Patty Wellborn



A photo of Art on the Line participants looking at some of the art on display.

Hundreds of pieces of unique art will be the focus of attention during UBCO’s annual Art on the Line fundraising event in March.

What: Art on the Line Fundraiser and Gala
Who: Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies students, faculty and local artists,
When: Saturday, March 16 from 5:30 to 10 pm
Engineering, Management and Education building, 1137 Alumni Avenue, UBC Okanagan, Kelowna
$200 per ticket, which admits two people and guarantees one piece of artwork. Day of entry admission, $10 at the door

It’s part auction, part fundraiser, part gala and part luck of the draw.

UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (FCCS), in association with the Visual Arts Course Union, once again presents the annual Art on the Line Fundraiser and Gala.

Taking place on Saturday, March 16, the 22nd annual Art on the Line event brings together the local arts community to celebrate the work of UBCO’s students, faculty, alumni and several artists practicing in the community.

The evening is an entertaining gala, where approximately 135 works of art are collected from local students, faculty and creators. The artwork is then raffled off to guests as the night progresses. Every guest will go home with a vibrant piece of donated art, explains event host and emcee, FCCS Visual Arts Instructor David Doody.

“The artworks donated will be on display and promoted for hundreds of local art collectors to view with anticipation,” says Doody. “We encourage the community to join us for this exciting evening of local art, beer and wine, live entertainment and of course great conversation.”

Matthew Kenney, a fourth-year Bachelor of Media Studies student and one of the event organizers, explains the drama to the evening. Each guest selects a piece of donated work that they would like to take home. However, no one knows until their ticket is pulled which piece of art they will have the opportunity of actually claiming as their own.

“Connecting over art is one of my favourite things in life,” says Kenny. “Art on the Line is in the amazing position of being able to connect emerging and practicing artists with members of the community. It’s something we do not take for granted and work hard to create meaningful relationships between the artists and art enthusiasts of the Okanagan, thus in turn further developing its creative arts culture.”

Proceeds from the event support UBCO visual arts student exhibitions like the fourth-year show, the visiting artist program, opportunities for travel grants and exhibitions, as well as local charity Third Space, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing mental health services and counselling to young people in the Okanagan.

“We are proud to be including submissions from our Bachelor of Fine Arts and our Bachelor of Media Studies students, faculty, alumni and local artists,” adds Kenney. “This varied collection makes it the widest variety of works shown within any previous Art on the Line event.”

Art on the Line tickets are $200 for two people to enter and the ticket guarantees one piece of artwork. People who would like to attend and view the exhibition but not take home a piece of art can purchase a ticket at the door for $10.

Organizers are also accepting submissions of 2D and 3D artwork for the event. Submission forms, event tickets and more details can be found at:

The post UBCO hosts annual gala evening of art and entertainment appeared first on UBC Okanagan News.

A photo of author Shelley Wood sitting on some stone steps

Local writer Shelley Wood is UBCO’s latest Writer in Residence and this year’s judge of the annual short story contest.

Kelowna-based author Shelley Wood is spending two weeks this spring at UBC Okanagan as the campus’s next Writer in Residence.

Part of her role will be to read and provide feedback on manuscripts from local writers, host a public lecture and judge the many entries for the Okanagan Short Story Contest.

The goal of UBCO’s Writer in Residence program is to promote Canadian authors and literature to Okanagan residents while at the same time, providing budding writers an opportunity to receive feedback on their creative work, explains Andrea Routley, Lecturer of Creative Writing and organizer of the residency program.

“Getting fresh eyes on your work can help you see what’s missing—tension, layers, characterization, pacing, or voice—or what you might need to cut for the work to draw a reader in. Sometimes that means helping you see what you need to change or fix and discussing ways to do that, but a consultation may also clarify for you what you absolutely can’t bear to part with, which can be the incentive you need to roll up your sleeves and get back to work,” Routley says.

