James Dessert, a Grade 8 student from Charles Bloom Secondary in Lumby, was the big winner of the 2014 Spaghetti Bridge contest held at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on March 7.
Dessert’s bridge weighed in at a mere 994.99 grams, but more than held its weight as it took on 112.58 kilograms of pressure before collapsing before an enthusiastic crowd of students, parents, teachers and onlookers. Dessert took home $1500 in first place winnings, courtesy of the event’s title sponsor, the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC).
Fellow Lumby student, Brendan Mattenley, Grade 9, was awarded third place with a 962.44 gram bridge that held 63.10 kilograms. Second place went to the Okanagan College team led by Glenn Watson, whose 970.64 gram bridge held 70.92 kilograms.
Students from Charles Bloom Secondary are historically strong competitors, typically ranking high in the Secondary category contest results.
Creating engineering marvels out of a common kitchen staple is the order of the day at Spaghetti Bridge. This year, 186 students participated in building bridges in either the demonstration or competition categories. The Spaghetti Bridge world record of 443.58 kilograms was established in Kelowna in 2009 by a team from Hungary and remains intact.
First - James Dessert, Grade 8, Charles Bloom Secondary, Lumby
Bridge weighed 994.99 grams
Bridge held 112.58 kg
Second - Glenn Watson, Shaun Bliss, Eric Chovancak, Okanagan College second year Civil Engineering Technology students, Kelowna
Bridge weighed 970.64 grams
Bridge held 70.92 kg
Third - Brendan Mattenley, Grade 9, Charles Bloom Secondary, Lumby
Bridge weighed 962.44 grams
Bridge held 63.10 kg
First - Daniel Roodzant, Gaelyn Gilliam, Grade 9, Kings Christian School, Salmon Arm
Second - Kyle Sobon, Jaden Balogh, Rylan Skelton, Connor White, Grade 9, KLO Middle School, Kelowna
Third - Finn Tobin, Ryan Pybus, Sean Steeves, Grade 8, Constable Neil Bruce Middle School, Kelowna
First - James Dessert, Grade 8, Charles Bloom Secondary, Lumby
Second - Brendan Mattenley, Grade 9, Charles Bloom Secondary, Lumby
Third - Gary Todd, Grade 9, KLO Middle School, Kelowna
Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest tests the ingenuity and engineering talent of Valley students
Okanagan College Media Release
The fun and excitement of the annual Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest returns to Okanagan College on Friday, March 7 when 186 Okanagan Valley students arrive at the Kelowna campus to compete for trophies and cash prizes of up to $1,500.
Students from Grade 3 to post-secondary are entered in a variety of categories. In the morning, elementary school students participate in the non-competitive demonstration followed by the lightweight and team building competitions. Starting at 12:30 p.m., Middle and Secondary School students and post-secondary entrants will vie in the suspenseful show-stopper heavyweight competition that tests the amount of weight pre-built spaghetti bridges will support.
Contest organizer Michelle Lowry said, “The heavyweight competition is always exciting, and this year is shaping up to be especially interesting. We have a real variety of individuals and teams participating.”
“My favourite part of the contest is watching the elementary school students get excited about engineering and the creativity and ingenuity it requires.”
The competition’s title sponsor is the Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of BC (ASTTBC). Cash prizes range from $150 for individuals in the ASTTBC Secondary and Post-secondary Competitions up to $400 per team in the ASTTBC Team competition.
The winner of the heavyweight competition will be awarded $1,500.
Additional sponsors include PCL Construction, the Okanagan College Students’ Union, MMM Group, CTQ Consultants Ltd., AECOM, Okanagan Precision Machine Ltd, APEGBC Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC, and Focus Corporation.
Events get underway at 10 a.m. in the Student Services building.
A live webcast of the contest is available.
Students Matthew Lemay and Megan Udala also receive top research awards
Civil and environmental engineer Rehan Sadiq was named Researcher of the Year at UBC’s Celebrate Research awards ceremony on Friday, March 7.
Sadiq’s study is in the area of drinking water quality modelling, environmental risk assessment and decision-making, and asset management of civil infrastructure systems.
“I have always been very passionate about my research and I really enjoy the process,” says Sadiq, acting director of the School of Engineering. “It is my dream that UBCO emerges as a leader in research related to drinking water infrastructure management and environmental risk analysis. This award and recognition is a ‘feel good’ experience, but also humbling for me.”
Sadiq is applying his expertise to a new project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where water quality is a major issue, by evaluating potential water quality failures in distribution networks and tracking potential human health risks.
The $450,000 research collaboration with King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) and Laval University will help the oil-rich kingdom determine the potential for contamination in potable water distribution systems. The objective is to develop a decision support tool (DST) that can determine the likelihood of contamination in the water distribution network; and risk assessment of contaminants traveling through the distribution system.
