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New world of opportunities await College graduates
Okaangan College Media Release

Gurdeep Dhanoa June 2015With a will to learn and to become well-versed in Canada’s health care system, Gurdeep Dhanoa, graduating from the College’s Practical Nursing diploma program this weekend, knew that the pursuit of education was imperative when she immigrated to Kelowna from India.

“I was a registered nurse for two years in India. When I arrived in Canada with my husband I quickly recognized that the technology, skills and even health documentation are very different than those from home,” says Dhanoa. “I knew that I needed to learn the basics, and build confidence in knowing exactly how the Canadian health care system works.”

Dhanoa received an equivalency that enabled her to work as a care aid at a residential care facility in Kelowna, but her goal was to study her way back to her passion, the nursing profession.

Taking the first step toward her goal, Dhanoa upgraded courses in English as a Second Language, Mathematics, and Biology 11 and 12 with the Adult Academic and Career Preparation (AACP) department at the College.

“Mathematics has always been my most challenging subject, I was dreading taking the course, especially as English is my second language,” says Dhanoa. “The teachers were patient and understanding, and they actually made me enjoy studying the subject. I wish I had had those teachers back home – maybe I would have liked math more then.”

Next Dhanoa registered in the College’s two-year Practical Nursing diploma.

“I wanted a program to give me the right training to get back to working soon. My sister had taken the same program at Okanagan College and she had told me about its great reputation with health care employers in the Okanagan.” 

With her program complete, Dhanoa is just one of more than 1,350 students who will be recognized at the College’s Convocation ceremonies this weekend. And, like many, Dhanoa has already found a job. She’s working at Brandt’s Creek Mews, a position she secured just two days after she completed her program.

The College will recognize the achievements of more than 920 trades students at its Commencement ceremony on the evening of Friday, June 5.
The following day, 438 credentials will be conferred to students in academic and vocational programs and include: 119 bachelor’s degrees, 67 associate degrees, 235 diplomas, and 17 certificates. 

The morning ceremony on June 6 in Kelowna starts at 10:30 a.m. and will see students from Arts, Science, Engineering Technologies, Computer Science, and Health and Social Development programs receive their credentials. Entrepreneur and public servant Norm Embree, former Chair of the Interior Health Authority will address the morning graduating class as an Honorary Fellow of Okanagan College. 

At the afternoon ceremony starting at 1:30 p.m., Okanagan College will confer degrees, diplomas and certificates to graduands of the Okanagan College School of Business. Renowned Kelowna chef Rod Butters will address the graduating class of business students in the afternoon.

This weekend’s ceremonies represent three of the College’s six annual Convocation ceremonies. The first Convocation ceremony of the year was held in January, and bestowed 322 credentials to students.

Two additional ceremonies will be held later in June. A ceremony in Vernon will be held on Tuesday, June 23 and will include an address from Honorary Fellow Annette Sharkey.

The final summer convocation in Kelowna will take place on Thursday, June 25 and will confer approximately 330 diplomas and certificates and recognize lawyer Rick Pushor as one of the 2015 Honorary Fellows of the College.

More than 2,000 students will have graduated from Okanagan College in 2015 before the end of the month.

To watch the convocation ceremonies via live streaming, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/convocationlive.