Golden trio at Skills competition

2018 Skills Canada BCFor Okanagan College students and apprentices Lukas Pfob, Connor McLaren and Bradley Vanlerberg, their efforts at the provincial Skills Canada competition proved golden.

The trio won gold medals at the competition held in Abbotsford on April 18, part of the OC contingent of 14 students who brought home a total of eight medals from the event. The competition draws post-secondary and secondary school students and apprentices from across B.C. to test their skills against a series of challenges in 47 different disciplines.

Pfob won gold in the Carpentry competition, marking the second gold medal and his fourth medal overall from the Skills Canada BC competitions. McLaren won gold in the Automotive Service category and Vanlerberg won the Aerospace Technology competition.

In addition to the three gold medals, students also brought home a silver in Aerospace Technology (Levi Nicholas), a bronze in Culinary Arts (Siobhan Detkavich), a silver in Heavy Equipment Service (Kian Banner), a bronze in IT Network Systems (Frank van Zandwijk) and a bronze in Refrigeration (Adam Sohnchen).

Click here to read the full story.

Applied research conference at College

RIPE logoFrom indigenization to small business, millennials and pinot noir and drones to marijuana, the Okanagan is RIPE with innovative applied research projects.

The College is hosting RIPE (Research and Innovation Partnerships Expo) on May 8 from 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Kelowna campus. The event is an opportunity for community members, industry, educators, researchers and students to network and learn how applied research is growing new partnerships and enriching students’ education experience in the Okanagan.  

“Applied research by Okanagan College employees is making a big impact regionally and globally,” explains Dr. Beverlie Dietze, Director of Learning and Applied Research at OC. “The world is ever-changing and applied research can help us anticipate, react and even lead that change.”

The event features workshops and keynote speakers and attendees will be treated to a morning mixer, a panel discussion and can hear applied research pitch questions and connect and expand their own applied research opportunities.

Check out the event here.

Innovation Fund applications welcome

FlourishThe window has opened for applications to Okanagan College’s 2018-19 Innovation Fund.

Any employee can apply for funds to support a project or activity that promotes innovation and applied research at the College. The deadline for applications is May 22.

The fund has been used to support a number of projects that support innovation, professional creativity or applied research.

Two examples funded over the past year both speak to student support. The Communications department was given more than $14,000 to support development and provision of a pilot program to support international students in their technical and professional writing courses. 

A partnership between Accessibility Services Co-ordinator Paula Faragher and Counsellor Sarah Lefebure resulted in Flourish, a wellness management project focused on student mental health, that was piloted in Penticton over the past year. The project received about $2,000 through the Innovation Fund.

There were eight projects that received funding almost $45,000 in funding last year. 

If you’re planning to apply, you can learn more about what’s involved and how to outline your project proposal by clicking here.

Tourism educators come to Kelowna

A three-day conference starting tomorrow is bringing up to 50 B.C tourism educators to Okanagan College until May 4 to talk about one of the industry’s hottest topics: the future of work in the industry.

Sessions will cover everything from how skilled workers affect restaurants to the implications of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity on the tourism workplace and what students are taught. Presenters come from Okanagan College, Thompson Rivers University, Vancouver Island University and Royal Roads University.

The conference has drawn some experts in the educational sector to Kelowna, including John Walsh, the Vice-Provost of Toronto’s University of Guelph-Humber. Walsh has developed a reputation for innovation in the post-secondary environment and has worked on a variety of strategies focused on food, wine and tourism industries.

Another keynote speaker is Tom Baum, a Professor in the Strathclyde Business School at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. He heads the Department of Human Resource Management and is widely acknowledged as a leading expert in the area of human resources management focusing on the tourism and hospitality management sector.

Read the full story here.


Students showcase future-focused projects tonight

Kelly La MorgeOC student Kelly La Morge is putting her education and skills in technology to work fighting cyber bullying and online predators – an initiative she will be demonstrating tonight at Future Now, a showcase of OC student work.

La Morge currently wears two high tech hats – she’s enrolled in both of the College’s Computer Information Systems and Network Telecommunications Engineering Technology (NTEN) programs. As part of her NTEN final capstone project, La Morge and her classmate Christopher Fedun developed an innovative computer application called Who Do You Know? which alerts parents to potentially harmful online interactions between predators or bullies and their children.

