Province invests in new Viticulture program at Okanagan College

vittech event iocThe B.C. Government is providing $628,000 to support a two year pilot of the new Viticulture Technician diploma program at Okanagan College.

Penticton MLA Dan Ashton made the announcement today at Poplar Grove Winery on behalf of Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour. The pilot project will see 20 students begin their studies this fall in the two-year Viticulture Technician diploma program based at the Penticton campus.

The agrifoods sector is continuing to exceed growth expectations, and the province wants to ensure that our future generations have the skills and training that B.C. needs for the in-demand jobs of the future,” said Ashton. “The viticulture technician program will provide hands-on learning opportunities and practical knowledge that will meet the specific needs to help this industry continue to grow successfully.”

Developed in partnership with the B.C. Wine Grape Council, the new diploma is designed to provide hands-on, theoretical and practical knowledge that will allow students to eventually work as part of a vineyard management team. The program is structured around the viticulture growing season, providing opportunities to develop and apply skills like: canopy management, pest control, pruning, training vines, sensory evaluation, and occupational health and safety.

“The wine industry is one of the economic engines of our region, and we know that the renowned B.C. wine quality begins in the vineyards,” said Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “We’re very pleased that we have been able to work with the industry and with the support of the province to further develop the career-focused programming that will serve its needs and the best interests of our students.”

Read the full story here. Watch video coverage from Castanet here.

Opening doors to health care careers

hca princeton iocOne-time funding from the Provincial Government is adding additional seats in the Health Care Assistant program at Okanagan College’s Revelstoke campus.

The B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education (AVED) is providing $64,000 in one-time funding to support 12 additional full-time equivalent (FTE) seats in the 26-week program scheduled to start in August at the Revelstoke campus.

“Our government is providing funding that will allow more students to train as health care professionals in the Thompson Okanagan,” said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson. “The health care assistant program at Okanagan College will help prepare students to meet the ongoing health needs of local communities throughout the region.”

The program prepares students to provide care that promotes and maintains the physical, emotional, cognitive and social well-being of clients. It combines theory classes and a clinical practicum that allows students to gain the skills and training they need to serve their communities. Read the full story here.

The news comes amid a growing need for HCAs in the province. A special one-time intake of the program recently completed in Princeton, where eight students from that community accessed the training. Among those students was Natasha Smith, a mother of three who has dreamt of a career in health care for more than 15 years. Read her story here.

OC alumnus cooks his way to Atelier

bibby iocCarson Bibby was only 16-years-old when he first had the opportunity to cook alongside some of Canada’s finest chefs at the Canadian Culinary Championships’ Gold Medal Plates finale last year. This year after stepping into the ropes of the fast-paced competition once again, he came away with an offer he couldn’t refuse – a spot in the kitchen at one of Canada’s most acclaimed restaurants.

Bibby is now a chef de partie at Atelier, an avant garde Ottawa eatery known for its 12-course tasting menu prepared using the latest techniques in molecular gastronomy. Working under the watchful eye of award-winning Executive Chef Marc Lepine, Bibby is among the top culinary hands crafting an adventurous bill of fare that changes nightly.

Bibby served as a sous-chef to Lepine two years running at Gold Medal Plates (Lepine won in 2016), a one-of-a-kind learning experience afforded to OC culinary arts students. This past February, at the conclusion of the event, Lepine invited Bibby to come and work at Atelier.

“I was floored by the offer,” says Bibby, who moved to the Okanagan at age nine. “The opportunity to observe and support Chef Lepine at Gold Medal Plates was incredible. I was flattered and honoured that he wanted me to come and work with him.”

Now living Ottawa, Bibby has been working at Atelier for a few weeks. He credits the dual-credit Culinary Arts program at Okanagan College with helping him build the technical skills he needed to get noticed. 

Read the full story here.

Provincial support seeds Forest Operator program

forest operator iocSupport from the provincial government is allowing Okanagan College to launch a new Forest Operator program designed to connect skilled workers with employment in the Shuswap.

Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo, on behalf of Minister of Social Development and Health Michelle Stilwell announced on March 23 an investment of $749,872 from the Ministry. The new program, which launched in March, was developed in concert with the Neskonlith Indian Band and a number of local forestry sector employers. It will provide up to 16 students in Revelstoke and the Shuswap with 16 weeks of paid training and 10 weeks of on-the-job work experience.

“This is a unique opportunity for a group of people to learn new skills in forestry and then be able to put them to work in a real-world environment, and I’m sure it will pay dividends in their lives once the project is complete,” said Kyllo.

Read the full story here

Soup’s On in Kelowna and Vernon

soups on kelownaSome of the valley’s top chefs will be putting their best ladle forward this month at the first annual Kelowna and Vernon Soup’s On events, public soup tastings presented by Enactus Okanagan College.

Soup’s On has run successfully for the past two years in Salmon Arm, which prompted Enactus to serve up the initiative in other communities.

“What started out as a simple idea at an Enactus meeting really came to life and was embraced by the community in Salmon Arm,” explains Soup’s On project manager and Enactus Okanagan College member Alexandra Jacques. “I am so honoured and thrilled to have two more communities in the Okanagan jump on board.”

The first event is taking place on April 27 at Okanagan Spirits’ Vernon location. Tickets are $25 each and available at participating restaurants Eatology, Kaals Naan Stop, Kal Sports Bar, Intermezzo, and Sir Winston's Pub. Proceeds will benefit the Upper Room Mission and Okanagan College students.

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. Tickets are $20 and available here. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Central Okanagan Food Bank and will also aid Okanagan College students.

SFU professor sounds off on danger of childhood toxin exposure

sfu prof iocCan commonplace items around the home impact children’s brain development? SFU professor Dr. Bruce Lanphear will discuss research supporting the link between chemical exposure and childhood disorders in a public talk at the Vernon campus this week.

The presentation will take place in the lecture theatre of the College’s Vernon campus on Thursday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. Lanphear’s talk, entitled “Little Things Matter: The Impact of Toxic Chemicals on the Developing Brain,” is part of the Science in Society Speaker Series.

“The impact of toxic chemicals is usually subtle for an individual child, but it can be substantial at the population level,” explains Lanphear. “Too little has been done to protect children from these ubiquitous, but insidious, toxins.”

Lanphear, MD, MPH, is a clinician scientist at the Child & Family Research Institute, BC Children’s Hospital and professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. His primary goal is to help quantify and ultimately prevent disease and disability due to exposures to environmental contaminants and pollutants.

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644 or purchase through Eventbrite.

Read the full story here.


Rempel helps develop tool for mapping social housing

rempel mapping iocA new online tool developed by Okanagan College School of Business Professor Kerry Rempel and researchers from UBC Okanagan will provide easier access to social housing information in Kelowna.

Unveiled last week, i-Search Kelowna is a publicly available mapping tool, detailing all emergency shelter, assisted-living housing and low-income accommodation in the city. The project was developed with input and funding from the Central Okanagan Foundation and the United Way of Central and South Okanagan, as well as a number of other local technology organizations.

“Working on this project has been an amazing opportunity to showcase social innovation and the College’s commitment to working with our community,” says Rempel. “I’m so proud to have taken part in this wonderful collaboration between the College and UBCO.” 

The research team is multi-disciplinary and includes a PhD student and Masters student from UBCO and undergraduate student Brooks Hewko from the College. 

The public is invited to access the i-Search Kelowna mapping tool by visiting the website

Read the full story here

The future is bubbly

bubbly coe iocNearly 100 area winemakers jammed the Community Hall in the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence last Thursday to learn how to make better bubbles.

The topic was sparkling wine, and winemakers from throughout the Okanagan gathered to hear from Marcello Galetti, a top wine consultant in Italy, Denis Bunner, (Chef de Cave assistant at Champagne Bollinger) and Thierry Lemaire, the principal of Nuance Wine Supplies. 

