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Campus Life - Okanagan

Culinary scholarship is gravy for determined cooking student

Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College culinary arts student Dayna Duckworth-Dolan was more than a little surprised this month when she learned that Dayna Dolan Nov 2014she had won one of the three $1,500 B.C. Hospitality Foundation Scholarships selected by the Chefs’ Table Society of British Columbia and sponsored by SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts.

“Overwhelmed, excited, shocked and amazed” is the way the composed Professional Cook Level 2 student explains her reaction. “I didn’t even know I had been nominated until a few days before when Chef Bernard (Casavant) let me know that I was among those being considered.”

It is the first time a culinary arts student from the Okanagan has been chosen to receive the scholarship, which also came with an opportunity to participate as a fully registered delegate to the CONNECT Food+Drink+Lodging Show in Vancouver, that included an industry breakfast where the awards were presented.

Casavant, who is the College’s Culinary Manager, says he had the pleasure of watching Duckworth-Dolan in action at a Fall Wine Festival event held at the College where her professionalism and enthusiasm shone. “She has poise, confidence and a desire to learn. She just has it.”

From Duckworth-Dolan’s perspective, the financial support is welcome, but more than that the scholarship communicates industry support and interest in her career choice. “Having somebody else tell me that they value my efforts and career choice means a great deal. It’s an extra catalyst to tell me this was the right industry for me.”

“That's precisely what the scholarship program is all about,” explains Alan Sacks, executive director of the B.C. Hospitality Foundation. “Our primary mandate is to support members of the hospitality industry who face a financial crisis due to a medical condition. In addition, with our scholarship program, we want to encourage and inspire the next generation of leaders in our industry. We are excited to be able to assist Dayna as she builds a successful career in British Columbia.”

Duckworth-Dolan was taking a management program at another institution when she decided – with the support of her family – to explore something that had always been of great interest to her: a career in the culinary arts. She’s confident now her decision was the right one at a “life-changing fork in the road.”

“This industry is fast-paced, ever-changing and has so many avenues you can explore. The chef-instructors at the College are incredible,” says Duckworth-Dolan. “It’s like having a thesaurus of chefs. You ask about something and you will learn about the different ways you can approach it. There’s never a question that goes unanswered and you get amazing constructive feedback. They are interested in helping you increase speed and boost your creativity.

“I’m only 24. I have a long, exciting career ahead of me in this industry. I know I want experience in a variety of settings, from small bistros to large hotels where you can cook for thousands. I really believe the spice of life is variety.”

Okanagan College offers intakes into its culinary arts program at various times of the year. The next intake is January, 2015. For more information, you can call 250 762-5445 ext 4592.


Budding authors encouraged to enter short story contest

Cash prizes available in the 17th annual Okanagan Short Fiction Contest

Fiction writers are being encouraged to put their creative thinking caps on and get busy.

Entries are now being accepted for the Okanagan Short Fiction Contest. The annual contest has been running for 17 years, and is sponsored by UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (FCCS), the Central Okanagan Foundation, and the Kelowna Capital News.

“This contest is a huge boost to emerging writers in the region,” says UBC creative writing instructor Mark Giles. “Former winners have gone on to create significant reputations for themselves. The two most recent novels by 2008 winner Ashley Little won BC Book Prizes this year and the 2012 winner, Karen Hofmann, just published her first novel.”

Winners enjoy a claim to fame and cash prizes. The first-place winner will receive $500, while the second- and third-place winners receive $200 and $100 respectively. The overall winner also has the opportunity to spend one week in a retreat at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre.

The Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre is located in a 3.5-hectare nature conservancy in Kelowna’s Mission area and is a part of an agreement between UBC, the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, and the FCCS. The FCCS manages a large heritage home with three self-contained apartments.

Marie Clements, UBC Okanagan’s 2015 Writer-in-Residence, will select the best three stories in the spring. The contest invites all southern interior writers east of Hope, west of the Alberta border, north of the American border and south of Williams Lake to submit their original unpublished works of fiction. The deadline for submissions is Thursday, January 15.

