a public talk at Okanagan College.  

lanphear web

The presentation will take place in the lecture theatre of the College’s Vernon campus on Thursday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. Lanphear’s talk, entitled “Little Things Matter: The Impact of Toxic Chemicals on the Developing Brain,” is part of the Science in Society Speaker Series. 

Lanphear will explain how harmful chemicals, such as lead, tobacco, pesticides and flame retardants, impact brain development and will share insight into preventable brain-based disorders in the early development of children. 

He will also discuss the pandemic of consumption - the largely preventable, worldwide epidemic of chronic disease and disability in society due to widespread exposures to industrial pollutants, toxic chemicals and excess consumption. 

“The impact of toxic chemicals is usually subtle for an individual child, but it can be substantial at the population level,” asserts Lanphear. “Too little has been done to protect children from these ubiquitous, but insidious, toxins.”

Lanphear, MD, MPH, is a clinician scientist at the Child & Family Research Institute, BC Children’s Hospital and professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. His primary goal is to help quantify and ultimately prevent disease and disability due to exposures to environmental contaminants and pollutants. 

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at 250-545-3644. To subscribe or obtain more information visit okanagansisss.wordpress.com.

Presented jointly by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre, the Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by the Vernon Lodge and Conference Centre, Starbucks Coffee, Save on Foods, and the Vernon Morning Star.

 

College program brings training within reach for Princeton students
Okanagan College Media Release

 

Aging populations and retirements among baby boomer health care workers could spell a shortage of Health Care Assistants (HCAs) in many B.C. communities over the next decade. A special one-time intake of Okanagan College’s HCA program completed in Princeton recently and is already opening doors to health care careers for students in that community.HCA students Princeton March 2017

Natasha Smith has dreamt of a career in health care for more than fifteen years. On March 16, she became one of eight students to complete the program in Princeton.

A mother of three school-aged children, Smith says the hour-plus commute to the Okanagan College’s Penticton campus where the program is also offered, is not feasible for her. So when she learned the College would be offering an intake of its HCA program right in her hometown, she jumped at the chance.

“Being able to attend classes and secure practicum placements in Princeton made all the difference,” says Smith. “It brought the training within reach for me, and at a time when there is such a need for HCAs.”

The intake in Princeton came about as a result of extensive input from the community and support from the Ministry of Advanced Education.

“There are shortages of trained health care workers in small rural communities,” explains Angela Godler, Chair of the Health Care Assistant program at Okanagan College. “Being able to offer the HCA training within those communities is of immense benefit to students, employers and ultimately those receiving care.”

The College’s HCA program is 25 weeks in length and includes a combination of theory classes and an eight-week clinical practicum, covering areas of complex care, home support/assisted living and dementia care, and acute care.

Striking the right blend of classroom learning and practical experience is critical, says Yvonne Moritz, Dean of Science, Technology and Health at Okanagan College.

“Given the diversity of care situations HCAs face in their day-to-day work, there needs to be an extensive amount of hands-on experience in real-life environments,” says Moritz. “We deeply appreciate the way the Ministry of Advanced Education, Interior Health and the community of Princeton have supported this intake and helped us enrich the learning experience for students.”

The class completed practicum placements with Ridgewood Lodge, Orchard Haven and Princeton Community Services.

“I loved every aspect of the program, but especially the practical element,” adds Smith. “It boosted my confidence and confirmed for me that this is what I want to do. I can’t wait to get out into the industry and start working now.”

Princeton isn’t the only centre feeling the pinch when it comes to HCAs. The B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint, released in 2014, listed Health Care Assistants as one of the top priority health professions in need of replenishment over the next five to 10 years.

Students are already reaping the benefits.

According to recent B.C. Student Outcomes data, 97 per cent of graduates from the College’s program are in the labour force, making an average hourly wage of $19. 

More information about the HCA program at Okanagan College is available at http://www.okanagan.bc.ca/hca

 


OC Culinary Arts alumnus cooks his way to a spot at Atelier
Okanagan College Media Release

Carson Bibby March 2017Carson Bibby was only 16-years-old when he first had the opportunity to cook alongside some of Canada’s finest chefs at the Canadian Culinary Championships’ Gold Medal Plates finale. A year later and another Gold Medal Plates experience under his belt, the young OC Culinary Arts alumnus’ skills have earned him a job at one of Canada’s most acclaimed restaurants.

Bibby is now a chef de partie at Atelier, an upmarket Ottawa eatery known for its hypermodern style and 12-course tasting menu prepared using the latest techniques in molecular gastronomy. Working under the watchful eye of award-winning Executive Chef Marc Lepine, Bibby is among the top culinary hands crafting an adventurous dining experience that is rarely the same from one night to another.

Bibby served as a sous-chef to Lepine two years running at Gold Medal Plates (Lepine won in 2016), a one-of-a-kind learning experience afforded to OC culinary arts students. This past February, at the conclusion of the event, Lepine made the young chef an offer he couldn’t refuse – a spot in the kitchen at Atelier.

“I was floored by the offer,” says Bibby, who moved to the Okanagan at age nine. “The opportunity to observe and support Chef Lepine at Gold Medal Plates was incredible. I was flattered and honoured that he wanted me to come and work with him.”

