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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

  • Economics prof's TEDxUW talk goes global
  • Hockey warrior named CIS all-Canadian
  • Tuesday's notes
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

President Feridun Hamdullahpur signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Vice Rector Dr. Nils Metzler-Nolte of Ruhr University Bochum in Berlin on Thursday, March 8 as part of the U15 universities' visit to Germany. Standing behind them are (l-r) Canadian ambassador to Germany Peter Boehm, North Rhine-Westphalia's Minister for Innovation, Science and Research Svenja Schulze, Parliamentary State Secretary Thomas Rachel, and Parliamentary Secretary Mike Lake. Hamdullahpur returns to Canada on Wednesday.

Photograph by Franka Bruns

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Economics prof's TEDxUW talk goes global

“I’ve spent 30 years teaching 22,000 students,” says adjunct associate professor of economics Larry Smith. “Now, in one weekend, I’ve talked to nearly a quarter of a million people. It’s a weird experience.”

That was Smith's reaction to the news that a video of talk he gave in November at TEDxUW, entitled "Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career" had been featured on the TED organization's main web page and has to date amassed more than 309,000 views, with over 113,000 views on YouTube.

TEDxUW is the latest in a series of several hundred events being held around the world as part of the global TED movement to create open platforms for riveting ideas to be shared, for free, with the world. The event, held November 12, 2011, was organized by a cross-disciplinary team of Waterloo students, staff, faculty, and alumni, with co-op employers, local entrepreneurs and senior university executives acting as advisors.

“Our mission is to bring together intelligent, connected, extremely talented and energetic members of the University of Waterloo community in order to build an engaged community of change-makers, and showcase their ideas and achievements to a world audience of nearly 300 million people,” writes Prashanth Gopalan, chair of TEDxUW. “In the process, we hope to highlight the collective contributions of our university to global society at-large, while positioning the University of Waterloo as a world-class community where great minds and big ideas always meet.”

“One can read about these things, when you actually see it, it becomes even stranger," says Smith of the rapid dissemination of his video. "My email has exploded with perfect strangers sending me interesting messages.” He says he's been getting emails from the UK, Denmark, Albania, and as far away as India and Dubai.

One of his students informed him of the waves the video was making on Twitter. “It was amazing to watch all these discussions of the video in different languages,” he said. “It’s a strange world in many ways.”

“In my journey to understand all this, I understand the sweep of the Internet better now than I did five days ago.”

Smith's talk is a humourous deconstruction of the barriers people put between themselves and great careers. He says he based his talk on his experiences speaking with students over the years and that he’s heard all of the excuses he listed in the video at one time or another.

"We still live in a world where people don't enjoy their work," says Smith. "The message is counter to the culture, but not the rhetoric." According to Smith, people are told to pursue their dreams, but nobody believes it. "Words are cheap," he explains.

From the amount of responses Smith has been receiving the last few days, his remarks have touched a nerve. Feedback has been both positive and negative. "People feel strongly about the message on both sides," he said.

He said that it was a personal challenge to break from his usual lecturing style, where he speaks for three hours at a time, and conform to the strict 15-minute TED time limit. “My brain thinks in one hour blocks,” he explained. “I started with the end and worked my way backwards.”

He had nothing but high praise for the organizers and volunteers who made TEDxUW a reality. “It’s gratifying to me that people are looking at it, without a doubt,” says Smith. “But congratulations should go to the student organizers in Waterloo. Organizing that was a huge amount of effort, and they should be applauded for their focus and determination. It’s their effort that created this attention for UW.”

He compared the TEDxUW event to the opening night of not one play, but a dozen different one-act plays in one venue. "The range of things these students did—video, lighting, organization, attention to detail, ushers," Smith says. "You watch such young people punching way above their weight, and they use work, effort, focus, plans—that really does work."

“If that video helps a few people find their way forward, now that would be really cool,” says Smith. “Some of the messages sent to me indicate that is the case.”