The Future Now showcase is happening tonight from 6 – 9 p.m. in the Centre for Learning atrium at the Kelowna campus. The event features students from a variety of disciplines including arts, science and business who will present on their final projects.

“The dedication, commitment and skills we constantly see from students is astounding and as future professionals in the region, their work should be seen,” explains Sharon Josephson OC Associate Dean of Arts and Foundational programs. “We felt a showcase like this would be a great way to celebrate students and give members of the community a chance to see what’s coming down the pipe.”

Read the full story here.

Helping students spring into math

Spring into MathOC Math Instructor Bryan Penfound helped welcome more than 200 elementary school students to the Penticton campus for the second annual Spring into Math event on April 10 and 12.

The event is designed as a final project for one of Penfound’s classes; with each student creating and running a math station that the elementary students attend in rotation. Stations this year included a life-sized math-fact game board, learning fractions through studying Métis wheels, and Japanese multiplication.

In the photo, Bryan is shown playing Splat! with the visiting students. Splat! is a game in which students know the total number of blue dots and must develop a strategy to determine how many blue dots are underneath the black splat. Developed by Steve Wyborney, this game is an excellent one to get elementary students excited and discussing mathematics.

Neskonlith Annual Job and Career Fair a success

2018 Neskonlith Career and Job FairThe 4th Annual Neskonlith Band’s Job and Career Fair was held at the Salmon Arm Recreation Centre on April 13 which drew a crowd of 350-400 people.

The event saw students and community members from Neskonlith Band and the Chase area attend. Band Elders participated by serving snacks and lunch and John Jules gave the opening prayer while Councillor Louis Thomas gave a traditional welcome to the territory. 

More than 30 vendors attended including OC’s Women in Trades who brought the virtual welding machine which was a hit for visitors young and old. Continuing Studies, Business, Recruitment, Student Co-op, Financial Aid and Awards also attended.

Since its inception, OC Aboriginal Services has been involved in planning and developing the event.

May 1, 2018, Vol. 12, Issue 8


BCGEU scholarships available

This year the union will award $60,000 in scholarships for post-secondary education to BCGEU members and their families. The deadline for this year’s scholarships has just been extended to Sunday, May 6. Click here for eligibility details and the application.

Registration open for Connections

Registration is now open for the College’s annual employee conference. Connections is being held at the Vernon campus this year and 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. Employees will enjoy a series of interactive and social activities, fun informative workshops and will hear from OC President Jim Hamilton. You can choose to attend on either Tuesday, Aug. 21 or Wednesday, Aug. 22.

Click here to register.

Family Award Summer applications open

Applications are now being accepted for the next round of the Okanagan College Family Award, designed for immediate family members of continuing (regular) College employees. This round of applications is for programs or terms starting between April 1 and August 31.

Click here for full award details and application form. All applications must be date-stamped at the Student Services Administration office in Kelowna or at the Campus Administration office in Penticton, Vernon or Salmon Arm by May 31. For more information, contact the Financial Aid and Awards Office via email or at 250-862-5419.

NOTE: There is no longer a requirement to acquire an additional email from HR to confirm relationship to applicant and verification that the employee is a continuing (regular) employee of Okanagan College.

Motorhomes and vehicles for sale

Okanagan College Foundation and Supply Management, in conjunction with the RV department and Automotive Service Technician department are presently offering several motorhomes and vehicles for sale. Click here to view what is for sale, descriptions and bidding deadlines.

Call for volunteers

The College's Kelowna campus is hosting the 24th Annual Aboriginal Career Fair on Thursday, May 3. The event runs from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. in the Centre for Learning Atrium.

The Aboriginal Services team is looking for employee volunteers to help make this event a success. If you are interested in volunteering or would like more information, please contact Jewell Gillies.

Convocation 2018

Faculty and instructors are invited to participate in the Convocation and Commencement ceremonies by leading graduands in the processional. If you are planning to attend a ceremony, please email Michelle Lowry noting the ceremony you wish to attend. If you require regalia, please include your height and highest credential awarded (i.e. 5’11” MSc, U of Calgary).