Now living Ottawa, Bibby has been working at Atelier for a few weeks. Between moving across Canada and starting work in one of the country’s most unique kitchens, he acknowledges it’s been a whirlwind month.

“I still have a lot to learn,” says Bibby. “It’s a very different kitchen than any I’ve experienced. Every technique, every dish is next-level.”

Bibby credits the dual-credit Culinary Arts program at Okanagan College with helping him build the technical skills he needed to get noticed. The 40-week program is one of more than a dozen offered at the College in partnership with local school districts. The programs are designed to give high school students a chance to get a head start on a career by earning post-secondary credentials while still competing high school.

“OC gave me a really solid foundation of skills and techniques that I knew I would need if I was going to get to a higher level,” says Bibby. “The instructors have a lot of experience and give you a window into what you can expect in the industry.”

The young chef-in-training acknowledges two other important role models in the culinary world.

“Both my father and grandfather reached the level of Gold Seal Chefs,” explains Bibby. “They definitely inspired me to pursue culinary school and pursue this as a career.”

“We couldn’t be prouder of Carson,” says Chef Bernard Casavant, Culinary Manager at Okanagan College. “Our Culinary Arts alumni can be found in top kitchens all over the world and he is an example of one who has managed to open the door to an opportunity, and seize it, through hard work and dedication.”

And while Bibby plans to continue his formal culinary training in the future, those plans are on simmer for a moment. For now, he’s enjoying the challenge of his new position.

“We’re always trying new things, so I get to learn something different every day,” says Bibby. “It’s been a wonderful and unique learning experience so far.”

More information about Okanagan College’s Culinary and Pastry Arts programs can be found at www.okanagan.bc.ca/fwt

 

Anosh Irani reads at Okanagan College Salmon Arm campus

irani webInternationally-renowned author Anosh Irani will visit Okanagan College on Friday to read from his latest work, which has already garnered numerous award nominations.

Irani will speak in the Student Lounge at the Salmon Arm campus from 7-9 p.m. on Friday, March 24. He will read from his new novel, The Parcel, which was recently a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award.

Event Details:
Who: Anosh Irani, author and playwright
When: 7 – 9 p.m., Friday, March 24
Where: Student Lounge, Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus, 2552 10th Ave NE, Salmon Arm, BC V1E 2S4
What: Book reading, photo op, interview opportunity 

Irani has published three critically acclaimed novels: The Cripple and His Talismans, a national bestseller; The Song of Kahunsha, which was an international bestseller and was shortlisted for Canada Reads and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize; and Dahanu Road, which was nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize.

His play Bombay Black won the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, and his anthology The Bombay Plays: The Matka King & Bombay Black was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award. His work has been translated into 11 languages. His new novel, The Parcel, is published by Knopf. It was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award.

Irani lives in Vancouver and is currently on a tour of the interior. His stop at Okanagan College is part of the College’s Shuswap BookFest initiative. Learn more on the Facebook page.

For more information, please call 250-832-2126 or email bookfest@okanagan.bc.ca.

Lumby team crowned 2017 Spaghetti Bridge champions
Okanagan College Media Release

SB 2017 Dessert RiddickThe 34
th annual Spaghetti Bridge competition came to a dramatic close today after a duo from Charles Bloom Secondary in Lumby tested their bridge to the point of fail, smashing the competition with a pasta structure that withstood 255.06 kg of load before shattering.

The first-place winning team of Justin Dessert and Hanya Riddick took home the top cash prize of $1,500. The second place bridge was built by James Dessert, also of Lumby, and it held 207.29 kg of load and earned him a cash prize of $1,000.SB 2017 James Dessert

A team of students from UBC Okanagan finished third in the contest, which was postponed after technical difficulties prevented the judges from testing the heavyweight bridges at the initial competition on March 3. Ephraim Nowak and Raphael Nowak built a bridge that failed under 120.58 kg of load.

SB 2017 Nowak“We were extremely pleased to recognize today’s competitors and be able to declare winners in the 2017 competition,” said event organizer Michelle Lowry. “We really appreciate the students’ patience while we worked to resolve our testing issues and are aware of just how much work goes into building these great bridges.”

In order to qualify for the competition, the bridges could not weigh more than 1 kg prior to testing.

Fourth place was not awarded, as the other bridge tested did not meet the minimum threshold of 10 kg of load.

Prize money for the event is generously provided by the event’s sponsors: the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC), PCL Construction, Okanagan College Students’ Union, OP Machine Ltd., WSP Group.

 

Business students shine at WCBC
Okanagan College Media Release

WCB Junior Team March 2017Two individual students and a team from Okanagan College were recognized at the Western Canadian Business Competition (WCBC) hosted at the College’s Kelowna campus last weekend.

WCBC is a comprehensive undergraduate business competition in which student teams are tasked with running a simulated business scenario – exploring everything from marketing to HR – over the course of a hypothetical eight-year timeframe. First-, second- and third-year business students compete at the junior level, while fourth-year students compete as seniors.

At the junior level, the host team from Okanagan College finished second to Capilano University, while College of New Caledonia came third. Capilano was also victorious at the senior level, besting teams from (second-place) Medicine Hat College and (third-place) McMaster University.