Originally from Vancouver, Shelley Wood earned her undergraduate degree in English literature from McGill University and her master’s degree in journalism from UBC. Her short stories and creative nonfiction have been published in Grain, Room, Causeway Lit, Canadian Notes & Queries, Phoebe, the Antigonish Review, The New Quarterly, Bath Flash Fiction, Freefall and the Saturday Evening Post. Her debut novel The Quintland Sisters was an instant Canadian bestseller and her second novel The Leap Year Gene will be published next summer by Harper Collins Canada and Union Square Press in the US. She divides her time between her home in Kelowna, BC, and her work as a medical journalist and editorial director for the Cardiovascular Research Foundation in New York, NY.

Local writers of adult fiction or non-fiction are invited to submit manuscripts for Wood’s review and feedback. Wood will also meet with a select number of UBCO students and community writers between February 26 and March 8 to coach their writing.

Anyone who would like to submit their manuscript to Wood can find out more at Manuscripts will be accepted between February 1 and 12.

Wood will also host a public reading and reception on Wednesday, March 6 in UBCO’s Creative and Critical Studies Building gallery at 6 pm. And as the judge of the Okanagan Short Story Contest, Wood will announce the winners on Wednesday, March 27 at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art. Both events are free and open to the public.

The post UBCO’s Writer in Residence to work with local emerging writers appeared first on UBC Okanagan News.

A photo of a group of prospective students participating in a drawing workshop at a previous Creative Day event.

Prospective students interested in UBCO’s visual arts or media studies programs are welcome to attend Creative Day where they can attend workshops and participate in a portfolio review to help them prepare their university application.

What: Creative and Portfolio Day at UBC Okanagan
Who: Prospective visual arts and media studies students, faculty members
When: Saturday, January 13, 10 am to 3 pm
Where: UBC Okanagan Creative and Critical Studies building, 1148 Research Road Kelowna

Each year UBC Okanagan visual arts and media studies faculty open their doors for Creative Day to host a series of free workshops for prospective incoming students.

Led by several professors in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, Creative Day provides an opportunity to learn more about a variety of subjects and media such as animation, drawing and printmaking.

Creative Day workshops are a chance to find out more about UBCO’s Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Media Studies programs and facilities through fun and interactive projects, explains Visual Arts Associate Professor and Department Head Shawn Serfas.

“We offer a hands-on experiential learning environment where students can develop their own artistic voice, and we encourage students to cross disciplines while refining their specialized practices,” says Serfas. “This is something we want to share with prospective students, and Creative Day is a great opportunity to make that happen.”

Options this year include a drawing workshop, a chance to try printmaking, a tour of the on-campus gallery and an information session about the media studies program with a chance to assess current student projects.

Professors will also review portfolios from prospective applicants who will receive advice on assembling their entrance portfolio to submit for approval before the final deadline on January 31. If a person has already completed their portfolio, they can receive approval on the spot.

“Putting a portfolio together can be a daunting task. We are offering a chance to meet with professors who will provide feedback to prospective students. We see great value in this activity, which helps to build confidence in these budding artists,” says Instructor Andreas Rutkauskas.

The portfolio requirement is an important part of the application process and gives the reviewers a chance to learn a bit more about each application and get a sense of what kinds of art-making these students are working on, he explains.

Creative and Portfolio Day takes place January 13 starting at 10 am. There are limited seats available for some of the workshops and portfolio reviews, and pre-registration is encouraged. To register or find out more, visit:

The post UBCO Creative Day opens studio doors for prospective students appeared first on UBC Okanagan News.

A photo of a fountain pen writing on black lined paper

Entries are open for UBCO’s annual Okanagan Short Story Contest. Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash.

The annual Okanagan Short Story Contest, which has been running since 1997, is now open for submissions from writers living in BC’s southern interior.

The contest has a long tradition of introducing budding writers to the Okanagan community. Winners in previous years have gone on to publish with Penguin Random House, Arsenal Pulp Press and NeWest Press, as well as numerous national and international magazines and journals.

