Women’s health advocate speaks at Discovery Day
by Victoria Van Cappellen.
The University of Waterloo TD Discovery Days in Health Sciences welcomed more than 250 grade 10 and 11 high school students Tuesday as they explored the wide variety of careers in the field of health sciences through a full day of workshops and health-related career events.
Discovery Days is jointly hosted by the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences and the Faculty of Science and is presented in partnership with the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.
“Discovery Days is a unique opportunity for high school students considering a career in the health care industry to engage with experts in numerous health-related fields, says Sharon McFarlane, alumni advancement officer for the Faculty of Science.
Dr. Jan Christilaw (BSc Biology ’77), president of the BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre, presented the morning’s opening keynote lecture, “Delivering the Future: Reflections on a Journey in Maternal Health from ‘Local’ to ‘Global’”.
Dr. Christilaw leads the largest obstetrical hospital in Canada which handles more than 7,000 deliveries a year, and has responsibility for the tertiary and quaternary care of high risk pregnancies for British Columbia, as well as many other aspects of women’s health for the province.
Dr. Christilaw received her Bachelors of Science in Honours Biology from the University of Waterloo in 1977 and her medical degree from McMaster Medical School in 1981. She has been recognized multiple times for her commitment to the quality of obstetrical care, and the importance of balancing intervention with respect for natural process. In 2011, she received the Faculty of Science’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
After the keynote, students participated in hands-on workshops, which included “Viewing and imaging the human eye” where students viewed the human eye to identify corneal, retinal, and other diseases and “Synthesis of acetaminophen” where students manufactured the pain reliever commonly known as Tylenol® in the lab.
Students rounded out the day with an Alumni Career Panel featuring Waterloo alumni working in the field of health sciences.
“It was a wonderful, eye opening experience,” said another attending grade 11 student. “It was great to see how many options there are.”
Research sessions, outreach events conclude CERC meeting
by Katherine Tuerke.
The Fifth Annual Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) meeting at the University of Waterloo wrapped up Tuesday.
"This meeting is a great opportunity for the CERCs to gather and share their passion for research with a wider audience. The public lectures give a great taste of what the program is about - and the exceptional research it supports," said Michèle Boutin, CERC Executive Director.
The morning parallel sessions on Health, Quantum and the Environment featured the latest research developments from the current CERCs. The program ended in the afternoon with two outreach events led by our Waterloo CERCs David Cory and Philippe Van Cappellen.
The Health Science and Technology session included talks from multiple CERCs on topics including structural neurobiology, biomarkers and mapping human protein interactions. Participants and Waterloo researchers heard about the latest CERC findings on global issues such as Arctic ecosystems and the impact of dams in the Environmental session.
The well-attended Quantum and Photonics session focused on three experiments by CERC Robert Boyd's group in Ottawa. The first experiment focused on the Möbius state, the second on Fresnel drag and the third focused on Quantum Key Distribution and increasing the number of bits per photon.
More quantum discussions followed in the afternoon, though this time with a group of high school students. The students gathered around tables where they were able to test what CERC David Cory was presenting. With the help of a couple of Cory's graduate students and Senior Manager Outreach, Martin Laforest, students ran experiments; one included water, milk and lasers while another used polarizers.
Elementary students learned about the importance of wetlands through role-play and a talk by CERC Philippe Van Cappellen. Each student plays a wetland plant or animal and a string they are holding visually represents how they are connected. Different scenarios, such as the arrival of an invasive species, are introduced to highlight what happens to the web when one area is altered.
"I'd like to thank the University of Waterloo--and the work done by staff from the Faculty of Science, IQC and the Office of Research--for organizing and hosting such a successful and inspirational event,” said Boutin.
National Volunteer Week profile - Cristy Aponte
This story is part of the #UWCommunity National Volunteer week series, profiling University of Waterloo members who give their time and talent by volunteering in our community.
Cristy Aponte is incredibly inspiring.
She is currently gearing up to start her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) this September at Waterloo’s Renison University College after just completing her honours undergraduate degree in the Social Development Studies program last Saturday. Cristy came to Canada 7 years ago from Colombia as a refugee and uses her background to help mentor, support, and teach a range of skills to new immigrants in our Waterloo Region community.
