Tuesday, July 28, 2009

  • Work term turns student into 'tree nerd'
  • Overseas development interns win support
  • Students win with hydrogen — and judo
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

Work term turns student into 'tree nerd'

by Jennifer Pepper, from the Inside Scoop newsletter for UW co-op students

Mark Funk, uncropped

When it comes down to it, not many people can honestly say they have done their part for the environment. Mark Funk, on the other hand, has certainly contributed to the health of the planet with his work at the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority in Exeter, Ontario.

He gained first-hand experience with tree planting programs, identifying species at risk, preventing agricultural erosion and other restoration projects for rare ecosystems. He also helped with ecological land classification on the property ABCA owns.

During the field season a lot of Funk’s work was outdoors in woodlands, performing plant identification, surveys of the flora, and biological monitoring which included electro fishing. He describes this activity as fishing while wearing a backpack containing an electrical charge and a wand with which you probe the water. This wand releases a small current that stuns the fish briefly so that you can collect, sample, count and measure the fish, and then return them to the water. However, he learned to like more than fish at ABCA.

“I never really thought about trees before. When I got there, I was doing a lot of terrestrial stuff. I thought, ‘This isn’t really up my alley.’ But the more I learned about trees — learning how to ID them and everything — suddenly, I’m a tree nerd!” He adds with a bit less enthusiasm: “A reluctant tree nerd.”

On the job, Funk developed skills while working with private land owners, in terms of how to balance their needs (i.e., what would look nicest, aesthetically) with his concerns about what is best for the environment. He appreciates what the conservation authorities do because “They are trying to work with people rather than against them . . . they try to cooperate and teach people how to make use of the land responsibly and to protect the resources we all share.”

The one thing that surprised him throughout the work term was that often theory just doesn’t cut it in nature. He says, “Sometimes you learn the ideals in school, but then in reality you get different factors . . . because of funding or privately owned properties. You learn to compromise based on the sacrifices you need to make. It doesn’t always work out as perfectly as you want it to, but it’s a valuable lesson.”

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Overseas development interns win support

Nearly a dozen Waterloo students, and four from St. Jerome’s, are overseas – or soon will be – working in developing countries, as part of the Students for Development (SFD) program. Six students were accepted for summer placements, nine for the fall.

“The number and quality of UW’s applications was particularly impressive, given that the students had only six days from AUCC’s call for applications until the deadline,” says Kristin Snell, international programs co-ordinator in Waterloo International. “Even more impressive is that all the applications were accepted.”

Funded by the Canadian International Development Agency and administered by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, SFD provides up to $8,000 to senior undergraduate and grad students to intern with agencies in developing countries; the participating university receives $2,000 to manage the program, support the student and provide public engagement activities. The three-month internships serve two purposes: they meet a need in the agency and they relate to the student’s area of study.

The successful students this summer are:

  • Corrine Cash, master’s student, School of Planning, going to the Institute for Water Studies, University of the Western Cape.
  • Julie O'Farrell, anthropology studentJuliet O’Farrell (right), master’s student, anthropology, with a girls’ and boys’ club in Ghana.
  • Kristen Freeman, fourth year, recreation and business management and environmental resource studies, with the Jesuit Refugee Service in the Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi.
  • Makeddah John, master’s student, environment and resource studies, with the Department of Forestry, on St. Lucia.
  • Shivani Singh, master’s student, political science, with Tata Institute of Social Science.

Heading overseas this fall:

  • Agata Gorecka, master’s student, global governance, with Nairobi Friends Club International in Kenya.
  • Nava Dabby, master’s student, environment, with CTx GreEn in India.
  • Jeffrey Squire, PhD student, School of Planning, with Green Hand Clinic in Ghana.
  • Ryan Snider, PhD student, geography, with Ecotourism Kenya.
  • Janet Mader, master’s student, School of Planning, with Public Services and Ecology, Aguascalientes, Mexico.
  • Moyaa Mokaya, master’s student, local economic development, with Christian Children’s Fund in Kenya.

The four St. Jerome’s students are taking part in the Beyond Borders program at SJU — the first this summer, the last three in the fall:

  • Miriam M. Romero Alvarez, fourth year religious studies/psychology, with Ternopil National Pedagogical University internat in Ukraine, an orphanage for children with disabilities.
  • Jennifer DeWeerd, fourth year social development studies, with the Women’s Education Program, India.
  • Arielle Campion, third year religious studies, with the Ternopil National Pedagogical University internat (orphanage) in Ukraine.
  • Cassie Gilpin, third year peace and conflict studies, with the Pura Vida women’s centre in Cusco, Peru.

