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New program empowers Aboriginal students to reach their full potential
Local mom chooses College’s Practical Nursing program to launch a new career
UBC biologist is saving the eco-system one bee at a time
UBC biologist is saving the eco-system one bee at a time
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New program empowers Aboriginal students to reach their full potential
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College’s Aboriginal student population has grown by more than 208 per cent over the last seven years – the fastest rate of any post-secondary institution in the province.

To respond to this exploding growth, Okanagan College developed the Academy of Indigenous Scholars through the generous support of a $40,000 grant from the Vancouver Foundation.

The Academy of Indigenous Scholars is a culturally relevant program developed to support first-year Aboriginal students. The goal of the program is to empower students to take greater control of their education and fully utilize the services Okanagan College offers.

This program comes from a place of advantage, not disadvantage,” says James Coble, Director of Student Services and former Aboriginal Access and Services Coordinator at Okanagan College. 

“We know these students can be successful and we’re here to facilitate their abilities, help them set goals for themselves and get the most out of their education.” 

The program is open to all self-declared Indigenous students in their first year of university-level arts, science and business programs starting in September 2014. An Indigenous student is anyone who declares himself or herself to be of First Nation (status or non-status), Metis or Inuit descent.

The Academy of Indigenous Scholars is accepting 30 students across Okanagan College: 15 in Kelowna, and five from each campus in Penticton, Vernon and Salmon Arm.  

“Acceptance into the program isn’t based on grades. What’s important is students’ commitment to carrying through with the program to the end of the year,” says Coble.

Each student will meet with the Aboriginal Access and Services Coordinator and develop an individual achievement plan. Each plan lays out recommendations based on that student’s particular circumstances. 

For example, some students may benefit from counseling and peer mentorship, while another might want to focus on utilizing study tutorials and one-on-one sessions with faculty.

The program launches in September. Students must be enrolled in at least three university transfer courses in each of the fall and winter semesters to be accepted. Once the individual achievement plan is developed, it’s up to each participating student to carry out it out. At the end of the school year, if the student has fulfilled their program’s academic requirements and executed the plan to their Coordinator’s satisfaction, they will receive a $400 bursary. 

There are four pillars of services that Indigenous Scholars can take advantage of:

Intellectual: Tutorial, study skills and exam prep sessions, advising and tutoring
Emotional: Transition planning, peer mentor and counselling
Spiritual: One-on-ones with Elders, peer counselling, access to community sweat lodges and weekly smudges
Physical: Recreational activities, financial aid, and disability services 

“We’re focusing on helping students develop their whole selves not just the academic component of their education,” says Coble.

Research suggest that those students who are in touch with their emotional needs and cultural heritage, do have a greater chance of success because they can draw on that strength to navigate their way through the system,” he says. 

Interested students should visit at www.okanagan.bc.ca/indigenousacademy for more information. 


About Vancouver Foundation

With almost 1,500 funds and assets totaling $814 million, Vancouver Foundation is Canada’s largest community foundation. In 2012, Vancouver Foundation and its donors made more than 4,000 grants, totaling approximately $46 million to registered charities across Canada. Since it was founded in 1943, Vancouver Foundation, in partnership with its donors, has distributed more than $917 million to thousands of community projects and programs. Grant recipients range from social services to medical research groups, to organizations devoted to arts and culture, the environment, education, children and families, disability supports for employment, youth issues and animal welfare. To find out more visit: vancouverfoundation.ca.
Local mom chooses College’s Practical Nursing program to launch a new career
Okanagan College Media Release

For one mom, Okanagan College’s Practical Nursing program was the best way to get back into the workforce after raising her kids.

“I always wanted to be a nurse and I chose to go to Okanagan College because it has an amazing reputation for nursing,” said Marie Walker, a 2013 graduate of the Practical Nursing program in Penticton who now works as a Licensed Practical Nurse at Queen Victoria Hospital in Revelstoke.  