“Our team is so proud of the way we worked together and supported one another in the decision making process throughout the competition,” says Loni Johnson, a member of the College’s Junior team and a second-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree student at the Kelowna campus.

“We prepared for more than six weeks,” explains Johnson. “So there has been a huge amount of collaboration and growing together as a team. We also received incredible support from our coaches throughout all that time, which helped us feel ready when the competition began.”

The junior team from OC comprised of Lathan McKinney, Loni Johnson, Mindy Strugnell and Charles Sherman was coached by Okanagan College School of Business professors Scott Overland and Dan Allen.

“It is a privilege to witness Okanagan College students competing in, and professors and employees organizing, such a professional and well-run business competition,” says Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of the College’s School of Business. “In addition to competing at a high level, the teams from Okanagan College were gracious hosts and showcased their skills as they applied their education for which our College and School of Business are renowned. All of the feedback we received confirmed it was a rewarding experience for participants.”

It proved to be a memorable weekend indeed for Johnson and her teammate and fellow first-time competitor Mindy Strugnell. In recognition for their contributions, which helped propel the College’s team to a second place showing, Johnson and Strugnell were presented with the VP Operations Award and the VP HR Award, respectively.

“We couldn’t believe it when the awards were announced,” said Johnson. “As first-time competitors, I think we were both a little shocked. I definitely came away inspired to compete again.”

WCBC has been running for almost three decades. The College has hosted for the past six years. 2017 sponsors included Shaw, Interior Savings and CIBC.

According to Dr. Lynn Sparling, one of organizers for WCBC, support from the business community once again played an important role in the event’s success.

“In addition to the wonderful financial support needed to put on an event of this scale, the local business community really stepped up again in lending their time and expertise to students,” says Sparling, who teaches with the Okanagan College School of Business.

“We had 11 judges from the community who volunteered for three days. That feedback from industry professionals really elevates the competition and enriches the learning experience for students.”

For more information about WCBC, go to www.okanagan.bc.ca/wcbc

 

OC Campus Relay paves way for alumnus’ running career
Okanagan College Media Release

 

For Jeff Vogt, the starting line for two big passions in life – becoming an electrician and taking up running – began at Okanagan College.Jeff Vogt OC Half

Vogt, an alumni of the Electrical program, became an avid runner after first trying the Okanagan College half marathon relay in 2009. He has returned to the race each year to be a part of the feel-good event that raises scholarship funds to support student bursaries.

For Vogt, the relay race was the catalyst for his journey to become a runner.

When friends asked him join their relay team for the race, which was only a week away, he thought they were joking. With encouragement from his team and a few practice runs that week, he agreed.

“My first reaction was that I can’t run in this race. I don’t run,” recalls Vogt. “I was so inexperienced, but I completed my relay leg. The race showed me that my fitness wasn’t where I wanted it to be and watching the half marathon finishers that day I saw what I could achieve.”

Inspired to make a change, Vogt immediately started running every other day to improve his fitness levels.

He quickly advanced to the longer distances the race offers – completing both the 10 K race as well as the half marathon distance. He joined the Kelowna Running Club, where he learned proper training techniques to increase performance and reduce injury. In 2014 he placed third overall in the half marathon distance and came back in 2015 to take a silver medal.

After completing two marathons in 2016, Vogt is looking forward to returning to campus for the half marathon in 2017.

“Everyone has to start somewhere and the relay was my gateway to running, which has become a way of life for me. It’s a really accessible distance for people of different fitness levels and fun to be part of a team effort.”

This year’s race takes place Sunday, April 9 at the Kelowna campus and runners can choose from three different distances: Half Marathon (21.1 K), 10 K and Relay Race (21.1 K, divided by up to five runners.) 

“I love to see runners like Jeff come back year after year,” says Race Director Christine Ulmer. “I was there the first year when he crossed the finish line and have watched him improve to become a contender in all of the distances. He is running fast but more importantly, he is having a great time and encouraging others to get involved – and that’s what this race is all about.”

Following their finish, runners join in the post-race festivities in the Centre for Learning. This year’s highlights include the awards ceremony, a candy bar and delicious creations made by the College’s Culinary and Pastry Arts students. Prize money will be presented to the top three runners in the male and female divisions of the Half Marathon.

To register, find out more about the course or to view entry fee deadlines, visit: www.okanagan.bc.ca/halfmarathon

 


Shorthanded OC team comes out on top at HRC West
Okanagan College Media Release

HRC March 2017A dynamic duo of two Okanagan College students topped the podium at one of Western Canada’s most prestigious HR case competitions over the weekend.

Christie Klein and Adrianna Knuth took first place at the HRC West competition held at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Richmond on March 4. Their win marked the first victory for an Okanagan College team at the event, now in its fourth year.

The victory was all the more impressive due to the fact that Klein and Knuth were forced to compete as a pair when a family emergency prompted their teammate to drop out of the competition only two days prior to the event. The other 14 schools at the event fielded a full team of three competitors plus an alternate.

“Having an added element of adversity really brought us together as a team,” explains Knuth. “We focused on the task at hand and took a lot of confidence from the incredible support of our coaches, and the preparation we had put in over the past few months.”

