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Records 1 to 4 of 16
OC Foundation launches Our Students, Your Health campaign

Fundraising campaign kicks off for College’s State-of-the-Art new Health Sciences Centre

our students campaign launchThe Okanagan College Foundation has launched its largest fundraising effort in Kelowna in more than five years, with a new campaign aimed at benefitting students and transforming the health of our communities for decades to come.

Our Students, Your Health is a $5-million campaign to support the completion of the new $18.9-million Health Sciences Centre under construction at the Kelowna campus.

College students, staff and community members gathered on Wednesday evening to announce the goal and tour the construction site for the new Centre.

“We’ve graduated more than 11,000 health care professionals since our current health building opened in 1963,” notes Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “When you consider the sheer number of people those graduates have cared for, across so many settings, it paints a picture of just how vital skilled health care workers are to the wellbeing of our communities and employers across the province and the country.”

“Our current building has served our students well, but it’s time for a new facility that will provide our students with a state-of-the-art learning environment to match the quality of instruction they are receiving at the College,” says Hamilton.

Beyond building sparkling new classrooms and modern labs, the campaign also seeks to raise critical support for the other factors that drive student success.

$1.5 million of the $5-million goal will allow the College to upgrade technology and equipment, and create new scholarships and bursaries for students entering in-demand health care professions.

“I think this campaign is particularly meaningful in that it resonates very personally with so many people. It hits home,” says Helen Jackman, Executive Director of the OC Foundation. “We can all think of a moment in our lives when each of us, or a close friend or family member, has needed care. These are the students who are going to provide that care to all of us, now and for years to come.

“What could be more important than supporting them in realizing their goals, finishing their studies and stepping out into such important – and needed – careers?”

Members of the community have already stepped forward with support and are joining the College and the Foundation in championing the cause.

“We’ve set a lofty goal,” says Maxine DeHart, Campaign Ambassador. “But there is no more lofty goal than changing someone’s life, than empowering students to care for others, to ease pain, nurture our children, provide a helping hand to our elderly and our vulnerable. I’ve witnessed truly remarkable generosity in this region over the years, and I’m confident that generosity will bubble up once again and the good people of the Okanagan will help us reach our goal.”

The B.C. government is funding $15.4 million of the $18.9-million total project cost for the new Centre. 

“This new facility is going to help us continue to address the very real skills shortages across the health care industry in the valley and across the province,” adds Hamilton.

The 2,800 square-metre (30,000 square-foot) facility is replacement space for current labs and classrooms in which practical nurses, dental assistants, health-care assistants and other health and social development students train.

As recent OC graduate Krystal Rose can attest, that kind of support can be life-changing for students.

A single mother of two young children, Rose credits a donor-funded bursary for allowing her to keep her focus on her most important priorities: her studies and her family. After graduating in 2018, she is now a Practical Nurse working with Interior Health.

“I wanted to show my kids that even as a single parent you can still go after your dreams no matter what obstacles are in your way,” says Rose.

“The financial aspect of going back to school was the biggest barrier I had to face as I had to pay for child care on top of my school supplies, tuition and living expenses. I am so grateful for the financial support I have received. I hope Okanagan College donors and future donors comprehend the truly life-changing impact they have through this campaign.”

Rose and her peers are stepping into the industry at a critical time.

Call for health care professionals is only expected to grow over the next decade. Recent labour market data predicts there could be need for as many as 25,000 nurses required to staff B.C.’s health care system over the next 10 years.

The new Health Sciences Centre is expected to be completed in Spring 2020, with student occupancy in Fall 2020.

Information about the new facility and how to donate is available at


Tuition-free professional log truck driver training returns to Oliver
Okanagan College Media Release

Log Truck DriverThose looking to step into the cab and start up careers as professional log truck drivers can tap into a tuition-free training program coming to Okanagan College in November.

The Professional Log Truck Driver program will be offered by OC in Oliver starting on Nov. 18.

The 16-week program includes 10 weeks of theory and classroom training, followed by six weeks of hands-on practical driver training.

It’s being offered tuition-free for eligible students who: meet the definition of an “EI client”, are eligible for WorkBC Case Management and who have been referred by a WorkBC Case Manager, and who possess a valid driver’s license.

The program is made possible by funding and support from the Federal and Provincial governments and WorkBC.

“This program was designed by the BC Forest Safety Council in consultation with log truck and truck harvesting advisory group members across the province,” explains Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training for Okanagan College. “For us, this program represents an invaluable opportunity for the community and for industry. With cuts on the mill side of forest sector work, we know there is a work force in need of training and other paths in the Forestry sector.

This training will also help us work with industry to enhance safety performance and professionalism for drivers. And for existing Class 1 drivers looking to specialize or uplevel their skills, they can tap into great training in hauling logs and driving on resource roads.”

For more information about the program, visit, call 1-866-352-0103 ext. 8249 or email


Hamilton’s term as Okanagan College President extended
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College’s Board of Governors Chair Chris Derickson announced today that Jim Hamilton, British Columbia’s longest-serving post-secondary president, has agreed to extend his contract as the College’s President until January 29, 2021, when he plans to retire.Jim Hamilton Oct 2019

Hamilton, a resident of Vernon, has been President of OC since late 2004, when he was tasked with overseeing the transition of the College, as Okanagan University College evolved into OC and UBC Okanagan. His history with OC goes back to 1980, when he began his career as an English professor. He also spent eight years as a regional principal.

