Thursday, June 11, 2015

Faculty of Science Convocation ceremonies today

In two ceremonies today, 696 Faculty of Science graduates will receive their degrees.

At 10:00 a.m., 347 students from Biochemistry, Biotechnology/Chartered Accountancy, Biotechnology/Economics, Chemistry, Computational Science, Earth Sciences, Environmental Science, Physics, Science, Science and Aviation, and Science and Business will cross the stage.

The mace bearer will be Associate Provost, Students Chris Read.

Wallace Broecker.Wallace S. Broecker will receive a Doctor of Science, honoris causa. Broecker is Newberry Professor of Geology in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. He is also a scientist at Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and an academic committee member of the Earth Institute. He received PhD at Columbia University in 1958, and has been a faculty member there since 1959.

Broecker is a true pioneer and, according to some, is one of the most accomplished living geoscientists. He is a geochemist, oceanographer, paleoclimatologist and father of the concept of abrupt climate change. His PhD thesis laid the foundation for radiocarbon and isotope dating, a direct geochemical method for establishing absolute ages of sediments and organic deposits, and the method central to our understanding of all postglacial and ice-age events spanning the last 50,000 years in the world. He introduced the concept of the Ocean Conveyor Belt system (which he named), arguably the most important discovery in the history of oceanography and its critical relation to climate. He was the first to study the global carbon cycles in oceans and identify the role of oceans in triggering abrupt climate changes, correlated with precision and predictability of glacial and non-glacial cyclic events. He was the first to identify the relationships between climate change, melting of polar ice caps, and paleoclimatic records in glacier ice and oceanographic sediments. He is perhaps most famous for coining the term "global warming".

He has published widely, with more than 450 journal papers and eight books to his name. In recent years, he has focused his research and writing on better understanding carbon cycling and its role in warming global climate, as well as working with colleagues to develop devices and technologies for restricting carbon dioxide release and for carbon dioxide capture.

Professor Broecker will address Convocation after receiving his degree.

Nicollette Georgina Zaptses will deliver the valedictory address.

Yuqing Tang will receive the Alumni Gold Medal.

In the afternoon ceremony at 2:30 p.m., 332 graduates from Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Optometry and Vision Science, the School of Pharmacy, and Psychology will receive their degrees.

Bearing the mace will be Dean of the Faculty of Science Terry McMahon. 

Professor Niels Bols.Professor Niels C. Bols will receive the title Distinguished Professor Emeritus. During his 35 years of service at Waterloo, Professor Bols’ contributions have been exemplary in the three main categories: research, service and teaching. While he has conducted research into fish health, environmental stressors, whole animal and field work, he is probably best known for his remarkable generation and maintenance of cell lines for detailed experimental work. This unique capability has made him a valued and popular collaborator, both within the university and around the world: his peer-reviewed publications exceed 200 with an h-index of 30 and he has earned numerous awards and recognitions. His research continues to be active into his retirement, as he carries on applying for funding and working with his own trainees and collaborators.

Professor Bols' teaching contributions are legendary at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He taught decades worth of student cohorts in the main first-year biology course, single-handedly delivering as many as four sections in a term. Generations of students were inspired to pursue biology because of his teaching. At the graduate level, history has shown that an unusually high proportion of his graduate trainees have attained professional research and academic positions. This may be due to his encouragement of students and delight in seeing his students identify and pursue "crazy ideas". This approach to freedom of investigation benefits the trainee and has doubtlessly helped the supervisor to achieve such notoriety.

William TaylorProfessor William Taylor will also receive the title Distinguished Professor Emeritus. As a faculty member in the Department of Biology since 1981, Professor Taylor has been a major influence on several generations of researchers, and has contributed immensely to building the department. His publication record boasts an impressive h-index of greater than 28, with four of his 100+ journal papers exceeding 100 citations and average citations per article at nearly 28, a demonstration of his consistently high level of quality productivity. With a research focus on eutrophication (the pollution of surface water), the importance of this work to issues of human health and the economy is profound. In addition to his scholarly publications, he has provided a number of reports to various government agencies and he held a Canada Research Chair from 2003-2010; this is in addition to service on several international journal editorial boards and as a peer reviewer for many journals and granting councils.

