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Thursday, March 14, 2013



  • Co-op hits employment milestone
  • Warriors go Bear hunting today in Saskatoon
  • Fourth Year Design Projects on display
  • It's Pi Day and other notes


  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs


Welcome! Student ambassadors were all smiles this week as they helped organize tours for future students and their families at the March Break Open House, which ran Tuesday and Wednesday.

Photograph by Paula Murphy.


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Co-op hits employment milestone

by Olaf Naese, Co-operative Education and Career Action.

The employment numbers for the Winter 2013 work term have just been released and the university has achieved another milestone.

“We’ve reached a new level of success with 6,049 co-op students employed in a single term,” says Peggy Jarvie, executive director of Co-operative Education and Career Action. The employment process for this term ended at the beginning of March with only 4.1 per cent of the students who were scheduled to be on a Winter work term without a job.

The number of employed shouldn’t be surprising considering the steady climb in student enrolment. Since 2008, co-op students grew by an additional 3,813. Using a geographical comparison, that’s like adding the entire population of Rockwood, near Guelph, to that of Strathroy, near London. CECA is now responsible for supporting roughly the same number of co-op students as there are residents of Collingwood, Ontario.

What may seem surprising is that CECA has kept up with the demand, especially in an unpredictable economy. Jarvie explains, “the department reorganization last year definitely contributed to the stability in our employment statistics and prepared us to meet the challenge of securing jobs and preparing even greater numbers of our students for the employment search in the years to come.

“Our goal is to keep co-op education, one of the six foundational pillars of the university, strong”, says Jarvie. “So far, thanks to the support of our co-op students, employer partners, and the dedication of CECA staff, we remain a clear leader in co-operative education.”

Last week’s poll question: 65 per cent of you guessed correctly! Ethical behaviour is the new addition to the Evaluation Form. Congratulations to last week’s draw winner, computer engineering student Andrea Wong.

This week’s poll question: The University of Waterloo has over 6000 students on work terms this term! How many students were enrolled at Waterloo when it opened in 1957? (Hint – check out the Waterloo Facts Page) Take a guess and enter to win a water bottle!

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Warriors go Bear hunting today in Saskatoon

The puck drops this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. EDT (1:00 p.m. local time) as the University of Waterloo men's hockey team takes on the University of Alberta Golden Bears in the first game of the 2013 PotashCorp University Cup held in Saskatoon.

The Athletics department has all the details about the tournament on their website. The game will be broadcast live.

Good luck, Hockey Warriors. Go black, go gold!


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Fourth Year Design Projects on display

Beginning tomorrow, students in eight University of Waterloo engineering programs will present more than 150 projects designed to improve the quality of life of Canadians.

Completed over the past year, the projects reflect the interests and concerns of upper-year students completing their engineering degrees.

"The inventive design projects represent months of hard work by our very talented students," says Pearl Sullivan, dean of engineering. "As in the past, we anticipate that some of the projects will lead to successful start-up companies and the commercialization of new products and services.”

Open to the public, the project symposiums will be held on four separate days at the William G. Davis Computer Research Centre. Visitors are encouraged to browse the interactive displays and discuss the projects with students.

  • Friday, March 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Students graduating from systems design engineering will exhibit projects in the areas of human and biomedical engineering, mechatronics, financial, and environmental systems.
  • Monday, March 18 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Students graduating from mechanical and mechatronics engineering will exhibit projects in the areas of education systems, robotics, reconfigurable service systems, medical equipment and environmental recognition and mapping.
  • Wednesday, March 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Students graduating from electrical and computer engineering will present projects that solve problems in the areas of entertainment, music, power, robotics, security, sensors and devices, software, tracking, transportation, and user input.
  • Friday, March 22 from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Students graduating from management engineering, nanotechnology engineering, and software engineering will demonstrate innovative projects in the areas of software systems for mobile devices, desktop computers, embedded systems, cloud computing, logistics, financial systems, nanofluidics and nanobiotechnology, nanophotonics and electronics, and nanofunctional materials.

Among the projects to be featured:

Sign Language Communication Suite – Systems design engineering symposium

This project is designed to bridge the communication gap over long distances between the American Sign Language and the non-American Sign Language community by developing a desktop application that provides an interface that will allow the two parties to communicate without a language barrier.

