Wednesday, March 18, 2009

  • Six are 'co-op students of the year'
  • 'Mad Forest' harks back to 1989 chaos
  • A shuttle; green energy; maintenance costs
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Posed group of six students]
Six are 'co-op students of the year'

Six co-op students, each representing one of the six faculties, will receive UW’s Co-op Student of the Year Award at a ceremony on Monday, during National Co-op Week. Among them are two repeats from last year's winners.

This year's recipients (pictured) “were chosen based on their 2008 work term contributions, academic achievements, community involvement and overall contribution to co-operative education,” says an announcement from the co-op and career services department. “In addition, two students were selected to represent the University of Waterloo both provincially and nationally for their achievements.”

Winner from Science is Safia Ladha, 4B Biology: “Employed as a Research Assistant at the Ontario Cancer Institute at the Princess Margaret Hospital, Safia examined the effects of cancer therapeutics. Using radiation in studies to inflict DNA damage, she quantified the effects of novel drugs on animal tissues and cultured cancer cells. Appointed to lead a project, Safia designed, built, troubleshot, and quantified a tissue microarray and developed a protocol designed specifically for her lab’s use. Her protocol will be used for the identification of biomarkers in tissue microarrays in the future.”

From Mathematics: Elyot Grant, 4A Computer Science. “Prior to Elyot's employment at Semacode Corporation, the company's barcode recognition software for camera phones would fail almost two thirds of the time. Elyot redesigned the entire image processing algorithm using original mathematical models he developed. The new decoding routines succeeded over 98% of the time and ran faster than their predecessors, making Semacode's software the best among its competitors. Elyot also performed research in theoretical computer science under the supervision of computer science professor Jeffrey Shallot. Solving several open problems concerning formal languages and infinite words, Elyot’s resulting manuscripts are awaiting publication in academic journals. Elyot was selected as one of two students to represent UW in Co-op Student of the Year Awards both provincially and nationally.”

From Environment: Dafne Gokcen, 4B Environment and Resource Studies. “Employed at the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, Dafne read lengthy bilingual documents and compiled research of the history of past projects province wide to prepare a Minister’s briefing notes about the Québec Infrastructure Plan and for an intergovernmental presentation. Dafne also compared both French and English versions of the documents containing the $6-billion agreement that Ontario signed with the federal government for infrastructure funding. Dafne found errors within the documents and prevented them from premature release or approval. The errors were sent to lawyers, translators, and federal bureaucrats for correction.”

From Engineering: Ray Cao, 4B Systems Design. “Ray used his skills to propel his employer, Polar Mobile, into a highly competitive market. Securing clients such as Toronto Maple Leafs, Chatelaine, and through business proposals, Ray single-handedly founded the Marketing and Quality Assurance and Consumer Marketing divisions which increased consumer subscription over 450%. Ray’s firm belief in encouraging young people is evident in his leadership as president of Impact Entrepreneurship Group, the largest non-profit, youth-run organization in Canada promoting entrepreneurship to young people. Additionally, Ray has been awarded with the University of Waterloo’s President Circle Award and named to the Waterloo Region Record’s Top 40 Under 40 list of young people making a difference in the area.”

From Arts: Renee Smith, 3A Political Science. “Hired as a junior policy analyst for the Strategy, Policy and Planning Branch of the Ministry of Government Services, Ontario, Renee conducted research to save both money and energy through the use of information technology. Renee became the resident expert on a technical issue concerning desktop computer power management using remote power down software. She aided the SPPB in adopting a pilot project which is estimated to reduce power consumption by 40 million pounds of CO2 emissions each year if implemented.”

From Applied Heath Sciences: Amanda Hird, 3B Applied Health Sciences. “As a clinical research assistant at the Odette Cancer Centre in Toronto, Amanda researched endeavours in the palliative radiotherapy field. Specifically, Amanda explored the prevalence of pain flare after palliative radiotherapy for painful bone metastases. She was instrumental in the development of an international Phase III double-blind, randomized control trial with the National Cancer Institute of Canada for prevention of this phenomenon. With the support of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, Amanda has become the first undergraduate student to present at the premier scientific meeting in radiation oncology in the world for two consecutive years. Amanda received the Best Oral Presentation Award at the Provincial Palliative and End of Life Conference in Toronto and travelled to Edinburgh and Liverpool to present at two prominent international medical conferences in oncology. Furthermore, Amanda was selected to represent UW in Co-op Student of the Year Awards both provincially and nationally.”

Five students have been awarded an honourable mention: Michelle Cho, 2A Environmental Engineering; Cailin Hillier, 2A Geological Engineering; David Liu, 2B Mechatronics Engineering; David Zhu, 3B Actuarial Science, Finance Option; Shaelyn Culleton, 3A Biology. The awards ceremony will be held Monday at 2:00 in the Tatham Centre.