His service activities, both within and outside the university, have been extensive. He served as department chair and associate dean of graduate studies as well as associate dean of research. During his term as chair, he brought about significant advancements in the department. Further, he has served an advisory role to governments at all levels, as well as internationally, specifically in the maintenance of lakes in changing environmental conditions. He is a leader in his field of research, a critically important one in this era of climate change and its effect on our precious water ecosystems. Most of all, he has been an inspiring and effective teacher and mentor for numerous trainees at all levels. 

Anne Glover.Anne Glover will receive a Doctor of Science, honoris causa. Glover earned her BSc in Biochemistry at the University of Edinburgh (1978) and obtained her doctorate in molecular microbiology from the University of Cambridge (1981). She has been a faculty member at the University of Aberdeen since 1983, and in 2012 she joined the European Commission as the first chief scientific adviser to the president, with a further appointment in 2013 as chair of the Science and Technology Advisory Council to the President.

Professor Glover is a microbial biologist whose research has focused on microbial biodiversity and the application of microbes as biosensors and environmental indicators for bioremediation; she is widely published on these topics. In 1999, she commercialized her biosensor technology into a successful company which diagnoses environmental pollution and provides solutions for pollution clean-up. In her current role, she takes the lead to promote excellence in science, engineering and technology for the European Commission and its member states. Prior to taking on her current responsibilities on behalf of the European Commission, she was chief scientific adviser for Scotland and has held numerous positions on advisory boards and expert panels.

Professor Glover has had a long and distinguished career as an educator in a variety of capacities. She has been honoured numerous times, including being named as a Commander of the British Empire. In 2008, she was made a Woman of Outstanding Achievement in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET), and has proactively worked to raise the profile of women in SET disciplines to foster support for women beyond recruitment and throughout their careers. Professor Glover will address Convocation.

Rishi Sharma will deliver the valedictory address.

Yuqing Tang will receive the University of Waterloo Alumni Gold Medal in recognition of academic achievement.

Receiving the Dean of Science Awards for recognition of creative research as presented in a student's Master's thesis will be:

  • Leonard Angka (Fall 2014)
  • Vivek Labhishetty​
  • Zheng Shao​
  • Lilian Tran
  • Taylor May Urquhart

Receiving the W. B. Pearson Medal for recognition of creative research as presented in a student's doctoral thesis will be:

  • Andrew Achkar
  • Keith Delaney (Fall 2014)
  • Alex Hui (Fall 2014)
  • Nguyen Tran Khoi Vo
  • Stephen Winter

Stephen Winter will also receive the award for outstanding achievement in graduate studies at the doctoral level.

In addition, two professors will receive awards of excellence in graduate supervision today:

Professor Leung.Kam Tong Leung has been a professor in the department of Chemistry since 1987 and has been the recipient of countless prestigious research grants over the past 27 years. He was the faculty leader of the collaborative graduate program in nanotechnology in its infancy, and has supervised 21 postdoctoral fellows, 17 doctoral students and 8 Master’s students, both in Chemistry and Physics. 

Professor Leung provides an outstanding example of how a supervisor should mentor graduate students. He works closely with them in the laboratory, ensures that they have the latest and most up-to-date equipment, even when the commitment entails the design and construction of unique instrumentation needed for a research project. He readily acknowledges the strengths of his students and provides them a nurturing environment in which they can develop as top ranked scientists. His international students, of which there have been many, point out his devotion to making them feel welcome at the University of Waterloo. 

Leung is noted as a caring and compassionate supervisor who maintains relationships with his students long after they leave his lab. His students consider themselves extremely fortunate to have him as a mentor. 

Professor Robert Mann.Professor Robert Mann has been a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy for 27 years. He is an internationally recognized theoretical physicist with over 300 publications - a remarkable feat in his field, and also an extremely active graduate supervisor. He brings in significant research grants and uses these funds to provide as many graduate students as possible with opportunities to enter the field. 

