Students shine at Gold Medal Plates

culinaryMore than 60 students enrolled in Okanagan College Culinary Arts programs donned aprons to help some of the best chefs in the country in their bid to win this year’s Canadian Culinary Championships held this past weekend in Kelowna.

Cayman MacPhee, a 21-year-old Advanced Culinary Arts diploma student, was paired up with Chef Nathin Bye from the Wildflower Grill in Edmonton for the three-day event. MacPhee was one of 19 select students who had the opportunity to work alongside chefs in the competition, which helps raise money for the Canadian Olympic team.

“This was an awesome experience for our students,” said Culinary Arts Instructor Reinhard Foerderer, who oversaw this year’s competition.

Representing B.C. was local chef Mark Filatow from Waterfront Restaurant & Wine Bar.

“To have one of our own local chefs taking part is really a testament to the quality of food and wine that is coming from this valley,” said Jonathan Rouse, Director of Wine, Food and Tourism at Okanagan College. “Hosting events like the Canadian Culinary Championships is a fine example of the kinds of things that can happen when these three powerhouse sectors – wine, food and tourism – work together.”

The winning chef was Marc St. Jacques from Auberge du Pommier in Toronto. Silver went to Jamie Stunt of Oz Kafe in Ottawa, and bronze to Milton Rebello from Hotel Saskatchewan Radisson Plaza in Regina.

To read the full media release, click here. To read more about the results of the competition, click here.

Student initiative deepens spiritual practice at Aboriginal Centre

smudgeTwo Okanagan College students have set the course to deepen Aboriginal spiritual and cultural practices available to students at the College’s Kelowna campus.

“The request is coming from students to be better informed about spirituality and their culture – and that’s our job to serve and provide information through the centre itself,” said Aboriginal Access & Services Coordinator James Coble.

The idea came when Dale Shackelly wanted to assist a fellow student who was stressed from her studies. She recommended a smudging ceremony, but found the tools needed were not available at the centre.

After speaking with her friend Vera Camille, the two approached Aboriginal Transitions Planner Gail Smith and an initial ceremony was held last week before 60 fellow students, staff and faculty members, to bring the practice onto campus.

“Smudging clears our minds,” Shackelly told the crowd. “If I didn’t believe in the power of prayer the Nlakapmux way, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Smith said the goal now is to make sure the centre has the tools available on hand.

“We’re going to learn where to pick the sage, how to dry it, and how to handle it,” she said. “I don’t know any of that, so that’s how the elders, like Richard Jackson Jr., and others have been helping us.”

Business Expo revs up Kelowna campus

biz expoFor the third year in a row, Okanagan College’s Business Expo and Employment Fair was a sold out event with an estimated 1,000 people stopping to speak to more than 60 exhibitors at the Kelowna campus.

“A lot of students were telling us that there are far more people hiring and looking for people than there have been in recent years,” said Jamie Morrow, Program and Event Coordinator for the Okanagan School of Business, which puts on the event.

Now in its sixth year, the Expo virtually filled the Atrium and second floor of the Centre for Learning Building, with students and visitors flowing through from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“There was a really positive vibe and a sense that there is a much more positive outlook for the economic future,” Morrow said.

Among the companies taking part were engineering firms, three national banks, and a number of multinational organizations.

To read the complete media release, click here.

Okanagan College seals People's Choice at CANstruction

2013 canstructionOkanagan College students took the People’s Choice award at this year’s CANstruction event that took place at the Orchard Park Shopping Centre in Kelowna.

Students from the Civil Engineering Technology program paired up with members of the Enactus Okanagan College team to spend three days creating this year’s structure – one of the biggest for the College yet with a total of 7,474 items.

canstruction enactusThe eye-catching design featured three people of different cultures gathering around a tree to show that families can be a blend of different cultures, just like a community.

Taking part from Civil Engineering were Carson Todd, Matthew Kielpinski, Mitch Bariesheff, Petrus Stofberg and Trevor Siemens and from Enactus Tara Chalmers, Glen Larkin, Scott Harvey, Axel Funk, and Karen Vandergaag.

Okanagan hosts first Vex Robotic Competition for B.C. Interior

robotsAbout 80 high school students came to Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus Feb. 9 for the Vex Robotics Competition – the first time the Pacific Robotics Society has held the high school level tournament in the B.C. Interior.

