An NSERC first for OC

Youry KhemelevskyOkanagan College Computer Information Systems professor, Dr. Youry Khmelevsky has been awarded a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) grant—the first in the College’s history.

The $24,990 grant will fund three students to study ways of monitoring and optimizing the game services of Kelowna-based technology company WTFast.

Two Okanagan College Bachelor of Computer Information Systems students Trevor Alstad and Riley Dunkin have already started working on the project.

“The grant will subsidize the first step in the design, construction and testing of a new layer of game server software, which will take six months,” says Khmelevsky.

“When technology companies have a bottleneck in service they usually add servers to compensate, but adding extra hardware to the pool is not always optimal because they unnecessarily consume power, human resources and money,” he says.

To help solve this problem, Alstad and Dunkin will be studying how to improve performance between gamers’ workstations and WTFast’s game server clusters without adding costly infrastructure.

To learn more about the project, read the press release.

Register now for Connections 2014

Connections 2014Connections 2014 – Okanagan College’s ninth annual all-staff gathering – will be held Aug. 19 and 20 at the Kelowna campus. Register online now.

“This has become an important part of our culture,” says President Jim Hamilton.

“Connections provides a chance to reflect on our collective successes and challenges and do some learning and socializing. It also helps to build the collegial atmosphere and philosophy that I think distinguishes Okanagan College as an organization.”
The event is held on two different days to accommodate department needs and employee schedules, so check with your Dean, Director or Unit Administrator. The agendas for each day are similar, each beginning at 9:30 a.m. with an overview session, morning workshop, food choices at lunch, and an afternoon workshop. The day concludes with a social event featuring appetizers and samples from the Okanagan: Tree Brewing, The View Winery, and Okanagan Spirits.

If you received a voice message with a different date, it was a technical glitch that involved a message from an earlier year. Please disregard.
Click here to register for Connections.

Terry Fox Run

Terry FoxWhen Terry Fox started his Marathon of Hope on April 12, 1980, in St. John’s, Nfld., he said that if he couldn’t finish, his hope was that it would continue without him. It did and Terry is now recognized as an incredible humanitarian and inspirational icon for cancer research.

Join Team Okanagan College for the 34th annual Terry Fox Run on Sept. 14. You can run, walk, or ride a distance of either 1.5 km, 5 km or 9 km with your family, and even your dog.

On Sunday, meet at the Mission Sports Fields. Registration starts at 10 a.m. and the event begins at 11 a.m.

If you have any questions, contact Angie March or Darrell Skinner.  

You can register prior to the event online with Team Okanagan College at

Miracle for Megan gift basket winners

Miracle for Megan WinnersMiracle for Megan is a fundraising campaign for the granddaughter of Okanagan College Carpentry instructor Gerry Leverrier. Megan is currently undergoing treatment for a rare liver cancer at the Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto and she needs a liver transplant.

The Kelowna campus fundraiser raised more than $1,300 for Megan’s family’s expenses. If you missed the raffle, you can still purchase a bracelet. Call ext. 5457 to order.

The winners of the draws on July 16 were as follows:  

BBQ Basket – Arlene DeBruin
•    Wine Basket – Samantha Blandon
Games Basket – Richard McAdam 

•    ZeroXeno Natural Body Products Basket – Dianne Holm

Thanks to DeBeans Coffee, Fezziwigs, OC Campus Store, Helmuts Sausage Kitchen, Canadian Tire and ZeroXeno for donating the items for the gift baskets.

John Lent poetry award

Nicholas PapaxanthosOn July 25, Kevin McPherson, Okanagan College English professor and managing editor of Kalamalka Press announced the 2014 winner of the John Lent Poetry Award.

Montreal-based poet Nicholas Papaxanthos’ won for his work, Wearing Your Pants, which was selected from more than 50 manuscripts.

