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Campus Life - Okanagan

College hosts the region’s longest-running Career Fair on Nov. 2

Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College’s 33rd annual Career Fair is taking over the Kelowna campus on Sunday, Nov. 2 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

From practical nursing to pipefitting, English to engineering, this popular event is free and offers the public an opportunity to gain insights about careers and educational paths.

The longest-running event of its kind in the Okanagan Valley, Career Fair is unique because it connects current and future job seekers with education experts and employers to facilitate knowledge sharing about what education and training is required for someone to land their dream job.

“If you have an idea of where you want to go, but not sure how to get there — a university degree, diploma, certificate, vocational program, apprenticeship training – this is the place to find answers,” said event organizer Michelle Lowry.

“All of our programs will be represented and professors and campus staff will be on-hand to advise students, parents and anyone interested in anything related to post-secondary education, including transfer opportunities,” said Lowry. 

The event also features educational seminars on a wealth of topics including, Ask a Tradesperson, Becoming a Commercial Diver, Finding Money For Your Education, College Prep 101 for Parents, Tour the Universe, Immigration Options for International Students and Foreign Workers, and What WorkBC Can Do for You. There will be lots of chances to win prizes, including a $500 tuition credit to any Okanagan College program and dinner for two at Infusions Restaurant.

“All of our trades shops will be open and we’ll have demonstrations going on all day,” said Steve Moores, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “And we’ll have staff there to help people interested in obtaining information about trades training and apprenticeship.”

Attendees will be able to watch a car getting crushed by a front-end loader and the Kelowna Fire Department using the Jaws of Life to open it up.

Foodies can go behind-the-scenes in Culinary Arts and learn how to make cinnamon buns, sugar spirals, and chicken sates as well as enjoy samples of these tasty treats.

Parking for the event is free. Application fees will be waived for anyone who puts his or her name on a list at the Registrar’s office during the event and then applies for an Okanagan College program between Nov. 3 and 7 (for programs starting fall 2015). 

For more information, visit:


Okanagan College meets industry demand with tuition-free truck driver training program

Okanagan College Media Release

In the provincial government’s Labour Market Outlook 2022, transport truck drivers were identified as number two in the top 10 most-needed professions. It’s estimated that the province will need a whopping 18,000 drivers by 2022.

“Those numbers are staggering,” says Steve Moores, Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “But the College is partnering with both industry and the government to fill that gap and provide workers with the skills they need to be competitive in the future.”

To that end, Okanagan College joined forces seven years ago with Taylor Pro Training, a leader in truck driver training, to offer Class 1 Driver Training. This experiential, full-time program covers the broad range of hands-on skills necessary to find employment as a transport truck driver and can be completed in just six weeks.

What’s more, the provincial government, realizing this looming shortage, has provided full funding for the program to eligible applicants through the Canada-British Columbia Job Fund. Of the 32 students who participated last year in the tuition-free program, 29 found employment in the trucking industry.

To be eligible for the funding, applicants must be unemployed, legally entitled to work in Canada, a resident of B.C., not currently receiving employment insurance or have not received it in the last three years, not enrolled in high school or another post-secondary training program, and not participating in another government-funded program.

The Class 1 Driver Training program has new intakes across the Okanagan, including Revelstoke on Oct. 27, Salmon Arm on Nov. 3, Vernon on Dec. 15, and Penticton on Jan. 19, 2015.

To find out more about the program and eligibility for funding, contact Shawna Klempner at 250-762-5445, ext. 4479, or toll-free at 1-877-755-2266, ext. 4479.

UBC professor receives grant to improve cancer survivors' health

Canadian Cancer Society contributes $199,780 for Canada-wide research

Cristina Caperchione

Cristina Caperchione has received a $199,780 grant from the Canadian Cancer Society to investigate novel approaches to increasing physical activity for survivors of breast cancer.

There are few Canadians who don’t know a friend, sister, mother, or daughter unaffected by breast cancer.

