Students build tiny house to support environmental research

bird banding ioc 2A unique tiny house built by students in the College’s Sustainable Construction Management Technology (SCMT) program will soon provide a secure environment at the Vaseux Lake Bird Observatory, just south of Penticton, for bird banding.

“We’ve had the opportunity to work on a number of incredible projects throughout the program, but this one is definitely a highlight for me,” says Mark Eyjolfson, one of the College’s first SCMT graduates. He worked on the station and gathered donated materials from his employer, Structurlam. 

Bird banding involves marking birds with a band around the leg before releasing them, and provides valuable data on population, migration and behaviour. Students were tasked with producing a space where bird banders could do their work in a secure environment. That meant creating a portable space that would discourage theft and vandalism, allow as much natural light as possible into the space and be environmentally friendly.

The observatory at Vaseux Lake is a project of the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance (OSCA). Since 2005, 17,000 birds and 109 different bird species have been recorded at the observatory. In the late summer and early fall, the station will be placed at the observatory. When not in use, it will be under the care of Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The SCMT program launched in the fall of 2014 as a three-year pilot program. On the success of the pilot the program has been revised and will continue as a two-year diploma program with an intake being offered in September in Penticton. Twelve graduated this year.

“We couldn’t be prouder of this first group of graduating students,” says Dr. Amy Vaillancourt, chair of the program.

Read the full story here.

Pilot program gives OC students a bridge to BCIT Mining programs

bcit mining iocStudents considering a career in the mining sector can now get a jump on their first year of science studies at Okanagan College, and before bridging into one of a number of mining programs at BCIT.

Starting this September, the Collaborative Mining Engineering and Technology Diploma/Degree pilot program will offer students across British Columbia a convenient conduit into BCIT’s Mineral Exploration and Mining Technology or Mining and Mineral Resource Engineering programs.

The program was launched as a way to boost access and ramp up the convenience factor for BC students outside the lower mainland. The first year of training is provided locally through courses at Okanagan College in Kelowna or Penticton (all but one of the required courses can also be completed at the Penticton campus) and online. Students will then join others from across BC to complete the diploma or degree at BCIT’s Burnaby campus.

“This collaborative partnership with the Mining Engineering program at BCIT is an excellent example of BC post-secondary institutions working together to increase accessibility to education not previously available in the BC interior,” says Phil Ashman, Associate Dean of Science, Technology and Health at Okanagan College. “Financially, it can be a significant cost savings for students to study close to home for a year. We are very excited to be a part of this unique provincial collaboration, providing students living in the Okanagan with local access to opportunities in the mining sector.”

Read the full story here.

Residential Construction students lend a hand with En'owkin Centre renovation

res con pen ioc 17A class of Residential Construction students from the Penticton campus spent the last few weeks at the En'owkin Centre, working on everything from flooring to painting, among other projects, as part of a major summer renovation to the centre.

Tag Savage is one of 11 students who have had a chance to put their construction skills to the test on the project, under the tutelage of instructor Rose Simpson. Savage, who hails from Summerland brings two years of property finishing and renovations training, along with roofing experience, to the newfound knowledge and skills he’s picked up since stepping into the program in February.

“Working on the fine detail work has been a great experience,” says Savage. “Even though we’ve only been here for three weeks I feel like we’ve been able to do a lot and make a contribution to the Centre. I personally take a lot of pride from that.”

“The students have done an amazing job,” notes Simpson. “Everyone at the Centre has been very welcoming and appreciative. It’s wonderful that so many people will get to use and enjoy the spaces that they have had a hand in updating.”

The class also built multi-purpose sheds for the property. They have now wrapped up their work at the Centre and will complete the program in Mid-August.


Young chefs on the road to Riccione

road to riccione 2017 iocOkanagan College’s Culinary Arts program hosted its annual Road to Riccione Cook Off today with a coveted prize on the line for two winners: a trip to Italy.

The event kicked off in the morning with Okanagan Chefs Association (OCA) Junior Chef competitors serving up dishes with equal parts creativity and skill, while the afternoon portion of the competition saw OC Culinary Arts students vying for the title of Student-of-the-Year in the Top Chef-style contest. Competitors in each round were presented with a tantalizing array of ingredients with which to prepare an Italian-themed meal, including dessert, in a tight time frame.