“We received the most submissions ever for this year’s award, which is a great sign that news of the award is viraling across the country, but it was also dang tough to narrow down so many supercharged contenders,” says McPherson.

Judges for this year’s award included McPherson, fellow Okanagan College English professor Jake Kennedy, and Laisha Rosnau, who just finished touring the country with her latest poetry collection, Pluck.


New face in Penticton food services

Bev BurkartAfter many years of cafeteria service at the Penticton campus, Bev Burkart has retired.

“Bev’s motherly style will be missed by many at the Penticton campus,” says Penticton Regional Dean Donna Lomas.

“Her friendly approach and determination to know students and staff by their first name was greatly appreciated.”

Meika SmithTo find a new food services vendor for the Penticton campus, the College put out a Request For Proposal and the successful applicant was Meika Smith, formally of the coffee shop, Smith and Company.

Meika is also a former student of Okanagan College’s Penticton Campus having graduated with a diploma in Business Administration. 

“I am very excited to be back on campus,” Meika says.
“I will be transforming the Cafeteria into a Coffee Shop /Café featuring organic locally roasted coffee from Backyard Beans in Summerland as well as espresso and homemade smoothies. We will be baking our own cookies and muffins, preparing light breakfasts, freshly made wraps, sandwiches, homemade soups and much more.”

Meika’s first official day is Orientation Day on Sept. 2, but she will be doing a soft opening in August to get familiar with the space and the equipment.

In Memorium

Adam Huston, a former Okanagan College electrical trades student, passed away after a car accident on June 15. Originally from Trail B.C., Adam attended first and second year apprenticeship training at Penno Road between 2009 and 2011. He then moved to Calgary to continue his work as an electrician.

As an expression of sympathy, donations may be made in Adam’s name to KidSport Greater Trail.

Matt Kavanagh publishes essay

Matt Cavanagh and FelixRowman & Littlefield published an essay by Matt Kavanagh, the chair of the English department, earlier this month. The essay is about American novelist Michael Chabon.

Kavanagh’s chapter examines the role of nostalgia in Chabon’s body of work, stretching from his first novel The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (1988) to the recent Telegraph Avenue (2013). It grew out of a review of Telegraph Avenue that first appeared in The Globe and Mail.

The essay was one of the projects Matt completed while he was on Extended Study Leave in 2013, and he’d like to thank the College for supporting his work. During that time Matt also welcomed his son Felix into his family. Congratulations Matt.

New face in Okanagan College

Anne-Rachelle McHugh has been hired as Campaign Communications & Marketing Specialist in the Advancement & Alumni Office. McHugh is a graduate of the Langara Journalism Program and worked as a reporter for several years before moving into communications and establishing her own writing and communications firm.

In 2002, McHugh moved to Kelowna, where she continued writing for local government agencies, small businesses, and print media outlets including the Kelowna Daily Courier, the Kelowna Capital News, and Okanagan Life Magazine.

McHugh spent the past three years at Okanagan College and is just two courses shy of earning her Associate of Arts degree. She says the transition from student to employee has been an interesting one.

“Okanagan College feels like home and I feel privileged to be part of an amazing team committed to raising the funds needed to complete the new Trades Training Complex and provide students with bursaries and scholarships made possible through generous donations from individuals and businesses within the community,” she said. “I truly loved my years at the college and look forward to many more.”

Jul. 29, 2014, Vol. 9 Issue 9

Kelowna Fitness Facility construction

The Kelowna campus Fitness Facility is undergoing some much-needed repairs. The grand re-opening is projected for Aug. 5. If you are missing your workouts, stop by the Athletics and Recreation office for a one-week pass to Global Fitness or Mission Fitness or visit our Facebook page for some fun outdoor workout ideas.

Lend a hand for Kick Off

To welcome students to Okanagan College, each campus holds Kick Off orientation events the first week of September.

Volunteers are needed at the Kelowna campus on Sept. 2. Jobs include acting as greeters, prize patrol, handing out information, giving directions, and decorating. Sign up to volunteer.

