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Broken leg sets in motion a love for physics
Okanagan College Media Release

It’s hard to imagine a broken leg being a good thing, but that’s exactly how Brandon Katerberg describes a longboarding accident that led him to Okanagan College.
 Brandon Katerberg Jan 2019

Prior to his accident, Katerberg, 20, was working at a painting shop and describes himself living day to day with little direction for where he wanted to go in life. When he learned that his broken leg would result in a permanent rod inside his left leg, he knew he wouldn’t be able to continue to work physical jobs for the long-term.

This got Katerberg thinking about going back to school and he soon began upgrading at Okanagan College Penticton campus, with the goal of continuing on to get an arts degree.

Katerberg describes his experience at OC as completely different than high-school.

“Okanagan College changed my perspective on what school was like, I used to hate school but at the College I felt at home,” says Katerberg, adding there is a mutual respect between professors and students that motivated him to try his best.

“It was a pleasant experience coming back.”

Upgrading also launched a new passion for Katerberg: physics and mathematics. In high-school Katerberg rarely showed up to classes so it wasn’t until the College that he discovered he was skilled in sciences. Seeing this potential, Katerberg quickly changed his focus to science where he is excelling. In his past term, he received a 99 per cent in calculus, and a 97 per cent in physics.

“Brandon’s a great success story,” says Ryan Ransom, a professor of Physics and Astronomy, adding Brandon’s a joy to teach.

“He has the aptitude but he doesn’t rely on it, he works really hard and he loves the material. His enthusiasm and curiosity also rubs off on his peers.”

Katerberg’s achievements have also amassed three student awards from the Okanagan College Foundation. Katerberg says these funds have been instrumental in helping pay for his first full semester, where he is taking six courses.

“It feels so great to have some financial relief. It’s also validation of my work, which feels good.”

In September, Katerberg is transferring to the University of Victoria where he is hoping to be accepted to their Physics Honours program.
 

“Breaking my leg was the best thing that ever happened to me. I feel a sense of purpose. I feel that the work I am doing will one day pay off to society in some way,” says Katerberg.

“I’m a happier, more focused person overall.”