Campus Life  

Tourism educators conference comes to Kelowna

Okanagan College Media Release


A three-day conference for British Columbia’s tourism educators next week, hosted by Okanagan College, is going to be focused on one of the industry’s hottest topics: the future of work in the industry.

“Tourism and hospitality businesses are – at their core – about people,” says William Gillett, the Dean of Okanagan College’s School of Business. “We all know that the single largest issue for tourism operators is human resources. The questions for the tourism educators of this province and country are ‘What can we do about it?’ and ‘What are we doing about it?’”

Toward that end, the conference (May 2-4) has drawn some experts in the educational sector to Kelowna, including John Walsh, the Vice-Provost of Toronto’s University of Guelph-Humber (a position he’s held since 2005). Walsh has developed a reputation for innovation in the post-secondary environment, and has worked on a variety of strategies focused on the food, wine and tourism industries.

Another keynote speaker at the conference is Tom Baum, a Professor in the Strathclyde Business School at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. He heads the Department of Human Resource Management there and is widely acknowledged to be a leading expert in the area of human resources management focusing on the tourism and hospitality management sector.

Between 40 and 50 people are expected to attend. Sessions will cover everything from how skilled workers affect restaurants to the implications of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity on the tourism workplace and what students are taught. Presenters come from Okanagan College, Thompson Rivers University, Vancouver Island University, and Royal Roads University.

For more information about the conference, visit tec.beac-tec2018.ca



Okanagan College trio golden in Skills competition

Okanagan College Media Release


For Okanagan College students and apprentices Lukas Pfob, Connor McLaren and Bradley Vanlerberg, their efforts at the provincial Skills Canada competition proved golden.

The trio won gold medals at the competition that was held in Abbotsford on April 18, part of the OC contingent of 14 students who brought home a total of eight medals from the event. The competition draws post-secondary and secondary school students and apprentices from throughout B.C. to test their skills against a series of challenges in 47 different disciplines.

For McLaren, it was his training as an Automotive Service Technician that led him to dominate in the Automotive Service category. Vernon’s Vanlerberg, in the second term of an Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (Maintenance) program, captured top spot in the Aerospace Technology competition, only to be followed by his classmate (also from Vernon), Levi Nicholas, who won the silver medal in the same competition.

Pfob won his gold medal in the Carpentry competition. It’s his second gold medal and his fourth medal overall competing in Skills Canada BC competitions. He won a gold medal last year and competed in the national competition.

“Okanagan College and the carpentry instructors have been fantastic,” says Pfob. “They’ve supported me and gone beyond showing me just the basics of carpentry.”

The attention to detail that’s been drilled into him apparently paid off. Pfob says the competition between he and the silver medal winner as they built small playhouses in 5.5 hours of competition was close. “Apparently, it was the clean cuts and joints, and the little details on my project that made the difference. Mine was more sellable in the final analysis.”

For 18-year-old Vanlerberg, he thinks it was an exam – on Canadian aviation regulations – that earned him the gold medal in the Aerospace Technology category. That exam came after he and the other contestants had to do an inspection on an engine, remove a fuel pump, and do all the accompanying paperwork.

McLaren was surprised to find out he had captured gold. He thought he’d stumbled on a couple of the six stations he had to complete during the automotive service competition. He thinks it was being able to do some basic things well that made the difference and he credits instructors for their support and the assistance they provided in anticipation of the competition. “They were great.”

“The accomplishments of these students is noteworthy,” says Okanagan College Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Steve Moores. “They work with their instructors over long hours to prepare for these competitions. It’s a commitment on behalf of the instructors, but it all comes down to the students’ skill and abilities.”

“For Lukas, Connor and Bradley, it means they will be headed to the national competition in Edmonton in June. We’ll be cheering them on.”

“I’m pretty nervous about the nationals because there’s lots I have to do,” says Vanlerberg. He estimates he’ll be putting in dozens of hours practicing and reviewing material with instructor Hal Hobenshield between now and early June.

Dianne Holm was an eager observer of as much as she could take in during the Abbotsford competition. She’s the Regional Co-ordinator for Skills Canada and an employee in Okanagan College’s Trades department. She helps organize and run one of the largest events held annually at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus – the regional Skills Canada BC Trades and Technology Regional Competitions and Discovery Day.