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'Mad Forest' harks back to 1989 chaos

a release from the UW drama department about this week’s production

In the spring of 1990, mere months after the overthrow and execution of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena, when the aftershocks of the December Revolution continued to reverberate among the Romanian people, playwright Caryl Churchill, director Mark Wing-Davey and a group of 10 students from the University of London’s Central School of Drama travelled to Romania to work with local students and artists to record and perform the events of the revolution and its aftermath. “Mad Forest” is the result of this journey.

Far from being a documentary, the play explores the reactions of ordinary people to the confused events of December 1989, focusing in particular on two families. What emerges is a complex picture of the enduring damage on people’s lives after years of repression followed by new difficulties that come with change.

[Scream]Now, nearly twenty years later, and in a time of unprecedented global crises confronted by a hopeful sense of change symbolised by President Barack Obama, we encounter the Mad Forest again. This year, a group of Waterloo drama students also focus their imaginations and energies on the effects of change. (Right: Derek Lindman is one of the actors who appear in the current production.)

They are asking tough questions: When oppressive powers collapse, does everyone benefit equally from such change? Does the collapse bring freedom? What can be built after such a collapse? When a hole is cut in the flag of a nation, is the symbol that claims to unite this nation gone forever? Is the freedom from allegiance to such symbols a good thing or is it the beginning of madness? Does the hole promise freedom or a new chaos?

Similar to our own time of facing maddening challenges of war, global warming and financial collapse, there are many possible paths of response to the mad forest shown in Caryl Churchill’s play. Some are full of promise and hope, while others seem to lead to an impenetrable tangle of more questions.

Let the Drama Department at the University of Waterloo take you through our Mad Forest. What began nearly twenty years ago in a distant European country may be closer to home than you think.

“Mad Forest” is directed by Andy Houston, with musical direction and composition by Meghan Bunce, film and video by Glenn Stillar, soundscape by Andy Allen, scenography by Scott Spidell, costume design by Jocelyne Sobeski, and stage management by Brenda Pilatzke. It will be performed in the Theatre of the Arts, March 18-21. Shows begin at 8:00 p.m. with a matinee on Saturday at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $10 (students and seniors), $12 (general) and are available at the Hagey Hall box office (519-888-4908). For more information, check the UW Drama website.

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A shuttle; green energy; maintenance costs

UW Parking Services has announced that, "in cooperation with the Federation of Students", it will try operating a shuttle service between the main campus and the most distant student parking area, Lot X behind the Optometry building. Shuttle service will start Monday, March 23, and continue until the end of winter term exams. "An assessment will then be done to determine its usage and continued viability." The hours of operation will be 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. each business day. "This is a pilot project to assess the effectiveness of moving people between X Lot and South Campus," a memo notes. "In the morning the shuttle will collect people at X Lot and move them to South Campus, stopping at each of the bus stop lay-bys. A sign will indicate the pick-up spot in X Lot at the roadway connecting upper and lower parking lots. The reverse will occur in the afternoon." Questions: call ext. 38513.

Violence . . . “passive violence” . . . and the inevitable question “Can one person really make a difference?” are all parts of a display to be mounted in the Student Life Centre today by a group called Soka Gakkai International, a UW student club that reflects a form of Japanese Buddhism. “We are organizing an exhibition called ‘Victory over Violence’, club member Casey Ng writes, “to spread awareness of the effects of violence on society, and how we, the youth, can incorporate non-violent decisions in our everyday lives. There are many people in our communities who are exposed to violent environments, whether aggressive or passive, whether physical or emotional, and whether they are aware of it or not. This exhibition strives to educate its viewers on the different types of violence that people are subjected to on a daily basis, and also to provide hope that we can all contribute to a peaceful, compassionate world.” The display began yesterday and continues today, from 8:00 to 6:00, with a reception from 2 to 3 p.m. Tony Meers, general director of SGI Canada, and Brenda Halloran, mayor of Waterloo, are expected to speak during the reception.

Bruce Cox, executive director of Greenpeace, will speak at UW today, giving an opportunity to discuss and debate the Ontario government's proposed Green Energy Act as part of a 10-city tour across the province. “Cox will make the case that the McGuinty government's commitment to 50% nuclear energy will be a major hindrance to the development of renewable and sustainable energy generation in Ontario,” says a news release from the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, which is sponsoring the visit. "It is greenwashing,” says Cox, “to say you support green power when you are spending billions on nuclear.” Cox will focus on how nuclear energy is being promoted within the Ontario Power Authority's Integrated Power Supply Plan “without adequate encouragement for conservation and renewable energy alternatives”. He’ll describe green energy production as a major contributor to creating a 21st century electrical system utilizing smart grid technology, and helping to create new and innovative jobs to replace those being lost in the manufacturing sector. "Be prepared for a lively exchange of views based on the events already held in Peterborough, Lindsay, London, Hamilton, Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury,” organizers say. Admission is free; the talk begins at 5:30 p.m. in Rod Coutts Hall room 302.