Morning judges included Tina Tang, Pasty Chef at Predator Ridge Resort, along with OC Culinary Arts instructors Chef Jim Armstrong, Chef Mike Barillaro and Chef Roger Planiden. In the afternoon, OC students competed under the watchful eye of Chef Melissa Masters, Junior Director for the OCA, joined by Chef Willi Franz of Grapevine Restaurant at Grey Monk Estate Winery and OC’s Chef Jim Armstrong and Chef Reinhard Foerderer. OC Culinary Arts program Manager Chef Bernard Casavant announced the winners and congratulated all competitors.

After a fast-paced competition, Riley Eberts was named winner of the OCA Junior Chef competition, serving the judges a pan seared duck and quails eggs main, followed by a deconstructed cheesecake for dessert. In the afternoon round, Daniel Cardoso rose to the top with a masterfully plated arctic char main dish, accompanied by a classic panna cotta to finish. The competition was incredibly close. When all the judge’s marks were tallied, only .25 of a point separated Cardoso from his classmate and second-place finisher Annie Low.

“I really wasn’t expecting this, but it feels incredible,” says Cardoso, who graduated from the Culinary Arts program this month. “I want to keep learning and travelling to build my skills, so the trip to Italy will definitely help me do that.”

In October, both Cardoso and Eberts will accompany Chef Bernard Casavant and Chef Mike Barillaro to Riccione, Italy where they will tour cooking schools and the region. They will also get to host a traditional Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner to Canadian guests at the Hotel Belvedere.

Trio of OC students earn bronze at Skills Canada Nationals

skills canada 17 iocThree Okanagan College Trades students each earned bronze medals at the Skills Canada National Competition (SCNC) held in Winnipeg from May 31 – June 3.

Brendan Battersby took home the bronze in the IT Network Admin competition. Battersby graduated from the Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology (NTEN) program at the College’s Spring Convocation Ceremony in Kelowna earlier this month. He is employed by iTel Networks Inc. Pictured with coach Ron Light, NTEN program instructor at Okanagan College.

Siobhan Detkavich of Oliver earned bronze in the Cooking competition. Detkavich is completing her Level 2 Professional Cook apprenticeship at the Kelowna campus and works in the kitchen at Terrafina Restaurant at Hester Creek by RauDZ. She was coached by OC Culinary Arts instructor Chef Jim Armstrong.

Andreas Roth won bronze in the Autobody competition. Roth is a Level 3 Motor Vehicle Body Repairer apprentice at the Kelowna campus and is employed by Boyd Autobody and Glass. He was coached by OC Collision Repair instructor Danny Marques.

These students qualified for Nationals by winning gold medals at the Skills Canada BC Provincial Competition in Abbotsford in April. 

Multiple Business faculty case research projects get accolades and published

case track award kyleen iocA number of Business faculty’s case research projects have recently received honours and recognitions, as well as been published in respected journals.

In May, Dr. Kyleen Myrah, Kerry Rempel and Dean Warner received yet another award at the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada (ASAC) National Conference held in Montreal. They received the Best Case Award for their work "MP Maintenance: Evaluating the Marketing Strategy of a Social Enterprise." The case study centers around a full service property maintenance company that employs Downtown Eastside residents in Vancouver.
Last year the trio also received an Honourable Mention for another social enterprise case featuring clients of the John Howard Society of the North Okanagan.This case has just been published in the prestigious Case Research Journal: Myrah, Rempel & Warner. (Winter, 2017). Howard Industries: A Social Enterprise Worth Continuing? Case Research Journal, 37(1).

kyleen case 2 photo ioc 2017Another case study published is one by Myrah and colleague Roberta Sawatzky which was recently selected for publication in the Women’s Leadership special issue of the Case Research Journal. The case looks at the leadership of two social entrepreneurs in Vancouver. Myrah & Sawatzky. (Fall, 2016). Lunapads: Co-Leadership in a Social Business. Case Research Journal, 36(4).
Last but not least, earlier in March the Trico Foundation published the Mission Possible case by Myrah and Rempel which had received the Social EnterPrize case award grant last summer. Read the case study here.