Sadiq has generated $5 million in national and international funding from agencies in the US, UK and Saudi Arabia. His research is funded by Canadian agencies including the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Health Canada, BC Oil and Gas Commission, BC Ministry of Environment, Infrastructure Canada, Canadian Water Network and numerous municipalities across Canada. He has authored more than 270 peer-reviewed publications.
For the first time, both graduate and undergraduate students were also honoured as top researchers at the Research Week awards ceremony.
Matthew Lemay was named Graduate Student Researcher of the Year. His PhD thesis research is on the ecological genomics of kokanee, the freshwater form of sockeye salmon. Lemay is applying leading DNA sequencing technologies and analytical tools to a multi-scaled investigation of life history evolution and adaptation in kokanee. His work will contribute to the development of a panel of genetic markers that will transform provincial fisheries management strategies.
Lemay has earned a number of highly competitive scholarships and fellowships, including a UBC Graduate Entrance Scholarship (2009-2010), University Graduate Fellowships (2010-2011, 2011-2012, 2012-2013) and a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Postgraduate Scholarship for 2011-2014.
“Moving forward in my scientific career, I am keen to continue using cutting-edge genomic technology in order to learn more about the ecology and natural history of threatened species,” says Lemay, who credits Assoc. Prof. Michael Russello for his guidance and support. “There is very high-calibre research being carried out by graduate students and professors at this campus, and I feel lucky to be part of the scientific community here at UBCO.”
Undergraduate Student Researcher of the Year is Megan Udala, an honours bachelor of arts student in the forensic psychology specialization program.
“UBC in the Okanagan is producing a lot of high-quality research, so to be recognized for some of the work I’ve done at the undergraduate level is a pretty cool experience,” says Udala. “I’ve always been interested in law and psychology and I am very fortunate to have this program available to me right in my back yard. Dr. Stephen Porter and his research team have been incredibly receptive and supportive of my academic pursuits and interests, allowing me the amazing opportunity to become deeply involved with research as an undergraduate student.”
Udala thesis examines misinformation effects in memory through two main studies. The first involves written descriptions of photographs to induce emotion. The second study involves auditory primes -- participants hear a short sound clip designed to induce emotion before viewing the photograph.
Participants then listen to verbal narrations of the photograph, some containing incorrect or false information. Participants undergo a memory recall test in which their general recollection accuracy is measured, as well as any incorporation of the false pieces of information.
Udala has received numerous awards and scholarships, including an Undergraduate Student Research Award, Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Continuing Scholarship, and a President’s Entrance Scholarship.
Okanagan College will be sending a team of its best and brightest students to compete in the Enactus national exhibition in Calgary next month after earning top honours in two categories at last weekend’s regional competition, also held in Calgary.
The student-run organization finished first in the Capital One Financial Literacy Education Challenge and the Scotiabank EcoLiving Green Challenge. A third team from the College was named first runner-up in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge.
“We are extremely proud in the way in which our Enactus students continue to excel , not just in their business competitions, but also through the great work they are engaged in within our communities,” said President Jim Hamilton.
The teams who competed at the regional challenge were comprised of a range of first- to fourth-year students who take classes at the College in Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton.
The competitions offer Enactus students the opportunity to present the outcomes of a series of real-world educational initiatives and projects, each of which are student-led and impact members of the community.
One such initiative the College’s Enactus team was recognized for was its Farm Bag project. The students work with local farmers to distribute produce within the Okanagan region. This year the project operated out of 26 local distribution sites, keeping 47,500 lbs of produces within the region and reducing 4.3 metric tonnes of CO2.
“The quality of the work that our Enactus students do in their communities and the professionalism that they bring to both their work and the competition is exceptional and it is rewarding to see their accomplishments recognized by their success at the Regional competition,” said Sheilagh Seaton, one of the coaches of Enactus Okanagan College.
Members of the gold medal Capital One Financial Education Challenge team were all from Kelowna and included: Karen Vandergaag, Jen Crookes, Kyle Aboott, Ivan Gonzales, and Scott Harvey.
The gold medalists on the Scotiabank EcoLiving Green Challenge team included: Cassandra Lum (Penticton), Evan Dizak, Rob Larkin, Darren Gillespie and Minami Endo (all from Kelowna).
The TD Entrepreneurship Challenge team that won silver included: Nikki Wiebe and Morgan Lackhart (both from Vernon) and Kelowna students Michelle Johnson, Tom Arrowsmith, and Ben Heggie.
The national Enactus exhibition takes place in Calgary at the end of April.
