College names 2019 Honorary Fellows

2019 Honorary FellowsOkanagan College is bestowing its highest honour on three notable Okanagan residents, each of whom has made unique and meaningful contributions through public service, mentorship and philanthropy.

Tom Christensen, Robert Louie and George Galbraith will be named Honorary Fellows of Okanagan College during Convocation ceremonies in Kelowna this June.

“The accomplishments of this year’s Honorary Fellows are hard to summarize,” notes Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Their contributions have had a lasting impact on so many individuals and communities. It is a great privilege to welcome them to the Okanagan College family.”

From 2001 to 2009 Christensen was the elected Member of the Legislative Assembly for Okanagan-Vernon and during that time, he served as British Columbia’s Minister of Education, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and Minister of Children and Family Development.

Robert Louie (1975 OC business alumnus) is the former Chief (24 years) of the Westbank First Nation. He is the Chairman of the First Nations Lands Advisory Board and Chairman/Director of Peace Hills Trust, the largest Aboriginal financial institution in Canada. He serves as an Indigenous advisor, representing Canada on the World Indigenous Business Forum and networks with other leaders promoting Indigenous economic development and world trade.

Galbraith has worn many hats at Okanagan College – first as an instructor at the Vernon campus in 1973, then on the College’s Board of Directors for six years. In 2017, Galbraith donated $250,000 towards the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons - Building for Skills campaign for the new Trades Training Centre at the Vernon campus. He also funds two scholarships at the College: H.W Galbraith Memorial Award and the Kieran Galbraith Memorial Award.

Read full biographies and catch the full story here.

RIPE shares cutting-edge research with community

RIPE - craft beer industryOkanagan College's third annual RIPE (Research, Innovation and Partnerships Expo) event took place at the Kelowna campus today, May 14, and was well attended by community members, research partners, students, entrepreneurs, OC employees and fellow researchers from across Canada.

The event featured a wide variety of workshops led by industry-leading professionals. Keynote speakers Dr. Peter Janele, PhD and Dr. David Waltner-Toews, BA, DVM, PhD, delivered compelling discussions on the vital importance of applied research in business development and prosperity in the Okanagan Valley and on the scientific, cultural, ecological and value-laden perspectives to the idea of eating right in a world that has contradictory information about nutrition.

Attendees were treated to a morning mixer, a panel discussion and had the opportunity to network and share their own applied research ideas. 

Photo: Kelly Sveinson of Langara College delivers one of the workshops on Applied Research in the Craft Brewing Industry.

College employee receives national recognition at CICan awards

Marilyn Alexis 2019 CICan awardOC’s Marilyn Alexis has been honoured by colleagues across Canada for her work helping to build connections between the College, the North Okanagan community and Indigenous people and their culture.

Alexis, an Aboriginal Transition Planner at the College’s Vernon campus, was named the gold medal winner for the Leadership Excellence Award for Non-Managerial Staff at the Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) 2019 Awards of Excellence in Niagara Falls.

Alexis has been an integral part in championing the College’s Indigenous initiatives and has made tremendous efforts to share the Indigenous culture and build lasting relationships between OC and the community. One of Alexis’ greatest achievements is leading the creation of the Kalamalka Garden, located at the Vernon Campus. It contains indigenous food plants from the Okanagan territory, as well as other species indigenous to this area, and it was developed to be a community teaching resource of the region’s indigenous plants used by the Okanagan Indian Band. 

“Marilyn has created a warm welcoming place where Indigenous learning can occur in a hands-on interactive environment that is directly connected to the land her ancestors used to live on,” says Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “Her efforts have been truly admirable and we are proud that she has received this honour.”

Read the full story here.

College Enactus students win gold at nationals

2019 Enactus Nationals - CANsave teamOkanagan College Enactus students won big at the 2019 Canadian Enactus National Championships competition for their innovative idea on teaching the next generation of Canadian youth about financial literacy. 

OC Enactus students were rewarded with a first place finish at the national competition for their project, CANsave, which set out to inspire kindergarten and elementary-level students that it’s never too early to learn about budgeting, saving and distinguishing good debt from bad debt.