“Whenever I spoke to people in the field, Okanagan College was always highly recommended,” she says.

To help prospective students learn more about Okanagan College’s Practical Nursing program, an information night is being held at the Penticton campus on April 9. 

Once Practical Nurses have completed the program and passed their licensing exam, they are qualified to work on interdisciplinary teams and provide nursing services in a number of settings, including residential, acute care and palliative care. 

“I finished the program in May, got my licence the end of June and started a full-time job as a charge nurse in August,” she says.

Walker, who went back to school at age 36 after raising her kids, isn’t alone in choosing the College’s nursing program to launch a new career.

A 2012-2013 BC Student Outcomes survey found that 96 per cent of the Okanagan College Practical Nursing graduates surveyed were employed and 72 per cent had found full-time work. 

“The 17-month program builds leadership, communication, inter-professional practice, critical thinking and technical skills, which makes graduates highly employable in multiple health care environments,” says Dana Susheski RN, instructor in Okanagan College’s Practical Nursing Program.

A new January intake of the Practical Nursing program at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus is now accepting applications. All qualified applicants must complete a 14-week anatomy and physiology course via Distance Education prior to the program’s start in January. Applications for the program close on July 31.

Admission requirement details will be available, as well as the opportunity to meet graduates of the program, learn about career prospects and see the practical nursing laboratory, at the open house on Wednesday, April 9 from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Penticton campus, Sunoka building, Room C6. 

“Going back to school and becoming a nurse is the best thing I ever did. I couldn’t be happier,” says Walker.
UBC biologist is saving the eco-system one bee at a time
Okanagan College Media Release

Dr. Leonard Foster April 2014Since 2006, North America has lost nearly one third of its honeybee population due to infectious diseases and climate change. As honeybees are one of the most important pollinators in Canadian agriculture, countless crops across the country—including blueberries in British Columbia and canola in Alberta—are at risk.

“Bees’ importance to us goes far beyond honey,” says Dr. Leonard Foster, a molecular biologist and associate professor at the University of British Columbia. 

“Without them we’ll depend more on imports and have to pay more for our fruits and vegetables,” he says. 

Dr. Foster discusses the importance of bees to our eco-system in “What’s the Buzz in Bee Biology?” on Tuesday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Okanagan College’s main lecture theatre at the Vernon Campus. The event is sponsored by Genome BC and admission is free. 

Specifically, Dr. Foster will talk about some of the most interesting aspects of bee biology, what threats bees are currently facing and how his research is trying to improve bee health. 

In addition to his work at UBC, Dr. Foster is also the Director of the Centre for High-Throughput Biology, which has been leading an effort in western Canada to develop bees that are better able to resist diseases. 

One of these efforts is Bee Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a project he works on with a group comprised of scientists, bee breeders, and researchers from across Canada. The IPM’s research addresses the fact that many bacteria, viruses, fungus and mites responsible for bee-specific infectious diseases are becoming resistant to pesticides, which means science needs to find new approaches to protect bee populations.  

The Science in Society Speaker Series is a joint project by Okanagan Science Centre and Okanagan College and is sponsored by the Pacific Inn and Suites, Cooper’s Foods, Starbucks Coffee, and the Vernon Morning Star.

To subscribe to or obtain more information about the series, visit www.okscience.ca or http://okanagansisss.wordpress.com.
UBC biologist is saving the eco-system one bee at a time
Okanagan College Media Release

Dr. Leonard Foster April 2014Since 2006, North America has lost nearly one third of its honeybee population due to infectious diseases and climate change. As honeybees are one of the most important pollinators in Canadian agriculture, countless crops across the country—including blueberries in British Columbia and canola in Alberta—are at risk.

“Bees’ importance to us goes far beyond honey,” says Dr. Leonard Foster, a molecular biologist and associate professor at the University of British Columbia. 

“Without them we’ll depend more on imports and have to pay more for our fruits and vegetables,” he says. 