Stories ranging from 1,000 to 4,000 words are eligible; all entries must be original, unpublished works of fiction, submitted on 8 ½” by 11” plain white paper, double-spaced, and typed. There is no limit on the number of entries, but a $15 entry fee is required with each.

For more information, contact Mark Giles at 250-807-8035, or [email protected]. Complete contest rules can be found at


College students’ social enterprise to benefit local homeless men

Okanagan College Media Release

InnSpire Nov 2014A new social enterprise developed by students from Okanagan College’s Enactus team is kicking off this month and will benefit local residents of Chandler House in Kelowna. 

Chandler House is Inn from the Cold’s newest residence and is home to eight chronically homeless men in Kelowna. The residence is a safe place for the men to rest, take a shower, and have a hot meal. In short, it’s a place for them to call home.

After receiving a large donation of soaps, Inn from the Cold connected with the College’s Enactus team and a unique opportunity emerged - a chance to generate income for the not-for-profit, while giving students a chance to put their business skills to the test by developing a plan for a legitimate social enterprise. 

After months of planning and hard work, the team from Enactus and Inn from the Cold are launching InnSpire. The students have created a business plan for selling the donated soap, and this has included marketing, packaging, advertising, and sales. The soap will be available for purchase next week in a variety of locations.

“Working on InnSpire has been truly rewarding because it has given us a chance to help an organization that has helped so many in our community,” said Brent Basil, Okanagan College student and InnSpire Project Manager.

The team hopes to develop a sustainable source of income that not only benefits Inn from the Cold, but also raises awareness about the organization as a whole. Future goals include expanding the product line, establishing long-term relationships with vendors, and possibly implementing a mentorship program that involves working directly with the men of Chandler House.

Enactus Okanagan College is partnering with various organizations to bring the product to the community, including KLO Middle School, Save-on Foods and Okanagan College.

InnSpire will be selling beauty soaps made from all-natural ingredients, and types include Tea Tree, Honey Oatmeal, Lemon Grass, and more. 

The bundles consist of:

  • Singles squares at $5 each.
  • Three-packs of ovals for $10 apiece.

Soaps can be purchased at the following locations:

  • K. L. O. Christmas Craft Fair at K. L. O. Middle School (Saturday, Nov. 29)
  • A Touch of Christmas Fair at New Life Church (Saturday, Nov. 29)
  • Christmas Shop and Swap at the Laurel Building (Sunday, Dec. 7)
  • Save On Foods at Orchard Plaza (every Sunday between Nov. 30 and Dec. 14)
  • Okanagan College Centre for Learning atrium (Dec. 2 and 4)

Visit the team’s Facebook page for more information: or email [email protected].


UBC faculties taking steps to create healthy lives for seniors

UBC Southern Medical Program student Celine Akyurekli (centre) leads a walk around the block with Walk n’ Talk for Your Life participants in West Kelowna.

UBC Southern Medical Program student Celine Akyurekli (centre) leads a walk around the block with Walk n’ Talk for Your Life participants in West Kelowna.

Companionship and exercise two main ingredients of Walk n’ Talk for your Life

Eighty-year-old Marguerite Burke led a rather sedentary life until she heard about UBC Okanagan’s Walk n’ Talk for Your Life program.

Initially joining to get out and meet people, Burke soon realized the twice-weekly walks increased her activity level and her sense of well-being. As a bonus, she made new friends.

Walk n’ Talk is the brainchild of Dr. Charlotte Jones, Associate Professor of Medicine with UBC’s Southern Medical Program. Jones’ team consists of UBC students from several disciplines, including the Southern Medical Program, nursing, human kinetics, social work, and psychology. The group hosts regular discussions about health concerns; and leads twice-weekly community walks.

Jones is the principal investigator of the research study that accompanies Walk n’ Talk. Central Okanagan residents aged 55 years and older are encouraged to participate in the program, which involves some physical activity. Based on New Zealand’s Otago Exercise program, it’s designed specifically to prevent falls by introducing leg-muscle strengthening, balance exercises, and a regular walking routine.

