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Thursday, January 16, 2003

  • Students visit Uganda and Brazil
  • Undergrad technology conference begins
  • Sixth year of Warrior school visits
  • A few notes about events today
Chris Redmond

Malawi honours John Chilembwe today

Of interest on the web

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  • US supreme court rejects challenge to copyright law
  • Plague scientist at Texas Tech arrested
  • Students visit Uganda and Brazil

    Two graduate students are back on campus after long international trips, funded by research awards from the Canadian International Development Agency. One has been studying the food supply in East Africa's Lake Victoria, while the other has been working on sustainable mining in southern Brazil.

    Gregory Silsbe (biology) and Simon Glauser (environment and resource studies) were among almost 60 students across Canada to receive CIDA funding in 2002.

    "The CIDA grant gave me the chance to travel to Brazil for three months, September to November, in order to complete my field research," Glauser writes. "It also gave me the chance to see the cultures, politics, and the economy of the region and the country in a clearer light.

    "A clearer sense of the bigger picture will without a doubt provide me with a deeper understanding of the opportunities and barriers that will help or hinder the path to sustainability."

    He's working on a master's thesis, supervised by Mary Louise McAllister at UW and Geraldo Milioli of Brazil's Universidad de Extremo Sul Catarinense. "The focus of the research," says Glauser, "is on evaluating the current conditions of sustainability in the Coal Mining Region, located in the southern part of the State of Santa Catarina. Comparing the current biophysical, social, political, and economic conditions of the region to ideas of sustainability and sustainable mining provide a clearer picture of the necessary steps to be taken in order to improve the well-being of the overall region.

    "Realities of the developing country, and more particularly of the coal mining region, present large obstacles for incorporating the ideas of sustainability into the management of the resource. However, this project attempts to provide a clear picture of the main barriers and opportunities that exist, and provide a better understanding of the necessary steps that need to be taken in order to move toward a sustainable mining system."

    Meanwhile, Silsbe got back just after New Year's from a four-month stint in Uganda, where he carried out research for a master's thesis under the title "Assessment and Implementation of Phytoplankton Production and Hydrodynamic Modeling for Lake Victoria at the Fisheries Resources and Research Institute".

    "Throughout," he says, "I have been collecting valuable and unprecedented data on Lake Victoria and developing and applying models pertaining to phytoplankton production. My main objective is to test the predictive abilities of these models with actual measurements in the lake and make subsequent calibrations until model accuracy is attained.

    "The second objective is to supply the institute and its employees with the necessary equipment, software and training to ensure that the project can be maintained after my departure."

    He explains that Lake Victoria, which borders three countries, "is Africa's largest freshwater lake, with its fisheries providing a source of income for thousands and cheap protein for millions. The lake has undergone severe eutrophication, causing increases in phytoplankton production leading to large-scale deoxygenation and alteration of the food web, thereby severely threatening its fisheries.

    "The objectives of this project are to quantify and develop understanding of phytoplankton production, which in turn will enable accurate predictions of deoxygenation and elucidate knowledge of the Lake Victoria food web."

    Undergrad technology conference begins -- a release from the UW news bureau

    Exploring the direction of technology is the theme of the 2003 Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference being held at Toronto's Regal Constellation Hotel today through Saturday.

    The annual student-run conference is for Canadian undergraduate students to discuss technology with the academic and industry leaders of the world. It will bring together hundreds of students from about 20 universities across Canada with more than 70 speakers from industry and academia. The three-day conference features keynotes, speaker seminars, hands-on workshops and events such as the ThinkTank, TechPanel, TechExpo, TechShop and TechTours.

    Keynote speakers are Don Tapscott, president, New Paradigm Learning Corp.; Helene Armitage, IBM vice-president for technology; Michael Neuman, president, Bell Mobility; and Hubert Saint-Onge, chief executive officer of "konvergeandknow".

    The seminars expose students to a variety of different technologies. Topics include From Technology for the Senses to Next Generation Technology, enabling students to be able to learn about new technological frontiers from the industry leaders.

    Students will also interact with some of these new technologies at the TechExpo. This will include demos from the Human-Computer Interaction lab from Queen's University and American Technologies' award winning HyperSonic Sound technology.

    From neuron-powered prosthetics to quantum computing, students and leaders work together to come up with solutions to the questions raised during the seminar streams. The results are presented by CUTC "technology gurus" and published in the annual ThinkTank report.

    Jolane Ginter, a student organizer of the event, said more than 40 volunteer undergraduate students from UW have contributed to making the conference possible.

    Sixth year of Warrior school visits -- from the athletics department's Warrior Insider booklet

    Team-Up is a community outreach program where Warrior varsity student-athletes volunteer their time to go to schools and talk to kids about "Keys to Success". Team-Up is now halfway through its sixth season, and has reached over 3,700 children this fall, over 1,000 more than last season.
    [Posing in classroom]

    With mascot King Warrior, five of the Team-Up athletes pose: Josh Pike (rugby), Robin Leslie and Samira Viswanathan (field hockey), Greg McCurdy (football), Mike Sovran (basketball).

    UW athletes -- from sports that range from swimming to hockey -- visit close to 50 schools in the Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge areas each year. Each visit lasts approximately 45 minutes, during which the student-athletes share stories of how they use Keys to Success in their sports as well as in school, family and extra-curricular activities. This fall saw our athletes speak predominantly to grades five to eight students, although the program is suitable for grades 3 to OAC.

    The Keys to Success include: Set goals, work hard, have a positive attitude, be a team player, have positive role models and making choices.

    We have over 40 athletes signed up for Team-Up from many different varsity sports, ranging from field hockey to swimming. Some of our veteran speakers, such as D. J. Karimwabo (football), Robin Leslie and Samira Viswanathan (field hockey) do as many as five visits per term, volunteering a great deal of time when their schedules are already packed.

    Team-Up speakers enjoy the opportunity to share a positive message with children, while also having an opportunity to practice their public speaking skills. This past year saw many veteran speakers graduate and leave UW, as well as a need for people to fill these gaps. Fall '02 saw the introduction of many great speakers to the program, all of whom bring positive attitudes and enthusiasm to every visit. Not only do all of these athletes share their stories with children, they share a piece of themselves.

    Expectations are high that this winter will also see an increase in interest and participation in this program.

    A few notes about events today

    The career services workshop series continues, with a session today on "Career Decision-Making" starting at 10:30. Future sessions range from "Making the Job Fair Work for You" to "Business Etiquette and Professionalism", and information -- along with a way to register -- can be found no the career services web site.

    An information session on the UW benefits program, part of the "Knowing Your Workplace" series, is scheduled for 4:00 today in Davis Centre room 1302. It lasts about an hour.

    It's Boys 'n' Girls Night at Federation Hall.

    A Weight Watchers group will be meeting Mondays at 4:30 in a room at St. Jerome's University, and there's room for several more participants, says the organizer, graduate student Melissa Latour. Who's welcome? "Anyone! Students, staff, men, women, current members, new members." Latour can be reached at mmlatour@uwaterloo.ca for more information.

    And this note from Penny Pudifin in the graduate studies office: "The deadline for submission of abstracts for the Graduate Student Research Conference taking place April 2-4 has been extended until today, January 16, to allow for late submissions. Graduate students who missed yesterday's abstract submission deadline and want to participate in the conference should submit their abstract today through the conference web site."


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