Students return to campus

Orientation 2014 VernonFall term kicked off with a bang last week as a number of high-energy events took place at each of the College’s four campuses.

New and returning students participated in icebreaker games, barbeques, and socials. These events help students get to know each other and their instructors better. Students were also introduced to many of the College’s services through workshops and tours, including Moodle and the library. 
More than 1,500 students took part in the events going on at the various campuses. Photo courtesy of the Vernon Morning Star.

Organizers praised the volunteers, many of whom were employees and returning students, who got up extra early to make sure everything was ready.

 Final numbers for the incoming semester will be available after registration closes.

For photos of activities from every campus, see the photo gallery.

CEO invites Enactus OC to Montreal for pitch

Enactus MontrealAfter impressing the president and CEO of the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) during the final round of the national Enactus Canada exhibition, a team of students and advisors from the College’s Enactus team were invited to Montreal to pitch their project, InStill Life, to a group of business leaders and students.
Michel Kelly-Gagnon is the president and CEO of the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) and also serves on the Board of the John Dobson Foundation. The well-known executive served as a judge for the national Enactus exposition, where he was first introduced to students from Okanagan College’s award-winning team.
“In April I had the distinct pleasure and honour of acting as a judge in the final round of the 2014 Enactus Canada National Exposition in Calgary,” said Kelly-Gagnon. “On that occasion, I heard great presentations from students from various universities about how they were making Canada and the world a better place, through entrepreneurial actions and a mentality of autonomy and self-reliance.
“In my view, one of the best initiatives presented, if not the best, was the InStill Life project from the Enactus Okanagan College team.”
Kelly-Gagnon was so impressed with the student-led project, he invited the team members and their faculty mentors to make a presentation to his Board and Montreal university students, in the hope of bringing a similar program to Quebec.
To find out more about the Enactus Okanagan College project InStill Life, read the complete press release

Coyotes aim for a home run season

baseball hatsThe Okanagan College Coyotes kicked off their seventh season with a series of inter-squad games last weekend. They face their first opponents, the Langley Blaze for three games on Sept. 13 and 14 at Elks Stadium in Kelowna.

Expectations are high this year for the team and head coach Geoff White is optimistic.

“We have a good group,” says White. “We have many strong returning players and a promising group of freshmen.

"Last season, the Coyotes made it all the way to the Canadian College Baseball Conference Championships but fell to Lethbridge’s Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs in dramatic fashion, 8 - 7.

“We have a busy fall schedule, which will give us lots of time on the field. It’s a long season but everything we do is preparation for those CCBC championships in May,” says White.

Tickets for the Coyotes home games are available at the gate for $5. 

For the Fall schedule and player lineup, visit

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

Photo by Alex Bradley.

Become a master at service excellence

A new online certificate program aims to build the support and service expertise of Okanagan College employees.

“I think everyone in a support or administration role at Okanagan College should have to take this program,” says enthusiastic Continuing Studies Program Assistant Corinne Pearson.

Pearson was part of the first cohort of the Service and Support in a Learner-Centred Organization (SLCO) program, run as a pilot last year.

“The program is ideal for anyone who would like to enhance their knowledge and skills in service excellence at Okanagan College and learn more about effective communication, client service strategies, and conflict resolution methods that can be applied in any industry or work environment,” says Karen Barnstable, SLCO facilitator.

Registration is open for the next intake of SLCO, which starts on Sept. 25 and runs until December. Okanagan College employees may qualify for tuition waivers.

“What you learn in the courses doesn’t just apply to working with the public but also to working with your colleagues,” says Pearson.

Get more details on the program and register here.

Don’t miss the annual powwow

Richard Jackson 2013 powwowOkanagan College’s sixth Youth Exhibition Powwow is taking place on Sept. 18 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the courtyard of the Kelowna campus. For those who can’t make it to Kelowna, the event can be enjoyed through live streaming here.

The annual celebration of Aboriginal culture features singing, drumming, dancing, and colourful regalia as well as a traditional meal of bannock and deer stew courtesy of generous donations from the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society, the College’s Culinary Arts department, SunRype and Urban Harvest.

“The powwow is a great chance to celebrate our youth, highlight the richness of who we are, and the strengths of our culture,” says Okanagan College’s Aboriginal Access and Services Coordinator Anthony Isaac.

“The more we do to increase people’s understanding of our ways of knowing and doing, the more we create a sense of belonging for all of our learners.”

The event also features authentic Aboriginal craft vendors selling artwork, carvings, and beadwork. For the fifth time Richard Jackson brings his great energy to the role of MC, Noel Ferguson reprises his role as ceremonial Whip Man and the drumming groups that are performing are Iron Mountain and Little Hawk.

Run, walk or roll to beat cancer 

Join Team Okanagan College on Sunday, Sept. 14 at the Mission Sports Field for the 34th annual Terry Fox Run and help realize Terry’s dream of ending cancer forever.

