College sends more than 1,775 grads out into the world in June

convo vernon 2017 iocOkanagan College wrapped up a busy Convocation season at the end of June with Vernon Convocation on Tuesday, June 27, followed by Continuing Studies Commencement and Summer Convocation on June 28 and 29.

More than 2,450 students have received credentials from Okanagan College in 2017 in seven ceremonies, including more than 1,775 who graduated in the month of June.

During the Summer Convocation ceremony at the Kelowna campus on June 29, Edna Terbasket was named an Honorary Fellow of Okanagan College – the highest honour bestowed by the College – and addressed the graduating class.

Find Convocation photos here. Videos coverage of all ceremonies can be found here.

na’ʔk’ʷulamən garden opens

garden ribbonOn Tuesday, June 27 more than a hundred people attended the grand opening of the na’ʔk’ʷulamən garden, a new Indigenous garden located at the Kelowna campus. Launched in partnership with Westbank First Nation, the City of Kelowna and other community partners, this new greenspace is now open to the public and boasts nearly 50 varieties of plants that are of cultural and historical significance to the Indigenous people of the region.

The ceremony began with a blessing by Westbank First Nation Elder Grouse Barnes. Councillor Chris Derickson spoke on behalf of WFN and as Vice Chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors. Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton, Regional Dean for the Central Okanagan Heather Schneider, and Aboriginal Services Coordinator Anthony Isaac also spoke about how the garden came to fruition. The event concluded with a ribbon cutting that included WFN and College officials, and youth from Little Scholars Daycare. 

“This garden is a living, breathing example of the value Okanagan College places on Indigenous knowledge and culture,” said President Hamilton. “Thank you to everyone who helped us grow this unique space on our campus for everyone to enjoy.”

Learn more about the garden here.

Applied research project investigates injuries in tree planters

skinner iocThrough a unique collaborative research project, an Okanagan College instructor is exploring new strategies that may help reduce tendonitis in tree planters in B.C. and beyond.

“There are thousands of tree planters in the province, and while we may think of repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, or tennis elbow, imagine planting up to 2,500 trees each day for a number of months,” says Darrell Skinner, an instructor in the Therapist Assistant program. “Injury is unfortunately sometimes expected with such physical work, but we wanted to examine possible preventative strategies.”

Working closely with the owner and staff of Total Physiotherapy in Houston, BC, Skinner visited planting camps across Northern B.C. this spring and summer to implement and study new ways of taping hands and wrists. He hopes the data gathered will provide insight into how such methods may prevent tendonitis in this specialized group of workers in the future.

The project is funded by an Engage Grant from NSERC, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Student involvement has also been a key component of the project every step of the way. Recent graduate Alisha Lemke has been assisting with literature review and compiling prior research. Current student Riley Orchard will be helping with further analysis of the research results this fall. 

Read more about the project here.

College brings health care training to Revelstoke 

hca revy iocAmid a growing need for health care professionals across the province, the College is offering an intake of its Health Care Assistant (HCA) program at the Revelstoke campus next month and a local foundation has stepped up with support for students in that community.

The Revelstoke District Health Foundation is providing up to a dozen bursaries valued at $1,000 each. Potential students must apply to the Foundation, providing a budget, cover letter and photo by Friday, August 4, 2017.

“This is a collaborative effort with Okanagan College to fulfill a need for HCA workers,” says Steven Hui, Chair of the Revelstoke District Health Foundation. “We regularly provide funding for scholarships and bursaries to support education in healthcare, and this is also an opportunity to do that in our community.”

Earlier this year, the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education (AVED) announced $64,000 in one-time funding for Okanagan College to support 12 additional full-time equivalent (FTE) seats in the HCA program scheduled to start in August at the Revelstoke campus. 

More information about the HCA program and the bursaries is available here.

