Blog posts archive

January 2017

My Double Life

Chris with his baby and the 'Quantum Physics for Babies' book

During the day you will find me as a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Quantum Software and Information, which is located at the University of Technology Sydney in sunny Sydney, Australia! By night, I am a husband and father of four of my own budding scientists. And when everyone is asleep, I work on my hobby of writing and illustrating children’s books.

Pursuing a Greener Career

Mary Jan recieving an award for making the community greener

I remember the exact moment I decided to leave the television industry, take the summer off, and go back to school to learn about the environment. It was 1998, and I’d been mulling it over for months, taking courses by correspondence or after work as an introduction to environmental studies.

My dreams realized

Emily Oriold headshot

The year was 1997. I sat in the Blyth Festival theatre in anticipation of seeing my very first production of a Norm Foster play, The Melville Boys. I was in my last year of high school preparing to attend the University of Waterloo Dramatic Arts program that coming fall.

A Thank You Note to the University of Waterloo

Pete Quevillon on Breakfast Television

Upon graduation from UWaterloo in 1977 with an Honours BSc in Co-operative Kinesiology, I had no idea of the incredible work experiences that awaited me over the next 40 years…wait…what!? 40 years…how did that happen? In the blink of an eye I’ve gone from starry eyed graduate to wizened workplace veteran, all the while owing a debt of gratitude to my time at Waterloo.

The Impact of Giving Back

Kendra holding thank you sign

November 28th is Giving Tuesday, an international event which promotes the spirit of generosity. With the holidays just around the corner, countless sales have the malls buzzing with shoppers trying to get the best deal.

From Co-op Student to Consultant!

Lynda Zugec

I graduated from the University of Waterloo with my Honours Psychology Applied Studies Co-op with a Specialization in Human Resource Management in 2001. It was the “co-op” part that really revved me up and introduced me to the many possibilities within the world of work.

How becoming an early adopter of new technology set me on a lifelong adventure

Brian Cowan

If you’ve ever used your smartphone to get directions to the nearest coffee shop, you’ve benefited from a technology known as GIS. GIS is a computer system that enables us to capture, manipulate, analyze, and visualize all kinds of geographical data.

It's okay to not be okay

Yuna and a friend at a UWaterloo alumni event

"Did you eat yet?" That was my mother’s way of telling me she cared (and to make sure I wasn’t surviving off of ramen noodles). Since my family had no university experience, my meals became a familiar conversation topic. As a first-generation student, navigating the pressures to succeed, financial barriers, and family obligations made the transition to university more difficult than I expected. I felt overwhelmed, anxious, and alone.

Painting Canadian History

Portrait of Pierre Trudeau

In May of 2016 I was commissioned by Galerie Q to paint twelve of Canada’s Prime Ministers for a series called ‘The Nation Builders.’ The former Prime Ministers to be included were: Sir John A. Macdonald, Alexander Mackenzie, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Sir Robert Borden, William Lyon Mackenzie King, R. B. Bennett, Louis St. Laurent, John Diefenbaker, Lester Pearson, Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien.

From a wish to reality - Convocation 2017

Pat with her two daughters

The University of Waterloo boasts such a unique reputation on the Canadian landscape. When I began my career here 16 years ago, I was acutely aware that I lacked a degree. Although it didn’t stop me from taking an enormous amount of pride in working in and around the best and brightest students, staff and faculty in Canada, it was something I longed for.

Dropping off our son, 31 years after meeting at Waterloo

Carl and Jennifer dropping their son off at the University of Waterloo

It is coming up on 31 years since Jennifer (BASc '91) and I met at the University of Waterloo. I was in second year Systems Design Engineering and Jennifer was one of two women starting in her Mechanical Engineering class. I’m so happy that we met.

My Waterloo Story

Profile of John Baker

Most of the time, real life is not like the movies. In the movies, there's always some magical moment where the hero discovers his or her true purpose, or a moment of epiphany and clarity when someone decides what their path will be.

My Circuitous Path to Renison...and the Journey Beyond

Marilyn Coffman

When I was four years old I knew I wanted to be a nurse – not just any nurse, but a pediatric nurse who would train at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. I had spent time there as a patient so my passion for nursing became part of my DNA!

