Provincial government announces new Health Sciences Centre for OC

health sciences centre iocMLA Steve Thomson was at the Kelowna campus today on behalf of the Minister of Advanced Education, Andrew Wilkinson, to announce a commitment of $15.4 million of provincial funding to construct a new $18.9 million Health Sciences Centre in Kelowna.

The new building will be located on the east side of campus, next to the current Lab building. It will consist of 2,800-square metres of new space over two storeys and will include labs, classrooms and office space for the 13 health and social development programs that are currently located in the existing health building. 

Construction is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2018 with project completion anticipated for the spring of 2020. 

“The Health Sciences Centre has been a high priority for Okanagan College and today’s announcement is welcome news for thousands of students who will have the opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge they need to advance their careers in health and social development,” said president Jim Hamilton. “The new building will be constructed to meet high standards of sustainability and will provide a modern learning space for students who will become an integral part of our province’s work force.”

Certified Dental Assistant student Jenny Winberg was one of dozens of students who attended the announcement. She will graduate before ground is broken on the Health Sciences Centre but believes it will play a big role in the future of training for the health care providers of our region.

“This new building will be the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to training our health care and social development practitioners of the future,” says Winberg. “Okanagan College has amazing instructors and their passion for health care and teaching is evident. The addition of a modern building with state-of-the-art equipment will set students up for even greater success in their education and they will be better prepared to head out into the workforce.”

Read the full story here and watch a video from Castanet here.

Indigenous garden ground breaking

garden ground iocA ground breaking and smudging ceremony for the na’ʔk’ʷulamən garden took place at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on Wednesday, March 15.

Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton was joined by Chris Derickson, Council member, Westbank First Nation and Vice Chair Okanagan College Board of Governors; Grouse Barnes, Elder, Westbank First Nation; and Anthony Isaac, Aboriginal Coordinator, Okanagan College, in speaking about the garden’s significance. Heather Schneider, Regional Dean for the Central Okanagan, emceed the event.

The na’ʔk’ʷulamən (na - kool - a- min) garden will pay tribute to the close relationship between syilx-Okanagan people and the natural world. na’ʔk’ʷulamən is a Nsyilxcen word which broadly translates to “the things that we do.” It was chosen to reflect the holistic relationship that Indigenous people have with plants, encompassing maintenance of the land, values, beliefs, practices and protocol in relation to the natural world.

The garden will feature more than 50 local Okanagan plants that are of cultural significance to syilx people. Construction and planting will begin in the coming weeks. The garden is expected to open later this summer.

Read more about the garden here.

Lumby team reigns at Spaghetti Bridge

spaghetti 2017 iocThe 34th annual Spaghetti Bridge competition ended in dramatic fashion on Saturday. A duo from Charles Bloom Secondary in Lumby edged out the competition with their pasta structure that withstood 255.06 kg of load before shattering. 

The first-place winning team of Justin Dessert and Hanya Riddick took home the top cash prize of $1,500. The second place bridge was built by James Dessert, also of Lumby, and it held 207.29 kg of load and earned him a cash prize of $1,000.

A team of UBCO students finished third in the contest, which was postponed after technical difficulties prevented the judges from testing the heavyweight bridges at the initial competition on March 3. Ephraim Nowak and Raphael Nowak built a bridge that failed under 120.58 kg of load.

The event was livestreamed on the College’s Facebook page. Watch the video here.

Award-winning author to read in Salmon Arm

irani iocInternationally-renowned author Anosh Irani will visit Okanagan College this week to read from his latest work, which has already garnered numerous award nominations.

Irani will speak in the Student Lounge at the Salmon Arm campus from 7-9 p.m. on Friday, March 24. He will read from his new novel, The Parcel, which was recently a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award. Irani has published three critically-acclaimed novels and a number of award-winning plays. His work has been translated into eleven languages.

Click here for more information.

Celebrating National Co-op week

coop week iocIt’s National Co-op week, a celebration of the collaborative co-op educational practice among students, employers and post-secondary institutions across Canada. Okanagan College’s Student, Graduate, and Co-op Employment Centre is inviting students, alumni and employees to join the celebration and share their experiences with work-integrated learning.

