SIFE Okanagan sweeps Western Canada

sifeOkanagan College’s SIFE team delivered a one-two-three punch at the regional competition in Vancouver, finishing first in each of the three main categories: Financial Literacy, Entrepreneurship and the Go Green challenge.

Fifteen Okanagan College students impressed the competition judges, delivering compelling presentations on a range of SIFE Okanagan’s community outreach projects in the Okanagan valley, each of which address relevant social, economic and environmental needs.

In its first victory of the competition SIFE Okanagan won the Capital One SIFE Financial Education competition (team members Drew Vincent, Delanie Shaw, Thomas Arrowsmith, Jordan Pack and Samantha Hallett) beating out teams from the University of Victoria, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, Thompson Rivers University and DeVry Institute of Technology.

In its second victory SIFE Okanagan captured first in the TD SIFE Entrepreneurship competition, with presentations from Kelowna students Paven Sekhon, Adrienne Renaud and Bill Wang and Salmon Arm students Ryan Rithaler and Kris Goralski.

Finally, SIFE Okanagan won gold in the Scotiabank & SIFE Go Green challenge with team members Kacie Sawri, Danielle Hofer, Evan Dizak, Dominique Tipton, Alejandro Valcarcel emerging victorious over the University of Calgary, Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia, Brandon University, SAIT Polytechnic and Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Follow this link to read the complete Public Affairs press release.

Spaghetti Bridge goes Hungary

spagIt was a third try that proved to be lucky for Peter Sandor – or was it purely strategic pasta domination? Either way, the engineering student from Hungary’s College of Nyiregyhaza smiled from ear to ear as he hoisted the $1,500 cheque over his head.

Sandor was crowned the 2012 Okanagan College Spaghetti Bridge Heavyweight champion on March 2 in Kelowna. His bridge, which weighed in at 967 grams, held 384.06 kg before shattering in front of an auditorium packed with elementary, middle and secondary students, each with big pasta engineering dreams.

Second place in the Heavyweight division was captured by Okanagan College’s team of Jordan Hipkiss and Joel Peters, students in the College’s Civil Engineering Technology program. Their bridge was 32 grams heavier than Sandor’s and held 129.13 kilograms.

Third place went to Cherryville’s Clayton Mazu – the youngest in the Heavyweight division and only competitor not in college. Mazu’s bridge held 127.41 kilograms.

Follow this link to read the complete press release with full results from the 2012 competition.

Great-West Life ensures future with donation

gwlOne of Canada’s leading insurers, Great-West Life – together with its subsidiaries, London Life and Canada Life – recently contributed $100,000 to the Okanagan College Foundation to encourage sustainability training.

“Okanagan College has built one of the most innovative and sustainable post-secondary facilities in the world and will soon be training the next generation of tradespeople in sustainable building practices,” said Great-West Life’s Dave Kent, Regional Director, Sales and Marketing Centre, BC Region.

Half of the funding will go towards the capital cost of The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation located at the Penticton Campus. The remaining $50,000 will go towards development of a new three-year Sustainable Construction Management Technology program at Okanagan College.

Added Paul Finkbeiner, President of GWL Realty Advisors, Great-West Life’s real estate investment subsidiary: “This new program aligns closely with our commitment to sustainability, and it’s great to attract trades into a program dedicated to green construction management.”

Follow this link to read the complete press release.

Students remember Japanese disaster

japanOn Friday, March 9, Okanagan College’s International Education department recognized the first anniversary of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan.

A group of Japanese students shared some of their thoughts and experiences about the disaster. Their messages offered up a perfect combination of respect, emotion and encouragement.

Last year’s Hope for Japan campaign raised $13,707 in support of the victims – those funds were donated to the Red Cross and are now being used as part of a project to build 70,000 new homes and benefit more than 280,000 tsunami victims.

Penticton showcases women in history

postitOkanagan College’s Women’s Resource Centre at the Penticton campus recognized International Women’s Day on March 8 with a timeline of important and significant events for women throughout history.

