2012 Honorary Fellows exemplify passion and achievement

YasminThis year’s Honorary Fellows – Yasmin John-Thorpe, Lane Merrifield and Janet Shaw – offer up a roadmap of sorts for students to get the most out of life, all while giving back.

“It is a privilege to welcome the 2012 Honorary Fellows to Okanagan College,” said President Jim Hamilton.

“To say this year’s recipients have had a deep impact on our communities is an understatement.”

John-Thorpe is well known in the South Okanagan as a writer, literacy advocate and philanthropist. She served as the Honorary Co-Chair of the $5-million Campaign for Okanagan College's Centre of Excellence in Penticton, and along with her husband Rick contributed $250,000 in 2005 to establish a scholarship fund for local students entering Okanagan College and UBC’s Okanagan campus.

LaneLane Merrifield is one of the Okanagan’s best-known entrepreneurs as the co-founder of Club Penguin, which began in 2005 out of a desire to provide a safe online space on the internet for children to connect. Merrifield now serves as executive vice president of Disney Online Studios, which was recently named one of the top 20 Best Places to Work in Canada, affirming Merrifield’s vision and leadership.

Longtime Oliver resident Janet Shaw led the College’s Board of Governors in the role of Chair from 2006-09, and previously served in the role of Vice Chair on the Okanagan University College Board.

ShawJThe former registered nurse spent many years advancing the needs of education, including helping to coalesce the Boards of British Columbia’s colleges and refine their approach to sector advocacy and policy development.

All three will be honoured at the Convocation ceremonies held in June, with John-Thorpe being honoured at the morning Spring Convocation ceremony June 2, Merrifield in the afternoon, and Shaw at the Summer Convocation ceremony June 28.

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

New ‘patient’ puts grin on Dental Department

Dental dexterStudents in the Certified Dental Assistant program have a new permanent patient of sorts, thanks to a generous donation from the Thompson Okanagan Dental Society.

Through its annual silent auction, the group raised $10,488.28, and donated the funds to the College’s Certified Dental Assistant program to purchase a highly specialized dental x-ray trainer that the team has affectionately named “Dexter.”

“This provides a tremendous opportunity for the students,” said Catherine Baranow, chairperson of the Certified Dental Assistant department.

The $8,800 high-tech DXTTR model is made, in part, from a human jawbone complete with teeth, which enables students to safely x-ray Dexter while benefiting from seeing true human teeth characteristics.

Gayle Faigan, fundraising chair with Thompson Okanagan Dental Society (TODS), says donations such as this ensure students are better equipped and trained to enter the workforce. The society’s fundraising event is done with volunteer staff support from Scotiabank, which topped up the donation by another $5,000.

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

Eight students claim medals at BC Skills Canada

Skills BC 2Eight Okanagan College students took home medals at the 2012 Provincial Skills Competition held April 18 in Abbotsford.

Students from Aircraft Maintenance Engineering M, Automotive Collision Repair, Culinary Arts, Electronic Engineering Technology and Network and Telecommunications Engineering were all stand-outs, capturing a total of three golds, four silvers and one bronze.

This marked the first time that Aircraft Maintenance Engineering and Culinary Arts departments sent competitors, and they performed exceptionally well.

Winners were:
Aircraft Maintenance
Alexander Travis - Gold
Jayson Stratford - Silver

Automotive Collision Repair
Russel Rousson – Silver

Culinary Arts
Joshua Hines – Silver

Zander Erasmus – Gold
Nathaneal Bergmann – Silver
Darren Martini – Bronze

IT-Network Systems Administration
Keith Hind – Gold

Joining the Okanagan College medalists was young Hudson Schier, the RoboCup winner who took part in the electronics category at the urging of College instructor Nadir Ould-Khessal. The Clarence Fulton Secondary school student captured gold, and will go on to represent B.C. at the nationals in the secondary school events.

Gold winners advance to the Canadian Skills Competition taking place May 13-16 and will represent the province at the 18th National Skills Canada competition to be held in Edmonton.

Launch-A-Preneur makes a splash

The Shuswap Launch-A-Preneur Finals Competition is being celebrated as an inspirational, educational and entertaining event for the region.

The program was put on by SIFE Okanagan in Salmon Arm, in partnership with the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society (SAEDS), and Community Futures.

Team members had to create and develop their business plans while receiving assistance and advice from their assigned SIFE student mentors and their assigned business mentors.