Many of Canada’s 150,000 survivors of breast cancer require post-treatment care for the debilitating effects that can result from treatment, and physical activity can compound potential post-treatment chronic health risks.

Asst. Prof. Cristina Caperchione of UBC’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences has received a Lotte & John Hecht Memorial Foundation Innovation Grant from the Canadian Cancer Society for $199,780, to investigate novel approaches to increasing physical activity for survivors of breast cancer.

The primary purpose of the three-year research project is to examine what motivates survivors to increase their physical activity. The goal is to empower breast cancer survivors.

“I want to provide these strong women with the opportunity to optimise their own strengths, and knowledge, to improve their post-treatment quality of life,” says Caperchione.

Existing research has identified that generic physical activity programs do not necessarily meet the needs of survivors, which has highlighted the demand for innovative programming.

“The program should reflect the ‘real-world’ situations that survivors are most likely to find themselves in,” says Caperchione.

"Dr. Caperchione's research is vital for reducing the barriers to participation in physical activity for survivors of breast cancer. Doing so will reduce the health care burden and, more important, improve the quality of life in this patient population,” says Prof. Paul van Donkelaar, director of the School of Health and Exercise Sciences.

Caperchione will develop the study with her first focus on women who are living in the Okanagan.



Registration opens for popular 3-Hour Short Story Contest

Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College is calling all budding writers to exercise their creativity and participate in the 3-Hour Short Story Contest taking place on all four College campuses on Nov. 1. 

The recent accolades lauded on short story authors are a testament to the genre’s increasing popularity. Last year, Alice Munro won the Noble Prize in Literature for her body of work and Lynn Coady won the prestigious Giller Prize for a book of shorts called Hellgoing.

“There’s a lot of talk these days about the short story being a more relevant form for the digital age, since information and entertainment are moving steadily towards shorter texts, videos, and sound bites that can be easily consumed and enjoyed in one sitting,” says Okanagan College English Professor and event organizer Corinna Chong.

“Short stories are also the best way for a writer to learn and practice the fundamental principles of narrative before they move onto longer forms like the novel,” she says.

For this contest, writers will not only be challenged with a time constraint all stories must be written in a designated location within a three-hour time period but they’ll also have to find a way to incorporate a “secret phrase” that won’t be revealed until the moment the contest begins. 

Last year, more than 70 students took part, including Okanagan College student Mary Bevan from Kelowna, who won with her story The Use in Usefulness.

“The surprise phrase and the three-hour time limit meant no one was more prepared than anyone else,” says Bevan. “We were all starting with a blank sheet.”

The 3-Hour Short Story Contest is open to students in Grade 11 and 12, and those attending Okanagan College. The competition takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1 at the College’s Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton campuses. Writers will work on College computers and will not be able to access any pre-written material or anything online.

Four prizes of a $250 tuition credit will be handed out – one for each campus winner. The grand prize winner will be chosen from those four and receive an additional $250 tuition credit as well as have their story published in a limited fine-print edition by the Kalamalka Press.

This popular contest is free but can only accommodate a limited number of entrants, so interested scribes are encouraged to register early. Deadline for entry is 12 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31. 

Visit to sign up.

Award-winning photographer reveals rarely seen spectacular and threatened B.C. landscape

Okanagan College Media Release

Ian McAllister Oct 2014The Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia is globally renowned for its astonishing biodiversity. Encompassing 21 million acres from Vancouver Island to Southeast Alaska, the area is the largest coastal temperate rainforest on earth. Comprised of a complex landscape of ocean, mountains, glacier-carved fjords and old growth forests, it is home to such species as cougars, wolves, salmon, grizzly bears and Kermode—a unique species of black bear in which one in 10 cubs have a white coat. 

“This treasured habitat is also one of the most endangered landscapes on the planet—under significant threat of destruction from massive energy projects,” says Ian McAllister, award-winning photographer and co-founder of the wildlife conservation organization Pacific Wild. 

