Friday, April 18, 2008

  • Grad students show their research
  • Indian speaker's route to harmony
  • Social entrepreneurship 'bootcamp'
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Grad students show their research

The largest graduate student research conference in Canada takes place next week at UW, as the eighth annual Sharing Discovery conference unveils research accomplishments by more than 200 master's and doctoral students from the six faculties. Participants will give poster or oral presentations grouped under the areas of health, life and environment, humanities and social sciences, physical science, and math and technology.

The Monday-through-Thursday conference, which organizers say will feature an emphasis on sustainable practices, includes a new session entitled Aging, Health and Well-Being. It's one of a growing number of specialty sessions held by departments and other groups during the four-day event.

All sessions are open to the public. They will be held in the Davis Centre, rooms 1301, 1302 and 1304, from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. A program schedule is online.

This year's keynote speaker is Thomas Homer-Dixon, an academic who will be joining UW and the Centre for International Governance Innovation this summer. An expert on the links between environmental stress and violence in developing countries, Homer-Dixon's recent research has focused on threats to global security in the 21st century and how societies adapt to complex ecological, economic, and technological change.

The award-winning author of The Ingenuity Gap, Homer-Dixon will give his talk on Monday at 3:00 in the Humanities Theatre. Tickets are available at $2 through the theatre box office.

"This year's conference upholds the vision of the organizers of our first annual meeting — to profile and promote excellence in graduate studies at Waterloo, to bring graduate students from all disciplines together and give them the opportunity to share their research findings, and to encourage and foster interdisciplinary research," says Bill Power, associate dean of graduate studies and conference chair. "I am pleased to offer this program as the latest evidence of the students' own efforts to realize this vision."

Poster presentations describing research projects will be on display throughout the week in the Davis Centre. Samples of the research topics:

• Socioeconomic Status and Smoking in Canada, 1999-2006: Has there been any progress on disparities in tobacco use? — Jessica Reid, department of health studies and gerontology.
• The Qinghai-Tibet Railway and Tibet Tourism: Traveller's Perspective — Ming Ming Su, geography.
• The Experiences of Poverty: Homeless Youth and Social Exclusion — Jennifer L. Robinson, sociology.
• Multi-Factor Password Authenticated Key Exchange — Douglas Stebila, combinatorics and optimization.
• Study of Stent Angioplasty Process Using Finite Element Modelling Method — Nasim Paryab, mechanical engineering.
• Latitudinal Gradients in Aquatic Insect Communities in the Mackenzie River System — Ryan Scott, biology.

In keeping with the sustainability focus, organizers are making a commitment to reduce the impact that the annual event has on the environment. Examples of the initiatives include an exclusively on-line program and re-usable tableware for lunches, snacks and beverages provided during the conference. All registered participants will receive a travel mug.

The conference, organized through the graduate studies office, has received support from the president's office, the Graduate Student Association, the graduate studies endowment fund, retail services, the deans of the six faculties and various corporate sponsors.

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Indian speaker's route to harmony

by Patricia Bow

Former Indian president Abdul Kalam is known as a visionary as well as an engineer: the “Missile Man” who launched India into the club of space-going nations and mapped out the “Technology Vision 2020” plan that aims to transform India into one of the world’s most highly developed nations.

In UW’s crowded Theatre of the Arts yesterday, Kalam shared his vision of a “World Knowledge Platform” with a receptive audience. Speaking on "Canada and India — Partnership in Global Development," he said the “global sourcing” of creative minds working together, irrespective of geographical boundaries, was the best way to tackle the planet’s most challenging problems and to generate the innovations that could “make the world a sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous place to live.”

[With researcher looking into microscope]Some of the challenges Kalam proposes the World Knowledge Platform might tackle are desalination of sea-water, malaria control, fossil-fuel-free transportation systems, energy-efficient habitat, earthquake prediction, and the training of skilled knowledge workers worldwide.

Earlier, Kalam met members of the student Midnight Sun and Alternative Fuel vehicle team, and visited UW's Giga-to-Nano lab in Engineering III building (pictured; photo by Neil Trotter). After the lecture he had lunch with officials at the University Club.

