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Friday, May 21, 2004

  • Plant ops staff member mourned
  • Great Lakes research is conference topic
  • Students work in international markets
  • The summer's first long weekend
Chris Redmond

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month


Plant ops staff member mourned

Word came yesterday that Henry Morawski, who had worked in UW's plant operations department since 1987, had died in a snorkeling accident during a vacation in Cuba. He was 47.

"He's worked all over this campus -- knows a lot of people, and a heck of a nice guy," said Bill Carroll, his supervisor in plant ops. For the past four year Morawski had been part of the electrical controls group, responsible for the wiring of fire alarms and heating and cooling systems. Before that, since coming to the university 17 years ago, he'd been in the electrical distribution section.

"He's going to be significantly missed," said Carroll.

He said Morawski was a keen tennis player as well as a snorkeling enthusiast who was making his first visit to Cuba, along with his wife, Christine, who works as a "house mom" in Village I.

Details of the accident, and funeral arrangements, aren't yet available.

Great Lakes research is conference topic -- from the UW media relations office

An international conference focusing on the Great Lakes, featuring scientific research, management challenges and policy, will be held at UW next week.

The 47th Annual Conference of the International Association for Great Lakes Research, from Monday through Friday (May 24 to 28), will attract hundreds of delegates from around the world. The theme of the meeting is "Great Lakes Need Great Watersheds."

[Mist swirling over the floor]

The fountain sculpture in the atrium of the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology represents the five great lakes. It was filled with dry ice for the building's opening ceremonies in February.

"Kitchener-Waterloo borders on the drainage divide of three Great Lakes and this region has particular importance to their management," says biology professor Robert Hecky. "We are a leader in many aspects of great lakes science around the world, including the great lakes in Africa."

More than 400 presentations will be made, primarily by American and Canadian researchers but with invited participants from Russia, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya as well as European attendees.

The guest speaker will be Michael Donohue of the Great Lakes Commission, who will address the intersection of science, policy and management in the Great Lakes. Throughout four days of scientific sessions (Tuesday through Friday), a range of topics such as environmental contaminants, lake habitats, fisheries and water quality will be discussed.

Also at the conference centre

  • The annual youth convention of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, today through Sunday.

  • The Ontario Folk Dance Camp, today through Monday.
  • Student participation is integral to the atmosphere of these meetings. The Ontario ministry of natural resources actively promotes student achievement and improves access to the educational opportunities at this conference. "We're very pleased that $25,000 in funding from the Canadian-Ontario Agreement on the Great Lakes Basin is being used to create a student travel fund in the ministry's name," says Cheryl Lewis, manager of the Aquatic Research and Development Section for the ministry. "By creating this travel fund we are encouraging participation in this meeting and helping nurture future Great Lakes scientists."

    The annual conference is one of the major undertakings of the association, which began in 1967 as an international organization devoted to the advancement of research, management and policy development related to great lakes. It has nearly 1,000 members, with some two-thirds from the U.S., one-quarter from Canada and the rest throughout the world. It publishes the Journal of Great Lakes Research featuring international research.

    Students work in international markets -- by Nancy Collins, condensed from the UW Recruiter employer newsletter

    It has been nearly five years since UW mathematics grads Jeff Saul and Will John, were co-op students, working on the trading floors of major financial institutions in Toronto. Today both have parlayed their co-op experience in financial markets into international careers at Barclays Capital, the investment banking division of the financial service group Barclays PLC.

    With Saul as a European government bond trader in London, and John as a U.S. Treasury bond trader in New York, their jobs are fast-paced and performance driven. They needed to find people with exceptional technical abilities who could perform in a pinch, a requirement that made the UW co-op program their natural choice for recruitment.