This past year, nearly 770 students (more than 110 of them competitors) from the K-12 system between Revelstoke and Osoyoos took part in the day-long event in March. “It’s great bringing the youth to our campus. By hosting the competitions we provide them a platform to showcase their skills, build up their confidence, and test their abilities, all while striving for gold to move on to Provincials. The Discovery Day component gives students a chance to broaden their perspectives on skilled trades and technology and to experience some hands-on activities.”

Holm was busy in Abbotsford tracking the competitors from Okanagan College (nine different trades competitions). They brought home eight medals: the three gold, the silver in Aerospace Technology, a bronze in Culinary Arts (Siobhan Detkavich), a silver in Heavy Equipment Service (Kian Banner), a bronze in IT Network Systems (Frank van Zandwijk) and a bronze in Refrigeration (Adam Sohnchen).


UBC leads community partnership investigating physical activity of kids with disabilities

About four per cent of Canadian children are living with a disability and their level of physical activity has been unknown, until now. A new partnership led by UBC Okanagan researchers aims to determine the extent to which school-aged children and youth are meeting the Canadian movement and screen time guidelines. Their goal is to provide evidence-based protocols and policies to improve physical activity opportunities for all Canadians with disabilities.

“Our preliminary findings from the Canadian Disability Participation Project indicate that children and youth with physical disabilities are not meeting the Canadian guidelines,” says primary researcher Kathleen Martin Ginis, a professor with UBC’s Faculty of Medicine and UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Health and Social Development. “Our new project is expanding the pilot study to include a much larger population of children and youth and to examine both the types of activities they participate in and for how long.”

Martin Ginis will be collaborating with colleagues Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos from the University of Toronto and Rebecca Bassett-Gunter from York University.

This first-ever Canadian-wide project is made possible thanks to nearly $500,000 in funding over the next five years from Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities.

“At Jumpstart, we understand how important sport and recreation is for kids, and not simply because of the physical benefits,” says Scott Fraser, President of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities. “Although we often hear about the impact sport has had on a child’s life, it can be hard to measure. We are proud to support UBC’s research in this field, which will provide valuable insight as we work towards giving even more kids a sporting chance.”

“Until now, the two biggest barriers to expanding our pilot study have been funding and difficulties identifying and recruiting large number of children and youth with disabilities to the study,” says Martin Ginis. “This partnership with Jumpstart is providing a tremendous opportunity to overcome these challenges.”

Kids who receive Jumpstart funding can have a wide range of disabilities including non-physical limitations, such as learning disabilities, chronic physical limitations (heart disease, asthma, etc.) and speech conditions.

“We see the impact of physical activity in health and quality of life in adults both with and without disabilities. We are hoping our research will support children with disabilities to move off the bleachers and into the game,” adds Martin Ginis.

“The university is thrilled to partner with Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities,” says Deborah Buszard, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal at UBC’s Okanagan Campus. “We have shared values on the importance of health, well-being, and creating opportunities for youth, regardless of background. I am personally delighted for Jumpstart's first gift to arrive at the Okanagan campus of UBC, where Professor Martin Ginis and others are creating a cluster of research excellence in chronic disease prevention, physical activity participation, and cardiometabolic health. By enabling leading-edge research on physical activity for children and youth with disabilities, your gift will help inform future policy development, enhance health programs for Canadians, and, in turn, improve lives in communities across the country.”

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world. For more visit ok.ubc.ca.


There is more than just saving money when it comes to fake goods

Fake and counterfeit wristwatches

Consumers buy counterfeit items based on cultural influences

While some may think a ‘knock-off’ product is morally wrong, new research from UBC’s Okanagan campus demonstrates that for some cultures ‘unethical’ consumption is a virtue.

Faculty of Management Assistant Professor Eric Li, along with researchers from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Hong Kong Design Institute, interviewed young Chinese consumers about their purchased counterfeit products, examining how they rationalize their buying decisions. The research gleans new insights on counterfeit and consumer moralism in China.

“In the eyes of our participants, buying fake products can be viewed as a way to express anti-corporate ideology,” says Li. “In some cases, especially in the Chinese culture, the act can be much more ethical than purchasing luxury goods in regards to their moral identity as it demonstrates a sense of prudence.”

While the consumption of counterfeit products has global economic and social implications, the researchers say understanding the moralism of counterfeit consumption is based on how the individual see themselves and what they feel is expected of their consumption.

Faculty of Management Assistant Professor Eric Li

Faculty of Management Assistant Professor Eric Li

“Most of the youth who took part in the study refused to spend too much money on personal items,” Li adds. “To a certain extent, hedonic consumption is frowned upon, as a good student who is a responsible son or daughter should concentrate on his or her studies, in accordance with traditional Confucian beliefs on social relations.”

