College celebrates a decade of recognizing Aboriginal students’ achievements

TerbasketSaturday, March 9 marked the 10th Annual Aboriginal Student Recognition Ceremony at Okanagan College and students, educators and community members came together to celebrate students’ accomplishments and acknowledge those who inspired and supported them along the way.

The ceremony included performances by Metis Jigger, Mary Ouillette, Powwow dancers, Arnold and Deanna Ackachuk, Inuit Throat Singer, Shirley Amguttitairiq, and keynote speakers. Okanagan College President, Jim Hamilton was among those present to congratulate students.

The sense of community and collaboration at the ceremony is something Okanagan College business student Wendy Terbasket picked up on during the event and says reflected her at OC.

“My people are making great strides for the betterment of their future and communities,” says Terbasket. “The College’s values are so in line with my own: everyone working together and working toward a common goal. It just feels so great to be at a school that is so accepting and supportive.” 

In addition to being a moment to recognize students, students also took the opportunity to honour instructors they felt significantly impacted them. Instructors Scott Overland, Teresa Proudlove, Laura Jockman, Richard Volk, Adam Craig, Stacey Grimm, Denise Boudreau, Dana Hurtubise, Tracy Riley, Diane Little, Katherine Bonell, and Matthia Vaillancourt were also acknowledged for going above and beyond for their students.

Stay tuned for the full story at this week.

OC business profs in the running for the City of Kelowna’s 44th Annual Civic & Community Awards

Kyleen Myrah 2019 headshotDr. Kyleen Myrah has been nominated for Woman of the Year - Sarah Donalda-Treadgold Memorial Award. Devin Rubadeau was nominated for Coach/Sport Administrator of the year - Bob Giordano Memorial Award.

Myrah’s impact on the College goes well beyond her work in the classroom during her 20-year career as a professor with the School of Business. She has been a coach/faculty advisor for Enactus OC, a mentor, a committee member, a director on a number of community organization boards and an event judge.

Myrah is also the founding Board Chair of Central Okanagan Journey Home Society, with the mandate to implement Kelowna’s 5-year plan to address homelessness with a focus on ensuring everyone has a place to call home.

Devin Rubadeau headshotRubadeau has been a professor for six years and is an international sailing champion several times over. He has traveled the world coaching elite athletes and training coaches. Rubadeau is currently a member of the Okanagan College Board of Governors. 

“We couldn’t be more pleased that both Kyleen and Devin are receiving the recognition they so deserve,” says Gillett. “They are a huge asset to both the College and the community, their achievements to date are remarkable, and they personify the engagement of the College with the community.”

Also nominated this year is OC alumna Kelsey Serwa for Female Athlete of the Year.

The finalists will be announced at the awards ceremony on Wednesday, April 24. Tickets are available here

Read the full story on College Matters.

Canada’s Minister of Finance to speak at OC

Finance Minister MorneauFederal Minister of Finance Bill Morneau is visiting a handful of post-secondary institutions across the country to discuss Canada’s 2019 budget and Okanagan College is part of that tour. 

On March 26, Minister Morneau will be at OC to speak about the changing nature of the nation's economy, followed by a moderated question and answer period. The event begins at 5 p.m. in the Trades Complex Atrium at the Kelowna campus.

Since becoming Minister of Finance in 2015, Morneau has played a key role in shaping a number of government policy and initiatives, including the introduction of the Canada Child Benefit and work on the Canada Pension Plan. 

The event is free and all are welcome but space is limited so anyone interested is asked to please register in advance on Eventbrite.

Aboriginal Services and OC Foundation team up to launch new award

The OC Foundation and Aboriginal Services department are coordinating a fun and fast-paced fundraiser in support of a new Aboriginal student award.

The hockey-themed fundraiser brings an NHL Playoffs Bracket Challenge and employees can buy in for only $10. The proceeds will benefit the OC Sticks Up for Aboriginal Students Awards. 

"Hockey has taught me that no matter your age, skill level or background, success comes from working together with your team to reach a common goal," says Anthony Isaac, OC Indigenization Task Force Coordinator. "The OC Sticks Up campaign will also take dedicated teamwork. We decided to call the award the OC Sticks Up for Aboriginal Students Award to draw the comparison to the spirit of teamwork and inclusion in hockey."

For only $10, you can fill your NHL bracket predicting the outcome of each series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a chance to win one of three great prizes.