We’ve all tapped our toes or bobbed our heads when we hear a song we like, but you might not realize that this reaction is not about preference but a totally subconscious reaction.
“Moving to music is an instinctive, often involuntary activity experienced by humans regardless of their culture,” says Dr. Jessica Grahn, assistant professor in the Brain and Mind Institute at the Department of Psychology at Western University, in London, Ont.
Dr. Grahn is a cognitive neuroscientist who investigates how music affects our brain and our behavior. She was the first to discover that our brain's movement areas respond spontaneously to the rhythm of music. During her presentation, Music and the Brain: Why Do We Move to Music? on Thursday, Mar. 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus Lecture Theatre, she will explain why music affects our brains so profoundly and how we can channel that power for treating degenerative neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease.
Dr. Grahn has degrees in Neuroscience and Piano Performance from Northwestern University, as well as a PhD in the Neuroscience of Music from Cambridge, England. In 2010, Jessica received the Charles Darwin Award in Public Communication of Science from the British Science Association. In 2012, she won an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario government. Dr. Grahn has spoken publically on numerous occasions about her interests in interviews with the CBC, BBC, Time Magazine and in presentations at TEDx talks.
Dr. Grahn’s talk is part of the Science in Society Speaker Series (a joint project by Okanagan Science Centre and Okanagan College), which is sponsored by the Pacific Inn and Suites, 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 www.okscience.ca. To subscribe or obtain more information about the Science in Society Speaker Series, visit okanagansisss.wordpress.com.
Hundreds of high school students from Revelstoke to Osoyoos will be making Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus home this Friday (March 7) as they participate and watch in the 18th annual Trades and Technology Regional SkillsBC Competition.
The students will be competing in 11 different contests, ranging from carpentry to culinary arts, and from architectural computer-assisted drafting to welding.
“Every year we try to provide a wide variety of competitions to test the Grade 10-12 competitors’ abilities,” says Dianne Holm, who has been organizing this event at the College for seven years, “and every year we are impressed with the level of the expertise and the skills they bring to the contests.”
The Okanagan College event is one of 12 regional competitions that occur throughout the province, and which feeds into the SkillsBC provincial competition, that will be held April 9 in Abbotsford.
The College-based event also features a junior skills competition for students in Grades 6-10, that sees them racing their hand built gravity vehicles down a 32 foot long track. Added to the competitions are a host of activity stations, where students, parents, teachers and the public can explore different trades and technologies, including aircraft maintenance engineering, robotics, motor vehicle trades, sheet metal, welding, and more. A new feature this year is the maker space, that allows people to explore their creativity and problem-solving ability with an array of materials and tools.
While the competition starts at 10 a.m. with registration, the skills events run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tours of the College’s trades facilities are available during the day.
The event is open to the public, free of charge, and will be held in various rooms, but activities will be focused in the College’s Heavy Duty Equipment shop. It coincides with another huge draw for students and the public to the Kelowna Campus – the College’s Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest.
The skills events will be webcast – you can find links and further information by going to www.okanagan.bc.ca/skillsbc.
As we near the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI (July 28, 1914), military historian and Okanagan College professor, James Wood will chronicle the experiences of First Nations soldiers who volunteered to fight Canada’s war in Europe even though they were denied the equal rights of citizenship back home.
“Ultimately this is a story of the Great War and of great expectations,” says Dr. James Wood.
“These soldiers went overseas hoping to achieve something and ended up tragically disappointed,” he says.
Captured through the voice of commanding officer Colonel Andrew T. Thompson, a committed advocate of the First Nations soldiers who served under his command in the 114th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force, the lecture will follow the unit’s wartime service and postwar experiences.
Dr. Wood will lead attendees through the harrowing tale on Mar. 12 at 7 p.m. in the Salmar Classic Theatre in Salmon Arm. Admission to the event is a non-perishable food item or cash donation to the Salmon Arm Food Bank.
Specializing in Canadian history and 19th-20th century international diplomacy, Dr. Wood’s books include We Move Only Forward: Canada, the United States, and the First Special Service Force (2006) and Militia Myths: Ideas of the Canadian Citizen Soldier, 1896-1921, published in 2010. His next book, a biography of Lt.-Col. Thompson, will explore issues of citizenship and defence reform in Canada from 1895 to 1939.
“This lecture is the first in an ongoing series of events promoting Aboriginal history and environmental stewardship with the intent of fostering greater peace and understanding in our community,” says Jim Barmby, Regional Dean of Shuswap-Revelstoke.
“This exciting new series wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of Dan MacQuarrie, a retired United Church Minister, humanitarian and longtime resident of the area,” he says.
For more information on this event, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/saevents.
