Student ambassadors honoured at President’s Dinner

president dinner 2017At the President’s Dinner held on April 10 in Kelowna, Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton recognized 181 students for being ambassadors of OC, citing numerous examples of student and instructor involvement in events and initiatives in the region. This year marked the largest number of students ever recognized at the annual event.

Over the past year, students and employees have represented the College at competitions and events across Canada – and internationally – from business case competitions, Skills Canada, computer programming events, and culinary battles. In many instances they earned podium finishes, and showcased the high level of skills, training and education they have received while studying at the College.

The evening included a delectable buffet feast prepared by OC Culinary Arts students and Culinary Manager Chef Bernard Casavant.

CANsave encourages local elementary students to give back 

cansave group shot 2017Students in Grades 1-3 from Shannon Lake Elementary learned an important lesson in giving last week when they donated more than $2,000 to the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation as part of their participation in Enactus Okanagan College’s CANsave program. 

Five classes from Shannon Lake took part in CANsave, which is a financial literacy program developed by Okanagan College students that teaches primary students the importance of saving for themselves, saving for their future and saving to help others in need.  

The Enactus team partnered with Valley First, a Division of First West Credit Union, to help further the students’ understanding of the saving to help others. Valley First’s sponsorship allowed the students to have a larger impact on the charity of their choice, in this case the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation. In addition to the $2,000 the students were able to give thanks to Valley First, they also contributed more than $225 of their own money to support the foundation. 

In total, $30,000 will be donated to local charities, with over half of that money already given to a wide range of local initiatives.  

CANsave has grown since its inception a year ago, and is now being used by teachers in every single province and territory in Canada, impacting almost 100 distinct communities. In the Okanagan, more than 2,500 students have completed CANsave this year, while that number exceeds 6,200 students nationally. 

13 podium finishes at Skills Canada BC competition

skills canada ioc 2017Five Okanagan College students are on their way to Winnipeg, MB to compete in the Skills Canada National Competition next month, after gold medal-winning performances at the provincial competition in Abbotsford on April 5.

Joining the gold medalists on the podium at the Skills BC Provincial Competition were eight additional OC students who earned four silver and four bronze medals in an array of trades and technology disciplines, from Aerospace Technology to Refrigeration.

OC was unbeatable in the province in the areas of Automotive Collision Repair, Automotive Service, Carpentry, Culinary Arts and IT. Brendan Battersby, a second-year student in the College’s Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology (NTEN) program won gold in IT – Network Systems Administration. Kurt Breton, a level 4 apprentice earned gold in Automotive Service, while Lukas Pfob, also a level 4 apprentice, took the top spot in Carpentry. Siobhan Detkavich, a dual-credit Culinary Arts student at Okanagan College and Southern Okanagan Secondary School, came away with gold in the Culinary Arts (Secondary) category.

Andreas Roth, a level 3 apprentice, won gold in Automotive Collision Repair – a category swept by OC. Roth was joined on the podium by Caleb Loewen who brought home the silver medal and Marcel Kaemmerzell, who earned bronze.

“As a first time competitor, I did everything I could to prepare ahead of time, but it was definitely a new and unique experience for me,” says Roth. “I’m really excited for nationals. I am going to practice hard and try my best for another good result in Winnipeg.”

Read the full story here.

College support makes OC Half a success

oc half marathon ioc 2017More than 250 runners took part in Okanagan College’s 15th annual Half Marathon, 10 KM and Relay Race on Sunday, April 9 in Kelowna. The event, which raises funds for scholarships for Okanagan College students, was supported by a number of different departments, employees and students who helped make the event memorable for participants.

There were lots of OC faces spotted out on the course, nearly a dozen who volunteered as course marshals, as well as lots of runners. OC’s Carolyn Hawes had the top finish of a College employee. She won third in the women’s half marathon event and took top spot in her individual age group. 

A spirited group of faculty from the Okanagan School of Business donned capes for their 10 KM race and while they didn’t win any titles, they were course favourites. 

Go online for complete results of the 15th annual OC Half Marathon.  

Province funds animation

animation funding iocOkanagan College's new Digital Animation diploma program has received a boost from the B.C. government.