“It’s a valid program for seniors and we find if they include the walk—for about 30 minutes at least three times a week at their own pace and ability—it’s a great step in leading them to a healthy lifestyle,” says Jones. “There are lot of seniors in this area who live isolated lives and getting them involved in a program like this goes a long way to improve their quality of life.”

Burke lives independently with her husband but wanted to meet more like-minded people. She was hesitant at first, concerned about adopting a new exercise routine. She says Walk n’ Talk has certainly improved the quality of her life.

“This has helped me get back on my feet,” Burke says. “At my age, I want to be able to continue to enjoy walks, and being able to find new people to walk with has been a wonderful experience.”

Second-year UBC medical student Celine Akyurekli is one of several students helping with the interdisciplinary research project. She assists in exercise programs, teaches education modules, and is collecting data. She too enjoys her Thursday morning walks with seniors at the Heritage Retirement Residence in West Kelowna.

“The social aspect of this is very important,” Akyurekli says. “We’re able to connect people together, and they’re making the commitment to come out each week so they can visit while they enjoy their walk. It’s wonderful to see friendships develop.”

Registration is free for Walk n’ Talk. The next one session takes place at Global Fitness (1574 Harvey Ave, Kelowna) starting January 7. Participants begin the 10-week session with an interview and basic health testing (blood pressure, hearing, mobility function, grip strength test, walking pace), before and after the program.

It will be the fourth edition of Walk n’ Talk in the community, and while it’s early to analyze the data, Jones is encouraged by preliminary numbers. Previous Walk n’ Talk participants have reported their overall perceptions about personal health and well-being have improved, while measures of loneliness and isolation have shown a trend towards improvement, along with measures of mobility function. Overall, participants report an increasing confidence level in performing various activities without fear of losing balance.

“We have had a few participants who were quite sedentary and withdrawn. They have come back to us and told us that their whole life has been turned around by the program,” says Jones. “The basic principle is empowerment and motivation for seniors.”

For more information about the next session, or to register, contact project coordinator Chella Percy at 250-807-8042 or [email protected].

Or visit:

UBC Associate Professor Charlotte Jones talks with a group of Walk n’ Talk participants at the Heritage Retirement Residence.

UBC Associate Professor Charlotte Jones talks with a group of Walk n’ Talk participants at the Heritage Retirement Residence.


New federal-provincial grant program opens doors for employers with training needs

Okanagan College Media Release

Area businesses should take note of the new Canada Job Grant program, if they have employees with training requirements or need to train prospective employees, suggests Dennis Silvestrone, Okanagan College’s Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Development.

“Under the new program, employers can access a subsidy of up to two-thirds of the cost (to a maximum of $10,000 per employee) for training that will help them in their work,” notes Silvestrone. (The training can be extended to both current and future employees but has to be provided by a third-party trainer.) 

The Canada Job Grant is part of the $65 million Canada-British Columbia Job Fund Agreement provided by the Government of Canada. While the grant will help employers and employees get the skills they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow, the fund will also ensure training programs exist to give vulnerable workers the skills to enter or progress in the job market.

Silvestrone is hoping employers will consider Okanagan College as a source of that training and expertise as they contemplate applying for the program.

“We have a variety of training opportunities that employers can access as they consider their needs,” he says. “From trades to health care, from project management to leadership to occupation-specific programs there is a great deal that Okanagan College has to offer.”

The training identified as eligible for the Canada Job Grant program includes, but is not limited to: 
  • Essential skills training
  • Technical training
  • Business training
  • Management and leadership training
  • Short-term certificate training

The training grant is available to private and not for profit sector employers. Participants need be Canadian citizens, permanent residents or designated as people entitled to work in Canada by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

The training has to be completed within 52 weeks of receiving grant approval. The grant covers tuition fees or trainer-charged fees, mandatory student fees, fees for textbooks, software and other materials as well as examination fees.