Artificial Vision for the Visually Impaired – Electrical and computer engineering symposium

Artificial Vision uses image recognition technology to transform images to intelligent audial instructions for the visually impaired. An embedded system analyzes the visual input captured by a camera mounted on the user’s head and uses the input to identify certain objects including crossroads, traffic lights, cars, or other potential hazards.

Automation of a Laparoscopic Suturing Tool – Mechanical and mechatronics engineering symposium

The prototype of a functional automated laparoscopic suturing tool for abdominal surgery will be used for laboratory testing. It has been designed in collaboration with KidsArm project researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Financial Trading Strategies – Management engineering design symposium

This project explores the creation of financial trading strategies, most of which are not readily available to retail investors with limited resources such as time, money and tools. Strategies were developed based on research, intuition, personal observations and work experience.


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It's Pi Day and other notes

Today, March 14, is Pi Day, a day set aside to celebrate everyone's favourite ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. A constant on campus, the University of Waterloo's Pi Day celebrations will bring free pie to the third floor of the Math and Computing Building, with the lineup starting about two hours before the slices are handed out at 1:59 p.m. Other Pi Day festivities include a pie-eating contest from 2:45 to 3:00 p.m., and the Pi recitation contest scheduled for 3:00 p.m.. Last year's winner was able to recite Pi to the thousandth decimal place. Later on there will be a Pi-themed movie screened in the third-floor Comfy lounge. Pi Day information can be found on MathSoc's facebook page.

The March 1, 2013 issue of MathNEWS with a variety of past logos adorning the cover.While we're on the subject of things mathematical, the university's "bastion of erudite thought," MathNEWS, recently celebrated its 40th anniversary with a special issue containing four decades' worth of snark, in-jokes, ProfQUOTEs, comics, and other bits of infotainment. Founded in 1973, MathNEWS is the official student newspaper of the Faculty of Mathematics. If you can still find a copy of the March 1 issue (pictured at right) it's a real treat to read through, and serves as a window into campus mathie culture, showing how the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Registration opens tomorrow for this summer's Arts Computer Experience, a two-week summer camp for children ages 7 to 12, and the Leaders-In-Motion program for ages 13 to 16.

It doesn't seem quite right running a nutrition tip on a day when scarfing pie is a traditional mode of celebration, but here's the latest "myth vs. fact" submitted by Health Services dietician Sandra Ace:

"Myth:" Soy foods contain plant estrogens that can be detrimental to health.

"Fact:"  While this topic is controversial, a report from a scientific symposium on the health effects of soy foods indicated that soy consumption was associated with a reduced risk of some cancers, including breast cancer, a lower risk of coronary heart disease, a reduction in hot flashes in menopausal women and a positive effect on bone mineral density. Soybeans contain isoflavones, which function similarly to estrogens in the body. While there have been widely-circulated stories that soy’s isoflavones may undermine male fertility, a randomized, double-blind crossover study done by Dr. Alison Duncan at the University of Guelph found no significant effects. The bottom line:  current evidence indicates that soy is neither a panacea nor a danger to good health unless you have a soy allergy. If you consume tofu, edamame, soy beverages or soy protein you can continue to do so as part of a healthy diet.


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Link of the day

World Kidney Day

When and where

KI-X Knowledge Integration Exhibition, Monday, March 11 to Wednesday, March 13, EV1 246. Details.

UW Drama presents Top Girls, Wednesday, March 13 to Saturday, March 16, 8:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts. Details.

International Student Experience presents "Nigeria: Good People, Great Nation," and "Cameroon: The Africa Miniature," Thursday, March 14, 12:00 p.m., NH 1116.

Pi Day, Thursday, March 14, 1:59 p.m., free pie on the third floor of MC building. Full schedule here.

Observations and Free Inquiries seminar featuring Hamid Tizhoosh, Systems Design Engineering, "Learning and Intelligence - Beyond the barriers of thought" Thursday, March 14, 5:30 p.m., E5 6004. Details.

VeloCity Pitch Night Social, Thursday, March 14, 7:00 p.m., CEIT atrium. Details. Free pizza!

The Departments of Classical Studies and Religious Studies present Professor Jeffrey Wickes, Saint Louis University, "The Scriptural Poetics of Syriac Hymnody," Friday, March 15, 4:30 p.m. EV3 4412.

21st Annual Juggling Festival, Saturday, March 16 and Sunday, March 17, Student Life Centre, with performances at 7:00 p.m. in Hagey Hall. Note the new time.