The province announced it will provide $250,000 toward the program, which will be delivered in a state-of-the-art lab housed in the new Centre for Innovation in Kelowna.

“There is a dynamic animation industry flourishing in the Okanagan,” said Premier Christy Clark. “This diploma program is a first step towards a great career in a growing field both here at home or anywhere in the world.”

“The Province’s support for this program is welcome news for students as well as the employers in industry who will soon have access to a group of highly skilled animators right here in the Okanagan,” said Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton.

The two-year diploma is designed to help students develop artistic creativity and programming skills needed to jump into B.C.'s booming animation industry. The first intake of students will take place in September 2017.

Read the full story here


Finalists announced for Employee Excellence Awards

ee ioc 2017Okanagan College will recognize finalists and award recipients at the sixth annual Employee Excellence Awards at 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10 in the Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus.

After an open call for nominations, 24 individuals and 1 team were selected as finalists this year. They span a broad array of positions and come from across the College’s regions. 

The 2017 finalists are:

Maxwell Dickeson
Tanya Harding
Bryan Penfound

Jeremy Beaulne
Katerina Hay


Stephanie Bodden
Liz Currie
Cindy Meissner
Jan O’Brien
Ema Pecheanu
Carlyn Young


Sexual Violence Committee
Heather Carson
James Coble
Derrick Doige
Ken Langedyk
Jane Lister
Tina Miller
Donna Olson
Chris Rawson
Dawn Southern

Angela Godler

Drew Petrie
Kerry Rempel
Laura Thurnheer

Jeremy Beaulne
Chef Danny Capadouca

Dr. Shona Harrison
Marilyn Krenz
Kerry Rempel
Angus Wood

Joanna Campbell
Ellen Pedersen
Richard Christie

To be announced

Employees who have celebrated Milestone achievements over the past year will also be recognized at the May 10 event. There is still time to submit achievements for recognition. Fill out the Milestone Recognition Form and submit it before midnight on Monday, May 1.

OC Penticton welcomes young mathematicians 

pen math event iocThe Penticton campus welcomed over 120 elementary school students for the Spring into Math event on April 4.

Organized by Mathematics and Statistics professor Bryan Penfound and Recruitment and Events Coordinator Melanie Wasilenkoff, the event served as a final project for students in the Mathematics for Elementary Teachers program. Each MATH 160 student created and ran a mathematical station which groups of elementary students attended in rotation. Stations included learning about Roman numerals and the 24-hour clock, movement-based games with angle measure & fractions, statistics work with M&Ms, logical sorting, place-value & numeracy activities and exploring the properties of Mobius bands.

“From the discussions I had with visiting teachers and their students, the event was a great success,” says Penfound. “This is such an excellent opportunity for our college students to connect with the local teaching community. It also gives our local elementary students a chance to experience some hands-on activities with the hope that they leave campus having learned something new. Honestly, it was great to see so many elementary students genuinely excited about mathematics!”

Penfound and his MATH 160 students would also like to thank Campus Librarian Eva Gavaris and Aboriginal Transition Planner Marcy Trotter, along with Penticton campus Enactus students for helping to deliver a great event.

Kelowna students serve up warm welcome for bus drivers

bus driver event ioc 2017Students from Okanagan College’s Adult Special Education (ASE) PACE program, along with employees and mentors from ASE and Aboriginal Services at the Kelowna campus, stepped up to show their support for bus drivers last week.

More than a dozen students took part in organizing and delivering a bus driver appreciation day at the Kelowna campus on Thursday, April 13. Students handed out coffee and doughnuts to drivers at the bus stop at the entrance to campus off KLO Rd throughout the morning. 

The idea for the event came from Kelowna student Kelly Kallstrom who frequents public transit and wanted to offer a kind gesture toward drivers.

“I wanted to show our bus drivers that we value them and their safety on the job,” says Kallstrom. “Their job isn’t easy and the work they do benefits a lot of students who rely on the bus to get to OC every day.”

Pet day at Salmon Arm campus

pet day salmon arm iocOn April 5, the Salmon Arm campus played host to another successful Pet Day in the Library. 