The strong turnout reflects a growing industry interest in making sparkling wines.

The event was sponsored by Artus Bottling, Nuance and Okanagan College and is part of the Bottling Excellence series started in 2016 by Lemaire and Norman Cole, the owner of Artus Bottling. The goal of the series is help winemakers improve the quality of their wines by providing access to leading edge presenters, technology and worldwide best practices. 

Productive procrastination

long night iocMore than 70 students pulled a productive all-nighter at the Penticton campus recently. The second annual Long Night Against Procrastination was a chance for students, with the help of faculty, to focus on putting end-of-term assignments (which they may or may not have put off) behind them.

The idea for a long night against procrastination originated at Europa University Viadrina in Frankfurt, Germany, where it was called Die Lange Nacht der aufgeschobenen Hausarbeiten, or a "long night against deferred chores." The idea has struck a chord with universities and colleges around the world and Long Night events have spread across Europe, the US and Canada. The first-ever OC Long Night launched at the Penticton campus last year and was extremely popular.

Okanagan College English Professor Frances Greenslade was one of those faculty members assisting students into the wee hours of the night.

“At 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. or 4 a.m., after the pizza's been eaten, after the third or fourth or sixth cup of coffee, when Jupiter and its four moons hang above the southern horizon, a kind of clarity and calm sometimes descends, dropping like the wind drops when it's blown all night,” writes Greenslade in a blog about the event. “At those times, something seems to let loose deep in the heart of you, and you can write because it's now or never.”

Read Greenslade’s blog entry here and find more information about the Long Night Against Procrastination here.

Farrar joins OC as Animation Chair

farrar iocOkanagan College’s Dept. of Science, Technology and Health welcomes Steff Farrar as the Department Chair and professor of the new Animation Diploma program, starting this fall in the Okanagan Centre for Innovation in Kelowna.

Farrar brings 25 years of experience in film, television, animation and gaming, along with a deeply-rooted passion for teaching and sharing her knowledge of animation.

“Who wouldn’t be ready to seize the opportunity of a dream job?” says Farrar. “I look forward to working with faculty, studios and the students to offer an exciting and flexible animation program that will meet the changing needs of the industry.”

“We are excited to welcome Steff to Okanagan College,” said Phil Ashman, Associate Dean for Science, Technology and Health. “Her wealth of experience in the animation industry will be invaluable as we ramp up our new Animation Diploma. This sector is booming in B.C. and Okanagan College is looking to play its part in supporting the industry in the Okanagan.”

Juste talks life behind the lens

juste iocWorld-renowned photojournalist Carl Juste has spent more than 30 years showcasing the struggles of Haitians in the U.S. and abroad. He has received numerous awards for his work from Pictures of the Year, Society for News Design, Best of Photojournalism and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. 

Juste will be at the Kelowna campus this Thursday to speak about his life and career in a free public lecture. His talk begins at 6 p.m. in the lecture theatre.

“So many have chosen to treat it as if it’s a dying art, but photojournalism lives and flourishes in places where it is most needed,” explains Juste.

After fleeing his homeland under threat of persecution, Haitian-born Juste and his politically active family settled in Miami’s Haitian community in 1965. He won a scholarship to the University of Miami and since 1991 has served his community through his work at the Miami Herald. His project “Haiti: A Nation in Turmoil,” is an ongoing professional and personal project documenting the struggles of Haitians in the U.S. and around the world. 

“Carl Juste’s passion for his activism and his art is unparalleled,” says Jillian Garrett, a professor of Communication at Okanagan College. “He brings ideals and ideas that will inspire the listener – from the importance of community, to the ability to engage critically and thoughtfully with the world around us, to the desire to greet each day with passion and a sense of purpose.”

Read the full story here.