“We’re very pleased Jim has agreed to continue in his role until early 2021,” notes Derickson. “There are several strategic initiatives that will benefit from his considerable expertise and insight. The Board also asked him to complete work on the College’s Indigenization strategy and lead the development of a new strategic plan for the College.”

“The College has prospered under his leadership and we are grateful it will continue to do so.”

In 2016, Hamilton was recognized by Colleges and Institutes Canada with a distinguished service award for his work in promoting excellence in post-secondary education for many years. Hamilton has served on numerous boards, including as Chair of the BC Council for International Education, the Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table, the British Columbia Council for Admissions and Transfer, and the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society. He has also served as Chair of the Trades Training Consortium of British Columbia and Chair of BC Colleges.

Since opening its doors as the new Okanagan College in 2005, the College has grown by more than 70 per cent to become one of B.C.’s largest colleges. It also has the distinction of being the only College in B.C. that has met or exceeded government enrolment targets every year for the past 14 years.

“For all the growth, the thing that gives me greatest satisfaction,” says Hamilton, “is the increase in higher learning opportunities that Okanagan College has been able to provide for the region’s students. Along with our partner institution UBCO, we have been able to distinguish ourselves as a collaborative engine of economic and social development for the communities we serve and the province as a whole.”


OC Instructor researching how post-secondary institutions are meeting the needs of mature students
Okanagan College Media Release

With the current workforce changing careers more often than their parents or grand-parents, and many careers requiring more education than ever before, more and more adults are returning to school. What does that mean for post-secondary programming?Andrew Pulvemacher Oct 2019

It’s a question Andrew Pulvermacher, an Okanagan College Adult Academic and Career Preparation (AACP) instructor, hopes to shed light on through a new line of research.

“Currently, institutions face increasing social, economic and political pressures to serve as de facto extensions of high school, where youth with aspirations of well-paying careers go for employment training,” says Pulvermacher.

“I am examining sociological and philosophical research on the role and place of adult learners in post-secondary institutions and the particular barriers they face. With these findings, I will develop a new philosophical framework for post-secondary programming that can better serve adults’ needs.”

Pulvermacher was recently awarded a competitive federal government grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), in support of his upcoming research.

“It was indeed a lengthy and involved application process, and I’m grateful for the support and encouragement I received throughout the process—and at OC, that support came from many colleagues in the Arts and Foundational portfolio and from the leadership in the Dean’s Office. Truly, I am honoured to have received the grant.”

Pulvermacher is currently on leave to study at The University of British Columbia – Okanagan campus where he will pursue his Masters of Arts in Education and conduct his research.

“Andrew’s research has the potential to contribute to our programming by understanding more about the complexity of barriers facing adult learners as they pursue post-secondary education,” says Robert Huxtable, Dean, Arts and Foundational. “Ongoing research is the foundation for quality courses and programs at the College and we are most pleased to provide a supported leave to Mr. Pulvermacher to engage in such activity.”

Pulvermacher says his passion for his research stems from being an adult learner himself.

“As a former adult upgrading student, I view that experience as foundational to who I am today, and I want to be a part of helping others engage in that experience. Going back to school didn’t just transform my academic life, it made me a better human and offered me a new future.”

“I appreciate the value adult learners bring to the classroom, institution, community, and society. The real-world experiences they bring and the additional outside commitments they carry, make them indicators of educational worth, both real and perceived. I see the potential for post-secondary institutions to better welcome, support, integrate, and serve these students, to the benefit and success of all students.”

The Adult Academic and Career Preparation courses are tuition free at Okanagan College’s four campuses. The courses are for adult learners with a wide range of backgrounds and needs for educational upgrading.

For more information, visit


How microbes can improve a child’s play, a two-day conference at OC
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College is hosting a two-day conference in Kelowna this week that will explore how exposing children to dirt and germs early on can actually benefit their well-being.

Dr. Brett Finlay Oct 2019The conference, hosted by the College’s Learning and Applied Research Department is taking place at the Kelowna campus on Nov. 1 and 2. Attendees will have a chance to collaborate, explore and participate in key discussions such as the relationship of outdoor play to children’s skills in coding, assessing outdoor play spaces for quality indicators and how outdoor play pedagogical documentation informs children’s play.

“This conference brings together city planners, landscape architects, early learning professionals, educators, parents and researchers to explore why outdoor play is vital for children’s development and how we can increase opportunities for children to have intriguing experiences that trigger their sense of curiosity and wonderment,” says Dr. Beverlie Dietze, Director of Learning and Applied Research at Okanagan College.

Workshop leaders include college and university researchers and professors, directors and early learning professionals. Terri-Lynn Russell, OC Instructor of Early Childhood Education will talk about How Pedagogical Choices Support Children’s Experimentation. Other workshop topics include A Shared Path: The Relationship Between Indigenous and the Land lead by Cathy Balatti, and Designing Natural Outdoor Play Spaces for Municipal Parks Systems lead by Fiona Barton and Dietze.

Friday night’s keynote speaker is Dr. Brett Finlay, co-author of Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Our Children from an Oversanitized World, and Peter Wall Distinguished Professor at UBC. Finlay has been studying microbes for over thirty years and has published over 450 articles.