Dr. Foster discusses the importance of bees to our eco-system in “What’s the Buzz in Bee Biology?” on Tuesday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Okanagan College’s main lecture theatre at the Vernon Campus. The event is sponsored by Genome BC and admission is free. 

Specifically, Dr. Foster will talk about some of the most interesting aspects of bee biology, what threats bees are currently facing and how his research is trying to improve bee health. 

In addition to his work at UBC, Dr. Foster is also the Director of the Centre for High-Throughput Biology, which has been leading an effort in western Canada to develop bees that are better able to resist diseases. 

One of these efforts is Bee Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a project he works on with a group comprised of scientists, bee breeders, and researchers from across Canada. The IPM’s research addresses the fact that many bacteria, viruses, fungus and mites responsible for bee-specific infectious diseases are becoming resistant to pesticides, which means science needs to find new approaches to protect bee populations.  

The Science in Society Speaker Series is a joint project by Okanagan Science Centre and Okanagan College and is sponsored by the Pacific Inn and Suites, Cooper’s Foods, Starbucks Coffee, and the Vernon Morning Star.

To subscribe to or obtain more information about the series, visit www.okscience.ca or http://okanagansisss.wordpress.com.
College Board passes $95.5-million budget for 2013-14
Okanagan College Media Release


Okanagan College’s Board of Governors has approved a $95.5-million balanced operating budget for the coming fiscal year, addressing a $1.6 million shortfall through a number of measures, including reduced expenditures, expected increases in enrolment and a two per cent increase in tuition fees.    

“We must a produce a balanced budget for the institution,” explains College Board of Governors Chair Tom Styffe. “That balance extends to what we’ve asked our staff to do and what we are expecting of students. Our departments have found ways to reduce expenditures and increase revenues through contract training and through enhanced enrolment. At the same time, we’re increasing tuition two per cent.”

“This is only the third time in eight years that we have implemented an across-the-board fee increase,” Styffe notes. “Our goal this year was to avoid program and service cuts and we have achieved this. We want to ensure that we continue to provide access to the quality education that our students and communities deserve.”  

Most institutions in British Columbia have taken the allowable two per cent increases each year since the Province implemented the limit on tuition fee increases in 2005. While tuition has gone up by 6.1 per cent at Okanagan College since 2005, the Consumer Price Index has risen more than 15 per cent.

For a full-time student in university Arts with a typical course load, the two per cent increase in 2013-14 will amount to $62.79 per year, while a level one Automotive Painter apprentice would see tuition increase by $7.96. 

In addressing the 2013-14 budget issue, the College had to manage $952,000 in inflationary costs, as well as an anticipated $120,000 reduction in funding from the Province (part of a $70 million reduction to be applied sector-wide over the coming three years).

The increase in tuition is expected to yield about $302,500, while an increase in enrolment is projected to yield about $92,000 in additional tuition. Reductions in departmental expenses and increases in revenue are estimated at $240,000, while increased revenue from contract and custom training is projected to yield $670,000.

Employment program leads student to a career he never could have imagined

These stories were written by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and are being redistributed to the Okanagan with their permission.  See attached photos of Brad Tronson and Teresa Proudlove and Jennifer Jack.


Employment program leads student to a career he never could have imagined

From Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Brad Tronson March 2014Brad Tronson knows the value of having support when you are trying to make decisions about your career. He had worked in construction for 10 years when an injury on the job changed everything. Forced out of the career he loved, Brad ended up working in security to pay the bills but his heart wasn't in it. Fortunately, he bumped into an old friend who told him about a program that could help. Even better, it was being offered right in his own community — Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB).

As Brad discovered, OKIB's pre-employment program helps community members take the first steps towards a life-long career. Designed and delivered in partnership between OKIB and Okanagan College, this training program caters to the specific needs of the community. With the support of funding provided by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) and the Province of British Columbia, the program was recently expanded to include essential skills training and Adult Basic Education. The program now includes a five-month curriculum that equips students with practical skills and industry-specific certification that will make them more employable.