A long-time Great Bear Rainforest resident, McAllister will reveal his explorations from the headwaters of the region’s river valleys down to the hidden depths of the offshore world in his talk The Great Bear Wild: Why Should We Care About its Protection? on Monday, Nov.3 at 7:30 p.m. at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus Lecture Theatre. 

McAllister is the author of The Great Bear Rainforest, winner of the B.C. Bookseller’s Choice Award, and his images have appeared in publications around the world. He has been honoured by The Globe and Mail as one of 133 highly accomplished Canadians, and he and his wife, Karen McAllister, were named by Time magazine as “Leaders of the 21st Century” for their efforts to protect B.C.’s rainforest. He is a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers and has won the North America Nature Photography Association's Vision Award and the Rainforest Action Network's Rainforest Hero Award. Brother Bear Oct 2014

McAllister’s new book The Great Bear Wild, a stunning collection of photographs and personal narrative, is the product of 25 years of research, exploration, and campaigning within the spectacular area he calls home.

The Great Bear Wild is presented in collaboration with Pacific Wild, and is part of the Science in Society Speaker Series (a joint project by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre), which is sponsored by the Best Western Vernon Lodge, Cooper’s Foods, Starbucks Coffee, and the Vernon Morning Star.

Admission is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For tickets, call the Okanagan Science Centre at 250-545-3644 or visit To subscribe or obtain more information about the Science in Society Speaker Series, visit

Mini-Med lecture series has focus on technology, health innovation

Mini-Med 2014

UBC Okanagan offers opportunities to learn about medical discoveries

UBC’s popular health-education series is back starting Oct. 28 – with a special focus on new technologies and cutting-edge innovation in health.

Mini-Med is one of the ways UBC Okanagan is sharing expertise with the community, offering a unique opportunity to learn in a 21st century classroom about current medical issues and how the latest research can teach us more about our own health. New this year, UBC Vancouver professors team up with UBC Okanagan researchers and local practitioners to deliver topics ranging from smart phone apps to detection of Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Haakon Nygaard, the new Fipke Professor in Alzheimer’s Research, has joined the UBC Faculty of Medicine from the Yale School of Medicine and will deliver a lecture on new diagnostics for Alzheimer’s disease, along with co-presenter, Assoc. Prof. of pharmacology Andis Klegeris, on Tuesday, Nov. 18.

Dr. Kendall Ho, director of the eHealth Strategy office in the Faculty of Medicine, joins UBC Okanagan researcher and Asst. Prof. Mary Jung for a lecture on smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices and how they are changing the frontlines of medicine.

The Mini-Med series is tailored for lifelong learners in the Okanagan. The course includes a four-course curriculum that is scientific and leading-edge -- and class participation is encouraged. Moderated by Jan Cioe, a UBC professor of psychology and registered psychologist, classes take place at UBC’s Clinical Academic Campus, Kelowna General Hospital (KGH), 2312 Pandosy St., Kelowna.

Each class includes a one-hour presentation followed by 30 minutes for questions. Participants can register for the whole lecture series or individual lectures. The series is open to members of the public, UBC Okanagan alumni, donors, students, faculty, and staff.

Tuition for the series: $49; second adult $35; seniors (65+) $35; students $25. Single-class registration $16. All pricing plus GST. For the full lineup and registration details visit:

The lectures run from 7 to 9 p.m.:

