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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

  • Winter term orientation underway
  • Public service program charts career paths
  • Warm wet weather and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Winter term orientation underway

The Student Success Office has developed and implemented a weeklong orientation for new students arriving at Waterloo in the Winter term.

Orientation 2012 began with an early residence move-in on New Year's Day, the U Start Here welcome event and orientations for residence and off-campus students on Monday January 2. Pictured above is the group of new first-year students who participated in the U Start Here event.

"Coming up this week there will be a Residence Orientation for those students living in Residence, an Off-campus orientation for those students living off campus, as well as a Mathematics Orientation for students studying in Mathematics programs, and an Arts Orientation for students studying in Arts programs," writes Virginia Young, Director, Outreach and Engagement for the Student Success Office. "A special orientation for International Students will happen later in the week."

Today's major orientation event is the All About U Fair, taking place in the Student Life Centre's Great Hall from 10 to 3 today. "The fair is open to all students to learn more about some of the service and the support here to help students succeed," writes Young.

Participants in the fair include the Federation of Students, the Graduate Student Association, the Graduate Students Office, Athletics and Recreational Services, the Centre for Career Action, the Office for Persons with Disabilities, Library Services, Academic Integrity, Global Exchange Certificate/International Exchanges, the Student Success Office, Student Health and Dental Plan, Health Services, Counselling Services, the Centre for Teaching Excellence, and Police Services.

The week ends on Sunday, January 8 with a pizza party in the Student Success Office.

Photo by Gabrielle Finne

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Public service program charts career paths

by Sheila McConnell

In a time when our future seems more uncertain than ever, it can be difficult to choose a career path and stay committed to it. However, as one Waterloo Master of Public Service student discovered, when you do get on that path, it definitely pays off.

Magdalena Surma.When Magdalena Surma (right) first heard of the University of Waterloo’s Master of Public Service (MPS) co-operative program, which was launched in 2010, she knew it was right for her. As a Legal Studies major, she had already committed to a career in government and she believed the MPS program could make this happen.

“I was excited about the content of the program and I felt confident in the co-op program at Waterloo. As an undergraduate student, I had the opportunity to benefit from its many connections,” says Magdalena, one of 27 students in the inaugural class.

The program combines eight months of coursework (fall and winter), an 8-month co-operative work experience in government (spring and fall), and a 4-month major team project in the final winter term.

The chief objective is to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and experience they need for a vital and effective career at any level of government in Canada.

Magdalena already knows where she will be working when she graduates this spring and she thanks the MPS program for giving her the tools to forge her own path: “The courses prepared me for the world of public service, management, and effective team work in the government.”

She is one of eleven students who have been offered further work from their co-op employer. As she explains, “the program provided me with an opportunity to successfully obtain a co-op work term at eHealth Ontario. I began as a Business Analyst for the Consent Management Program and Compliance Enablement Program for the Identity, Access, and Privacy (IAP) department. I was then advanced into a Program Management Contract Engagement Support position.”

Andrew Covey, her supervisor and the Manager of eHealth’s IAP unit, called her performance “impressive” and gave her an outstanding rating on her co-op evaluation. eHealth offered her permanent employment when she graduates, and she has accepted.

“After completing the Major Research Project, I plan on returning to eHealth where I will work on managing more contracts, business cases, and assisting the management team. I feel that this position would be a perfect next step for me to leverage and build on my experience to date all while returning to what I consider to be my family at eHealth.”

“In the end, I strongly feel that this new program has provided me with the tools needed to become an effective leader and problem solver in the public sector.”

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Warm wet weather and other notes

It may take more than a few consecutive chilly days to erase the memory of this past fall, which according to the latest reports from the University of Waterloo Weather Station was "very warm" and "the wettest on record."

The fall was over 2.5 degrees warmer than average, with consistent heat throughout the season "except for a relatively cool week at the end of October" says the Fall 2011 report. "But even for that week it was only 3 or 4 degrees colder than average to many days that were more than 5 degrees warmer throughout the fall." The report notes that we have seen many warm falls in recent years, and only have to go back to 2001 to find one that was hotter.

It was also very wet. How wet was it? A total of 349.2 mm of precipitation drenched the region, compared to the average of 218.1 mm. "This was the highest fall precipitation I could find," writes weather station coordinator Frank Seglenieks, "just beating out 1955 which had 339.5 mm." Just 5 cm of that total precipitation came in snow form this autumn, "which is much less than the average of 30 cm." The only other fall on record that compares is that of 1998, with only 2 cm.

There was more of the same in December, with only one day — December 10 — that was colder than average, making the month as a whole 3.6 degrees warmer than average. In fact, the minimum temperature for the month was -9.9 degrees Celsius, and according to Seglenieks, "only back in December 1974 was there a December when the minimum temperature was higher (-7.8°C). It was also "consistently wet," with a total of 94 mm of precipitation compared to an average of 71.1 mm. But it was short on the white stuff: "we saw 17.5 cm of snow during the month, which is less than half of the average of 38.5 cm."

A graduate student in the Department of Chemical Engineering has recently been awarded third place in the Dr. Bernard S. Baker Student Award Competition, an international award recognizing exceptional students in the field of fuel cell technologies.