“The community support was phenomenal,” said Jim Barmby, Dean of the Shuswap Revelstoke Region. “So many organizations volunteered their time, services, and money in order to make this event the great success that it was.”

Thanks to that support, over $18,000 in prizes were awarded.

Taking part as distinguished judges were: Michael Volker, Alan Werenko, Ed Alfke, Ragwa Gopal, and Okanagan College’s own Andrew Klingel, with Darren Jacklin acting as master of ceremonies. Barmby said SIFE students worked very hard on the conception, development, organization and implementation of the event. They were true professionals and excellent ambassadors for the School of Business.

“With the help of their partners, the students delivered a wonderfully worthwhile, relevant, and stimulating program that will benefit the Shuswap in so many ways,” he said. “The finals competition, in addition to helping new local entrepreneurs, is also raising the profile of Okanagan College within the community and enhancing its links with local business organizations. This program truly is a “win-win” situation for all involved.”


Gap filled in B.C. history

Paul StephensonPaul Stephenson, Okanagan College ESL Instructor and Learning Centre Coordinator, has successfully defended an Interdisciplinary PhD concerning a major provincial railway begun in 1912 by B.C. Premier Sir Richard McBride.

“The Pacific Great Eastern Railway was planned to extend from Vancouver to Prince George but by 1918 it was only 25 per cent complete yet 100 per cent bankrupt and I wanted to know why,” said Stephenson, who can now officially call himself both Dr. and historian.

Stephenson’s PhD uses an interdisciplinary approach featuring both historical analysis and economic calculations to conclude that the railway should never have been attempted.

For more information on Stephenson’s dissertation, please see College Matters.

Peter Murray retiring

Peter Murray2After 39 years with Okanagan College, Peter Murray, a member of the Physics and Astronomy department, will be retiring this summer.

Peter began his career with Okanagan College in August 1973 as a laboratory instructor in the Physics department. He has been instrumental in the development of numerous College courses, and in the evolution of bringing technology into the lab.

Peter spent much of his career as an executive member of the Faculty Association, both at Okanagan University College, and onto Okanagan College, including several terms as president. He was also one of the original faculty members involved with the development of the Spaghetti Bridge competition.

A reception to mark Peter’s service will take place at Infusions, in Kelowna, Tuesday, May 1 from 3 – 5 p.m.

EthiopiArt gets around

EthiopiaSusie Duval, who works in the Okanagan School of Business and is studying towards her own business degree, was invited to Mount Boucherie Secondary School recently to speak on social entrepreneurship.

Duval has developed EthiopiArt, a social business that showcases the talent of Ethiopian youth. She spoke with members of the school’s Global Service Club as part of their Take Action Week.

Students helped Duval unpack her first shipment of paintings, all completed by students virtually the same age as those at Mount Boucherie.

“They were excited about the talent and tenacity of Ethiopian students who created works of art using only rudimentary materials and art supplies,” Duval said.

The works will be on display at the EthiopiArt Exhibit, May 11 from 6:30 – 9 p.m. at the New Moon Gallery on the Westside. For more information, contact Susie Duval.

Wanda Radies awarded for work in Adult Special Education

The Disability Resource Network is awarding Wanda Radies with its Celebrate Excellence Award at is annual conference taking place May 28 in Vancouver.

Radies has been an instructor in the Adult Special Education Department for more than 24 years. She takes an innovative approach to teaching, and provides ASE students with unique opportunities to interact with the College and the community.

Radies currently teaches the PACE Program (Preparing for Access to Careers and Education), and courses for the Independent Living Skills Certificates at the Salmon Arm Campus.

ECE students present parent workshops

Students in their final semester of the Early Childhood Education diploma program recently developed and presented several workshops to parents in the Central Okanagan.

Instructor Geordie Belinski arranged a partnership with The Bridge Youth and Family Services to accommodate this real life experience for students at Bridge’s Parent Talk session. Topics included: How to handle ‘hitting’ behavior, the importance of physical activity to healthy development, the value of play, and what does kindergarten readiness really mean?

“The students conducted themselves very professionally and according to the parent evaluations, presented interesting and practical workshop sessions,” said Belinski.

“We certainly intend to continue this initiative as it was a wonderful way to provide students with a valuable life experience that also benefitted families in our community.”

