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Campus Life  

Psychology student captures top prize at UBCO 3MT final

Cassidy Wallis presents her research at  UBC Okanagan’s sixth annual Three Minute Thesis competition.

Cassidy Wallis presents her research at UBC Okanagan’s sixth annual Three Minute Thesis competition.

Graduate students boil down their research into three-minute presentations

A captivating topic and plenty of passion propelled Cassidy Wallis into the winner’s circle at UBC Okanagan’s sixth annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, Thursday.

The Master of Arts in Psychology student wowed judges and audience members alike with her  presentation, ‘Non-offending Parental Support and its Impact on Delays in Reporting Child Sexual Abuse.’ She took home first place and the top prize of $3,000.

“The experience has been a thoroughly enjoyable one and I am so thrilled to have won such a tough competition,” says Wallis, a graduate student in the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences. “I think 3MT is a very valuable component of our academic experience. It emphasizes the importance of communicating our research effectively and how our research benefits others.”

Kelowna’s Innovation Centre was filled to capacity for the event, which saw eight graduate students take three minutes each to explain years of research to audience members.

Engineering doctoral student Sepehr Zarif Mansour was awarded second place and $2,000 for his presentation, ‘Sensor-less Micromanipulation,’ while Megan Udala, a doctoral student in psychology, took home the People’s Choice award and $1,000 for her presentation, ‘Legal Discrimination.’

“The 3MT event provides an incredible opportunity for our campus and the community at large to get a snapshot of the amazing research being conducted by our graduate students,” says Dwayne Tannant dean pro tem of the College of Graduate Studies at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

As the winner of the 3MT final, Wallis will travel to this year’s Western Regional 3MT Competition hosted by the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George on April 17.

From there, the top three presenters will win an opportunity to compete in the nationals, hosted by the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies.

About UBC's Okanagan campus

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

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca.



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New technology accelerates the science of deceleration

UBCO School of Engineering researcher Mohammad Arjmand examines the new polymer-based brake pad which could revolutionize braking systems in cars and trains.

UBCO School of Engineering researcher Mohammad Arjmand examines the new polymer-based brake pad which could revolutionize braking systems in cars and trains.

Researchers look at ways to improve standard braking systems

While it’s not a case of reinventing the wheel, researchers are looking at ways to improve standard braking equipment on trains and cars.

By mixing carbon fibres into polymer-based brakes, a group of researchers at UBC Okanagan, Sharif University of Technology in Iran and the University of Toronto were able to design brakes that are self-lubricating.

These new and improved brakes can prevent wear-and-tear and have better frictional properties than brakes currently on the market, explains School of Engineering Assistant Professor Mohammad Arjmand.

“No researcher in Canada is currently working in this area,” says Arjmand, one of the lead researchers on the project, “and the work is very important for the automotive and railroad industries.”

Brake pad materials are typically available in three categories: metallic, ceramic and organic. All have benefits and weaknesses inherent to their design such as cost, durability, noise, slow response time, or increased temperature during usage, he adds.

According to statistics from the US Department of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the failure of vehicle components accounts for nearly two per cent of crashes and about 22 per cent of vehicle component faults are caused by brake-related problems.

“This new research looks at things like composite breakdown during high temperatures, durability, friction and wear testing,” says Arjmand. “Our findings show that the newly designed carbon fibre polymer brakes represent an acceleration in the science of deceleration and could be a real boon for the industry and consumers alike.”

Arjmand says the new technology can lead to smaller brake pads that are more efficient and cost-effective since the small pads can withstand greater friction and temperatures.

“As we continue to develop nanomaterials and mix them with polymers to develop multifunctional composite cocktails that can address issues such as friction, wear, and heat distribution at the molecular level, we will continue to help the industry evolve.”

These discoveries are helping make cars and trains more affordable, efficient and functional, he adds.

The research was recently published in Wear.

About UBC's Okanagan campus

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

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca.



