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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:

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