The way in which the pair rose to the challenge was a source of pride for their coaches Laura Thurnheer and Roger Wheeler, both professors with the Okanagan College School of Business.

“We are extra proud of this team for the way they handled adversity,” says Wheeler. “The extra workload shouldered by Adrianna and Christie was significant and they did more than persevere, they flourished.”

Adding to the challenge of the already fast-paced event was the fact that the team from OC was randomly selected to return to stage to present first in the final round, immediately following the announcement of the final four.

“We literally had minutes to mentally prepare before heading on stage,” explains Klein. “Which was great in a way, in that we didn’t have time to get nervous or overthink our presentation.”

Klein admits that while she and her teammate were calm on stage, emotions ran high when the team from OC was declared the winner.

“When the results were announced, it was pure relief and elation,” says Klein. “We were both so proud to have represented the College, our program, and ourselves so well at such a high-level competition.”

The third time was the charm for Okanagan College at HRC West. This year’s victory builds on a second-place finish last year and a third-place finish the year before.

For their victory, the team received $1500 and student passes to HRMA’s POWER UP Conference and Tradeshow in Vancouver on May 2-3.

Both Klein and Knuth are poised to graduate this year, Klein with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree - Human Resources specialty and Knuth with a BBA Hons. degree - Human Resources specialty and a minor in Communications (which she is on track to complete in just three years), along with a Business Administration diploma specializing in Management.

HRC West is the first business case competition in western Canada dedicated entirely to Human Resources. It was launched in response to a gap in practical learning opportunities for post-secondary students specializing in HR.

Learn more about HRC West at www.hria.ca/hrc-west

 

Western Canada gold advances three OC teams to Enactus Nationals

Team OC 2017Thirteen students from Okanagan College’s Enactus team will be a whole lot busier this semester as they prepare to take on the rest of the country in Vancouver in May after notching three first-place finishes at the Regional Western Canada Enactus Exposition in Calgary last weekend.

The team from OC came first in Financial Education, Entrepreneurship, and Youth Empowerment, as well as third in Ecoliving Green. The four podium finishes earned the team $5,000 in cash prizes and three berths to the National Exposition on May 9 – 11.

The four teams are made up of students from Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton. They represent a much larger contingent of students who deliver community-based projects through Enactus Okanagan College.

“This is an absolutely fantastic result for our students,” said Roy Daykin, Vice President of Employee and Corporate Services, who was present at the competition to support the team. “We know first-hand the impact our students have in our community based on the quality of the work they do on projects like CANSave and Silver Surfers but to be recognized at this competition validates just how relevant their work is.”

Five Kelowna students won the Capital One Financial Education challenge after impressing the judges with their award-winning project CANSave. The project, which teaches financial literacy skills to elementary students, began in Kelowna last year and has since spread to 80 communities across the country, impacting more than 6,000 students. Last month CANSave’s founder Abbey Jones was recognized with the first BC Social Innovation Youth Award for her work on the project. In addition to Jones, team members included Daniel Alfred, Julia Lalach, Cody Troutman, and Rochelle Diaz. The team is coached by faculty mentor Devin Rubadeau.

Dr. Kyleen Myrah is no stranger to coaching Enactus students to the podium—her team of students won the TD Entrepreneurship challenge based on the work they have done in Kelowna with the Silver Surfers program. The innovative program pairs OC students with seniors living in retirement facilities and provides training on the use of technology and devices such as the iPad. The program’s goal is to help seniors connect with loved ones and helps reduce the communication barriers and isolation. The team was made up of Meaghan Barnard, Zabrina Semchuk, Cameron Starcheski, and Rebecca Alfred.

"To achieve four podium finishes at the Regional Enactus competition, including three first-place wins, is an incredible testament to the quality of our students and the community outreach projects they are engaged in," said Myrah. "We can't wait to showcase our community impact at the National exposition in May in Vancouver, and are so appreciative of the support we get from our institution and our community."

Enactus Okanagan College also won first in the Scotiabank Youth Empowerment challenge after presenting on the impact of the CANSave project. The Vernon-based team was made up of Mitchell Pepper, Christianne Edblad, and Anthony Peterson, who are all from Vernon and Gabby Edblad (Kelowna). The team was coached by professor Andrew Klingel. 

“Regionals showed me Enactus goes beyond my college, beyond B.C. even,” said Christianne Edblad. “The fact that OC students are spending hours and hours of our time to make the world a better place is beyond me. These are the quality of people I want to surround myself with and this is why I love competitions.”

In the Scotiabank Ecoliving Green challenge Okanagan College finished third after presenting on their Penticton project Healthy Housing and their Trash Talk initiative in Kelowna. The team consisted of one student from Penticton, Meghan Steele, and three from Kelowna: Millanne Desfosses, Jamie Park, and Bliss Ducharme. They are coached by Dr. Sheilagh Seaton.

With the wins, Enactus Okanagan College took home three cash awards of $1,500 and one award of $500. They also earned three berths to the national competition for their first-place finishes. 

College offers accelerated training opportunity for Electricians
Okanagan College Media Release

Electrical Lab March 2017An innovative apprenticeship program piloting at Okanagan College this month aims to help Electricians reduce time away from work and home while training. 