This competition, initiated by UBC Okanagan professors Nancy Holmes and John Lent, will this year be run by Creative Writing Lecturer and UBCO alumnus Andrea Routley, who says she is excited to oversee this competition.

“The perspectives and multiple knowledges of the diverse people of BC’s southern interior are important voices in Canada’s literary landscape, and I’m thrilled to be in a position to help draw attention to that,” she adds.

Local emerging writers are invited to submit their original writing for the chance to win several prizes, including a top prize of $1,000 along with a one-week retreat at The Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre in Kelowna. Second and third prizes are $400 and $200 respectively. This is the fifth year in a row the contest has been open to high school students and the top prize for that category is $200.

Submitted entries will be adjudicated by faculty from UBCO’s creative writing program and celebrated Canadian author Shelley Wood.

Originally from Vancouver, Wood earned her undergraduate degree in English literature at McGill and her graduate degree in journalism at UBC. Her short stories and creative nonfiction have been published in Grain, Room, Causeway Lit, Canadian Notes & Queries, Phoebe, the Antigonish Review, The New Quarterly, Bath Flash Fiction, Freefall and the Saturday Evening Post. Her debut novel, The Quintland Sisters  was a Canadian bestseller. She divides her time between her home in Kelowna, and her work as a medical journalist and editorial director for the Cardiovascular Research Foundation in New York.

Entries for the Okanagan Short Story Contest are open to fiction writers in the southern interior of British Columbia—east of Hope, west of the Alberta border, north of the border to the United States and south of Williams Lake. All original entries must be between 1,000 and 4,000 words and writers are welcome to submit as many entries as they choose. There is a $20 entry fee for each story, but no charge for students in the high school category. Entries must be received by 11:59 pm on February 2, 2024.

All proceeds from the competition go towards the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies’ creative writing scholarships at UBC Okanagan and towards supporting Indspire, an Indigenous organization that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.

Winners of the short story contest will be announced next spring at a public event as part of the Creative Studies Spring Festival, and the finalists will be invited to read from their work.

For a full list of contest details and rules, visit:

The post Submissions open for UBCO’s annual Okanagan Short Story Contest appeared first on UBC Okanagan News.

A photo of the audience of the first UBCO Debate that took place in May 2023.

On October 24, UBCO will host its second debate this year, following up on the successful event this spring. This topic this fall: Free Speech is Not Dead.

Freedom of speech. Is it a gift, a privilege or a right?

Does it even exist?

In the second event of its kind, UBC Okanagan Debates will host four leading experts from the world of academia, law and media to debate whether the digital age has choked off free speech or empowered it to thrive.

Does mainstream media control whose voice gets heard to maintain their grip on profits and influence? Are secretive social media algorithms limiting those who speak their minds? Or is the digital age supercharging free speech, granting anyone with an internet connection the power to express and influence regardless of their language or geography?

“Freedom of speech is a fascinating, nuanced topic. Who has it, why, and how does today’s world shape how we use it?” says Dr. Lesley Cormack, Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at UBC Okanagan. “What is so exciting about UBC Okanagan Debates is each side has the opportunity to take a firm position and see how persuasive they can be, both in the eyes of the audience and against their fellow debaters. It’s going to be a timely discussion.”

Debating experts include Dr. Greg Garrard, a Professor of Environmental Humanities at UBCO, and Dr. Joel Bakan, a Professor at UBC’s Allard School of Law. Dr. Bakan, a renowned expert in constitutional law, is currently challenging X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, over censorship issues. He and Dr. Garrard stand on the side that free speech is dead. Opposing them will be Dr. Margo Young, a Professor at UBC’s Allard School of Law and Sue Gardner, the former head of and is a special advisor to the Wikimedia Foundation.