Employers interested in the program can visit for further information.

To find out how Okanagan College can help and for more about its programs and opportunities to meet employer needs, contact:

Employers can also visit or for more information.

UBC celebrates opening of Okanagan Special Collections Room

Chief Librarian Heather Berringer (left) and librarian Arielle Lomness

Okanagan campus Chief Librarian Heather Berringer (left) and librarian Arielle Lomness look over a few of the materials donated for UBC Okanagan’s Special Collections Room.

Library dedicates space to document region’s history, literature, and culture

The Okanagan campus library is now home to a Special Collections Room—a unique area dedicated primarily to books and materials that relate specifically to the life and history of the Okanagan.

Thanks to donor funding, co-op student Grant Hurley worked to identify materials appropriate for a regional Okanagan special collection.

“Grant was able to analyze our existing holdings and determine which materials—and what specific geographic areas—would be most appropriate for a collection of this type, says Chief Librarian Heather Berringer. “In order to successfully develop a comprehensive collection for a specific region, it is critical to keep it highly focused.”

Once guidelines were established, UBC Okanagan librarians consulted librarians from other institutions including Okanagan College, the University of Northern BC, Thompson Rivers University, and Selkirk College to compare notes, ensuring that UBC Okanagan’s compilation would complement existing collections.

UBC also developed a collections policy that identifies what materials belong in a regional “Okanagan" special collection, analyzed existing holdings—both in the Okanagan and Vancouver collections, and began its bibliographic analysis of the body of publication by Okanagan authors or those relating to the Okanagan Valley.

In collaboration with colleagues in UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections unit, materials were transferred between the Okanagan and Vancouver campuses.

“UBC Okanagan as an institution, is committed not only to research but also to its community, developing space and collections to recognize the history, literature, culture, and evolution of the Okanagan Valley,” says Berringer. “We have an important role to play in the preservation and navigation of these collections, in order to ensure that they are available for future generations.”

Berringer says things became even more exciting when the library caught the attention of a donor through the Vancouver Foundation, who provided funding for the redevelopment of an existing room in the library to house and display the special collections. Local historian Sharron Simpson also donated a significant archival collection of books, photographs, textual documents, and artifacts. These items relate to the Simpson family sawmills and fruit packing facilities in the Okanagan.

“We are incredibly grateful for the donor support we received to complete this very special project. It would not have been possible without the interest and engagement of our community and these external partners, and we look forward to continued collaboration as we further develop these collections and related programs,adds Berringer.

These new collections will be joining the more than seven million print and electronic items already available throughout UBC’s library system.


UBC students present options to make local communities healthier

Third-year marketing students, from left, Marc Qian, Brendan Sprague, Kira McDougall, and Kevin Chan researched the car share option and came up with a marketing plan for OGO Car Share Co-op. Their project is part of the Healthy City Partnership signed between UBC Okanagan, the City of Kelowna, and the Interior Health Authority.

Third-year marketing students, from left, Marc Qian, Brendan Sprague, Kira McDougall, and Kevin Chan researched the car share option and came up with a marketing plan for OGO Car Share Co-op. Their project is part of the Healthy City Partnership signed between UBC Okanagan, the City of Kelowna, and the Interior Health Authority.

Third-year marketing class creates campaigns for municipalities and organizations

Management students at UBC’s Okanagan campus are learning first-hand what makes a community healthy, sustainable, and a good place to live. They’re also learning how to market their ideas.

A semester-long project sent third-year students around the central Okanagan, working with 17 different community partners, where they were tasked to devise and promote projects that can make the region more liveable.

“Our growing communities are currently faced with a series of seemingly diverse developmental concerns, which affect community well-being and the social sustainability of our residents,” says Eric Li, assistant professor of marketing.

The students will present their marketing campaigns for the 17 partner organizations on Thursday, November 20 in the Engineering, Management and Education Building at UBC Okanagan. The event is open to the public and runs from 3 to 5 p.m. Participating community partners, students, and UBC faculty will be on hand for the unveiling of the campaigns.