What began as a local-only project has now amassed a following, nation-wide. In this school year alone, more than 13,000 students across Canada have learned about financial literacy through CANsave. 

Enactus OC students also earned a third place finish in the Eco-Living Green category for the Fruit Snaps project, which sees fruit that was destined for the landfill repurposed into a delicious and healthy snack. Fruit Snaps was also awarded the best new project award and two of the team members behind the program received top recognition.

OC’s Abby Lagerquist received the top Project Manager in the Enactus Canada Network and Jessica Egyed was recognized for her outstanding leadership and received one of the coveted 10 founder’s bursaries worth $2,500.

Stay tuned to College Matters for the full story, coming soon.

OC applied research aids a Kelowna firm making waves globally

Beverlie Dietze - WaterplayChildren splashing in a water park hardly seems the topic for focused research, but you’re not Beverlie Dietze, Okanagan College’s Director of Learning and Applied Research.

There’s lots to learn, it turns out, when children set their minds and imaginations to having fun in a waterpark. And where business is concerned, figuring out how to ensure children get the most from their play is good business for a company such as Waterplay Solutions.

“As a global company we team up with amazing people around the world who help bring our dream of connecting the world through play to reality – Beverlie is one of these people,” says Shanley Hutchinson, the Creative Manager at Waterplay Solutions. “When we can design a product to capitalize on a child’s natural curiosity and sense of wonderment we create something truly beneficial to the child, the community he or she lives in, and the world that child grows up to be a part of."

Last year, Dietze and Waterplay Solutions secured a $24,930 federal grant through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s (NSERC) Engage program to work together to build business opportunities incorporating some of those outdoor play principles in design thinking at Waterplay Solutions.

“What I’ve been able to do is highlight how Waterplay Solutions products contribute to children’s curiosity and areas of development, such as language, literacy, self-regulation skills, and foundational Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) discoveries that support later academic performance,” explains Dietze.

Click here for the full story.

CampOC expands, hits all-time high

CampOC 2019A growing demand for Okanagan College’s summer camps for youth and teens has prompted the institution to increase capacity. 

With the addition of 15 camps and 1,000 new spaces throughout the Okanagan, more than 1,700 youth are already registered to attend Camp OC this summer. CampOC will be offered in Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton, Revelstoke and now Salmon Arm.

“In the 15 years Camp OC has been running, we’ve seen significant growth in attendance and community interest,” explains Dennis Silvestrone, Okanagan College Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training. "In turn, our camps are growing to reflect the topics and needs we see in our community.”

Parents and kids can choose from a variety of programs in arts, science, trades and technology to choose from to meet a diverse set of interests. After-camp care for students who will be entering Grades 1 to 6 this fall will be available at the Kelowna campus. 

CampOC is also a chance for high school students to boost their resumes and chalk up volunteer hours required for graduation.

Space is still available in some camps. To find out more or to register, visit

Start the presses! Writing and Publishing returns to Vernon

Writing and PublishingThe Writing and Publishing diploma program is returning to the Vernon campus this September. 

The program infuses the range of English, creative writing, editing and communications material with applied technical skills in graphic design, typography, coding and book publishing, producing students who can publish quality content in a range of media. 

Studying at the Vernon campus takes advantage of the Okanagan College Print Shop, affectionately called “The Bunker” by students and staff. Located in the basement floor, the letterpress print shop features more than 20,000 pounds of vintage printing presses and metal type. Some assignments see students applying their typography and design knowledge by setting type by hand and printing that type on 100-year-old presses.

“I can’t stress enough what working in The Bunker does for students. It’s transformational. When they go back to the computer, they are thinking of things completely differently,” says instructor Jason Dewinetz.

Follow @ocbunkerprintshop on Instagram for samples of student work produced in The Bunker at the Vernon campus.

Click here for the full story.


Sticks Up fundraiser nets two new student awards

2019 Sticks Up OC Aboriginal student awardA fundraiser celebrating the unity of hockey has raised $2,400 to support two new OC Aboriginal student awards. 

Okanagan College Aboriginal Services and the OC Foundation organized the new fundraiser, inviting staff and students to join an NHL Playoffs Bracket Challenge. Through ticket sales, donations, and proceeds from the social, $1,200 was raised. To help kickstart the new awards, Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton personally matched the money raised.