Kelowna company sees bright futures for OC welding grads

reicdo grads iocA group of OC-trained welders have found a new home at REIDCO Metal Industries Ltd. The Kelowna company recently brought onboard nearly a dozen graduates from the College’s welding and metal fabrication programs.

“Okanagan College provides a good foundation of training that we can then contour for our purposes and projects,” explains Bryan Johnston, president of REIDCO. “We are working on truck parts, military parts and seeing more from the resource industry. The job prospects are good, and there are a growing number of well-paying opportunities.”

Nathan Kleger is one of REIDCO’s new hires and a recent grad from the College. 

“My job has been the perfect complement to the Welding Foundation course,” says Kleger. “REIDCO has a core of experienced workers who have gone out of their way to help us transition from what we learned in school to doing quality production work in the shop.”

Read the full story here.

Youth learning to code at Camp OC 

sarah foss iocTeens in Grades 9 through 12 are tapping into a unique two-week summer camp hosted at the College’s Vernon campus this month. Tech Gateway, one of this year’s new Camp OC offerings, is designed to give older students a glimpse into careers in the technology sector.

Students will also have a chance to gain first-hand knowledge about what it is like to study Computer Science at OC. Sarah Foss, who graduated with a diploma in Computer Information Systems in June, is one of the instructors.

“The program at the College showed me all of the possibilities for jobs working with computers and coding, and how accessible technology has become,” says Foss, who will step back into the classroom at the Kelowna campus this fall to complete her Bachelor’s degree. “I’m excited to show the students that you don’t need to be a rocket scientist or a master programmer to code. And it’s really cool.”

Tech Gateway takes place in Vernon, from July 17 to 28, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. More information about Camp OC is available at

Read more in the media release.


College appoints new Regional Dean for South Okanagan-Similkameen 

corneau cmOkanagan College will welcome a new Regional Dean for the South Okanagan-Similkameen later this summer. Eric Corneau, a college administrator with a significant and diverse background in the sector will step into the role on August 28.

Corneau comes to Okanagan College from Nunavut Arctic College (NAC) in Iqaluit where he has worked for the last nine years, most recently as Vice President. Before becoming Vice President, he served as Dean of the College’s Nunatta Campus and prior to that as Manager of Policy and Planning.

He holds a Master of Arts in Public Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Public Management and Governance from the University of Ottawa, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Science and Major Community and Public Affairs from Concordia University.

“As a newcomer to the South Okanagan, I’m looking forward to immersing myself in the College and the region,” says Corneau. “I’m eager to work with and be a resource to our students, faculty and employees. I’m also very excited to build on the strong relations with community, local First Nations, industry, donors, government, alumni and other groups that enrich and empower the College’s mission and contribute to the overall vibrancy of the region.” 

Read the full story here.

2017 OC bocce champions crowned

bocce 2017Another fun, friendly and competitive season of bocce at the Kelowna campus has wrapped up and the 2017 champions have hoisted the trophy. 

“Pinky and the Brain” (Allan Hickey and Rachel Bohn) beat out “Bocce Movement” (Lynn Johnston and Gerry Born) in the final game on Monday, July 10. Okanagan College Vice President Students Charlotte Kushner presented the trophy to the winning team and gift certificates to the runner-up team. This year marked the 10th annual season of bocce in Kelowna.

“Thank you to everyone for participating and volunteering to help this year,” says Angie March, Executive Assistant to the Regional Dean. “A special thanks to Lee Robinson, Kate Sidlar and Gerry Born for their tremendous help with getting the bocce season rolling, creating the schedule and coordinating the playoffs. We enjoyed another great season with incredible weather this year. We hope you can join us next year for the 11th Annual Bocce Tournament.”

Lansdowne joins Public Affairs

lansdowne headshot 2 iocPublic Affairs welcomed a new team member this month. Holly Lansdowne joins as Marketing and Communications Specialist, on a three-month contract until the end of September. Lansdowne will be supporting Public Affairs with a variety of marketing and communications projects.