OC Business students shine at WCBC

Okanagan College Media Release

OC WCBC Teams March 2019Two teams and an individual student from Okanagan College made the podium in their divisions at the Western Canadian Business Competition (WCBC) hosted at the College’s Kelowna campus last weekend.

WCBC, which has run for more than three decades, is a comprehensive undergraduate business competition in which student teams are tasked with administering a complex simulated business scenario over the course of a hypothetical eight-year timeframe. Each team has four members from the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree program that are appointed to designated sectors: Finance, Operations, Marketing, Human Resources – and one member is also designated the CEO.

At the senior level, Okanagan College students Hannah Fiechter, Brett Loeppky, Mason Rice and Natasha Walters placed first for their Strategic Plan, and third in the overall competition. Rice stood out to the judges and was awarded the Top Individual distinction.

“Okanagan College has helped transform my life,” says Rice, who is currently completing his third year as a Finance student. “I’m so honoured to have won this award and grateful for the entire experience. This is my first year competing but I definitely plan to be back again next year, as it will be my last year at the College, and I hope to win big once again.”

At the junior level, OC students Kevin Heller, Beau Jackson, Jessica Overland and Justin Rantucci placed second for their Strategic Plan behind teams from College of New Caledonia, and third overall behind teams from College of the Rockies and Langara.

Both OC teams were coached by Okanagan College School of Business professors Dan Allen and Scott Overland.

“Coaching these teams is a truly rewarding experience,” says Allen, who’s been a coach at WCBC for the last four years. “I have had the privilege of watching students further enhance their business acumen, public speaking skills, corporate boardroom experience, and not to mention have fun while forming strong relationships with their colleagues in the process.”

Putting on an event of this scale is no easy feat without volunteers and sponsors. Eight judges from business backgrounds in the community volunteered their time and expertise to the competition: John Christie, Cliff Ehnes and Andrea Maniford judged the junior division, and Mark McGregor, Gord Hotchkis and Shad Shoranick judged the senior division.

2019 sponsors included McDonald’s on Harvey, Interior Savings and Okanagan Young Professionals Collective.

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

 



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UBCO invests $70M in new on-campus student housing

UBCO currently has space for 1,680 students to live on campus which allows it to meet its guarantee to provide student housing to every first-year student.

UBCO currently has space for 1,680 students to live on campus which allows it to meet its guarantee to provide student housing to every first-year student.

Two new highly efficient residence buildings will create 440 additional beds

With UBC Okanagan’s enrolment numbers set to surpass 10,000 students by September, the university has unveiled plans to build two new student residences adding 440 new beds to its campus housing inventory.

UBCO currently has space for 1,680 students to live on campus which allows it to meet its guarantee to provide student housing to every first-year student. But according to Associate Vice President, Finance and Operations Rob Einarson, as the campus community continues to grow, new investment in student accommodation is needed.

“The space we currently have allows us to meet the demand from our first-year students,” says Einarson. “Ultimately, we’d like to be in a position of being able to offer on-campus housing to about 25 per cent of our student population, which is a very high benchmark when compared to other Canadian universities.”

Einarson adds that residences provide more than just a bed near classes.

“Residences offer an opportunity for connections into a community of peers and other supports that we know improves student success and their experience of student life on campus,” he says.

While it may seem like that leaves 75 per cent of students without housing, Shannon Dunn, director of business operations, says the demand for on-campus housing is offset by the fact that about 25 per cent of students come from the region and many others decide to live in other parts of the city.

“Local students often prefer to live at home to save on rent. Students coming from outside the region often band together after their residence experience and transition to more independent living by renting an apartment downtown, closer to more amenities,” she says.

Private development, Dunn clarifies, has played a key role in providing options for students and many of the neighbourhoods around campus have changed dramatically over the years, with once undeveloped hillsides now peppered with condo buildings.