The Electrician Apprenticeship Level I Blended Program is a new 17-week program that will deliver training through a combination of on-campus and online learning. The online component will cut in-class training time in half. Apprentices in the blended program will spend five weeks on campus, as opposed to ten weeks in a traditional program.

Carlo Langlois will be among the first students to step into blended program on March 27.

“The blended format really makes a lot of sense to me,” says Langlois. “Five weeks away from work is easier on the wallet than ten. I have a young family to support so I’m excited about the prospect of fast-paced training so I can get back to work as quick as possible.”

The program runs March 27 to July 21 at the Kelowna campus. It will be based out of the College’s new state-of-the-art electrical labs, which officially opened last fall.

“This new program offers apprentices the best of both worlds,” says Steve Moores, the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “They get the convenience of learning some of the theoretical principles online, and then they can step into the lab to get hands on training with our instructors and the latest equipment.”Electrical Student March 2017

The College received a grant of $218,000 from the B.C. government in December to power up the innovative pilot. The funding comes as part of the joint effort by the province, the ITA and post-secondary institutions to provide more flexible training that enables employers to keep apprentices at work longer, and allows apprentices to maximize their earning potential while in school.

“The program has been designed with the apprentice and the employer in mind,” explains Moores. “We’re always endeavoring to be even more responsive to the needs of industry. With this pilot, we want to help apprentices tap into great training and then get back out into the workforce as soon as possible.”

In order to enrol in the program, potential students must be working in the trade and have registered with the Industry Training Authority (ITA).

More information is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/electricianblended

 

Heavyweight competition on simmer for Spaghetti Bridge

More than 300 students from across the Okanagan paraded their pasta structures on stage today at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus for the 34th annual Spaghetti Bridge contest.

spaghetti bridge 2017 web

Students from elementary to post-secondary brought their engineering skills to a boil and constructed bridges of spaghetti, lasagna noodles and glue that were put to the test in one of four categories.

This year, the highly anticipated Heavyweight competition suffered a setback when the Fettuccine Fault Line (a hydraulic machine that places load on the bridges to test their capacity) malfunctioned, forcing organizers to postpone the event. With $1,500 of prize money on the line, the event organizers admit postponing the Heavyweight category was a difficult decision, but the right one.

“Rescheduling is disappointing, but the integrity of the competition must be held to the highest standard,” says head judge Dr. Andrew Hay, Vice President Education for the College. “It’s important for the students to know their hard work is taken seriously, so we must ensure their bridges are tested accurately using the proper equipment.”

The testing equipment is being analyzed and repaired, and all five competitors will be invited back to the College to battle for top honours in the Heavyweight category.

The other competitions do not use the same testing equipment and were carried out without a hitch.

In the ASTTBC Secondary Competition category, in which students pre-build bridges for on-site testing, two brothers from Charles Bloom in Lumby swept the top two spots, with third place going to students from KLO Middle.

In the ASTTBC Team Building Secondary Competition, students battled the clock to build bridges on site and under pressure. The winners of that contest were from King’s Christian School in Salmon Arm. Second place went to KLO Middle and Constable Neil Bruce Middle finished third. 

Five teams participated in the ASTTBC Team Building Post-Secondary Competition and Okanagan College students Raelyn Guenther, Megan Roeske, Darren Joyce, and Brett Siebert were the lone victors, taking first place with the only bridge entry that passed the testing requirements.

“Today’s competition was packed with energy and enthusiasm,” says Hay. “I was impressed by the bridges I saw today and that is a testament to the efforts of these talented students.”

Prize money for the event is generously provided by the event’s sponsors: the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC), PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc., Okanagan College Students’ Union, Multi Power Products, AECOM, OP Machine Ltd., Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEG), WSP Group, and Interior Testing Services Ltd.

Complete Results

 

Heavyweight Competition

Competition postponed due to technical issues.

 

ASTTBC Team Building Competition, Post-Secondary

First – Raelyn Guenther, Megan Roeske, Darren Joyce, and Brett Siebert (Okanagan College)

 

ASTTBC Team Building Competition, Secondary

First – Daniel Stalker and Joshua Greencorn (King’s Christian)

Second – Oliver Cole, Jackson Rosco, Jacob Tizel, Arne Gairdner-Loe (KLO Middle)

Third- Alex Whitt, Jaden Seniuk, Ben Parker, Mitch Harris (Constable Neil Bruce Middle)

 

ASTTBC Secondary Competition

First – Justin Dessert (Charles Bloom Secondary)

Second– James Dessert (Charles Bloom Secondary)

Third – Jordan Wiseman (KLO Middle)

Fourth – James Birnie and Ken Flores (KLO Middle)

Fifth – Nicholas Mitchell (KLO Middle)

 

OC business team takes silver at The Winning Pitch
Okanagan College Media Release

 

A quartet of Okanagan College students have pedaled their way onto the podium with an Okanagan-inspired business idea at one of B.C.’s most prestigious tourism case competitions.

