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January 2016

The Path to Becoming a Writer is Never Straight

Kevin Miller

If you had tried to guess the career for which I was preparing myself while studying at the University of Waterloo, you would have been hard pressed to come up with an answer. My transcripts included courses in philosophy, psychology, sociology, history, social work, and political science.

Transform One Family Relationship this Holiday Season

Deb Dejong

When I left UWaterloo for grad school, I could not have known the road ahead. I was off to make a difference in the lives of individuals and families. Two decades ago, that meant meeting individuals one-on-one. Now, there is a whole online community where health promotion, education, and support is easily accessible for many people. How times change!

Reflecting on Let's Talk. Pulse, Orlando.

Panel

SURP Class of 1981's 35th Year Reunion

SURP class of '81

Great reunion, great chats, great memories! Graduates of the School of Urban and Regional Planning (SURP) came together on Saturday, October 29, 2016 to celebrate their 35th year since convocation. Some graduates travelled as far as Vancouver and Montreal to attend the event, as well as several retired faculty.

Systems Thinking, Sustainable Development and Other Buzz Words that Can Transform the World

Kali Taylor

My trusted UWaterloo Faculty of Environment water bottle follows me everywhere I go these days. Inscribed in white letters on the bright green metal of the bottle is a mini checklist.

Today I’m going to:

From Investment Banking to Financial Technology

Like many of my peers, my time at the University of Waterloo can be summarized as a unique juxtaposition of science and innovation. Personally, my math and business double degree gave me excellent insight into both sides of the entrepreneurial equation: the tangible and intangible.

Film & Tech: An Unlikely Combination

My time at UWaterloo has been, to say the least, non-linear. I started my first two years in the Faculty of Mathematics studying statistics and computer science, then shifted my focus to acting after taking an introduction class. And when I was accepted early into NYU's MFA program for acting, I graduated early with a three-year general degree to make that happen.

UWaterloo Co-op’s Contribution to Cancer Discovery

If you were to ask me where I saw myself in the future during my first year at the University of Waterloo, I most definitely would have had a different answer than what my reality is today.

My name is Abilasha Rao and I started my journey into biological research in 2010 as a UWaterloo undergraduate, and since then it’s been quite the ride. 

Clearing the Path to Peace

Mary and co-workers

Throughout my time at the University of Waterloo I have refined my skills as a development practitioner, specializing in disarmament. This program has provided me with the opportunity to gain valuable experience in my preferred field by working with Mines Action Canada (MAC) through their partner Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) in Vietnam.

The Wonderful Things I Get To Do

The wonderful things I get to do....such as walk into my first undergrad biology lab. Yes, I’m that one. The one who clogs the traffic through the door because she’s stopped to grin. The one who can’t decide what to take from the course list because WHO WOULDN’T WANT THEM ALL!

The Medli Award and the Mystery behind a Good Novel

Portrait of Susan

In early April of this year I received the inaugural Medli Award for my second mystery novel “True Image” – a story that brings together a portrait artist and an autistic child to solve a murder.

Reunion: self-exposure

SURP class of '81

We dash through life, our eyes fixed intently on a busy present and the promises of the future.  Days of sameness and moments of revelation stream by until we hit a milestone.  A transitional birthday, the death of a loved one, an invitation to a class reunion might make us stop, take a deep breath and glance back over our shoulders to take stock of our journey. 

Expanding Badminton throughout North America

Profile of Charles Pyne

During the summer of 2004, following a two-year stint playing badminton for professional clubs in Denmark, I returned to Canada. After having taken a five-year hiatus from my education, I wanted to commence my tertiary studies at the University of Waterloo (UWaterloo).

Silicon Valley's "Social Conscience" on Growth that Serves the Greater Good

Chamath

The half-lives of businesses are shrinking, so companies need to have the maturity and thoughtfulness to stay on top — not just to get there.

Volunteering at Family Welcome

welcome home t-shirt

On September 4th and 5th alumni, faculty and staff joined the housing and residence teams at the Family Welcome, where they were positioned in different residences to greet family and friends of our newest Warriors. Karen Carter (BA ’05) shares her experience as an alumni volunteer.

UWaterloo Alumnus Travels the World with Family

Sabrina and her family in front of a castle

I chose the University of Waterloo for my undergrad because it had one of the only co-op programs in Political Science and because it had a program, at the time called Applied Studies, which allowed me to explore my interests in a variety of subjects, while taking less courses in my major. I particularly enjoyed courses that allowed me to learn about other cultures. After graduating in 2001, I spent about five weeks traveling around Western Europe.

Pastel Dress Party: Revolutionizing the Bridesmaid Experience

Yellow dresses

Being able to enjoy the bridesmaids experience with your girlfriends, is the premise behind Pastel Dress Party. Specializing in made-to-measure bridesmaid dresses, Pastel Dress Party is the love project between my co-founder, Janny Lam and myself.

Ecologist for a Canadian gold mine in Northeastern Russia

Carlie and her team at the "Welcom to Kupol" sign

Six years ago, when I was moving into my first year residence, St. Paul’s University College, I got to share a floor with about nine other floor mates. I never thought that my education would lead me to one of the most isolated mines in the world, where I’d be living with 850 Russian floor mates.