“We’re fortunate as our expansion has been coupled with considerable private investment in rental accommodation just a short distance from campus, including in Quail Ridge or north Glenmore,” says Dunn. “With so many things to offer, including a great university, the rapid growth in the Okanagan region has naturally put pressure on the housing and rental market as well as the cost of construction. That has pushed vacancy rates in Kelowna towards 0.2 per cent, which means we need new investment in on-campus housing.”

Dunn adds that the university’s commitment to student housing goes beyond just their first year. She gives the example of a recent flood in a private condo development near campus that left 100 students evicted by the building’s owners.

“We had some extra capacity given that the flood happened in February and we were able to offer on-campus housing for displaced students,” says Dunn. “Our investment in additional student housing will give the university even more flexibility to support students and provide reliable housing options should things go wrong with their off-campus accommodation.”

That investment, says Einarson, comes in the form of $70 million that was recently approved by UBC’s Board of Governors for two residence buildings that have already been named the Skeena and Nechako Residences.

“With funding now in place, I expect to see shovels in the ground very shortly and the projects are targeted to- be completed by fall 2021,” says Einarson.

This isn’t the first time UBC’s Okanagan campus has seen this kind of growth in its residences. When the campus opened in 2005, 340 beds were available for its 3,500 students and just six years later, it had built additional residences providing 1,440 beds. Now that the student population has bloomed to nearly 10,000, the Nechako and Skeena residences will boost the number of available beds by 28 per cent, with each building housing 220 students.

The Skeena Residence will be a six-storey facility, housing students in modified traditional bedrooms with standard amenities including lounges, informal study space, an activity room and laundry facilities.

The Nechako Residence will also rise six storeys with the bottom two devoted to a 500-seat dining hall, quiet study and informal gathering space, a fitness room and casual recreation space. The top four storeys will feature traditional student rooms.

“We’re doing our part to answer the call for additional rental accommodation in Kelowna’s challenging market and we’re doing it in a sustainable way,” says Einarson. “Skeena, in particular, is being designed to a relatively new ‘passive house’ standard —or ‘passivehaus’—while Nechako will be LEED Gold certified.”

Passivehaus certification is an internationally recognized high-performance building standard developed in Germany that focuses on the design, construction and operation of energy efficient buildings. Buildings designed and constructed to the Passivehaus standard use up to 90 per cent less space heating and energy consumption than conventional buildings—hence the term ‘passive’ as they need little active heating or cooling to stay comfortable throughout the year.

Einarson says investments like this have allowed UBC Okanagan to reduce GHG emissions per student by 22 per cent since 2013, despite tremendous campus growth.

“We’re truly thinking to the future with this new construction and as our footprint grows, so too will our ability to provide reliable, comfortable, affordable and efficient student housing.”

About UBC's Okanagan campus

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

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca.



Research suggests adoption assessment tool lags behind societal changes

Screening tools do generally work but research has determined that the Transracial Adoptive Parenting Scale is not accurate enough to determine what type of support sexual minority parents might need once they adopt a child.

Screening tools do generally work but research has determined that the Transracial Adoptive Parenting Scale is not accurate enough to determine what type of support sexual minority parents might need once they adopt a child.

A better measure is needed for gay, lesbian and gender minority adoptive parents

A UBC researcher says a tool to assess potential adoptive parents does not meet the needs of lesbian, gay or gender minority adults.

Sarah Dow-Fleisner, a professor in the UBC Okanagan’s School of Social Work, worked with Boston Children’s Hospital postdoctoral fellow Adeline Wyman Battalen and David Brodzinsky, professor emeritus at Rutgers University, to test the validity of the commonly-used Transracial Adoptive Parenting Scale (TAPS).

TAPS, which has 29 items, is a measure of empathy and understanding on issues such as discrimination, prejudice and cultural competence and is traditionally used to evaluate the readiness of becoming a parent through transracial adoption. Depending on where potential adoptive parents land on the TAPS scale, practitioners can then provide support in specific areas.

While TAPS is a commonly-accepted measure in clinical practice, Dow-Fleisner’s research says it misses the mark when it comes to sexual minority adoptive parents, specifically lesbian and gay parents.

