The Wonderful Things I Get To Do

Friday, October 14, 2016

Julie Czernada
Written by Julie Czerneda  (BSc '77)

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! (I did try—it’s not so wonderful how many things conflict.) The one who isn’t pre-anything, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Rather the one who sees her life ahead as being urged to turn over the rocks and go “oooh.”

I have ever since. Yup. Done wonderful things. Seeking those is not your typical guide to life—or course selection--but I heartily recommend it. It’s responsible for my convictions: Mondays are fantastic, the future’s full of possibilities, and I’ve so much left to learn.

I picked UWaterloo for the wonderful things it could teach me. My grin, that first day? Spotting Lili Pasternak, the senior demonstrator for the department—not that I’d a clue about her title then. Here was this dapper woman, lab coat pressed to perfection, ready to lead us—literally—into the bowels of biology.

Science, personified! I followed, unable to look anything but delighted.

While my own labcoat shows all my turning over of messy rocks, what Lili—and the University of Waterloo--taught me was indeed wonderful. Science as collaboration, as method, as passionate, creative activity. I’ve never lost that feeling.

In my latest book, as I’ve planned for a long time, I thank Lili and UWaterloo for this and more. Head to a bookstore and open a copy of The Gate to Futures Past. Go ahead. Read the dedication.

Yup. It’s a wonderful thing I got to do.

I can’t wait for tomorrow and what’s next.

book cover
Following a successful career as science author and editor, since 1997 UWaterloo graduate and former biology department staff member, Julie E. Czerneda, has shared her curiosity about living things through her science fiction, published by DAW Books, NY. With fifteen novels and numerous short stories under her belt, she took a stab at “her kind” of fantasy. There are toads. Her Night’s Edge series (DAW) began with A Turn of Light, winner of the 2014 Aurora Award for Best English Novel. A Play of Shadow followed, winning the 2015 Aurora. Julie’s edited/co-edited fifteen anthologies of SF/F, including the Aurora winning Space Inc. and Under Cover of Darkness, as well as Tesseracts 15: A Case of Quite Curious Tales. She’s presented internationally on writing, scientific literacy, and SF in the classroom; produced the award-winning Tales from the Wonder Zone and Realms of Wonder themed anthologies; and was Toastmaster for Anticipation, the Montreal Worldcon.

In 2007, Julie was awarded the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Science Alumni of Honour (name’s on the rock, folks!). Julie’s latest project is editing the 2017 Nebula Awards Showcase, a singular honour. Meet Julie Nov. 4-6, at Hal-Con, Halifax, NS. Plans are in the works for a swing by UWaterloo this fall. Details at