Counterfeit products represent a significant issue in the manufacturing sector. The research points to Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau findings, which reveal that counterfeit products account for about seven per cent of world trade and worth $600 billion USD annually.

Those who buy counterfeits, the researchers found, can be classified into four different groups. The first, “victim brand illiterates,” lacked knowledge and awareness of their counterfeit purchases due to brand illiteracy, and felt embarrassed when their ignorance was flagged by the researchers.

The second type, “the larkers,” viewed counterfeit consumption as innocent enjoyment, putting more emphasis on the products’ quality, which lends to its ability to fool others. The third type were “anti-corporate activists,” who see counterfeit consumption as a rebellious activity against large capitalist corporations. Lastly, the “status matchers” believed that consuming counterfeit products fulfils a sense of prestige in consumers, and allows them to meet social standards, and increase their self-confidence.

Regardless of which group the study participants were in, they all share a common trait: spending less money on products is the right thing to do.

“To become ethical consumers, the Chinese youngsters ascribed moralistic meanings to the consumption of counterfeits by placing a great deal of emphasis on meeting social expectations and conforming to social norms,” Li explains. “Most of the participants were happy with their counterfeit products, as they equated buying fakes and thereby spending less on personal pleasures and enjoyment with being a moral consumer.”

The paper, Consuming counterfeit: A study of consumer moralism in China, was published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies. This research study is supported by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University research grant program.

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world. For more visit ok.ubc.ca.

New research modernizes rammed earth construction

Engineering professor Sumi Siddiqua (right) and graduate student Priscila Barreto (left).

Engineering professor Sumi Siddiqua (right) and graduate student Priscila Barreto (left).

Chemical treatment improves strength of compressed soil by 25 times

A building method as old as dirt is being re-examined as a ‘new’ and viable modern construction material.

Compressed soil, also known as rammed earth, is a method of construction that dates back centuries. UBC Okanagan engineering professor Sumi Siddiqua, who has been researching the resurgence in rammed earth, says conventional cement is still the go-to for modern engineers.

“Conventional cement construction is the principal building material for buildings, roads, pipelines and bridges around the world,” says Siddiqua. “But builders today are seeking cheaper and more environmentally responsible construction materials. One such material may be compressed—or rammed—earth.”

Soil can be used in many ways, explains Siddiqui, including rammed earth walls, earth bricks and compressed earth blocks. In 2014, nearly 40 per cent of the world’s population still lived or worked in structures using soil as a construction material. The benefits of using these natural and locally-sourced materials include a reduction in costs and in energy consumption.

The rammed earth walls are usually placed between molds and bound by clay. But Siddiqua says while the technique is simple, it has significant structural limitations.

To improve this, Siddiqua and her graduate student Priscila Barreto tested the addition of calcium carbide residue and fly ash as binding agents in the rammed earth. They found that when cured for 60 days, the walls containing binding agents were 25 times stronger than those without. The increased strength greatly improves their potential for use in modern construction.

“The core of our challenge was to pinpoint the strongest composition of binding materials,” says Siddiqua. “While research shows that some amount of clay is required to stabilize soils, having a mechanism to better bind the soil grains is the key.”

Barreto, an international student from Brazil, began this research while at UBC Okanagan as an undergraduate and continued the work into her graduate studies.

“In countries like Brazil and regions like the Sertão in the country’s northeast, rammed earth is commonly used as a building technique,” explains Barreto. “The opportunity to enable people to build stronger and safer structures with natural soil is one of my central motivations for doing this research.”

Siddiqua says there is clearly a demand for this type of material and the technique has been used in small cities in Canada, including the Okanagan, where small residential homes are being built with readily available materials.

“We targeted rammed earth structures because local construction engineers have approached us looking to improve traditional rammed earth structures with stabilization techniques like ours.”

The research was published in the journal Construction and Building Materials, and was supported by both a Discovery and ENGAGE Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada.

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world. For more visit ok.ubc.ca.

Okanagan College opens its doors to high-school students for Experience OC

Okanagan College Media Release

Experience OC Pen 2018Is time travel possible? How are video games made? Is homicide a brain disorder? How did zombies eat their way to the silver screen? What keeps an airplane in the sky? 

High-school students from across the South Okanagan region will converge upon Okanagan College’s Penticton campus May 1 to find the answers to these questions and more when they spend a day on campus and experience what it’s like to be a student for a day.