Students and employees had a chance to cozy up with snakes, lizards and ferrets (no students or critters were harmed in any way over the course of a fun-filled day).

One student in particular worked on overcoming her fear of snakes. Congratulations to Laureen Shannon, a second-year Bachelor of Business Administration student, on successfully handling a slithering new friend, despite a life-long apprehension of snakes.

Markin joins Public Affairs

markin iocThe Public Affairs bureau welcomes a new team member this month. Allison Markin joins as Marketing and Communications Specialist, stepping in as Axelle Bazett’s maternity leave replacement until Bazett returns on May 8. Markin will then be staying on until late June to support Public Affairs with a variety of marketing and communications projects.

Markin completed her first year as a post-secondary student at the Penticton campus, going on to earn advanced degrees at Mount Allison and Carleton. She has worked in marketing and media relations for more than two decades, including tenures at UVic, UBC, and BCIT. Since 2008 she has been running her own digital and social media marketing consultancy, All She Wrote, with a focus on the wine, culinary, and tourism sectors, as well as pursuing freelance writing in the same areas, and has been an OC continuing studies instructor. Allison is a champion for Canadian wine tourism, having traveled around the world to speak at conferences, and was once challenged to find the right libation to pair with Szechuan scorpions. 

If you recognize Allison’s last name, she is the daughter of Allan Markin, former campus director in Penticton. She has three cats, infamous under their own hashtag, #coupdeschats.

Roberta Sawatzky to join Education Council

A by-election was held recently to fill three seats on Education Council. Roberta Sawatzky was the successful candidate for the Faculty Business seat.

Both the Faculty South Okanagan Similkameen and the Faculty North Okanagan seats had no nominations. Another by-election will be held late summer or early fall to find two representatives to fill these seats. More information will be posted in myOkanagan as it becomes available.

April 18, 2017, Vol. 11, Issue 27


Convocation 2017

Faculty and instructors are encouraged to support this year’s grads and participate in the Convocation ceremonies by leading graduands in the processional. If you are planning to attend a ceremony please email Michelle Lowry noting the ceremony you wish to attend. If you require regalia, please include your height and highest credential awarded (i.e. 5’11” MSc, U of Calgary).

-    Trades Commencement Fri, June 2 – 6:30 p.m.
-    Spring Convocation Sat, June 3 – 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
-    Vernon Convocation Tue, June 27 – 4:30 p.m.
-    Summer Commencement (CS grads only) Wed, June 28 - 7 p.m.
-    Summer Convocation Thu, June 29 – 7 p.m.

If you would like to volunteer as an usher for a ceremony, please let Michelle know.

For more information visit the website or click here to view the invite.

Kelowna Campus Fitness Facility spring hours

Please note that spring hours for the Fitness Facility from May 1 - June 30 will be: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday - Friday and 12-4 p.m on Saturday.

Family Award application deadline approaching

Applications are now being accepted for the next round of the Okanagan College Family Award, designed for immediate family members of continuing (regular) Okanagan College employees. This round of applications is for programs or terms starting between April 1 - August 31, 2017. 

Full award criteria and the application form can be found in myOkanagan under “OC Express – Forms," and then click on “Foundation," or click here to download the application form. All applications must be date-stamped at the Student Services Administration office in Kelowna (or at the Campus Administration office in Penticton, Vernon or Salmon Arm) by May 31, 2017. For more information, contact the Financial Aid and Awards Office or 250-862-5419.

NOTE: There is no longer a requirement to acquire an additional email from HR to confirm relationship to applicant and verification that the employee is a continuing (regular) employee of Okanagan College.

Connections Expo

Are you an expert in your field? Are you passionate about something and want to share it with your colleagues? Employees are invited to share their area of expertise or passions outside of work with their peers at this year’s Connections Expo. The Expo provides an opportunity to learn from and get to know your colleagues.

This informal event will take place at the end of each day during the social hour, set up in a way that will make it easy to connect you with your colleagues. If you would like to reserve your booth or would like more information contact Anna Wolleben.

Save the date: this year’s annual employee conference will be held in Kelowna on Aug. 22 and 23. 