“These screening tools are meant to be able to assess the needs or areas where parents can use some support in terms of understanding what it means to adopt transracially, or perhaps a child with special needs or a child with a history of trauma,” she explains.

Screening tools do generally work, she says, but her research has determined that TAPS is not accurate enough to determine what type of support sexual minority parents might need once they adopt a child. Her research shows the majority of lesbian or gay couples, about 60 per cent, adopt cross-racially—where at least one parent is a different race than the child.

“As a scale, it’s not sensitive enough. It’s generally reliable, but we wanted to test how valid is it across certain groups,” she says. “It’s as if you were to weight a person with a scale that only measures tonnes. You will get an accurate weight, but not the most precise or useful weight.”

Having accurate screening tools matters, she says, since sexual minority parents are more likely to adopt a child from the child welfare system, and that child often comes with a variety of special needs.

“Our hope is for sufficient screening tools and continued research to help reduce discrimination against prospective sexual and gender minority parents looking to adopt,” says Wyman Battalen. In 2015 there were about 30,000 children in the Canadian child welfare system legally eligible for adoption. However, many of those children will age out of the system before they are adopted. Aging out, explains Dow-Fleisner, can lead to an increased risk for homelessness, substance use, poor academic performance and suicide.

“Yet we have parents who are ready, willing and able to adopt,” she adds. “The screening tools we currently use have lagged behind the people we are serving. We need to develop a tool that measures adequately across all groups of parents.”

Their research involved 737 heterosexual, 102 lesbian and 64 gay adoptive parents from the Modern Adoptive Families Study.

“Sexual minority parents’ experiences in dealing with societal heteronormativity may lend itself to greater ease of entering a dialogue about race, discrimination, and cultural pride,” Dow-Fleisner suggests. “Yet, the screening tools we use have lagged behind the people we are serving and we need to develop a scale that is sensitive to the strengths and needs of sexual minority parents.”

The research was published recently in Journal of Evidence-Informed Social Work.

About UBC's Okanagan campus

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

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca.



OC student learns and leads as part of Launch-a-Preneur

The student has become a teacher in Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur.

Laureen ShannonThe Salmon Arm-based business competition has helped propel Laureen Shannon, a fourth-year Business student at Okanagan College, on a business development trajectory fuelled by community connections.

"I love this program. Once you’re in a launch, you’re in it for life,” Shannon explains. "We always follow up how they are doing, cross-promoting their business."

She began her studies in Office Administration, which capped off with a six-week practicum working with the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society (SAEDS) on a variety of projects. One of the biggest projects included Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur — a Dragon’s Den-style business development competition, featuring a series of workshops that support participants in developing the building blocks of their businesses.

When Shannon returned to pursue her Bachelor of Business Administration, she joined Okanagan College Enactus — a student organization committed to offering community outreach projects.

"It allowed me to get to know students that had the same thought about giving back and making a difference in your community,” she says. “You are fostering a network that is creating positive change. It’s action oriented, they don’t just talk about change.”

Being part of the non-profit allowed Shannon to stay involved with Launch-a-Preneur, which is driven by three partner organizations: Okanagan College Enactus, SAEDS and Community Futures Shuswap. The program features a series of six workshops that cover the essential components for a business plan. In addition to the workshops, entrepreneurs are matched with business mentors specializing in fields that would benefit the new idea. For example, someone needing information on financials or accounting are partnered with local volunteers from BDO or Grant Thornton. The participants also have access to a pool of mentors ranging in expertise.

Since the program inception, 81 mentors from local businesses have provided countless hours of one-on-one training. Forty-four businesses have been involved, creating 78 full-time and 15 part-time jobs in the Shuswap.

"That mentorship begins a long-term relationship. They become customers, become partners, they’ll still work together in years to come,” Shannon adds.

Given the program runs every two years, Shannon and the Enactus team supported an accelerated weekend program last year that introduced participants to business plan fundamentals, with the option to join Launch-a-Preneur in 2019. This year, Shannon is a project coordinator for SAEDS, supporting sponsorship requests and facilitating sessions on her own.

