Enactus OC notch multiple podium finishes at Nationals 

enactus nationals ioc 2017

The Okanagan College Enactus teams have returned from the 2017 Enactus Canada National Exposition in Vancouver last week with two major awards. 

The CANSave program received first prize in the Capital One Financial Education Challenge category for their program that teaches financial literacy to elementary school students. Team members included Julia Lalach, Cody Troutman, Bliss Ducharme and Rochelle Diaz. The team is coached by faculty mentor Devin Rubadeau. 

Taking home a national second-place finish in the Scotiabank Youth Empowerment challenge, also for the CANSave program, was the Vernon-based team of students Mitchell Pepper, Christianne Edblad, and Anthony Peterson, who are all from Vernon, and Gabby Edblad (Kelowna). The team was coached by professor Andrew Klingel. 

Enactus Okanagan College was also awarded a trophy for the nation’s Top Campus Administration. Business student Cody Troutman was one of only 12 in the country to earn a $2,500 John Dobson founder’s bursary for his work in the area of leadership, while OC alumnus Drew Vincent was recognized with a national award as the Top Alumni Over 30. 

Four teams of Okanagan College Business students, led by faculty advisor Dr. Kyleen Myrah, attended the national event. 

Read the press release for more details about these exciting achievements.

Computer Science research looks to inform disaster recovery

sugihara iocOkanagan College Computer Science faculty and students have joined forces with renowned 3D modeling expert Dr. Kenichi Sugihara on an international research project aimed at simplifying the way buildings are assessed and repaired after natural disasters.

Sugihara is a professor of Information Science at Gifu Keizai University in Japan who specializes in Computer Graphics (CG) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). His current research explores how cutting-edge algorithms can automatically generate 3D urban models. Enter Dr. Youry Khmelevsky, Chair of the Computer Science program at Okanagan College, who with the help of Second-year Bachelor of Computer Information Systems (BCIS) students Matt Cocar and Marty Wallace, is helping Sugihara refine his working model of a program specifically tailored to evaluate roof damage in buildings using 3D simulations.

The six-month project was recently awarded a $25,000 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Engage grant and is also receiving in-kind support from GIS software distributer Esri Canada. 

“This project may help city planners and insurance companies assess damage quicker,” explains Khmelevsky.

Read the full story here.

HOST program helps grads build hospitality, tourism skills

HOST iocAs another busy summer tourism season approaches, the first students to complete Okanagan College’s new HOST certificate are wrapping up their practical work in hospitality at some of the region’s most popular destinations.

The Hospitality Service Training certificate (HOST) includes courses on customer service excellence, professional front desk training, and food and beverage operations, with comprehensive, occupation-specific instruction leading to entry-level employment in hospitality and tourism.

Jessica Soroka is one of the first students through the program. She is currently the Assistant Manager of Housekeeping at Predator Ridge. Her employer suggested she take the program to gain more insight and knowledge of industry trends.

“Food and beverage service is new to me, so I learned a lot of new information,” says Soroka. “It was also pretty cool to find out about environmental trends and hear stories and ideas from around the world from our instructor.”

Read Soroka’s story and learn more in the media release.

OC Coyotes fall just short of reaching CCBC finals

coyotes final 2017 iocThe tournament host OC Coyotes were once again in striking distance of the Canadian College Baseball Championship title heading into the final day of play on their home turf last weekend.

The Coyotes advanced to the semi-final round of play, only to be tamed by eventual tournament runner-up the Thomson Rivers University WolfPack in a hard-fought battle on Sunday morning at Elks Stadium in Kelowna.

The Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs earned their seventh consecutive CCBC crown with a 4-3 extra-innings victory over the WolfPack later that afternoon. The Dawgs edged out Okanagan College in the final last year. 

Check out full tournament coverage, including interviews with Coach Geoff White and OC Coyotes players here.


OC science student wins prestigious international research internship 

teagan ioc 2017An Okanagan College student’s pursuit of excellence has earned her a spot in a highly competitive summer research program in Europe. 

Teagan Phillips, a second-year Associate of Science Degree student, will spend June through August at the Universität Duisburg-Essen (UDE) in Duisburg, Germany. There she will be assisting a PhD student studying ferromagnetic resonance (FMR) or, more specifically, how extremely thin films of metal – some only a few atoms in thickness – react when exposed to magnetic fields.