“UBC Okanagan Debates is a signature event for our campus,” says Marten Youssef, Associate Vice-President, University Relations. “Civil debates are our response to connecting a polarized world, because we believe that the absence of debate is not harmony, it’s indifference.”

The debate takes place Tuesday, October 24, at the Kelowna Community Theatre beginning at 7 pm. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for UBC alumni and $5 for students. A reception will follow the debate.

This is an in-person debate and will not be livestreamed or available online afterwards.

To purchase tickets or learn more about the event, visit:

The post UBCO to host second debate: Free Speech is Not Dead appeared first on UBC Okanagan News.

A photo of wildfire suppression planes working on a fire in the Okanagan valley

Wildfire suppression planes work on a fire in the Okanagan earlier this spring.

This week, the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations downgraded many evacuation orders to alerts—but every resident in the region knows the wildfire situation continues to evolve and will leave a lasting impression both on the landscape and in the Okanagan’s collective psyche.

While fire crews continue to work the frontlines, a team of UBC Okanagan experts can provide information on fire growth, habitat loss, post-fire spreading and even the emotional turmoil of being evacuated due to wildfire.

Mathieu Bourbonnais, Assistant Professor, Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science

Areas of expertise:

  • Wildfire risk,
  • Wildfire suppression and mitigation
  • Firefighting and use of satellites for wildfire detection and monitoring

Tel: 778 583 0272

Greg Garrard, Professor of Environmental Humanities, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies

Areas of expertise:

  • Environmental literature
  • Culture and climate change (including skepticism)
  • The cultural ecology of wildfire
  • Political polarization 

Tel: 250 863 2822

Karen Hodges, Professor of Conservation Biology, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science

Areas of expertise:

  • Conservation biology
  • Habitat loss
  • Extinction risks
  • Wildfires and wildlife
  • Climate change and wildfire
  • Endangered species
  • Boreal forests
  • Mammals
  • Birds

Tel: 250 807 8763

Alessandro Ielpi, Assistant Professor, Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science

Areas of expertise:

  • Watershed processes
  • Rivers and floodplains
  • Post-fire flooding
  • Stream widening and bank erosion

Tel: 250 807 8364

Mary-Ann Murphy, Associate Professor, School of Social Work and Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise:

  • Dealing with the emotional trauma of wildfires
  • Lessons from evacuees
  • What to pack when evacuating
  • Caring for seniors in extreme heat
  • Aging and demographics

Tel: 250 807 8705

David Scott, Associate Professor, Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science

Areas of expertise:

  • Effects of wildfire on hydrology and erosion
  • Evaluation of fire site rehabilitation methods in terms of controlling erosion and sedimentation


John R.J. Thompson, Assistant Professor, Data Science, Mathematics, Statistics, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science

Areas of expertise:

  • Statistical fire growth modelling and simulation
  • Fire image analysis

Tel: 289 776 9678

Babak Tosarkani, Assistant Professor, School of Engineering

Areas of expertise:

  • Supply Chain Management
  • Operations Management
  • Sustainability and Circular Economy
  • Risk Management
  • Strategic Sustainable Development

Tel: 647 551 7732

The post UBC experts on wildfires and associated issues appeared first on UBC Okanagan News.

telling stories advisory

UBCO Professor Jodey Castricano, left, along with graduate students Zach DeWitt, Madeline Donald and Annie Furman, is planning a multispecies storytelling workshop at Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre on July 21.

What: Storytelling symposium and workshop
When: Wednesday, July 19 and Friday, July 21.
Where: Graduate Collegium, ASC 460, Arts and Sciences building, UBC Okanagan and Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre, 4711 Raymer Rd., Kelowna

A global collaboration is bringing together humanities researchers who will use storytelling practices to aim the light on planetary agendas regarding climate change.

Participants in the ongoing research exchange between UBC Okanagan and visiting faculty from England’s University of Exeter are planning a two-day event that will bring artists and scholars together to discuss planetary injustices.