The event also encouraged women to write their thoughts on what it means to be a woman in 2012, with responses posted in the Demo Lab.

WRC also provided visitors with a handout illustrating the timeline of the status of women in Canada.

Employee Excellence Awards

empexNominations for Okanagan College’s inaugural Employee Excellence Awards close on Monday, March 19. The new program recognizes the contributions of employees with a total of eight awards.

Click here to access more information and nomination forms.

High school students buzz at 16th annual competition

skillsbcMore than 70 high school students from Revelstoke to Oliver took part in the 16th Annual Trades & Technology SkillsBC Regional Competition held at the Kelowna campus on March 2.

Students competed in 11 different trades and technology contests, in hope of getting one of the top spots that would move them on to the gold medal round at the Skills Canada BC provincial competition to be held April 18 in Abbotsford.

Joining the senior students were 32 students from Grades 6-9 competing in two junior skills contests: Gravity Vehicle and Wind Turbine.

For competition results visit:


Alix Hawley makes CBC shortlist

hawleyA professor in Okanagan College’s distinguished English faculty is now among 10 English-language finalists for the coveted CBC Canada Writes Short Story prize.

Alix Hawley, who grew up in Kelowna, is up for the prize for her short story Tentcity, a satirical tale of lost love set against the backdrop of the 2003 Okanagan Fire.

Her work was selected from more than 3,750 short stories submitted from across the country.

“I was utterly astonished when I heard the news,” said Hawley. “I’ve entered for the last few years and I just threw this one in. It never occurred to me this story would end up in the top 10.”

Readers are invited to vote for their favourite story starting March 19. Click here to cast your ballot.

Culinary Arts grad takes to world stage

jongAfter wiping the Gold Medal Plates clean with his work with Okanagan College students, Culinary Arts alumnus Jon Garratt has now secured a place at the World Chef table.

Garratt has just been named as one of only two Young Chef Ambassadors with the World Association of Chefs Societies, in charge of both North and South America.

“I really didn’t think this was going to happen,” said Garratt when he learned he was named to this new position.

Garratt, a former Culinary Arts apprentice who earned his Red Seal in February just after the Gold Medal Plates competition wrapped up, collected praise from numerous contacts in order to convince the society he was worthy.

Among them was Chef Michael Smith from the Food Network.

“He made a conference call to the society president in Iceland on my behalf,” Garratt said.

Now it will be the 30-year-old chef’s job to get more countries on board recognizing the talents of young chefs. Only nine countries in the world offer young chef programs, with Canada – and now the Okanagan - considered to be at the forefront.

Human Resources professional list grows

chrpOkanagan School of Business professor Laura Thurnheer and Human Resources’ own Vanessa Griffens have both received their CHRP designation.

The two College employees are among only 11 recipients in the Southern Interior of B.C. who have received this certification, which requires writing two exams to qualify.

The certification is especially sweet for Griffens, who not only works in Human Resources at Okanagan College, but graduated from the College’s BBA program in 2007, specializing in human resources management.

President’s Entrance Scholarship

scholarshipSix women have been granted the President’s Entrance Scholarship for 2011, along with one man for 2010.

The President’s Entrance Scholarship is one of Okanagan College’s most coveted awards. It recognizes leadership, scholastic achievement and community contributions.

Recipients of the award receive a tuition credit for the academic year. The 2011 winners were honoured for their achievements last week when they spent an evening with program Deans and President Hamilton at a dinner at Infusions.

The winners for 2011 are:

Teddie Brock (Revelstoke-Shuswap, enrolled in Associate of Arts)
Lauren Crandlemire (Revelstoke-Shuswap, enrolled in Associate of Science)
Cayla Brown (North Okanagan, enrolled in Associate of Arts)
Olivia Glockner (Central Okanagan, enrolled in Business Administration Diploma)
Kayla Moore (Central Okanagan, enrolled in Business Administration Diploma)  Danielle Chetner (South Okanagan, enrolled in Associate of Science).
The 2010 winner is David Delgatty (Central Okanagan, enrolled in Associate of Arts).