“Over the last several years, our organization has had the opportunity to work with a variety of Okanagan College students on different community projects. We continue to be impressed by both the knowledge and passion to create change that OC students bring. We have been very fortunate to work with Laureen Shannon in different capacities, first as an Enactus volunteer and most recently as project coordinator for Season 5 of Launch-a-Preneur. The subject expertise, energy and unwavering commitment she brings to this program will provide ongoing benefit to our local entrepreneurs,” says Lana Fitt, SAEDS Economic Development Manager.

“Laureen is in a critical role this year, which is fantastic,” says Andrew Klingel, the Business professor who serves as an Enactus coach, alongside Terry Kosowick. “Community projects such as Launch-a-Preneur allow students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to the real world. They see what they are learning is relevant to their careers. They practice these skills, tools and techniques, which really builds their confidence. I’ve seen Laureen grow tremendously over the years, which is really rewarding to see."

Shannon takes her business development path in stride.

"For me, the benefit of taking part is being able to apply what I’ve learned in school, working with the entrepreneurs, and learning from them. Creating a relationship and connection with the participants helps grow my network,” she says.

The group is now prepping for Season 5 Final Night, where participants compete for thousands of dollars in prizes like seed capital, business consulting hours, website development packages, accounting and legal fees — all designed to assist with Shuswap startups. Teams present a short pitch to a panel of judges that include angel investors and successful entrepreneurs in the region. Prizes are awarded for green initiative, public choice and the judges’ top three selections.

“Launch-a-Preneur showcases the entrepreneurial spirit of the Shuswap,” says Joan Ragsdale, Regional Dean of Shuswap-Revelstoke. “It is a great opportunity for the College and students to work closely with community partners and businesses to strengthen our region.”

Shannon wants to continue on with Launch-a-Preneur, having already witnessed the value that Okanagan College alumni bring to working with students and community members.

“Launch has given me a lot of openings for my future and what I want to do when I graduate. I’ll either want to run these programs all the time or be in it,” she laughs. "These people are starting up businesses, and they’re going to hire Okanagan College students."

Launch-a-Preneur’s final night is scheduled for March 14 at the Salmar Theatre. Tickets are $20, and can be purchased online: http://launch-a-preneur.ca/. Proceeds support the Launch-a-Preneur program.

 



Prizes awarded to UBC Okanagan’s top researchers

Three professors named Researcher of the Year

UBC’s Okanagan campus is home to nearly 300 faculty researchers that are exploring some of the most urgent challenges, newest ideas and most ground-breaking technologies in the world.

The university this week named its 2019 Researchers of the Year. These prestigious annual prizes are awarded to the campus’ top researchers, with this year’s recipients recognized for their contributions to the development of innovative digital tools for marginalized communities, advances in sustainable energy and construction, and support for youth living with developmental disabilities and autism.

Awardees for 2019 are Associate Professor Jonathan Corbett in the category of social sciences and humanities, Professor Kasun Hewage in the category of natural sciences and engineering and Associate Professor Rachelle Hole in the category of health.

“This award recognizes outstanding UBCO faculty members who have carried out highly impactful work during their time at UBC,” says Vice-Principal, Research Philip Barker. “Professors Corbett, Hewage and Hole epitomize excellence in research and creative scholarship and are leaders in their respective fields and disciplines. Each of them works across multiple fields to help make the world a better place.”

Student researcher awards were also presented this year to master's student Emily Giroux and doctoral student Katrina Plamondon.

About UBC Okanagan’s award-winning researchers

Social Sciences and Humanities Researcher of the Year: Associate Professor Jonathan Corbett


While the science and art of cartography may have ancient roots, Associate Professor Jonathan Corbett is a modern cartographer who is working to map out how digital multimedia technologies can help preserve and strengthen remote or marginalized communities.

