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Friday, July 22, 2011

  • Wildfires bring evacuees to campus
  • Waterloo’s new engineering Fellows
  • Bumper crop of PhDs coming up
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Wildfires bring evacuees to campus

A group of Sandy Lake First Nations people, forced from their homes in northwestern Ontario by encroaching forest fires, will find temporary shelter in University of Waterloo residences.

As many as 1,800 people could fly in to Pearson International Airport today and be distributed among several different communities. About 100 evacuees are expected to arrive on campus sometime today. They were originally scheduled to touch down about noon yesterday at Pearson and to travel by bus to Waterloo in the late afternoon, but smoke and bad weather delayed the flight.

In response to a request from Emergency Management Ontario (EMO), regional officials, including Region of Waterloo Public Health, are involved with the relief effort in co-operation with the University of Waterloo, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and the City of Waterloo recreation and fire departments. “At this time the Red Cross is not on appeal for the evacuation relief efforts in northern Ontario,” says a news release from the Region of Waterloo. “All costs associated with this response are being covered by the Government of Canada.”

Susanne Keppler, manager of the university’s Conference Centre, met with representatives from the Region on Wednesday and has been coordinating the effort on behalf of the university. "We heard there was a need, we have the capacity – we could accommodate 250 people if need be —  so of course we decided we would do what we could to help," said Keppler.

"There was very little time to arrange rooms, food, and an array of services — including fans to deal with the heat,” she adds. “But I'm happy to report that everything is now ready for when the people of Sandy Lake First Nations arrive."

Several other conference groups and other guests are staying on campus right now, so it was necessary to make “some minor modifications” to rooms and schedules, but those changes were made “with little disruption to normal business.”

EMS and St. John's ambulance will be available in case anyone needs medical care, although the group coming to Waterloo will include mostly healthy and able-bodied individuals. A representative from Waterloo Aboriginal Services will be on hand to greet the evacuees when they arrive, and likely also someone from the community aboriginal organization, the Healing of the Seven Generations. 

Approximately 3,300 people in First Nations communities across the northwest have been displaced by an unusual number of fires burning in the region. A similar evacuation in May 2008 brought 125 people from the flood-threatened Attawapiskat area of James Bay to stay in the Ron Eydt residence.

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Waterloo’s new engineering Fellows

In a recent news release from the Canadian Academy of Engineering, a handful of names connected to the University of Waterloo appeared among the 45 newly inducted Fellows. According to the release, “the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE) is the national institution through which Canada's most distinguished and experienced engineers provide strategic advice on matters of critical importance to Canada. . . .  Members of the CAE are nominated and elected by their peers to honorary Fellowships, in view of their distinguished achievements and career-long service to the engineering profession. Fellows of the Canadian Academy of Engineering are committed to ensuring that Canada’s engineering expertise is applied to the benefit of all Canadians.

Here, with excerpts from their citations, are the new Waterloo engineering Fellows: three professors and one entrepreneur with close ties to the university:

Tom FahidyThomas Zoltan Fahidy (right), Distinguished Professor Emeritus, chemical engineering. By successfully adapting numerous mathematical and statistical methods to electrochemical engineering, Fahidy has significantly widened their horizon, especially in electrochemical process dynamics and metal deposition combined with electric/magnetic fields. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Chemical Institute of Canada, American Institute of Chemical Engineers and Electrochemical Society. His professional stature is also shown by serving two terms as associate editor of the Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, member of various grant selection committees, CIC nuclear waste disposal review team, CEAB program accreditation team, associate dean for graduate studies at Waterloo, PEO examination evaluations, and an impressive engineering journal publications record.

John McPheeJohn McPhee (left), a Waterloo systems design engineering professor, is recognized internationally for his leading-edge research in mechatronic system modelling, which has led to new insights into vehicle dynamics, robotics, biomechanics, and sports equipment. He sits on the editorial boards for eight international journals, and has received major awards from the American and Canadian Societies for Mechanical Engineering. His oft-cited research contributions have been commercialized as computer design software that is used by more than one thousand practicing engineers. He has been a tireless promoter of system dynamics and automotive research in Canada, growing the fledgling Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research into a $10 million-per-year institution, and he now holds an Industrial Research Chair funded by NSERC, Toyota, and Maplesoft.

Weihua ZhuangWeihua Zhuang (right), a Waterloo electrical and computer engineering professor,  holds a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Wireless Communication Networks. She is an internationally recognized expert in radio resource allocation and service quality provisioning for broadband wireless communications. Her pioneering work on channel precoding, mobile user location, Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver modeling and analysis, and radio resource management has enabled advances in engineering design and industrial products. Her outstanding achievements have been recognized by numerous awards and honours. She is a Fellow of IEEE and the editor-in-chief of IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology.

Tom JenkinsTom Jenkins (left). Considered one of Canada’s most dynamic executives, Tom Jenkins has led Open Text to a remarkable level of success these past 20 some years, and also played a leading role in the community. His ambition is to make Canada a global powerhouse in digital media. Jenkins and Open Text are the key champions in establishing the Stratford Institute, a new think-tank and higher-learning centre. As CEO of Open Text, he was instrumental in the creation of one of the first internet search engines that was used by Netscape, Yahoo and IBM. In partnership with Netscape and later Microsoft, he directed the development of the first Internet-based document management system as well the earliest versions of Internet-based social networking software.

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Bumper crop of PhDs coming up

Electrical & computer engineering. Abdulaziz Mohammad Alkhoraidly, “On Error Detection and Recovery in Elliptic Curve Cryptosystems.” Supervisor, Anwarul Hasan. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Thursday, July 28, 9:00 a.m., Engineering 2 room 1307G.