The College is opening its doors once again and inviting students in Grades 10-12 to attend Experience OC for a day of learning, fun and post-secondary exploration. Students can choose to register from among more than 20 classes, ranging from animation to physics, astronomy to practical nursing, criminology to geography and more.

“Experience OC is an excellent opportunity for students to explore a variety of areas of interest and get a sense of what Okanagan College has to offer,” says Eric Corneau Regional Dean for the South Okanagan-Similkameen. “The College offers a wide variety of programs in trades, academic diplomas and degree options and this event is a perfect way for high-school students to think about post-secondary.”

In addition to the hour-long classes, students will be treated to fun activities, snacks and refreshments. The event takes place from 10:15 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Registration is now open.

For more information and to register your attendance and class choices, students should speak to their high-school counsellor for login information and permission slips. Class schedules and descriptions can be found at okanagan.bc.ca/ExperienceOC.


The Okanagan is RIPE with innovative applied research

Okanagan College Media Release

RIPE logo1From indigenization to small businesses, millennials and pinot noir and drones to marijuana, the Okanagan is RIPE with innovative applied research projects and Okanagan College invites the community to attend its free second annual showcase event to hear about the cutting-edge research projects that are happening in the region.

RIPE (Research, Innovation and Partnerships Expo) is happening on May 8 from 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the College’s Kelowna campus. The event is being supported by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and is an opportunity for community members, industry, educators, researchers and students to network and learn how applied research is growing new partnerships and enriching students’ educational experience in the Okanagan.

“Applied research by Okanagan College employees is making a big impact regionally and globally,” explains Dr. Beverlie Dietze, Director of Learning and Applied Research at the College. “The world is ever-changing and applied research can help us anticipate, react and even lead that change.” 

OC instructor and Chair of the Welding Trades department Sean Jarvis and Lukas Skulmoski, Interim Associate Dean of Science, Technology and Health and an Electrical instructor are currently working on a research project with a team of two students to develop a custom sorting machine for a recycle depot in Vernon. 

“When the company approached the College’s applied research team with this problem, we knew we could help – that’s what we do, we fix things,” says Jarvis. “This is a perfect example of how applied research can create solutions and fix problems and how it can benefit student learning.”

The event features five workshops led by industry-leading professionals: Applied Research and Indigenization, Why Applied Research Matters to Small Businesses, Creating Creative Cultures and Curiosity and Innovation, Research Wine and Marijuana and lastly, Research and Drones.

Sean Jarvis

RIPE 2018 has two keynote speakers, Bert van den Berg Director, Colleges, Commercialization and Portfolio Policy with NSERC and Dr. Patrick Finn, School of Creative and performing Arts/Computational Media Design, University of Calgary and Chair of Research and Innovation, Edmonton Digital Arts College.

Finn will present The Dirty Little Secret about Research and van den Berg will present The Key Ingredient of Canada’s Success in Innovation.

In addition to workshops and keynote speakers, attendees will be treated to a morning mixer, a panel discussion and can hear applied research pitch questions and connect and expand their own applied research opportunities. Lunch and refreshments are included.

To attend this free event, please register at okanagan.bc.ca/RIPEregister. For more information on the expo including schedule details and keynote speaker biographies, please visit okanagan.bc.ca/RIPE.

Kelowna writer wins UBC Okanagan’s annual short story contest

Finalists in the 2018 Okanagan Short Story Contest, from left: Assoc. Prof. Michael V. Smith, MFA student Victoria Alvarez (second place), MA IGS student Brittni MacKenzie-Dale (first place), Bethany Pardoe (winner, high-school category), Samantha Macpherson (third place) and contest judge Karen Hofmann.

Finalists in the 2018 Okanagan Short Story Contest, from left: Assoc. Prof. Michael V. Smith, MFA student Victoria Alvarez (second place), MA IGS student Brittni MacKenzie-Dale (first place), Bethany Pardoe (winner, high-school category), Samantha Macpherson (third place) and contest judge Karen Hofmann.

Perseverance pays off for Master of Arts student

It was four times the charm for a local writer.

Kelowna’s Brittni MacKenzie-Dale is the winner of this year’s Okanagan Short Story Contest. Organized and partially-sponsored by UBC Okanagan, the contest is an annual writing competition open to fiction writers in British Columbia’s Southern Interior.