He is one of the country’s leaders in bringing geoinfomatics to a web-based, community-facing, knowledge platform. His Geolive software uses an online map as a storytelling tool to help marginalized communities feel empowered and overcome social exclusion.

“His technological sophistication, coupled with his steadfast commitment to interdisciplinary and community-based research is what makes Dr. Corbett’s work so remarkable,” says Mike Evans, associate dean of research, graduate and post-doctoral studies in the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences at UBC Okanagan. “As a critical cartographer, he has made significant contributions to the field and to the communities with which he works.”

Natural Sciences and Engineering Researcher of the Year: Professor Kasun Hewage


Kasun Hewage is a professor of engineering and associate director with UBC’s Clean Energy Research Centre. He takes a holistic approach to investigating smart energy and construction sustainability. His expertise includes life cycle thinking based analysis of cost-effective and renewable energy production and green construction processes that are coordinated by cutting edge science and technologies.

Earlier this year, Hewage was named the inaugural FortisBC Smart Energy Chair, with the goal of investigating how energy use in BC can be optimized to reduce the province’s greenhouse gas footprint.

“Dr. Hewage’s research and scholarly contributions are extensive,” says Rehan Sadiq, associate dean of the School of Engineering at UBC Okanagan. “His work brings together academic and industry stakeholders to access the most pertinent facts required for sustainable building decisions, a crucial area of study as the world continues to strive towards sustainability.”

Health Researcher of the Year: Associate Professor Rachelle Hole

With a career spanning over 20 years working with individuals with physical and developmental disabilities, associate professor Rachelle Hole has focused her research on the socio-cultural practices that promote inclusion and equity. She has a particular interest in participatory research methods and strives to work directly with communities to empower participants.

Her most recent work, the Transiting Youth with Disabilities and Employment (TYDE) project, was awarded $1.3M in federal funding, involves working directly with community groups to help prepare youth living with intellectual disabilities or Autism Spectrum Disorder find meaningful employment later in life.

“Dr. Hole has a unique ability to pull groups together and to catalyze relationships between researchers, community members, and other stakeholders to build a shared vision,” says Evans. “She consistently generates policy-relevant insights and knowledge that shapes programs and practices – and indeed people’s lives – in very immediate ways.”

About UBC's Okanagan campus

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

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca.



Rethinking risk: Are children too safe for their own good?

Okanagan College Media Release

Childhood is changing, but what will that do for confidence and resilience in adults?

Dr. Mariana Brussoni, an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, will address the questions of risk and safety in childhoods as part of the Okanagan College Vernon Campus’ Signature Speaker Series.Mariana Brussoni March 2019

“Rethinking Risk: Are children too safe for their own good?” will take place on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. in the lecture theatre of the Vernon campus.

“It used to be normal for children to spend long hours outdoors and away from watchful adults, playing how and where they chose. Today’s children spend more time indoors, supervised, in structured activities and in front of screens,” says Brussoni. “Many parents struggle to find a balance between bubble wrapping their kids and not protecting them enough. Fears of strangers, traffic and social services can overwhelm parents, making it hard for them to let go.”

Research is mounting on the importance of giving kids more opportunities for “risky play,” considered thrilling and exciting play that includes children testing boundaries and flirting with uncertainty. This can include climbing trees, building forts, playing capture the flag and roaming the neighbourhood with friends.

This kind of play is associated with positive health, development and well-being in children, including increased physical activity, social skills, risk management skills, resilience and self-confidence. Brussoni’s interactive presentation will explore the evidence regarding changing childhoods, as well as strategies to restore balance.

In addition to teaching at UBC, Brussoni also serves as an investigator with the British Columbia Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the British Columbia Injury Research and Prevention Unit.

Presented by Okanagan College, the Signature Speaker Series is sponsored by the Vernon Atrium Hotel and Conference Centre and Basket Case Picnics Catering. Admission is $10. Participants can register in advance online –www.okanagan.bc.ca/SignatureSpeakers
 – or pay at the door.