• 1st place: NHL jersey of the winner's choice
• 2nd place: Grant Fuhr autographed "Mask" photo
• 3rd place: Team Canada hat

Tickets are available at the Aboriginal Student Centre (S124) or the Foundation office (P103) at the Kelowna campus. For more information, email Richard McAdam or Bill Wang. The deadline to enter is April 8.

Must be 19+ to enter. B.C. Gaming License #114530.

Beyond the Playground: workshop teaches about outdoor play

outdoor play workshopWhat do you mean children are capable and competent and can climb trees?

Okanagan College is behind an innovative workshop that will see participants step into the role of a child and experience for themselves the first hand benefits of invigorating outdoor play. 

“Outdoor play is fundamental to children’s healthy development,” says OC Director of Learning and Applied Research Beverlie Dietze. “This workshop will bring to life the joys and wonderment of exploring outdoors with young children.”

The workshop takes place on Saturday, April 6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Mission Creek Regional Park. It is led by industry expert Mavis Lewis-Webber who has worked in the early childhood profession for more than 35 years. The workshop will explore opportunities to safely take children to play in natural spaces and help participants reflect on values for children in regards to outdoor play. 

To register for this free workshop, email The registration deadline is Friday, March 28.

'Tis the season...for convocation

convocation photoIt’s that time of the year again at OC – convocation season.

OC professors and instructors from all regions are invited to support their students and be part of the Convocation and Commencement ceremonies taking place this spring and summer. Professors and instructors have many ways to help in the ceremonies such as leading graduands in the processional.

Ceremonies are held in Kelowna other than the Vernon Convocation. Ceremonies typically last from an hour to 1.5 hours. There are many opportunities to get involved:

  • Trades Commencement – Thursday, May 16 at 3 p.m.
  • Spring Convocation – Saturday, June 1 at 10:30 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m.
  • Vernon Convocation – Tuesday, June 25 at 4:30 p.m.
  • Summer Commencement (CS grads only) – Wednesday, June 26 at 6 p.m.
  • Summer Convocation – Thursday, June 27 at 6 p.m.

If you are planning to attend a ceremony, please email Michelle Lowry noting the specific ceremony(ies) you wish you attend. If you require regalia, please include your height and highest awarded credential (i.e. 5’11” MSc, U of Calgary). 

For more information, visit the convocation website or view the invitation.

You’re invited to an out-of-this-world special lecture

OC’s Physics and Astronomy department is once again facilitating a special lecture that promises to reach other-worldly heights. 

OC is working in collaboration with the University of Calgary (UoC) to host a lecture, entitled 50 Years of Astronomical Discovery at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory.

The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory (RAO) is located in the Foothills southwest of Calgary and has been operated by the UoC for nearly 50 years. The special lecture will be facilitated by UoC’s Director of the RAO, Dr. Phil Langill. He will discuss how the RAO has allowed people from all walks of life to better understand the wonders of the universe and how it has given budding scientists the tools they need to become astrophysical researchers.

The event is free to attend and takes place on Thursday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Kelowna campus in H115.


OC alumni return to support Launch-a-Preneur

Laureen ShannonCommunity helping community was the name of the game at the recent wrap-up of the popular Salmon Arm-based Launch-a-Preneur competition. The biennial event, now in its fifth season, drew a crowd of 300, 13 competitors and even a few familiar faces from the OC alumni community. 

Returning alumni included Brea Lake (Business Administration degree, 2013), Tom Arrowsmith (Business Administration degree, Honours, 2015) and Steven Deboer (Business Administration degree, 2012). The trio teamed up with current OC Enactus student and event coordinator Laureen Shannon to bring the Dragons' Den-style business development competition to fruition.

Lake took time away from her duties as Acting CEO of Accelerate Okanagan to help judge the competition. Arrowsmith of Tekmar Mortgages was a member of the organizing committee and helped to deliver workshops, mentor participants and was responsible for sponsorship. His hard work and impressive ties to the community resulted in the largest prize package in the event’s history, with more than $50,000 in prizes. Deboer, of Grant Thornton, delivered workshops, mentored participants and helped bring a donation of $10,000 on board from Grant Thornton.

“This event is a great example of students and alumni working together to give back to the community,” says Andrew Klingel, the Business professor who serves as an Enactus coach, alongside Terry Kosowick.

For more information on Launch-a-Preneur, read the media release. Read about the competition results from the Vernon Morning Star and the Salmon Arm Observer. The Salmon Arm Observer also put together a video highlighting the final night of competition.

Student makes a big splash at Provincials

Cameron Chambers medalsOkanagan College Foundational student and Para Swimmer Cameron Chambers made waves at the BC Winter Provincial Swimming Championships in Kamloops on March 7-10, netting himself five impressive podium finishes and earning some of the highest points in the men's categories.