“Seeing people in the community willing to help you, makes you feel a part of the community. As a refugee, having a social worker help us was just really meaningful to me and made me want to do that for others, which is why I volunteer.”
Cristy couples her real-life experiences and her eagerness to connect with local individuals going through similar circumstances with a strong desire to give back to the community that helped her and her family. She’s especially interested in programs designed to support refugees, allowing individuals who are new to our region find community-driven resources they might not have known about. Above all, she loves the feeling of making a difference in someone’s life, which is why she’s consistently given her time every week over the last 3 years to the Pathways to Education Program® program through Carizon Family and Community Services.
The Pathways to Education Program® helps youth in low-income communities graduate from high school and successfully transition to post-secondary education or training. Pathways addresses systemic barriers to education by providing leadership, expertise and a community-based program proven to lower dropout rates.
Through her involvement with Pathways, Cristy has gained volunteer expertise in tutoring, mentoring, and their literacy program. She also spends her spare time providing office support and helping children and families become more comfortable with English as a second at the local YMCA, as well as the Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support. She has a soft spot for mentoring, as it allows her to build strong relationships with high school youths and work with them to build their up confidence levels, providing workplace and life advice through interactive activities.
“The kids write me letters at the end and when I see them on the street, they always say hi to me, which is so nice. And I was learning with them too.”
Dale Gellatly, director of community engagement at Carizon, is so thankful to work with dedicated people like Cristy:
“As a volunteer tutor and mentor in the Pathways to Education program at Carizon, Cristy has a genuine interest in spending time and developing bonds with the youth in our Pathways to Education program. She always brings great energy and enthusiasm and her willingness to participate and try new things inspires our youth to do the same.”
Cristy acknowledges that general encouragement goes a long way and loves seeing the results of her volunteer support. She’s able to share in the realities of being in a new country and can relate to our community’s newcomers in a direct way, which helps them gain a true sense of belonging.
“It only takes 3 hours of my day, but it might mean so much more to that other person. It’s so rewarding. Giving back just makes you feel good.”
Dale from Carizon recognizes just how much their volunteers benefit the organization, and more importantly, the individuals and families utilizing their services:
“Volunteers are an essential part of the team at Carizon in all our programs, including Pathways to Education. Volunteers do not just contribute time and talent, but also their belief in what is possible. Each volunteer has a unique contribution to make and with their help, our programs make a real difference in the lives of our clients and program participants. The vision at Carizon is Hope, Wellness, Community. Our volunteers help us to work towards achieving that vision each and every day.”
Cristy’s life has been touched by community services and dedicated volunteers, and now she’s committed to paying it forward. Aspiring towards achieving a masters in social work with a community focus, she recognizes the significant impact of sharing her time, knowledge, and wisdom with our community.
“If you’re good at something, why not share it with others?”
Do you volunteer or know of someone who should be recognized? Help celebrate the many University of Waterloo volunteers by sharing their stories and positive impact online with #UWCommunity and #NVW2015, or contact us via email.
LEARN instructor user group to tackle Turnitin
The LEARN Instructor User Group events provide an opportunity for instructors to see examples of innovative ways that other faculty members are using the LEARN system on campus, and the latest entry in the series will deal with using Turnitin as a Learning Tool.
Last fall, Biology instructors Barb Moffatt and Vivian Dayeh used Turnitin as an educational tool in addition to its regular purpose as a plagiarism detection system.
"Students were allowed to submit an early draft of an assignment to a “draft” drop box and could see their own originality reports and make changes to their assignments before submitting the final draft of the assignment for grading," says a note from the Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE). "Students were also able to access resources to help them understand their originality reports and how to correct any identified plagiarism issues."
The instructors, as well as a representative from the Office of Academic Integrity and the CTE's Jane Holbrook, will share their experiences with this strategy, the impact this student learning activity had on academic integrity and preliminary feedback from students about the activity at this afternoon's session, which will run from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in EV1 241.
They will discuss why incorporating the activities into an online environment enhanced the learning experience for their students and share their own experiences of creating and facilitating these activities.