Modern India is in a developmental ferment right now, Kalam said in his talk. The Bank of India is the busiest banking system in the world, in terms of numbers of transactions; India’s National Stock Exchange is third busiest in the world; the IT sector accounts for 25 per cent of India’s exports; voting in elections is 100 per cent electronic, even in remote areas; India adds 8.5 million cell phone subscribers each month, the result of having the cheapest phone rates in the world.

He cited low-cost Indian innovations such as the Jaipur foot, a prosthetic for landmine amputees, and electronic chips designed, not just assembled, in India. And, as an image of the popular Indian-made Tata Nano filled the screen behind him, he offered it as an example of “how to design a people’s car: start with a blank slate and include only what is essential.”

Kalam also mentioned international joint efforts in which India is involved, such as the Pan-African e-Network and the BrahMOS missile system jointly developed and manufactured in Russia and India.

Following the lecture, a member of the audience asked how Kalam had managed his successes and failures. Kalam described the bumpy early years of India’s rocket program in the 1970s, when he was given billions of dollars to develop a rocket that at first failed. “Critics asked why we didn’t simply dump all that money in the Bay of Bengal.” He acknowledged responsibility for the failure. When the Rohini satellite achieved orbit in 1980, he shared credit for the success.

Kalam concluded the event by having the audience repeat in cheerful unison after him: "Where there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is harmony in the nation. When there is harmony in the nation, there is peace in the world."

The lecture was also webcast live, and a link to the archived talk will be available.

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Social entrepreneurship 'bootcamp'

Entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to get their skills in shape at an innovative, entrepreneurial “bootcamp” to be held at UW next month. The Social Entrepreneurship Intensive event, organizers say, "emphasizes the importance of combining a passion for social change with the knowledge, skills and abilities from traditional business fields, helping participants master the skills necessary to start or grow an enterprise."

This initiative will run for three very full days, May 12-14. Participants in the Social Entrepreneurship Intensive will include people starting a social enterprise, working for an organization that is developing a social enterprise for growth or financial support, working for an established not-for-profit organization that could benefit from the Intensive’s many workshops, or seeking a new direction and change in their career path. It's also expected to attract those working in sectors that support social enterprises and seek first-hand knowledge of the needs and challenges of today’s social enterprises.

The Social Entrepreneurship Intensive "bootcamp" program will be limited to 30 participants, maintaining an intimate atmosphere throughout the morning-until-night program, a news release explains. "It will consist of a mix of presentations, hands-on workshops and collaboration sessions, with the goal of providing would-be social entrepreneurs the tools for success in running a successful, healthy enterprise. Today’s social entrepreneurs are gaining access to knowledge and resources previously unprecedented in society, and the Intensive will allow both entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs to take advantage of the growing wealth of knowledge in this field."

Highlights will include presentations from John Baker, CEO of Aperio Inc., on revenue generation; Cheryl Rose, director of partnerships and projects for the Social Innovation Generation at UW, on engaging universities; Geoff Malleck, associate director of the Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, on entrepreneurship; and Bob Copeland, associate vice-president (annual giving and alumni affairs), on seeking sponsorship.

The event is part of the 2008 program offerings for the Laurel Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. The Centre was founded in 2007 after the success of the Waterloo Conference on Social Entrepreneurship, which saw more than 200 people come together from around the world to collaborate on the bridging of the passion for social change together with a business-minded discipline. Earlier this year the Centre presented the first instalment of a Social Entrepreneurship Lecture Series, which featured four community leaders in the world of social entrepreneurship. Laurel says it's organizing several other initiatives for later this year, including a research conference in June and a second annual conference in November.

The three-day bootcamp event costs $250 for students and $450 for community members. Workshop materials, accommodations, and meals are provided for all participants as part of the program. UW undergraduate students are eligible to apply for one of 13 grants provided by UW’s Federation of Students and the Arts Endowment Fund.


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Link of the day

Pesach (Passover)

When and where

Winter term examinations continue through April 24; schedule is online. Unofficial grades for winter term courses begin appearing on Quest April 25; grades become official May 26.

UW Shop “please don’t make me count this” pre-inventory sale (clothing and gifts), last day, South Campus Hall.

Healthy Communities Knowledge Exchange Forum continuing today, details online.

44th annual used book sale sponsored by Canadian Federation of University Women, today (9:00 to 9:00) and Saturday (9:00 to 1:00), First United Church, King and William Streets; book dropoff information online.