OC Coyotes start season strong

The OC Coyotes are off to a hot start in their 2017 Canadian Collegiate Baseball Conference season, taking 3 of 4 games from the University of Calgary Dinos this past weekend. The Coyotes out-scored their opponent 41-15 over the four games, recording 41 hits, including three homeruns.

The team is confident heading into the season. According to Head Coach Geoff White, this year’s pitching roster is one of the deepest the Coyotes have ever had, while the team also looks to build on last season’s strong offensive performance which saw them place second in the conference in batting average at .283. 

"We have high expectations for this team,” says White. “If we perform day in and day out we should be in good shape. We have the ability." 

The Coyotes are on the road this week, with stops in Nanaimo and Kamloops. They will be back at Elks Stadium in Kelowna to face Thompson Rivers University on April 9 and University of Fraser Valley on April 14. Find the full schedule on the OC Coyotes Baseball website.

April 4, 2017, Vol. 11, Issue 26


A few more race volunteers needed

Join in the fun at this year’s OC Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay Race on Sunday, April 9. The race committee is looking for a few more volunteers to act as course marshals to direct runners and keep them safe on the course (please note: you will not be directing traffic). Volunteers are needed from 8 to about 11 a.m. and will receive a tasty gift as a token of appreciation for their time donated. Have you tasted OC’s new chocolate yet? This is your chance.

Volunteers are encouraged to cheer runners along, can wear fun costumes and friends and families are welcome to join in. Contact Michelle Lowry to register as a volunteer.

Alumni awards nomination deadline extended

Planning on nominating an accomplished OC alumnus for this year’s Okanagan College Alumni Association (OCAA) awards? The deadline for nominations for the Distinguished Alumni and Young Alumni awards has been extended until Monday, April 10 as a result of a postponement in the OCAA’s next board meeting. Nominate an alumnus online here or contact Katerina Hay for more information.

Kelowna Campus Bocce Tournament Sign Up

The arrival of spring signals the start of the Eleventh Annual Bocce Tournament at the Kelowna campus. Employees are invited to sign up and join the friendly competition, which begins mid-April. The tournament runs for seven games followed by three weeks of playoffs in June. To sign up, interested participants should find a partner, create a funky team name and call Angie March at local 4501. No experience is necessary. Please register by noon on Monday, April 10, 2017. 

Kelowna Fitness Facility holiday long weekend closure

The Fitness Facility at the Kelowna campus will be closed for the Easter long weekend at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 13 and will reopen at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, April 18.

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.

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. 


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.

The Physics of Water

April 5 – Renowned Physics and Physical Oceanography researcher Dr. Kris Poduska of Memorial University presents Shark Skin, Butterfly Wings, and Lotus Leaves: The Physics of Water on Rough Surfaces, a free lecture at Okanagan College on Tuesday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m., Room H-115.

International Development Night

April 5 – The International Development Program invites you to celebrate and showcase the efforts of our local non-profit organizations, individual practitioners, and youth engaging in international development activities around the world. International Development Night will be held in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning on April 5 from 1 - 5 p.m. (1 - 5 p.m. Displays & Networking, 3 - 5 p.m. Talks).

Join for talks, refreshments, activities and music. For more information, please contact, register on the Eventbrite page, or visit the Facebook page.

Science in Society Speakers Series: Dr. Bruce Lanphear

April 6 – Can commonplace items around the home impact children’s brain development? SFU professor Dr. Bruce Lanphear will discuss research supporting the link between chemical exposure and childhood disorders in a public talk at Okanagan College - Vernon campus on April 6. Learn more here.

Visiting photojournalist Carl Juste 

April 6 – Attend a free lecture by Internationally acclaimed photojournalist Carl Juste. “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night: Requiem for a Life in Photojournalism” will detail Juste’s long and award-winning career in journalism. April 6, 2017, 6 p.m., Lecture Theatre, Kelowna campus. All are welcome. For more information, please contact Jillian Garrett. Download the poster for more information. 

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 re–new our commitment to 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.