Phillips is one of only 300 students awarded internships from more than 1,700 globally who applied for the coveted placements offered through the German Academic Exchange Service’s RISE (Research Internships in Science and Engineering) program. She will receive a scholarship to cover tuition and living expenses, as well as travel expenses for a meeting of all scholarship recipients in Heidelberg, Germany in July.

“I was shocked and overjoyed when I found out I was selected,” says Phillips. “I know research opportunities like this are so important for my future, and so I plan to soak up every bit of knowledge I can.”

FMR research has application across a wide array of fields from advanced electrical engineering to space exploration. 

“Teagan is a fantastic student and I can’t think of anyone more hardworking or more deserving of an opportunity like this,” says Ryan Ransom, Chair of the Physics and Astronomy program at the College. “The students awarded these internships come from top-tier research institutions all over the world. For Teagan to be recognized at this level, and to have the chance to work on a project of this scope at this stage in her career, is really going to help her stand out among her peers.”

Employee Excellence Award Recipients

Employee Excellence 2017 Heather and JimOn Wednesday, May 10, Okanagan College employees gathered in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus to celebrate the remarkable achievements of their peers at the sixth annual Employee Excellence Awards. 

Hosted by Ross Tyner, Interim Human Resources Director and Cam McRobb, BCGEU Vocational Bargaining Chair, 13 awards were distributed across nine categories. President Jim Hamilton distributed the awards and offered congratulations to all the finalists and recipients. New this year, a video showing colleagues describing why they nominated the finalists was shown. Employees also enjoyed a social wine reception featuring flavourful culinary bites prepared by the College’s Culinary Arts students. 

The finalists and recipients represent a spectrum of positions and departments from across the College’s regions. While all were recognized for their individual contributions, in common they each embodied the College’s core values of promoting: learning success, access, continuous improvement, collegiality, diversity, sustainability, collaboration and innovation. Congratulations to all the recipients.

Visit the Employee Excellence Awards website for a full list of recipients.

Strong turnout for RIPE

ripe turnout iocKeynote speaker David Chalk inspired more than 70 attendees at RIPE – the Research and Innovations Partnership Expo – held at the Kelowna campus on May 9. This day-long exploration of applied research began with Chalk’s presentation, in which he called upon researchers and industry partners to work together to innovate, giving many examples of companies and projects that either didn’t recognize opportunity, or were wildly successful at tapping into changing technologies.

Attendees were treated to demonstrations ranging from 3D printing to chocolate to how to create a “plug and play” home, as well as workshops on grant writing, skills development for students, and much more. The day also included a call for research partners to develop real-world projects that address industry and community issues.

“Technicians can get mired in the details, while innovation drives entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs feed a passion, and the post-secondary sector drives innovation as the forefront of ideas and research,” said Chalk, whose talk was titled Innovation is Nothing New.

“A quality education means I would rather be looking at my future than examining my past. Applied research can be that future,” continued Chalk.

Applied research at Okanagan College can involve any employee, not just instructors, and students play a key role as partners in projects, gaining valuable real-life experience that can lead to future employment.

Learn more on Okanagan College's Applied Research page.

Camp OC amps up offerings for students and convenience for parents

camp oc ioc 2017 story

From Revelstoke to the South Okanagan, youth will have an even better selection of summer camp opportunities to choose from this year with Okanagan College’s Camp OC returning for another year. 

Back for its 13th year in Kelowna, camps will once again be offered for students in Grades 2-12. New in Kelowna, camp organizers are offering optional after camp care for students who will be entering Grades 2-6 this fall. With camps running 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, parents will now have the option of enrolling their child in week-long after camp care in which qualified staff will engage them in activities until 5 p.m. The cost ranges from $24-30 for the week.

Camps range from Minecraft programming, wood and metal fabrication, fashion and cooking, camps in French language, and upcycling, among many others. Offerings in Kelowna, Penticton, Revelstoke and Vernon vary in both age and category. Visit for a comprehensive list of available camps.

