Wednesday, October 13, 2010

  • Girls preview engineering on Saturday
  • Pixels in today's big picture
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Sprawling building]

The university's newest building is the Summit Centre for the Environment, erected in Huntsville, Ontario, for the G8 summit proceedings in June. As planned, the university has signed a long-term lease as the lead tenant of this facility, which overlooks Cann Lake and is being equipped with laboratories, seminar and meeting rooms and dormitory space for up to 50 students and faculty. The Centre will house undergraduate and graduate courses, and workshops, as well as training for midcareer professionals in such areas as ecosystem restoration, strategic environmental assessment, sustainable tourism, environmental planning and green business, based in the Faculty of Environment. Its research program will involve ecology, climate change, tourism, land-use planning and local economic development. Up to 3,000 researchers and students are expected to use the facility annually.

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Girls preview engineering on Saturday

a news release from the office of media relations

More than 150 young women interested in what a future in engineering could hold for them will make their way to the Waterloo campus on Saturday for the sixth annual Go Eng Girl! event. The girls, in grades 7 to 10, will have the chance to discover firsthand what engineering is all about.

Waterloo’s event is part of a provincial initiative to spark interest in engineering at a time when young girls are thinking about their future careers and are choosing the courses that will prepare them for further education. On the same day, 15 other Go Eng Girl! locations across Ontario will be alive with engineering-related activities. Organizers expect more than 1,000 girls to participate this year.

[Wells]“This event is meant to open the eyes of these young, talented and smart girls to the range of careers that an education in engineering can provide for them,' said Mary Wells (right), chair of Waterloo’s Go Eng Girl! and associate dean (outreach) in the engineering faculty. “Parents are always amazed at the opportunities studying engineering can provide to their daughters as well as the importance of continuing to study mathematics and sciences in high school to ensure they keep their options open for university.”

The girls and their parents will have their own programming for the day, with the girls participating in age-appropriate group activities where they’ll solve a fun but complex engineering task.

Girls in grades 7 and 8 will design and build a functioning device that cushions an egg after it is dropped, while grade 9 and 10 girls will design and build a functioning automobile powered by a balloon. After the designs are complete, everyone will be invited to attend an information fair showcasing various student groups and offering further information about admissions and co-operative education.

"These fun activities are a great example of how hands-on learning, one of the things the University of Waterloo is known for, influences success," said Wells, who is also a professor of mechanical and mechatronics engineering.

Participants must have pre-registered. The event begins at 9 a.m. with registration in the J. R. Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall, followed by welcoming remarks from Adel Sedra, dean of engineering, and Wells. After an inspirational talk by Sylvia Wu, a current Waterloo engineering student, parents and the girls divide into their specific programming: the girls taking part in their activities and the parents attending a speaker series of female engineering graduates. After lunch, members of an undergraduate student panel will share their engineering experiences.

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Pixels in today's big picture

Suddenly it's the season for midterm exams, and to help with that experience, the volunteer group Students Offering Support is listing pre-exam sessions in a dozen or so first-year physics, math, accounting, biology and chemistry courses. "Students Offering Support," its web site explains, "is a national network of student volunteers working together to raise funds to raise the quality of education and life for those in developing nations through raising marks of our fellow University students. This is accomplished through our Exam-AID initiative where student volunteers run group review sessions prior to a midterm or final exam. All of the money raised through SOS Exam-AIDs is funnelled directly into sustainable educational projects in developing nations. Not only does SOS fund these projects, but SOS volunteers also help build the projects on annual outreach trips. From August 20 to September 4, 22 SOS volunteers used the funds you helped us to raise to build a kindergarten classroom, a sewing workshop, and an English language training classroom for the community of Tica Tica in Cusco, Peru."

[Pride flag]It's "Coming Out Week" for GLOW, which was once Gay Liberation of Waterloo but has been rebranded "The Queer and Questioning Community Centre". Activities started yesterday afternoon with introductory speakers in the Student Life Centre, and an evening showing of the film "Get Real". Today, Wednesday, a "Queer Alphabet Exhibit" runs from 10:00 to 4:00 in the SLC great hall, "showcasing different queer terminology and issues". The group will hold its regular Wednesday night discussion group (7:15, PAS building room 3005) with the AfterGLOW Social following at the Graduate House, "to meet other queer and queer-friendly people". Then from 10 p.m., Flag Guard takes place in the SLC's multipurpose room, "a traditional event where attendees are encouraged to stay overnight to 'guard' the pride flag (left) that will be hanging in the SLC". More events continue on Thursday (including an "ally reception" for friends of GLOW and its cause), Friday and Saturday.

The United Way campaign continues on campus, and among the major fund-raising projects for it this month is the second annual United Way Coat Drive. The event is called "We've Got You Covered", and relies on donations of what organizers call "gently used coats". The donated garments will be sold next Monday and Tuesday in the Student Life Centre multipurpose room. All proceeds go to the United Way, and any coats that are not sold will be donated to local charities (last year, they went to Coats for Kids, Out of the Cold, Marillac Place, and Goodwill).
The event last year was very successful and raised more than $400. "This year’s goal is to raise twice as much!" says a note from the volunteers behind the project. "You can help out by donating your gently used coats at the Davis Centre Library, Dana Porter Library, Hagey Hall 3152, or Engineering III 3162." More information: Sue Oestreich, ext. 38120, or Bonnie Bishop, ext. 35618.