Alumni Family Day – Toronto FC

Family Day at BMO Field

On July 23, another blazing hot southern Ontario Saturday brought another chance for University of Waterloo alumni to meet up and reminisce at Alumni Relations’ annual Family Day in Toronto.

Get to Know Our Team: Faculty and College Alumni Officers

alumni officers

A couple of weeks ago we explored the interesting lives of half the Alumni Relations team. This week we bring you autobiographies of the alumni officers in the faculties and colleges. 

Working at the Most Magical Place on Earth

Vivian Choy and Friends

It feels like just yesterday I boarded a flight and headed down to Florida to start my journey with Disney. The feelings of excitement mixed with nerves are still so fresh in my memory; I cannot believe that a year ago, I applied to the Disney Academic Exchange Experience.

Get to Know the Team behind Alumni Relations

All the dogs representing Alumni Relations

Since the start of the Alumni Relations blog three-and-a-half-years ago, we have had more than one hundred different blog posts from our alumni, students, and staff! From alumni events, to behind-the-scenes peeks during Convocation and Reunion, to personal alumni biographies, the past few years have been filled with memorable posts!

Canada Taking on the Hyperloop

Waterloop

The University of Waterloo’s student engineering design team, “Waterloop,” has earned a place as finalists in the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Design Competition. The team is now fabricating and will be testing their final prototype pod on a one­-mile test track, outside of SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California later this summer.

An eye opening experience with Alumni Relations

Tiffanie and the Alumni Relations team

This past winter, I completed my first co-op term as the Communications and Marketing Assistant for Alumni Relations. I feel like through the course of my time here, I have developed a deeper grasp of the written and interpersonal communication skills that are needed to succeed in both my academics and pursuing a career in the future.

Fresh Start: Hong Kong Noodle Life

Mark Chen

A month and a half ago, I lived in Toronto and worked for a big bank. Now, I live in Hong Kong and work for a small software company. “Come help me run my business” my old UWaterloo roommate said during his visit to Toronto last Christmas. “Sure, why not” I replied. It’s one of those things you agree to over beers, and never really expect to follow up on. Oops.

The 16th Annual President’s Golf Tournament

Mady Palmer on the golf course holding a sign with her face on it

On June 7th, 2016 I celebrated in the 16th Annual President’s Golf Tournament with my fellow student-athletes and supporters of Warrior athletics at the Westmount Golf and Country Club. This is my third year volunteering in this spectacle—yes, it really is a spectacle!

Oh the places you’ll go!

Janani with King Warrior mascot

I still remember the very first day I worked at UWaterloo’s convocation. I had just wrapped up a co-op term at the Registrar’s Office and was provided with the opportunity to usher during the Spring 2012 convocation ceremonies.

The Journey to Convocation of a #UWaterlooGrad

Shivana outside of the Davis Center

"Hello everyone, I’m Shivani Tyagi and I recently graduated from the 2016 class of Mechatronics Engineering, and currently I’m sitting in the heart of the university, at the Student Life Center.

Opportunities for Small Business Ideas

cartoon of a man beating his competition in a race

Are you an import/export business, a non-profit organization, looking for business name ideas, or in the midst of finding the best innovation strategy? A post-secondary education allows a person to understand many things, one of which is that the process of learning can be quickly refined, in order to enable an effective use of resources and time, towards a desired outcome.

Taking it to the Next Stage

Cecile Monique on stage

Class of '09 graduate and Governor General's Silver Medalist Cecile Monique earns a Top 5 spot in the M'era Luna Festival Newcomer Contest!

Lumotune Builds the Future of Transparent Displays

Lumotune team holding a velocity picture

It’s no surprise that Lumotune transparent displays, which change from opaque to transparent with the touch of a button, captured the attention of a full-house at the California Pitch Alumni Event in April.

Humanitarian Success

Jim Estill standing near Danby boxes

As I reviewed other alumni articles, I noticed that most were about business successes.  In that regard, I have been lucky - I started my company from the trunk of my car and it grew to over two billion in sales. I discuss how I did that in my TedX talk.

Voltera Prints the Future

Voltera team

How do you build a company that straddles the worlds of hardware, software, and materials science? We sat down with Voltera, a Velocity Garage startup and recent winner of the California Pitch Alumni Event, to hear their story, and the unique challenges they've faced along the way.

Varden Labs Steers Change in the Autonomous Vehicle Industry

Varden Shuttle

Self-driving cars are quickly becoming the next frontier in the automotive world, and two recent students from the Velocity Residence are developing a vehicle with its own unique spin. Varden Labs is building an autonomous shuttle for university campuses, and the company is on a roll.

Collecting the Ghosts of Waterloo and Staging our Memories

Robet Motum

In preparing this post, I have read dozens of other alumni contributions to this site. If this blog is any proof, we all have fond memories and sentimental stories which we have carried with us since our time at the University of Waterloo; stories which have, somehow, shaped who we have become.  As a theatre artist and researcher, I have a love of stories.