My journey from a participant to an organizer for the AHS Fun Run

Participants running in the AHS Fun Run

Looking to walk, run, or just have fun? This year, not only is Canada celebrating its 150th birthday, but the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences (AHS) is celebrating its 50th anniversary and the University of Waterloo is celebrating 60 years of innovation!  I encourage you to join us at Reunion 2017 to participate in the 32nd annual AHS Fun Run to make this year of celebration one for the books!

You either win or you learn!

Chris Bertoia with football player

My experience at Waterloo as a student was amazing!  I wouldn't trade my degree; the lifelong friendships I gained, and most importantly the lessons I learned as a member of our Football program for anything!

Road to Miss Universe

Profile picture of Xinxin

So I finally got my ears pierced. It might strike you as odd that I had never had my ears pierced. Not once… ever…nada.

The Professor and the Hockey Team

Mary Ann with the hockey team at the 2017 athletics banquet

My story is widely known in Athletics but perhaps not so well known among the greater university community.

It started innocently enough.  In the winter term of 2010, a hockey player in my class invited me to a game. 

reebee: Bringing Flyers to Your Fingertips

Founders of reebee

Canadians love their flyers. They are an essential part of how we shop, the focal point of retail marketing budgets, and a $3 billion a year Canadian enterprise. The creation of reebee was inspired by our first jobs distributing flyers around our neighbourhoods.

Leadership and the Canada We Will Build

Sharing our study tour experience with the Governor General and other conference delegates

The best $100,000 investment of my life

Bo outside with his hands up

“Is a degree from the University of Waterloo worth paying $100,000 in tuition fees and living expenses?”

As UWaterloo celebrates its 60th Anniversary, our UWaterloo Family Celebrates its 50th

Kelly's UWaterloo Family

In 1967, the pizza to order in residence was the “seafood special.” Being covered in anchovies, it guaranteed that no one would want to share or nab your pizza.  This particular pizza was the favourite of six Civil Engineering students that would continue to share meals together for many years to come.

Marlena Books - Inspiring People with Dementia

Rachael reading with her grandmother

When I was in my final year of school in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo, starting a company was the last thing on my mind. But when my grandmother, Marilyn, who lives with dementia read the headline of a newspaper perfectly, I had a light bulb moment.

#NoFlyListKids – My Toddler is Falsely Flagged as a Security Threat

Zamir and his son playing outside

It was late summer, 2002. At 20 years old, I had finished another academic term at the University of Waterloo and was ready for co-op. I had been matched with NVIDIA in Santa Clara, California and after spending my first work-terms near home, I was feeling excited and anxious about the journey.

Celebrations at the Calgary Stampede

Alex Farley with the Calgary Alumni Chapter

Another Calgary Stampede Parade has come and gone, but I am still feeling the urge to greet colleagues around the office with a “howdy”, and tip off my Stetson to friends passing by. We, in Alumni Relations, get to be involved in many exciting events around the world, celebrating the different cultures and communities our alumni live in, and the Calgary Stampede is one for the books! A two week festival or as they describe it “the greatest outdoor show on earth” taking place in the heart of Calgary, featuring all the country music and fried food you could ever want!

Stretching the Imagination of Canada

Joe and Stephanie Mancini honoured to the Order of Canada by Governor General David Johnston

History alumnus Joe Mancini (BA ’81; MA ’82) and wife Stephanie Mancini (BA ’82) were invested into the Order of Canada by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, during a ceremony held at Rideau Hall, in Ottawa, on May 12, 2017.

Canada Day 2016 was a special day for the University of Waterloo History Department when it was announced that two of its long-time professors Jim Walker and John English and a former graduate student were named or promoted within the Order of Canada.


Specs & Spines grand opening

As siblings attending elementary school in south Etobicoke, we never entertained the idea that one day we would be opening a joint clinic in our old stomping grounds.  Ironically enough, that’s exactly what happened this past April. 

How a Bootstrapped Company is Changing the World of Surveys

QuickTapSurvey Platform

Recently the world experienced a shocking upset in a US election that online polls said was a sure win for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Compared to online polls, in-person face-to-face polling avoids many of the inherent biases that the Internet brings and mobile devices are the perfect platform to do those surveys.