The team made of up Adrian Lemiski, Brooks Hewko, Merissa Hucul and Nick Gallant took second place at The Winning Pitch competition at the B.C. Tourism Industry Conference in Victoria last week.OSB Winning Pitch Feb 2017

Hosted by go2HR, B.C.’s tourism human resource association, The Winning Pitch challenges post-secondary students to propose concepts for new B.C.-based ventures. Teams were tasked with developing a proposal and business plan for a new accessible activity-based tourism business or service.

The group from Okanagan College, coached by OC School of Business professors Blair Baldwin and Laura Thurneer, took second place with their proposal for “Pioneer Adventure Company,” a premium cycle tour based out of the South Okanagan.

“We were thrilled that our idea resonated with the judges,” says Hucul, a third-year Bachelor of Business Administration student at the College’s Kelowna campus. “The process of developing our pitch, refining it, and preparing for the competition involved months of hard work. From start to finish it’s been an incredible learning experience, and it’s still going.” 

The team’s business plan is already getting noticed. Not long after the event, coach Blair Baldwin was contacted by a potential investor interested in speaking with the students about bringing their idea to life.

“These students put in an extraordinary effort, investing countless hours of their own time on top of their course loads to develop this pitch,” says Baldwin. “And so it’s exciting but not entirely surprising that the business community is recognizing the value in what they are proposing.”

Hucul attributes the well-developed pitch to the perfect blend of backgrounds and personalities on the team. Combined, they boast specializations in Marketing, Tourism and Hospitality and General Studies.

“It is the ultimate compliment to hear that our idea has merit and is financially sound enough to potentially become a reality,” adds Hucul. “I think that was borne out of the depth and variety of skills each of us brings to the table.”

She is also quick to acknowledge the efforts made by the team’s coaches to ready them for the competition.

“We couldn’t have done it without Laura and Blair’s expertise and guidance. We learned so much from them throughout the process.”

The team from Okanagan College was one of three finalists in Victoria. The team from Royal Roads came out on top, while BCIT took bronze.

In order to advance to the finals, the team from Okanagan College beat out challenger Thompson Rivers University at regionals last November. The event was held at Predator Ridge in Vernon.

“This team exemplifies the amazing crop of young businesspeople coming out of the Okanagan School of Business,” says Thurnheer, who is also Chair of Business Administration at Okanagan College. “We applaud their success and look forward with interest to seeing how their idea continues to unfold and develop.”

For more information about the competition, visit www.go2hr.ca.

 

Support swells for Silver Surfers with Interior Savings gift
Okanagan College Media Release

Silver Surfers Feb 2017Okanagan College Enactus students were presented with a $9,700 cheque from Interior Savings Credit Union in support of their initiative to promote seniors’ wellness through tech-savvy training.


Through the Silver Surfers program, Okanagan College Enactus students provide resources and coaching to enhance the abilities of seniors to communicate with loved ones and safely explore the Internet.  

The program offers student-to-senior mentorship and step-by-step illustrated guides on technology use with tools such as the iPad. The highly-portable program helps address the social isolation and mental health issues often felt by seniors and provides opportunities for them to increase their cognitive abilities.

“We wanted to find a way to use our entrepreneurial skills to create tangible change in the community,” says Rebecca Alfred, who co-founded the program alongside fellow Okanagan College School of Business students Daniel Alfred, Sam Jamieson and Meaghan Barnard. “We are thrilled that Interior Savings is recognizing the demand for Silver Surfers in the Okanagan and investing in the program’s growth.”

For Interior Savings, this partnership was a logical extension to their recent certification as the first age-friendly financial institution in B.C.

“Interior Savings has made a commitment to help lead the way in building more age-friendly communities,” said Kathy Conway, CEO of Interior Savings. “Silver Surfers will help a generation who grew up making phone calls and sending letters in the mail remain socially connected in a very different environment. We’re excited to support these students in helping build a community that is more inclusive and connected, regardless of age.”

The Silver Surfers program educates seniors on a range of tech topics over four one-hour sessions–from learning to use power and volume controls, to sending emails and performing searches, to taking a selfie and making video calls.

It also includes the subject of cyber security, an important concern for seniors new to technology, as they may be more susceptible to online fraud schemes.

Popularity of the program has already increased by word-of-mouth since the Silver Surfers piloted their program at a Kelowna retirement home in May 2016. They are currently running their fourth and fifth programs at two different seniors residences and have grown to more than 30 volunteer mentors.

The gift will enhance the Silver Surfers program through the construction of a website to boost their online presence and provide for the purchase of wireless routers and tablets that will enable the program to run simultaneously in multiple locations.

The students are already seeing the rewards of their efforts – a recent survey of program participants showed an 86 per cent increase in the number of online interactions between the residents and their loved ones. 

“As students, running programs through Enactus provides challenging business experience in an accepting environment,” Alfred explains. “This donation enables us as students to continue to grow the program and make an impact on the community.”

The group hopes the new website, which launches this week, will be an effective tool for increasing awareness of the program, engaging supporters and inspiring volunteers in the Okanagan Valley and beyond.

To learn more about the Silver Surfers program and how to be involved, visit silversurfersoc.com

 

Indigenous garden takes root at Kelowna campus
Okanagan College Media Release

 

Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus will soon be home to a unique greenspace containing more than 50 local Okanagan plants that are of cultural significance to Syilx people.