[Rudolph] David Rudolph (right), director of Waterloo’s Water Institute, has received the National Ground Water Association’s 2010 M. King Hubbert Award for major science contributions to the knowledge of groundwater. The award will be presented on December 8 at NGWA’s annual meeting in Las Vegas. Says the association: “In addition to being an educator, Rudolph has conducted extensive research broadly based on groundwater resources, with major focus on the protection of groundwater resources, groundwater contamination/remediation from agricultural sources, vadose zone processes, and the mechanisms of groundwater recharge. Since 1990, he has authored or co-authored more than 50 papers in refereed journals, more than 40 papers in refereed conference proceedings, and about 100 conference presentations — amounting to about 10 publications of various forms a year. Rudolph also is known for his balanced teaching which combines sound theoretical foundations with practical applications in the lab and in the field. He is sought-after teacher who attracts students from near and far, said co-nominators Emil Frind, Edward Sudicky and Shaun Frape, all of the University of Waterloo.”

Mat Schulze, director of the Waterloo Centre for German Studies, sends a reminder that "Twenty years ago this month, the German Unification Treaty was signed. On this occasion, the Waterloo Centre for German Studies and the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies invite everybody to visit the poster exhibition 'From Peaceful Revolution to German Unity'. The exhibition is in the foyer of the Modern Languages building and will be shown until 29 October. The posters explain or let you re-live the events in East Germany in 1989 and 1990, which led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and eventually to a united Germany. All texts are in English. The exhibition tour in Canada is co-ordinated by the German Consulate General in Toronto and it was curated by the Federal Foundation for the Critical Appraisal of the SED Dictatorship."

Meanwhile, a book by Gary Bruce, of Waterloo's department of history, was published this summer that looks back on one of the least comfortable aspects of German reunification: the discovery of how the Stasi, the secret police, operated during the years of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik. Says the publisher, Oxford University Press: "Based on previously classified documents and on interviews with former secret police officers and ordinary citizens, The Firm is the first comprehensive history of East Germany's secret police, the Stasi, at the grassroots level. Focusing on Gransee and Perleberg, two East German districts located north of Berlin, Gary Bruce reveals how the Stasi monitored small-town East Germany. He paints an eminently human portrait of those involved with this repressive arm of the government, featuring interviews with former officers that uncover a wide array of personalities, from devoted ideologues to reluctant opportunists, most of whom talked frankly about East Germany's obsession with surveillance."


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Link of the day

Edward the Confessor

When and where

Class enrolment appointments for winter 2011 undergraduate courses, October 11-16.

Ideas Start series at Stratford campus: Tony Chapman, Capital C marketing, “Surviving the Perfect Storm” today 9 a.m., 6 Wellington Street, Stratford. Details.

Oktoberfest festivities in Mudie’s cafeteria, Village I, 12:00 to 1:30.

‘Balance Disorders, Dizziness and Vertigo’ workshop sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, 12:00, Math and Computer room 5136.

Career workshops today: “Interested in an Academic Career?” 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218; “Work Search Strategies” 2:30, Tatham 1112; “Working Effectively in Another Culture” 3:00, Tatham 1208. Details.

Biomedical Discussion Group: Kostadinka Bizheva, physics and astronomy, “Non-Invasive Optical Imaging of the Structure and Function of Biological Tissue” 2:30, CEIT room 3142. Details.

Library workshop: “Introduction to RefWorks” today 3:00; October 20, 11:00; October 22, 10:00; November 11, 1:30; Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology Distinguished Lecture: C. N. R. Rao, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, “Fascination for Nanocarbons” 4:30, Humanities Theatre, reception follows.

Computer Science Club “Unix 102” tutorial 4:30, Math and Computer room 3003.

‘Smart Start’ lecture at Stratford campus: Kayleigh Platz, communications and public affairs, “Business Focused Social Media Training” 7 p.m., 6 Wellington Street, Stratford. Details.

‘Sustainable Development’ professional seminar organized by School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, Thursday 9 a.m., Courtyard by  Marriott, Toronto. Details.

Library workshop: “Keep Current in Your Field” Thursday 1:30, or November 2, 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Reading at St. Jerome’s: Richard Cumyn, author of short fiction, Thursday 4:30 p.m., St. Jerome’s University room 2017.

Career workshop: “Success on the Job” Thursday 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture: Madhu Sudan, MIT, “Towards Universal Semantic Communication” Thursday 4:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

History professor Andrew Hunt speaks at K-W Art Gallery, part of 50th anniversary celebration for Faculty of Arts, Thursday 7 p.m., free admission.

Pension and benefits committee Friday 8:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

Warrior Weekend activities in and near Student Life Centre, including movies, crafts, Harry Potter night, Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. Details.

World Religions Conference: “Keeping Faith Alive in the Modern World” sponsored by Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada, Saturday 10:00 to 6:00, Humanities Theatre. Details.

Gospel Music Award winner Chris Bray, free concert Saturday 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome’s University.

University senate monthly meeting Monday 4:00, Needles Hall room 3001.

‘Retirement 101’ course sponsored by Organizational and Human Development, four Monday evenings beginning October 18, 7:00, fee $100. Details.

[W]Warrior sports

Weekly report, October 4

Hockey season preview: menwomen

PhD oral defences

Computer science. Iman Elghandour, “Automatic Physical Design for XML Databases.” Supervisor, Ashraf Aboulnaga. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Thursday, October 14, 9:30 a.m., Davis Centre room 1331.

Biology. Keith T. Walsh, “Factors Involved in the Regulation of Purine Degradation Genes in Sinorhizobium meliloti.” Supervisor, Trevor C. Charles. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Friday, October 22, 11:45 a.m., Physics room 352.


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