“In the 150 years since we discovered that microbes cause infectious diseases, we’ve battled to keep them at bay,” writes Finlay. “But a recent explosion of scientific knowledge has led to undeniable evidence that early exposure to these organisms is beneficial to our children’s well-being.”

“It turns out that our current emphasis on hyper-cleanliness and poor diets are taking a toll on our children’s lifelong health.”

The two-day conference is sponsored in part by Okanagan College, New Monaco, Outland Design Landscape & Architecture and NSERC CRSNG.

Tickets range from $15 - $35 and can be purchased through

For more information on the workshops visit


Love It or List It: either way nursing students benefit
Okanagan College Media Release

There isn’t any groundbreaking research to support it, but the organizers of an upcoming event at Okanagan College are out to prove that merely watching TV and eating popcorn can change a student’s life for the better.

On Monday, Nov. 11, the College’s Nursing department is hosting a special screening of an episode of HGTV’s popular Love It Or List It show in the lecture theatre (S104) at the Kelowna campus.

Doors open and a pre-screening celebration begins at 6 p.m., with beverages and snacks available for purchase (cash only). The screening starts at 7 p.m.

Karlstroms Oct 2019The episode has a unique OC connection. It profiles Monique Karlstrom, who has taught nursing at the College for more than 10 years, and her husband Mike, as they navigate the show’s premise of whether to renovate and keep or choose to sell their house.

Karlstrom, who figures she has instructed more than 800 nurses during her time at the College, came up with the event as a way of generating funds to create a new bursary for nursing students at OC.

“I have always had a passion for nursing and began my career in the profession at the age of 17,” explains Karlstrom. “Nurses dedicate their lives to help individuals and their families during their most vulnerable times. Each and every one of us will be touched in some way by a nurse throughout our lives.

“Some of those hundreds of students I’ve taught over the years would not have been able to obtain their nursing education without the help of scholarships, so I thought, this would be a fun way to raise some money for students.”

Karlstrom can vouch for the value of life-long learning – and multitasking – in her field. She recently completed her Master of Science degree in Nursing while teaching full-time and raising her two children alongside her husband.

“I could not have obtained my Masters without the financial support of Okanagan College and support from my husband and family,” notes Karlstrom.

“At Okanagan College, our Mission Statement is to transform lives and communities. I hope the OC community and the community at large will come out and help those who transform lives and contribute so much to our community.”

Tickets are free and can be reserved through
Eventbrite (suggested donation of $20; any donation over $20 will receive a tax receipt from the Okanagan College Foundation).

All funds raised will go toward creating one or more bursaries for nursing students at the College.


KPWIR@C3 Writer-in-Residence inspires next generation
Okanagan College Media Release

Writing and Publishing Diploma students at Okanagan College can get up close and personal with top Canadian writing talent, thanks to a Vernon writer-in-residence program.

Yvonne Blomer has been selected as the Kalamalka Press Writer-in-Residence at Caetani Cultural Centre (KPWIR@C3) program. She is the author of travel memoir
Sugar Ride: Cycling from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur and three books of poetry, and is currently working on a mystery in poems called The Death of Persephone.Yvonne Blomer Oct 2019

“Being here makes me think of Virginia Woolf and that idea of a
Room of One’s Own or her diary entry from October 1927, ‘I will cut adrift – I will sit on pavements and drink coffee – I will dream; I will take my mind out of its iron cage and let it swim – this fine October,’” said Blomer. “I feel exactly this, released from daily life into a world where I can write and read deeply; where I can connect with other artists and students, learn about another place, its history and people and share in an exploration as a writer and visitor. Not to mention ghosts and family history at Caetani House.”

Blomer was born in Zimbabwe, and came to Canada when she was two years old. With her husband she has taught in Japan, cycled through Southeast Asia and lived in the United Kingdom, where she completed a Master’s in Creative Writing Degree with Distinction at the University of East Anglia. An editor, teacher and mentor in poetry and memoir, Blomer has served as the City of Victoria’s poet laureate from 2015-2018 and, in 2018, was also the writer-in-residence at the Robert Bateman Centre where she created a show of ekphrastic poems in response to Bateman’s art, the result of which is the collection
Ravine, Mouse a Bird’s Beak (Nose in Book Publishing, 2018).

In addition to her poetry, Blomer is editing an anthology on watersheds with Caitlin Press to be published in 2020, her second in a trilogy of water-based books after
Refugium: Poems for the Pacific (Caitlin Press, 2017).

“The Writer-in-Residence program affords students the opportunity to connect with an active writer outside of the classroom experience, providing insight into the writing process and the value of community connection,” said Kerry Gilbert and Jason Dewinetz, Kalamalka Press editorial board members and Okanagan College instructors.

Natalie Appleton Oct 2019Blomer will read alongside Natalie Appleton as part of Caetani Cultural Centre’s fall lineup next week. Based in Vernon, Appleton is the award-winning writer who authored the literary memoir,
I Have Something to Tell You. She has won Prairie Fire’s Banff Centre Bliss Carman Poetry Contest and her short non-fiction story “Fourth Son of Fourth Wife” was longlisted for the 2016 CBC Creative Non-Fiction Contest.