“We are so proud of all our Co-op students and we want to take time to celebrate all that they have accomplished,” says Tanya Tarlit, Coordinator, Student, Graduate and Co-op Employment. “National Co-op Week is a great way of celebrating our co-op programs and recognizing co-op students while raising awareness of these programs among new students.”

Participants can enjoy daily events and participate in social media challenges to win prizes. Follow this link for the full schedule or email the Student, Graduate, and Co-op Employment Centre for more information.

March Madness at OC

basketball event iocAn energetic kickoff event for Okanagan College’s new basketball program took place last week.

More than 150 people filled the Kelowna campus cafeteria on Thursday, March 17 for the March Madness launch event and fundraiser for the program. Mayor Colin Basran, an honourary member of the OC Basketball Committee, spoke about how the basketball program will create new opportunities and provide another athletic outlet for students attending Okanagan College. 

Read the full story here. View the photo gallery from the event here.

Okanagan College represents Canada at Salon de l’étudiant

oc in france iocOkanagan College represented Canada at a major showcase of post-secondary institutions held in France last month.

OC was one of approximately 100 institutions from around the world invited to participate in the Salon de l’étudiant or Student Fair hosted in Poissy, located west of Paris. Thousands of visitors, many of them high school students, participated and learned about opportunities to study abroad. OC was the only institution from Canada on display. 

Visitors to the fair had a chance to learn about a variety of the College’s program offerings. OC Computer Science Chair Youry Khmelevsky participated online showcasing recent research and accomplishments of students and faculty in the Computer Science department.

Read the full story here


Aboriginal students recognized

aboriginal student ceremony iocDozens of students were celebrated for their achievements at the 8th Annual Aboriginal Student Recognition Ceremony on Saturday.

Syilx Elder Wilfred Barnes, Westbank First Nation Councillor Chris Derickson, City of Kelowna Councillor Mohini Singh; and Aboriginal Advocate, speaker, and CFL player JR LaRose, joined Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton in acknowledging students for their hard work and determination. 

Students from a wide array of Okanagan College’s program offerings – Business, Health, Trades and Science – shared their experiences with the audience in a packed theatre at the Kelowna campus. The event concluded with Indigenous music and dance performances, including the Lii Michif Otipemisiwak Metis Dance Troupe and throat singer Shirley Anguttitauruq. 

“It is always a humbling experience to take a moment and reflect on the past year with students, their families, and community,” says Anthony Isaac, Aboriginal Services Coordinator at Okanagan College. “It’s a milestone for many of our Aboriginal students to come together and celebrate their hard work and determination as they take the next step in their journeys.”

A photo gallery will be shared soon on the Aboriginal Services Facebook page


Business students shine at WCBC

wcbc iocTwo individual students and a team from Okanagan College were recognized at the Western Canadian Business Competition (WCBC) hosted at the College’s Kelowna campus last weekend.

WCBC is a comprehensive undergraduate business competition in which student teams are tasked with running a simulated business scenario – exploring everything from marketing to HR – over the course of a hypothetical eight-year timeframe. First-, second- and third-year business students compete at the junior level, while fourth-year students compete as seniors.

At the junior level, the host team from Okanagan College finished second to Capilano University, while College of New Caledonia came third. Capilano was also victorious at the senior level, besting teams from (second-place) Medicine Hat College and (third-place) McMaster University.

“Our team is so proud of the way we worked together and supported one another in the decision making process throughout the competition,” says Loni Johnson, a member of the College’s Junior team and a second-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree student at the Kelowna campus.

“We prepared for more than six weeks,” explains Johnson. “So there has been a huge amount of collaboration and growing together as a team. We also received incredible support from our coaches throughout all that time, which helped us feel ready when the competition began.”

Read the full story here.

Heinzelmann awarded posthumously by Western Hockey League 

Former Okanagan College employee Norbert Heinzelmann was recognized posthumously for his contributions to the Kelowna Rockets with the WHL Distinguished Service Award for the 2016-17 season. 

