Campus Life  

OC Culinary Arts alumnus cooks his way to a spot at Atelier

Okanagan College Media Release

Carson Bibby March 2017Carson Bibby was only 16-years-old when he first had the opportunity to cook alongside some of Canada’s finest chefs at the Canadian Culinary Championships’ Gold Medal Plates finale. A year later and another Gold Medal Plates experience under his belt, the young OC Culinary Arts alumnus’ skills have earned him a job at one of Canada’s most acclaimed restaurants.

Bibby is now a chef de partie at Atelier, an upmarket Ottawa eatery known for its hypermodern style and 12-course tasting menu prepared using the latest techniques in molecular gastronomy. Working under the watchful eye of award-winning Executive Chef Marc Lepine, Bibby is among the top culinary hands crafting an adventurous dining experience that is rarely the same from one night to another.

Bibby served as a sous-chef to Lepine two years running at Gold Medal Plates (Lepine won in 2016), a one-of-a-kind learning experience afforded to OC culinary arts students. This past February, at the conclusion of the event, Lepine made the young chef an offer he couldn’t refuse – a spot in the kitchen at Atelier.

“I was floored by the offer,” says Bibby, who moved to the Okanagan at age nine. “The opportunity to observe and support Chef Lepine at Gold Medal Plates was incredible. I was flattered and honoured that he wanted me to come and work with him.”

Now living Ottawa, Bibby has been working at Atelier for a few weeks. Between moving across Canada and starting work in one of the country’s most unique kitchens, he acknowledges it’s been a whirlwind month.

“I still have a lot to learn,” says Bibby. “It’s a very different kitchen than any I’ve experienced. Every technique, every dish is next-level.”

Bibby credits the dual-credit Culinary Arts program at Okanagan College with helping him build the technical skills he needed to get noticed. The 40-week program is one of more than a dozen offered at the College in partnership with local school districts. The programs are designed to give high school students a chance to get a head start on a career by earning post-secondary credentials while still competing high school.

“OC gave me a really solid foundation of skills and techniques that I knew I would need if I was going to get to a higher level,” says Bibby. “The instructors have a lot of experience and give you a window into what you can expect in the industry.”

The young chef-in-training acknowledges two other important role models in the culinary world.

“Both my father and grandfather reached the level of Gold Seal Chefs,” explains Bibby. “They definitely inspired me to pursue culinary school and pursue this as a career.”

“We couldn’t be prouder of Carson,” says Chef Bernard Casavant, Culinary Manager at Okanagan College. “Our Culinary Arts alumni can be found in top kitchens all over the world and he is an example of one who has managed to open the door to an opportunity, and seize it, through hard work and dedication.”

And while Bibby plans to continue his formal culinary training in the future, those plans are on simmer for a moment. For now, he’s enjoying the challenge of his new position.

“We’re always trying new things, so I get to learn something different every day,” says Bibby. “It’s been a wonderful and unique learning experience so far.”

More information about Okanagan College’s Culinary and Pastry Arts programs can be found at www.okanagan.bc.ca/fwt


Anosh Irani reads at Okanagan College Salmon Arm campus

irani webInternationally-renowned author Anosh Irani will visit Okanagan College on Friday to read from his latest work, which has already garnered numerous award nominations.

Irani will speak in the Student Lounge at the Salmon Arm campus from 7-9 p.m. on Friday, March 24. He will read from his new novel, The Parcel, which was recently a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award.

Event Details:
Who: Anosh Irani, author and playwright
When: 7 – 9 p.m., Friday, March 24
Where: Student Lounge, Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus, 2552 10th Ave NE, Salmon Arm, BC V1E 2S4
What: Book reading, photo op, interview opportunity 

Irani has published three critically acclaimed novels: The Cripple and His Talismans, a national bestseller; The Song of Kahunsha, which was an international bestseller and was shortlisted for Canada Reads and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize; and Dahanu Road, which was nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize.