Like many of the students in the program, Brad faced several barriers to finding long-term employment. He didn't have a computer, Internet access or the skills to research career options and education requirements. Moreover, without a driver's license, he couldn't drive to classes or interviews outside the reserve. The pre-employment program helped him assess his skills, learn how to explore the job market and even obtain his driver's license.

By the end of the program, Brad was able to choose a career path that inspired him and he registered for the carpentry and joinery program at the Okanagan College Kelowna campus. "I've built houses for 10 years and I'm good at working with wood. I figured joinery is right up my alley and it's less physically demanding."

Brad recently won a bursary for Aboriginals in Trades and is on track to complete the college program in March and plans to pursue a Red Seal certificate in carpentry soon. However, another career change may be in store. He was recently approached by the Dean of Carpentry to help recruit Aboriginal youths to train for working in the trades. He will have to complete another college program to be eligible but looks forward to deciding on which career path to take – career options that were not on the horizon six months ago.

"I'm glad I found the program," says Brad. "Teresa and Jennifer really helped me find a career I can get excited about. I like what I'm studying now and look forward seeing where it will take me."

  

For students of Okanagan Indian Band’s employment program, success is tailor made

Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) and Okanagan College have put considerable care and attention into ensuring its pre-employment program meets the needs of its members. They know that if individuals succeed, the community as a whole will also benefit.Proudlove and Jack March 2014

To help ensure the pre-employment program addresses community needs, OKIB and Okanagan College continually seek input from Band stakeholders, students as well as program alumni. The program was recently expanded to include essential skills training, employability certification and Adult Basic Education through funding from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and the Province of BC. As a result, the course curriculum includes not only typical pre-employment training topics such as skills-assessment and resume writing but also workshops that focus on Aboriginal culture, communication skills, financial management, healthy eating and fitness.

OKIB Social Development Worker Cindy Brewer, Okanagan College Program Coordinator Cindy Meissner and lead facilitator Teresa Proudlove designed the pre-employment program to integrate foundational Aboriginal workshops throughout. "We have Social worker Molly Brewer talking to students on topics such as relationships, addictions and anger management that could be potential barriers to employment. Elder Judy Goodsky comes in to facilitate workshops about Aboriginal history and the medicine wheel helping students learn more about their heritage and how to keep themselves in balance" says Proudlove. "Many employment programs miss these critical cultural elements which reinforce students' honour and pride in their culture."

Joshua Edwards, a current student, has found the broad range of topics helpful. The class "got into depth with some of the cultural stuff," he says. "I'm not normally interested in my culture so it was pretty cool to hear about it." Kane Alexis, another student, was surprised at the number of topics that are covered. "I thought it would only be about upgrading education requirements but it was more about developing social skills and gaining all kinds of employable skills."

Jennifer Jack is the recruiter and facilitator from the OKIB office. Her deep knowledge of this close-knit community helps her identify people who would most benefit from this program. Now a proud mother of two, she was once a young woman on welfare without a high-school diploma and few prospects. When she became pregnant, she decided to fight for a second chance. She completed the necessary upgrades and continued on to receive her Human Services Diploma and her degree in social work.

Jennifer uses her journey as an example to keep students motivated. She likes to remind community members that it's never too late. "I barely thought I could earn a diploma, let alone a degree. It was scary but I went back."

Equally important is simply creating an environment where people want to come to class every day. "The program is here at Okanagan Indian Band. That's really fantastic; it makes it easier to get here," Proudlove says. Simply coming to class makes a difference she continues, "What would you be doing if you weren't making a commitment to come to class everyday for five months to focus on your career?"

Amber Phelan, a graduate of the program who is now taking Business Administration at Okanagan College agrees. "A lot of students would never come to town to participate in something like this, first of all because of transportation and gas and everything else."

The presence of the classroom in the community also helps reminds people that their friends and family are taking concrete steps towards building a future says Amber. "Having the program here is really cool because it spreads awareness through the community. Parents hear about it and they want their children to do something with their lives. It just opens doors for so many people and gives people a push to do something great."


