Okanagan College celebrates 30th Spaghetti Bridge Contest

SpaghettiAbout 180 contestants will be taking part this Friday in Okanagan College’s 30th anniversary Spaghetti Bridge Contest.

The contest, which drew attention from the likes of the Spectacular World of Guiness TV Records and Discovery Magazine, back in the late 1980s, pits determined budding engineering technologists against the humble pasta in bids to build bridges that can carry loads surpassing the 400 kilogram mark. The record is 443.58 kilograms.

The story of the Spaghetti Bridge contest is being featured this Friday in a special supplement in the Capital News, penned by Ross Freake (who wrote OUC Memoirs).

So far, seven contestants are signed up for the challenging Heavyweight competition, says organizer Michelle Lowry.

Live webcast of the Spaghetti Bridge Building contest gets underway at Friday, 10 a.m., with the heavyweight competition starting approximately 1:30 p.m. at the lecture theatre at the Kelowna campus.

The Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest is sponsored by Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of BC. (The ASTTBC also sponsors RoboCup and is a strong supporter of various other Okanagan College initiatives.)

Prizes for the regular part of the competition range from $150 for individuals and up to $400 per team in the secondary and post-secondary competitions, to $1,500 for the first prize in the heavyweight competition.

Okanagan College holds first women-only metal fabrication program

The Women in Trades Training program at Okanagan College is breaking barriers with a foundation metal fabrication program designed to help women build both skills and confidence in this expanding field.

The 23-week (690-hour) intake of the metal fabrication program for women starts on March 11, 2013 at the College’s Kelowna campus. Classes run Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“Metal fabrication is very closely tied to the welding industry, which is consistently the number one trades training choice for women in our programs,” said Nancy Darling, Program Administrator for the Women in Trades program at Okanagan College.

“Metal fabrication is one of the trades where demand for skilled workers is particularly strong right now, especially with the recent shipbuilding contracts awarded in the province.”

To read the full media release, click here.

Okanagan College takes part in Student Engagement Survey

About 1,300 students enrolled in over 60 courses at Okanagan College will be taking part in the Community College Survey of Student Engagement.

The survey allows the College to compare itself to other colleges in both Canada and the United States by providing feedback on College practices and student behaviours that lead to student learning and success. Results from the survey form part of the College’s Strategic Plan and Key Performance Indicators.

The survey, which is being administered by the College’s Institutional Research department, will be conducted from Feb. 18 through to May 3.

“We recognize that class time is valuable but we believe that the survey data will be exceptionally beneficial in our efforts to learn how we can support and strengthen student learning and retention,” said Institutional Research manager Jan O’Brien.

More information is available through the Center for Community College Student Engagement.

Time to pen prose for John Lent Poetry-Prose Award

John LentCanadian writers with a penchant for the playful are being encouraged to enter and win this year’s Kalamalka Press John Lent Poetry-Prose Award.

The Award was established last year in honour of Kalamalka Press co-founder and retired Okanagan College Regional Dean and English professor John Lent.

The award is designed especially for writers in the early stages of their career with no more than two books under their belt, said contest coordinator Kevin McPherson, who is Editor-in-Chief of Kalamalka Press and an English professor at Okanagan College.

“We especially want to encourage poets and fictioneers to be playful and riskful from the get-goo of their careers,” McPherson said.

Entry fee is $10, and writers can enter as many times as they wish between now and the May 1, 2013 deadline. The winner will receive a $100 honorarium, and have their work published in a limited fine-press edition by Kalamalka Press.

For more information about the award, including submission requirements, visit

Professor spins new green documentary

Communications professor Marc Arellano’s latest documentary film will be screening Saturday as part of the World Community Film Festival taking place in Kelowna from March 7 – 10.

Arellano’s film, Spinning Green, documents the experience of social activist Curtis Stone who used his passion for local food to create what is now known far and wide as SPIN Farming (Small Plot Intensive Farming).