His play Bombay Black won the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, and his anthology The Bombay Plays: The Matka King & Bombay Black was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award. His work has been translated into 11 languages. His new novel, The Parcel, is published by Knopf. It was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award.

Irani lives in Vancouver and is currently on a tour of the interior. His stop at Okanagan College is part of the College’s Shuswap BookFest initiative. Learn more on the Facebook page.

For more information, please call 250-832-2126 or email [email protected].

Lumby team crowned 2017 Spaghetti Bridge champions

Okanagan College Media Release

SB 2017 Dessert RiddickThe 34
th annual Spaghetti Bridge competition came to a dramatic close today after a duo from Charles Bloom Secondary in Lumby tested their bridge to the point of fail, smashing the competition with a pasta structure that withstood 255.06 kg of load before shattering.

The first-place winning team of Justin Dessert and Hanya Riddick took home the top cash prize of $1,500. The second place bridge was built by James Dessert, also of Lumby, and it held 207.29 kg of load and earned him a cash prize of $1,000.SB 2017 James Dessert

A team of students from UBC Okanagan finished third in the contest, which was postponed after technical difficulties prevented the judges from testing the heavyweight bridges at the initial competition on March 3. Ephraim Nowak and Raphael Nowak built a bridge that failed under 120.58 kg of load.

SB 2017 Nowak“We were extremely pleased to recognize today’s competitors and be able to declare winners in the 2017 competition,” said event organizer Michelle Lowry. “We really appreciate the students’ patience while we worked to resolve our testing issues and are aware of just how much work goes into building these great bridges.”

In order to qualify for the competition, the bridges could not weigh more than 1 kg prior to testing.

Fourth place was not awarded, as the other bridge tested did not meet the minimum threshold of 10 kg of load.

Prize money for the event is generously provided by the event’s sponsors: the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC), PCL Construction, Okanagan College Students’ Union, OP Machine Ltd., WSP Group.


UBC Okanagan conference draws digital media experts

Digital Media in Education conference graphicDigital media experts from across North America will gather at UBC Okanagan from May 17 to 19 for the first-ever Digital Media in Education conference.

As digital media continue to be among the most important and powerful forms of communication in the 21st century, institutions, businesses and governments are building teams of qualified professionals, says conference chair Rosemary Thompson, manager of UBC Studios Okanagan.

“With the growing number of digital media professionals and users within education and business across Canada and the United States, it’s time to build a strong network of peers,” Thompson says. “To foster this emerging network, we’re welcoming people from across a wide range of sectors, from educational institutions, film and animation studios, and anywhere digital media are widely used to communicate and educate.”

The 2017 Digital Media in Education Conference features a variety of industry and educational digital media experts sharing their knowledge through keynotes, workshops and challenges.

Keynote presenter is Shauna Heller, founder of California-based Clay Park, the first virtual reality (VR) strategy and advisory firm for institutions, corporations and developers. Clay Park initiatives focus on introducing 360-degree video and virtual reality into education and enterprise applications. Clay Park is a partner on Oculus’ VR For Good project, the “360 High School Challenge,” which transforms students into 360-degree storytellers.

The conference offers three distinct tracks of sessions and workshops:

  • Digital media creation—exploring how to bring the best work to life, whether it’s through video, web design, motion graphics, graphic design or augmented reality.
  • Digital media in the classroom—uncovering the full potential of digital media for students, educators and researchers.
  • Emerging media —a look at how emerging media, advancing technologies and applications fit into education and the world around us.

“An engaging program of activities will appeal to anyone who knows the value of digital media creation and its importance in communicating to today’s fast-paced and socially networked world,” says Thompson.

Conference registration is now open at dme2017.ok.ubc.ca.


Children who play outside more likely to protect nature as adults

UBC researcher Catherine Broom says children who play outside are likely to care more about nature as adults than kids who don't spend time outdoors.

UBC researcher Catherine Broom says children who play outside are likely to care more about nature as adults than kids who don't spend time outdoors.

Protecting the environment can be as easy as telling your kids to go outdoors and play, according to a new UBC study.