‘Focus on Inclusion’, one-day event hosted by Waterloo mayor Brenda Halloran and the Social Planning Council of K-W, “bringing together the many voices of our community to lead the way to enhance Waterloo as an inclusive community”, Accelerator Building, 295 Hagey Boulevard, information online.

Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre chief executive Robert Simpson speaks at launch of UW Emerging Team to do research on slot machine design, 2:30, Tatham Centre room 2218.

School of Computer Science achievements reception, by invitation, 4:00 to 6:00, Davis Centre lounge.

Synergy “urban design intervention” by graduate architecture students, opening today 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, northwest corner of Main and Ainslie Streets, Cambridge, exhibition continues through May 4.

Rhythm Dance Festival Saturday, Humanities Theatre.

Solar Initiative for Distributed Energy demonstration by two vendors, Saturday 10:00 to 12 noon, Environmental Studies I courtyard; "alternative energy tour" of Woolwich Township follows, details online.

Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibitions: “The Trumpets” by Cameron McKnight-MacNeil and “Drawing Lines” by Monika Raciborski continues through Sunday, reception Saturday 3:00, Render gallery, East Campus Hall.

Going Green workshop series sponsored by Grand House student co-op: “Urban Gardening, Growing Healthy Food” tomorrow, “Making Concrete Countertops” April 26, details online.

Carousel Dance Company spring show, "Connections", Saturday 3:00 and 7:00, Theatre of the Arts, tickets $8 advance or $10 at the door.

Staff Appreciation Week lunch available at University Club, April 21-25 11:30 to 2:00, $18.00 per person, reservations ext. 33801.

UW Senate Monday 4:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Beethoven Lecture Series: Cecile Monique Michniewicz, third-year music student, on “The Psychology of Beethoven”, Tuesday 1:00 to 3:00, and “The Philosophy of Beethoven”, Wednesday 1:00 to 3:00, Conrad Grebel University College room 1302, all welcome, refreshments.

Staff salary system and settlement information session (repeated from last week), Wednesday 12:30 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 113.

Permanent residence in Canada: speaker from Canada’s Consulate-General in Buffalo, sponsored by new faculty recruitment office and Waterloo International, Thursday, April 24, 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 116, register online.

‘Reaching for Nothing: Water’s Thirst’ interdisciplinary work by composer Peter Hatch, visual artist Dereck Revington (UW school of architecture) and dance choreographer David Earle, May 1 and 2, 8:00 p.m., Perimeter Institute, tickets $29 (students $19), 519-883-4480.

Surplus sale of UW equipment at central stores, East Campus Hall, May 8, 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.

Learning about Teaching annual symposium May 12-14, details online, including Presidents’ Colloquium Monday May 12, 2:00, Humanities Theatre: Marilla Svinicki, University of Texas at Austin, “Changing Students’ Attitudes about Who’s Responsible for Learning,” reception follows, all welcome.

PhD oral defences

Optometry. Sruthi Srinivasan, “Clinical and Analytical Studies in Postmenopausal Women Symptomatic of Dry Eye.” Supervisor, Lyndon W. Jones. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Monday, April 21, 9:30 a.m., Optometry room 347.

Electrical and computer engineering. Fen Hou, “QOS Scheduling in IEEE 802.16 Broadband Wireless Access Networks.” Supervisors, Pin-Han Ho and Sherman X. Shen. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, April 29, 10:00 a.m., CEIT room 3142.

Civil and environmental engineering. Md. Safiuddin, “Development of Self-consolidating High Performance Concrete Incorporating Rice Husk Ash.” Supervisors, Jeff S. West and Khal Soudki. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, April 29, 10:00 a.m., Engineering II room 3324.

Planning. Zhixi Cecilia Zhuang, “Ethnic Retailing and the Role of Municipal Planning.” Supervisor, P. Filion. On display in the faculty of environmental studies, ES1 335. Oral defence Tuesday, April 29, 10:00 a.m., Environmental Studies II room 1001.

Biology. Jennifer C. Czarny, “Effects of a Bacterial ACC Deaminase on Plant Growth Promotion.” Supervisor, Bernard R. Glick. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Thursday, May 1, 1:30 p.m., Biology I room 266.

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