 



Health Care Assistant program intake starts as demand spikes in Salmon Arm

Okanagan College Media Release

More health-care beds opening up is good news for patients and for those seeking careers in caring.

An intake of Okanagan College’s Health Care Assistant program is scheduled for May at the Salmon Arm campus, giving students in the Shuswap direct access to training for one of the most in-demand positions in the province.

The intake couldn’t come at a better time for operators of Mount Ida Mews in Salmon Arm, which just hosted the grand opening for Phase 2 of its 60-bed expansion project.

"We are very proud to partner with Interior Health to provide quality senior care to the residents of Salmon Arm. The expansion of Mount Ida Mews will create 48 new jobs for nurses, health care assistants and hospitality workers in the community. We look forward to continuing to nurture our partnership with the community of Salmon Arm and thank everyone who was involved in bringing this project to life," says Melanie Reinhardt, President of Vantage Living which operates Mount Ida Mews.

According to WorkBC, health care assistants have been identified as a priority occupation for the B.C. Ministry of Health. Average employment growth rates in this field are forecast at 13 per cent to 2022, with no sign of slowing. This demand is anticipated to increase even more after the Government of B.C. announced funding to increase staffing levels in residential care homes for seniors, which aims to fund more than 900 health care assistants by 2021.

“The need for health care assistants within the Interior Health region is growing. There are many employment opportunities for individuals who have this training,” says Interior Health’s Shalan Hundal, Health Care Assistant Recruitment and Marketing Project Lead. “Graduates of the HCA program can join our teams at Interior Health and choose to work in a team environment in long-term care or they can choose to work one-on-one with clients in home support. It is a great career choice for those who like making a positive impact on the lives of others.”

The intensive program runs for 26 weeks (six-months)

starting in May, and will feature four months of classroom instruction and two months of hands-on practicum for students to learn within the health-care environment.

In addition to being in demand, students can also expect to find a career that’s highly rewarding, notes Lisa Kraft, Associate Dean of Science Technology and Health for Okanagan College.

“Health care assistants find their work extremely rewarding. Graduates often tell us how much they appreciate the opportunity to have a significant impact on the quality of life for people in their care,” explains Kraft. “This profession also supports individuals and their families, as living wages are provided right out of school and a variety of shifts are offered, making it easy for people to find work that best fits their lives.”

An information night for people to learn more about the Health Care Assistant program and field will be held on Thursday, March 14 at 7 p.m. at the Salmon Arm campus, 2552 10th Ave. NE. Students will meet program staff who can discuss the program and outline education financing options, admission requirements and supports for returning students. Information on Work BC funding eligibility will also be available.

Applications can be submitted online. For information, call 250-832-2126, ext. 8259 or visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/hca.

 



OC Enactus teams take regionals by storm, earn berths to nationals

Okanagan College Media Release

Neither freezing temperatures nor strong competition from some of the top business schools in the west could stop Okanagan College business students as they cruised to four podium finishes at Enactus Western Canada Regionals over the weekend.

During a competition in which no other school was victorious in more than one competition, OC took the top spot in three challenges – the CWB Financial Education Challenge, the Scotiabank Environmental Challenge and the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge. The College also notched a runner-up showing in the Scotiabank Youth Empowerment Challenge.Enactus OC Team March 2019

The College faced teams from 20 other institutions – more than 400 students participated in total – during the two-day event, which took place from Feb. 28 – March 1 in Calgary.

The three winning regionals teams from the College punched their tickets to the Enactus National competition that will be held May 7-9 in Vancouver.

OC’s Entrepreneurship Challenge team, made up of students Isaac Hossmann, Tega Ovie, Sveta Pasko and Jake Pushor presented on Project Recharge, a solar-powered recharging platform designed to help people power up their devices on the go. The team was coached by professors Kyleen Myrah and Lynn Sparling.

For Jake Pushor, who already has the experience of a number of competitions under his belt, Regionals brought the opportunity to take his presentation skills to the next level, all while speaking about a project he’s deeply passionate about.

