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In lead up to International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8, Okanagan College will be highlighting and celebrating the remarkable achievements and contributions to the region made by OC students, employees, retirees, alumni, donors, industry and community partners in a variety of ways.
In case you missed them, these are just a few examples of some of the diverse and inspiring accomplishments by women in the Okanagan College community in recent months.
Follow these and other stories on the College’s Facebook page on Sunday and from the past year on www.okanagan.bc.ca/news.
Okanagan College School of Business professors Kerry Rempel and Kyleen Myrah recently launched phase two of a new research project in conjunction with the Kelowna Homelessness Research Collaborative. This collective brings together Okanagan College, UBC Okanagan, Interior Health and the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society. The project, which is funded through a grant from the Vancouver Foundation, looks to connect researchers with the community to understand vulnerability around homelessness. In short, what makes people vulnerable to housing instability?
“We wanted to get a grounding of what vulnerability looks like from a Kelowna perspective,” says Rempel. “We want to highlight the Kelowna context on homelessness which is different from other communities. What is also unique about our project is that the outcome of all of this isn’t just to report our findings to the academic world for use in future research, but to create a how-to guide for other communities looking to bring community and researchers together.
Read the full story here.
A sacred appreciation for the exchange of knowledge, whether between friends or strangers, is a central theme in Juliana Troll Trujillo’s life. So, after moving to Canada from Brazil last Christmas, it was only natural for her to acknowledge the moments that led her to write her first book, Helio meets Luna – Luna meets Helio. Troll Trujillo is a first-year student studying Advanced Communications at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus. She recently shared her story of how the book took shape, and the inspiration she drew from her family, fellow students and professors at the College in a recent interview.
“This project has shown me what is possible to do as a student, and is something that the College has allowed me to do. I hope other students can go out for their dreams and do what they wish to do. It’s possible when we decide simply to start,” says Troll Trujillo.
Banner year for OC Women in Trades and momentum continues to build
OC’s Women in Trades Training (WITT) program celebrated 1,000 students trained this year. The Honourable Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, joined students, alumni, staff, mentors and industry partners last June to raise a banner to mark the occasion. Future women in trades had a chance to hone their skills with the return of the popular all-female Girls Can Go-Kart camp as part of CampOC, while a new camp focused on carpentry was added last summer. On March, 5, a class of WITT students mentored Middle Years students and their teachers at Willowstone Academy as part of a unique sustainability-focused maker event.
When Monique Powell noticed some of her nursing students were struggling with the adjustments and challenges that come with first-year, it inspired her to take a look at what measures could be put in place to better support those learning to care for others.
What followed was an innovative approach to gauge student wellness – and an injection of insights into the need for future study and new means to support students.
Powell is Chair of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program and Interim Associate Dean of Science, Technology and Health at the College. Along with her colleague and fellow nursing instructor Erin McFee, she recently received a grant of just over $12,700 from the College’s internal Innovation Fund to support a pilot project.
Stay tuned for the full story on www.okanagan.bc.ca/news.
Every day she walks into the classroom at Columbia Park Elementary, Åsa Kenyon is looking for ways to support students with diverse learning needs. Kenyon is a graduate of the Education Assistant (EA) Certificate program at Okanagan College. And since becoming an EA she has embraced every opportunity to support students and ensure they have the best possible experience that keeps them feeling safe, secure and confident in the classroom.
“My job is to find the strength in each individual I work with. I work as a key part of a team to strive towards success for all students in the classroom,” says Kenyon.
Read the full story here.
It all started with a conversation between mother and daughter at the breakfast table back in 2017. Okanagan College alumna Nicole Taylor-Sterritt and her mother Laurie Sterritt co-founded the Canadian Indigenous Women’s Leadership Summit in 2018. In 2019, they hosted the 2nd annual Summit in Vancouver. More than 250 women attended.
“It’s about changing the narrative,” says Taylor-Sterritt. “This is about Indigenous women in leadership and how we approach life, our professions and personal lives and how we lead in our communities. We have a bigger voice than we think we do.”
Laureen Shannon, a 4th year BBA student and member of Enactus OC has been an unwavering champion for the popular and ever-expanding Launch-a-Preneur program in Salmon Arm. Since the program’s inception five years ago, 81 mentors from local businesses have provided countless hours of one-on-one training, benefiting students and local entrepreneurs alike. Forty-four businesses have been involved, creating 78 full-time and 15 part-time jobs in the Shuswap – and the impact continues to grow.
"It allowed me to get to know students that had the same thought about giving back and making a difference in your community. You are fostering a network that is creating positive change. It’s action oriented, they don’t just talk about change,” says Shannon.
Read the full story here.
Two well respected community leaders assumed leadership of Okanagan College’s Board of Governors in late 2019. Gloria Morgan, who was serving as Vice Chair, was elected Chair, while Juliette Cunningham was elected as Vice Chair, replacing Morgan.
Morgan was Chief of the Splatsin Indian Band from 2001 to 2005. She is a former President of the Enderby and District Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the RCMP’s E Division Aboriginal Advisory Committee. She also served on the board of the Provincial Community Co-ordination for Women's Safety. She was the 2016 recipient of the Community Leader Awards - Community Builder award for the North Okanagan. Morgan has been on the Board of Governors since 2016.
Juliette Cunningham is a former Vernon City Councillor, as well as Vice-Chair of the Regional District of the North Okanagan, and Vice-Chair of the Okanagan Basin Water Board. She is a business owner with an extensive history of working with non-profit boards such as the Women’s Centre, Junction Literacy, People Place, Museum and the Early Years Council. Cunnigham was also named Vernon’s 2016 Woman of the Year by Vernon Women in Business.
Okanagan College School of Business professor and pilot Pam Nelson recently hosted a community event that combined two of her passions: aviation and education. The event served as the College’s kickoff to Women in Aviation Week, which runs March 2-8. Nelson chaired a panel discussion and film screening designed to spark dialogue about how to continue to make the sector more inclusive.
We need to be able to transcend beyond gender,” says Nelson. “There are opportunities in aviation and, yes, women are very underrepresented in the sector but we don’t put gender labels in front of everything else. You don’t hear someone described as a ‘female teacher’ or a ‘woman doctor,’ so let’s try to work to remove the gender labels completely.”