Okanagan College Business Professor empowers women entrepreneurs in eastern Europe
Okanagan College Media Release

Kylenn Myrah March 2014Starting a new venture requires so much hard work and dedication; it’s enough to scare off even the most adventurous entrepreneur. Now, imagine undertaking a start-up as a woman in an embattled region in the face of entrenched gender bias? 

Under the principle that investing in women profits all of society, Okanagan College Business Professor Dr. Kyleen Myrah has been working with Invest for the Future (IFTF) in Croatia, a non-profit organization created under the leadership of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Ambassador-at-large for Global Women’s Issues, Melanne Verveer. Geared to improving the economic situation of women in southern and eastern Europe and Eurasia, the group hosts a series of events and initiatives that brings together women entrepreneurs, educators and policy makers.

“The situation in eastern Europe has required many people to start over and be really creative doing it,” says Myrah, who is also the IFTF’s Canadian coordinator.

“I have been so impressed with the commitment from the entrepreneurs I’ve been working with. It’s so gratifying to see them make so much progress with such limited resources in a short amount of time.”

Take, for example, the story of one of the IFTF’s entrepreneurs from Georgia, Nino Zambakhidze, who moved back to the village she grew up in to start a farm, something previously never done by a woman in her region. 

“She faced incredible obstacles to launch her new venture,” says Myrah. “But with the IFTF’s support, she built a successful enterprise, garnered national attention across eastern Europe, and inspired 250 other women to take up farming.” 

Myrah’s work with the IFTF involves mentoring entrepreneurs and helping to facilitate the annual conference with the Croatian coordinator Tina Lee Odinksy-Zec, which took place earlier this month in Croatia’s capital city, Zagreb. She delivered part of the conference’s keynote address, participated in the international press conference, and organized mentorship workshops for attending entrepreneurs on several topics, including public speaking, business financing, and marketing. 

After the conference, she took advantage of the opportunity to meet with representatives at the Canadian Embassy to Croatia to discuss support of the IFTF initiative in the region, taught a class at the Zagreb School of Economics and Management and interviewed local business owners for her ongoing research into social entrepreneurship.

While the conference is over, Myrah’s work with the IFTF is far from finished. She is now focusing on creating online resources, creating a mentoring network structure, and helping country coordinators develop the infrastructure to host events in their own areas.

“Without the support of Okanagan College, it would be impossible for me to make these kinds of contributions,” she says. “This year has been amazing experience and will help shape my work going work forward.”
College Board passes $92.8 million budget for 2014-15

Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College’s Board of Governors has passed a $92.8 million balanced budget for 2014-15 that includes tuition fee increases for domestic and international students.

“While this is a tight budget year that involves some adjustments, it also allows introduction of a new program in Sustainable Construction Management Technology, and anticipates a growth in our international student population,” explains Tom Styffe, Chair of Okanagan College’s Board of Governors.

“We have seen pressure on our annual operating budget from several fronts. We began this budget process wrestling with an issue that was measured in seven figures. It has led to some tough decisions, including some position adjustments, but we have a responsibility to focus on the sustainability of our initiatives, with respect for student and community demand.”

Some positions will be reduced, taking advantage of retirements, and there are plans for layoffs of two part-time support positions, noted Styffe. “Where required, we are also looking at shifting positions to reflect demand for programs.”

Tuition increases are one source being used to address the financial pressures. Domestic student tuitions are increasing by two per cent, while international students – who have not seen an increase in the past five years – will see tuition increase by eight per cent in the coming year.

For a domestic student taking a full-time university transfer arts program at Okanagan College, tuition will increase from $3,203 annually to $3,267. Average tuition among all public post-secondary institutions in the province for an arts program is $3,636 annually. The average among B.C.’s colleges is $2,706 annually. While university transfer arts tuition is the comparator used by many organizations it paints a very small part of the picture at the College, which has 138 credential programs: 54 of Okanagan College’s programs are below provincial average in terms of tuition charged, while another four are at the provincial average. Another 12 programs have no provincial comparators. 68 programs charge above-average tuition.