“These two new awards are another example of the continued commitment from the College and OC Foundation to help alleviate some of the financial burdens for Indigenous students along their educational journey,” says Anthony Isaac, OC Indigenization Task Force Coordinator.

This fall, two awards will be available for any student with Aboriginal ancestry enrolled in full-time study at any campus of Okanagan College. Recipients will be chosen based on a combination of financial need and academic achievement, with an emphasis on financial need.

Based on the success of the fundraiser, the OC Sticks Up for Aboriginal Students campaign intends to take place annually.

Vernon and Penticton students attend OC for a day

Penticton Experience OC day 2019High school students from around the South and North Okanagan experienced a taste of what it’s like to attend post-secondary at Okanagan College’s Penticton and Vernon campuses.

During the day, students in Grades 10 and 11 attended classes led by College instructors and explored the many post-secondary education options offered at OC. Classes were offered in arts, business, continuing studies, engineering, health and social development, science and trades. Students choose which OC courses they want to take and were treated to lunch, games and campus tours.

“These events are traditionally well-attended because they offer such a great value for high school students,” says Liana Swedahl, OC Recruitment and Events Coordinator at the Penticton campus. “It’s a day of fun and it’s a welcoming and friendly environment for students to explore their educational options after they finish high school.”

The Penticton event is championed by high school counsellors and principals and the Vernon event by school counsellors, teachers and career coordinators. 

“Experience OC is one of the most impactful events OC hosts each year,” says Tawnya Cameron, OC Recruitment and Events Coordinator at the Vernon campus. “There’s no other recruitment event quite like it and we see tons of students who go on to study at OC because they attended these events.” 

Approximately 330 students attended the Vernon event and 250 attended the Penticton event.

Women in Trades students help house winged wildlife

WITT photo - bat and bee housesOkanagan College Women in Trades Training (WITT) students joined forces with elementary students to help house some of the busiest builders in the community who work around the clock, day and night. 

Grades 4-6 students at Peter Greer Elementary stepped outside of the classroom for a day to learn about the bats and the bees from WITT students. Together they built four bat houses with nurseries, and one large bee pollinator hotel. The residences will be placed in the green space surrounding Peter Greer, helping meet the ecological needs of creatures in risk of endangerment.

This isn’t the first time that Okanagan College’s Trades and Apprenticeship department has supported the community and mentored youth along the way: they built the bunny hutches at Warren Peace, and they’re currently building locker rooms for the OC Coyotes basketball teams.

“The community has supported our program since inception,” says Steve Moores, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “Returning that favour and playing a prominent role in our community is important to us.” 

Read the full story here.

Sign up now for Connections

Connections Logo IOCRegistration is open for Okanagan College’s annual employee conference being held at the Kelowna campus this year. 

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 OC’s President Jim Hamilton about what's happening in and around Okanagan College and you will have a great opportunity to interact with your fellow colleagues.

New this year is an Employee Showcase. Do you, or does your department, have something cool or unique you’d like to show off to your colleagues? (e.g. An antique car, ancient typewriter, coin collection) Tell us about it and you can have it on display at Connections.

You can choose to attend on either Tuesday, Aug. 20 or Wednesday, Aug. 21. Register early as sessions fill up fast.

Click here to register and review the list of workshop descriptions. 

OC Works lands at KF Aerospace

OC Works - KF AerospaceAn event celebrating Okanagan College grads working in local businesses recently made a stop at KF Aerospace, one of Kelowna’s largest employers.

The coffee break event was an opportunity to spotlight the many grads KF Aerospace hires from the College while introducing them to the benefits of being an alumni.

Madison Blancher, a human resources advisor at KF Aerospace and an OC grad of the Business Administration program, helped plan the event and says there was a diverse turnout representing a number of different departments at KF.

“We hire a lot of graduates from the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) Structures program, but other employees are also grads so it was interesting to see people throughout the company attending,” she says. 

Blancher adds she’s proud to be an Okanagan College grad. 