Born and raised in Kelowna, she earned a B.A. in English from the University of British Columbia Okanagan in 2013 and an Advanced Certificate in Communications from Okanagan College in 2015. Upon graduation, she went on to complete a Certificate in Strategic Public Relations from the University of Toronto in 2016. 

Holly comes to the College with a background in professional sports, local residential development and freelance writing, planning and researching. Holly spends her spare time golfing, enjoying the outdoors with her fiancé and volunteering for the Okanagan Communicators Network.

Houseboat raffle winner

Lisa Kraft, Associate Dean of Science, Technology and Health is the winner of a Shuswap summer adventure prize pack. 

Kraft won the raffle at the 21st annual Links to Learning Charity Golf Tournament at the Salmon Arm golf club on Saturday, June 25. Her prize is a three-day weekend or four-day midweek houseboat trip donated by Waterway Houseboats.

All proceeds from the raffle and the tournament go towards scholarships and bursaries for OC students. The totals from this year’s golf tournament are still being calculated. Last year, more than $10,000 was raised. 

July 11, 2017, Vol. 11, Issue 33


Summer food services schedule - Kelowna campus

Monday – Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Food Trucks
10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (times may vary)

Rollies Roadhouse - Monday & Tuesday
CrAsian - Wednesday
Paisley - Thursday

The cafeteria is closed for the summer. Download the food services schedule here.

Watch Convocation

Missed the live version? You can watch video from Trades Commencement, Spring Convocation, Vernon Convocation, Summer Convocation and Continuing Studies Commencement ceremonies here.

OUC Memoirs books available

If you would like a copy of the OUC Memoirs book, there are copies available in the Office of the President at the Kelowna campus. Please contact Kristen Wiebe (local 4788) for more information.

OC Administrators Association Scholarships

Reminder that members of the OC Administrators Association who meet the eligibility criteria for Professional Development can apply to receive one of two scholarships valued at $1,000 each. The recipient must be registered in a certificate, diploma, degree or designation at Okanagan College or other institution providing post-secondary education. 

If there are no members of the Association who meet the criteria, the award may be awarded to dependents of members who meet the following criteria: the dependent must be registered and in good academic standing in a certificate, diploma, degree or designation at Okanagan College, or other institution providing post-secondary education. Please submit applications (or any questions) to Jan O’Brien (local 4529). Application deadline is July 30.

Incident reporting at Okanagan College

Accidents occurring at Okanagan College that require the patient to be sent for medical aid are investigated by the Joint Occupational Health and Safety (JOHS) committee and an incident report is filed. But did you know that incidents that have the potential to lead to injury (“near misses”) should also be reported? This ensures that hazards can be determined and corrective measures can be taken to prevent any accidents from occurring. 

For every minor injury that occurs, approximately 60 incidents occur without visible injury or damage, and most of these go unreported. The next time you see or experience something that may lead to an accident (for example, a slip or trip), please report it to the JOHS committee. There is a fillable form found here or you can contact the Health and Safety Coordinator directly at 250-862-5405. 

Items still needed for Camp OC

Camp OC coordinators are in need of the following odds and ends this summer: fabric, toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, feathers, beads, string, ribbon, pop bottles and water bottles (all sizes and preferably with lids), duo tangs, hot chocolate canisters, and misc. craft supplies- glitter, glue, felt, scrapbooking materials. OC employees wishing to donate items can contact Camp OC Project Coordinator Dana Penney (local 4809). 


Retirement tea for Heather Schneider

July 25Heather Schneider, Regional Dean Central Okanagan, will be retiring in August 2017 after more than 11 years with Okanagan College. All employees are invited to join a retirement tea for Heather on Tuesday, July 25 from 2:30 – 4 p.m in the courtyard at the Kelowna campus. Stop by to wish Heather well in her retirement and enjoy games and summer-inspired food and drink. Please RSVP to Liz Plamondon.