Research by Catherine Broom, assist. prof. in the Faculty of Education at UBC Okanagan, shows that 87 per cent of study respondents who played outside as children expressed a continued love of nature as young adults. Of that group, 84 per cent said taking care of the environment was a priority.

“Developing positive experiences in nature at a young age can influence our attitudes and behaviours towards nature as adults,” says Broom. “It is important to study these childhood experiences in order to develop environmental awareness and action in the next generation.”

The study interviewed 50 university students between the ages of 18 to 25. Of the group, 100 per cent of females stated that they loved or somewhat loved nature and 87 per cent of males responded the same.

While further research is needed, Broom believes that environmental awareness programs like Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, or the Duke of Edinburgh awards may help develop children’s environmental awareness and action, aligning with environmental priorities such as Canada’s goal to cut emissions by 2030.

According to a 2016 report from the Conference Board of Canada, the province’s emissions of greenhouses gasses are on track to increase through 2030, with a current ranking of 14 among 16 peer countries when it comes to environmental performance, only beating the United States and Australia.

“Our findings imply that providing positive childhood experiences in nature, such as outdoor school programs, may help to develop care for the environment in adults,” Broom says. “However, these may not be sufficient unless programs are building knowledge and self-awareness of environmental stewardship.”

Broom believes that schools and early childhood classroom activities should connect positive experiences in nature with mindful learning and reflection that help empower students to take a personal role in protecting the environment by recycling, turning off the lights, and using alternative transportation methods.

“Students need to learn and have a conscious understanding that the decisions we make each day can influence our environment, such as where we buy our food and how we use the Earth’s natural resources.”

Broom’s study was recently published in the Australian Journal of Environmental Education.


Business students shine at WCBC

Okanagan College Media Release

WCB Junior Team March 2017Two individual students and a team from Okanagan College were recognized at the Western Canadian Business Competition (WCBC) hosted at the College’s Kelowna campus last weekend.

WCBC is a comprehensive undergraduate business competition in which student teams are tasked with running a simulated business scenario – exploring everything from marketing to HR – over the course of a hypothetical eight-year timeframe. First-, second- and third-year business students compete at the junior level, while fourth-year students compete as seniors.

At the junior level, the host team from Okanagan College finished second to Capilano University, while College of New Caledonia came third. Capilano was also victorious at the senior level, besting teams from (second-place) Medicine Hat College and (third-place) McMaster University.

“Our team is so proud of the way we worked together and supported one another in the decision making process throughout the competition,” says Loni Johnson, a member of the College’s Junior team and a second-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree student at the Kelowna campus.

“We prepared for more than six weeks,” explains Johnson. “So there has been a huge amount of collaboration and growing together as a team. We also received incredible support from our coaches throughout all that time, which helped us feel ready when the competition began.”

The junior team from OC comprised of Lathan McKinney, Loni Johnson, Mindy Strugnell and Charles Sherman was coached by Okanagan College School of Business professors Scott Overland and Dan Allen.

“It is a privilege to witness Okanagan College students competing in, and professors and employees organizing, such a professional and well-run business competition,” says Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of the College’s School of Business. “In addition to competing at a high level, the teams from Okanagan College were gracious hosts and showcased their skills as they applied their education for which our College and School of Business are renowned. All of the feedback we received confirmed it was a rewarding experience for participants.”

It proved to be a memorable weekend indeed for Johnson and her teammate and fellow first-time competitor Mindy Strugnell. In recognition for their contributions, which helped propel the College’s team to a second place showing, Johnson and Strugnell were presented with the VP Operations Award and the VP HR Award, respectively.

“We couldn’t believe it when the awards were announced,” said Johnson. “As first-time competitors, I think we were both a little shocked. I definitely came away inspired to compete again.”

WCBC has been running for almost three decades. The College has hosted for the past six years. 2017 sponsors included Shaw, Interior Savings and CIBC.

According to Dr. Lynn Sparling, one of organizers for WCBC, support from the business community once again played an important role in the event’s success.