Professor Mann has a knack for inspiring a sense of wonder and curiosity about the universe, helping students find their passion, and working hard to nurture that passion. He works tirelessly and effectively to help his students make a successful start in their careers. 

Professor Mann has supervised 18 postdoctoral fellows, 39 doctoral students, 28 Master’s students, and has kept track of virtually every one of them. Of particular note are the numbers of students who return to Waterloo to continue their studies or endeavours with him, after experiencing research environments elsewhere. 

The quality of Mann’s graduate supervision goes hand-in-hand with his excellence as an educator in general. In 2010 he was awarded the University of Waterloo Distinguished Teacher Award. 

Let's Talk Science at STEAM heat

This is the latest in a series of #UWCommunity stories that feature Waterloo in the community.

Participants at the STEAM Heat event.

On Saturday, June 6, the Waterloo Public Library held its third annual STEAM heat event, featuring activations and hands-on learning opportunities created by the University of Waterloo’s Let’s Talk Science program and other community partners. Over 1500 visitors participated in this family-driven experience, showing their curiosity and passion for science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, while enjoying an afternoon filled with exciting demonstrations, live music, great food, and lots of fun.

Let’s Talk Science, a national, charitable organization, and the University of Waterloo have been working together over the past seven years, connecting educators and youth with outstanding volunteers in order to deliver a wide variety of meaningful learning experiences in both school and community settings. This unique program aims to improve science literacy, delivering enriching services that spark children's and youth’s interest in science, keeping them engaged in the learning process to help them develop their potential to become 21st century citizens, innovators, and stewards.

STEAM heat was created by the Waterloo Public Library with similar priorities in mind, and plays an integral role in the community by bringing together young minds to help build critical skills and gain experiential opportunities in the diverse fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. STEAM heat solidifies the significance of our partnership with the City of Waterloo’s library as to way to amplify our collective community impact. Waterloo Public Library’s Manager of Branches, Laura Dick, recognizes the importance of this kind of collaborative event:

“STEAM heat is a great way for us to celebrate our partnerships, play together and show the community that STEAM activities can be both fun and engaging for all. We are so thankful to have the university as a primary partner and to have the opportunity to see the impact the university helps us have on our community and volunteers.”

University of Waterloo volunteers played a large role in facilitating the many engaging activations on site this past Saturday, helping youth to develop positive attitudes towards STEAM activities, while gaining future career awareness. These dedicated individuals are at the heart the event’s success, sharing their knowledge and insights with children, and helping them to appreciate the relevance of science in their own lives. STEAM heat was a memorable experience for everyone, especially one parent who was very supportive of the event:

“I absolutely love that events like this are held in our community. I brought my son, who’s in grade 5, to STEAM heat and I can see he is really engaged. It’s always great to see hands-on learning!”

Youth in our community had opportunities to make their own slime, perform chemical analysis in a crime lab situation, explore the interaction between different senses, and even build their own catapult. But the highlight of the day was the University of Waterloo’s Let’s Talk Science Van de Graaff generator: the device that makes your hair stand on end. Attending children thoroughly enjoyed this electrifying demonstration, which offered them direct insight on what causes static electricity.

Let’s Talk Science and the University of Waterloo look forward to continue collaborating with the Waterloo Public Library to positively impact the lives of youth and strengthen our community groups.

Contact Lens Study seeks participants; other notes

The Centre for Contact Lens Research in the School of Optometry and Vision Science is seeking participants between the ages of 40 and 70 for a multifocal contact lens study (contact lenses that help your eyes see both near and far away).

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the performance of a new daily disposable multifocal contact lens (approved by Health Canada). Participants will receive $130 for 6.5 hours over 4 visits.

If you or someone you know may be interested in participating, contact the CCLR at or ext 37187.