Planting the Seeds workshop

Aug. 29 - 30 – Planting the Seeds: Cultivating Teaching and Learning at Okanagan College. A two-day workshop presented by Learning and Teaching, with Information Technology Services, Aug. 29 and 30, 8:45 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. room E103. To register please email Learning and Teaching.

OC Library closure

Aug. 30 – All OC Libraries will be closed on Wednesday, August 30 for Library Services' annual staff in-service meeting.

Register for Connections

Aug. 22 and 23 – Registration is open for Okanagan College’s annual employee conference. Connections is organized by employees for employees. It is about connecting face-to-face with colleagues from different departments and campuses, and celebrating the strengths and diversity of the people who work here through interactive, social activities and fun informative workshops.

You will hear from President Jim Hamilton about what's happening in and around Okanagan College and you will have a great opportunity to interact. Register here.

Connections will be held at the Kelowna campus again this year and you have the choice to attend on either Tuesday, August 22 or Wednesday, August 23. Employees are invited to share their area of expertise or passions outside of work with their peers at Connections Expo. If you would like to reserve your booth or would like more information contact Anna Wolleben


The announcement that Eric Corneau will be stepping into the role of Regional Dean South Okanagan-Similkameen in late August made the pages of the Penticton Herald and Castanet

The opening of the na’ʔk’ʷulamən garden at the Kelowna campus drew more than a hundred visitors and caught the attention of a host of regional media including InfoTel News, KelownaNow, Castanet, the Capital News and the Daily Courier.

The Vernon Morning Star published photos from the College’s Vernon Convocation ceremony on Tuesday, June 27. 

OC grads were back in the news later that week when the Daily Courier ran a recap of the College’s busy convocation season. More than 2,450 students graduated from the College this year in seven ceremonies.

The Okanagan College Alumni Association recently named Grace Greyeyes and Ben Klick as recipients of its highest honours and the Daily Courier took note. Greyeyes will receive this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award, while Klick will take home the Young Alumni Award, at a ceremony in September.

Okanagan College will welcome William Gillett as the new Dean of the Okanagan College School of Business this summer as reported by the Capital News and Castanet. Gillett will replace Heather Banham who will retire this summer after a 24-year career with the College.

Support for students stepping into the Health Care Assistant program launching at the Revelstoke campus this August was profiled in the Revelstoke Current and Castanet.

Okanagan College instructor Darrell Skinner’s research project exploring tendonitis in tree planters is taking him all over Northern B.C. and editors took readers along for the ride in these pieces by Castanet and the Capital News

News that Kelowna company REIDCO recently hired more than a dozen OC welding graduates was shared by Castanet and Okanagan Weekend.

A pilot program that will allow students to complete their first year of training at Okanagan College before bridging into Mining Studies at BCIT was announced in June and word traveled thanks to stories by the Lake Country Calendar and the Vernon Morning Star

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce bestowed its Top 40 Over 40 honour on a number of individuals from the Okanagan College community over the past year. Dr. Kyleen Myrah, Devin Rubadeau and Laura Thurnheer of the Okanagan College School of Business, along with Kathy Butler, Director of Advancement and Executive Director of the Okanagan College Foundation, all made the list. Also honoured was Doug Manning, former Vice Chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors. Read a write up in the Daily Courier here and find the full list of honourees here.

Georgia McLeod, who worked at the Salmon Arm campus for more than 30 years, was named Leader of the Year as part of the 2017 Community Leader Awards feature by the Salmon Arm Observer.

Ross Fitzpatrick was profiled by the Capital News on July 5 to mark the opening of his family’s new winery – Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards. Fitzpatrick received an Honorary Doctorate from Okanagan University College in 2003 and is Honorary Patron of the Okanagan College Foundation. 

Word that Sharron Simpson is the new president of the Okanagan College Foundation reached readers in the region thanks to coverage by the Capital News, the Daily Courier, the Castanet and InfoTel News.


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 July 25, 2017.