“The phenomenal success of this video has put the extended University of Waterloo community onto a new type of global activity map that is being watched, shared and talked about by more than 300 million of the world's top thinkers, thought leaders, businessmen, problem-solvers, entrepreneurs, writers, activists and change-makers,” writes Gopalan.

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Hockey Warrior named CIS all-Canadian

a message from the Athletics department.

For the first time in the history of the Waterloo women's hockey program, a player has been named a CIS all-Canadian. Rebecca Bouwhuis earned that honour on Wednesday night at the CIS women's hockey all-Canadian banquet with a spot on the second-team. Bouwhuis was also named to the CIS all-rookie team for her stellar rookie campaign between the pipes.

The first-year netminder logged the second most minutes among CIS goalies and finished sixth in saves with 545. Bouwhuis posted a .933 save percentage, good for seventh best in the country while posting a 1.95 goals against average (10th in CIS).

Bouwhuis along with the rest of the Warriors showed their defensive prowess allowing only 60 goals this season which ranks them third best in Ontario and 14th in the country. With the addition of talented recruits expected to crack Waterloo's line up next season, the Warriors will continue to make noise in the OUA next season and beyond.

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Tuesday's notes

Symposium poster.The Department of Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies (SMF) at St. Jerome’s University has announced its third annual SMF Symposium on Friday March 30 at St. Jerome's University. The theme for this year’s research conference is “Everyone Counts: Couples, Families, and Relationships in a Globalized World.” The keynote speaker is Astha Ramaiya, a past recipient of the University of Waterloo's Young Alumni Award (Applied Health Science), who has completed internship placements in the areas of health promotion and social justice in Nepal with the Nyaya Health program and the Ifakara Health Institute in Dar-Es-Salaam in Tanzania.

The deadline for early bird registration is March 19, with $5 admission for SMF students, $10 for all other students, and $25 for staff and faculty. After March 19 tickets go up to $15 for students and $35 for staff and faculty. Information about the conference program and registration is available online or by contacting Alysia Morrow at amorrow@

Here's the latest Nutrition Month "myth vs. truth" provided by Health Services dietician Sandra Ace.

"Myth": Eating a lot of protein helps build muscle.

"Truth": Protein alone does not build muscle mass. A strength-training program, along with enough calories from healthy foods, recovery time and sleep, are also needed for building muscle. Overdoing protein won’t build bigger muscles, nor will using pricey protein powders. Most people get enough protein from eating Canada’s Food Guide portions of protein-rich foods such as lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, lower-fat milk and alternatives, and legumes. However, some athletes might benefit from eating more protein, especially in post-workout snacks.

If you have any questions or comments about these tips, please contact Sandra Ace at sace@

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Link of the day

This day in Canadian history

When and where

Drop, Penalty 2 Period begins March 13.

Undergraduate Council Tuesday, March 13, 12:00 p.m., NH 3004.

KI-X: Capstone Design Project, Tuesday, March 13, 12:00 to 7:00 p.m., The University of Waterloo Art Gallery.

Noon hour concert at Conrad Grebel featuring Brass Essentials, Debra and Martin Lacoste (trumpets), Trevor Wagler (french horn), Carolyn Culp (trombone), Susan Follows (bass trombone), Wednesday, March 14, 12:30 p.m.

KI-X: Capstone Design Project, Wednesday, March 14, 12:00 to 6:00 p.m., University of Waterloo Art Gallery.

Nanotechnology for Cancer chemo and immunotherapy seminar, Wednesday March 14, 2:00 p.m., School of Pharmacy.

Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies lecture series ‘Testimony and Human Rights’, featuring a presentation by Professor Marjorie Ratcliffe (University of Western Ontario), “Solos en Ameríca: Children of the Spanish Civil War”. Wednesday, March 14, 3:30 p.m., HH 373. Reception follows at 4:30 p.m.