Three books have made the shortlist for the prestigious George Ryga Award, an annual literary award granted to a B.C. writer who has achieved an outstanding degree of social awareness for a book published within the last year.
“We’re excited with the range and quality, compassion and depth of this year’s short listed books,” says Okanagan College professor and George Ryga Award committee member, Norah Bowman-Broz.
The shortlisted books are:
Adrienne Fitzpatrick’s The Earth Remembers Everything (Caitlin Press). This fictional narrative from this Prince George author is based on her travels to some of the most violent sites in history, including Vietnam, Japan, Poland and historical First Nations areas.
Bev Sellars’ They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School (Talonbooks). Hailing from Soda Creek, B.C., this non-fiction work written by the Chief of the Xat’sull First Nation recalls the experiences of three generations of women forced to attend a residential school, St. Joseph’s Mission School, in Williams Lake, B.C.
Gillian Wigmore’s Dirt of Ages (Nightwood Editions). This poetry collection by another Prince George author is written from the perspective of a meth dealer and highlights the destruction of the natural environment and the social complexities in a pulp mill town.
The George Ryga Award was created in memory of B.C. playwright and novelist George Ryga’s commitment to social justice and his contributions to Canadian literature. This award is given to B.C. authors that have not only emphasized social justice but have also demonstrated exceptional literary skill in their works.
The winner of the George Ryga Award receives a commemorative bust of George Ryga, plus advertising for the winning book.
The 10th annual Ryga Award will be presented at a gala on Thursday, Mar. 20, 5:30 p.m., at Okanagan College’s Kelowna Campus Cafeteria. The event is free and will feature performances by hoop dancers and light refreshments.
“The Women are Coming!” is the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day celebration, March 8, 6 -9 p.m., in the atrium of the Centre for Learning at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus.
Organized by the Okanagan College Women’s Centre (OCWC) and sponsored by the Okanagan College Faculty Association (OCFA), the event features guest speaker Marcy Cohen of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
The free, family-friendly event will be hosted by CBC radio’s Alya Ramadan and will also feature the presentation of the Gert Beadle Award, music from the Wee Feminists Children’s Choir, wine from The View Winery, and children’s activities.
This year’s theme is taken from an original poster made in 1970 by Cohen and other members of the Vancouver Women’s Caucus.
“The caucus organized a caravan that travelled from Vancouver to Parliament Hill in Ottawa to protest restrictions to women’s control over their reproductive rights,” explains Ann McKinnon, College Professor in Women’s Studies at Okanagan College and the Status of Women representative on the OCFA. “We wanted to draw attention to the fact that women are still fighting for their rights and for equality.”
The annual Gert Beadle award, recognizing a local individual or group who has demonstrated commitment to women’s equality and social justice, will be presented by the Central Okanagan Women's Resource and Education Foundation (COWREF).
“Gert’s spirit lives on in the words she has penned, the women she has inspired, and the organizations that she has helped create and nurture,” says COWREF Board Chair Olivia Hofer. “In order to help her legacy ‘scatter like seeds’ we have established this award which will reflect the values and philosophies of the grassroots feminist movement. We are pleased to present this award on International Women’s Day.”
The Okanagan College Women’s Centre is run by a collective of women—faculty, students, and community members—and has been open in room A149 at the Kelowna campus since 2009.
Fourth year Okanagan College student Monika Jassi pursued her degree at the Vernon campus for the obvious advantages, including living at home and saving money, but she quickly found she reaped the rewards of the College’s academic experience.
“We do tons of case work and group presentations in the Business Program. Our projects require detailed business planning, problem analysis and public speaking,” says Jassi.
“Okanagan College Business students benefit from the real world opportunities built into their curriculum,” says Jane Lister, Regional Deal of the North Okanagan.
“They partner with community groups to plan and execute events and initiatives that must be logistically and economically viable. When they finish their degrees, they already have a solid foundation of practical experience.”
Experience counts and Jassi has also found that the small class sizes and high professor-student ratio helped her get a strong grasp on the course material as well.
“With only 15 students in a class, your teachers get to know you very well. You feel comfortable asking questions and getting one-on-one help whenever you need it.”
Jassi’s education has prepared her for the next step, which is moving to Calgary after graduation starting her marketing career, although her parents might have something to say about it.
“They want me to pursue my master’s degree right away,” she says, “but I’d really like to work for a while.”
Mix and mingle with students like Jassi at the Business Program Information Session taking place on Mar. 5 at 6 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre at Okanagan College’s Vernon Campus.
Interested students are invited to come and speak with current students and professors about the benefits of studying at the College. They will have the opportunity to learn about job opportunities for business grads, understand how courses transfer from certificates to diplomas to degrees, and determine how to pay for their education.
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