  • 84 cents of every dollar raised goes to cancer research
  • $650 million raised to date for cancer research worldwide
  • 1,152 cancer research projects funded to date by the Terry Fox Foundation

No entry fee, no minimum pledge, and the event is entirely volunteer-led and organized.

Registration is at 10 a.m., and the run starts at 11 a.m. Strollers and dogs on leashes are welcome to participate.
Get more information and pledge online by searching for Team Okanagan College at or donate on the day of the event. For further information, contact Darrell Skinner or Angie March.

Carpool challenge 

Commuter PromoAt the start of a new school year, we are reminded how challenging parking at Okanagan College can be. To help alleviate all that parking grief, think about carpooling.

Having two or more people use only one spot is the easiest way to ease pressure on parking as well as reduce the harm all the vehicle emissions do to the environment.

Benefits of carpooling include:

  • Prime parking spots at the Kelowna and Penticton campuses (with two or more displayed parking passes)
  • Reduced fuel and vehicle maintenance costs
  • Sharing a ride and conversation with like-minded people
  • Preserving the environment
  • Serving as a role model to co-workers and students

Click here to access Okanagan College’s carpool information site and find a ride or register yourself as a driver.

Put your new car pool ride to the test from Sept. 22-Oct. 3 during the Campus Commuter Challenge taking place at colleges and universities across the country. It's open to all staff and students who commute here using any form of transportation other than a single occupant vehicle. For details and to register visit the website.


New manager of Software and Support Services announced

Ryan Ebner 2014Ryan Ebner has been appointed to the position of Manager of Software and Support Services effective Sept. 2 to replace Deb Matheson who retired in June.

“Ryan is a strong technical leader who brings fresh ideas and approaches to bear,” says Laura Eagen, Okanagan College’s Director of Information Technology Services. “He is deeply committed to the organization, focused on clients, and will be influential in moving the organization forward through the use of technology.”

Ryan was formerly a project analyst in IT Services and has been with College since 1998.

“I am always excited to take on new challenges and this role will give me the opportunity to positively contribute to Okanagan College in even more ways,” says Ebner.

Rising aviation star is an alumna 

Chrystal RobertsonAn alumna of Okanagan College’s Aircraft Maintenance Engineering M-License program has been named one of the industry’s brightest young stars by Helicopters magazine.

Chrystal Robertson (nee Skocilas) attended classes at the Aerospace Facilities in Vernon and completed the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer M license program in 2008. Prior to taking the program, she had no background in aviation and mechanical repair.

The article appears in the fall issue of the trade magazine, and in it Skocilas was acknowledged as making an indelible mark on the Canadian helicopter industry. 

To read the coverage, visit Helicopters magazine.

Culinary Arts alumni success

Erin and Elysia _CulinaryBorn and raised in Kelowna, sisters Erin and Elysia Kokayko credit Okanagan College for launching their careers.

Erin worked at JOEY Restaurant in Kelowna while pursuing her culinary arts certificate in 2014. She recently took a permanent job as culinary coordinator at JOEY’s head office in Vancouver.

“Between the education I received in class and the training I received at JOEY, I feel well equipped to start my career,” says Erin.

Big sister Elysia graduated with her certificate in Culinary Arts in 2009 and then went on to pursue her Red Seal Chef certification. She is also an employee at JOEY working in the IT department.

Read the article in the Kelowna Capital News that was published about the sisters.

CIS alumnus lands dream job

Chris KlukaChris Kluka had taken post-secondary studies at other Canadian institutions, but the credential and education he received didn’t fully meet his needs.

Interested in infrastructure and systems management, he looked at programs across the country but chose Okanagan College’s Computer Information Systems degree because it was focused on infrastructure and systems management. “Not computer programming or computer science,” he says.

Kluka was given transfer credits at Okanagan College for much of the post-secondary education he had taken elsewhere, and was able to enter the Computer Information Systems (CIS) diploma program and then laddered into the College’s four-year Bachelor of CIS degree.

Now Kluka is an IT Systems Infrastructure Architect at Daemon Defense Systems Inc. in Winnipeg and has been leading architecture design and deployment in projects such as the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, network redevelopment in the Winnipeg Convention Centre and the Investors Group Field.

“Those three projects alone represent 6,300 network drops and $20 million worth of servers and storage architecture. I have designed and implemented the IT systems architecture for three of the largest projects in the province in the last two years,” says Kluka.

To read more about Kluka and the College’s CIS programs, read the press release.

Sept. 9, 2014, Vol. 9, Issue 12

Governance opportunities

Six student representatives are required to sit on Education Council (four positions) and the Board of Governors (two positions) for a one-year term. This is a great opportunity for motivated students to boost their resumes, learn about non-profit governance and make a significant contribution to the College.