  • Tuesday October 28, 2014: Wireless Wellness
    Emerging mobile technologies in health & medicine
    Speakers: Asst. Prof. Mary Jung; and Dr. Kendall Ho, MD
  • Tuesday November 4, 2014: Lungs and Cancer: Clearing the Air
    What everyone needs to know about emerging strategies for fighting the deadliest cancer
    Speaker: Dr. Islam Mohamed, MD, radiation oncologist
  • Wednesday November 12, 2014: Sound Advice on Hearing
    How hearing (and hearing loss) affects your brain 
    Speaker: Dr. Paul Mick, otolaryngologist/head and neck surgeon
  • Tuesday November 18, 2014: New Diagnostics for Alzheimer’s
    Dementia prevention strategies and new diagnostic technologies
    Speakers: Assoc. Prof. Andis Klegeris; and Dr. Haakon Nygaard, MD
Dr. Haakon Nygaard, a neurologist and Fipke Professor in Alzheimer's Research, describes his research to Charles Fipke. Nygaard is a presenter at UBC Okanagan’s Mini-Med health lecture series. Photo credit: Martin Dee, UBC

Dr. Haakon Nygaard, a neurologist and Fipke Professor in Alzheimer's Research, describes his research to Charles Fipke. Nygaard is a presenter at UBC Okanagan’s Mini-Med health lecture series. Photo credit: Martin Dee, UBC


Do you think of ink?

Okanagan College Media Release

For as many books, magazines, and newspapers that you have read, you may never have asked yourself about the social life of ink.Ted Bishop Oct 2014

nd that’s where Ted Bishop, an internationally recognized author and academic, is different from the rest of us.

In his role as a professor of English literature and film studies at the University of Alberta, Bishop is known for “poring over stains on paper made by some of the greatest minds in literature” (to borrow words from his publisher). Recently, though, the Edmonton-based Bishop started to contemplate the ink itself. And a forthcoming book, The Social Life of Ink: Culture, Wonder And Our Relationship With The Written Word, will reveal the discoveries he has made along a route that traverses thousands of years, continents, cultures and technologies.

He’ll be reading from the soon-to-be-released book, being published by Penguin Random House Canada, at a presentation at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m., as part of a week-long College initiative to highlight authors, scholarly and creative activity, and research.

“We take ink for granted,” says Bishop. “Unless the pen or the printer runs out of it.

“But this is a miraculous invention that really goes to the heart of our culture. There are countless fascinating aspects to this ubiquitous substance - I found myself enthralled as I researched the topic.”

InkBishop has a pedigree that promises a rewarding read. He had published on Virginia Woolf, James Joyce and modernist publishing but, after a motorcycle crash in which he broke his back and collapsed his lungs, he wrote his first cross-over book: Riding with Rilke, an account of a motorcycle ride from Edmonton to Austin, Texas to work in the James Joyce archives at the Harry Ransom Center

The book garnered a Governor-General’s award nomination in Canada, and 11 words of praise in Playboy magazine in the U.S. (You can read more about Bishop at 

“Ted is a highlight of our week of focusing on authors, scholarly and creative activity and research,” explains Ross Tyner, Okanagan College’s Director of Library Services. “We invited him to come to read from his forthcoming book because he bridges the gap between the academic world and popular literature. His first book was a fascinating read and I expect this work will be too.”

The week-long celebration at the College features many of the institution’s own faculty and staff who are accomplished and nationally known for their books, novels, articles and research, explains Tyner. 

“We have organized an entire series of presentations and lectures that span the region and an array of topic areas, as well as displays of OC authors’ work in each OC campus library.”

All are open to the public – a complete list can be found online at

UBC Biology’s Birds calendar takes off again

A male and female western bluebird pair check out a likely prospect in the ponderosa pine forest at UBC's Okanagan campus, as seen in the Birds of the UBC Okanagan Campus 2015. Photo credit: Ian Walker

A male and female western bluebird pair check out a likely prospect in the ponderosa pine forest at UBC's Okanagan campus, as seen in the Birds of the UBC Okanagan Campus 2015. Photo credit: Ian Walker

Fundraising photo project covers campus, now on sale

A colourful collection of photos showing the diversity of UBC Okanagan’s campus wildlife is back by popular demand—and now on sale.

The limited-edition Birds of the UBC Okanagan Campus 2015 wall calendar was created by a trio of camera-wielding biology professors in the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences. Sales proceeds go toward undergraduate education.