For over ten years, Kalamalka Press and Okanagan College operated a writer-in-residency plan in coordination with the Mackie Lake House Society. This program brought to the region numerous talented poets, essayists, and novelists, including Dennis Cooley, Robert Kroetsch, Mona Fertig, Brenda Schmidt, Gary Geddes, Peter Midgley, Leona Theis, and Kathleen Brown. Several of these authors have published notable creative and critical works that were composed or conceived of during their residencies. In 2015, the program was moved to the more centrally-located Caetani Cultural Centre, in part, to accommodate longer tenancies for visiting writers.

“We just love hosting artists. They bring such creative joy and skill into the community,” said Janelle Hardy, Caetani Cultural Centre’s Artist in Residence Program Coordinator.

Co-presented by the Writing and Publishing Diploma program and Caetani Cultural Centre, An Evening With Award Winning Poets and Memorists will be held on Thursday, Oct. 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The centre is located at 3401 Pleasant Valley Rd. Admission is free. Blomer is also offering a poetry workshop on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 10 a.m. in the Caetani House. Tickets are $75 and available online.

For information about Blomer, visit
. Information about Appleton can be accessed Details of the Writing and Publishing Diploma can be found Discover the Caetani Cultural Centre online at


Advancing women in engineering, top first-year student FAQs on tap at OC’s Career Fair
Okanagan College Media Release

Elizabeth Corbett Oct 2019While the percentage of women graduating from post-secondary institutions is higher than their male counterparts, the number of women choosing programs in Engineering and Technology remains significantly lower.

Okanagan College is introducing a new presentation to this year’s Career Fair to encourage the increase of participation of women in engineering, technology and technician occupations.

This year marks the 38th annual Career Fair at the College’s Kelowna campus. The event is one of the Interior’s longest-running career fairs, attracting hundreds of prospective students each year to explore their post-secondary options. This year, more than 50 employers from across B.C. and beyond will once again be on hand for jobseekers to chat with about career paths and opportunities.

The new presentation is part of Advancing Women in Engineering and Technology, a Sector Labor Market Partnership project funded by the Province of BC and the Government of Canada.

“It is important to encourage and support women to pursue careers in engineering and applied science professions,” says presenter Marcie Cochrane, Project Leader, Association of Consulting Engineering Companies British Columbia. “When we include women, there are numerous benefits, including increased innovation, improved problem solving, stronger employee engagement and an enhanced sense of belonging for everyone, not just women.”

Cochrane will deliver the hour-long presentation that is targeted to both female and male, current and prospective College students and will provide insights on engineering career opportunities in B.C.

“I’m really looking forward to this presentation at the Career Fair. It’s great to hear from women who are involved in the engineering industry and any career insights are always a bonus,” says Elizabeth Corbett, second year student in the Water Engineering Technology (WET) program.

The presentation will examine the current statistics of women in these occupations, explore the reasons why diversity in these professions is necessary and share insights on what individuals and employers can do to increase recruitment, retention and advancement of women.

“I decided to get into engineering because I love to understand how things work,” adds Corbett. “It is a male dominant industry, for sure, but whenever you diversify your team to bring in more walks of life, you will get more perspectives when problem-solving. By encouraging more women to get into the engineering industry, you are doing just that.”

“This industry is so suitable for women,” says Allison O’Neill, College Professor and Department Chair of WET. “Women self-deflect out of this profession when they are, in fact, perfect for it.”

“The WET program receives more women applicants than our other engineering technology programs do, but in most engineering programs female student make up only five to 10 per cent of the student body,” adds O’Neill.

“Getting the word out is absolutely key,” adds O’Neill. “Women need to see examples of other women in this industry who have succeeded. We need to expose them at a young enough age. It’s great to include this presentation at Career Fair.”

Career Fair attendees can also check out a number of post-secondary preparatory seminars, tours, activities, program information and draw prizes.

Popular presentations from previous years will return including First year FAQs with OC Recruitment and Marketing Specialist Blake Edwards and a resume writing workshop led by Alison Beaumont from the College’s Student, Grad and Co-op Employment office.

There will also be an information session about Health Care Assistant roles by Interior Health and a session on policing careers, training and pre-requisites by the Calgary Police.

As a bonus, students who attend the workshops can have professional headshots taken for free to add extra polish to their LinkedIn profile. Photos will be first-come, first-served between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The Career Fair will run on Sun, Nov. 3 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kelowna campus, 1000 KLO Rd. Admission and parking are free during these hours.

For more information and presentation times, visit


Explore how you can make the world a better place at International Development Day
Okanagan College Media Release

Creating a better world happens one step at a time.Int Dev Day

Okanagan College’s International Development department is once again showcasing local individuals and organizations who are having a global impact through international humanitarian actions and development efforts.

Friday, Oct. 25 will mark the 5
th annual International Development Day held at the College’s Kelowna campus. The event is happening from noon – 4 p.m. in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning (E building).

“This event will appeal to students, practitioners, teachers, volunteers, nonprofits, and anyone interested in learning more about the international development field,” says event organizer Ayla Kilic who is Chair of the Political Science Department at the College.

“It’s a great opportunity to join us in celebrating and building connections with those doing incredible work in this field. And for potential students interested in international development as a career path, it’s a chance to speak with faculty and learn all about the International Development program at OC.”

