College Esthetics grad lets creativity shine

By Public Affairs | January 20, 2021

Aja Zeniuk, Esthetics and Nail Technology graduate
Aja Zenuik, Esthetics and Nail Technology graduate

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

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.

nail art

“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

Tags: Continuing Studies, Convocation, Vernon, COVID, Inside OC



Sign up for weekly stories


Empowering Employment
Empowering Employment: College to host virtual employment fair in Feb

January 18, 2021

Okanagan College is powering up a new virtual employment fair next month to help connect students, alumni, job seekers in the community and employers from across the region. Empowering Employment is a virtual career fair to be held on Thursday, Feb. 4 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Anyone interested in attending as a job seeker or showcasing their business as an exhibitor can learn more at Exhibitor space, although virtual, is still limited and so interested organizations should plan to register soon to ensure their sp...

Maria Kruger, Certified Dental Assistant student
CIBC gives scholarship boost to Indigenous students

January 18, 2021

When Maria Kruger graduates as a Certified Dental Assistant from Okanagan College later this year, she will proudly stand among her people as a skilled professional. Kruger, who is of Okanagan/Shuswap descent, has a goal to graduate and work with people in her community on the Penticton Indian Band. “I want to see our people go into skilled trades and be able to support our own communities. That’s one of my main goals,” says Kruger, who also cites her two-year-old son as inspiration behind her return to school. A new donation from CIBC alon...

Practical Nursing Instructor Lisa Matthews with "Meet Your Instructor" text overlain to the left.
Meet Lisa Matthews, Practical Nursing instructor

January 5, 2021

Where are you from? I was born and raised in Edmonton, but have worked and lived all over the world. What is your education and area of interest? I started my nursing career with a Nursing Diploma from VCC in Vancouver. I then completed specialty certifications in critical care and emergency nursing from BCIT. Following this I completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Dalhousie University and then a Master’s in Public Health from Michigan State University. My area of specia...

SCMT Professor Marty Paradine takes a break outdoors
Meet Marty Paradine, SCMT Professor

December 9, 2020

Q: What is your education and background? A:  My education is as follows: B.Sci. in Mechanical Engineering (University of Manitoba) M.Sci. in Renewable Energy (Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany) MBA (Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden) Certified Energy Manager (Association of Energy Engineers) Professional Engineer (APEGBC) I have worked in the mining, oil and gas industries as an engineer and operations manager, before moving into my area of passion - susta...