“OC Works was an opportunity for us to celebrate our strong relationship with KF while strengthening our bond with our graduates,” says Sarah Cherrey, Alumni Relations Coordinator at Okanagan College.

The Alumni Association has been hosting OC Works for more than 10 years. The events, which take place throughout the year, are open to any organization with five or more OC alumni.

OC students draw a career in the animation industry

Animation graduation photoShaina Cook stepped into Okanagan College’s animation lab two years ago armed with pencils, paper and a life-long dream of bringing her creations to life. On May 1, she was part of the inaugural graduating class from the College’s Animation diploma program, established to deliver on the growing need in the community. 

“Being part of the first class through this program has been a wild and fun ride,” says Cook. “I find it really cool that I’m going to have a chance at being part of a creative team for animated media and coming up with ideas that don’t exist today – the industry is an ever-adapting field of imagination and I can’t wait to be in it.”

The College celebrated seven students in an industry-themed ceremony, where students also put on a final showcase of their work, gave tours and networked with industry professionals. 

“I want to congratulate all of the animation students and recognize them for their hard work and dedication to their craft,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “The animation entertainment industry has experienced exponential growth and I’m confident these students will play a prominent role by offering new insights, inspiring new directions and helping to further expand the industry.”

Click here for the full story.

May 14, 2019, Vol. 13, Issue 4

Employee Excellence recognition event tomorrow

A reminder to all employees that you are invited to attend the Employee Excellence Awards special recognition event tomorrow, May 15, in the Kelowna campus Centre for Learning Atrium (E building) starting at 2:45 p.m.

Come out and support all employees who have been selected by the judging committee as finalists and to announce the recipients from each of the categories of this important employee event. Appetizers and refreshments will be served.

OC Mileage Reimbursement Policy update

The Mileage Reimbursement Policy has been revised and is now called the Kilometre Reimbursement Policy. Click here to view the new policy (E.1.3).

Revised Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy

The Board of Governors has directed that the revised Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy be posted for students and employees to review and provide feedback. The revised Policy is posted on Moodle for review and comment for a period of 30 working days.

To review and comment on the revised policy, please click here to be directed to the Moodle page. Once you have signed in, enter “review” as the enrolment key. Please provide your comments on the feedback form on or before May 16, 2019. No personal identification is required to submit feedback on the policy. Accordingly, you will not receive a response regarding your comments.

OCAA needs your help

The Okanagan College Alumni Association is in need of volunteers for several convocation events in June. Events run for 2.5 hours and volunteers will be paired with an alumni representative to help them along the way.

Kelowna campus

  • June 1 from 9:30 a.m. - noon 
  • June 1 from noon - 2:30 p.m.
  • June 26 from 4:30 - 7 p.m.
  • June 27 from 4:30 - 7 p.m.

Vernon campus

  • June 25 from 3:30 - 6 p.m.

If you are interested in volunteering at any of these events, please email before May 8.

OC Foundation houseboat raffle

The Okanagan College Foundation is hosting a raffle for a houseboat vacation valued at $2,645. Tickets are $10 each and proceeds will support OC students at the Salmon Arm campus. Tickets can be purchased from the OC Foundation office, P Building at the Kelowna campus or through Margaret Scharf at the Salmon Arm campus. The draw date is May 23.

Click here to view prize information.

RVs for sale

The Okanagan College Foundation and OC Supply Management are presently offering the following RVs for sale: 

 All bids are to be delivered in person to Okanagan College Supply Management (P-111). 

Kelowna campus Fitness Facility hours

The Kelowna campus Fitness Facility will close at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 17 for May Long weekend. The facilities will open on Tuesday, May 21 at 8 a.m. 

Employee and Family Assistance Program: Mental Health and Children

Start the conversation about mental health early. It is essential to promote feelings of comfort and openness when talking about mental health and to end the stigma before it begins. For guidance and support, visit LifeWorks online and login with the username: okanagan and the password: healthy. Alternatively, you can call LifeWorks toll-free any time, day or night at 1-888-307-0590. View the monthly May feature here

Sun and UV Radiation

Too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure can cause sunburn, eye irritation, skin cancer, and blindness. UV exposure comes from many sources, but the sun is most common. 