Indigenous garden to open this month

ind garden dig 2017 iocThe na’ʔk’ʷulamən garden at the Kelowna campus will officially open on June 27. Students, employees and friends in the community are invited to join in the ceremony starting at 1 p.m. outside the North Entrance to the Centre for Learning. Garden tours and a reception will follow. Download the event invite here for more information. Please RSVP to Angie March if you would like to attend.
Last week more than 350 plants local to the Okanagan and significant to the region’s Indigenous people arrived and were planted by volunteers. Finishing touches will continue to be made by the garden task force in the coming weeks, including the installation of plant signage and a welcome arch and two sculptures with pictographs crafted by renowned Indigenous artist Les Louis.
Click here to view a photo gallery documenting planting and construction progress since ground was broken for the garden in mid-March. Watch this video to take a digital tour of the garden under construction.

June 13, 2017, Vol. 11, Issue 31


Vote to help Silver Surfers win a $50,000 grant

With the click of a button you can cast your vote to help Enactus Okanagan College’s Silver Surfers program win a $50,000 grant. Silver Surfers is a program in which student mentors teach seniors how to use technology such as iPads, enabling them to stay in touch with loved ones via social media and video calls. The grant would make a large impact on the program’s expansion goals.

The Simple Generosity grant is one of three offered by Valley First (First West Credit Union) to support initiatives that enhance the communities in which it operates as a way to celebrate Canada 150. 

You can vote a single time until June 23 by following this link and selecting your emoji of choice. 

SSHRC introduces new partnership grants

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) is introducing a Partnership Engage Grant to better address the short-term needs, challenges and opportunities of researchers and institutions.

The grants range from $7,000 to $25,000, and will put a strong emphasis on the relevance to, and involvement of, partner organizations. However, they will require fewer partners than the existing Partnership and Partnership Development Grants, as they are designed for a single partner organization from the not-for-profit, public or private sector. The Partnership Engage Grants will also have a more streamlined application process, and be offered four times a year as opposed to once a year.

The Partnership Engage Grants will be launched in June 2017. The deadline for the inaugural competition is September 15, 2017. Successful applicants will be notified in December 2017.

Please check the SSHRC website for the official launch announcement, funding opportunity details and application forms.

Watch Convocation LIVE

Convocation 2017 will be livestreamed on Okanagan College’s Facebook page at the following times. Be sure to tune in, like, share and comment to congratulate all of our 2017 grads. 

Vernon Convocation
Tuesday, June 27 @ 4:30 p.m.

Summer Convocation & Kelowna

Date: Wednesday, June 28 @ 7 p.m. 
(Continuing Studies grads)
Thursday, June 29 @ 7 p.m. 
(Diploma and Certificate grads)

Volunteer for Convocation 2017

This June, Okanagan College will celebrate its graduating students at six Convocation ceremonies. Volunteers are needed to assist as event ushers, to distribute gowns to grads and to help prepare refreshments for the reception. Please contact Michelle Lowry if you would like to volunteer, noting the ceremony you are available for.

  • Vernon Convocation Tue, June 27 @ 4:30 p.m. 
  • Summer Commencement (for CS grads only) Wed, June 28 @ 7 p.m.
  • Summer Convocation Thu, June 29 @ 7 p.m.

For more information about Convocation, visit the website.

Family Award application deadline approaching

A reminder that 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. For more information, contact the Financial Aid and Awards Office or 250-862-5419.

Join the Be Well Mind and Body Challenge

Join Athletics, Recreation and Student Life for the Be Well Mind and Body Challenge May 25 – June 23. In collaboration with Brett Wade engage in daily mindfulness activities, workout Wednesdays and informative Facebook posts and discussions. Participation qualifies you for a chance to win weekly draw prizes and one of two Fitbit Flexes. For more information contact Heather Carson or Jenn Naiman. Click here to sign up (click on ‘forgot password’ and enter your preferred email account). There is no fee associated with this challenge.

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.

What to do should a violent situation arise

In the unlikely event of a lethal threat or violent situation on campus, the following procedure from Okanagan College's Joint Occupational Health and Safety (JOHS) Committee could save your life.

  • At your first awareness of a threatening situation involving a weapon, call 911.
  • Take refuge away from the danger on or off campus until given the “All Clear.” Escape where possible, alerting others to the threat as you go. 
  • If escape is not an option, shelter in place, lock and barricade the doors, if possible.
  • If a violent intruder breaches your barricade, rushing, swarming, throwing objects or using anything you can find as a weapon may very well be your only option to repel.
Please visit the Employee Security Manual for more information.