“The great thing about Project ReCharge is that there are so many viable settings the charging tables can benefit organizations, from the tourism sector to municipalities to schools, and they benefit the environment too. Getting a chance to showcase the project as a team was incredibly rewarding.”

“When you come together as a group and invest so many hours preparing, to come out on top and have all your collaborative efforts recognized is unreal – it’s an amazing feeling,” he adds.

“Once again Enactus OC delivered an exceptional performance highlighting four community projects they have been involved in. Their dedication and leadership are awe-inspiring and the support we get from our OC administration, community partners, donors and alumni really sets us apart. We are very proud to bring home such great results and are looking forward to Nationals in May,” says Myrah.

Vernon’s
Abby Lagerquist, Karsten Ensz, Mitchell Vanlerberg and Macy Burke comprised the Environmental or “green” team and were coached by professor Andrew Klingel. They took top spot in their challenge for their presentation on FruitSnaps, a project that utilizes leftover fruit from North Okanagan orchards that otherwise would go to waste to make health snacks for elementary students in SD 22.

Mitchell Folk, Iris Pham, Carmen Larder and Michelle Brouwer proved to be more than just top-notch number crunchers in winning the Financial Education Challenge, buoyed by their coaches – professors Laura Hetherington and Devin Rubadeau. The group presented on the CanSave project, which launched in 2016 and has already helped an impressive number of elementary school students and teachers in B.C. get a head start on financial literacy.

“To put the impact of this program in perspective, it was announced at Regionals that Financial Literacy projects created by Enactus students all over the country had impacted just over 100,000 people in the past seven years. CANsave is responsible for more 33,000 of those 100,000 impacted,” notes Rubadeau.

The College’s Youth Empowerment Team, which earned second place in their challenge included students Nathan Ziebart, Arya Guler, Tyson Thomlinson and Christopher Wadey. They were coached by professors Sheilagh Seaton and Dean Warner and presented on a project called Accelerate Youth which teaches practical skills, like cooking, to at-risk youth.

“We couldn’t be prouder of our students and faculty advisors on their success at Regionals,” says William Gillett, Dean of the School of Business. “Success at these competitions goes beyond skillful performance on the stage as presenters, it more so depends on students’ abilities to devise, launch, lead and adapt projects in our communities that have a tangible positive impact. And it is that wave of positive impact our students are contributing to through Enactus projects, and other efforts beyond the classroom, that is truly inspiring for all of us at the School of Business.”

“Seeing the Enactus OC students work so hard on their community projects and corresponding presentations was so motivating and to see their hard work rewarded with such success is so encouraging.  As students we are able to use this experience to learn from industry professionals and develop skills to benefit our community. This opportunity wouldn't be possible without the experience from our alumni and support we get from our community partners, faculty advisers and Okanagan College, they provide an extraordinary footing for our team to depend on and grow from,” said Enactus OC Co-President Jamie Park.

Enactus OC is a student-run organization that has a long history of distinguishing itself in nation-wide competitions for its contributions to entrepreneurship and to the communities it serves.

More information about Enactus and the competition is available at enactus.ca.
 

Results at a glance:
Entrepreneurship Challenge team
Tega Ovie, Jacob Pushor, Isaac Hossmann and Sveta Pasko
Coach: Kyleen Myrah and Lynn Sparling
1st place (Regional Champion)

Environmental (Green) Challenge team
Abby Lagerquist, Karsten Ensz, Mitchell Vanlerberg and Macy Burke
Coach: Andrew Klingel
1st place (Regional Champion)

Financial Education Challenge (Financial Literacy) team
Mitchell Folk, Iris Pham, Carmen Larder and Michelle Brouwer
Coaches: Devin Rubadeau and Laura Hetherington
1st place (Regional Champion)

Youth Empowerment team
Nathan Ziebart, Arya Guler, Tyson Thomlinson and Christopher Wadey
Coaches: Shei Seaton and Dean Warner
2nd place (Regional Runner-up)

 



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