April 24, 2012 Vol. 6 Issue 2


Call for nominations for ILT Fellows

The Institute for Learning and Teaching (ILT) is seeking nominations for four new Fellows to represent the areas of:

  1. Science
  2. Arts
  3. International and ESL
  4. Business

If you are from one of these areas, and you are a leader in the classroom and passionate about enhancing learning and teaching at Okanagan College, or know of a colleague who fits this description, please complete a nomination form today.

The ILT has moved to staggered end of terms to ensure continuity of operations.  As a result, the Science and Arts terms are for three years and will run until May 31, 2015. The International and ESL term is for two years and runs until May 31, 2014, and the Business term is for one year and runs until May 31, 2013.

The terms for the new Fellows in Science, Arts, and International and ESL start on June 1, 2012. The term for the new Fellow in Business starts on September 1, 2012. Completed nominations for all four positions must be submitted to Rob Kjarsgaard by Friday, May 18th.
For Nomination Forms and additional information please contact Rob Kjarsgaard at extension 2808. Each nomination requires two nominators and a statement from the nominee. 

New fitness centre hours May 1

Kelowna campus Fitness Centre hours change May 1. The new hours will be: Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Work-Life balance in PPC newsletter

The April 2012 issue from PPC Canada provides time-tested tips for achieving work-life balance, including How to Remain Balanced Through Shift Work and some Tips for Spring Cleaning.

Pension Plan members get online access

My Account is an online service, available through both the College Pension Plan’s website and the Municipal Pension Plan’s website. It allows plan members to access information about their pension and estimate their future pension entitlement.
For more information about how to access My Account follow the links to College Pension Plan or Municipal Pension Plan.

It’s clean-up time

The College’s annual Garage Sale takes place Saturday May 26 from 8 a.m. to noon.

Spring clean your office and storage rooms and bring your garage sale items to the Automotive Shop on Friday, May 25. Set up will begin in the afternoon on the 25th.  If you can volunteer please contact Angie ext 4501.

Bocce Ball starts May 1 in Kelowna

The short but intensely anticipated Bocce season gets underway May 1, and runs for six weeks, with two weeks or so of playoffs.

Find a partner, choose a team name and join the fun. Send your info to Angie March at ext. 4501.

Charity Golf Tournament set for May 24

Legend has it that Jack Nicklaus may have had a hand in Mike Weir’s success, when he advised the teenager to continue playing left-handed and not switch (as many were urging Weir to do). Weir eventually became a Masters champion and to this day keeps a framed copy of Nicklaus’ letter on his wall.

The Okanagan College Foundation/Western Financial Group charity golf tournament also helps young up-and-comers reach their full potential. All of the money raised (a record-breaking $35,000 last year!) goes directly to student awards and breaks down one of the most serious barriers that students face to completing their education – the financial demands of tuition, housing and books.

Now in its 21st year, this tournament offers a unique opportunity for golfers to enjoy a beautiful spring day on the links and support their community. Join almost 200 golfers on Thursday, May 24, as they tee-off for another fun‐filled tournament that includes a round of golf at the Okanagan Golf Club, hole‐in‐one contests, boxed lunch, dinner, prizes, and of course, wonderful company.

Registration is still open for this year’s golf tournament – but don’t wait too long – the spots are filling quickly. Early bird pricing ends April 30 – golfers have one more week to get the early bird price of $215 – register online today.

For sponsorship enquiries, please contact Tessa Derksen at ext 4774.

Green Business Awards luncheon

The Green Business Awards Luncheon, a partnership between SIFE Okanagan and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, is coming up April 25.

The event features Emily Johnson as emcee and Okanagan College Electronic Engineering professor David Williams speaking on the theme of sustainable energy and energy conservation and how to determine if different solutions make business sense as well as environmental sense.

Okanagan College ladies golf tournament

Get together a foursome and hit the green Friday, June 1 at 5 p.m. at Michaelbrook Ranch.

Price: $40, including nine-holes of golf, dinner, prizes, taxes and gratuities. Sign-in at 4:30 p.m. For more information on the rules of the game, click here. To take part, complete and submit the registration form.

Program videos expand

Work continues in the Registrar’s Office on videos for various programs at the College. Click here to visit the College’s YouTube channel and watch videos for Water Engineering Technology, Practical Nursing, Audio Engineering and Music Production, Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology, Human Kinetics, and more.

Also featured on the YouTube channel are some how-to videos that will assist new students by taking them through the process of using ClassFinder to search for classes. More how-to videos will be added as they are completed.