Waterloo Institute for Hellenistic Studies presents Meagan Ayer, SUNY Buffalo, "Traces in Stone: Refugees in the Epigraphic Record," Wednesday, March 14, 4:30 p.m., ML 246.

Medieval Studies presents Sweet Pastries and Marital Bliss featuring Dr. Elizabeth Cohen, York University, "Despite the Council of Trent: Marriage Troubles in Rome, circa 1600," Wednesday, March 14, 4:30 p.m., St. Jerome's room 2011.

Center for Career Action workshop "Setting Work And Life Goals," Thursday, March 15, 3:30 p.m., TC 1208. Details.

Warriors Band practice, Thursday, March 15, 5:30 p.m., PAC 1001.

Pension & Benefits Committee Friday, March 16, 8:30 a.m., NH 3004.

Systems Design Symposium 2012, Friday, March 16, 10:00 a.m., Davis Centre foyer.

Knowledge Integration seminar, Luigi Ferrera, "Systems of Sharing: The Next Economy," Friday, March 16, 2:30 p.m. St. Paul's room 105.

Bechtel Lecture with Professor John D. Roth Thursday March 15 and Friday March 16, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel. Details.

The UW Cabaret Club presents La Vie Du Cabaret, Friday, March 16, 9:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

"LIFT" worship night featuring speaker Ken Taylor, Sunday, March 18, 6:30 p.m., Federation Hall. Presented by UW LIFT. Details.

Engineering Shadow Days, Monday, March 19 to Friday, March 30.

Vision 2015 Town Hall for engineering faculty, Tuesday, March 20, 2:30 p.m., EIT 3142.

Waterloo Research Institute in Insurance, Securities and Quantitative Finance (WatRISQ) presents Tong Yu, associate professor of finance, College of Business Administration, "By Force of Habitat? On the Dynamics of Insurers' Government Bond Portfolio Durations," Tuesday, March 20, 4:00 p.m., M3 3127.

Noon hour concert series, "Paraguay Primeval" featuring Rebecca Campbell (vocals), Carol Ann Weaver (piano), Katie Honek (flute), Ben Bolt-Martin (cello), Kyle Skillman (percussion), Wednesday, March 21, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel chapel.

Centre for Career Action Webinar: Writing an A+ resume, Wednesday, March 21, 4:30 p.m. Details.

ECE Design symposium, Wednesday, March 21, 9:30 a.m. Davis Centre.

Street party at Mudie's, Wednesday, March 21, 4:30 p.m.

Vision 2015 town hall for engineering undergraduates, Wednesday, March 21, 5:30 p.m., RCH 301.

Waterloo Lecture: Homer, the Brain, and Rhetoric, hosted by the Waterloo Stratford Campus, Wednesday, March 21, 7:00 p.m., Stratford Public Library.

Co-op Student of the Year Awards, Thursday, March 22.

Careers in Health Informatics and E-Health (CHiE) 2012 Career Fair, Thursday, March 22, 4:00 p.m., Kitchener City Hall. Register online.

World Water Day Graduate Research Fair and Water Celebration, Thursday, March 22, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

Vision 2015 Town Hall for engineering staff, Thursday, March 22, 12:00 p.m., EIT 3142.

First annual Management Engineering Design Symposium, Friday, March 23, 10:00 a.m., Davis Centre foyer. Details.

University senate Monday, March 26, 3:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

4th Annual Pink Day, Tuesday, March 27, Pink Coffee break gets started at 9:00 a.m. in NH 1021.

Student appreciation night at REVelation, Tuesday, March 27, 4:30 p.m.

Digital Media Series: Virtual Worlds and Augmented Reality: Implications for Marketing, Wednesday, March 28, Stratford Campus.

Surplus sale of furniture and equipment, Thursday, March 29, 12:30 to 2:00, East Campus Hall.

Warrior W.Warrior sports

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