Health and well-being resources

Okanagan College's employee and family assistance provider, Optum PPC Canada, provides a wealth of information each month about an important issue regarding your health and well-being.

This month’s The Balance Sheet newsletter offers some general advice pertaining to stress management.

The first article, Adopting a Stress Resistant Lifestyle, touches upon some measures you can take to reduce both your stress and the effect that it has on you. The next article Balancing Act: Work and Family Life discusses the importance of managing an effective balance between work and family obligations, and strategies you can use in maintaining that balance.

Fall Classfinder

The 2014/15 schedule for all campuses is now live through Academic ClassFinder. Please note the schedules are still subject to change as the scheduling office works through the remaining change requests.
The broader Okanagan College community can now also see the schedule through tools like Banner, Timetable, and my Teaching Schedule.
The scheduling system and Banner will be kept in sync on a daily basis with changes made.

Municipal Pension Plan

The pension option factor tables are changing January 1, 2015. The link below outlines how the pension factor tables may change the amount payable at retirement, depending on the pension option selected. The changes do not impact how Members of the Municipal Plan – Excluded Support & Support Staff basic (normal) pension is calculated. Click the link for more details.


Teaching online

Have you ever wanted to learn how to design a course for online delivery? From Sept. 11 to Nov. 20, Continuing Studies is offering a new course developed by Okanagan College’s Director of Learning and Teaching, Beverlie Dietze.

Using a variety of techniques, participants will examine online pedagogy and ways in which learning and teaching strategies may be applied to support learner engagement in an online learning environment.

The course will be delivered using Collaborate and participants will need to be available online every second Thursday from 6-8 p.m. The cost is $165 plus GST. 

Contact Mary Kline for more information or to register.


OC Honorary Fellows George and Trudy Heiss were fêted for their trailblazing efforts in the Okanagan wine industry by the Canadian Vintners Association, see Award of distinction in the Kelowna Daily Courier and Winery founders honoured in the Vernon Morning Star.

Honorary Fellow Dick Cannings was interviewed in Okanagan Life magazine about his new book, B.C. Roadside Naturalist.

Okanagan College professor Dr. Youry Khmelevsky received an NSERC grant for a project his students are doing with a local company, see Students making gaming faster in the Kelowna Daily Courier, and Two students help local tech company gain a competitive edge in the Kelowna Capital News.

Okanagan College is among several local organizations associated with the Okanagan Centre for Innovation, see Province adds $6M for tech centre and High-tech Centre approved in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

A Montreal poet has won the Kalamalka Press award, see Kal Press names winner of the John Lent Poetry Award in the Vernon Morning Star.

Okanagan College BCGEY vocational instructors have a new contract, see College staff ink new deal in the Vernon Morning Star.

Registrar Jane Muskens had two columns appear in the local press recently, see Education critical for a career in the Vernon Morning Star, and Without skills or training jobs won't drop in your lap in the Kelowna Capital News.

Therapist Assistant Department Chair, Brett Wade, and his wife, Instructor Siri Marken, have opened the Ekahi Center for Yoga and Mindfulness, see Maxine DeHart’s column in the Kelowna Capital News.

Okanagan College Board of Governors' Vice Chair Connie Denesiuk has been acclaimed as the federal Liberal candidate for South Okanagan-West Kootenay, see New faces on the political scene in the Penticton Herald, and Conservatives, Liberals meet to choose candidates in the Okanagan Saturday.

Okanagan College's Continuing Studies Audio Engineering program graduates are part of a local band, My Side of the Mountain, see Band releases full-length CD in eVent.

A collaboration between Okanagan College and the British Columbia Wine Institute lets wine and food servers take a free online course to enhance their knowledge of vintages, varieties, and appellations, see the Vancouver Sun.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Meredith Birchall-Spencer.

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 Aug. 12, 2014.