MacKenzie-Dale is a current UBC Okanagan Master of Arts (MA) student. Her story entitled, “They Called Him Luke” landed her in first place in the 20th running of the annual contest. It wasn’t her first time as a finalist in the contest. In 2016, MacKenzie-Dale placed third—and had a second entry short-listed—and in 2015 she had two stories shortlisted.

Second place this year with her story, “Blood Sport” is Lake Country’s Victoria Alvarez, a UBC Okanagan MA student. Third place went to Samantha Macpherson of Lake Country with her story, “Do I Dare to Eat a Peach.”

Contest judge and Thompson Rivers University Associate Professor Karen Hofmann—who won this contest last year—announced each of the winners at a special event at the Okanagan Regional Library in Kelowna on Monday, which featured readings from the top winners. More than 100 entries were submitted and once they were shortlisted, Hofmann was given about a dozen anonymous entries to whittle down the winner’s list.

New for 2018 was a high school category, with Bethany Pardoe of Nelson’s LV Rogers Secondary School winning top honour with her story, “Sunlight.” Runners-up (in alphabetical order) are Finn Tobin of Mount Boucherie Secondary School, with “Red Racer 2000,” and Anna Vajda of Heritage Christian Online School, with “Transylvanian Vacation.”

Contest organizer and UBC Associate Professor Michael V. Smith joked that the contest is actually older than some of the winners.

“This is a banner event for Okanagan writers and was another great success,” says Smith. “Being able to celebrate 20 years of prize money for Okanagan stories is an exciting marker.”

This year, the Okanagan Short Story Contest had $2,000 in prize money to present. Smith thanked the contest funders and sponsors: the Central Okanagan Foundation, the Amber Webb-Bowerman Memorial Foundation, the Kelowna Capital News and subTerrain magazine.

Along with $1,000 in prize money, MacKenzie-Dale’s winning entry will be published in subTerrain magazine this fall.

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world. For more visit ok.ubc.ca.

Computer modeling may provide better treatments for emphysema

Joshua Brinkerhoff is an assistant professor in the School of Engineering at UBC Okanagan

Joshua Brinkerhoff is an assistant professor in the School of Engineering at UBC Okanagan

Simulations help researchers understand how lungs absorb oxygen

Researchers at UBC’s Okanagan campus are using advanced computer simulations to model how air flows into the deepest regions of the lungs and uncover how the early stages of emphysema can impact a patient’s ability to take in oxygen.

The results are significant because clinical studies suggest that identifying emphysema early can significantly improve patient outcomes. Understanding the early stages of the disease will also go a long way towards developing improved surgical or drug treatments.

“Advanced computer modeling has been used for years in areas like commercial aviation or even to predict the weather,” explains Joshua Brinkerhoff, assistant professor in the School of Engineering at UBC Okanagan. “Now, rather than modeling how air swirls in a hurricane, we’re using similar techniques to predict how air moves in human lungs.”

Brinkeroff says this research—which was done in collaboration with colleagues at McMaster University and the Centre for Heart and Lung Innovation at Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital—is still in its infancy but he’s optimistic that it could lead to a better understanding of the development of emphysema and other lung diseases.

Despite advanced diagnostic tools, Brinkeroff says doctors are still challenged with accurately pinpointing emphysema indicators early in patients. Emphysema is a component of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and is typically associated with smoking.

As emphysema in a patient advances, the tissues supporting air sacs inside the lung become damaged, making it harder for patients to exhale. In addition, the tissues between alveoli are gradually destroyed, meaning there are fewer sites for oxygen to be absorbed and patients feel short of breath.

“Prior to this study, we knew that emphysema involved these two mechanisms,” says Dragos Vasilescu, a researcher at the Centre for Heart and Lung Innovation and co-author of the paper. “What we didn’t understand is which is more important in the beginning stages of the disease. These computer simulations help fill in those gaps.”

But according to Brinkerhoff, they’ve only begun to scratch the surface.

“We’ve made the first step of determining a benchmark for airflow in one section of the lungs and the next step will be to create a more detailed analysis of airflow throughout the rest of the lungs. There’s still a great deal that these models can teach and hopefully those insights will one day help patients breathe a sigh of relief.”

The research was published in the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering with financial support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada  (NSERC).

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world. For more visit ok.ubc.ca.

Bono, Thorpe and Waunch: OC honours three community builders

Okanagan College Media Release

Mollie BonoA trio of community builders – all champions of different causes – are being recognized this year by Okanagan College with the institution’s highest commendation.