“In addition to the wonderful financial support needed to put on an event of this scale, the local business community really stepped up again in lending their time and expertise to students,” says Sparling, who teaches with the Okanagan College School of Business.

“We had 11 judges from the community who volunteered for three days. That feedback from industry professionals really elevates the competition and enriches the learning experience for students.”

For more information about WCBC, go to www.okanagan.bc.ca/wcbc


UBC research paves way for improved road construction

UBC senior instructor Craig Nichol

UBC senior instructor Craig Nichol

A team of researchers have identified an improved method to predict the strength and durability of shale embankments that line roads.

Called geochemical modelling, this type of analysis can lead to potential savings when it comes to road design and construction, particularly in Saskatchewan.

Craig Nichol, senior instructor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at UBC’s Okanagan campus, says when shale is exposed to the weather, oxidization can occur—along with other geochemical changes which can affect the strength of the material. Shales, rocks that are made of clay or mud,  are used for road bed or embankment construction across the Prairies due to their abundance in this area. Nichol, who worked on the study with engineering researchers at the University of Saskatchewan and York University, says the strength and durability of these materials are central to road construction and design.

“Some shales are low shear strength materials, which means they are not used for road construction, or used with conservative designs. However, the cost of bringing in stronger building materials such as sand and gravel can be high,” he says. “This lead us to the concept that perhaps shale could be used more than previously believed.”

The team studied the residual shear strength of shale within the Lea Park Formation, a dark shale that stretches across parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The researchers used geochemical characterization and geo-chemical modelling methods, along with physical tests, to study the strength and quality of the shale, especially when oxidized by weather.

They determined that qualitatively, near-surface oxidized and leached shales have greater strength than initially believed and predict they won’t be compromised as a result of post-construction handling or weathering.

Nichol, who worked with York University’s Jitendra Sharma, Lee Barbour with Saskatchewan University and Thurber Engineering’s Kenneth Froese, says their research determines that combining traditional physical testing with geochemical modelling is a better method to accurately predict strength properties and can ultimately save money during road design and construction.

“This allows for better confidence when it comes to designing roads, abutments, and bridges especially when there is a concern about weathering,” says Nichol. “Now we know these materials can be used instead of importing materials, like sand and gravel, from a considerable distance away. It’s good to know that shale in this area is stronger than first believed.”

Nichol says their research shows that geochemical modelling is an effective tool, and can make for better practice when it comes to road design and construction.

The research was recently published in the Canadian Geotechnical Journal. And funded by the Saskatchewan Department of Highways and Transportation.


OC Campus Relay paves way for alumnus’ running career

Okanagan College Media Release


For Jeff Vogt, the starting line for two big passions in life – becoming an electrician and taking up running – began at Okanagan College.Jeff Vogt OC Half

Vogt, an alumni of the Electrical program, became an avid runner after first trying the Okanagan College half marathon relay in 2009. He has returned to the race each year to be a part of the feel-good event that raises scholarship funds to support student bursaries.

For Vogt, the relay race was the catalyst for his journey to become a runner.

When friends asked him join their relay team for the race, which was only a week away, he thought they were joking. With encouragement from his team and a few practice runs that week, he agreed.

“My first reaction was that I can’t run in this race. I don’t run,” recalls Vogt. “I was so inexperienced, but I completed my relay leg. The race showed me that my fitness wasn’t where I wanted it to be and watching the half marathon finishers that day I saw what I could achieve.”

Inspired to make a change, Vogt immediately started running every other day to improve his fitness levels.

He quickly advanced to the longer distances the race offers – completing both the 10 K race as well as the half marathon distance. He joined the Kelowna Running Club, where he learned proper training techniques to increase performance and reduce injury. In 2014 he placed third overall in the half marathon distance and came back in 2015 to take a silver medal.

After completing two marathons in 2016, Vogt is looking forward to returning to campus for the half marathon in 2017.

