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Campus Life  

OC international alum empowering women in technology

Fernanda Alves

Okanagan College alum Fernanda Alves is using her education to foster diversity in the tech industry.  

A former OC international student from Brazil and alum of the Computer Information System Diploma, Alves was the organizer of the 2023 Women in Technology Panel which brought together women from diverse fields and positions to share their experiences navigating the tech industry. Fernanda received recognition at the President's Reception for Student Ambassadors.  

“Organizing the Women in Tech Panel was one of the best experiences I had as an OC student,” said Fernanda. “My instructors were huge supporters of this initiative and donated their time and efforts. Thanks to the help from the Okanagan College Students Union, student council members and the amazing faculty, the event had incredible panelists, and we had students and industry folks alike in the audience.”  

“I am passionate about creating spaces that provide a safe environment for students to be themselves. I know that all the connections I made at the College are of great value to create community and a strong personal and professional network.” 

In addition to organizing the Women in Tech panel, Fernanda contributed to the College community as a supplemental student leader for Computer Programming, as a teacher at Gateway to Tech, and a Camp OC leader.  

“I had the opportunity to teach programming from kids to adults. Seeing them grow and improve their skills was a challenging yet rewarding experience and I learned a lot. I will be continuing to work as a teacher assistant and a teacher in the Gateway to Tech program in the winter semester.”  

Fernanda’s impact on the community continues after graduating from OC with a diploma in computer information systems.  

“Right after my graduation, I secured a job as a Programmer Analyst at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus. My education from OC and the support I received from my community were incredibly pivotal in making this happen.”  

“We are so proud of all of our graduates that come to the Okanagan to study,” said Gordon Shuster, director of international education at Okanagan College. “Once they graduate, our students begin giving back to their communities, whether they stay locally and build their career, or return home to work. What Fernanda has done is fabulous and a real credit to her drive and determination.” 

Now an alum, Fernanda’s story demonstrates the important role post-secondary institutions play in creating spaces for students to explore and test strategies that create lasting change.

“Fernanda's dedication to fostering diversity in the tech industry showcases the transformative power of education,” said Halia Valladares, dean of science & technology. “These initiatives led by students and alumni underscore the importance of creating inclusive spaces and empowering students to make a meaningful impact in their communities and beyond. At OC, we take pride in creating a supportive environment that encourages students to explore their passions and create lasting connections. Fernanda's journey is a testament to the impact our graduates have on the world.”

If you are interested in becoming an OC student, start your journey to an enhanced career by exploring our programs here: okanagan.bc.ca/program-search



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