In Kelowna’s 2013 Official Community Plan, residents expressed a desire for a more sustainable region. Some key concerns: affordable housing; healthy and safe living environment; food security; sustainable energy resources; a better transportation system and infrastructure; as well as enhanced community wellbeing.

“The key purpose of this project is to expose our students to regional development issues,” says Li. “The students are working with community partners to develop a promotion plan for a campaign that will address challenges residents in the Central Okanagan region face. The result should be marketing ideas that will promote healthy living in the Okanagan and surrounding areas.”

Organizations involved include all municipalities in the Central Okanagan, stretching as far as Lumby and Princeton, along with the Interior Health Authority, Lake Country Health Planning Society, and a number of local organizations such as Okanagan Car Sharing, Dads in Gear, and the Central Okanagan Development Commission.

Students have been working with OGO Car Share to help increase awareness about the car co-op program. Management student Brendan Sprague says the project initially seemed daunting, but as they became more involved, the students realized they could have fun with the project and try out their newly-acquired marketing know-how.

“Working with Okanagan Car Share has been a great experience to apply textbook material to a real-life situation,” says Sprague. “Okanagan Car Share allows users to not rely on their personal vehicles, and they still have an efficient option to run every-day errands. Because of this, we believe it promotes a healthy community.”

Li says the experiential learning program has been supported by the Okanagan Living Lab of the Faculty of Management and the Okanagan Sustainability Institute at UBC’s Okanagan campus. This project is part of the Healthy City Partnership signed between UBC Okanagan, the City of Kelowna, and the Interior Health Authority last month.


UBC presents public talk by social media pioneer

Rob Kozinets, Professor of Marketing at York University’s Schulich School of Business

Rob Kozinets, Professor of Marketing at York University’s Schulich School of Business

Marketing Professor Rob Kozinets gets intimate about social branding 

What: The Brand Ménage à Trois: An Intimate Engagement with the Social
Who: Rob Kozinets, professor of marketing, York University’s Schulich School of Business
When: Tuesday, November 25, 2014, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Mary Irwin Theatre, Rotary Centre for the Arts, 421 Cawston Ave., Kelowna
Free registration at:

The Faculty of Management presents a Visiting Speaker Series engagement with social-media research pioneer Robert Kozinets on November 25.

In a talk titled Brand Ménage à Trois, Kozinets discusses a new four-part framework for understanding social branding, a guiding metaphor for its study, and then illustrates how managers are using “netnography” to realize its potential.

Kozinets presents a public lecture on Tuesday, November 25, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Mary Irwin Theatre, Rotary Centre for the Arts, 421 Cawston Ave., Kelowna. Registration is free online at:

Kozinets is a professor of marketing at York University’s Schulich School of Business, where he is also chair of the Marketing department.

Kozinets is a researcher and consultant who has authored and co-authored more than 100 pieces of research, usually about the intersection of technology, media, brands, and consumers, including four books. He has extensive speaking, training, and consulting experience with a range of global companies and organizations. His latest book, Netnography: Redefined (Sage), is due out in 2015.


Finch family donates $600,000 to UBC Okanagan for student awards

Jean and Ken Finch present Christopher Collier with the first-ever Finch Family Graduate Award at UBC.

Jean and Ken Finch present Christopher Collier with the first-ever Finch Family Graduate Award at UBC.

Newly-established graduate and undergraduate awards to benefit students

A local family is giving back to the community by making a substantial donation to UBC Okanagan.

As part of Ken and Jean Finch’s commitment to enhancing opportunities for young people, their $600,000 contribution to UBC has established the Finch Family Undergraduate Award and the Finch Family Graduate Award.

These substantial awards will recognize students who have demonstrated great academic focus and success, but also the qualities of well-rounded citizens, actively contributing to the quality of life in our region through community involvement, contributions to innovation and economic development.