“Everyone has to start somewhere and the relay was my gateway to running, which has become a way of life for me. It’s a really accessible distance for people of different fitness levels and fun to be part of a team effort.”

This year’s race takes place Sunday, April 9 at the Kelowna campus and runners can choose from three different distances: Half Marathon (21.1 K), 10 K and Relay Race (21.1 K, divided by up to five runners.) 

“I love to see runners like Jeff come back year after year,” says Race Director Christine Ulmer. “I was there the first year when he crossed the finish line and have watched him improve to become a contender in all of the distances. He is running fast but more importantly, he is having a great time and encouraging others to get involved – and that’s what this race is all about.”

Following their finish, runners join in the post-race festivities in the Centre for Learning. This year’s highlights include the awards ceremony, a candy bar and delicious creations made by the College’s Culinary and Pastry Arts students. Prize money will be presented to the top three runners in the male and female divisions of the Half Marathon.

To register, find out more about the course or to view entry fee deadlines, visit: www.okanagan.bc.ca/halfmarathon


Shining stars, bright minds win top accolades at UBC Okanagan

UBC Okanagan Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal Deborah Buszard (far left) and UBC Okanagan Vice-Principal Research Philip Barker (far right) congratulate award-winning researchers Mary Jung, Jonathan Holzman, Mike Deyholos, and Susan Frohlick.

UBC Okanagan Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal Deborah Buszard (far left) and UBC Okanagan Vice-Principal Research Philip Barker (far right) congratulate award-winning researchers Mary Jung, Jonathan Holzman, Mike Deyholos, and Susan Frohlick.

Open minds, creative thinking and cutting-edge research have led to top awards for faculty and students at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

This week, the campus marked Celebrate Research Week with a series of public events highlighting current research projects. On Friday UBC Okanagan recognized its Researchers of the Year.

“I applaud all our researchers who are working at our university and I am delighted to honour the 2017 researchers of the year,” says Vice-Principal Research Philip Barker. “Our campus continues to reach new heights and these awards illustrate the top work performed by our research community.”

A tie was declared for Researcher of the Year award between Prof. Michael Deyholos (Natural Sciences) and Assoc. Prof. Jonathan Holzman (Engineering).

Prof. Susan Frohlick was named Social Sciences and Humanities Researcher of the Year and Assist. Prof. Mary Jung was awarded the Health Researcher of the Year.

“I am delighted to recognize the dedication, perseverance and creativity of professors Deyholos, Holzman, Frohlick and Jung,” says Barker. “Their inquiring minds and hard work are producing superb world-class research that will have a significant and lasting impact.”

Student researcher awards were also presented on Friday: Logan Cochrane won the Graduate Student Researcher of the Year award and Jeffery Krupa received the Undergraduate Student Researcher of the Year.

About UBC Okanagan’s award-winning researchers

Co-Researcher of the Year: Professor Michael Deyholos, Natural Sciences

Biology professor Mike Deyholos uses genetics to research physiological processes in plants, which is leading to a better understanding of how plants can be modified to become more drought and pathogen resistant. Much of his research has focussed on flax and its use in the textile and renewable composite fields.

“Mike uses a wide variety of advanced experimental and computational genomic techniques in his research work,” says nominator Gino DiLabio, head of UBC Okanagan’s Chemistry department. “These techniques provide a rich and valuable learning environment for the next generation of young scientists. He continues to elevate his department, the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, and our campus through his collaborative, insightful and impactful research.”

Co-Researcher of the Year: Associate Professor Jonathan Holzman, Engineering

Engineering professor Jonathan Holzman is described by his peers as a catalyst for growth in research. He established the Integrated Optics Laboratory which fosters collaborative research that has put the Okanagan campus on the international map. His research team has put forward major advances in the emerging field of optical wireless communications and is the forerunner in this technology through the introduction of bi-directional optimal wireless communication.

Holzman’s research accomplishments are “truly exceptional,” says nominator Rehan Sadiq, associate dean of the School of Engineering. Sadiq commends Holzman’s continued dedication to research promotion in the community through school tours, lab demonstrations and workshops for elementary and high-school students.