Update from an Engineer turned Project Runway Designer

Angela Sum

A question that I have gotten a lot since my fashion debut on the national reality TV series, Project Runway, is how I made the jump from a tech career on Wall Street, to working in the fashion design industry?

How to Improve Your English Conversations with a Powerful Vocabulary eBook

Witty Money Words

How do you speak or learn English quickly and fluently? Would you consider taking an online English speaking course or public speaking classes? Would you consider enrolling in Toastmasters, GRE Vocabulary, ESL sessions, presentation skill training, or even a course on English communication skills training and techniques that claims to transform you into an English guru?

Oopsmark- A Combination of Engineering and Art

Jesse

Five years ago, I founded Oopsmark to create the things I wanted to see in the world - mostly consumer products for bikes, bodies, or homes.

Paths Where a UWaterloo Education May Lead

Daniel Szpiro

While she may not have coined the phrase, I often think of my undergraduate years at the University of Waterloo when I hear Joni Mitchell sing the line, “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.” As I approach the fortieth anniversary of the start of my UWaterloo studies, I can’t help but think how that experience – both inside and outside of the classroom – changed me then, helped

Connecting Everyone Changes Everything

Sukh Singh

I often get asked why I founded my start-up, uCiC (you see I see).  For me the answer is simple, I want to work on something that would help break down barriers in our world. The value of being connected across geographic, social and language barriers is something I have seen first-hand and it goes back to my time at the University of Waterloo.

#UWaterlooDoesAsia – Fall 2015

Alumni volunteers

This past November, I had the great pleasure of representing the University of Waterloo in Hong Kong, Singapore and Jakarta. Alumni Relations co-hosted three global events over five days, connecting with close to 800 alumni and friends, as well as dozens of UWaterloo co-op and exchange students who were abroad in these locations for their fall term.  

I’m pleased to share some highlights and photos, as captured along the way…  

Alumni Theatre Night: Upstart 2016

Alumni theatre night video screenshot

Alumni Relations invites you to join us at our annual Alumni Theatre Night for a performance of Upstart 2016: Festival of Innovative Theatre, produced by the UWaterloo Theatre and Performance Programme.

Upstart 2016 is a performance featuring original projects from students that can take any form, including but not limited to theatre, dance, poetry, performance art, film installations, and augmented reality experiences.

Mabel’s Labels’ Keys to Success

Mabel's Labels Founders.

Thirteen years ago, along with three of my friends from the University of Waterloo, I started a business. The idea came from a simple inspiration – we all had small children who were losing their belongings. We noticed there was a gap in the marketplace for durable, dishwasher/microwave-safe, personalized name labels for children.

An Alumnus - Robin Speziale - Interviews Canada's Top Investors

Market Masters book cover

I have such wonderful memories from the University of Waterloo especially first year - new surroundings, experiences, and friends. It was in my dorm room at Ron Eydt Village (REV) that I read around 50 books on investing and opened my first brokerage account to start investing in stocks.

Life at The End of Your Comfort Zone

Picture of Priscilla.

You might hate to admit it, but there is something strangely comfortable about being a student. Practice questions, midterms and papers are your life, whether or not you choose them to be. Options are few when it seems your entire life is running on a forty percent midterm. Discounted groceries on Tuesdays, simply flashing your id to get on a bus, fee-free bank accounts. Oh the pleasures!

Moving from the Financial Sector to a Sustainability Oriented Start-up

Toddly Logo.

A start-up was probably the furthest prospect from the future I envisioned when I happily graduated from the University of Waterloo in winter 2010. I was young and really excited to take on my first full time job at Goldman Sachs.

An Agile Approach to Life

Picture of Max Spear.

A decade ago when I applied to University, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. All I knew was that I loved to learn, discover new things, and solve problems that mattered to the world – but when it came down to what “career” I wanted to have, I was open to suggestions. Most of my close friends at the time shared the same ambition – do great things, without being sure what exactly those things were.

Helping to Produce Better Results from Surgical Operations

NERv logo.

I am Youssef Helwa, the CEO and co-founder of NERv. I am a University of Waterloo Nanotechnology Engineering graduate with extensive experience in the field of biosensors and microfabrication. NERv is one of the first members of the Velocity Science program. It aims to develop its sensors to one day eliminate the anxiety and worry associated with the occurrence of post-operative complications and the dangers associated with it.

Why UWaterloo allowed me to be Crazy Innovative

Pablo

Since enrolling at the University of Waterloo in 2010, I have had the opportunity to start an engineering design team and two companies. I originally applied for the Nanotechnology Engineering program at the University of Waterloo with the hopes of starting a Nanotechnology based company.

Memories of Fantastic Alumni Day

Andrea

I can still remember my very first interaction with the Waterloo Warrior mascot. And I don't mean King Warrior, the lion. Students and Alumni from the '80's and '90's (and possibly earlier back!) likely remember the gold-painted man decked out in actual "armor" striding the sidelines during basketball games at the PAC.

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