The announcement of a new $18.9-million Health Sciences Centre at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, propelled by a $15.4-million investment by the Province, made the pages of the Daily CourierKelowna Capital News, Castanet, KelownaNow and Global News.

The new Associate of Arts Degree emphasis called Resistance and Revolution, exclusive to the College’s Salmon Arm campus, was profiled in the Salmon Arm Observer recently. The new emphasis launches in September.

The OC Coyotes came out swinging in the season opener at Elks Stadium last weekend and their first at-home stretch was previewed by the Kelowna Capital News. A full recap of the games and a glimpse into the team's upcoming schedule was issued in a follow-up by the Kelowna Capital News.

A duo from Charles Bloom Secondary in Lumby were victorious at the 34th annual Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest which wrapped up judging in the heavyweight category on March 18, as reported by the Vernon Morning Star. The second place bridge was built by James Dessert, also of Lumby, while a team from UBCO finished third.

Okanagan College played host to the Skills Canada BC Regional Competition in March. The Osoyoos Times profiled a number of participants who will compete at the Provincial competition in Abbotsford this Wednesday, April 5.

Jake Kennedy, a professor of English and Creative Writing at Okanagan College, joined Manitoba author Dennis Cooley in a recent poetry reading as part of the Bean Scene’s Salon Series in Kelowna. The event was trumpeted to readers by the Vernon Morning Star.

Former Okanagan College South Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Dean Allan Markin recently released a new extended play album entitled A Six-Pack for Love. Markin will be performing songs from the album during a concert at the Leir House Cultural Centre in Penticton on April 23, as reported by the Penticton Herald.

OC Audio Engineering and Music Production almnus and rising star Ben Klick opened for country music legend Tanya Tucker in Kelowna on March 20. An article by the Okanagan Saturday described Klick’s electrifying performance that was well received by the audience in a packed Kelowna Community Theatre.

Teresa Arsenault of Pushor Mitchell LLP was named to the Daily Courier’s Top 40 Over 40 in March. In addition to her volunteer work with Okanagan College, Arsenault was lauded for her involvement with UBCO and a host of other organizations.

News of photojournalist Carl Juste’s upcoming talk at Okanagan College was carried by by Castanet, KelownaNow, InfoTel News.

OC Culinary Arts alumnus Carson Bibby’s ascension to a place in the Kitchen at one the country’s most critically-acclaimed restaurants was shared with readers by the Daily Courier, the Kelowna Capital News, and Okanagan Life Magazine.

SFU Professor Dr. Bruce Lanphear’s upcoming talk at Okanagan College about research supporting the link between chemical exposure and childhood disorders was profiled by Castanet and InfoTel News

The success of students in a special one-time intake of the College’s Health Care Assistant program in Princeton was shared by InfoTel News.

The announcement of support for the new Forest Operator program at Okanagan College in Revelstoke and the Shuswap was highlighted by Global News

OC alumna Christina Ferreira recently shared her 15 favourite things about living in the region in a feature by ICON Okanagan magazine.

Also in the pages of ICON Okanagan was a recap of the 2017 Canadian Culinary Championships Gold Medal Plates in February.

Okanagan College Dental Assistant program instructor Elaine Maxwell received the College of Dental Surgeons of B.C.'s highest honour in March - the Award of Merit - as heralded by the Daily Courier.

The unveiling of a new social housing mapping tool by Okanagan College Business professor Kerry Rempel and researchers from UBCO was covered by the Daily Courier.

A pair of Penticton high school students, Aleah Nesdoly and Sarah Gottwald, were profiled by the Summerland Review for their participation at a recent youth mental health summit in Penticton. Nesdoly will start her studies at the Penticton campus this fall and hopes to pursue a career in psychology.

Nominees for the Vernon Woman of the Year Award were printed in the Vernon Morning Star this week and on the list was Sareena Nickoli, Okanagan College alumna and OCAA Distinguished Alumni Award recipient (2016). 


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

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 April 18, 2017.