The first Finch Family Graduate Award was presented to Christopher Collier, a PhD candidate studying electrical engineering in the School of Engineering, carrying a prize of $14,000. The Finch Family Undergraduate Award was presented to Zachary Holland, a computer sciences student in the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences. This award carries a prize of $7,000, over the third and fourth years of study.

“The lives of our family have been enriched by the lifestyle of the Okanagan, and we consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to combine a great place to live with the ability to grow a business,” says Ken Finch. “We would like to do our part in enhancing the opportunities for young people by investing in education as a way of supporting clean, sustainable growth in our region.”

The students met with the Finch family recently to take part in the inaugural presentation of the scholarships.

“I am honoured to be awarded the Finch Family Graduate Award,” says Collier. “This funding helps to alleviate the financial burden of graduate studies as I continue my doctoral research. Thank you to the Finch family for supporting me through this scholarship.”

For Holland, having some of the financial pressure taken off his final two years of undergraduate studies has motivated him to push himself even harder.

“Receiving this award has relieved much of the financial stress associated with pursuing my education, and will enable me to remain more focused on my studies and other projects,” says Holland. “The award has also motivated me to keep working hard to be the best that I can be both academically and personally.”

The Finch family has deep roots in the Okanagan; their grandchildren are the fifth generation living in the valley.

“Ken and Jean have shown remarkable leadership by investing in our students and our young campus,” says Deborah Buszard, UBC’s deputy vice-chancellor and principal.  “Their contribution will allow us to nurture incredible young talent.”

Zach Holland, right, receives the inaugural Finch Family Undergraduate Scholarship Award from Jean and Ken Finch.

Zach Holland, right, receives the inaugural Finch Family Undergraduate Scholarship Award from Jean and Ken Finch.

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Winners announced for Okanagan College’s Three-Hour Short Story Contest

Okanagan College Media Release

Jesse Frechette Nov 2014A high-speed story of loss by Penticton campus Associate of Arts student Jesse Frechette took the top prize at Okanagan College’s Three-Hour Short Story Contest.

“The judges loved ‘Lost Control’ for its confident and original narrative voice, which kept us fully engaged in the story to the very end,” said Okanagan College English professor and contest judge and organizer Corinna Chong. 

“The writer created an impressively complex conflict; the story artfully develops the narrator’s struggle to come to terms with the loss of his father, which rises to the surface as he drives his father’s old Camaro faster and faster down the highway. We were also impressed by the story’s ending, which has a powerful impact but also resists wrapping the conflict up too neatly or artificially,” she says.

The judging panel, which consisted of Chong and fellow Okanagan College professors and writers Kerry Gilbert, Jeremy Lanaway, Hannah Calder, and Francie Greenslade, felt this year’s entries were very strong and exceptionally creative. 

“The competition was fierce, which made the job of judging difficult but exciting,” says Chong. “Many students came out of the contest with excellent stories that we hope they will continue to work on.” 

The Three-Hour Short Story competition is an annual event held at each of the College’s four campuses and is open to students in Grade 11 and 12, and those attending Okanagan College. 

Writers have three hours to create a story using College computers and are not able to access any pre-written material or anything online. Students also have to incorporate a mystery phrase – this year’s phrase was “soggy bread” – into each of their stories. 

Four prizes of a $250 tuition credit were handed out to a winner at each campus. The regional winners were: 

Kelowna – “Run-Run-Run” by Sarina Bouvier (Kelowna Secondary School)

Vernon – “Time Moves Quickly” by Daniel Reich (Okanagan College)

Penticton – “Lost Control” by Jesse Frechette (Okanagan College)

Salmon Arm – “A Small Victory” by Kyle Phillips (Okanagan College)

As the grand prizewinner, Frechette also received an additional $250 tuition credit, which made the total of his prize $500 to use toward his College fees. 

Originally from Edmonton, Frechette currently lives in Summerland and is pursuing his Associate of Arts degree at the Penticton campus. He plans to finish his Bachelor of Arts degree and ultimately hopes to go to film school back east.

Read all the winners’ stories at

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