College Esthetics grad lets creativity shine
Grads celebrate educational achievements with virtual ceremony Jan. 23.
Aja Zenuik knew she had an artistic eye and wanted to apply her creativity to an industry that would keep her skills in demand in the Okanagan and beyond. She found that opportunity through the Esthetics and Nail Technology certificate program at Okanagan College.
On Jan. 23, she will join more than 2,000 OC students being recognized during the College’s first-ever online convocation ceremony which celebrates the efforts of students graduating from June 2020 to this January.
Graduates, along with their family, friends and supporters are invited to tune in and watch the pre-recorded virtual ceremony starting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. To watch the ceremony and learn more, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/virtualconvocation.
For Zenuik, the decision to enrol in the esthetics program was something that had been in the works for some time. “Since the 10th grade, I’ve had an interest in this type of training,” says Zenuik. “I believe that self-care is important, whether it is taking time for myself or helping brighten someone else’s day.”
Zenuik found a special area of interest within the manicure and pedicure training section of the certificate program. “I am an artistic person; I love to paint and draw. For me, nail art lets me tap into my creativity and draw from my artistic background. I think of my nail art as a kind of wearable art.”
The Esthetics and Nail Technology Certificate program is one of the many certificates offered by Continuing Studies at Okanagan College that builds employable skills for learners.
“Demand for training within the ESNT program at OC has been high. With 90 per cent of our recent graduates employed in the spa industry, students are taking their training and transforming their experiences into meaningful work and business opportunities,” says Jennifer Gorman, Associate Director of Continuing Studies at Okanagan College.
Zenuik enrolled in the ESNT program in September 2019 and was in class as the COVID-19 pandemic shifted her training to an online format in the spring. Throughout the transition, there has been a continued focus on hands-on learning and Zenuik credits the program instructor with keeping the course engaging and interesting.
“The transition to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic challenged us to come up with innovative ways of teaching these hands-on techniques,” says instructor Sherri McCarthy. “Our focus on helping students adapt and grow throughout the program has helped us create a blended program that works, even when we’re not in the classroom together.”
Now, Zenuik is back home in Okanagan Falls and working in a salon where she can put her education into action. “I find that people feel better once they come into the salon for a treatment,” she says. “Helping provide that boost to their confidence is rewarding.”
As the program wrapped up in June, Zenuik and her classmates celebrated their accomplishments with a physically distanced class graduation ceremony at the Vernon campus, back when gatherings of 50 people or less were still allowed. She also participated in a recognition ceremony with the Westbank First Nation, which acknowledged her post-secondary education achievements.
To assist those looking to build their skills or make a career change, Okanagan College has unveiled its array of Continuing Studies certificates and courses, many of which will be delivered online. The brochure is available to read online or download at www.okanagan.bc.ca/cs.
Tags: Continuing Studies, Convocation, Vernon, COVID, Inside OC, 2021 Year in review
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