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Friday, February 24, 2012

  • Strong showing in region's Top 40 list
  • Physics professor receives Killam fellowship
  • Fifth annual staff conference in the works
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Strong showing in region's Top 40 list

by Chris Redmond

This year’s “Forty Under 40” honours came out yesterday in the Waterloo Region Record, and 16 of the 40 “young leaders in our community” turn out to have direct links to the University of Waterloo.

The university took out an ad in the Record’s 24-page special section to congratulate the winners. “Whether experimenting in a university lab, or volunteering in the community,” said the ad, “these Waterloo students, alumni, and professors know how to take ideas and make them work to build a better future for Waterloo Region and beyond.”

Each of the 40 winners was profiled in half a page or so of the newspaper section. The university ad appeared on the same page as the profile of Renjie Butalid, former Federation of Students vice-president and now “social entrepreneur” based in Waterloo. He’s involved with Ignite Waterloo, TEDx Waterloo, and the Laurel Centre for Social Entrepreneurship — and is also serving as a teaching assistant for a Waterloo course.

Other alumni who show up among the Top 40: Ingrid Schiller, director of charities for Formulating Change Inc.; Tim Rollins, senior director of taxation for Research In Motion; David Kroetsch, president of spinoff company Aeryon Labs; Michael Peasgood, vice-president for engineering at Aeryon; Stephanie Ellens-Clark, public health planner for Waterloo Region; Bardish Chagger, special projects coordinator for the K-W Multicultural Centre; Kelly Meissner, physics teacher at Bluevale Collegiate; Craig Haney, director of marketing for Emergent and community volunteer; Andrea Clegg, engineer at McCormick Rankin Corp.; Anne Wilson, Canada Research Chair in psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University; Jillian Fleming, manager of business development for the city of Waterloo.

Current University of Waterloo people on the Record’s list this year are Jessica del Rosso, social development studies student at Renison University College, involved with the youth advisory board of Family and Children’s Services; Simarjeet Saini, faculty member in electrical and computer engineering who has been involved with startup company Inometrix; Scott Leatherdale, faculty member in the school of public health and health systems, involved in tobacco and cancer research; and Russell Wong, undergraduate recruitment coordinator in the faculty of engineering.

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Physics professor receives Killam fellowship

Michel Gingras.The Canada Council for the Arts has awarded a Killam Research Fellowship to University of Waterloo physics professor Michel Gingras (right).

The fellowship will enable Gingras to pursue studies in the area of highly frustrated magnetic materials. The research has the potential to lead to the development of fundamental principles that may pave the way for breakthroughs in areas such as room temperature superconductivity and drug design. It explores the physics at work in condensed states of matter, such as the dense and highly structured proton and neutron matter in neutron stars, and in various magnetic systems where more than one interaction is at play and therefore frustrate and negate the effect of each other.

"The study of magnetic systems and magnetic materials has historically allowed scientists to reach a broad understanding of the principles that govern how conventional matter organizes itself when one interaction, or force, is prevalent,” said Gingras. “Our understanding of those principles in matter when there is more than one force at play is at its infancy. . . . As in life, physics shows that a little frustration makes life more interesting."

Gingras was among seven Canadian researchers whose institutions will receive $70,000 per year over the course of the two-year fellowship. He holds a senior Canada Research Chair in the area of Condensed Matter Physics and Statistical Mechanics at Waterloo. Gingras was awarded the Canadian Association of Physicists Herzberg Medal (2001) and Brockhouse Medal (2009), as well as a E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship (2003) from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

“This award of a Killam Fellowship to Michel Gingras is marvellous news which continues the impressive tradition of awards of these prestigious fellowships to members of the Faculty of Science at Waterloo,” said Terrance McMahon, dean of science at Waterloo. “This recognition of professor Gingras also draws attention to the high calibre, forefront research being carried out in general in the Faculty of Science, which consistently leads the University of Waterloo in annual research income.”

"Independent research allows professors to focus on areas where real-world applications may not be immediately evident. Discoveries that are difficult to fully comprehend now will likely be the ones that lead to transformative changes in the world in coming decades," said Gingras. “I’m sure that when Einstein developed the general theory of relativity there was no insight of how that could be applied, and ultimately be of relevance to the usefulness of GPS in our cell phones.”

University of Waterloo professors have now been awarded Killam fellowships 19 times since the program originated in 1968. The most recent fellowship winners were chemistry professor R.T. Oakley in 2006 and biology professor Marilyn Griffith in 2003.

The annual Killam fellowships and prizes are at the top level of academic awards and scholarships funded by the Killam Trusts, which have been in existence since the death of Dorothy J. Killam in 1965.

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Fifth annual staff conference in the works

"It’s that time of year again!" writes Mark Lisetto-Smith. "The Organizational & Human Development department will be hosting their 5th Annual Staff Conference scheduled on April 3rd and 4th, 2012. Staff members should be prepared to experience a wide range of captivating keynote speakers as well as an exploration of personal and professional development through multiple interactive workshops."