The 22-minute documentary will screen Saturday, March 9, at 4:15 in the Lecture Theatre of the Kelowna campus. Admission to the films is free. Donations are being accepted for the Ki-low-na Friendship Centre and Inn from the Cold.

Arellano and Stone met back in 2010 when at the screening of Arellano’s film Strange Fruit, and before he knew it Arellano found himself cycling 425 to 450 kilometres in his own personal bid to support the environment, and keep up with Stone who “spins” from plot to plot on his own bike.

The festival is being held at both the UBC-Okanagan and Okanagan College campuses with film topics ranging from the environment, to social justice and human rights issues. The event is supported by Okanagan College's Department of Communications and the OC Faculty Association, and UBC Okanagan's Cultural Studies Department.



College welcomes new health and safety manager

Carolyn Hayman 2Okanagan College’s Ancillary and Business Services is pleased to welcome Carolyn Hayman to the College starting March 25 in the role of Manager of Health, Safety and Emergency Services.

Carolyn Hayman was born and raised in the Ottawa area and joined the Federal Public Service in 1992 after several years with the banking sector and corporate services. In 2000, she began specializing in managing national HSEM programs with operational departments such as Parks Canada, Correctional Services and the Canadian Coast Guard. Hayman has developed a range of experience with investigations, inspections, risk assessments and emergency response as well as expertise to establishing return-to-work, ergonomic and system auditing programs.

Hayman will spend April visiting all of the campuses and participating in each region’s Health and Safety Committee meetings.

Okanagan College a partner in blood

Rick Montague blood donor2Canadian Blood Services has again recognized Okanagan College as one of its Partners for Life.

In 2012, employees at the college collectively made 27 donations. For Facilities employee Rick Montagnon that translated into about six donations – the most anyone can safely give in any one year.

“I’ve been donating ever since I was 17 years old and saw a notice for a donor clinic outside a door in Campbell River,” Montagnon said. “I gave my first pint, and I keep doing it to help people. It’s as simple as that.”

Montagnon takes the principle of donation seriously, having put his name on the list as well as both a bone marrow donor and organ donor.

Bannock bonanza in Salmon Arm

bannockIt was standing room only at The Gathering Place at the Salmon Arm campus earlier this month at the campus’s first bannock making contest.

About 75 faculty, students and staff sampled different styles of bannock created by Francine Narcisse, Isobel Williams and Donna William, all members of the Neskonlith Indian Band from the Chase and Salmon Arm area.

The contestants used flour, salt, baking powder and cooking oil supplied through Aboriginal Access and Services at the College to create the bannock, which was then complemented with home-made jam donated by Valerie Janzen, mother of long-time Salmon Arm student Brie Janzen.

“It was a tight race, so in the end, by unanimous agreement, each contestant won a prize – a white ceramic Okanagan College travel mug donated by our dean Jim Barmby,” said Aboriginal Transitions Planner Caroline Chartier, who organized the event.

Feb. 26, 2013 Vol. 7 Issue 22


March 4 deadline looms

There are just a few more days left to get nominations in for this year’s Okanagan College Employee Excellence Awards.

The awards were established last year, with this year including a new award for Career Achievement.

Okanagan School of Business professor Dr. Kyleen Myrah, who received the President’s Award last year and took time herself to nominate Innovation Award winner (and Okanagan School of Business professor) Michael Orwick, said nominations are a way to give back to colleagues who go above and beyond throughout the year.

Nominations close midnight, Monday, March 4. For more information, visit the Employee Excellence Awards website.

New Instructor session underway

Okanagan College’s Institute of Learning and Teaching is offering another segment of the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program at the Okanagan College Kelowna campus.

PIDP 3100: Foundations in Adult Education introduces participants to key elements of adult education and the cognitive science.

The course is being conducted on the weekend throughout March at the Kelowna campus starting March 8. For more details, click here. Registration is through Vancouver Community College. Cost is $400.