The na’ʔk’ʷulamən (na - kool - a- min) garden will pay tribute to the close relationship between Indigenous people and the natural world. na’ʔk’ʷulamən is a Nsyilxcen word which broadly translates to “the things that we do.” It was chosen to reflect the holistic relationship that Indigenous people have with plants, encompassing maintenance of the land, values, beliefs, practices and protocol in relation to the natural world.

“This relationship we have with each other and the natural environment is rooted in being respectful and thankful,” says Anthony Isaac, Aboriginal Services Coordinator at Okanagan College. “We make offerings before we harvest, saying our thanks to the plants or animals for giving their lives for us and never taking too much.”

Education and awareness are key goals of the project.

Located just north of the Centre for Learning building, the 6,000 sq. ft. garden will provide an experiential educational opportunity for Okanagan College students and staff, and the broader community. Visitors can learn more about how plants were and continue to be used for things such as food, medicine, art, ceremonies, baskets and clothing. The project may serve as a model for similar campus and community gardens around the world.

“The garden will be a welcoming and inclusive space that strengthens the Indigenous presence on campus,” explains Isaac.

Collaboration and sustainability are also at the heart of the project.

“The na’ʔk’ʷulamən garden emphasizes several of the College’s key directions,” explains Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “From working with and learning from the Indigenous community to serving and engaging the community to advancing sustainability, we see this as an opportunity to celebrate the rich history and knowledge of Syilx people, and a way to demonstrate the value that Okanagan College places on Indigenous knowledge.”

The College has partnered with the Westbank First Nation, Growing Inspired Garden Education and Design and the Central Okanagan Naturalists’ Club to establish the garden. The project received a grant from the City of Kelowna’s Canada 150 fund, which supports a variety of community projects to help celebrate the area’s natural and cultural history.

To ensure that Indigenous history and culture is depicted accurately, the College is working closely with local elders, historians and members of surrounding first nations communities.

Jordan Coble, Cultural and Operations Administrator for the Sncəwips Heritage Museum is one of those advisors.

“As Syilx/Okanagan people we have always had a very deep connection with the land and all its resources,” explains Coble. “Our health, ways of being and our beauty has always been based on ensuring our relationship with the land is based on reciprocity.

“It is our responsibility to care for the land and in this way we establish deep relationships where we learn to understand the connections that bind us together. As Okanagan people we strive to ensure our land and resources remain healthy for our future generations.”

Space for the garden was cleared last fall and planting will commence as soon as weather permits. The garden is slated to open in July.

 


Red Dot Players bring Sense and Sensibility to OC

Jane Austen is coming to Okanagan College in March, via the College’s very own theatre troupe – the Red Dot Players – who are staging a popular new adaption of one of the author’s best known works.sense and sensibility

Featuring a cast of veteran players and newcomers, and under the direction of OC English Professor Jeremy Beaulne, the curtain will rise on Sense and Sensibility for a four-night run from March 9-12 in the Lecture Theatre at the Kelowna campus.

The play follows the Dashwood Sisters, Elinor (played by Amy Williams) and Marianne (played by Zoë Sommerfeld), as they navigate travails of the head and the heart in Victorian era England.

Audience members can expect a fun and fast-paced look at Austen’s classic 1811 novel, thanks to a spirited new script by playwright Kate Hamill which has already been produced to acclaim on some of the world’s leading stages since it was published in early 2016.

“This adaptation really amplifies the humour of Austen’s novel while preserving the complex relationships and social spheres within,” says Beaulne. “It lends an almost Monty Python-esque element of comedy to the story in places, while still conveying the serious struggles of two young women searching for autonomy and independence.”

The production marks Beaulne’s sixth time in the director’s chair for the Red Dot Players. He is also no stranger to the source material.

“I love Jane Austen and have taught her works in a number of courses,” explains Beaulne. “Whether you are familiar with Sense and Sensibility or completely new to the novel, I think there is something for everyone in this adaptation.”

According to the director, one of the factors that makes the play a challenge to stage is one of the reasons it continues to excite audiences.

“There are more scene changes in this play – upwards of 20 – than any other I’ve ever directed,” says Beaulne. “It’s a whirlwind from start to finish. The cast and crew have worked incredibly hard and are ready to share that wonderful energy with audiences.”

Ticketholders will be treated to sweeping hand painted vistas by local artist and OC employee Marie Bartlett. A series of immense canvases set the stage for the action and are intended to transport the audience to the English countryside. Actors will be outfitted in beautiful period costumes sewn by Christine Caumartin and OC employee Karen Tessier.

The Red Dot Players troupe was formed in 2010 and have produced six plays leading up to Sense and Sensibility: The Beaux' Stratagem (2011), Blithe Spirit (2012), Les Belles-Soeurs (2013), The Government Inspector (2014), The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon (2015), and A.K.A. Fangirl (2016). The troupe provides students and employees with an opportunity to contribute to the Okanagan’s bustling creative arts scene.

Tickets are available at Mosaic Books, the Okanagan College campus store and will also be available at the door ($18 for adults and $15 for students/seniors). Learn more on the Red Dot Players website www.reddotplayers.com/.