Employee and Family Assistance Program - mobile app and monthly newsletter

As part of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) benefits, employees can now download a free mobile app to access local health and wellness professionals. The app is available on Apple and Android devices; click 
here for more information about the app and how to download it. The monthly EFAP newsletter "Happiness and Steps to Improve It" can be found here.

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 committee is looking for volunteers who may be interested in running a session. 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.


Salmon Arm Charity Golf Tournament and houseboat vacation prize raffle

June 23 – The ACIC 21st Annual Links-to-Learning Golf Tournament will take place at the Salmon Arm Golf Club on Friday, June 23 with registration at noon and a shotgun start at 1 p.m. The $150 registration fee includes green fees, cart, range balls and a buffet dinner.

Help support the Okanagan College Foundation and Okanagan College students by purchasing a raffle ticket for a chance to win a Shuswap houseboat vacation. The prize is a three-day weekend or four-day midweek houseboat vacation this fall on a Mirage 65, 22 sleeper with Waterways. Click here for more information. The trip is valued at $2685 and the winner is welcome to upgrade to a different boat or season or length of stay (depending on availability), by paying the difference. Raffle tickets are 1/$10 or 3/$20. Cash, cheque or credit card accepted, draw date is June 23, 2017. To register for the golf tournament, purchase raffle tickets, or for more information, please email Margaret Scharf or call local 8238. All funds raised will directly benefit Okanagan College students by providing scholarships and bursaries.

National Aboriginal Day 

June 21 – Join Okanagan College in honouring and celebrating Indigenous knowledge, culture and perspectives on June 21, National Aboriginal Day in Canada. An Okanagan Indigenous world view workshop will be held in the Centre for Dialogue at the Kelowna campus, from 10 – 11:30 a.m., led by renowned Indigenous educators and Elders Grouse Barnes and Pam Barnes. Please RSVP to Dawn Belliveau, if you would like to attend. Download the poster for more information.

Be an early bird for Wine Talks

June 26 – Liquidity Winery has partnered with Okanagan College to present the second round of Wine Talks: An International Perspective on Wine Marketing, featuring a panel of five international experts. Hosted at the Penticton campus, the discussion will cover the latest challenges and opportunities facing the wine industry. Early bird tickets are available until June 19. Click here for more details.

Register for Connections

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 Summerland Review, in its Women in Business supplement, reported on a variety of training programs receiving provincial support, including OC’s Women in Trades Training.

The Okanagan College Foundation/Western Financial Group charity golf tournament raised a record $62,000 in support of OC students, as featured in a photo in The Daily Courier.

A gift of $50,000 from Keith Construction in Coldstream will support the campaign for the new trades training centre at the Vernon Campus, as featured in the Vernon Morning Star.

The new OC animation program received a feature story in ViewNews.

Congratulations to medal winners at the Skills Canada National Competition, as covered in the Penticton Herald and Kelowna Now.

The Penticton Western News profiled Grace Greyeyes and Ben Klick, winners of this year’s Okanagan College Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Awards. 

OC Honorary fellow Rod Butters, and alumni Kelsey Serwa, Colin Basran, and Ryan Donn, earned accolades in the Best of Kelowna.

The Journal of Commerce posted a WorksafeBC article on women in construction and the Women in Trades Training program.

An article in the Aircraft Logbook mentioned OC’s Aircraft Maintenance Engineers program.

Convocation took centre stage in The Daily Courier with several articles here and here, as well as in the Kelowna Capital News, including this feature story, and on AM 1150, and in Okanagan Edge.

The Keremeos Review came out to the unveiling of a unique tiny house built by students to be a bird banding station, as did InfoTel.

The Daily Courier covered the Carma Project, featuring Early Childhood Education grad Katie O’Brien.

Former student Emily Kandborg was profiled in the Castlegar Source as she pursues a career in teaching English as a second language.

Syrian refugees were the topic of a Salmon Arm Observer story that mentioned OC grad, and Salmon Arm’s first Syrian refugee, Mustafa Zakreet.


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 June 27, 2017.