How to reduce the risks?
Be familiar with the outdoor UV index. When the sun's UV levels are high, you should avoid working in the sun, decrease the amount of time you spend outside, and use UV protection even if cloud, fog, or haze is blocking the sun. Certain environments will increase your risk of UV exposure. Water, sand, concrete, and snow will reflect UV rays back at you and increase your UV exposure. 

Click here for more details from WorkSafe BC.

Kelowna summer food services hours

Kelowna cafeteria

  • Closed June 17 for the summer
  • Open Mon-Thu from 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Fri from 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • The cafeteria is now proudly serving fresh brewed Starbucks coffee and selling special gluten- and nut-free vegan treats from Trish's Treats.

Kelowna Food Services

  • Fezziwig's - Mon-Thu from 7:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. and Friday from 7:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • DeBeans - Mon-Fri from 8 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Bike to Work Week OC celebration station

May 27 – OC is participating in Bike to Work Week and will be hosting a celebration station on Monday, May 27 for all bikers on their way to work or school. The station is being hosted in the Kelowna campus bike compound at 7:15 a.m. and will serve coffee and pastries. 

Nancy Ankerstein’s retirement party

June 26 – Join in to say farewell to Nancy Ankerstein as she prepares to retire. Ankerstein will say goodbye to colleagues on June 26 between 2 – 3:30 p.m. in the Trades Boardroom (T115B) at the Kelowna campus.


The Daily Courier shared the details about the forty-three former youth in care have accessed post-secondary education and skills training at OC thanks to the B.C. government’s Provincial Tuition Waiver Program.

Eight Trades and Technology students took home medals at the Skills Canada B.C. competition and The Daily Courier and Kelowna Capital News shared the details.

The Daily Courier shared the news that Enactus OC students set up solar-powered ReCharge stations at Mission Creek Regional Park in Kelowna and Gellatly Nut Farm Park in West Kelowna.

97-year-old OC alumna Chris Pearce had her watercolour paintings on display and for sale at the Art Focus art show in Port Coquitlam and the details were shared on Tri-City News.

Forbes caught up with Okanagan College School of Business professor, Roberta Sawatzky, to discuss the future of education and the future of work.

Revelstoke Mountaineer and Revelstoke Review shared the details about scholarships that are available to Revelstoke residents who enroll in the Health Care Assistant (HCA) program at Okanagan College this September.

High schoolers got to be college students for the day at the annual Experience Okanagan College day at the Vernon campus. Kelowna Capital NewsPenticton Herald, Black Press Media and the Summerland Review shared the details.

The first graduating class from Okanagan College’s Animation diploma program are ready to walk the stage and step out into the industry. Vernon Morning Star, Kelowna Capital News Daily Courier and the Summerland Review shared the news.

Summerland Review shared the news that Writing and Publishing Diploma program will return to Okanagan College Vernon campus this September.

Beverlie Dietze, the Director of Learning and Applied Research at OC is undertaking joint research with waterplay Solutions Corp. on exploring how children set their minds and imaginations to having fun in aquatic play and waterpark environment. Australasian Leisure Management and Salmon Arm Observer shared more.

The Penticton Western News caught up with Okanagan College business administration program student Dylan Vinci about working for the International tech company that opened its first North American headquarters in Kelowna. 

The Summerland Review and the Kelowna Daily Courier provided details on the growing demand and opportunities available for teens at Camp OC this year.

Shout out to the Okanagan College Coyotes Baseball team who came in second place at the 2019 Canadian Collegiate Baseball Conference Championship. Kamloops This Week shared details on the final games and this year’s winners.

OC’s Bree Cawley has been operating Girls Club, a club for girls with neuro-developmental differences, that received provincial attention with three recent nominations in the Autism C – Excellence in Autism Awards. Kelowna Capital News has the details.

Kelowna Daily Courier and the Summerland Review shared the exciting recognition that OC’s Marilyn Alexis received at CICan for her leadership in connecting the campus with the Indigenous community.

Castanet shared the details about the Women in Trades students who joined forces with Peter Greer Elementary to build bat houses and a bee hotel.


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

To ensure the best chance for your submission to be 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 May 28, 2019.