Mollie QuilQuil Sneena Bono, an advocate for Aboriginal peoples, Rick Thorpe, a dedicated public servant, and Patrick Waunch, a recognized construction leader, are to be named Honorary Fellows of Okanagan College in June.

“Each of these remarkable individuals has contributed significantly to our region, province and country,” notes Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “They have done it in diverse ways and richly deserve the honor our College is bestowing on them.”

Bono, Okanagan/Similkameen, is a School District #22 Trustee, a recipient of the Community Leadership Award (2017) in Vernon, and an active mentor for the Social Planning Council. She has served several terms as a Council Member for Okanagan Indian Band and has also served as a member of Okanagan College's Vernon Campus Regional Advisory Council. Since her retirement, Mollie has been working with the Social Planning Council and other allies in Vernon to advance Reconciliation and Healing.

Patrick Waunch2Waunch has been the chair of the British Columbia Construction Association, Chair of the Southern Interior Construction Association, Chair of the Trade Contractors Council for the Canadian Construction Association, is a recipient of the Canadian Construction Association Community Leader Award, and has a long association with Okanagan College (serving as Chair of the Program Advisory Committee, helping fundraise for the new Trades Complex in Kelowna, and being an active donor to the College and other community organizations). His dedication to apprenticeship for trades led to the Southern Interior Construction Association establishing the Patrick Waunch Scholarship Award that provides $3,500 annually to a mechanical trades apprentice at Okanagan College.

Waunch is the President and CEO of Rambow Mechanical Ltd. He holds Red Seal tickets in Plumbing and Steam Fitting, as well as tickets in First Class Gas Fitting, hydro-pulse boilers and installation for ground source heating. He holds Gold Seal certification in Project Management and Superintendent.

Thorpe was a Member of the Legislative Assembly from 1996 to 2009, representing the Okanagan-Penticton and Okanagan Westside ridings and serving in Cabinet for eight years and as a member of Treasury Board for nine years (five as Deputy Chair). Before his election, Thorpe held several executive positions in the brewing industry in Canada and internationally, and he was involved in repositioning the B.C. grape and wine industry and was a partner in a successful B.C. winery.

After retiring from the B.C. Legislature, Thorpe served on a number of Boards of Directors, including the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, the Canadian Snowbirds Association, the Summerland Charity Shops Society (Penny Lane), Agur Lake Camp Society, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of British Columbia and Yukon. He was on the Board of Management for the Canada Revenue Agency for six years, four as Chair.

He is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a Certified Management Accountant. He has been awarded the Fellow of Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada and the Fellow of the Society of Management Accountants of Canada.

Rick Thorpe“Yasmin and I continue to watch the growth of Okanagan College, and over the past 22 years have witnessed first-hand what access to higher learning close to home means for our students here in the Okanagan,” says Rick. Yasmin was named an Honorary Fellow in 2012 for her role in promoting children’s literacy and literature and for her service to the Okanagan.

“I’m very proud to be associated with Okanagan College, an institution which is focused on playing a very important role for our students within the Okanagan and Similkameen,” says Rick.

The Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarship, established in 2006, has awarded $112,250 to 53 students entering Okanagan College.

“As an employer, I know first-hand how important the trades training is that Okanagan College provides,” says Waunch. “I have witnessed the investments of time, energy and resources that have led to OC becoming B.C.’s second-largest trades training institution and know the impact that has had on the construction community of our region. I’ll wear the title of Honorary Fellow proudly.”

“I’m honored that the College has chosen to acknowledge my life’s work to bridge cultures. Limlimt,” says Bono. “It has been easy for me to support and provide input into the work Okanagan Colleges does with Indigenous people and others,” she adds. "I have witnessed positive changes and appreciate that the College community is looking for new and creative programs that meet the needs of students and support the further success of Indigenous students.”

“There is a history of revolution in my family and this honour is another part of a lifelong journey that will only serve to strengthen my commitment to making our world in the Okanagan and beyond a better place.”

Since 2006, Okanagan College has been presenting Honorary Fellow Awards to deserving individuals (40, including Bono, Thorpe and Waunch) as part of its annual Convocation Ceremonies. The awards recognize distinguished achievement or service and the recipients represent a broad spectrum of regional, provincial, national and international contributions. The awards acknowledge a diverse array of people, from those who have advanced literacy among youth to individuals whose work has helped create awareness and appreciation of Aboriginal culture. A full list can be found at Okanagan.bc.ca/honourees.

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