Chambers is currently enrolled in OC’s Preparing for Access to Careers and Education (PACE) program and is a member of the Kelowna West Incorporated Club/AquaJets swim team. He competed in a handful of categories and won a gold medal in both the 100-metre freestyle and 50-metre freestyle swim categories, a silver medal each in the 100-metre butterfly and 100-metre backstroke categories and a bronze medal for the 100-metre breast stroke competition. 

Chambers will compete next at the Canadian Trials in Toronto and then the Western Canadian Championships in Edmonton.

Chambers began at OC in the Adult Special Education program in February of 2018 and went on to join the PACE program in the fall of that same year. Cameron is considering a career in the culinary field and has plans to enrol in the Culinary Arts program after graduating from PACE in June 2020.

Check out Castanet’s media story and photo gallery.

Graduate shares inspiring story

Andrea ThiessenAndrea Thiessen crossed the stage at OC’s winter convocation ceremony on Jan. 11 and received her Business Administration certificate. The event motivated her to share her story with OC of overcoming addiction, homelessness and depression to come out on top, complete with a new career outlook and job in hand. 

“This year might mark the end of my studies, but it also marks an important beginning,” notes Thiessen.

Thiessen first experimented with chemical drugs at the age of 18 and within a year was addicted to cocaine and smoking crack. Drugs and partying were a regular part of her lifestyle until a homeless man on the streets of Toronto offered a few words of kindness and inspired her to change her path.

“A homeless man approached me, and my immediate reaction was to think he is probably going to ask me for a cigarette or money,” she explains. “But the man walked up to me and gave me a big hug and said, ‘take care of yourself, sister.’”

With help from her family, Thiessen moved back home and worked hard to overcome addiction and change the direction of her life. She has been sober for more than three years and now has a healthy outlook on her life and career, thanks in part to her education from OC. 

“My future after school looks bright,” says Thiessen. “Graduating with a business administration certificate, I learned more this past year than I believe I have learned in any single year in my life before. Not just school, but in life. 

“I want to encourage others that no matter how hopeless life may seem, no matter what struggles you are facing, you have the power to change that, and the ability to take the positive from the negative,” she says.

Read Thiessen’s full story on Castanet.

Calling all employees: showcase your special skills at Connections

Bree Connections 2017Do you have a fun hobby or a skill you’d like to share with your colleagues? Sign up to become a workshop facilitator at OC’s annual employee conference, Connections, on Aug. 20 and 21 and share your knowledge and experience with your coworkers. 

Workshop facilitators come from all backgrounds and share a wide variety of skills, from digital media to gardening, cooking with chemistry to historical reenactments and yoga to mixology.

Workshops are approximately one hour and include an element of interactivity and should have a specific audience in mind – general interest, instructional, professional development, etc. Workshops are intended to be delivered twice, once on each of the two days that Connections takes place. 

Connections is organized by employees for employees and is about connecting face-to-face with colleagues from different departments and campuses. It is meant to celebrate the strengths and diversity of the people who work here through interactive social activities and fun informative workshops. This year, Connections is being held at the Kelowna campus.

If you are interested in being a workshop facilitator, please click here. If you have any questions, please contact Laura Hetherington.

Vernon Speaker Series challenges ideas on child safety

Mariana BrussoniChildhood is changing, but what will that do for confidence and resilience in adults? 

“It used to be normal for children to spend long hours outdoors and away from watchful adults, playing how and where they chose. Today’s children spend more time indoors, supervised, in structured activities and in front of screens,” says Dr. Mariana Brussoni. “Many parents struggle to find a balance between bubble wrapping their kids and not protecting them enough. Fears of strangers, traffic and social services can overwhelm parents, making it hard for them to let go.” 

Brussoni, an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, will address the questions of risk and safety in childhoods as part of the Okanagan College Vernon Campus’ Signature Speaker Series on March 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the lecture theatre.

The Signature Speaker Series is presented by OC and is sponsored by the Vernon Atrium Hotel and Conference Centre and Basket Case Picnics Catering. Admission is $10. Participants can register in advance online here or pay at the door.

March 19, 2019, Vol. 12, Issue 30


Ed Tech Learning Opportunities

There are three great education technology learning opportunities coming up in April and May that faculty or staff should consider attending. FLO Synchronous is being offered by BC Campus from April 1-19. This experiential online course covers preparing, facilitating and evaluating online synchronous learning sessions using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. FLO Fundamentals is also being offered through BC Campus from April 1 – May 3. FLO Fundamentals covers facilitating in an online asynchronous environment. Thirdly, Digital Media in Education is a two-day conference being held at UBC Okanagan on May 7-9. Learn how to use digital media effectively in education. Learn more about any of these opportunities - and register - by clicking on the links above. 