To read more about this year’s winners, follow this link.

Therapist Assistant instructor successfully defends PhD

brettA curiosity about the relationship between geography and the prevalence of multiple sclerosis has resulted in a PhD for Dr. Brett Wade.

The title of his dissertation is: “The Geomagnetic Field and Correlations with Multiple Sclerosis: A Possible Etiology for Disease.”

A physiotherapist for 17 years with a personal interest in the health effects of electromagnetic radiation, Brett wanted to learn more about why the prevalence of the disease is highest between 40 and 60 degrees north.

More information about Brett’s research will be featured later this week in College Matters.   

Frances Greenslade nominated for BC book prize

greensladeFrances Greenslade, whose work Shelter has been drawing accolades from critics as far away as Britain, has now been nominated for the prestigious Ethel Wilson B.C. Book Prize.

“I heard from my publisher earlier this week. Up until then I hadn’t really thought about it too much,” said Greenslade, an English professor at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus. “Now, I’m just really pleased.”

Greenslade’s book is up against five others, including Half-Blood Blues, by Esi Edugyan, which won the 2011 Scotiabank Giller prize.

The award ceremony takes place May 12, 2012

Yacheson to retire

yachesonJo-Anne Yacheson, Associate Director of Continuing Studies, is retiring on April 19, 2012. 

Jo-Anne has been with the College for almost 32 years and during that time, she has enthusiastically contributed to the success and growth of the institution. Jo-Anne’s involvement in the community, on numerous college committees, and her leadership role with the Administrators’ Association are just a few examples of how she has contributed to the College’s overall success.

Her passion for post-secondary education and her dedication and commitment to students and staff always aligned with the College’s mission, vision and values. Those who have worked with Jo-Anne will miss her enthusiasm, knowledge and expertise.

A celebration of Jo-Anne’s career and retirement will take place on April 20 in A146 at the Kelowna campus between 2-4 p.m.  A dinner at the Mekong restaurant will follow at 5 p.m. Please contact the Mekong directly to make your reservation.

Modern Love lands instructor in New York Times

Creative writing instructor Natalie Appleton can now add the New York Times to her hefty clipping file.

Appleton, author of A World Away, a Wish Answered, teaches through the Continuing Studies program at both the Kelowna and Vernon campuses, and decided to pen a very personal story about meeting her husband in Bangkok for the paper’s Modern Love section.

To read her essay, click here

Andy Revell revs up for kids

heartFacilities Management’s Andy Revell will be taking part in the third annual Have a Heart Race for Kids at the Penticton Speedway on April 22.

The race is put on to help raise money to equip the pediatric and maternity wards of the Penticton Regional Hospital. Revell will be racing in two classes: the super stocks with his #4, and the Hornets, in car #14.

“The more people show up, to the more money the Speedway will donate,” he said.

Lordco Auto Parts will also be donating funds for any laps where Revell takes the lead. Contact Andy for more information.

Blue Ribbon idea

Regional Dean Jim Barmby is extending thanks to the staff who submitted a total of 32 entries in the contest for a slogan to accompany Okanagan College logos on the back of the volunteers t-shirts attending the Fall Fair.

The entries yielded great ideas, even a few designs, to keep the Fall Fair goers on their toes (maybe next year).
Esteemed adjudicators (thank you for taking on the tough assignment) stuck with the spirit and intent of the rules, and managed to narrow a great many entries down to one.

Including the logo, the message will read:
Okanagan College – A Blue Ribbon Education
The idea belongs to Wanda Radies, who wins a $50 gift certificate to any Okanagan College Bookstore. Congratulations, Wanda!

From how-to book to fashionable art

friesenInspired by the book autopsies of Brian Dettmer (unsure of what those are, click here), Karen Friesen, from the Vernon Library, fashioned her artwork from a book that had belonged to her mother.

Karen painstakingly cut out every illustration from 'Fashion Sewing for Everyone' and attached them to the book cover. This piece of book art now graces the Circulation area in the Vernon Library.