Art and Science


What can one say about the relationship between art and science? I can’t speak authoritatively on the matter, except to say that I feel that the two have always sat, not across an insurmountable divide, but comfortably side by side.

Dear 18-Year-Old Me

Emma in the House of Commons

That’s a wrap! After five years at the University of Waterloo, I am saying my goodbyes and moving on. I know people will tell you that your time at university will fly by, but you won’t believe them. In the middle of exam season, your time in school will seem endless. But let me tell you, life has a way of sneaking up on you, and before you know it, you’ll be walking across the stage at convocation.

A Reflection of My UWaterloo Experience as Convocation Approaches

Landon's headshot

When I first started my journey at the University of Waterloo five years ago, I was 18-years-old and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

From a Backyard Basketball Court to an International Business

Mano teaching basketball

Waterloo Warrior, Mano Watsa (BA ’99) is the Owner and President of PGC Basketball - the largest educational basketball program in the world! It all started with a backyard basketball camp he created at the age of 15 and expanded during his time at the University of Waterloo.

My Unconventional Path to Success

Mike Grey receiving Award of Merit

Michael Grey (MSc '82) receiving the Award of Merit in recognition of outstanding commitment, expertise, passion and professionalism in developing standards that support the safe and reliable operation of nuclear facilities.

How Doubling Down Paid Off

Uppi's profile

In the summer of 2015, I decided to double down and bet on myself – I believed the odds were in my favour. Fast forward to almost two years later and I have to admit it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and it feels great to be right.

FEDS 50th Gala - A Blast from The Past

Del and friends at the FEDS 50th gala

To serve, empower, and represent – these are the core values on which the Federation of Students (Feds) was founded fifty years ago (by a couple of couch surfing student leaders, as it turns out).

Alumni Family Day at the Ontario Science Centre

Jacob, Ben and their family at UWaterloo Family Day

On April 22, 2017, UWaterloo’s annual Alumni Family Day took place at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto. Alumni and their families enjoyed the Centre’s special exhibition Biomechanics: The Machine Inside, along with several exclusive-to-UWaterloo activities such as the EMG Muscle Car, Dexterity Duel, and Brain Hats building and colouring.

Optimizing my career and travelling while doing it

Brian enjoying his travels

What if there were only a set number of experiences we could learn from in order to find a career and life with sustained happiness?


John Johnston Profile

In 1966, I was a graduating high school student, and like others, was applying for university.  I accepted an offer from the University of Waterloo, not knowing very much about UWaterloo, but because it was the farthest from home (and my parents were unlikely to make drop-in weekend visits) and my good high-school friend would be attending WLU (Waterloo Lutheran University, at that time). Sound teenage logic.


Moments of Clarity - Film Cover

I have to be honest, I came to Waterloo reluctantly. I thought I should be on the stage in New York where I belong, not at university getting an Honours BA. But the knowledge and experiences - triumphs and tribulations I went through - prepared me for a lot of the realities of the business.

From the OUA to the Olympics (and 3 lessons I learned along the way)

In-Ting at the Olympics

From the OUA to the Olympics (and 3 lessons I learned along the way)

I graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2015 with a Master of Mathematics degree, but I've always been involved in sports in some way. People usually think I'm looking to work in analytics, but I'm more interested in game day presentation player intros, hype-worthy music, Jumbotrons, and all. This past August, I became the first public address announcer from an Ontario University Athletics program to ever announce at the Olympic Games.

#UWGOLD + Pi Day = Perfection

Linda Thomas at the GOLD on the GO event series

It was a big week for me last week, with annual events including St. Patrick’s Day and my birthday being topped up with my first ever UW Pi Day experience, and my last two events as keynote speaker in the UW GOLD on the Go series.  My connection with UW has never been stronger, I couldn’t be more proud to be part of such a prestigious group of alumni.

Thre3peat: the Business Behind the Party

Jasmin and Eli with their game Thre3peat

My husband Eli and I graduated from the University of Waterloo's Honours Arts and Business Co-op program in 2014. We have always been interested in innovation and entrepreneurship so this program suited us very well. While still attending UWaterloo, we played a game that we liked but thought we could make better and more convenient for others to play, so we formed a partnership with Eli's brother, Camren, and his wife, Krissy, to do just that.