Systems design engineering. Bruce Bobier, “The Attentional Routing Circuit: A Neural Model of Attentional Modulation and Control.” Supervisor, Chris Eliasmith. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Thursday, July 28, 9:30 a.m., Engineering 5 room 6111.

Civil & environmental engineering. Mohamed Hamouda, “Selecting Sustainable Point-of-Use and Point-of-Entry Drinking Water Treatment: A Decision Support System.” Supervisors, Peter Huck and William B. Anderson. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Thursday, July 28, 9:30 a.m., Engineering 2 room 3324.

Statistics & actuarial sciences. Min Ji, “Markovian Approaches to Joint-Life Mortality with Applications in Risk Management.” Supervisors, Mary Hardy, Grace Yi and Ranjini Jha. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Thursday, July 28, 10:00 a.m., Math and Computer room 6027.

Combinatorics & optimization. Brendan P. Ames, “Convex Relaxation for the Planted Clique, Biclique and Clustering Problems.” Supervisor, Stephen Vavasis. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Thursday, July 28, 12:00 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Electrical & computer engineering. Tahseen Shakir, “Low-Power Low-Voltage SRAM Circuit Design for Nanometric CMOS Technologies.” Supervisor, Manoj Sachdev. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, July 29, 9:00 a.m., CEIT building room 3142.

Biology. S. Richelle Mader Monaghan, “Use of Fish Cell Cultures for the Study and Cultivation of Microsporidia.” Supervisors, Niels Bols and Lucy E.J. Lee. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Friday, July 29, 10:00 a.m., Biology I room 266.

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Yaser Shanjani, “Solid Freeform Fabrication of Porous Calcium Polyphosphate Structures for Use in Orthopedics.” Supervisors, Ehsan Toyserkani and Robert Pilliar. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, July 29, 1:00 p.m., Engineering 2 room 3324.

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Jaho Seo, “Thermal Management in Laminated Die Systems Using Neural Networks.” Supervisors, Amir Khajepour and Jan Huissoon. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, July 29, 1:00 p.m., Engineering 3 room 4117.

CPA staff

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Help design the Waterloo diploma. A recent survey of Waterloo students, alumni, faculty, and staff on four diploma design options resulted in two designs being rated almost equally. To help the Diploma Review Committee finalize its recommendation to Senate, please complete this anonymous survey on the two designs.

Link of the day

Hillside Festival

When and where

Summer camps for children ongoing: Arts Computer Experience ; Engineering Science Quest

"Just Food" travelling art exhibit sponsored by Mennonite Committee on Human Rights, through to September 27 in Conrad Grebel UC atrium. Information: 519-885-0220 and online.

Student Life 101 visits for future first-year students, July 22-23, 5-26, 28-29, August 2-3, 5-6, 8-9.  Details.

Skip (Steve) Wiles of the locksmith shop in Plant Operations will officially retire September 30, but his last working day — after 29 years of service — is today.

Systems Design Engineering student design exhibit, today, 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 1301.

International Spouses' Potluck Lunch. Today, 12:45 p.m., indoors at the air-conditioned CLV Community Centre, off Columbia between Westmount and Fischer-Hallman. More information on website.

Alumni on Pelee Island Saturday, 11:15 to 2:00, lunch at Pelee Island Winery. Details.

Canoeing the Grand River expedition sponsored by International Student Connection, Saturday, bus leaves 2:00, tickets $30 at Federation of Students office, Student Life Centre.

Huron Natural Area walk and picnic hosted by UWS, Sunday, leaving outside Davis Centre 11 a.m. Information at

Class enrolment appointments for fall term undergraduate courses: first-time students, ends Sunday; open class enrolment Monday, July 25.

Library hours during exams, July 24-August 13. Davis is open 24 hours except closed Sundays, 2-8 a.m. Porter is open Monday - Friday, 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

UW Instrumental Chamber Ensembles concert: Monday, July 25, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC chapel. free.

Get to Know UWS (Stratford campus) Day for university staff, includes restaurant lunch and tour of Stratford Shakespeare Festival costume warehouse. July 25 or 26. Information here. SOLD OUT.

Last day of classes for spring term, July 26.

SDE Seminar: James M. Tien, dean, College of Engineering, University of Miami, "Towards a Calculus for Services Innovation." Tuesday, July 26, 2:30, Engineering 5, room 6111.

Career workshop Tuesday, July 26: “Interview Skills: Selling Your Skills”, 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

"Get Linked In" UWSA workshop for staff and postdocs, about how to use LinkedIn more effectively. Wednesday, July 2, noon-1 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1113. Details and register here.

English department guest lecture: Prof. Jennifer Harris, Mount Allison U., "From Montreal to Boston: Mystery authors and a secret cache of 19th-century Canadian writings." Wednesday, July 27, 3 p.m., Hagey Hall room 150. All welcome.

Shad Valley program open house to show off student projects, Thursday, July 28, afternoon, Conrad Grebel U College great hall.

WPIRG Seeds of Resistance workshop: Alternative Media. Thursday, July 28, 5 to 7 p.m., Student Life Centre room 2135. For information or to register:

Sandford Fleming TA Awards: engineering students, nominate your most deserving teaching assistant. Ballots at EngSoc and at reception in CPH 1320. Deadline to nominate is July 29, 4:01 p.m.

Examinations for spring term courses, August 2-13. Unofficial grades begin to appear in Quest August 15; grades become official September 19.

Quantum Cryptography School for Young Students (grades 10-12), August 8-12. Details.

Peace Camp for students aged 11-14, August 8-12, Conrad Grebel University College. Register by July 20. Details.

Warrior athletics camps August 8-12: Womeh’s hockey. Details.

Ontario Mennnonite Music Camp August 14-26, Conrad Grebel University College. Details.

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