The event is free and open to the public. Attendees can enjoy International Development talks and activities led by OC students and faculty members and visiting speakers, along with music and refreshments.

More information about the event is available at


Info nights, tuition giveaway back this fall at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

Exploring your education and career options could pay off in more ways than one at Okanagan College this fall.

The College is hosting a variety of open houses and information nights in October and November to help potential students and parents explore post-secondary paths.

And the events aren’t just a chance to learn more about the programs that catch your eye – they’re also a great opportunity to get questions answered, from admission requirements and registering for courses, to applying for financial aid and awards to where to buy books and a parking pass.

For students considering an academic, apprenticeship or vocational program at Okanagan College, there is extra incentive to stop in: anyone who attends these on-campus sessions can enter into a draw for a $5,000 tuition voucher.

Grace Hunter is someone who can attest to the value of stopping into the College for an info session. She took home this year’s $5,000 tuition voucher back in May after attending an info session at OC last fall. Hunter is planning on using it to pursue the Esthetics & Nail Technology Certificate program at the Vernon campus.

“It was so crazy [to win]. I’m excited to apply and get started. This will go a long way to paying for my education,” said Hunter.

Anyone who takes an official tour, attends a recruitment event or connects with a recruitment team member will receive an entry to the contest. The winner will be chosen on May 15, 2020, and they will receive a voucher covering fall and winter semester tuition fees up to $5,000.

“We know students are always looking for opportunities to get a better sense of the programs that interest them, and to chat with recruiters, advisors and instructors,” said Inga Wheeler, Associate Registrar.

“The information nights and open houses give them a chance to do this, while also taking a tour and experiencing first-hand, in advance, all that each campus has to offer. Plus, by attending, you receive an entry into the tuition giveaway, which will be a big boost for one lucky student.”

Conditions apply for the Tuition Giveaway draw, and are available online:

For details about information nights and open houses, read below for the campus closest to you:


The Salmon Arm Campus Open House runs Thursday, Oct. 17 from 7 to 9 p.m. at 2552 10th Ave. NE, beside the Shaw Centre. For details, visit the
event page.
Activities include:
  • Open House in the Student Lounge/Cafeteria from 7 – 9 p.m.: Learn about programs and services. Meet faculty, academic advisors and staff from Financial Aid & Awards and Aboriginal Services.
  • Spotlight Sessions from 7:15 – 7:45 p.m. throughout campus: Attend two 15-minute information sessions led by faculty and instructors and learn about specific programs offered: Trades, Arts, Science, Business, Health Care Assistant, Human Service Worker, Office Administration, Adult Special Education, Practical Nursing and Upgrading* (*Sessions subject to change).
  • Parent Seminar at 7:15 p.m. in Room 130: Designed for parents of high school students considering post-secondary education. This seminar will help you help your teen on their path to higher education.
  • Returning to Education Seminar at 7:45 p.m. in Room 130: Learn about services and supports available for mature students returning to school, including information about upgrading, how to get old transcripts and how satisfy admission requirements as a mature student.

“We are so excited to welcome learners to stop by campus, take a tour, talk to us and explore their options – whether they are stepping right out of high school, thinking about going back to school or wondering how they can upgrade to do so. We are looking forward to sharing with the community just how many paths and opportunities there are at the Salmon Arm campus,” said Joan Ragsdale, Regional Dean Shuswap-Revelstoke.

Anyone who applies during the Open House will have application fees waived.

Those who cannot attend are welcome to book a campus tour or become a student for the day. For information or questions, contact Kristine Wickner at or 250-832-2126, ext. 8259.


The Program Open House and Spotlight Sessions at the Vernon campus is set for Monday, Oct. 21, running from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Kal View Café of the Vernon campus, 7000 College Way.

Spotlight Sessions include:

6:15 - 6:45 p.m.

  • University Transfer Arts & Science - Lecture Theatre (D310)
  • Trades - Trades Building foyer
  • Health - Room D314
  • Esthetics & Nail Tech - Room E212

    7:00 - 7:30 p.m.

  • Business - Room D212
  • Engineering Technologies - Room C344
  • Education Assistant & Nursing Unit Assistant - Room D344

Anyone who applies during the Open House will have application fees waived.

The 15 First Year FAQs Seminar will be held Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre (D310), walking students and parents through the top 15 points they should know before starting post-secondary. Topics will include terminology, accessing scholarships and bursaries, applying for student loans, the application process, and important student services. For details, visit the
event page.

“With a beautiful new Trades Training Facility to our renowned School of Business to everything from Arts, Science, Health, and more, there’s so much to explore at the Vernon campus – lots of options some students and parents may not know we offer. There’s also upgrading if you’re thinking about coming back to school or are changing career paths. We hope people seize opportunities like this to explore the Vernon campus and get a chance to chat about the programs that interest them with our staff and instructors,” said Jane Lister, Regional Dean, North Okanagan.

Those who cannot attend are welcome to book a campus tour or become a student for the day. For information or questions, contact Tawnya Cameron at or 250-545-7291, ext. 2309.


The annual Open House is set for Oct. 23 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence (PC 113), Penticton campus, 583 Duncan Ave. West. Students and parents can learn the top 15 points they should know before starting post-secondary at the 15 First Year FAQs. Topics will include terminology, accessing scholarships and bursaries, applying for student loans, the application process, and important student services. The seminar begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Ashnola Building Lecture Theatre (PL 107). For details, visit the
event page.