The calendar is a labour of love, says contributor Assoc. Prof. Bob Lalonde.

"We're thrilled to be able to combine birding and photography into a fundraising activity that benefits our students," says Lalonde, adding that it has been so popular, the wildlife calendar may very well become an annual tradition.

Following the success of last year's Birds of the UBC Okanagan Pond calendar, Assoc. Profs. Lalonde, Blythe Nilson, and Ian Walker took a wide-angle view.

The new calendar is now only $15 while the photographers’ coverage is significantly greater: Birds of the UBC Okanagan Campus 2015 Calendar shows a vast array of the winged ones seen across campus—all 516 acres (209 hectares) of it. That includes photos of a bald eagle, mourning dove, and woodpecker; a bluebird couple in the ponderosa pine forest; and a hallmark species at Robert Lake, American avocets.

Sales of last year's calendar raised $2,500. To boost sales this year, the price was lowered from $20 to $15. Sales proceeds go towards undergraduate education, offsetting costs for such things as lab supplies and printing for students involved in research projects.

Birds of the UBC Okanagan Campus 2015 Calendar is available for purchase at the UBC Okanagan Bookstore (Administration Building) and Mosaic Books, 411 Bernard Ave., Kelowna.

The photographers

If you want to capture a rare sighting of sandhill cranes at Robert Lake, you need patience, timing, and the right gear. Here's the go-to photo equipment used by UBC Assoc. Biology Profs. Bob Lalonde, Blythe Nilson, and Ian Walker when they go birding:

  • Bob Lalonde: Uses a Canon EOS digital rebel, Canon 400mm f5.6 L series lens, and monopod. This setup sets a good compromise between quality and portability, he says. “The L series lenses are all excellent, and the 400mm is one of the most affordable. Digital rebel cameras are not full-frame, but the sensor is excellent and the smaller size provides an added ‘crop factor’ that turns a 400mm lens into a 560mm lens. There are more expensive and sharper alternatives, but none of them are as light and handy!”
  • Ian Walker: Principally uses a Nikon D5000 camera body equipped with a Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 lens. The lens incorporates auto-focus and vibration reduction, and is much less expensive than any comparable Nikon lenses, he says. “This kit provides somewhat greater magnification, but it is distinctly heavier and bulkier than Lalonde’s setup. Few people will have my tolerance for lugging this lens all day in the field.”
  • Blythe Nilson: Uses a Canon Rebel T1i with a Canon 100-400 L series lens. “I need to upgrade,” she says.
A yellow rumped warbler forages in the campus oaks, as seen in the Birds of the UBC Okanagan Campus 2015. Photo credit: Bob Lalonde

A yellow rumped warbler forages in the campus oaks, as seen in the Birds of the UBC Okanagan Campus 2015. Photo credit: Bob Lalonde

Bohemian waxwings need to eat snow to wash down their sugar-rich diet of berries, as seen in the Birds of the UBC Okanagan Campus 2015. Photo credit: Bob Lalonde

Bohemian waxwings need to eat snow to wash down their sugar-rich diet of berries, as seen in the Birds of the UBC Okanagan Campus 2015. Photo credit: Bob Lalonde

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Residential Construction students use skills to support local family

Okanagan College Media Release

Armstrong Res Con Oct 2014A team of 15 Okanagan College trades students put their skills to good use for a worthy cause this summer.  

The students, who took the Residential Construction Foundation program in Armstrong, which ran from February to August, were working digging holes and laying backfill at a project house when it was delayed due to weather conditions. 

Residential Construction Instructor Les Shuert needed to find an alternative project to fill the gap. When he was telling John Aarestad, building supply manager at Shepherd’s Home Hardware about his problem, Aarestad suggested the students try out their new skills building two 8-by-10 foot garden sheds and the store would donate the materials. 