    Saul and his boss Domenico Crapanzano began hiring UW co-op students in January 2003 to work as trading assistants. In this position, students help senior traders during the daily trading mania and also work on long-term projects, such as developing trading models and analytics. It was Crapanzano who initially suggested hiring UW co-op students, an idea that Saul immediately supported. To date, they have hired nine students over five terms and the results have been rewarding. "In terms of the contributions the students have given, they've been able to add significantly to the systems we had in place before they were here," Saul said.

    [On the trading floor in London]

    Jeff Saul, seated, with co-op students Dave Dymov and Jeff Alfonsi on the Barclays trading floor in London

    Students working with Saul and Crapanzano have the opportunity to learn more about financial markets. "We have constant new challenges. For a trading assistant, I think some of that filters down," reflects Saul. He and Crapanzano, described by a previous student as "mentors," help their students to meet these challenges. As Saul explains, they are willing to teach the specific financial knowledge that students may lack, but the technical skills are something that "really need to be there."

    On the New York trading floor, the presence of UW co-op students is a newer phenomenon. Owing to the success at the London office, Will John and his colleague Mike Bagguley have started hiring UW co-op students for their derivatives desk, recruiting five students in their first term. Like Saul, John looks for students with strong technical skills. "Our business is very, very quantitative, so it's great to have students around who have those skills and who can help us with projects that we can't do ourselves due to time constraints," he said. And when it comes to getting students with these skills, John had no qualms in admitting that, with the exception of MIT, UW is the only school his desk hires from.

    In both offices, co-op students are looked upon as more than just interns, but also as potential future employees. "We like to hire young people who are very eager and hardworking and there's no better way to interview someone than to have them work for you for four months," said John. This is good news for aspiring traders like Louis Chong, a 4B computer engineering student who worked with Saul in London for one term and who will be returning full time after finishing school in April.

    [Diamond Jubilee poster]

    The summer's first long weekend

    Monday, May 24, will be Victoria Day and a holiday. UW offices and most services will be closed, and classes will not be held. On Monday, the Dana Porter Library will be open from noon to 6 p.m. only (library hours on Saturday and Sunday are the same as usual). And it's worth emphasizing that there will be no fireworks on the north campus for Victoria Day -- the north campus celebration happens on Canada Day in July.

    In yesterday's Daily Bulletin, mentioning a planned curriculum change in chemical engineering, I said that Bill Anderson was the department chair. "I am (thankfully) not," he writes. He's associate chair for undergraduate studies; the department chair is Tom Duever.

    A reminder from the staff association: today is the deadline for members to vote in the election of two directors for the coming year. Ballots were distributed earlier in May. There are four candidates -- Bev Rodgers (management sciences), Sean Warren (distance education), Andy Newman (plant operations), and Keith Peck (library).

    [Magazine cover] The University of Waterloo Magazine, edited for alumni and other friends of UW by Linda Kenyon of communications and public affairs, and designed by Monica Lynch and Christine Goucher of UW Graphics, has won a gold medal from the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education. The magazine, which was redesigned in 2003, won in the "Best Magazine" category of CCAE's Prix d'Excellence competition. The judges said they were impressed with the overall success of the redesign, including the "use of restraint in typography" and the "accessibility of the articles", and also remarked that the "size added to its spacious feeling."

    A symposium on "Cultural Biology: Evolution, Development, and Mind" runs today and tomorrow in the Humanities building (room 334), hosted by UW's department of philosophy. "This symposium," writes Chris Eliasmith from that department, "is the culmination of our Distinguished Speaker Series on Cultural Biology, a week of public lectures by Steve Quartz on topics covered in his recent book Liars, Lovers, and Heroes: What the New Brain Science Reveals About How We Become Who We Are. The study of cultural biology spans a wide variety of disciplines in examining the biological roots of culture. Cultural biologists integrate concepts from these disciplines to answer questions about, e.g., altruism, courage, lying, decision making, and preferred social structures." Participation in the symposium, other than tonight's banquet, is free; there's more information on the web.

    And . . . the registrar's office notes that winter term marks become official as of May 24 and can be seen online through Quest.


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