The event, Telling Stories: The Humanities in an Age of Planetary Agenda-Setting, includes both a symposium at UBC Okanagan on July 19 and a Multispecies Storytelling Workshop on July 21 at Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre.

The initiative involves a collaboration between Professor Jodey Castricano, with UBCO’s Faculty of Creative Studies (FCCS) and Drs. Ina Linge and Paul Young with the University of Exeter. This collaboration originated when Dr. Castricano was invited to the University of Exeter for a Visiting International Academic Fellowship.

This is the second of a series of events housed at both University of Exeter and UBC Okanagan. It will help advance an arts and humanities scholarly response to climate change, mass extinction and environmental degradation, in order to drive healthy, sustainable and just social and environmental change, explains Dr. Castricano, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in FCCS.

“At a time when demands for environmental sustainability and food system justice are increasingly urgent, and planetary agendas are being set by scientific and financially interested parties, this project explores how arts and humanities scholars and artists can contribute to agenda setting and climate justice through storytelling methods,” Dr. Castricano says. “This approach is important because stories serve to naturalize certain ways of thinking about and acting in the world because they invite and inspire meaningful social and cultural engagement and action.”

By engaging scholars, thinkers, makers and creative people, the two-day event aims to reframe and rewrite climate justice narratives and stories that are currently exclusive to science, technology and economics.

To find out more and register for the events, visit:

This event is supported by UBCO’s FCCS and the UBC Okanagan-Exeter Excellence Catalyst Grant and is organized by the Post-Anthropocentrism and Critical Animal Studies Research Group.

The post Telling stories in a time of climate change and planetary injustice appeared first on UBC Okanagan News.

A photo of one of the 2023 graduation processions.

UBCO celebrated the class of 2023 this week including the top academic students and medal winners.

This week UBC Okanagan celebrated the graduating students of 2023. As part of graduation, the top academic students are recognized for their accomplishments which often include high academic grades and community service.

Governor General’s Gold Medal

A passion for research, a personal connection and the desire to help a population often overlooked by researchers took Sarah Lawrason down a path that eventually led to one of UBC Okanagan’s top accomplishments.

Dr. Lawrason has been named UBCO’s 2023 winner of the Governor General’s Gold Medal. She completed her PhD in Kinesiology, spending several years researching people who live with incomplete spinal cord injuries (SCI). Her research led to the design, implementation and evaluation of a mobile-based physical activity program for people with an SCI who walk. The goal was to support this particular population to become more physically active.

“Physical activity is so beneficial for health and wellbeing, but there is little research and resources to support people with SCI and even less for those with an SCI who can walk,” she says.

Dr. Lawrason admits there is a personal side to her drive. Her brother sustained an SCI in 2016—helping him live the best life he can became part of her mandate.

The Governor General’s Gold Medal is awarded to the student who has achieved the most outstanding academic record as a doctoral or master’s student completing a dissertation or thesis.

While working on her PhD, Dr. Lawrason conducted five studies with the ambulatory SCI population—a growing segment often referred to as the “forgotten ones” because they have been completely overlooked in health research and promotion, she says. Her research engaged with the SCI community and tech-industry partners to achieve significant breakthroughs and help pave the way for further scientific and clinical applications.

She conducted her research under the supervision of Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis, who describes Dr. Lawrason as someone with an exemplary record of high-impact, novel, interdisciplinary, community-engaged research who has made diverse and considerable contributions to society.

“Sarah has established an outstanding reputation for research leadership and conducted her PhD research with unwavering commitment to using community-engaged methods and improving the health of people with disabilities,” says Dr. Martin Ginis. “Of the 13 PhD students I’ve supervised, she ranks among the top in terms of breadth and depth of skill and is more than deserving of this recognition.”

Governor General’s Silver Medal winner

Solomon Thiessen, described as an “exceptionally gifted” School of Engineering student, has been named the winner of UBC’s Governor General’s Silver Medal. It is awarded annually to the student who has achieved the highest academic standing of all students in their graduating year. UBC awards three silver medals each year: one in arts, one in science and one for all other faculties including those at UBC Okanagan.