Mar. 1 – 30th Anniversary Spaghetti Bridge Contest takes place at the Kelowna campus starting at 10 a.m. in the Lecture Theatre. The popular Heavyweight Competition gets started around 1:30 p.m.

Mar. 5 – One of B.C.’s top experts in DNA sequencing and its relationship with disease will be lecturing at the Vernon campus, at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Science in Society speaker series. The event is free. More details are available in the College's media release. To guarantee a seat, register online at

Mar. 6 – North Okanagan Regional Dean Jane Lister talks about the Kalamalka Demonstration Garden – a sustainability project underway at the Vernon campus. The talk takes place in the Lecture Theatre at the Kelowna campus from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. as part of the Institute for Learning and Teaching Lunch & Learn Series.

Mar. 9 – 10 – The World Community Film Festival takes place at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College featuring films from around the globe on issues involving the environment, social justice. See the festival website for details.



The Capital News reported that Okanagan College Alumna Kelly Scott had plenty to smile about in a recent curling competition in Kingston, Ontario. Read: Scotties bronze for Kelowna’s Scott.

Okanagan College social media instructor Allison Markin will be taking part in this year’s Meet Your Maker event, put on by FarmFolk CityFolk in the Okanagan. Read: Event brings the farm to the city, from the Courier

Women in Trades Training at Okanagan College is breaking barriers with a foundation metal fabrication program designed for women. Read: Trades program seeks students, in the Morning Star, and Women engaged in high-demand metal fabrication trade in the Capital News.

Kelowna-Lake Country MP focused his attention on education, skills training and innovation in his Courier column. Read: Answer to skills shortage can be found in our own backyard.

Construction enthusiasts interested in battling their wits to build a spaghetti bridge are being encouraged to enter the Okanagan College competition. Read: Spaghetti bridge contest seeking builders, in the Morning Star.

The Vex Robotic Competition took place at for the first time in the B.C. Interior, with the event landing at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, reported the Morning Star. Read: Event builds on robotics interest.

Families in France and Alberta are mourning a young sous chef and father who died during the Canadian Culinary Championships, held in Kelowna. Read: Chef dies at culinary competition in the Courier, and Chef dies at Kelowna competition, in the Penticton Herald.

Okanagan Sunday picked up a media release about Dr. Jennifer Gardy speaking the upcoming Science in Society speaker series at the Vernon campus. Read: DNA expert speaking in Vernon.

North Okanagan Regional Dean Jane Lister quelled recently raised concerns about plans for the sports complex. Read: Sports complex fits college’s plans, in the Morning Star. The paper also reported on polling stations for the April 6 referendum. Read: Sports complex question on track.

The Salmon Arm Observer reported on the removal of diseased cherry trees at the Salmon Arm campus. Read: College trees to be replaced.

The school district in Salmon Arm wants to know how serious Okanagan College is about buying the former J.L. Jackson school site. Read: Board wants college to lay its cards on the table, from the Salmon Arm Observer.

The Courier’s 50 Years Ago feature focused on financial assistance for students. Read: Cash help for students.

Writer Joe Dermo won this year’s Okanagan Short Story contest with a story he first wrote during a creative writing course with retired Okanagan College English teacher and Regional Dean John Lent. Read: Short story winners announced.

The Capital News featured a story in its entertainment section on Communications Professor Mark Arellano’s latest documentary – Spinning Green. Read: Urban farming SPIN in the movies. Arellano’s work was also featured in a story in the Capital news on the upcoming World Community Film Festival. Read: Local educators collaborate on film projects. The story also appeared on Castanet news.

Capital News columnist Joel Young wrote that entrepreneurs need to work in collaboration with economic development agencies and educational institutions, like Okanagan College. Read: Centre of excellence a boost for new businesses.

Retired CBC Radio Broadcaster Paul Grant wrote a poignant tale about a moment in his life when he crossed paths with a tooth fairy – at Okanagan College. Read: How a tooth fairy fixed my rotten teeth, from the Globe and Mail.


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, Mar. 12, 2013.