Keynote speakers at this year's conference include Merge Gupta-Sanderji (Leading Through Learning), Wendy Mesley (Who Can You Trust? And … Who Can Trust You?), J.P Pawliw-Fry (The Power of Purpose: Finding Your Unique Ability), Tom Wujec (Return on Innovation), and Neil Pasricha (How to be Awesome at Work!).

"To further enhance your experience at our conference, please remember to personalize your schedule by registering online and selecting which workshops you would like to attend," writes Lisetto-Smith. Registration for the conference begins February 27 2012.

In addition, OHD is looking for a number of volunteers to help out throughout the conference. If interested, please contact Annette Denny at amdenny More information is available through the OHD website.

In addition, OHD and the Faculty Association of The University of Waterloo (FAUW) are offering evening sessions of Retirement 101 over the course of four weeks starting February 27 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., facilitated by Certified Financial Planner Libor Piruchta. March 5, March 12, and March 22 are the other dates in the four-week course.

Registration takes place through Simply select the Learning and Development sub-menu of the Self Service menu. Participants are welcome to bring their spouse or partner to the sessions. There is a $100 fee per person/couple for the course.

Staff can register with course number OHD704 while faculty can use course number FAS101. For assistance, please contact Mark Lisetto-Smith in the OHD office or Laura McDonald in the FAUW office.

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Link of the day

Canada Goes to the Oscars

When and where

Reading Week, February 20 to 24.

Warrior sports this weekend: Swimming at CIS Championship Friday, 9:00 a.m., Saturday, 9:00 a.m. Men’s volleyball at Western (semi-finals) Friday, 7:30 p.m. Nordic skiing at OUA championship Saturday, 9:00 a.m., Sunday, 9:00 a.m. Track and field at OUA Championship (York), Saturday, TBD, Sunday, TBD.

Hagey Bonspiel (40th annual) for staff, faculty, retirees and friends, Saturday, February 25, 8:30 to 4:30, Ayr Curling Club. Details.

University of Waterloo Brain Bee, Saturday, February 25, 9:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., LHI 1621.

DaCapo Chamber Choir, based at Conrad Grebel U College, “Creating Home” concert February 25 (8 p.m.) and 26 (3 p.m.), St. John the Evangelist Church, Kitchener. Details.

Centre for Career Action seminar "Are You Linked In? Learning the Basics," Monday, February 27, 2:30 p.m. TC 1208.

University senate Monday, February 27, 3:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

Project Ploughshares 35th anniversary celebration, Monday, February 27, 7:00 p.m., Knox Presbyterian Church, 50 Erb St. W., Waterloo, RSVP and more information: Debbie Hughes, dhughes@, or 519-888-6541 x702.

Mid-Cycle Review Campus Update, Wednesday, February 29, 3:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Mexican Night at REVelation, Wednesday, February 29, 4:30 p.m.

uWaterloo Sun Life lecture series featuring Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators Group Limited, "Managing Risk in an Increasingly Unmanageable World," Thursday, March 1, 4:30 p.m., SAF Hagey Hall Room 1108.

University of Waterloo's Materials Research Society (MRS) Student Chapter inter-departmental mixer, Friday, March 2, 11:00 a.m., E6-2024. RSVP online.

Centre for Career Action workshop, "Re-frame your retirement," Friday, March 2, 2:00 p.m., TC 2218. Details.

Knowledge Integration Seminar featuring David Goodwin, Research Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP), Friday, March 2, 2:30 p.m., St. Paul's room 105.

19th Annual Philosophy Graduate Student Conference, featuring a keynote address by Dr. Helen Longino of Stanford University, "The Sociality of Scientific Knowledge: not just an Academic Question", Friday, March 2, 3:30 p.m., HH 334.

I2E Startathon, Friday, March 2, 5:00 p.m., Mathematics 3. Details.

The Arts Student Union presents "The Three A's of Awesome" featuring author and blogger Neil Pasricha, Friday, March 2, 7:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

International Women's Day (IWD) celebration, Wednesday, March 7, 5:30 p.m., Walper Terrace Hotel. Kitchener. For tickets and details call Jan Meier at 519-579-5051. Details.

Alumni Theatre Night featuring "Scenes from an Execution," Wednesday, March 7, 7:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, presented by the Department of Drama and Speech Communication. Details.

Reading at St. Jerome’s University: poet Julia McCarthy, Thursday, March 8, 4:30, StJ room 3014.

Fusion Science and Business conference, March 9 and 10. Details.

Drop, Penalty 1 Period ends March 12.

Waterloo Unlimited Grade 11 Design Program, Monday, March 12 to Friday, March 16.

Drop, Penalty 2 Period begins March 13.

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