Thiessen recently completed his Bachelor of Applied Science with UBCO’s School of Engineering, impressing his professors by earning a final mark of 100 per cent on 12 of his engineering courses.

He has a keen interest in computer engineering and he minored in computer science. During his studies, he worked on a variety of projects including a portable MRI device with Drs. Rebecca Feldman and Sabine Weyand as well as a wireless sensor node network with Dr. Dean Richert. Despite his heavy course load, he also volunteered as a tutor in math, physics, applied science and computer science through the student learning hub and worked as a teaching assistant in the automation lab.

Within the School of Engineering, he was held in high esteem among the teaching staff, says Dr. Dean Richert, an Assistant Professor of Teaching in Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering

“It has been an absolute pleasure to witness Sol’s progression throughout his degree and I am delighted to see him being acknowledged as a recipient of this award,” says Dr. Richert. “Sol not only possesses exceptional academic prowess but also demonstrates an outstanding work ethic and professionalism, distinguishing himself as one of the most exceptional students I have had the privilege of working with.”

Thiessen has been accepted to the computer science master’s program at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. Following his studies at ETH Zurich, he plans to pursue a PhD in artificial intelligence. In the meantime, he is “tinkering” on a few software projects while working as a contractor for the Western Canadian Learning Network.

Lieutenant Governor Medal Program for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation

A well-travelled and active member of the UBCO campus community, Haja Mabinty (Binta) Sesay has been named the winner of the Lieutenant Governor Medal Program for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation.

Sesay has just completed her degree in International Relations and has been recognized for her leadership and dedication to helping make UBCO a more inclusive campus community. During her four years of study, she volunteered with the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office during back-to-school celebrations and spent two years volunteering with African Caribbean Student Club. She also held an executive role with the UBC Black caucus team and UBC’s Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force.

Sesay started her schooling in The Gambia and moved to the United Kingdom for part of her high school education, completing her last year in Jerusalem. She came to UBCO in 2018, having been attracted to the close-knit campus and knowing the programs were academically strong.

Although she applied for the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal, she had no expectations of winning the recognition and was surprised when notified she was the winner.

“Just getting the email to apply for the award made me feel accomplished,” she says. “I was super shocked when I got the email saying I was selected. I am so passionate about all the work I have done and never expect anything back, but it also feels nice to be recognized. I feel very honoured.”

The Lieutenant Governor Medal Program for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation recognizes students who have distinguished themselves through their post-secondary education with outstanding contributions to the promotion of inclusion, democracy or reconciliation.

Madison Tardif, who worked with Sesay at the UBC Equity and Inclusion Office, says she has played a key role in leading and working within various groups and committees to advocate for a more anti-racist and inclusive institution, with a particular focus on supporting the Black community.

“Binta has dedicated herself to the promotion of anti-racism across the university and in the broader community, advocating for changes that will continue to shape and improve the experiences of Black students, faculty and staff at UBC,” says Tardif. “Binta’s commitment to addressing structural inequities and advocating for a more inclusive campus shines in her leadership roles and her consistent desire to show up for and in solidarity with diverse communities.”

Pushor Mitchell LLP Gold Medal Leadership Prize

Madyson Campbell, who received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree Thursday, is the winner of the Pushor Mitchell Gold Medal Leadership Prize. Knowing she eventually planned to go to medical school, Campbell came to UBCO from Thunder Bay wanting to experience a few years living in a different province and knew the Okanagan would suit her lifestyle.

While working on her degree she participated in several multidisciplinary undergraduate research projects in health and worked on a student-led project to develop a pilot curriculum on a restorative approach to improve the experiences of patients who have been harmed within the health care system.

Campbell is a proud citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario and works to advocate for and ensure the voices of Métis youth are heard at the provincial and national levels.

