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Students in Grades 10 and 11 from the Okanagan-Skaha, Okanagan-Similkameen and Nicola-Similkameen districts have been invited to the College’s Penticton campus to be a student for a day on Tuesday, May 2. Students will have the chance to attend classes led by College instructors and explore the many post-secondary education options offered at Okanagan College.
“This is a great way to inspire our high school students to think about the next steps in their education,” says Barb Sheppard, Trustee for School District 67. “It’s a fun introduction to post-secondary life, and hopefully will be the first step on a solid path to a future career for these youth.”
Hour-long classes will be offered in arts, business, continuing studies, engineering, health and social development, science, and trades, and include topics such as The Science of Sound Capture for those interested in music production; Pasta Demolition, for budding engineers who want to design, build, and destroy pasta towers; and Do You Ever Wonder Who Keeps that Airplane in the Sky? for anyone intrigued by aircraft maintenance.
“I hope some of these students are thinking about getting their hands dirty,” says Sean Jarvis, Chair of the College’s Welding program. “We’ll be there to talk about well-paying careers in trades and show off some hands-on skills.”
Experience OC events are open to high school students and take place annually at the College’s campuses in Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm.
Registration information is available online at www.okanagan.bc.ca/experienceoc until Thursday, April 27 at 4 p.m.
RIPE (Research, Innovation and Partnerships Expo) is happening on May 9 at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus. The free event is an opportunity for employers, researchers and students alike to learn about how applied research is growing new partnerships and enriching the educational experience for students at the College.
David Chalk, a cyber security and innovation expert, will be giving a keynote speech that day titled “Innovation is Nothing New.” More information about the event is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/RIPEregister. In addition to Chalk, attendees will have a chance to speak with trailblazers like Andrew Gaucher, Lukas Skulmoski and Noah Dorsey.
Gaucher, president of GGroup and Catalyst Land Development and current president of the Okanagan’s chapter of the Urban Development Institute, approached the College about a year ago with an idea for a research project that would focus on a plug-and-play infrastructure system to make live, safe, connections between components of a housing system. Gaucher’s goal is to develop a system of modules that can be assembled - and disassembled – as a family’s housing needs grow, shrink or change. One of the challenges was to find ways to build safe utility connections between pre-wired modules that wouldn’t involve having to alter electrical panels, bringing in electricians or tearing walls or structures apart.
“To bring this idea of modularity to reality we need to think about making it easy for families to add another module to their home or take it away as things change,” says Gaucher. “Safe, reliable, dependable and easy connections are vital. And while you’d think there were already-developed systems that meet that criteria, I wasn’t able to come up with any. The idea is to move away from hardwiring all connections to the grid.”
Enter Lukas Skulmoski, an Okanagan College trades instructor and licensed electrician who discovered his research talents while completing his Master’s degree, and is now honing them while working on his Doctorate. With support from Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), through its community engagement grants, Skulmoski and Gaucher began research and scale prototype development.
Their initial work opened the door to student involvement. Noah Dorsey, a Grade 12 student at George Elliot Secondary in Lake Country who is taking the carpentry pre-apprenticeship program at the College for dual credit, brought his skills to the table next.
“I was amazed that this opportunity to engage in applied research opened up for me,” says Dorsey. “Our carpentry instructor explained there was an opportunity to engage in this, and I volunteered.”
Dorsey built scale-size mock-ups to house the components so Gaucher and others can explore how the technology could be applied to real-world construction.
And Dorsey wasn’t the only trades student involved in the applied research project. Before Dorsey came onboard another student – Nicole Thompson - was also involved. She is an apprentice electrician who also has two Bachelor’s degrees. She helped Skulmoski research whether there were existing plug-in systems that might make the grade. They looked at modular housing systems from around the world, looked to the cruise-ship industry where cabins are put together in modules, but to no avail. The systems weren’t appropriate, would not meet Canadian Code requirements, or would require electrical professionals to connect.
Skulmoski’s research eventually led him full circle to a system used in Canadian heavy industry that meets the parameters for Gaucher’s ideas: safe, simple, usable by a homeowner, Code compliant, able to be connected and disconnected while the system is live, and weather resistant. It is a system used in some industrial systems, shorepower connections for large vessels and emergency equipment.
The team’s innovation solution has important features that prevent an arc flash that could prove fatal in instances where voltage and amperage are high enough. Now, with the electrical problems addressed, Gaucher is figuring out other construction and development issues.
“I really appreciate and value the support of the College, Luke, and Noah, and the federal government,” says Gaucher. “The opportunity to innovate and create or refine different approaches to housing needs is clearly here and it’s tremendous to have this kind of resource at our fingertips in the Okanagan.”
Soup’s On has run successfully for the past two years in Salmon Arm, which prompted OC students to serve up the initiative in other communities.
“What started out as a simple idea at an Enactus meeting really came to life and was embraced by the community in Salmon Arm,” explains Soup’s On project coordinator and Enactus Okanagan College member Alexandra Jacques. “I am so honoured and thrilled to have two more communities in the Okanagan jump on board.”
The first event is taking place at 6:30 p.m. on April 27 at Okanagan Spirits’ Vernon location, presented by Prospera Credit Union. Tickets are $25 each and available at participating restaurants Eatology, Kaals Naan Stop, Kal Sports Bar, Intermezzo, and Sir Winston's Pub. Proceeds will benefit the Upper Room Mission and Okanagan College students.
The Kelowna event is happening two days later on April 29 at 5 p.m. in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning at Okanagan College. Attendees will have a chance to sample culinary creations by The Curious Cafe, Basil and Mint, FSH, La Cucina, Westcoast Grill, Waterfront Restaurant and Wine Bar, Bonfire Restaurant, Bouchon's Bistro, Sturgeon Hall, Little Hobo Soup and Sandwich, Train Station Pub, Whiskey-Jacks Pub, Central Public House, Xchange Kelowna and Bliss Bakery and Bistro. Hot and cold beverages will also be served at the event, provided by Pulp Fiction Coffee house and Big Surf Brewery.
Tickets for the Kelowna event are $20 and available online. Visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/soupson for more information. Proceeds from the Kelowna event will benefit the Central Okanagan Food Bank and will also aid Okanagan College students.
Foodies take note: attendees will once again be invited to sharpen their pencils and don their judge’s hat. Like previous Soup’s On events in Salmon Arm, both the Kelowna and Vernon events will follow a people’s choice format.
“Throughout the event, attendees have the opportunity to score each soup and vote for their favourite,” explains Jacques. “At the end of the night, the chef whose soup earned the most votes will take home the Soup’s On trophy.”
Enactus Okanagan College is a student run non-profit organization. Through events like Soup’s On, Enactus OC students raise funds to support their entrepreneurial and philanthropic programs in the community. Examples include Silver Surfers, a program that helps seniors boost their comfort level with technology in order to stay connected with loved ones, and CanSave, a program that provides basic financial literacy to elementary school students.
Marcel Kaemmerzell – Automotive Collision Repair
Patryk Norek – Automotive Service
Bryce Mackay – Aerospace Technology
Rob Cordonier – Refrigeration
Gold medalists earn a berth to the National Skills Canada competition on May 31-June 3 in Winnipeg. The national competition attracts more than 500 competitors who compete in 40 contest areas. The program was launched in 1994, and is the only national multi-trade and technology competition for young students and apprentices in the country.