The WHL Commissioner presented the award to Patti Heinzelmann, Norbert's wife (and also a College employee in Science, Technology & Health), in Kelowna on March 15 in a special ceremony prior to the Kelowna Rockets' game against the Everett Silvertips. 

Norbert Heinzelmann, who passed away on Sept. 2, 2016, was a long time IT Services employee at the College and known in the hockey community for his work with the Kelowna Rockets. Norbert and Patti met and married at Okanagan College. 

Heinzelmann began working with the Rockets as Head Scorekeeper and Head of Off-Ice Officials since the very first game in 1995. He remained with the organization for over 800 games and worked at all the Memorial Cups, World Junior Championships, Top Prospects and Canada Russia Games that the Rockets hosted. 

Read the full story here.

OC student steps onto the set with Hockey Night in Canada

elina iocAn Okanagan College student received an unexpected crash course in broadcasting when her volunteer work with a local charity landed her on the set of a Sportsnet shoot for Hockey Night in Canada.

Elina Briezkalne graduated in January from the Communications, Culture, and Journalism diploma program, and is now pursuing an advanced certificate in Communications. She recently began volunteering with the Grindstone Award Foundation, which enables young female players to participate and improve their skill development in the sport of hockey. Briezkalne had a chance to put her communications background to work when a crew from Sportsnet came to the Okanagan to profile the organization’s founders Danielle Grundy and Sasha Podolchak. 

“I got an incredible behind-the-scenes look at how much work it takes to produce a single segment,” says Briezkalne. “A full day’s work for the crew translated to a 60 second piece on air.”

Briezkalne had a chance to assist and observe the crew throughout the multi-location shoot. It’s an experience she expects will serve her well as she continues her career in communications, PR and journalism. 

“I learned about lighting, sound, shot composition, planning, setup and takedown,” explains Briezkalne. “From a communications point of view, it was a wonderful opportunity to experience life on a professional set and observe how each member of the crew contributes.”

Follow this link to learn more about Briezkalne and her work with the Grindstone Award Foundation. 

Maxwell honoured by College of Dental Surgeons BC

maxwell iocAn Okanagan College instructor recently received one of the highest honours bestowed by the College of Dental Surgeons BC (CDSBC).

Elaine Maxwell, who teaches in the Certified Dental Assistant program at OC, was honoured with the Award of Merit for her significant contribution to the CDSBC over a more than 40 year career that has seen her occupy a variety of roles in dental health and has even taken her oversees to assist with cleft lip and palate procedures in Saudi Arabia. 

In addition to her work as an instructor Maxwell currently works in an orthodontic specialty practice in Kelowna. 

Read the full story here.

OC Campus Relay paves way for alumnus’ running career

jeff vogt iocJeff Vogt, an alumni of Okanagan College’s Electrical program, transformed from rookie relay runner to a half marathon silver medalist at the annual OC Half Marathon, 10K and Relay race.  

Vogt attributes his first relay race in 2009 as the catalyst for his journey to becoming an avid runner. 

Having never participated in a race or jogged for fitness, Vogt was challenged by a group of his friends to join their relay team for the race that was only a week away. After completing the race, Vogt was inspired to improve his fitness and immediately began running every other day. 

In subsequent years, Vogt advanced to the race’s longer distances – completing both the 10K race as well as the half marathon distance. In 2014 he placed third overall in the half marathon distance and came back in 2015 to take a silver medal. After completing two marathons in 2016, Vogt is looking forward to returning to campus for the half marathon in 2017. 

“Everyone has to start somewhere and the relay was my gateway to running, which has become a way of life for me. It’s a really accessible distance for people of different fitness levels and fun to be part of a team effort.”

This year’s race takes place Sunday, April 9 at the Kelowna campus. Runners can choose from three different distances: Half Marathon (21.1 K), 10 K and Relay Race (21.1 K, divided by up to five runners.)  

Read the full story here. To register, find out more about the course or to view entry fee deadlines, visit the Half Marathon website. If you are interested in volunteering with the race, please contact Michelle Lowry.