“The support provided by this award is immeasurable, as it allows students like myself to continue our academic and leadership goals after graduating from UBC. This award has allowed me to pursue a research opportunity this summer at the University of Toronto. I cannot understate how deeply honoured I am to have been chosen by this committee. I will carry this recognition with me as I move forward in my academic and career pursuits.”

As a winner of the Pushor Mitchell award, she receives a $10,000 scholarship which she says will support her journey as she enters the Northern Ontario School of Medicine in Thunder Bay this fall.

The Pushor Mitchell LLP Gold Medal Leadership Prize recognizes a top graduating student who has excelled academically and has shown leadership while earning their degree.

“Pushor Mitchell LLP is thrilled to support another exceptional graduate at UBC Okanagan with our Gold Medal Leadership Award, as they make their way to become the next generation of great leaders in our community, both in the Okanagan and beyond”, says Joni Metherell, Managing Partner for Pushor Mitchell. “We congratulate Madyson and all of UBCO’s 2023 graduates on their success.”

Heads of Graduating Class

University of BC Medal in Arts
Samantha Barg

University of BC Medal in Education
Isabela Richard

University of BC Medal in Engineering
Solomon Thiessen

University of BC Medal in Fine Arts
Josie Hillman

University of BC Medal in Human Kinetics
Melina Marini

University of BC Medal in Management
Aurora Gardiner

University of BC Medal in Media Studies
Amanda McIvor

University of BC Medal in Nsyilxcn Language Fluency
Sheri Stelkia

University of BC Medal in Nursing
Kayla Petersen

University of BC Medal in Science
Harman Sohal

The post UBCO recognizes top students at 2023 graduation ceremonies appeared first on UBC Okanagan News.

A photo of graduating students throwing their caps

Students in the class of 2023 will graduate in six different ceremonies at UBCO this week.

This week, UBC Okanagan will celebrate the graduating class of 2023. And while hundreds of students will cross the stage to accept their degrees, there will still be a series of unique firsts.

On June 8 and 9, UBCO will confer more than 2,300 degrees during six graduation ceremonies. On Thursday, the first-ever Bachelor of Nsyilxcn Language Fluency degree graduates will receive their degrees.

“Graduation provides us the opportunity to recognize and congratulate our students and their successes,” says Dr. Lesley Cormack, UBCO’s Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor. “I am incredibly proud of all of our students, with particular note for those receiving our first degrees in Nsyilxcn Language Fluency.”

The Bachelor of Nsyilxcn Language Fluency degrees will be conferred by UBC’s Chancellor, the Honourable xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl Steven Point. Chancellor Point will also confer honorary degrees on suiki?st Pauline Terbasket, Executive Director of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, and Lindsay Gordon, Point’s predecessor as UBC Chancellor. Interim UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Deborah Buszard, who is the former UBCO Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, will share the stage throughout the six graduation ceremonies with Dr. Cormack, the current campus Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

There are three ceremonies on Thursday, the first beginning at 8:30 am, and three on Friday morning with the first also starting at 8:30 am.

Of the more than 2,320 degrees being presented this week, more than 450 students will earn their master’s degree, and 60 are being conferred as PhDs. These students have reached the highest level of achievement in their disciplines, says Dr. Cormack.

She also notes the students graduating this year continued their studies during the COVID-19 pandemic, and pivoted to online courses as the university quickly adapted to online and remote delivery of classes in 2020.

“I offer the UBC Okanagan class of 2023 my warmest congratulations for their remarkable achievements,” says Dr. Cormack. “These students persevered through an unusual time none of us could have predicted. They stayed dedicated to their studies as they not only transitioned to online learning, but back onto campus last year to complete their studies in-person. I am so grateful for this group of students as they showed grit and passion and worked through an extraordinary time to complete their studies. With these experiences, we know they have the ability to realize their highest ambitions, both personally and by shaping the world they’re entering as UBC alumni.”