Drew Higgins.Doctoral student Drew Higgins (left) was the recipient for his work on nanostructured fuel cell electrocatalyst development, and was honoured at the Fuel Cell Seminar and Exposition which took place in Orlando, Florida in November. Selection for this award was based upon the quality of completed and/or proposed student based research work and involved competition with many students working in various fuel cell related fields worldwide. Higgins has recently completed his MASc and is in his first term of his PhD studies under the supervision of Dr. Zhongwei Chen, an Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering. Dr. Chen’s research involves the development of nanomaterials for sustainable, environmentally friendly energy technologies such as fuel cells or batteries.

UW Golf SimulatorNow that a blanket of snow has been tucked over the region, opportunities for improving one's golf swing appear limited. However, the University of Waterloo golf simulator, located in the Physical Activities Complex, is very much open for business, according to golf coach Dave Hollinger. Golf lessons for faculty and staff will be offered by the golf team and Coach Hollinger starting Sunday, January 8.

"This is a 5-lesson Sunday program," writes Hollinger. "Session two starts on Sunday, February 12 and also runs for 5 Sundays. If these dates don't suit your schedule we will find times that do." Information is available online and Hollinger can be contacted at davehollinger@ Money raised will be used to provide additional competition and upgrade equipment needs. The women's and men's golf team are the 2011 OUA Golf Champions and are ranked 3rd and 4th respectively in Canada.

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Link of the day

World Hypnotism Day

When and where

Auditions open for University Choir, Instrumental Chamber Ensembles, Chapel Choir, Stage Band, Chamber Choir, etc. starting January 3. Contact the Music Office at Conrad Grebel 885-0220 x24226 or music@ for more information. Details.

Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology seminar - Professor Dominique Rebière, Université Bordeaux, "Acoustic Devices as Chemical and Biochemical Sensors: Principles and Applications," Wednesday, January 4, 3:30 p.m., Davis Centre 1304.

Open rehearsal for orchestra@uwaterloo, Thursday, January 5, 7:00 p.m., REV Great Hall. All players welcome, registration required.

Knowledge Integration Seminar "Everything I Need to Know about Life I'm Learning From Cognitive Science" Friday, January 6, 2:30, St. Paul's University College Room 105.

4th Annual AHS Speed Networking Career Night, Tuesday, January 10, 6:00 p.m., BMH Foyer, AHS students only.

Open class enrolment for winter term classes ends January 9 (online courses), January 16 (on-campus courses).

Senate Graduate and Research Council Monday, January 9, 10:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

AHS Speed Networking career night, Tuesday, January 10, 6:00 p.m., BMH foyer.

Mexican Menu Themed Dinner Wednesday, January 11, 4:30, REVelation.

Mennonite Lit lecture series featuring Rudy Weibe "On This Earth: 57 years of writing" Wednesday, January 11, Conrad Grebel College Chapel, 7:00 p.m.

Grade 10 Family Night, Thursday, January 12, 6:30 p.m., Hagey Hall.

Knowledge Integration Seminar, Lucie Edwards, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Friday, January 13, 2:30 p.m., St. Paul's University College, room 105.

University senate Monday, January 16, 3:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

Studies in Islam Speaker Series, Professor Ali Zaidi, Monday, January 16, 7:00 p.m. Dunker Family Lounge, Renison University College.

Chinese New Year at Mudies, Wednesday, January 18, 4:30.

MDEI Student showcase, Wednesday, January 18, 5:00 p.m., Waterloo Stratford Campus.

Allen Loney, President and CEO of Great West Life lecture, Thursday, January 19, 2:30 p.m., reception 4:00 p.m.

Pension and benefits committee Friday, January 20, 8:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

Engineering Alumni Ski Day, Friday, January 20, Osler Bluff Ski Club, 8:30 a.m.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel U College , lunch seminar, “What Is CFIB Doing to Assist Family Businesses?” Friday, January 20, 11:00, Bingemans Conference Centre.

Fantastic Alumni, Faculty and Staff Day Saturday, January 21, 1:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex.

Official Chinese New Year at Chopsticks, Bon Appetit Monday, January 23, 5:00, featuring a live performance by the Central Ontario Chinese Cultural Centre Lion Dancers.

Drop, No Penalty Period ends January 23.

Volunteer/Internship Fair Tuesday, January 24, 11:00 a.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Canada's Digital Economy, 49 Pixels Study Wednesday, January 25, 5:30 p.m., Waterloo Stratford Campus.

Surplus sale of furniture and equipment, Thursday, January 26, 12:30 to 2:00, East Campus Hall.

Knowledge Integration Seminar: John Baker, founder, president, and CEO, Desire2Learn, Friday, January 26, 2:30 p.m., St. Paul's University College room 105.

Benjamin Eby lecture with Professor Jim Pankratz "Gandhi and Mennonites in India" Friday, January 27, 7:30 p.m.  Details.

AIDS Awareness Fundraiser, Race for Dignity, Saturday, January 28, 9:30 a.m., SLC Great Hall, hosted by UW Dignitas Youth Club.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department, viewable through myHRinfo:

• Admissions Assistant – Registrar, USG 5
• Information Systems Specialist – Information Systems & Technology, USG 10-12
• Manager, University of Waterloo Hong Kong Office – ODAA – Development Programs, USG 13
• Job Evaluation Specialist – Human Resources – USG 7-9

Secondment Opportunities:

• Manager, University of Waterloo Hong Kong Office, USG 13 - Six months to One year. Please see Job Opening (#1388) listed above
• Library Associate, Information Services & Resources – Collections Management - Library, USG 6 – one year secondment

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