2017-18 Holiday Season Closure and Summer Hours

A reminder that the dates for the 2017-18 holiday season closure and summer hours have been announced. Okanagan College will be closed to the public during the holiday season beginning Dec. 22, 2017 at 3 p.m. and will re-open on Jan. 2, 2018. For departments opting to participate, summer hours (8 a.m. - 4 p.m.) will be in effect from April 24 - Sept. 1, 2017. The notice can be found here.

Spoke Fest – scholarship opportunity

OC students have the chance to win a scholarship to attend Spoke Fest, one of the Okanagan’s most popular literary festivals. Students can apply online by May 15 to receive a weekend pass free of charge. Attendees will be treated to talks by some of the Okanagan's finest literary talents, including a number of Okanagan College faculty members. This year’s festival takes place August 11-13 in Vernon, B.C. Learn more online.

Volunteers needed for Smart Start

The Kelowna campus fall orientation team is busy planning Smart Start, a series of sessions designed to provide incoming students with a smooth transition from high school or work life to college. This new pre-orientation conference will run August 30 and 31, 2017. The event is designed to introduce new students to the Okanagan College community and set them up for a successful first year. Online registration will open to students beginning in May. 

The committee is looking for volunteers who may be interested in running a session. Current scheduled sessions include: learning about services on campus, transitioning from high school to college, transferring from OC to another institution, financial aid, time management skills and self-defense tactics. If you have a great idea for a session, the committee would love to hear about it.

To learn more about this event, visit Questions, comments and ideas can be directed to Carlyn Young, Kelowna campus orientation coordinator. 

Moodle has a new look

Employees logging into Moodle after May 5 will notice the online tool has a new look. Moodle has been redesigned to be more graphically interesting, as well as easier to use and navigate. There are several enhancements that also make it easier for users to teach and learn online. All existing course content and user data will be intact. For more details about the changes, please visit the Education Technology page or sign up for the Moodle 3.1 workshop that is happening on May 2. Education Technology welcomes feedback on the new look and functionality. If any employees would like early access to Moodle 3.1 for testing purposes, please email Education Technology.


Learning and Teaching Workshops

A series of ongoing workshops is taking place at the Kelowna Campus in room B130, unless otherwise noted. For full course descriptions view the Winter 2017 Workshop schedule.

Roundabout Workshop Series: the popular Roundabout series is back with an array of workshops to benefit Okanagan College employees in their jobs. The series is happening May 1-8. View the full schedule here. Please email Learning and Teaching to register in advance.

Enactus OC Soup’s On - Kelowna and Vernon

April 27 (Vernon) and 29 (Kelowna) – Enactus Okanagan College is expanding its popular Soup’s On event to Kelowna and Vernon, after a successful two-year run in Salmon Arm. Attendees will have a chance to sample soups by some of the valley’s top chefs, all for a good cause. The Vernon event is taking place at 6:30 p.m. on April 27 at Okanagan Spirits’ Vernon location. The Kelowna event is happening two days later on April 29 at 5 p.m. in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning at Okanagan College. Proceeds benefit local charities and will also aid Okanagan College students. Details and ticket information here.

Day of Mourning

April 28 – Across Canada, Friday, April 28 has been designated the Day of Mourning to recognize and remember those who have lost their lives to work-related incidents or occupational disease, and raise awareness about creating healthy and safe workplaces. The Kelowna Campus Occupational Health & Safety Committee is hosting a Day of Mourning event in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. The committee is inviting employees to bring in unwanted shoes & boots, which will be donated to Shoe Bank Canada. Please place items for donation in one of the four Shoe Bank Canada drop boxes around the Campus: Athletics, Rec & Student Life office (A105), Trades building, Centre for Learning and C building.