Sustainability in Education series

Sustainability! Complex problems require multi-factorial solutions.

hkinDrinking water inspired 19 HKIN 261 students to undertake a research project as a major course assignment. A literature review highlighted the complexity of the health, environmental, economic, and social issues surrounding bottled water. A campus-wide survey and an environmental audit were completed.

The project culminated in a report to the Regional Dean with three measurable goals and seven recommendations for action. The number one recommendation was to upgrade the drinking water fountains to cold, filtered reusable bottle fill stations with a sipping option.

All five drinking fountains at the Penticton Campus have since been replaced. In the last two years, 44,226 reusable bottles have been filled. Increased access to a free, healthy, sustainable water choice was key to reducing consumption of bottled water. Students learned that with administrative support, careful research and thoughtful recommendations, one small group can make a difference.

John Kenny is running for animals

kennyJohn Kenny, a Civil Engineering Technology instructor at Okanagan College, will be running the BMO Vancouver City Marathon in May to raise awareness and funds for two local animal rescue organizations: Critteraid and The Okanagan Small Dog Rescue Society.

This has been a pretty big undertaking for him as he has never run a marathon before.

John has been training steadily over the last few months and last October, he completed the BMO Okanagan Half Marathon in less than two hours. It was a good start to his ultimate target of a full marathon in Vancouver in May 2012.

If you would like to sponsor John's run and learn more about these two organizations, visit or or contact John directly. Remember to put "Marathon" in the description field if you are making a donation online.

Email migration

Over the next five months IT Services will be migrating all faculty and staff email from the existing Exchange 2007 servers to new Exchange 2010 servers.

Not much will change after the migration:
•    You will still use your existing version of Microsoft Outlook to check your email.
•    Instead of having a separate account for email you will access your email using your nine digit employee ID and the same password you use today to log into your desktop or laptop.
•    The Outlook web interface will change slightly.

Over the next few months IT Services will be contacting individual departments to schedule a meeting to plan the unit’s migration. At those meetings IT Services will review potential migration issues in more detail and develop a migration plan and schedule for the department.

You can find more information about the migrations, including information about issues we will have to deal with through the migration, by going online.

Connections 2012

Save the dates Aug. 22 and 23 for Connections 2012, expected to be the most fun-packed, action-packed and nosh-filled event of the year! Watch for updates in Inside Okanagan College as more details emerge.

BUAD 309 project rolls onto campus

Students in Okanagan College’s Social Entrepreneurship BUAD 309 class are raising awareness about the Hippo Roller - a water barrel that makes it easier and much faster to transport water long distances. The Hippo Roller is currently being used in rural communities in Africa by women and children to provide clean water for the household, and for micro-enterprises, allowing women to make a living and children to stay in school.

The purpose of this event is to help to raise awareness of the Hippo Roller project throughout the Okanagan College community while raising funds to be able to purchase a Hippo Roller for a family in need. The students will be hosting races to showcase how the Hippo Roller works compared to carrying buckets of the same volume. Staff are invited to come try out the Hippo Roller and enter one of the fun races on Monday, March 26 at 12:30 p.m. in Kelowna in the breezeway.

SIFE students will be taking donations up to and after the event as well. Please contact Caroline Wyatt.

Rare book exhibit at College Library

The Department of English, students from the Diploma in Writing & Publishing program and the Okanagan College Library are presenting an exhibit of exceptional books from the 20th and 21st centuries, with a few guest appearances from the 15th, 16th and 18th centuries, including important works on the history of typography, as well as stunning examples from contemporary Canadian letterpress printers.

The opening reception takes place Monday, March 26 at 7 p.m. in the Centre for Learning in Kelowna.

The event includes a presentation from Okanagan College professor and exhibit curator Jason Dewinetz. The event continues through to March 29 with regular exhibit hours of 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

For more information & student essays about the exhibited books:

ILT seeks new administrator

The Institute for Learning and Teaching is searching for a new administrator.

Rob Kjarsgaard’s term ends May 31, which means the position is now open to anyone who qualifies. The start date is negotiable.