For the high school set, camps are designed to provide a taste of life as a College student – and to open students’ eyes to careers that are in high demand, like computer programming. This year students in Grades 9-12 can tap into a special two-week camp offering the fundamentals of coding at the Vernon campus.

As in previous years, College employees are able to register their children and grandchildren at a 10 per cent discount, while on the Friday before a particular camp begins, employees can take advantage of a 50 per cent tuition waiver (with certain criteria being met, including if a camp has reached minimum registration, but not yet met the maximum). Review the criteria to learn more (also found in myOkanagan under OC Express Forms).

If you have any questions please contact

May 16, 2017, Vol. 11, Issue 29


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.

  • Trades Commencement Fri, June 2 @ 6:30 p.m.
  • Spring Convocation Sat, June 3 @ 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • 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.

Incident Reporting at Okanagan College

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

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

Faculty: submit textbook needs to Campus Store

The Campus Store is busy gearing up for the Fall semester and looking for textbook adoptions. Please email Gord Stefansson by May 26 so the team can start acquiring required course materials. Please include the course number, campus and textbook information. 

Water Quality Advisory

You may have recently noticed Water Advisory posters over sinks and taps on campus. There is no need to be alarmed. Okanagan College’s Facilities Department is carefully monitoring water quality. It is currently in the better end of the “fair” range.

The official recommendation from the City of Kelowna is that “children, the elderly, people with compromised immune systems and anyone seeking additional protection drink boiled water or a safe alternative.” Please note that hydration stations on campus have additional filtration which remove most of the offending turbidity.

As the flooding situation in the Okanagan changes, water quality updates will be posted on the City of Kelowna website and any changes affecting water quality at Okanagan College will be shared with students and employees in myOkanagan.

Think Safety; Work Safely

The Joint Occupational Health & Safety (JOHS) Committee in Kelowna has a bulletin board located on the first floor of the Centre for Learning (Building E) on the east wall near the washrooms. The board includes contact info for co-chairs and members, the last three months of meeting minutes, and other pertinent Health & Safety information. The JOHS webpage has links to an online comment box, the Terms of Reference and JOHS committees at the other campuses. Think Safety; Work Safely.

Connections Expo

Are you an expert in your field? Are you passionate about something and want to share it with your colleagues? Employees are invited to share their area of expertise or passions outside of work with their peers at this year’s Connections Expo. The Expo provides an opportunity to learn from and get to know your colleagues. This informal event will take place at the end of each day during the social hour, set up in a way that will make it easy to connect you with your colleagues. If you would like to reserve your booth or would like more information contact Anna Wolleben

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.

Employee and Family Assistance Program - Mobile App and monthly newsletter

As part of the Employee Assistance Programme (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 "How to manage symptoms of depression" can be found here.

Changes Coming to Okanagan College Employee & Family Assistance Program

Okanagan College provides an Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) to all of its continuing employees and their dependents which includes the following services:

  • A multidisciplinary network of experienced counsellors, all with a minimum of a Master’s degree and subject to regulation by approved professional associations;
  • Intake, risk assessment, crisis intervention and client-counsellor matching;
  • Comprehensive assessments and goal setting;
  • Short-term, solution-focused counselling;
  • Case management services, referrals and bridging to community based resources for issues such as psychiatric problems and substances abuse;
  • 24-hour emergency telephone access to a qualified Master’s level counsellor;
  • Referral for legal or financial consultation;
  • Critical incident stress management;
  • Access to online resources including articles, self-assessments, FAQ sheets, etc 

The College has received notice from Optum Canada, its current EFAP provider, that Optum will no longer be maintaining EFAP services in Canada and that effective June 15, 2017, its services will transition to LifeWorks Canada Ltd. LifeWorks will continue to provide the same kinds of services that were previously offered by Optum. The College has been assured that there will be no disruption to employees, and that individuals with active cases prior to the June 15, 2017 transition will continue with their care and can complete their services within 30 days.  
Over the coming weeks, additional information will be communicated and the HR Benefits webpage will be updated with new contact information. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact your HR Advisor.  

Gearing up for Bike to Work week and Commuter Challenge

Okanagan College students and employees will have back-to-back opportunities in the coming weeks to pedal to school or work for health, the environment and the chance to win some great prizes.