  • Trades Commencement – Thursday, May 17 at 3 p.m.
  • Spring Convocation – Saturday, June 2 at 10:30 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m.
  • Vernon Convocation – Tuesday, June 26 at 4:30 p.m.
  • Summer Commencement (CS grads only) – Wednesday, June 27 at 6 p.m.
  • Summer Convocation – Thursday, June 28 at 6 p.m.

For more information, visit the website or view the invite.

Bake Sale Friday closures

Bake Sale Fridays will be closed on May 4 and June 15.


Future Now student showcase

May 1  The future is looking bright. Join us on Tuesday, May 1 from 6-9 p.m. in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus for an interactive showcase of student work. Students from Arts, Science and Business will share their projects in a variety of formats. This event is free and open to all. Be prepared to be inspired, enjoy the opportunity to chat with students and faculty about their current projects, and help us celebrate and showcase the talents of OC students.

For more information, please contact Sharon Josephson, local 4504 or Ross Tyner, local 4665.

Animation open house

May 4 – The College is opening up the doors of its new Animation lab, located in the Okanagan Innovation Centre at 460 Doyle Avenue in downtown Kelowna from 5 – 8 p.m. for an info night and open house. The event is free and open to the public. Attendees will have a chance to tour the animation classroom, check out the state-of-the-art equipment and chat with instructors and students.

Chamber of Commerce luncheon with Jim Hamilton and Deborah Buszard

May 9 – The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce is welcoming OC President Jim Hamilton and UBC Okanagan Deputy Vice Chancellor Deborah Buszard to talk about the development of their two institutions at an upcoming luncheon entitled Pillars of Success and Support.

For more information and to purchase tickets ($45), click here.

Move for Health Day

May 10 – Move for Health Day is an international event created by the World Health Organization to promote physical activity. Join Athletics and Recreation on Thursday, May 10 from 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m. for a 3 km walk to celebrate health and active living.

Refreshments will be served during the walk. Sign up here before Thursday, May 3.

Trunk Sale at Okanagan College

May 26 – The Regional Waste Reduction Office from the RDCO has partnered with Okanagan College to host a Trunk Sale for people who wouldn’t normally be able to host their own garage or yard sale. There is no charge to be a vendor but participants need to pre-register beforehand. If you don’t want to sell anything but love bargains, you’re invited to come out and shop the sales on May 26 from 8 a.m. – noon in the College’s parking lot #17 (right next to the Student Residence building). Click here for more information.

Finding the Good: Sharing International Development ideas and Practice in the Current Era

June 8 and 9 – Finding the Good is about bringing academics and practitioners together to share ethical international development ideas and practices.

The event will make a constructive contribution to problems of how to advance social justice, inclusion and human rights in international development efforts. With escalating challenges to fundamental human dignity and social inclusion, this project will expand the space for communities to find the ‘good’ in the current era. 

Sessions will help to ignite and sustain an ecosystem in which dialogue between scholarly insights and practical development work will, ultimately, improve the participation of people experiencing poverty, social marginalization, discrimination, and oppression.


  • The Sustainable Development Goals
  • Women, Gender and Feminism
  • Universal Values and Education
  • Global Citizenship and Education
  • Public-Private Partnerships
  • Knowledge, Technology and Innovation
  • International Security

Click here to for more information and to register your seat. Visit the Facebook event page.

Register now for Bike to Work Week

Register now and join the Okanagan College team for Bike to Work Week starting May 28 - June 3. There is a new, secure bike compound (outside the south side of the Centre for Learning, beside the portable) open for use. All staff members have been given access through their swipe card. Click here to register and learn more about Bike to Work & School Week

Join the OC team at the Rotary Centre for the Arts on May 9 for a screening of the Dutch documentary film Why we Cycle. Following the screening will be a panel discussion featuring local business leaders, politicians, bike advocates and Mayor Colin Basran. To buy tickets to the screening, click here. You can view a trailer of the documentary by following this link.


Castanet and the Okanagan Weekend reported that Okanagan College Honorary Fellow (2016) Anthony von Mandl, founder of Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, earned another honour, an honorary degree from UBCO. Also receiving an honorary degree, from UBCV, is 2012 OC Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Ryan Holmes; UBC shared his biography.