More Ed Tech news
Sally Howard, an Okanagan School of Business part-time faculty member, will be working with Ross McKerlich in Education Technology for the next few months. The Ed Tech office is open from Mon-Fri from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Register your child for Camp OC today

Are you planning activities to keep your kids busy this summer? Camp OC has fun and interactive classes throughout the summer. With class options for all ages, summertime is sure to be a blast.

Haven’t heard about Camp OC yet? Check out this video to see what all the noise is about. Want to see what camps are running this year? Check out the Camp OC webpage and view camps that are available in Kelowna, Salmon Arm and Revelstoke. Stay tuned for registration opening dates for Penticton and Vernon.   

OC employees who sign up their child(ren) or grandchild(ren) are eligible for discounts. You will receive a 10 per cent discount by registering in person/over the phone/email with the Continuing Studies office and if employees register last-minute for camps, they are eligible for a 50 per cent discount. Click here to read more.

OC Campus Stores sale and closure dates

The Campus Stores are having their annual inventory clearance sale on now until March 22. Come in and get a great deal with 25 per cent off clothing and giftware and a free gift with qualified purchase.

OC’s Campus Stores will be closed for inventory on the following dates:

Salmon Arm – March 27-29
Vernon – March 27-29
Penticton – March 28-29
Kelowna – March 28-29 

Wanted: alumni award nominations

The Okanagan College Alumni Association is seeking nominations for the Distinguished and Young Alumni Awards. Alumni have local, national and international impact, and the alumni awards recognize those who demonstrate excellence in one or more of these areas: leadership, environment, business or industry, public or community service, the arts, and support for Okanagan College. Deadline for nominations is April 14. Details are available online.

Notice of faculty election EdCo

An election will be held for four faculty seats as follows (as always, faculty and vocational instructors are eligible):

Education council – regional Faculty (1 each)

  • Shuswap Revelstoke
  • North Okanagan
  • Central Okanagan
  • South Okanagan-Similkameen

Term: August 1, 2019 – July 31, 2021

Important dates

  • Call for Nominations: Open now until March 28 at 4 p.m. Forms are available in myOkanagan.
  • Post List of Candidates: Mar. 28, 2019 after 4 p.m.
  • Elections: Apr. 12 – 21, 2019 in myOkanagan
  • Announcement of Results: Apr. 22, 2019
  • Deadline for Appeals: Apr. 29, 2019

Election Appeal Committee
Note that OCFA & BCGEU Vocational and OCSU & VSAOC agreed to alternate a while back

  • Cam McRobb (BCGEU Vocational)
  • Marcel Beerkens (BCGEU Support)
  • Eric Reist (VSAOC)

Deputy Returning Officers
Eric Corneau, Penticton campus, Oliver and Summerland centres
Joan Ragsdale, Salmon Arm campus and Revelstoke centre
Jane Lister, Vernon campus
Philip Ashman, Kelowna campus

Applications open Oct. 1

October is the new November as far as OC applications go. Applications for fall 2020 will open this year on Oct. 1 at 8:30 a.m.

College Pension Plan rates to increase April 1, 2019

As of April 1, 2019, contribution amounts for members and employers are going up 90 cents for every $1,000 of salary to strengthen the inflation adjustment account. A second increase to contribution amounts is anticipated later in the year. Please read the attached communique for further details.

Eating well for energy

Celebrate Nutrition Month by learning how to achieve a healthy and balanced diet. Discover which foods will give you a brain boost and an energy surge to get you through your day, and how nutrition can boost your cognitive function throughout your life. LifeWorks is here for you any time, day or night at 1-888-307-0590, or read the online feature.

Food Trucks at the Kelowna campus

Back by popular demand - Food Trucks have returned to the Kelowna campus beginning the week of March 18. (Times may vary)

Additional days and services to be added as weather permits.


Charlotte Kushner retirement pitstop

March 21 – After 32 years of service to Okanagan College, Charlotte Kushner is retiring. In an effort to make Charlotte feel nostalgic (and maybe change her mind about retiring), the Executive Office is organizing her going-away event as a “PitStop” at Infusions on Thursday, March 21 from 9:30-11 a.m. There won’t be a formal program, so stop by any time to share your memories, share some food and some laughs, and send Charlotte off with best wishes as she embarks on new adventures.