The Making of "Dream, Girl"

Komal Minhas, picture from interview

On Wednesday we celebrated International Women’s Day, but women should be celebrated every day so today we wanted to celebrate the impact Komal Minhas (GDip '14) is having around the world.

UWaterloo Alumnus Makes it BIG in the World of Endurance Racing

John running, photo credit to Mindy Randall

John Young Running, Photo Credit: Mindy Randall

While I was a student at UWaterloo, I never considered myself very athletic.  Especially compared to my friends who played on the men's varsity hockey and the swim team. However, I did swim a lot on my own time, and played some intramural sports, including hockey, softball and broomball. During the summer of 1986, I travelled to Dearborn, MI to compete in the U.S. Dwarf games where I competed in both track and swimming.

University of Waterloo Olympian Encourages Fellow Students and Alumni to Get Behind the Canada Games

Olympian Mandy Bujold with a #WeRally2021 sign

I have been involved in many battles over the years since I started boxing at the age of 16, but my current battle is one of the fiercest yet. I am a two-time Pan Am Games champion and have won the Canadian National Boxing Title ten times. For the past several months I have been juggling my third year liberal arts studies to try to give back to the community that has supported me in numerous ways.

Family Fun at Fantastic Alumni Day

Claire, with her family and King Warrior

For me, Fantastic Alumni Day at the University of Waterloo is all about family. It begins with my dad, mom, sister, and me suiting up for the big game in our black and gold apparel. My dad always wears his signature black and gold scarf. Time to head to campus for some basketball fun.

An Early Grad Reminisces

Gordon Sterling with building models

In September, I was inducted into the Offshore Energy Center (Houston) Hall of Fame as an Industry Pioneer in the areas of deep-water technology and management of major projects. This award has caused me to reflect on just how important the University of Waterloo was to my professional and, indeed, personal life.

Growing up Waterloo

Cynthia Cheng and family

Back row: Anthony Fok (BMath '80), Stephanie Cheng (BMath '08), Cynthia Cheng (BSc '10), Iris Leung (BA '08), Keith Cheng (BMath '77), Gabriel Cheng (BSE '17) Front row: Anna Fok (BA '80), Joseph Leung (BMath '79), Alan Cheng (BMath '84), Lucilla Cheng (BMath '77)

I was born a Warrior.  For math alumni, it means in a sample size of 36 family members, 42% of my extended family and 100% of my immediate family are Waterloo alumni.  For AHS alumni, it means I am unstoppable. 

Innovation through Multi-Disciplinary Design

Azzopardi (left) and Robev (right) in the office of their 3,000 sq.ft design studio, downtown Victoria, BC

Studio Robazzo is a multi-disciplinary Design Studio offering unique and diverse design services as well as eco-friendly handmade products out of Victoria, BC. With over a decade of design instruction and experience at the University of Waterloo’s School of Architecture under our belts, co-founder Andrew Azzopardi and myself shared a vision for an ultra-creative hands-on career spanning a broad range of disciplines from industrial design, interior design and installation art to graphic design, web design and custom furniture.

The UW Dance Program may be Gone but it Lives On

Blue Ceiling Dance Performance

I started at the University of Waterloo in the fall of 1992 as a young woman who had planned most of her life to become “an artist” and throughout high school had been focused on becoming a concert pianist. Secretly though, I wanted to be a dancer.

From Waterloo to Naturopathic Medicine

Melina Roberts Video Screenshot

I’m Dr. Melina Roberts, I’m a Naturopathic Doctor, author of Building a Healthy Child and founder of Advanced Naturopathic Medical Centre in Calgary. 

I graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honors Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology Co-op where I was also a varsity athlete, a member of the Varsity Women’s Rugby team, then attended the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto.

3 Lessons After 5 Years (and Countries)


It’s hard to fathom that ten years have elapsed since my first semester as a wide-eyed teenager. In many ways, the past decade has been a blur – an intensive double-degree, co-op program, followed by four jobs in as many countries over the following five years.

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