“I continually run into incoming students, parents and community members who are surprised at just how many options there are at the Penticton campus. Whether you have a program in mind or are looking to explore lots of options, events like these are a great way to learn about all the pathways across Arts, Science, Business, Health, Trades, Technologies, and Continuing Studies. Some unique programs in Penticton are the Criminal and Social Justice program, Sustainable Construction Management Technology and Human Kinetics.”

“We have great programs to offer and extremely dedicated staff and faculty who are committed to creating unique and extraordinary student experience,” said Eric Corneau, Regional Dean, South Okanagan-Similkameen.

Those who cannot attend are welcome to book a campus tour or become a student for the day. For information or questions, contact Alison Roberts-Zschocke at or 250-492-4305, ext. 3205.


The College’s 38th annual Career Fair is set for Sunday, Nov. 3 at the Kelowna campus, offering high school and post-secondary students, and the general public, the opportunity to explore potential career paths and connect with employers.

Career Fair is one of the Interior’s longest-running fairs that attracts hundreds of prospective students every year. Attendees are treated to post-secondary preparatory seminars, tours, activities, program information and draw prizes. Tours depart from the Student Services (S) building at 10:30 a.m., 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.

The fair runs from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kelowna campus, 1000 KLO Rd. Students and parents can learn the top 15 First Year FAQs (frequently asked questions) they should know before starting post-secondary in the S104 Lecture Theatre at 11:30 a.m. Topics will include terminology, accessing scholarships and bursaries, applying for student loans, the application process, and important student services. For details, visit the event page

Admission and parking are free for Career Fair. Those who cannot attend are welcome to book a campus tour or become a student for the day. For information or questions, contact Blake Edwards at or 250-762-5445, ext. 4469.


Speaker to explore how tragic tales entertain against the odds
Okanagan College Media Release

Tragedy has entertained people since ancient times. But what makes those sad stories of human strife so fascinating?

Okanagan College’s English Department is hosting a speaker on Monday, Oct. 28 whose new theory about the role of risk in dramatic storytelling is creating waves in the art world.

Edwin Wong Oct 2019Theatre expert Edwin Wong will present his 21st century theory of tragedy called “risk theatre,” which posits that tragedy puts people face-to-face with unexpected implications of their actions by simulating the profound impact of highly improbable events. Risk is the dramatic fulcrum of the action, he asserts.

“Tragic heroes, by making delirious wagers, trigger unintended consequences. Because they wager human assets, tragedy functions as a valuing mechanism. Because they lose all, audiences wonder: how did the perfect bet go wrong?” Wong explains.

Wong is a classicist who studied ancient theatre at Brown University. In 2018, he founded the Risk Theatre Modern Tragedy Competition with Langham Court Theatre, one of Canada’s longest running community theatres based in Victoria. It is the world’s largest tragedy playwriting competition. His award-winning book,
The Risk Theatre Model of Tragedy: Gambling, Drama, and the Unexpected, was published this year.

Risk theatre has taken the academic world by storm, finding coverage in
BC Bookworld, Broadway World, The Elements of Writing, Monday Magazine, New York Review of Books, The Dramatist and the Tom Sumner Program.

“Bringing artists and scholars like Edwin Wong to Okanagan College enriches the learning experience for all our students,” said Robert Huxtable, Okanagan College Dean of Arts and Foundational Programs. “And more generally, exploring the human condition through literature and theatre is informative for us all in this period of increasing discussion of the effects of perceived improbable events.”

The presentation on Oct. 28 will be held in the Kelowna campus lecture theatre (S104), 1000 KLO Rd., starting at 6 p.m. Admission is free. Copies of Wong’s award-winning new book will be on sale at a discounted price of $10.

For more information about Wong, visit
. For information about the Risk Theatre Playwriting Competition, visit


Award raises the bar for BBA student
Okanagan College Media Release

Derek Cook Award Oct 2019Waving the Derek Cook Memorial Award in her hand, Svetlana Pasko shares that it is the first step in the next chapter of her life.

The student award is helping the Okanagan College Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) student take her fourth semester at the University of Geisenheim in Germany, where she will study the international wine business.

“I’m passionate about wine and I want to help countries open their borders to wine trade,” says twenty-one-year-old Pasko.

“I want people to experience all different kinds of wines from across the world.”

The international program is already helping Pasko tap into new opportunities. She currently works at a local winery and when the company’s CEO learned what program she would be taking, he told her they would be interested in hiring her when she returns.

 “I am very thankful and grateful, and I will not take this opportunity for granted,” says Pasko on receiving the award.

“I think it’s absolutely fabulous we are sending more students abroad for these opportunities,” says Bill Gillett, Dean of the Okanagan School of Business, who presented the award to Pasko.

“Congratulations, you are an ambassador for Okanagan College and for Canada.”

The award is in memory of Derek Cook,
a long-time Professor in the School of Business, who passed away in August 2017 and who had a significant passion for students to study abroad, says Devin Rubadeau, Okanagan College Business Professor.

“Derek understood that creating opportunities for students to study internationally would expand their education and experiences in ways that would be difficult to attain otherwise,” says Rubadeau.