As the students began building the sheds, tragedy struck Okanagan College Carpentry Instructor Gerry Leverrier when his four-year-old granddaughter Megan was diagnosed with a rare liver disease and sent to the Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto for treatment. Megan lives in Salmon Arm with her parents, Gerry’s son Jamie, who is an RCMP corporal with the Salmon Arm detachment, her mom Michelle, and her younger brother Gavin.

Shuert and his colleague Okanagan College Tool Room Attendant Brian Thomas jumped on the opportunity to help the young family and asked Aarestad if they could donate the sheds to an auction that the RCMP was holding to help the Leverrier’s with expenses related to the family’s extended stay in Toronto. He agreed and together the sheds were sold for nearly $1,000 at the auction in July. 

“Building the sheds gave the students an opportunity to do things they wouldn’t otherwise have had the chance to do, such as affixing roofing material, hanging doors and building rafters, which really helped develop their on-the-job skills,” says Shuert.

“While it’s hard to beat the pride you feel from seeing a finished project, knowing it was helping a family going through a really difficult time made it even that much more rewarding for the students,” he says.

Okanagan College is currently accepting applications for the next intake of its 30-week Residential Construction program in Salmon Arm, which starts February 2015. The program provides students with the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge to seek employment as an Apprentice Carpenter in the residential construction industry.

Alex Janvier is UBC artist-in-residence from Oct. 4 to 17

Alex Janvier

Celebrated Aboriginal artist Alex Janvier is UBC’s artist-in-residence.

Celebrated artist to create new works, includes exhibition at Kelowna Art Gallery

Alex Janvier, one of Canada’s most iconic Aboriginal artists, arrives at UBC Okanagan for two weeks as artist-in-residence.

During his residency at UBC from October 4 to 17, Janvier will convert the Fine Arts (FINA) Gallery into an artist studio, producing new paintings in a spirit of community and collaboration. The public is invited to visit the gallery from Monday to Friday, 2 to 5 p.m., to see the artist at work over the course of his stay.

“This is absolutely tremendous,” says Ashok Mathur, head of the Department of Creative Studies. “The entire UBC community will be able to see this world-renowned artist in the very act of his practice. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

There will also be an opportunity to view more of Janvier’s art, as the exhibition 7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. featuring his work opens at the Kelowna Art Gallery on Friday, October 17, running until Sunday, January 4, 2015.

Born of Dene Suline and Saulteaux descent in 1935, Janvier was raised in the nurturing care of his family until the age of eight. Then the young Janvier was uprooted from his home and sent to the Blue Quills Indian Residential School near St. Paul, Alberta. Although Janvier speaks of having a creative instinct from as far back as he can remember, it was at the residential school that he was given the tools to create his first paintings.

Unlike many Aboriginal artists of his time, Janvier received formal art training from the Alberta College of Art in Calgary and graduated with honours in 1960. Immediately after graduation, Janvier took up an opportunity to instruct art at the University of Alberta.

In 2012, the new Janvier Gallery opened on Cold Lake First Nations 149B, which is located north of the City of Cold Lake, Alberta.

About Alex Janvier

While Janvier recognizes the work of Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky and Swiss artist Paul Klee as influences, his style is unique. Many of his masterpieces involve an eloquent blend of both abstract and representational images with bright, often symbolic colours. As a First Nations person emerging from a history of oppression and many struggles for cultural empowerment, Janvier paints both the challenges and celebrations that he has encountered in his lifetime. He proudly credits the beadwork and birch bark basketry of his mother and other relatives as influencing his art.

As a member of the commonly referred to “Indian Group of Seven,” Janvier is one of the significant pioneering Aboriginal artists in Canada, and as such has influenced many generations of Aboriginal artists. By virtue of his art, Janvier was selected to represent Canada in a Canadian/Chinese Cultural Exchange in 1985. Although he has completed several murals nationally, Janvier speaks of the 450 metre-squared masterpiece entitled Morning Star at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, as a major highlight in his career.


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