OC Speakers Series - Penticton 

March 25 – What was involved in the last 100 days of the First World War? Join OC history professor Howard Hisdal for his OC Speakers Series in his seminar Defeating the German Army in 1918: the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles and the Hundred Days Campaign from Amiens to Mons. The talk is from 7 - 8:30 p.m. in the Ashnola Building Lecture Theatre (PL 107) at the Penticton campus. 

Cross-cultural awareness: Jamaica 

March 27 – Come and learn about Jamaica's culture and history through a session led by international students. This is a great opportunity for students and employees to learn firsthand about places they may have never visited. Come and meet international students and learn why they chose to come and study abroad in Canada.

The event takes place from 12:15 - 1:15 p.m. in the Trades building atrium. Check out the Facebook event page for more details.

AO Lunch and Learn series

March 28 – Cannabis in the Workplace. In this lunch and learn workshop sponsored by OC and Accelerate Okanagan, explore the impact of this cultural shift in the workplace. How have things changed? What are some of your rights as an employee? Find out during this short and informative workshop. Registration is available online.

President's Celebration of OC Coyotes Basketball Hoopla event

May 2 – Join us on this special evening at the annual fundraiser for the OC Coyotes basketball teams. This night is an opportunity to bring together supporters, sponsors, volunteers, players and coaches to thank everyone in a fun atmosphere. Food will be provided by the OC Culinary Arts chefs and students and a cash bar with local VQA wines, beer and cider will be available. 

Tickets are $40 and the festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Centre for Learning Atrium at the Kelowna campus. For full details and to purchase tickets, please visit the Eventbrite page.


The Capital News shared information about OC’s new tech training program which encourages high school students to learn about technologies. 

The Daily Courier reported on the plan for micro housing aimed at OC students, including details for a five-storey building composed of 98 micro-suites.

The Capital News and Salmon Arm Observer shared winning details from the recent Winning Pitch competition which saw a team of four second-year students – coached by two OC business professors – take silver. 

Penticton Western News, Okanagan Weekend and the Capital News featured the upcoming Vernon Speaker Series seminar that will address the idea of child safety and the concept that children might be kept too safe. 

An OC Enactus team based at the Vernon campus made headlines in the Vernon Morning Star and Castanet for earning first place in their category at the recent Enactus Regionals competition. The Vernon Morning Star and Salmon Arm Observer also shared information about the OC Enactus teams who are going on to compete in the National competition.

News of Chris Derickson’s and Gloria Morgan’s re-election to chair and vice chair of the OC Board of Governors, and all of the new OC Board of Governors members, was featured in Maxine Dehart’s column in the Capital News.

The Capital News and Daily Courier reported on the OC Coyotes men’s and women’s basketball teams who both lost their games in the first rounds of playoffs in the PacWest basketball league.

The Salmon Arm Observer shared details about the Launch-a-Preneur event which recently concluded its fifth season.

OC’s new intake of the Health Care Assistant program at the Salmon Arm campus was featured in Okanagan Life

OC’s Pastry Arts instructor Danny Capadouca was featured in Castanet amongst five other chefs who recently competed alongside local wineries at Big White Ski Resort for the mountain’s inaugural Gourmet Ski Week.

OC PACE student and Para Swimmer Cameron Chambers made waves at the BC Winter Provincial Swimming Championships in Kamloops. He and other finalists were featured on Castanet.

The Salmon Arm Observer and Penticton Western News celebrated a group of OC business students who returned from the Western Canadian Business Competition.

Castanet featured the upcoming hiring season in the local wine industry and included information about OC’s Wine Sales certificate program and other wine classes.

Castanet and the Salmon Arm Observer shared news about OC’s partnership with the province, regional district and the Malakwa Learning Centre to bring a program to fruition that helps 55-plus people learn the skills needed to find employment.

The Daily Courier shared information on the popular Repair Cafe which is returning to Kelowna and will be hosted at Okanagan College on March 30.

Richard Cannings, MP for South-Okanagan West Kootenay and 2008 OC Honorary Fellow was featured in the Osoyoos Times for weighing in on the SNC-Lavalin affair. The Penticton Herald also delivered feedback from former OC Board of Governors Chair and Liberal candidate and Connie Denesiuk on the political events that took place in Ottawa over the past weeks.

The Vernon Morning Star shared information about the research on issues facing B.C. migrant workers. The research is being led by Amy Cohen, an OC anthropology professor, and Susana Caxaj, assistant professor in the school of nursing at the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus.


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

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 2, 2019.