New book explores motivating a diverse workforce

ian macrae news
Are Millennials lazy, entitled narcissists who crave recognition, demand attention and refuse to be managed? Is this generation different from any other?

That question and others will be on the agenda as Ian MacRae discusses his new book, Motivation and Performance: A Guide to Motivating a Diverse Workforce, co-authored with Adrian Furnham, at Okanagan College’s Trades Training Complex Atrium on Wednesday, March 1 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

MacRae will address whether there is any research to support the myths and stereotypes about millennials. 

“It would be wildly inappropriate to have similar guides for other stereotypes, such as Leadership for Lithuanians, Business Strategies for Blondes or HR for Homosexuals” he says. “Myths about generational differences are an easy target, mostly because the scientific evidence lends little support to theories of generational differences.” 

For MacRae, it isn’t age that explains why two equally qualified, knowledgeable and capable employees in the same position might behave in very different ways ­– it is their motivation.

Motivation and Performance delves into the science behind motivation and provides a practical guide for organizations to find and develop and individual's potential based on an understanding of what drives their behaviour.

Roberta Sawatzky, Okanagan College School of Business professor, utilizes MacRae’s case studies in her courses and sees the value his new publication will have for students and industry professionals.

“Motivation and Performance is an excellent balance between theory and practice,” says Sawatzky. “The suggestions in the book reinforce the principles we teach in our leadership, organizational behavior and HR management courses at the College, and any business professional would benefit from the very practical examples and step-by-step processes provided throughout.”
 
The book launch is being sponsored by the Okanagan College Alumni Association and Sage Transitions. To attend and for your chance to win one of three copies of Motivation and Performance, register for the presentation at motivationandperformance.eventbrite.ca.

An evening with three Canadian authors
Okanagan College Media Release

Nationally acclaimed poet Judith Pond from Calgary will join two emerging homegrown talents for an evening of readings at Okanagan College on Thursday.Judith Pond Feb 2017

One Night: Three Writers will see Pond assembled with current Okanagan College student Pip Dryden, winner of this year’s OC 3-Hr Short Story Contest. Rounding out the trio of speakers will be author Cole Mash, an Okanagan College alumnus and current graduate student at UBC Okanagan. The event starts at 7 p.m. in Room B112 at the Kelowna campus.

Pond’s fiction and poetry have been featured on CBC Radio and a variety of Canadian literary magazines and journals, including The Fiddlehead, Grain, Prairie Fire and Prism. She has published fiction and four collections of poetry: An Early Day, Dance of Death, Lovers and Other Monsters, and A Shape of Breath.

She holds a Master’s degree in German Literature from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and an MFA in creative writing from UBC. She teaches in Calgary and is currently working on a novel.

“Judith Pond is one of our country’s most underrated poets,” says Dr. Sean Johnston, an English Professor at Okanagan College and one of the event’s organizers. “She describes the quotidian – the everyday – in ways that enlarge our understanding of what it is to be human. And I am equally excited to hear from the two student writers who are both incredibly gifted.

“All three writers offer up in their work a brutally honest investigation of the human experience. These readings will have you asking questions long after the evening is over.”

Dryden’s story “This Time” was chosen as the overall winner for the 2016 3-Hr Short Story Contest out of 22 stories submitted across the College’s four campuses.

Mash is the recipient of a UBC Undergraduate Student Research Award and is currently at work on a biographical study, The Poetics of Teaching.

The event is free and open to the public. 

 

UBC professor advocates the benefit of exercise for healthy aging
Okanagan College Media Release

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a local researcher says the best medicine for good health is making exercise a daily habit.

Dr. Gareth Jones Feb 2017Regardless of disease and disability, Dr. Gareth Jones says a daily dose of exercise at any age has a remarkable benefit on cognitive and physical abilities and overall health.

According to Jones, a professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social Development at UBC Okanagan, these benefits may be especially important for our senior populations.

As part of Okanagan College’s Science in Society Speaker Series, Jones will reveal the latest research from his lab on Parkinson’s disease, frailty and exercise to enhance and preserve physical function. His public talk, entitled “Is Exercise the Medicine for Successful Aging?” takes place on Thursday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the College’s Vernon campus lecture theatre.

Since 2008, under Jones’ guidance, the Healthy Exercise and Aging Laboratory (HEAL) group at UBC Okanagan has advanced the fields of exercise, prehabilitative and rehabilitative sciences toward understanding the subtle differences observed between men and women as they transition through the aging process.

“Much of the age- and sex-associated differences observed between older adults can be associated with the aging and disuse of muscle and other mechanical tissues,” says Jones. “Therefore, exercise that strengthens muscle will restore and maintain physical function, regardless of age or sex.”

Jones has received national and international recognition as a leader in the field of exercise and aging, with a specific interest in understanding the impact of frailty on physical function. He has been published in more than 50 scientific journals, presented at 60 conferences around the world and has received national awards for his work in exercise physiology.

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at 250-545-3644. To subscribe or obtain more information visit okanagansisss.wordpress.com.

Presented jointly by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre, the Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by the Vernon Lodge and Conference Centre, Starbucks Coffee, Save on Foods, and the Vernon Morning Star.