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Students win with hydrogen — and judo

UW team that won Hydrogen Student Design Contest 2009

A UW student team (top row, from left) Chris Rea, Ankit Sharma, Rob Enouy, Tim Pasche, and Neal Tanaka, all chemical engineering, and (bottom row, from left) Andrea Murphy, architecture, and Adrienne Nelson, chemical engineering, have won the grand prize in the 2008-09 Hydrogen Student Design Contest.

The competition challenge was to design a hydrogen-powered student centre for the State University of New York at Farmingdale. Teams of students from Canada, Turkey and the United States worked for six months to develop detailed designs that could theoretically be used in similar buildings around the world.

The Waterloo design featured a three-level, 76,000-square-foot building powered primarily by renewable energy from solar, wind, and biomass.

"The judges were thrilled to see students show how today's hydrogen products can increase the value of renewable energy by addressing the irregular supply challenges associated with wind and solar energy," said Patrick Serfass of the Hydrogen Education Foundation.

The UW competitors received an all-expenses paid trip to Columbia, South Carolina, to present their design at the NHA Conference and Hydrogen Expo. Their faculty supervisor was Michael Fowler, a professor in chemical engineering.

Applied math student takes silver at Blind Sport Games

Tim Rees, applied math doctoral studentTim Rees (left), a Waterloo PhD student in applied mathematics, won two silver medals at the 2009 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Pan American Games that ran July 15 to 19 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Rees was a member of the Canadian Blind Sports' Team, which won 23 medals in all. He won silver in the minus-100 kg and the open weight divisions. Rees, who is president of the University of Waterloo Judo Club, is training for the March 2010 trials in Turkey leading to the 2012 Blind Sports Judo competition in the United Kingdom.

CPA staff

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Link of the day

Fingerprints go official

When and where

Library hours July 26 - August 15: Davis centre, open 24 hours, except closed Sundays 2 to 8 a.m. Dana Porter, open Monday - Friday 8 .am. - 11p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 11a.m. - 11p.m.

Class enrolment for fall term courses: open enrolment begins today.

Natural gas shut off in Engineering 3, today, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., to reroute gas line for E5.

UW Bookstore Read and Relax book sale. Today and Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., South Campus Hall Concourse.

Spring term classes end today. Exams August 4-15; unofficial grades begin appearing on Quest August 17; grades become official September 21.

Chilled water will be off in Engineering 3, Wednesday, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., to install valves for services to E5.

Chilled water and sprinkler system will be off in the Student Life Centre, Thursday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., for renovations to Brubakers.

UW International Spouses walking tour of uptown Waterloo, Thursday. Meet at 10 a.m. in the lower level of Waterloo Public Library, 35 Albert Street. Information here.

Reception for Ursula Thoene, computer sciences, retiring after 28 years at UW. Thursday, 4 to 6 p.m. in Davis Centre room 1301.

‘Dealing with Difficult Students’ workshop organized by Centre for Teaching Excellence, Friday, 10:30 a.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Alzheimer Society barbecue, August 20, 5-8 p.m., 831 Frederick Street, Kitchener. RSVP by July 31. Website.

Civic Holiday Monday, August 3, UW offices and most services closed.

Employer interviews for all co-op programs except Architecture and Pharmacy continue weekdays on campus to August 7.

Co-op job postings for fall 2009 work terms continue on JobMine until the first week of October.

Instructional Skills Workshop organized by Centre for Teaching Excellence, August 6, 7 and 10, 8:30 to 4:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Architecture co-op employer interviews August 6, 13, 20.

The Social Cure: Seniors, Social Connections and Health: research symposium Friday, August 7, 9 a.m. - noon., Lyle Hallman Institute, room 1621. Details. Free. Register by email.

Ontario Mennonite Music Camp August 9-21, Conrad Grebel University College. Details.

Documentary by engineering alumnus: Greg John (systems design 2003) in film about sustainable development in Tanzania, August 11 and 12, 9 p.m., Princess Twin Cinemas. View the trailer here.

Stargazing party hosted by science faculty, Wednesday, August 12, 9:30 p.m. to midnight, north campus soccer pitch. Details and to RSVP.

Alumni workshop: “Enhance the Networking Experience” Thursday, August 13, 4 p.m., Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Out of the Dark: solar information night hosted by Community Renewal Energy Waterloo and Residential Energy Efficiency Project, Thursday, August 13, 6:30 – 9 p.m., Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex, 101 Father David Bauer Drive, Waterloo. Details and to register.

Tennis Canada 2009 Rogers Cup alumni night Thursday, August 20, Rexall Centre, Toronto. Discount tickets for students and alumni available; tournament runs August 15-23. Details.

UW Book Club. Unfeeling by Ian Holding, Wednesday, August 19, 12:05 - 12:55 p.m., Dana Porter Library room 407. Details on UWRC webpage.

Fee payment deadline for fall term is August 31 (cheques, fee arrangements) or September 9 (bank payment). Details.

Labour Day holiday Monday, September 7, UW offices and most services closed.

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