Public Consultation Centre for proposed 2013 Grand River Transit Service Improvement Plan, Monday, March 18, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Fourth Year Design Symposium for Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, Monday, March 18, 1:00 p.m., DC foyer. Details.

Chemistry Department Seminar Series featuring Prof. Claude Spino, Department of Chemistry, Sherbrooke University, “Making Chiral Quaternary Carbons”, Monday, March 18, 2:30 p.m., C2-361. Details.

UWSA "Let's Talk" event, Tuesday, March 19, 12:00 p.m., Brubakers, Student Life Centre. Details.

Vincent Lam reads at St. Jerome's University, Tuesday, March 19, 8:00 p.m., STJ 3014. Details.

Fourth Year Design Symposium for Electrical and Computer Engineering, Wednesday, March 20, 9:30 a.m., DC foyer. Details.

UWRC Book Club meeting, featuring "The Sense of an Ending" by Julian Barnes, Wednesday, March 20, 12:00 p.m., LIB 407.

Kitchener Public Library Ideas and Issues Lecture Series featuring Christine Perdon, Department of Psychology, "Think unsexy thoughts, think unsexy thoughts ...d'oh!" Wednesday, March 20, 12:00 p.m., Forest Heights Community Library.

Int'l Spouses, Book Club featuring "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett, Wednesday, March 20, 7:00 p.m., St. Paul grad apartments, 3rd floor. Details. Note the new time.

Weight Watchers At Work registration session, Thursday, March 21, 12:15 p.m., PAS 2438, info ext. 32218.

Math alumni event featuring Paul Salvini, CTO of Christie Digital and BMath grad, Thursday, March 21, 5:30 p.m., Waterloo Stratford Campus. Registration required. Details. Note: this event has been cancelled.

Master of Public Service Annual Talk and Dinner Social featuring the Honourable Kevin G. Lynch, Thursday, March 21, 6:00 p.m., University Club.

Vision Science Research Seminar Series featuring Professor William (Bill) K. Stell, University of Calgary, “Myopia – The Long and Short of It”, Friday March 22, 3:30 p.m. OPT 1129. Details.

Int'l Spouses, "Anne of Green Gables," Saturday, March 23, 2:30 p.m., Conrad Centre for the Performing Arts. Group details. Event details.

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (I.B.M.B.) Seminar Series featuring Prof. Gerald Audette, Centre for Research on Biomolecular Interactions, York University, “Structural and Functional Studies of Protein Nanotubes and F-Plasmid Conjugation”, Tuesday, March 26 at 3:30 p.m., C2-361. Details.

Retirement Open House for Cathy Mitchell, UW Police. Wednesday, March 27, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Commissary Building, Meeting Room 1112D.  RSVP by March 22 to Sharon Rumpel, ext 33510. Details (PDF).

PhD Oral Defences

Biology. Gao Chen, "Ecosystem Oxygen Metabolism in an Impacted Temperate River Network: Application of the ∂18O-DO Approach." Supervisors, William Taylor, Sherry Schiff. On deposit in the Faculty of Science Graduate Office, ESC-254A. Oral defence Friday, March 22, 1:30 p.m., EIT 1014.

Optometry and Vision Science. Kathryn Dumbleton, "Patient Compliance with Contemporary Contact Lenses: Impact on Successful Contact Lens Wear." Supervisor, Lyndon Jones. On deposit in the Faculty of Science Graduate Office, ESC-254A. Oral defence Thursday, March 28, 9:00 a.m., OPT 347.

Physics and Astronomy. Ying Jiang, "Applications of the Wormlike Chain Model in Polymer Physics: Self-consistent Field Theory." Supervisor, Jeff Zheng-Yu Chen. On deposit in the Faculty of Science Graduate Office, ESC-254A. Oral defence Thursday, March 28, 1:00 p.m., PHY 352.

Combinatorics and Optimization. Yingkia Ouyang, "Transmitting Quantum Information Reliably across Various Quantum Channels." Supervisor, Debbie Leung. On display in the Mathematics Faculty Graduate Office, MC 5090. Oral defence Tuesday, April 2, 11:30 a.m., MC 5136.

Geography and Environmental Management. Zainub Ibrahim, "A Framework for Assessing National Tourism Plans." Supervisor, Geoffrey Wall. On display in the Faculty of Environment, EV1 335. Oral defence Tuesday, April 2, 12:00 p.m., EV1 221.


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