The 18th annual graduation celebration happens Thursday and Friday inside the UBC Okanagan gymnasium. Parking is free during the day.

Quick facts:

  • 2,320 students will cross the stage during six graduation ceremonies
  • Two honorary degrees will be conferred, one each day
  • Thursday, 8:30 am, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science
  • Thursday, 11 am, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Science
  • Thursday, 1:30 am, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies**
    ** Including the Bachelor of Nsyilxcn Language Fluency
  • Friday, 8:30 am, Faculty of Health and Social Development*
    * Including nursing and social work
  • Friday, 11 am, Faculty of Education: Okanagan School of Education and the Faculty of Management
  • Friday, 1:30 pm, Faculty of Applied Science: School of Engineering
  • Parking is free both days

The post UBCO celebrates the graduates of 2023 appeared first on UBC Okanagan News.

A photo of artwork by Krystle Silverfox on display in the FINA gallery

Artwork created by Krystle Silverfox, one of the UBCO Indigenous artists in residence, will be on display at UBCO’s FINA gallery until August 24. Her art was recently on show at the National Gallery in Ottawa.

What: Exhibition openings, by UBC Okanagan Gallery and the Indigenous Art Intensive
Who: Krystle Silverfox, Tiffany Shaw, Sheldon Louis, Coralee Miller, David Wilson and Manuel Axel Strain
Opening reception: Wednesday, June 7, 5 to 7 pm
Exhibition dates: June 8 to August 24, open daily from 10 am to 4 pm
Where: FINA Gallery, Creative and Critical Studies building, 1148 Research Road, UBC Okanagan

UBC Okanagan Gallery and the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies Indigenous Art Intensive are hosting two exhibitions of contemporary Indigenous art starting next week.

Invisible Forces and You are on Syilx Territory will open together with a public reception on Wednesday, June 7 in the FINA Gallery at UBC Okanagan. Both shows are curated by Dr. Stacey Koosel, UBC Okanagan Gallery curator and Indigenous Art Intensive co-ordinator.

“We are proud to be hosting such exciting exhibitions with these exceptional artists here at UBCO,” says Dr. Koosel.

Yukon-based, Selkirk First Nation artist Krystle Silverfox was recently shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award with an exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. Artwork from Silverfox’s National Gallery exhibition is part of the Invisible Forces show and this will be the first time this artwork has been shown in Western Canada.

Tiffany Shaw is a Métis architect, artist and curator based in Alberta, whose work has been shown at the Venice Architecture Biennale, and multiple public art commissions including Edmonton’s Indigenous Art Park. She will reinterpret an ongoing series of work that was recently shown at the Surrey Art Gallery and the Southern Alberta Art Gallery.

You are on Syilx Territory is an exhibition that contains paintings by celebrated Syilx painters, Sheldon Louis, Coralee Miller, David Wilson and Manuel Axel Strain, which are all part of UBC Okanagan’s Public Art Collection.

You are on Syilx Territory features new acquisitions from UBC Okanagan’s Public Art Collection, and is a call to action, to indigenize the university’s art collection that currently has only eight works by Syilx artists,” says Dr. Koosel. “In a collection that houses more than 800 pieces, that is less than one per cent.”

The two exhibitions are part of the Indigenous Art Intensive, a month-long event hosting leading Indigenous artists and scholars. All activities are free and open to the public and include talks, art-making workshops, an open studio day, the exhibitions and additional events.

The goal of UBC Okanagan’s Indigenous Art Intensive is for the campus to be a leader in showcasing Interior Salish-specific artists, ideas and practices, adds Dr. Koosel.

The community is welcome to attend the opening reception on June 7, from 5 to 7 pm. The exhibitions will be open daily from June 8 to August 24, from 10 am to 4 pm excluding weekends.

More information can be found at:

The post Two Indigenous art exhibitions open at UBC Okanagan appeared first on UBC Okanagan News.