Bike to Work week is happening May 29 - June 2, with Commuter Challenge happening the following week, June 4 -10. OC students and employees wishing to sign and up and log their trips for the chance to win prizes can register online.

In order for your participation to count toward OC’s total, you only have to ride one way to or from work at least once during the week. Free food and prizes are available at various locations throughout the week. OC team members will also have a chance to win raffle prizes (bike pumps, bells, tire repair kits). T- shirts are still available for $10 and will be for sale in Facilities (P building) at the Kelowna campus.

A team photograph will be taken on Tuesday, May 30 at 9 a.m. at the bike stands behind the Centre for Learning (or in the Atrium, if weather is inclement). The prize raffle will happen on Monday, June 5 at 9 a.m., also at the bike stands behind the Centre for Learning. If you have any questions or would like help in preparing your bike or planning a safe route, please email Dr. Paul Stephenson. 

More details and registration available at

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.

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.


ETUG Conference in Kelowna

June 1-2 – ETUG is a group of education technology users in British Columbia higher education. The ETUG two-day spring conference is being held at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna on June 1-2. This event is a great opportunity for Okanagan College employees to learn about education technology. The main theme of the conference is Education by Design and streams include Learning Design, Education Technology, Faculty Development and Breakthrough Thinking. For more information and registration please see the ETUG website.

Staff Spring BBQ

June 7 – Employees are invited to attend the OC Social Committee Spring BBQ hosted at the Kelowna campus in the L-Cove (between the A and C buildings) on Wednesday, June 7 between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. 

For just $5, you’ll get a burger and a drink and a chance to catch up with your colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere.

To ensure there is a burger waiting for you, tickets can be purchased ahead of time from any of the following Social Committee members: Angie March (Regional Dean’s Office), Carlyn Young (Registrar’s Office), Dawn Douglas (Advancement Office), Heather Grassick (Trades Office), Jo-Dee Hecko (HSW Instructor), Lynda Dreaper (Human Resources), Margaret Johnson (Executive Office), Tanya Tarlit (Co-op Office). Hope to see you there!

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, 2017 with a 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.


The HOST program was featured in Okanagan Saturday, including a mention for student Jessica Soroka who enhanced her skills for her work at Predator Ridge.

The applied research team of instructor Lukas Skulmoski and student Noah Dorsey discussed their “plug and play” home design concept in The Daily Courier in advance of RIPE, a day-long event celebrating applied research and innovation. 

On McHappy Day, student Zachary Dye Wilson, a Penticton community policing volunteer, appeared in the Penticton Herald with one-year-old Asher and Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth.

Kelowna’s woman and man of the year were recently named at the 42nd annual Kelowna Civic Awards. Gary Benson, winner of the Fred Macklin Man of the Year Award, was recognized for his volunteer work as reported in the Kelowna Capital News. He is a 2014 Honorary Fellow. 

The Daily Courier reported on Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton’s recent presentation to the City of West Kelowna's councillors, noting that the College currently has no plans to build a new facility there.

Fixing household items at the Repair Café, hosted by OC, was a topic for the Kelowna Capital News.

As the provincial election came to a close, Green candidate and former OC student and Education Council member Connie Sahlmark was profiled in the Penticton Herald, as were NDP candidates Tarik Sayeed and Liberal incumbent Dan Ashton.

As OC named its honorary fellows for 2017 – Sharon Shepherd, Randy Manuel, and Edna Terbasket – the story was picked up by the Penticton Western News and the Penticton Herald.

The OC Coyotes made the sports pages as they made a run for the CCBC title, as covered by the Okanagan Sunday, Kelowna Daily Courier, and several times in Kelowna Capital News, additional story here.

The Vernon Morning Star paid a visit to Experience Okanagan College to see high schoolers be college students for a day.

Enactus OC students expanded their successful Soup’s On fundraising initiative this year, raising $5200 for local social service providers, as reported by the Vernon Morning Star.

Launch-A-Preneur, a competition designed by OC Enactus students, saw WineBox Sweets win its way to $15,000 worth of prizes and services for its business, producing real wine and alcohol-infused gummies, as told by the Salmon Arm Observer.


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 May 30, 2017.