Department of Human Service Work

Students connect in conversation

Experienced instructors in the Department of Human Service Work help students develop the professional ethics and values, critical thinking skills and the essential interpersonal support skills to work in the social service, mental health and developmental disabilities fields. 

Program spotlight

Building and maintaining healthy relationships and learning how to effectively communicate are central components of the Diploma in Human Service Work at Okanagan College. 


Courses in Human Service Work prepare students to work with vulnerable populations, using a person-centred approach.


Mark Nishihara

Co-Chair - Human Service Work
Office: Main Building D334
Campus: Vernon
Phone: 250-545-7291 ext. 2241


Jo-Dee Hecko

Co-Chair - Human Service Work
Office: Health Building 124E
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4623

Carol Halle-Bowering

Human Service Work
Office: Salmon Arm Building 151
Campus: Salmon Arm
Phone: 250-832-2126 ext. 2346
Headshot of Carol Halle-Bowering

MEd, San Diego State University
BSW, University of Calgary
Registered Clinical Social Worker (RCSW), BC College of Social Workers

Christina Linklater

Human Service Work
Office: Main Building D362
Campus: Vernon
Phone: 250-762-5445

Candace Matte

Health Care Assistant
Office: Business Building 137
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445

LPN, Health Studies

Joanne Poole

Autism Education (Continuing Studies) and Human Service Work
Office: Faculty Office 100
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445

I am a Registered Nurse of 30 years; working at Okanagan College for almost 20 years. I have been teaching the Autism Certificate Program and diversability content in a number of programs at Okanagan College for 10 years. I am also a Community Nurse Educator and provide workshops to the general public and community agencies on mental, physical and developmental diversability topics, specializing in autism. My presentations are from the multiple perspectives of neurobiology, health education and experience as a parent of two children with specialized needs. I provide an informative and engaging mix of candid stories, clear examples and practical strategies.

RN, BN, Autism Education, Okanagan College Continuing Studies

Caryn Richardson

Human Service Work
Office: Health Building 124D
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4443

Anna Rychtera

Human Service Work
Office: Main Building C311
Campus: Vernon
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 2380

I worked for many years in pediatrics and women's health in Europe. After immigration to Canada worked in wholistic health care and public health. In 2009 I started doing what I love most, teaching in the Nursing program, HCA, nutritionist and now HSW program. I am actively involved with BC SUPPORT Unit in patient oriented health research and a member of the Standing Committee on Health Services and Public Health with the MOH, besides being a health coach with UVIC Self Management Program.

Master of Nursing, Management Zentrum St. Gallen, CH
RNP, University of Erlangen


Come for a campus tour or become a student for a day. 


Have your questions answered by an advisor or recruiter. 


Take the next step and enrol in a program or course at OC.