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Link of the day

Sportsmen's Show

When and where

Applied complexity and innovation seminar: Lee Smolin, physics and astronomy, “Symmetries in Economic Models and their Consequences”, 11:00, University Club. Details.

Climate change seminar: Roland Hall, department of biology (substitute speaker), “Climate Change and Water Resources in the Peace-Athabasca Watershed”, 12:00 noon, Environment I room 221.

UW Book Club. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, 12:05 p.m., Dana Porter Library room 407. Details on UWRC webpage.

Brown Bag Lunch session from Staff Association and Credit Union: “Let's Talk Mortgages” 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302. Details.

Free noon concert: Music of Edvard Grieg (solo piano and voice), 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC chapel.

Café-rencontre du département d’études françaises: Sébastien Ruffo, “Variations autour d’un pacte performanciel autobiographique chez les conteurs Fred Pellerin et Jean-Marc Massie” 14h30, Tatham Centre salle 2218.

Career workshops today: “Successfully Negotiating Job Offers” 2:30, “Work Search Strategies for International Students” 4:30, both in Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Engineering exchange opportunities in Germany: information session 4:30, Davis Centre room 1304.

Management sciences graduate studies information session for students in 3B or higher 5 p.m., Carl Pollock Hall room 4333. Details email jmmacmil@ or ext. 33670.

John Sitler, UW library staff, died March 15, visitation Wednesday and Thursday 7 to 9 p.m., Henry Walser Funeral Home, 507 Frederick Street, Kitchener; memorial service to be announced.

Blood donor clinic Thursday 10:00 to 4:00, Student Life Centre, book appointments at turnkey desk or call 1-888-236-6283.

Career workshop: “Interview Skills, Selling Your Skills” Thursday, 10:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

‘Dragons’ Den’ series on CBC television visits in search of aspiring entrepreneurs to appear during the new season: auditions Thursday 11:00 to 6:00, Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, 295 Hagey Boulevard. Details.

End-of-term recitals by UW music students March 19, 24, 25 and 30, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC chapel.

Ontario Centres of Excellence overview seminar and “Characteristics of a Great Research Project” Thursday 1:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

[Hot Tips from the Pros Thursday 4:30]

‘The Case for Israel: Democracy’s Outpost’ by lawyer Alan Dershowitz and US delegate Jeff Robbins, Thursday 4:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 1350.

Graduate Student Association annual general meeting Thursday 6:00, Rod Coutts Hall room 301. Details.

German film series: “Head-On” (2004), Thursday 6:00, East Campus Hall room 1220.

Arriscraft Lecture: John Shnier, Kohn Shnier Architects, Toronto, “The Best Average and Other Audacious Statements”, Thursday 6:30 p.m., Architecture lecture hall, Cambridge.

Engineering play (details to be announced) March 19-21 8:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Canadian Regional Boot Camp for Technology Start-ups Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., UW Accelerator Centre, R+T Park. Limited registration. Details.

FIRST Robotics Competition for high school students, Friday-Sunday, Physical Activities Complex; public competitions Friday 9:30 to 4:00, Saturday 9:30 to 4:15, admission free. Details.

Executive Awards Gala with presentation of 2008-09 Federation of Students awards, Friday 6:30 p.m., Federation Hall, dinner and dance tickets $15 at Federation office, Student Life Centre.

UW’s Indian Connection presents the semi-formal Tashan, including fashion show and Indian dinner, Friday 7:00, Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex, tickets on sale in Student Life Centre.

Science and Business Students Association presents "Fusion: The Economy of the Future” Saturday 8:00 to 5:00, Rod Coutts Hall. Details.

Niagara Falls visit and winery tour organized by International Student Connection, Saturday, buses leave Davis Centre 10 a.m., tickets $20 from Federation of Students office.

Environmental Students Society annual semi-formal, Saturday 6:30 p.m., Federation Hall, dinner and dance tickets on sale in Environment building coffee shop.

Global City Partnership launch of its its 0.7 Challenge, with keynote speaker Marc Kielburger, Saturday 7 p.m., Wilfrid Laurier University athletic complex, tickets $10. Details.

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

New faculty lunch-and-learn: “Documenting Your Teaching for Tenure and Promotion”, March 24, 11:45 a.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Muslim Student Association end-of-term dinner March 24, 6:30 p.m., Student Life Centre lower atrium. Details.

‘Waterloo Bell — Bell for Kepler’ lecture by artist Royden Rabinowitch, at Institute for Quantum Computing, 475 Wes Graham Way, March 26, 7:00 p.m. Details.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department:

• Telecommunications services coordinator, information systems and technology, USG 8
• Chair's secretary and graduate secretary, philosophy, one-year secondment or contract

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