Countdown starts May 1 for major Okanagan education symposium

Industry and education sectors to showcase science, engineering and tech education at launch of Fuelling the Economy of the Future in Kelowna

Models of solar cars and a variety of other student science and engineering projects will be on display next Thursday as the official countdown starts for a major valley-wide symposium on engineering, science and technology education set for Penticton on Oct. 24 and 25.

The launch celebration on May 1 marks the opening of registration for October’s inaugural Fuelling the Economy of the Future symposium. The afternoon, co-hosted by the Regional District of Central Okanagan and School District 23, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Hollywood Road Education Centre in Kelowna, will showcase many of the education, government and industry connections behind the symposium.

“The Fuelling the Economy of the Future symposium will challenge and encourage educators by providing a unique K-PhD perspective on engineering, science, and technology education,” says Dr. Spiro Yannacopoulos, Director of UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering. “We know it is crucial for the health of our local and national economies to keep our students enrolled in science, engineering, and technology programs.”

Competition for science and engineering talent is intensifying worldwide. The number of high school graduates entering post-secondary programs in sciences or engineering is declining, and a significant number of industry’s senior engineers are approaching retirement. The main goals of the symposium are to heighten awareness of science and engineering education, and to build stronger connections within the K-PhD education system and industry.

The symposium is a collaborative initiative organized by UBC Okanagan, Okanagan College, School District 23, the Okanagan Science and Technology Council (OSTEC), the Okanagan Research and Innovation Centre (ORIC), and the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission.

The public is invited to the official launch celebration, from 3 to 5 p.m., next Thursday, May 1, at Hollywood Road Education Centre on Hollywood Road in Kelowna. E-mail Laura Patterson (laura.patterson@ubc.ca), by Tuesday, April 29, if you would like to attend.

Speakers will include Dick Fletcher, Chair of the symposium steering committee, a professional engineer, and partner with Urban Systems Ltd., and Dr. Andrew Labun, Associate Professor with UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering. A selection of School District 23 student science fair projects will be on display, along with solar car models developed by students at Kelowna’s Quigley Elementary.

Complete information about the symposium in October, including daily programs and sponsorship opportunities, can be found on the web at: www.ubc.ca/okanagan/engineering/fef.

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