Castanet and the Daily Courier reported on the Woman and Man of the Year. OC retiree Catherine Williams was awarded Woman of the Year. During her 34 years at the College, Catherine helped ensure the health and safety of students and in 2012 was awarded the College's Distinguished Service Award.

The Lake Country Calendar featured a Q & A with Central Okanagan Regional Dean Phil Ashman as part of the Capital News Your Kelowna segment.

Okanagan College campuses in Vernon, Salmon Arm and the Oliver centre have collectively received $221,000 for 52 additional seats from the Ministry of Health and Advanced Education, Skills and Training; the Revelstoke Review, Vernon Morning Star and Castanet shared details.

OC’s Women in Trades Training Program Administrator Nancy Darling was highlighted by InfoTel News Kamloops for her commentary on the industry need and possible future employee shortages.

KelownaNow and the Capital News highlighted the OC Coyotes baseball team’s recent four-game sweep of the University of Calgary Dinos which catapulted the ‘Yotes into first place in the Canadian College Baseball Conference. The Coyotes are off to a busy start to the season, news about their previous games and impressive 10 game winning-streak have been provided by Daily Courier (April 18), Capital News (April 20), Daily Courier (April 25), Capital News (April 25), Daily Courier (April 27), 

OC’s Penticton campus welcomed high school students from across the South Okanagan today for Experience OC. The Penticton Western News, PentictonNow and Castanet shared news of the event which gives students the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a college student.

CEO of Industry Training Authority Gary Herman commented on the B.C. Labour Market Outlook and the demand for trades jobs. Global News shared information on the industry needs and re-shared a video of Minister Melanie Mark when she came to Okanagan College to announce a funding boost for trades.  

Okanagan College Eggheads, an adult spelling team, was declared a co-champion of the 11th annual Literacy Centre of North Okanagan Adult Spelling Bee. The fundraising event, reported by the Vernon Morning Star attracted 28 teams and raised $28,000 for the literacy society.

The Penticton Western News and KelownaNow shared details about the trio of College students who won gold medals at the provincial Skills Canada competition.

The College, in partnership with the Regional Waste Reduction Office, recently held the Repair Café. Castanet and the Daily Courier shared details of the event.

Okanagan College is hosting the RIPE event on May 8 and the Okanagan Edge and the Okanagan Weekend shared details of the upcoming expo. 

The Neskonlith Band in partnership with Okanagan College hosted the 4th Annual Career and Job Fair on April 13; the Vernon Morning Star shared details.

April 20 (a.k.a 4/20) is a popular day for world-wide cannabis lovers to celebrate their favourite plant. Castanet featured an article about the day and acknowledged the College’s new business course on marijuana and quoted OC professor David Cram. 

Eagle Valley News shared information about the College’s recently named Honorary Fellows.

OC alumna and Olympic gold medalist Kelsey Serwa recently completed a Q & A and photoshoot session for Icon Okanagan magazine.

OC alumnus and award-winning country musician Ben Klick recently appeared in the Vernon Morning Star with his 16-year-old cousin Trevor Kennedy who battles type 1 diabetes and is busy opening up the conversation up on youth who have diabetes.

Ben Klick was also featured in the Penticton Herald and the Daily Courier as one of the many local musicians who will be performing at a new music festival hosted at Kings Baseball Stadium in Kelowna called, Denim on the Diamond.

Two new dragons have been named to join the popular Dragons' Den tv show. College Honorary Fellow (2012) Lane Merrifield is one of the newest dragons; CBC and the Okanagan Weekend report.

Former Okanagan College instructor and current Summerland city councillor Toni Boot as well as 2008 Honorary Fellow Richard Cannings have been named as two of Okanagan Weekend's Ten Champions of our Environment.

Icon Okanagan magazine highlighted the Canadian Culinary Championships which took place in Kelowna in several locations including the College in early February.

OC's 2009 Distinguished Alumni recipient and First West Credit Union CEO Launi Skinner was featured in the Daily Courier for recently unveiling a new studio at the Okanagan Centre for Innovation which features a nap pod, 28 work spaces and more.


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 May 15, 2018.