“It is clear that Jonathan is a shining example of success in research at our campus and highly deserving of this award,” says co-nominator Mina Hoorfar, director of the School of Engineering.

Health Researcher of the Year: Assistant Professor Mary Jung

A professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences, Jung’s research has led to successful collaborations with several local and provincial organizations. Notably, Jung’s curiosity and unending research has improved the quality of life of people living with chronic illnesses, says Gord Binsted, dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Development.

“She is a recognized leader in designing novel self-regulatory interventions for improving adherence to exercise and healthy diet for the prevention and treatment of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and chronic disease,” says Binsted, noting Jung has also established interdisciplinary collaborations at UBC, across Canada and in the United States. She is also a leader in the field of research examining psychological responses to high-intensity interval training in active adults.

Social Sciences and Humanities Researcher of the Year: Professor Susan Frohlick

Professor Susan Frohlick’s teaching focus is on cultural anthropology with a special interest in the anthropology of tourism and travel, gender and sexuality, the politics of mobility and transnational/global intimacies. She is described by her peers as an outstanding, innovative and inspiring scholar and teacher.

“Susan is a star among scholars and a mentor among colleagues,” says Pamela Downe, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan who supported her nomination for Researcher of the Year. “Her excellence is unparalleled within anthropology in Canada today.”

Along with balancing the role of department head with teaching and supervising graduate students, Frohlick has also conducted research in tourist-dependent towns in Costa Rica. In addition, she has worked with African immigrants and refugee youths in Winnipeg.


Shorthanded OC team comes out on top at HRC West

Okanagan College Media Release

HRC March 2017A dynamic duo of two Okanagan College students topped the podium at one of Western Canada’s most prestigious HR case competitions over the weekend.

Christie Klein and Adrianna Knuth took first place at the HRC West competition held at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Richmond on March 4. Their win marked the first victory for an Okanagan College team at the event, now in its fourth year.

The victory was all the more impressive due to the fact that Klein and Knuth were forced to compete as a pair when a family emergency prompted their teammate to drop out of the competition only two days prior to the event. The other 14 schools at the event fielded a full team of three competitors plus an alternate.

“Having an added element of adversity really brought us together as a team,” explains Knuth. “We focused on the task at hand and took a lot of confidence from the incredible support of our coaches, and the preparation we had put in over the past few months.”

The way in which the pair rose to the challenge was a source of pride for their coaches Laura Thurnheer and Roger Wheeler, both professors with the Okanagan College School of Business.

“We are extra proud of this team for the way they handled adversity,” says Wheeler. “The extra workload shouldered by Adrianna and Christie was significant and they did more than persevere, they flourished.”

Adding to the challenge of the already fast-paced event was the fact that the team from OC was randomly selected to return to stage to present first in the final round, immediately following the announcement of the final four.

“We literally had minutes to mentally prepare before heading on stage,” explains Klein. “Which was great in a way, in that we didn’t have time to get nervous or overthink our presentation.”

Klein admits that while she and her teammate were calm on stage, emotions ran high when the team from OC was declared the winner.

“When the results were announced, it was pure relief and elation,” says Klein. “We were both so proud to have represented the College, our program, and ourselves so well at such a high-level competition.”

The third time was the charm for Okanagan College at HRC West. This year’s victory builds on a second-place finish last year and a third-place finish the year before.

For their victory, the team received $1500 and student passes to HRMA’s POWER UP Conference and Tradeshow in Vancouver on May 2-3.

Both Klein and Knuth are poised to graduate this year, Klein with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree - Human Resources specialty and Knuth with a BBA Hons. degree - Human Resources specialty and a minor in Communications (which she is on track to complete in just three years), along with a Business Administration diploma specializing in Management.

HRC West is the first business case competition in western Canada dedicated entirely to Human Resources. It was launched in response to a gap in practical learning opportunities for post-secondary students specializing in HR.

Learn more about HRC West at www.hria.ca/hrc-west


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