The Faculty of Science is hosting a recognition reception for Terry McMahon’s service as Dean on Friday, June 19 from 3:00 to 4:30 at the University Club.  All welcome to attend. RSVP to Lisa Weber at if you would like to attend.

Reminder: Columbia Street closed for ION construction

A section of Columbia Street West between Phillip Street and Hagey Boulevard is closed this week as ION construction work on the railway crossing is carried out.

Please visit the ION travel disruption website for advice on alternate routes and parking.

Link of the day


When and where

Bike Month Bike Challenge – Win cool prizes and conquer the leaderboard. Monday, June 1 to Tuesday,  June 30, all campuses.  

Spring 2015 Convocation, Tuesday, June 9 to Saturday, June 13.

Quantum Programming & Circuits Workshop, Thursday, June 11, all day, QNC 0101. 

Centre for Career Action presents Work Search Strategies, Thursday, June 11, 10:30 a.m., TC 1208.

University of Waterloo Staff Association information session, Thursday, June 11, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., NH 3001.

The Writing Centre presents "Sentence Savvy: Constructing Sentences for All Occasions," Thursday, June 11, 1:00 p.m., SCH 108A.

Centre for Career Action presents Exploring Your Personality Type (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) Part I, Thursday, June 11, 1:30 p.m., TC 1214.

J.W. Graham Medal Seminar featuring Tom Duff, "Compositing Digital Images: Revisited," Thursday, June 11, 2:00 p.m., DC 1302.

Biomedical Discussion Group Lecture featuring Dr. Boxin Zhao, “Zebra Mussel-inspired Electrically Conductive Polymer Nanofiber,” Thursday, June 11, 2:30 p.m., DC 1304.

University of Waterloo Finance Association (UWFA) Co-op Discussion Panel, "Let's Talk: Investment Banking, Private Equity, Algorithm Trading & More!”, Thursday, June 11, 7:00 p.m., MC 2038.

Centre for Career Action presents Success on the Job, Friday, June 12, 10:30 a.m., TC 1208.

Cheriton School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture Series featuring Margaret Martonosi, Princeton University, "Power-Aware computing, Heterogeneous parallelism, and the Post-ISA era," Friday, June 12, 4:30 p.m., DC 1302.

Senate meeting, Monday, June 15, 3:30 p.m., NH 3001.

Centre for Career Action presents The Who Am I? Self Assessment Game, Tuesday, June 16, 10:30 a.m., TC 2218.

Careers 601, Tuesday, June 16, 2:30 4:00 p.m., TC 2218.

University of Waterloo Staff Association information session, Tuesday, June 16, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in MC 5501.

25-Year, 35-Year, and 45-Year Club Reception, Tuesday, June 16, 6:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex.

UWRC Book Club, Lisa Moore, "Caught," Wednesday, June 17, 12:00 p.m., LIB 407.

#22days talk: Lila Bruyere, residential school survivor, Wednesday, June 17, 12:30 p.m., Dunker Family Lounge.

Kick-start Your Career – Volunteer! Wednesday, June 17, 2:30 3:30 p.m., TC 1208.

Wednesday Night Discussion Group: Policing in the Rainbow Community, Wednesday, June 17, 7:15 p.m., EV1 353.

Velocity Alpha: Do People Want Your Sh*t?, Wednesday, June 17, 7:30 p.m., Environment 3 room 4412. 

UW Farm Market, Thursday, June 18, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Student Life Centre.

Bike Breakfast – Stop by on your bike for snacks, a free tune-up, and more! Thursday June 18, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Dana Porter Quad.  

Ontario Addiction Treatment Centre talk on opioid addiction, methadone and how opioid agonist treatment programs work, Thursday, June 18, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Dunker Family Lounge

The Pebble Story: From Velocity to Kickstarter Glory featuring Eric Migicovsky, Thursday, June 18, 2:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre. 

Retirement celebration for Jim Marshall, Thursday, June 18, 3:30 p.m., Federation Hall. RSVP to

Exploring Your Personality Type (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) Part II, Thursday June 18, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., TC 1214.