Applied Research and Innovation Day 

May 9 – Please save the date for the upcoming Applied Research and Innovation Day at the Kelowna campus on Tuesday, May 9 from 8:45 a.m. - 2:15 p.m. in the Trades Training Complex Atrium. In addition to keynote speaker David Chalk there will also be many other presenters, workshops, and interactive demonstrations throughout the day and OC researchers will have an opportunity to connect with potential community and industry partners. A detailed program and registration details will be provided once finalized. Learn more about Chalk and his presentation “Innovation is Nothing New” here

ETUG Conference in Kelowna

June 1-2 – ETUG is a group of education technology users in British Columbia higher education. The ETUG two-day spring conference is being held at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna on June 1-2. This event is a great opportunity for Okanagan College employees to learn about education technology. The main theme of the conference is Education by Design and streams include Learning Design, Education Technology, Faculty Development and Breakthrough Thinking. For more information and registration please see the ETUG web site.


Okanagan College’s kindness toward BC Transit drivers didn’t go unnoticed by Global News, which published an online article and a video on April 13.

A host of regional media helped serve up the news that Enactus Okanagan College is expanding its popular Soup’s On event to Kelowna and Vernon, after a successful two-year run in Salmon Arm. Read articles in Castanet, KelownaNow, the Daily Courier, and Okanagan Life Magazine.

The Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10K and Relay Race once again offered up a ton of fun and friendly competition as more than 250 runners laced up for the 15th annual event at the Kelowna campus, as reported by Castanet, KelownaNow, the Daily Courier and the Capital News.

Alix Hawley, a former professor of English at Okanagan College and award-winning author is a finalist for the 2017 CBC Short Story Prize. Read about her new work in this article by the Okanagan Saturday.

Plans for Okanagan College’s new Trades building in Vernon were shared by Castanet on April 11. About 150 students will utilize the 13,450 sq. ft. facility that is expected to be completed in 2018.

Five Okanagan College students earned gold, four took silver and another four brought home the bronze at the Skills BC Provincial Competition in Abbotsford recently and their winning ways were shared with readers by Castanet, the Okanagan, the Penticton Herald and Collision Repair Magazine.

Okanagan College’s new Animation diploma program will power up this fall in the recently opened Okanagan Centre for Innovation, and the Okanagan Saturday, the Daily Courier and the Capital News brought readers news of the official announcement of the program.

Also on the topic of new programs, a new Viticulture Technician diploma program is coming to Okanagan College’s Penticton campus in September. The Daily Courier and the Penticton Western News shared word of the announcement of funding for the two-year pilot.

The Okanagan College Coyotes baseball team is off to a slow start to their 2017 season but steadied the ship somewhat with a split 2-2 weekend on April 8-9 against the TRU Wolfpack recently before heading on the road last weekend. The Capital News brought a recap of all the early season action to readers in articles on April 5 and April 12.

The Vernon Morning Star published a photo of an Indigenous Studies class from OC cleaning up Westside Road to aid the class’s effort to bring awareness of the impact waste has on the environment.

The B.C. Green Party recently announced the nomination of OC Sustainable Construction Management Technology student Connie Sahlmark as candidate for the Penticton riding and the Penticton Western News and Penticton Herald shared profiles of Sahlmark.

The Penticton Herald also published an overview of all three candidates in the riding – incumbent Dan Ashton, Connie Sahlmark and Tarik Sayeed – on April 12, including messages from each on their respective platform.

Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton and Regional Dean for Shuswap-Revelstoke Joan Ragsdale recently presented a report on campus operations to council in Salmon Arm, and highlights of the presentation were printed by the Salmon Arm Observer.

The Vernon Morning Star quoted a diverse array of students from Okanagan College and UBCO in a recent article about the significant impact that student voters could have on the result of the upcoming provincial election.

The Youth Work in Trades program offers students a chance to get a jump on their apprenticeship training while still completing high school. The Vernon Morning Star caught up with a number of current young apprentices taking full advantage of the work-study balance offered by the initiative, including some who will be pursuing further training at Okanagan College.

Okanagan College Honorary Fellow Alan Gatzke’s observations about governance around the Okanagan Rail Trail made the pages of the Vernon Morning Star on April 7.

As part of a series of articles spotlighting moments in history in lead up to Canada’s 150th anniversary this year, the Penticton Herald re-printed a December 8, 1969-piece about a failed plebiscite in which Penticton residents voted against opening a College campus in Penticton.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Allison Markin

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 May 2, 2017.