Monday, February 12, 2007

  • Progress on two overseas campuses
  • It's back to IBM for another term
  • Waffles and other tentative notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Emergency 911]

Link of the day

Born on the same day: Darwin and Lincoln

When and where

Federation of Students election forum 11:00 to 2:00, Student Life Centre great hall. Polls open Tuesday-Thursday.

Career workshops: "Interview Skills, Selling Your Skills" 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208; "Work Search Strategies for International Students" and "Starting Your Own Business, Next Steps" 4:30, Tatham Centre room 2218; details and registration online.

Last 'Fit Blitz': Talk to a personal trainer, free, 5 p.m., Columbia Icefield fitness centre.

'The Fall of the Berlin Wall' presentation by Adriaan De Hoog, sponsored by Wilfrid Laurier University's Arts Student Advancement Program, 5:30, WLU science building room N1002.

'Monster sale' sponsored by UW Shop, Tuesday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Village I great hall, with hoodies, T-shirts and other merchandise.

David Suzuki's "If You Were Prime Minister" Tour, Tuesday 11:30 a.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets $5 from Humanities box office or Waterloo Public Interest Research Group.

Classical studies lecture: "The Development of Greek Sculpture", by Craig Hardiman, Tuesday 12 noon, Kitchener Public Library main branch.

'Personal tax strategies' presented by Education Credit Union, speaker Alan Wintrip, Tuesday 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302.

Imprint Publications annual general meeting Tuesday 1:30 p.m., Student Life Centre multi-purpose room.

'Home Cooking 101' briefing sponsored by Food Services and Health Services, Tuesday 5 p.m., Columbia Lake Village community centre, sign up in advance at CLV.

Basic first aid with CPR-A, one night training, 5 to 10 p.m., sign up in athletics office, Physical Activities Complex.

UW Apprentice competition begins Wednesday, sponsored by Entrepreneurs Association of UW, details online.

Blood donor clinic Wednesday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Student Life Centre, make appointments now at turnkey desk.

'Enhanced Podcasting' presentation by Alan Kirker, Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology, Wednesday 11 a.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Poet Lorna Crozier reads from her work ("spend Valentine's Day with the author of The Sex Lives of Vegetables) Wednesday 4 p.m., St. Jerome's University room 2017.

Raptors vs. Nets: 28 tickets remain for Toronto trip to see NBA basketball, $35 including bus and game, from athletics office, Physical Activities Complex.

'E-merging Learning Workshop' introductory session for faculty members exploring online learning technology, Thursday 12 noon, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library, details online.

Fantastic Alumni, Faculty and Staff Day at Warrior men's basketball game vs. Laurier, Saturday 4 p.m., Physical Activities Complex, free ticket information online.

Quest unavailable to students from 12:01 a.m. Sunday, February 18, to 8 a.m. Wednesday, February 21, for system upgrade.

Reading week in all faculties February 19-23, no classes.

Ottawa 50th anniversary celebration of UW and co-operative education, with president David Johnston and co-op and career services director Peggy Jarvie, Monday, February 19, 6 to 8 p.m., National Gallery of Canada, details online.

Graduate Student Leadership Conference hosted by UW Graduate Student Association February 21-24, program online.

Waterloo engineering 50th anniversary celebration, March 1, 6:00, Royal York Hotel, Toronto, $125 per person, details online.

Campus Day open house for future students and family members, Tuesday, March 13, programming 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., details online.

Progress on two overseas campuses

If UW goes ahead with a proposed academic program at a site in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, it would mean 22 new faculty positions in engineering on the Waterloo campus and roughly the same number in mathematics, the board of governors was told last week.

Provost Amit Chakma briefed the board about progress on the Abu Dhabi proposal, and associate vice-president (academic) spoke on a similar proposal for an outpost in Nanjing, China.

"We are not prepared to do anything that would compromise our key objectives," meaning the academic programs at home in Waterloo, Chakma said. UW is also not interested in having a separate group of faculty to teach on the other side of the world, he added. Rather, the additional professors whom the new programs would require — and pay for — would be based in Waterloo, doing research and supervising graduate students like any other faculty member. Then professors would go overseas, perhaps one term at a time, to teach in the Waterloo programs.

[City skyline]"It is not a done deal yet," the provost said, but told the board that if everything goes well, the first students could settle into classrooms in Abu Dhabi (left) in the fall of 2008. The idea is to take in about 125 students annually. They'd study for two years in Abu Dhabi, then come to Waterloo to complete their degrees, which would be in chemical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, or some fields of mathematics.

Things are a little further advanced in Nanjing, said associate VP Gail Cuthbert Brandt, reporting that things are "moving forward very smoothly" with the proposed partner in the venture, the well-established University of Nanjing. In that program, UW wouldn't have to supply faculty members overseas, as the U of Nanjing would do the teaching of first and second-year courses. The initial students enrolled in first year last fall, and if all the approvals go ahead, they will be coming to Waterloo for third and fourth-year studies in the fall of 2008.