For a student taking Okanagan College’s Legal Administrative Assistant Program in Litigation, for example, tuition in 2014-15 would increase from $1,787 to $1,823 – approximately 24 per cent less than the average charged for the program in other B.C. post-secondary institutions ($2,353).

The domestic student tuition increase is expected to generate approximately $313,371 in additional revenue, that will be offset by an expected reduction in enrolment ($1.23 million) in some program areas because of falling numbers of high school graduates.

International students, whose tuition hasn’t increased during the past five years at Okanagan College, will face an increase of eight per cent, from approx. $11,000 to $11,880. The average tuition charged to international students by B.C.’s colleges is $12,286. Increased tuition is expected to yield an additional $275,000, while increased international student enrolment is expected to provide an additional $638,735.

College signs agreement with University of Fraser Valley
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College and the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) will be working more closely together after committing to ongoing collaboration on programming, services and other ventures that are in line with their goals and that will address the needs of the regions they serve. 

UFV President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mark Evered joined College President Jim Hamilton today in Salmon Arm to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on behalf of their respective organizations. 

The partnership formalizes a path for the two institutions to maximize the use of their resources, collaborate on planning, share ideas and promote learning opportunities. 

In particular, the two institutions will work together on opportunities associated with UFV’s new British Columbia Agriculture Centre of Excellence, which is being constructed in Chilliwack. Those opportunities are likely to be first explored at the College’s Salmon Arm campus and may take the shape of shared program planning, program delivery or transfer arrangements.

“Today’s MOU signing is a first step in the right direction for Okanagan College to deepen its relationship with our colleagues at the University of the Fraser Valley,” said Hamilton. “UFV is being widely recognized as a leader in agricultural program development and delivery and their knowledge and experience is something Okanagan College can benefit from. We know there is collective and mutual value when we work together and I’m pleased to be moving forward with UFV.”

“We embrace this opportunity to work with Okanagan College,” said Evered. “Together we can provide graduates both the theory and leading-edge practical skills needed in the increasingly complex and technology-rich world of modern agriculture and agribusiness. Increasingly, our economies and the safety and security of our food supply will depend on their leadership.”

UFV is located in the communities of Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Hope and Agassiz. Okanagan College has campuses in Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton. Together, the institutions serve more than 35,000 students in the province annually.
Okanagan College’s Dean of Business elected Second Vice-Chair of CGA-BC
Okanagan College Media Release

Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of the Okanagan College School of Business, has been elected as Second Vice-Chair of the Certified General Accountants Association of British Columbia (CGA-BC) Board of Governors, which represents almost 11,000 CGAs and nearly 5,000 CGA students. 

“It’s an exciting and challenging time to be in this role,” said Banham. “The major initiative we’re working on is the unification of the accounting profession in B.C. An agreement to merge has been signed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of BC, the Certified General Accountants Association and the Certified Management Accountants Society of BC. We are working together to establish the Chartered Professional Accountants of BC.

“I’m looking forward to participating and making a contribution to this strategic vision, which will unify the three professional accounting bodies in British Columbia.”

Banham has worked at Okanagan College for 20 years and is currently Dean of the College’s School of Business and a Professor in the Business Administration department. Appointed Dean in 2010, she is formerly Associate Dean and Director of the “Building Small Business Human Resources” project. 

“We are delighted at Heather’s appointment,” said Okanagan College Vice President of Education, Dr. Andrew Hay. “She will bring a great deal to her new role with CGA-BC. Her professional experience and proven ability to work collaboratively will serve the association well.

“Heather’s direction and strategic guidance have benefited the College and its students,” continued Hay. “During her tenure as Dean, she has worked to expand the reputation of the School and to provide opportunities that enrich the student experience, including international exchanges, applied research, and project opportunities that connect students and the College to local business and community needs.”