Rubadeau says thanks to the generous contributions of faculty and alumni, the memorial fund was able to meet its fundraising goal of $20,000 to create an endowment that will provide an annual award for a business student in perpetuity.

“We think Derek would be thrilled knowing that so many Okanagan College students will benefit from education abroad,” says Rubadeau.

Pasko credits other students for helping her discover the international wine program offered by one of the College’s exchange partnership schools.

When BBA grad Mitchell Folk learned she wanted to specialize in international wine, he introduced her to OC student Loni Johnson who is completing a student exchange while taking her Masters degree at École Supérieure D’Agricultures (ESA) in Angers, France. OC student Kira Johnson, who studied in Berlin for a year, acted as a mentor in helping Pasko get ready for her trip.

Click below to watch a thank you message from Svetlana Pasko:

Global News funds future journalists at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

Global News is putting pen to paper in support of future journalists at Okanagan College.

The news and current affairs network has inked a $10,000 cheque to establish two annual awards supporting students in the Communications, Culture, and Journalism Studies program. The awards of $1,350 each will go to a student entering their second year, as well as completing the program.Global Donation Oct 2019

“Global News is proud to support the future of journalism and the community through these awards,” said Ward Smith, Senior Vice-President of Global News.

“At a time when truth and facts matter more than ever it’s encouraging to see so many young, curious minds steering their education toward a future career in journalism. Our commitment to these students remains a priority to us.”

Global representatives announced the new awards during a Journalism Fundamentals class at the College’s Kelowna campus. The event was an opportunity for students to meet and network with broadcast professionals including Chris Sobon, Managing Editor of Global Okanagan News and Jill Krop, B.C. Regional Director of News for Global News BC.

“These awards will go a long way in helping students focus on their studies,” says Edward Henczel, an Okanagan College Communications Professor.

Henczel says the completion award is particularly significant for graduates, who often have to move to remote communities for their first journalism job resulting in additional costs.

“We’re thankful a local organization is supporting local journalists.”

Henczel turned the award announcement into an opportunity for students to apply their skills, penning their own good news story about the event.

Dave Hale is in his second year of the Communications, Culture, and Journalism Studies program and says the new awards are exciting.

“Having an award presented by a reputable name like Global who recognizes your hard work, that’s motivating, and it gives you confidence in the future of journalism,” says Hale.

Hale knows first-hand the importance of student scholarships and bursaries. He took out student loans to pay for his education, which do not fully cover the costs of the program and living expenses.

“It’s encouraging to know there are people who are on your side,” adds Hale, who is interested in getting into journalism despite major changes to the industry.

“There will always be a need for collecting information professionally,” he says. “I feel like you can make a difference through journalism.”

Okanagan College’s Communications, Culture, and Journalism Studies program is offered in Kelowna and Vernon.


Business alumni celebrate 20 years


WhibleyMcMahanDean Whibley graduated prior to Okanagan College offering a four-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree. It was his daughter, who is taking business at the College now, who nudged him to attend Okanagan College’s Business Reunion held Friday, Sept. 27.

Standing off to the side as the crowd of diverse alumni entered the cafeteria, Whibley wasn't sure he recognized anyone. That's when Margo McMahan, a retired professor, walked by and recognized his face. McMahan taught at the College for 25 years starting in 1989.

"It's amazing, I've taught thousands of students but I still remember their faces," she says.

Whibley shared that after graduating with a Business Administration Diploma he spent 20 years building a tech software company that he recently sold. At age 49, he is retired, but he isn't sure it will be for long.

McMahan says Whibley's achievement is outstanding, and stories like his are common. She still keeps in touch with many graduates and says OC business alumni are successful locally and internationally.

More than 75 alumni attended the anniversary to mark the beginning of the BBA degree, which started at the College in 1999. Offering the four-year business degree was a milestone for the College, thanks to a core group of skilled professors with strong ties to industry, resulting in the program receiving positive accolades from the community, industry and government. 

“Okanagan College has become one of the most outstanding institutions in Canada and we at the Alumni Association are very proud to represent our graduates,” says Kara Kazimer, Alumni Association President, who welcomed everyone to the event.

Kazimer shared that people who were born in 1999, when she attended the first BBA program, are now potentially in their first or second year at the College.

"Our grads are very sought after," says Bill Gillett, Dean of the Okanagan School of Business, who shared with the audience some recent wins that included business teams taking first at Queens University and Enactus National competitions.

"We continue to do very well and provide an excellent education to excellent students. We are thankful to have great faculty, great students and great alumni support."CMackay

After networking that included refreshments and appetizers from Infusions, alumni and faculty paired into teams to test their trivia in a competition entitled “Are you smarter than an OC student?”

Crowe MacKay, an accounting firm with offices in Western and Northern Canada, had two teams of OC alumni entered in the trivia, all vying to take the winning title.

“The College has a really strong program,” says Jen Mendes, a senior manager at Crowe MacKay and 2007 BBA grad. She says her firm takes OC co-op students annually and ends up hiring two to three new OC graduates each year.

“You come here for a reason, not just because its close, the College’s reputation speaks for itself,” she says.