Celebrations and Talking Sticks

Members of the Kelowna campus Aboriginal Students Club will be celebrating their achievements over the academic year, with family, friends and students from local school districts, plus visitors from local bands and communities Friday, April 27.

Activities in the Student Services building (KLO Road) will include traditional stick games plus film screenings and story telling circles with resources borrowed from the College Library.

As part of the celebration, Fran Drummond gathered together books and media drawn from the College’s four campuses and the Deakin Collection of Children’s Literature to create a display at the Kelowna campus library featuring Aboriginal legends and folklore from around the world.

The display runs through to May 18 during library hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, contact: Kelowna campus librarian Michelle Ward at ext. 4749, or the Kelowna campus Aboriginal Students Centre at ext. 4322.


May 5 – Okanagan College Coyotes Baseball team plays at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Elk’s Stadium.

May 6 – Okanagan College Coyotes Baseball at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the Elk’s Stadium.

May 7 – Group X Challenge starts. Forty classes at the Kelowna campus for a $10 donation to the Walk to Fight Arthritis. Contact Jenn for more info. Pre-registration required.

May 12 – Raising the Grain exhibit featuring the work of students in the Studio Woodworking Certificate program. Held at the Tutt Street Gallery in Kelowna from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

May 23 – Lunch and Learn series on Making the Most of Your Museums. Noon to 1 p.m. at the lecture theatre at Kelowna campus. Presenter: Michelle Harvey, Kelowna Museum’s Curator of Education and Public Programming.


Yasmin John-Thorpe, Lane Merrifield and Janet Shaw have each been granted Okanagan College’s highest recognition as Honorary Fellows. Read: Three honoured for attaining levels of high achievements, and College honours visionaries.

Students at Okanagan College are getting advanced appreciation of dental radiology, thanks to a donation from the Thompson Okanagan Dental Society. Read: College grins with gratitude in the Okanagan Saturday, and Dental Society opens wide with donation in the Capital News.

The story of Bruce Fossen, the 46-year-old cattle rancher from Rock Creek who is now studying Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, was featured in the Lake Country Calendar. Read: Aircraft maintenance trade offering jobs.

In a world filled with woes about financial credit ratings, Registrar Jane Muskens focused on the importance of course credits in her School’s In column in the Capital News. Read: Credit not just important in the banking and finance world. She followed that up with a look at the best and worst jobs, and how education makes a difference. Read: Strong correlation between good jobs and higher education.

In sports, the Okanagan College Coyotes Baseball team captured headlines as their season continues to unfold. Read: Coyotes hold on to first in division, and Coyotes split, still in top spot, OC Coyotes win three straight in homestand, Coyotes split weekend games, and Predictable split for OC Coyotes. Also, see the photo spread in the Daily Courier’s Champions: Champions OC baseball.

Canada’s international scientific expedition to Mount Everest is preparing to depart for Nepal next week and Okanagan College's own Greg DuManior will be joining the group. Read: UBCO, OC on Everest.

International Earth Day was recognized with an electronic recycling drive at Okanagan College. Read: Put e-waste in the right place, and E-waste spring cleaning in full swing, both in Okanagan Sunday.

Tom Foord, the founder of Kal Tire who received an Honorary Doctorate from Okanagan University College, has died at the age of 89. Read: Foord provides lasting legacy and Foord fondly remembered for his local legacy in the Vernon Morning Star, Vernon business icon dies, and Three Okanagan community builders remembered.

Retired regional dean John Lent's latest and 10th book, The Path to Ardroe was featured in the Vernon Morning Star. Read: Writer’s Path is years in the making.

Shane Koyczan, Okanagan College's 2011 Young Alumni recipient, reflects on growing up in small town Canada. Read: Talk-rocker puts his words to good use.

The Okanagan College Half Marathon went off without a hitch on April 1. See the photo feature: Champions OC Half Marathon, from the Daily Courier, and read: Edgar schools college course.

Okanagan College Board of Governors member Connie Denesiuk has been named to the Summerland Chamber of Commerce. Read: Pulling for business.

Kevin Vrieling’s straight-A success at Okanagan College is even more inspiring when one takes into account he has Asperger’s syndrome. Read: Living with Asperger’s Syndrome, from the Salmon Arm Observer.

Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts department hosted the Canadian Culinary Championships, opening with a call for a fishmonger. Read: Gold Medal Plates from Okanagan Life.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please e-mail 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, May 8, 2012.