Banham has a distinguished record as a researcher and educator. She earned her Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Human Resource Management from the University of Southern Queensland, an MBA in International Management from the Asia Pacific International Graduate School of Management, and a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) from the University of Southern Queensland. Banham earned her CGA designation in 1992, and is also a member of the Australian Society of Certified Practicing Accountants. 

The Okanagan College School of Business has over 1,500 business students who benefit from a career-ready education based on real-world curriculum, hands-on experience, community networking connections, and international study options.
Local author makes shortlist at national writing competition

HawleyKelowna-based author and Okanagan College English professor, Alix Hawley, has been named one of the top five finalists in the Canada Writes – 2014 CBC Short Story Prize.

Her short story, “Jumbo,” is about the love a young girl has for an elephant at the zoo, and was inspired by a 19th-century photograph Hawley came across when she was working on her PhD in English Literature in England.  

“There was little girl in the photo and she was staring straight into the camera with such a sharp expression on her face,” says Hawley.
“She became the central figure of “Jumbo” and around her the story explores the hugeness of love and the difficulty children have dealing with emotion.”

This recognition marks the second time Hawley has been a finalist in the Canada Writes Short Story competition. She was in the top five in 2012 for her satirical story “Tentcity” about lost love during the 2003 Okanagan fire.

Most recently, she won CBC’s Canada Writes BloodLines short-story writing contest in December 2013 for “Pig (for Oma).”
Hawley is humbled by all the attention her work is getting.

“I am grateful, delighted and surprised,” she says.

“It's nice, if a little disconcerting, to think that more people might be reading my work. It’s especially nice that short fiction is getting attention as well, because it's a genre I love.”

Other writing credits for Hawley include a short-story collection, The Old Familiar, (2008), and a novel, entitled All True Not a Lie In It, that is scheduled to be published in early 2015 by Knopf / Random House Canada. In addition, she was recently named Knopf’s New Face of Fiction for 2015.

There were 3,200 stories from across the country submitted in this year’s Canada Writes Short Story competition. The winner will be announced Mar. 24 and, in addition to a cash prize of $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, will receive a two-week residence at The Banff Centre and have their story published in enRoute magazine.

To read Alix Hawley’s contest entry, “Jumbo,” and to find out more about Canada writes, visit www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/literaryprizes/shortstory.

Write on! Registration opens for Okanagan College Three-hour Poetry Contest
Okanagan College Media Release

Versifiers, rhymesters and sonneteers from throughout the region will congregate on all four Okanagan College campuses on Thursday, April 3 to put their deftness with doggerel and love of lyric to the test in the first annual Okanagan College Three-hour Poetry Contest. 

Beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 3, aspiring poets who are Okanagan College students or high school students in Grades 11 or 12, will have 180 minutes to create up to three original poems in the poetic form revealed at the beginning of the contest. Instructions will be provided.

“We’re launching the Three-hour Poetry Contest in response to the success of the Three-hour Short Story Contest we hold every fall,” explained Okanagan College English Professor Kerry Gilbert. “We thought it would be valuable to reach writers who prefer working in verse over prose.”

“As a writer, I’m a poet first,” said Gilbert. “I love to experiment with other genres, but they don’t feel as natural as poetry does. There’s something about capturing large ideas within brief moments through imagery that’s appealing. I think it appeals to a lot of writers.”

Five prizes are on offer. Each campus will declare a regional winner who receives a $250 Okanagan College tuition credit. A grand prize winner will then be selected from among the four regional winners and awarded an additional $250 tuition credit.

“The benefit for students of participating in a contest like this is to flex their ‘writerly’ muscles,” said Gilbert. “It’s a true test of a writer (poet or otherwise) to work in demanding writing situations. Sometimes the best work comes out of those moments. The prizes and recognition are good motivators, too.”

Registration is free. Visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/3hourpoetry to sign up. Registration closes at noon on Wednesday, April 2, 2014.