Copy Cats take top trivia prize

trivia team iocLaughter could be heard throughout the Kelowna campus cafeteria on Wednesday, March 8 as teams of alumni, students and employees competed for trivia dominance in support of Enactus Okanagan College.  

It was a tight race, as first-place changed hands almost every round, but ultimately the Copy Cats took the final lead at this year’s Alumni Association trivia event. The Reprobates, led by accounting professor Randy Newton, bested serious competition to secure the second-place prize.

In addition to being a lot of fun, the event raised close to $525 to support the Enactus students' travel expenses to Vancouver in early May.

March 21, 2017, Vol. 11, Issue 25


Budget Town Hall Meetings

All Okanagan College employees are invited to attend a Town Hall meeting on the proposed 2017-18 budget. The sessions will be held at each campus and will be led by Roy Daykin, Vice President Employee and Corporate Services. Sessions were held in Penticton and Kelowna on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Upcoming sessions:

Vernon - Friday, March 24 at 10 a.m. (E102/103)
Salmon Arm - Monday, March 27 at 1:30 p.m. (134)

Daykin will provide an update on some of the issues the College is facing during the upcoming fiscal year and staff will have the opportunity to ask questions regarding the budget information presented. The College’s budget will be presented to the Board of Governors for consideration at the end of March.  

Coffee and cookies will be provided and if the session you are attending is over lunchtime, please feel free to bring your lunch to the meeting.

Lead a session at Connections

The Connections 2017 Organizing Committee is calling out to all Okanagan College employees to consider hosting a learning session at the annual conference in August. If you have an idea for a session you are encouraged to contact Kerry Rempel or submit session details here.

The sessions should be interactive in nature and focus on learning related to teaching, job skills, personal development or other topics of interest to a college employee. If you have an area of interest or expertise and want to share with your colleagues, the committee wants to hear from you.

Campus Store closure

OC Campus Stores will be closed on the following dates for year-end inventory. 

Salmon Arm Campus: Wed., March 29 - Fri., March 31    
Vernon Campus: Wed., March 29th - Fri., March 31
Penticton Campus: Wed., March 29 - Fri March 31
Kelowna Campus: Thur., March 30 & Fri March 31

All stores will reopen at their regular time on Monday, April 3. The staff at the Campus Store thanks you for your patience and support, and apologizes for any inconvenience. 

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.

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.

Free MPP workshop 

There are still seats available in the free member workshops Approaching Retirement. Employees who are members may register online here. Online learning is also available for those wanting to learn more about their pension. Register here for a 15-minute learning session called Getting to Know your Pension. 

Employee and Family Assistance Program - Mobile App and monthly newsletter

As part of the Employee Assistance Program (EFAP) 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 "Healthy Living - Socializing and Relationships" can be found here.

SIETAR seeking new board members

The Society of Intercultural Education, Training, and Research (SIETAR) is currently seeking new members for their 2017-2018 Executive Board. This is an opportunity for educators and administrators to gain experience in the intercultural field, network with like-minded individuals, and promote intercultural initiatives through community engagement. Click here for more information.


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.

Campus Store Inventory Clearance

March 20-28 – The OC Campus Store is hosting an inventory clearance sale from March 20-28. Enjoy 20 per cent off clothing, giftware and general interest books. Learn more here

OBSA Business Reception

March 23 –  The Okanagan Business Students’ Association (OBSA) 38th Annual Business Reception is happening on Thursday, March 23 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. in Atrium of the Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus. Tickets will be $40 and are available here. 

Included in the ticket price is complimentary wine tasting from four prestigious wineries, floating appetizers, and samples from some of the best microbreweries in the valley. Setting the stage will be live music, guest speakers from the College, and sponsors TD Bank and CPA BC. Grant Thornton is sponsoring A Safe Ride Home for the event, ensuring all attendees have a dedicated vehicle to get them back to their residence. The aim of this event is to connect business students from all faculties with businesses from around the community. Proceeds go toward student scholarships presented by the OBSA. Further information on the event can be found in the promotional video here.