The two-year term position is a .5 FTE or 17.5 hours per week, and hours are flexible to accommodate any existing duties and obligations.

The position is designed to build on various initiatives including the Learner-Centred Instructor Certificate program, lunch and learn sessions, newsletter, peer observations, workshops, etc.

For more information, and to apply, check the Employment Opportunities on the College’s website.

Coyotes eat up pit stop

A big thank you to all staff who attended last Friday's Pit Stop, which helped support Okanagan College’s two Coyotes athletic teams.

Tickets for the next big fundraiser – the Coyotes Pasta Dinner at Infusions Restaurant on April 19 – are now available through the Athletics and Rec office or the cafeteria. Cost: $25/$15 for students.

Speedy cyclist sought to support Half Marathon

Okanagan College’s Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay race is just around the corner on Sunday, April 1. The race committee is in need of a speedy cyclist to lead the 10 K runners on the course.

Finance’s Vicki Pannell has filled the role for the past two years, ensuring the lead runners stayed on course and were safe in traffic. An injury has left Vicki sidelined and the race committee is confident the College has at least one more speed racer in its ranks who will be able to volunteer half an hour on Sunday morning to lead the group.

Anyone interested in finding out more about becoming a lead cyclist can contact race director Christine Ulmer.

Curtain rising on Blithe Spirit

The Red Dot Players bring this Noel Coward comedy alive March 16 and 17 at 7:30 pm. and March 18 at 2 p.m. at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus lecture theatre. Tickets can be purchased at Mosaic Books, the Okanagan College Bookstore, and the door.

For more information, visit or to read the complete press release, follow this link.

2012 Convocation

Faculty are encouraged to remind all students who are eligible to graduate and plan to attend Convocation this spring or summer that they must apply to graduate.  

The deadline to apply to graduate for Spring Convocation is March 31, 2012. The deadline to apply to graduate for Vernon Convocation or Summer Convocation is April 30, 2012.

Faculty are also invited to attend Convocation ceremonies. For those wish to take part, please contact Michelle Lowry with your height and highest awarded credential (ie, MSc, Alberta) and identify which ceremony(s) you plan to attend.  

This year, Convocation ceremonies will be held on June 2 and June 28 in Kelowna and on June 27 in Vernon.


March 14 – The Institute for Learning and Teaching welcomes Michael Christy with his presentation on personal core values and their ultimate effect on your health. The event takes place in Room E 107 from 12 – 1 p.m., in Kelowna.

March 16 - Poet Erin Moure launches her new book The Unmemntioable, an extraordinary collection that blends poetry, prose, dialogue, and images, at the Bohemian Café in Kelowna at 7 p.m. Opening the read will be writer and Okanagan College Writing and Publishing student Joanne Carey. Reading gets underway at 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact Jake Kennedy

March 21 – The last 'Activity + Knowledge' presentation of the term is ZUMBA with Helena at noon in the Pit in Kelowna. RSVP to Lynn Johnson. Wear your sneakers and have some fun, all while burning calories.
March 22 – Okanagan College Coyotes Baseball BBQ Fundraiser. Pick up a $5 burger in the Breezeway or the Pit from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and receive a ticket to the season opening weekend Mar. 23-25 at Elks Stadium in Kelowna. See the Athletics and Rec office (A105) for a game schedule.

Mar. 26-30 – Okanagan College showcases a collection of rare books, some dating back to the 15th Century, at a special exhibit put on by the English Department and students from the Diploma in Writing & Publishing program. An opening reception takes place Monday night at 7 p.m. Regular exhibit hours: Mon-Thu 8 a.m. – 10 p.m., Fri 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

April 1 – Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay Race takes place at the Kelowna campus. Races get underway at 8 a.m. Register before March 18 and secure early bird pricing. Go online for more info, to register or volunteer.


Word Ruckus, hosted by Okanagan College’s English Department, proved to be a festival of community proportions. Read: Event out ‘n’ about from Okanagan Sunday.

Faculty at Okanagan College signed a new two-year contract with no wage hikes. Read: College teachers get net-zero.