K9 Companion Woofs around Salmon Arm Campus
Okanagan College Media Release

She’s 107 pounds of loveable fur. At first glance, she looks like a larger-than-average family dog but despite her soft coat and generous licks, there’s no fluff about her.Woof 2 Oct 2019

Meet Woof, Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus therapy dog. Shortly after picking her up as a puppy, owner and College librarian Taryn Schmid discovered that she was completely deaf and suffered from seizures. Daily, social interactions, allowed Woof’s true colours to shine through; she had an affinity towards humans. The nature of her diverse abilities combined with her love for people led Schmid to certify Woof through St. John’s Ambulance.

Introducing Woof to campus in the fall of 2018 came as a natural step for Schmid, but it wasn’t without careful consideration for the campus community.

“I had concerns for people who aren’t into dogs,” says Schmid, “particularly a giant dog, as well as students and staff with allergies and the effect it might have on janitorial staff.”

A soft introduction to campus was the logical conclusion, so she first walked around campus with Woof. The sight of the dog led people to approach her, and opened the door for Schmid to initiate conversation. Those conversations led Schmid to reach out to her colleagues in Counselling and in the Success Centre on campus.

“It’s surprising how a dog opens the door for a variety of conversations,” says Schmid. “Everything from bullying to anxiety issues, to the enjoyment and love of pets.”

“She is extremely well-trained,” says Caroline Chartier, Aboriginal Transitions Planner on the Salmon Arm campus. “She has an innate ability to visit just the right person. Nearly every day it seems we have someone coming to look for her.”

“There’s also been a noticeable increase in students with anxiety issues over the last few years and Woof makes a difference for these students,” adds Schmid.

After no concerns arose in the fall semester, she decided to elevate Woof’s role to an on-demand approach in the spring of 2019. Students could go into the library where Schmid works and book time with Woof, simply to pet, play or hang out with her.

Woof 1 Oct 2019Woof is a stress-relieving point of contact for those who come to see her. Different than a service dog, which provides controlled support to someone with a disability or ailment, Woof offers comfort simply through her gentle nature.

As the spring semester progressed, and no complaints about her presence came up, Schmid made Woof available as much as her job would permit.

“Obviously my job comes first, but I really try to be adaptable,” she says. “Unfortunately there are occasional times when I am just too busy to accommodate a visit.”

Her dedication to supporting students and staff via Woof is apparent. Schmid’s time with Woof on campus comes as a volunteer role and she dreams of Okanagan College one day having a program that sees multiple dogs roaming campuses.

“Taryn is as unique as her intelligent canine and they make a truly remarkable pair,” says Chartier. “Taryn has her own way of taking the angst out of anxiety-stricken students and makes the extra effort to provide Woof’s services to those in need.”

Statistically speaking, Woof saw 45 requests and 237 interactions over the course of the spring semester this past year.

Looking ahead, Schmid anticipates an increase in visits for her furry companion, and wants students and staff to know that Woof is back for the semester and ready for pets, licks, and the odd treat (owner permitting).


Nursing program at OC and UBCO recognized for innovative curriculum
Okanagan College Media Release

OC UBCO BSN Oct 2019The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College has received long-term accreditation from the British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals (BCCNP), which regulates nurse training in the province.

The program has been approved for the next seven years with no terms or conditions. That’s great news for current and future students, and for health care employers and patients, says Prof. Marie Tarrant, Director of the School of Nursing in the Faculty of Health and Social Development at UBC Okanagan.

“Receiving long-term accreditation with no restrictions strongly acknowledges the innovative, high-quality education we are providing,” says Tarrant. “The BSN curriculum is excellent, and our collaboration with Okanagan College that started in 2011 has expanded opportunities for students to pursue an education in nursing.”

Each year, 24 students are admitted to OC for the first two years of study then transfer to UBCO, joining approximately 130 nursing students at the university to complete years three and four. Graduates earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from UBC and are prepared for professional licensure as registered nurses. The first OC cohort transferred to UBCO in 2013 and graduated in June 2015. To date, more than 150 students have gone on from OC to UBC through the pathway.

“This recognition affirms the brilliant work that nursing faculty at both institutions have undertaken together to align and continually improve the program at every opportunity,” says Yvonne Moritz, Dean of Science, Technology and Health at Okanagan College.

The collaboration has sparked new ways of thinking and doing when it comes to training registered nurses.

“Over the past few years, nursing faculty at UBC and Okanagan College have implemented innovative updates to the curriculum, to ensure the learning experience continues to match the ever-changing realities faced by today’s nurses,” says Sheila Epp, Associate Director of the School of Nursing at UBC Okanagan, and leader of the undergraduate curriculum change initiative that has shaped the BSN program.

“Our program truly prepares graduates with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes for effective interprofessional collaboration and to deliver professional nursing, health-education programs, and consultative nursing services that promote, maintain, and restore patient health.”

“The changes to the curriculum were very much driven by changes to practice,” notes Monique Powell, Chair of the BSN program at the College. “We listened to a lot of feedback from our students, grads, instructors and employers. When we noticed students struggling with applying their critical thinking skills in some instances, then we looked for innovative ways to provide more practice time to students in that area.”

The feedback on the changes has been extremely positive, Powell points out.

“Our students say they feel even stronger in their skills, they are more confident, they are ready to practice, which is what we want to hear,” says Powell.

Recent labour market data lists nursing as a high-demand profession, predicting as many as 25,000 nurses will be needed to staff BC’s health care system over the next 10 years to fill new nurse positions and replace retiring nurses.