Environmental studies programs are at the heart of what's planned with Nanjing, but science and mathematics have also expressed interest, she said.

At steady state, the Nanjing program would involve about 300 Chinese students studying at Waterloo at any one time. In turn, Canadian students could be spending time in China, at the "Sino-Canadian College" that Waterloo and Nanjing have agreed to establish.

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It's back to IBM for another term

by Marianne Nguyen, from the co-op student newsletter Inside Scoop

After already having completed two terms with IBM by September 2005, third year software engineering student Orlando Marquez didn't hesitate to accept the company's offer to stay on with them for another term.

"I could go work for Microsoft and Google,” he says, “but I'm going to need a full-time job eventually and to get a full-time job in the U.S. is difficult if you haven't paved your way. I find the work I'm doing to be very enjoyable so why would I go anywhere else?"

As an added benefit, IBM is a huge corporation with more than 300,000 employees around the world. Co-op students have the ability to explore IBM's large number of specialized departments and determine their area of interest and focus. Marquez adds, "They also have a very structured path if you want to make a career with them, and they will help prepare you for the path you choose, including paying for your MBA."

During his second work term with IBM in Ottawa, Marquez was involved with something called Extreme Blue, an elite internship program in which four students are placed in a group: three are technically-focused while one is business-oriented. The team is given an idea for a product and given 15 weeks to prepare the product for presentation to the IBM executives in Armonk, New York, during the final week, the goal being for the executives to accept the team's proposed product features. Within the term, the group interacts with IBM teams all around the world, including the U.S. and Europe.

"With the help of two other teams, Rational Application Analysis and J9 Java Virtual Machine,” he says, “my team created a development tool that reduced the start-up time of computer applications."

Working on a project of such grand proportions taught him many important lessons. Being in constant close contact with such a small team also yielded some difficulties for Marquez, who was forced to adjust to each team member's different personalities and working styles. Playing in a company soccer league helped, however, as "we were able to talk about work problems in a more relaxed environment."

On pitching to executives: "Standing in front of an executive who manages millions of dollars every day and opens and closes contracts in the blink of an eye, you're forced to be concise and prove your worth. It took me a while to realize that. It's also important to be open and unafraid."

He discloses the most important thing he's learned so far in his career: "When you have technology, it doesn't matter how useful you think it is; if it doesn't impress the customer, the product's worthless. This reminds me to keep the user's needs in mind, which is important because it keeps you focused and humbled."

Finally, networking: "Talking to a lot of people from different backgrounds is really helpful. You may not always create a connection, but it's worth taking that chance."

As a true testament of his hard work and company loyalty, some of the people Marquez talked to actually helped him get his job for the Winter 2007 co-op term. He's now employed at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Lab in Hawthorne, New York, and looks to be on his way toward a long career with the corporation.

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Waffles and other tentative notes

[Eggs, potatoes and toast]At the Bombshelter, they call it "the original breakfast", and it costs $5.25. The picture doesn't include the "2 fluffy pancakes", the coffee or tea, and the juice, and there are some options for customization — replace the bacon with grilled tomatoes, for instance. If that doesn't do it for you, the menu also includes "skillet scramblers" (eggs, peppers and such), cinnamon french toast, and malted waffles, among other things. Breakfast hours at the Bomber, in the original wing of the Student Life Centre, are 8 to 11 a.m., Monday to Friday. "Flyers have been circulated to all departments with 10% off coupons for staff to come in and check it out," says Melissa Onn, director of marketing for the Federation of Students. "There are also coupons being distributed around campus for students for the same 10% off."

But before you make a final decision about that bacon and those home fries, you might want to check out Canada's Food Guide, much in the news this month with the release of a new version telling you how many milk products, veggies and fruities to eat each day. "Health Services has had some inquiries," writes dietitian Sandy Chuchmach. "We expect hard copies of the new recommendations to arrive in about a week; however, they can be viewed online. The new food guide includes gender- and age-specific recommendations, and the website has lots of useful tips. Watch for a lunch-hour update for students, staff and faculty in March, National Nutrition Month."

Sometime between now and April 30 at midnight, students (and their parents) will likely be filling in income tax forms, and when they do, they'll want official receipts to prove that they paid tuition fees to UW during 2006. Enter Form T2202a. Karen Hamilton of UW's finance office advises that T2202a's will be mailed out the week of February 19, to the "home address" for undergraduate students and the "current mailing address" for graduate students. "An e-mail reminder was sent out to students," she adds, "to update their addresses on Quest."

News from the Federation of Students website: "After a final effort to bring back Thursday nights at Fed Hall with the introduction of Mint Thursdays, Feds have chosen to discontinue the night until further notice due to lack of consistent patronage. Although Mint Thursdays attempted to revive the club scene at Fed Hall with its new classier atmosphere, no cover and cheap drinks, attendance was not enough to continue with the remaining dates for the term. Discussion are currently taking place regarding future plans for the venue’s bar nights, which will be communicated once any final decisions are made."


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