Recognition Reception for Terry McMahon’s service as Dean, Friday, June 19, 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., University Club. All are welcome to attend. RSVP to Lisa Weber by emailing

Résumés for Grad Students, Friday, June 19, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Drama and Speech Communications presents Henry the Sixth, Part One, Friday, June 19 and Saturday, June 20, 8:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages.

Transfer Student Day, Saturday, June 20, 12:00 p.m., SLC Multipurpose Room.

Bike Safety Session, Tuesday, June 23, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Parking Lot C.

Retirement celebration for Dr. Barbara Schumacher, Tuesday, June 23, 3:00 p.m., Health Services foyer. Please RSVP to Jeanette Gascho at by Tuesday, June 16.

Résumé Tips: Think Like an Employer, Tuesday, June 23, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Waterloo Residences groundbreaking ceremony, Tuesday, June 23, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., UW Place construction site.

Management Consulting as a Career Option, Tuesday, June 23, 2:30 4:00 p.m., TC 2218.

Finding Conference Proceedings, Tuesday, June 23, 2:30 p.m., DC 1568.

Working Effectively in Another Culture, Wednesday, June 24, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., TC 1208.

General Application, Wednesday, June 24, 1:30 pm to 3:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Velocity Alpha: Pitch Like A Pro, Wednesday, June 24, 7:30 p.m., Environment 3 room 1408. 

UW Farm Market, Thursday, June 25, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Student Life Centre.

So You Want to be an Academic? Thursday, June 25, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Interviews: Preparing for Questions, Thursday, June 25, 12:30 2:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Preparing to Have Difficult Conversations With Your Supervisor, Thursday, June 25, 1:30 3:30 p.m., TC 2218.

Interviews: Proving Your Skills, Thursday, June 25, 2:30 4:30 p.m., TC 1208.

Retirement celebration for Pat Lafranier, Thursday, June 25, 3:30 p.m., EC2 second floor open area. RSVP to if you wish to attend.

Ontario Academic Advising Professionals (OAAP) One-Day Conference, Friday, June 26, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

Make Networking Count, Tuesday, June 30, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Work Search Strategies, Tuesday, June 30, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Canada Day Holiday, Wednesday, July 1, most campus services and buildings closed.

Canada Day Celebration, Wednesday, July 1, 4:00 p.m., Columbia Lake fields.

Velocity Fund $5K Qualifier – Night 1, Wednesday, July 8, 7:00 p.m., Lazaridis Centre room 0101. 

Velocity Fund $5K Qualifier – Night 2, Thursday, July 9, 7:00 p.m., Lazaridis Centre room 0101.

2nd Annual UWSA Golf Tournament, Thursday, July 16, Foxwood Country Club. Shot gun start 4:00 p.m.

PhD Oral Defences

Environment and Resource Studies. Marie Brisbois, "Natural resource industries and the state in collaborative approaches to water governance: a power-based analysis." Supervisor, Robert de Loe. On display in the Faculty of Environment, EV1 335. Oral defence Thursday, June 25, 9:00 a.m., EV1 221.

School of Planning. Mark Groulx, "Prospects for place-based climate change adaptation: An exploration of place, vulnerability and collaborative planning in Churchill, Manitoba." Supervisors, John Lewis, Robert Feick. On display in the Faculty of Environment, EV1 335. Oral defence Monday, June 29, 1:00 p.m., EV1 221.

Religious Studies. Denis Bekkering, "Drag Queens and Farting Preachers: American Televangelism, Participatory Media, and Unfaithful Fandoms." Supervisor, Doug Cowan. On deposit in the Arts graduate office, PAS 2428. Oral defence Wednesday, July 8, 9:30 a.m., PAS 2438.

Chemical Engineering. Wei Zhang, "Material and Surface Properties of Bio-inspired Polydopamine and its Modified Polypyyrole Functional Nanocomposites." Supervisor, Boxin Zhao. On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, PHY 3003. Oral defence Wednesday, July 8, 9:30 a.m., E6-2022.