Nominees for the Green Business Awards (hosted by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and SIFE Okanagan) have been announced. Read: New board and president looking forward.

Okanagan College Young Alumni award-winner Shane Koyczan is back in the Okanagan sharing his famed slam poet skills. Read Winter Olympic poet adding music to Kelowna performance, in the Capital News, and Catching up with Koyczan, in the Penticton Herald.

English professor Alix Hawley is now among 10 finalists for the CBC Canada Writes Short Story prize. Read: English professor makes short list for Canada Writes contest from the Capital News.

Robert Fine, executive director of the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, named Okanagan College as one of the key economic drivers for the region. Read: Mixed message given about city’s economic prospects in the Capital News.

Students in Grade 8-12 are being invited to take part in the preliminary round of the 2012 B.C Secondary School Mathematics Contest, co-sponsored by Okanagan College. Read: Math students invited to compete, and Students to vie in math contest.

The Penticton Herald featured Frances Greenslade’s nomination for the B.C. Book Prize. Read: Author in running for prize.

A Hungarian with a passion for bridges and uncooked spaghetti took the 29th Annual Spaghetti Bridge competition. See: Fingers Crossed in Okanagan Saturday, and read: Hours of preparation pays off for Hungarian student, from the Capital News.

Honorary Fellows George and Trudy Heiss of Gray Monk Winery are celebrating their milestone year, with a year packed with special events. Read: Gray Monk Winery celebrates 30-40-50, from the Lake Country Calendar.

In a series of stories celebrating Engineering Month, The Daily Courier illustrated how ingenuity, creativity and a good cause come together to make a difference (read: Students demonstrate what a little effort and creativity CAN do), and the economic value of partnerships (read: Engineering technologist, education and industry benefit from partnership).

International Women’s Day got high praise with an article featuring Okanagan College student pilot Ashley Alexander, which appeared in both the Daily Courier and the Penticton Herald. Read: Sky’s no limit for women pilots.

The Capital News gave credit to Okanagan School of Business students for their performance in the seventh annual Vanier BDC Marketing Case Competition. Read: Students from the Okanagan School of Business placed third, and Okanagan College medals in the Vernon Morning Star.

No team in the history of Western Canada’s SIFE competition has won all three regional events until now. Read College biz teams clean up, from the Daily Courier and SIFE students deliver knockout business contest blows in the Capital News.

English professor and department head Matt Kavanagh offered up his views on John Barth’s latest’s book: Every Third Thought: A Novel in Five Seasons. Read: The consolations of a pessimistic age, in The Globe and Mail.

Registrar Jane Muskens focused on the delicate balance required to protect our future by raising the intellectual tone of society, all while training young people for eager employers in her Capital News column. Read: There are many interests involved in a higher education.

The 10th annual World Community Film Festival arrived in Kelowna. Read: Documentary film fest opens at UBCO and OC.

A pair of games didn’t diminish the rivalry between the Okanagan College Coyotes and the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack. Read: OC Coyotes to clash with Wolfpack, from the Daily Courier.

Okanagan College has received another significant donation for The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Penticton. Read: Next generation in trades, from the Penticton Herald.

Nominations are now open for the Okanagan College Alumni Association’s 2012 Distinguished Alumni and Young Alumni Awards. Read: College alumni seeks nominees for awards.

Students in Okanagan College’s Residential Construction program are currently hard at work building a third cabin at Agur Lake Camp in Summerland. Read: Special-needs camp growing, from the Okanagan Sunday.

Five descendants of the 100-year-old family operated Stewart Brothers Nurseries have donated $10,000 to Okanagan College. Read: Giving back to community, from The Daily Courier.

Recycled timber originating from 250-year-old B.C. forests will soon add an authentic note of heritage to Okanagan College. Read: Firm putting the wood to OC program, from the Penticton Herald.

Okanagan College Faculty Association president, Dr. Tim Walters, used his pen to support B.C. teachers in their fight with the province. Read his letter: College staff offers support, which appeared in the Penticton Herald.


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, March 27, 2012