Education Council considers curriculum and educational policies relating to students, standards, planning and operations. The Board of Governors has the sole responsibility for the management, administration and control of the property, revenue, expenditures, business and affairs of the institution.

Nominations are open from Sept. 2-23 and the election takes place from Oct. 6-18 online in myOkanagan.

At the same time as the student election, a byelection for the Education Council Faculty Representative (Health and Social Development seat) is also needed.

Further details including nomination forms for both students and faculty are available on the Elections tab in myOkanagan.

Pension Plan Seminars

The municipal pension plan offers free financial planning seminars to its members.

Be sure to check out:

  • Your Pension, Your Future for new and mid-career plan members
  • Thinking About Retiring for members within five years of retirement

All plan members, including those receiving long-term disability benefits, are welcome to take part. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis and members are responsible for their own travel and associated costs.

Event location details and registration information can be found at the Pensions BC website.


Penticton Speaker Series

Sept. 22:  Tanya Luszcz, Bird Friendly Coffee
Sept. 29: Scott Smith and guests, The Value of Agricultural Land
Oct. 6: Margie Hibbard, Active Listening 
Oct. 20: Edward Jones, Estate Planning Part 1
Oct. 27: Edward Jones, Estate Planning Part 2
Nov. 3: Louise Blais, Life Hacks for Better Health
Nov. 17:  Documentary Screening, Dam Nation
Nov. 24: Peg Bursello, Storage Ideas for Your Home
Dec. 1: Benjamin Manea, Everything You Wanted to Know About Bread

Events take place at the Okanagan College lecture theatre at the Penticton campus from 7-8:30 p.m. See the Speaker Series website for details.


Yoga classes take place at the Kelowna campus on Tuesday and Thursday from 12-1 p.m. and on Monday from 4:45-5:45 p.m. (Please note the time for Monday’s class has changed).

Contact Kim Snyder to find out about class schedules and locations.

ILT Lunch and Learns

Outdoor Garden, A Venue for Learning: Adult Academic and Career Prep instructors Richard Volk and Jessica Morcom will share the history behind the garden located outside C120 and how the garden can help instructors apply classroom learning in a larger context. The event takes place on Sept. 12 from 12-1 p.m. in Room C120, at the Kelowna campus.

Prudent or Good, the Ethics of Canada’s International Security Policy: Okanagan College Political Science professor Dr. Rosalind Warner will discuss how today’s security threats create new ethical dilemmas for citizens. Participants will be taking a look at who we are as Canadians, and what we are willing to do in order to secure a future for our families, our country, and ourselves. The event takes place on Sept. 25 from 12-1 p.m. in PC 119, at the Penticton campus.

See for details.

Trunk sale

The Kelowna Regional Waste Reduction Office will be hosting a Trunk Sale at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on Sept. 27 from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Don’t miss this opportunity to sell your gently used items to someone else who could use them and send less to the landfill. There is no charge to be a vendor, but all sellers must register by Sept. 24.

Visit for details.


The top talent of Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts program was highlighted in a four-page feature article in the Aug./Sept. issue of Okanagan Life magazine, see Top chefs prep kitchen contenders. (The article will be available later this fall, when the magazine publishes it on their website.)

First year students and returning students descended on the College’s Vernon campus with the start of the fall term, see College classes underway in the Vernon Morning Star.

Okanagan College business professor Dr. Blair Baldwin unveiled some cutting-edge research this summer, see Project uncovers key to wine industry’s growth in the Penticton Western News.

The benefits of Okanagan College’s Computer Information Systems diploma and degree programs paid off for one alumnus, see OC’s IT training program pays dividends in the Kelowna Capital News, and Computer degrees in high demand in the Vernon Morning Star.

The results of an economic impact study highlight Okanagan College’s importance to the area, see Okanagan College impacts regional economy in the Business Examiner.

Expectations are high for Okanagan College’s baseball team as they kick-off their 2014-2015 season, see Coyotes ready to play ball in the Kelowna Capital News.

Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan recently provided a free community concert to launch the school year, see Kelowna road to close for upcoming Street Fest in the Kelowna Capital News, and Concert Planning in Downtown Kelowna in the Okanagan Saturday.

The services of Kelowna-based company Kimco Controls Ltd. were featured in the Business Examiner, and the company cited the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence as one of its key projects, see Celebrating 30 years of delivering comfort with integrity.

A new route for the express transit service linking West Kelowna to both UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College was launched, see RapidBus expansion rolled out in the Kelowna Capital News.

A giant yard sale is taking place at Okanagan College, see Trunk Sale helping to promote concept of reuse and recycle in the Kelowna Capital News.

Okanagan College is hosting a large conference about family history this month, see Kelowna genealogical conference appeals to beginners and buffs alike in the Okanagan Saturday.


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 Sept. 23, 2014.