Anosh Irani Reading

March 24  Anosh Irani has published three critically acclaimed novels and a number of award-winning plays. His work has been translated into 11 languages. Irani will be visiting the Salmon Arm campus, Student Lounge, 7-9 p.m. to read from his new novel, The Parcel, which was recently a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award. Download the event poster here.

Classics at the Classic

A recurring and increasingly prevalent theme in films is “the end of the world as we know it,” and Okanagan College’s Dr. Tim Walters has built a season of “Classics at the Classic” that feature nine dystopian and apocalyptic flicks. Now in its fifth season, the popular movie series returns to the Salmar Classic theatre (60 Alexander St. NE) in Salmon Arm. The not-for-profit series is part of the College’s second year university transfer course Studies in Reading Film. 

The full schedule of films is as follows: 
March 27 – 7 p.m. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
April 3 – 5 p.m. To be announced. The choice of film will be voted on by the class. 

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.

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. 


Word of the new $18.9 million Health Sciences Centre to be built at Okanagan College's Kelowna campus and the $15.4 investment by the province traveled fast thanks to coverage by Castanet, KelownaNow, Global News and the Daily Courier.

Known for his role in developing the wine industry in B.C., Harry McWatters was recently bestowed VanWineFest’s highest honour, the Spirited Industry Professional Award, as shared in the pages of the Summerland Review. McWatters received an Honorary Doctorate from Okanagan University College in 2001.

All the fast-paced pasta-based action (and eventual triumph by a dynamic duo from Lumby) at the 34th Annual Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest was served up by a host of regional media, including the Daily Courier, the Kelowna Capital News and Castanet.

The March Madness NCAA Bracket Party at Infusions in support of the new OC Basketball program made the pages of the Kelowna Capital News, KelownaNow, and Global News.

The inspiring story of OC alumnus Jeff Vogt who trained as an Electrician at Okanagan College and found the starting line for his other passion – running – in the OC Half Marathon, 10K and Relay race was shared with readers of the Daily Courier and Castanet.

The epic showing notched by Okanagan College’s Enactus team at Enactus Regionals in Calgary recently – which earned the team three berths to the National Exposition in Vancouver this May – was picked up by the Vernon Morning Star and Castanet.

Castanet shared news of the Distinguished Service Award presented posthumously to Norbert Heinzelmann by the WHL earlier this month. Heinzelmann was a long time IT Services employee at the College and volunteered with the Kelowna Rockets for more than two decades.

Former OC Vernon campus administrator Whitney Buggey was profiled by the Vernon Morning Star for his debut novel Eva’s Child. A launch for the book was held at the Vernon campus on March 15.

Marilyn Strong of the Kelowna-based Strong Communication Group was spotlighted in the Daily Courier as part of BDO’s Top 40 Over 40 series. Strong has lent her communication expertise to the Okanagan College School of Business as a volunteer judge for numerous competitions.

Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus library is one of the venues for the 2017 Winter Artscape exhibition coordinated by the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan (ARTSCO). Read about the exhibition and other venues in this article by the Daily Courier.

KF Aerospace recently announced it hired the entire graduating class of Okanagan College’s Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (AME) Structures class at the end of 2016 and continues to look for skilled AME-S technicians, as shared with readers of the Okanagan Saturday

A photo gallery from the SkillsBC Regional Competition held at Okanagan College on March 3 made the pages of the Daily Courier.

March 8 was International Women’s Day, and Castanet, the Salmon Arm Observerand the Global News  visited Okanagan College to showcase celebrations hosted by the Okanagan College Students’ Union. 

Dragon’s Den producers were at Okanagan College Kelowna campus to hear pitches from local entrepreneurs and inventors looking to make it onto the CBC-TV show for a chance to grow their idea. The Okanagan Saturday and the Daily Courier caught up with contestants and shared some of their ideas.

A teach-in and panel discussion about water protection and Indigenous Sovereignty will be held in the Lecture Theatre at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on Wednesday, March 22 from 6-9, as told in the latest edition of the Okanagan Saturday.


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 4, 2017.