The event was organized in part by Vladimir Neykov, an instructor in the College’s Mechanical Engineering Technology department, who said events like this encourage students and parents to consider education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Students competed on a 12-foot by 12-foot “field” in a game called Sack Attack that involved independent and manipulated robot activity where teams score points by putting beanbags into elevated troughs.

To read the full media release, click here. More information about the Vex Robotics competition is available on the Pacific Youth Robotics Society website.

Spaghetti Bridge Contest turns 30

Okanagan College is inviting engineers, construction enthusiasts or anyone interested in battling their wits to build a spaghetti bridge in celebration of 30 years of the Okanagan College Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest.
“Over the decades hundreds of post-secondary and secondary school students have taken part in the contest, and we thought it would be great if some of them came back to try their hand at it again,” said Michelle Lowry, who organizes the event.
Spaghetti Bridge 2013 takes place at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College on March 1. The event includes bridge-building competitions for secondary and post-secondary students, plus the popular Heavyweight competition, open to full-time secondary or post-secondary students.
Registration for all the events, including the new Open Heavyweight Competition, is being accepted through to Feb. 15.

Read the complete release here.

Scientist to explain new techniques in tracking disease spread

Dr. Jennifer GardyOne of B.C.’s top experts in DNA sequencing and its relationship with disease outbreaks will be at the Vernon campus Tuesday Mar. 5 to present a lecture as part of the ongoing Science in Society speaker series.

Dr. Jennifer Gardy is a molecular epidemiologist at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and leads the BCCDC’s Genome Research Laboratory. Her talk, DNA Detectives: Genomics and DNA sequencing to solve multiple mysteries takes place at 7:30 p.m..

Gardy believes that epidemiology in combination with DNA sequencing provides a powerful tool to unveil the specific steps in disease outbreaks, and this is an important step towards controlling such outbreaks – from tuberculosis to influenza.

Gardy has been involved in a number of science media projects, including regular appearances on CBC Television's The Nature of Things. Her writing has also appeared in The Globe and Mail.

This free event is made possible by Genome BC. To guarantee a seat, please register online at Registration at the door will be available on a first come, first served basis.

Nutrition students carve up food bank meal plan

HKIN nutrition food bankWhen recipients at the Penticton Food Bank pick up their next hamper, they’ll find recipes and a one-week meal plan created by Okanagan College students.

The students, all enrolled in the Human Kinetics Nutrition course, recently visited the food bank, assessed contents of a typical hamper, and were then assigned to come up with a plan.

“It was a great learning experience for everyone,” said Professor Louise Blais. “From the student’s perspective, it provided a real life lesson about eating healthy on a limited budget and the students were excited to help local families eat healthy and balanced meals.”


Rene Dahms a winner, literally

literacySalmon Arm Adult Education Instructor Rene Dahms had the honour recently of sharing recognition for work done by The Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society.

Dahms was on hand to receive the Council of Federation Literacy Award from Shuswap MLA George Abbott earlier this month.

“Just to be recognized as a society for the hard work we have done is wonderful,” she said.

Launched in 2007, the society provides a variety of community literacy services to everyone from babies to seniors, including programs in more than 15 schools.

Dahms said Okanagan College has played a vital role since the start of the program, most significantly helping with funding applications in the early years.


Feb. 12, 2013 Vol. 7 Issue 21


Software upgrades underway Feb. 16 & 17

IT Services will be upgrading Banner Student Self Service, Faculty Self-Service, Student modules and the Banner BRM modules this weekend.

This upgrade will cause a disruption in service for Banner and Banner related services from 8 p.m. Saturday on Feb. 16 until 2 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17. Anyone who encounters problems can contact the IT Services helpdesk on Monday, Feb. 18 for assistance.

Seasonal closures for 2013

Closure dates are now available for both the summer and winter holiday season. The schedules have now been posted online for both summer, and winter when the College will be closed to the public from Tuesday, Dec. 24 at 3 p.m. through to Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.

Nomination call for faculty

Education Council is looking for nominations for four regional faculty representatives (either instructional or non-instructional) from each of the four College regions. For more information, visit the Elections tab in myOkanagan.

Vernon bound for Connections 2013

The Vernon campus becomes home base for this year’s Connections – the professional development event designed for Okanagan College employees.

Connections provides time for the institution to gather and reflect, network and discuss with innovative and informative sessions, fun activities and a wind up social. Watch for registration in April.

Security Manual available online

A reminder that Okanagan College has an online security manual to deal with safety issues on campus. Details include what to do in case of various emergencies.


Feb. 14 – Learning about instruction design gets tuned up a bit with the help of a guitar, and lessons from Joni Mitchell. This interactive session covers everything from determining appropriate outcomes to creating assessments. The workshop takes place at the Penticton campus, from 1 – 2:30 p.m., Room C15.

Feb. 14 – Learn how to build a simple Moodle companion course site with Ed Tech Coordinator Mike Minions. The session takes place from 3 – 4:30 p.m., Room C15 at the Penticton campus.

Feb. 18 – Eva Durance and Jennifer Vincent of Penticton Urban Agriculture Association speak on Food Security from 7 – 8 p.m. at the Penticton campus.

Feb. 25 – Food writer Jennifer Cockrall-King takes a wide-angled look at the food production in urban spaces with her talk Food and the City, on at the Penticton campus from 7 – 8 p.m.

Mar. 1 – The 30th Annual Okanagan College Spaghetti Bridge competition takes place from 10 a.m., with the popular heavyweight underway at approximately 1 p.m. This event is open to elementary through to post-secondary students, and takes place at the Kelowna campus lecture theatre, pit and Atrium in the Centre for Learning. For more information, visit



Okanagan Sunday’s Women in Business supplement featured an article on Okanagan College Regional Dean Heather Schneider and her new appointment as chair of the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission. Her position was also highlighted in the Courier. Read She’s the boss at EDC, and Labour shortage could return.

The Gold Medal Plates competition drew considerable coverage throughout the previous week. The event, held with the assistance of Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts department was featured in Courier, the Capital News, and Okanagan Sunday. Read: Toronto chef cooks up win, Ontario chefs finish one, two at culinary championships, Black box competition turns up the heat in the kitchen, and Competition about to get cooking. Coverage also included the College’s media release, featuring student Cayman MacPhee. Read: Top 10 chefs ready for Gold Plate final and Students prep for top chefs’ visit.

Okanagan College has gone back in time to give students a rare hands-on experience with words. Read: College print shop opens doors.

Okanagan College’s new Board of Governors was mentioned in various local media. Read: Connie Denesiuk has been chosen to serve as the vice-chair of the Okanagan College Board of Directors, and New executive for Okanagan College board.

The 30th anniversary of Okanagan College’s Spaghetti Bridge contest is coming up this year featuring a new open contest for construction enthusiasts. Read: Spaghetti Bridge contest open to everyone this year in the Courier, Spaghetti bridge contest open to public this year, in the Penticton Herald, and College opens Spaghetti Bridge contest to public in the Capital News.

High school students strategically place a beanbag on their robot during the Vex Robotics Competition at Okanagan College. Read: Robotics, Student’s robotics skills put to test at competition, and Robots ready to hit the mats at Kelowna campus.

Former Okanagan College employee and School of Business alumnus Bobby Gidda was featured in an article on wine. Read: Carrying on past success of the ‘Sweetheart’ event.

CBC’s Dragon’s Den arrived in Penticton, with auditions at the College’s Penticton campus. Read: Pitch your idea to Dragon’s Den, and Dragon’s Den visits Penticton, and What’s the big idea?

Nine teams, including one from Okanagan College, took part in this year’s CANstruction. Read: Canstruction takes food pyramid literally.

Okanagan College School of Business Professor Cathy Fitzgerald was quoted in an article on non-retirement. Read: Remaining relevant, in the Capital News.

Okanagan College’s School of Business and its Student, Graduate and Co-op Employment Centre held its sixth annual Business Expo. Read: College hosting business expo in the Morning Star, and College job fair a popular draw, from the Courier.

Recent comments from MLA Steve Thomson regarding post-secondary funding prompted a letter to the editor. Read: One-time funding and photo ops inadequate, and Students expect more support from B.C. gov’t.

The 50 Years Ago section of the Courier, focused on hopes for a new junior college in the area. Read: Praise for college plan.

Students at Okanagan College in Penticton helped to launch Rock the Vote BC. Read: College Students rocking the vote, and Students aim to mobilize young voters.

Morning Star letter writers Sally Gorby and Frank Teaporten shared their thoughts about a new sports complex to be located at the College’s Vernon campus. Also read: Support the complex.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Christine Ulmer.

To ensure your submission is included, please send all details at least one day in advance of the newsletter’s publication.

The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2013.