Monday, July 24, 2017

Top 10 Celebration 2017 designs selected

Celebration 2017 Legacy Project logo.

The Celebration 2017 legacy project student design competition has moved into its next stage with the announcement of the top 10 designs.

22 student teams submitted their stage one proposals for review in June 2017. The Celebration 2017 Steering Committee selected the top 10 teams who will move on to stage two, where their submissions will be evaluated by the Celebration 2017 jury.

The top 10 concepts can be viewed on the Celebration 2017 website.

The jury will be the sole authority to select the proposals that will advance to stage three, as well as to rank the winning proposals at the end of the challenge. These decisions will be based on their expertise, the work submitted by challenge registrants, and evaluation criteria established by the Committee. 

Stage two submissions are due on August 15. The jury will select the top four, who will move on to stage three in October. Once the final four submissions are presented to the jury, the finalist will be selected and announced at the President's Town Hall Meeting in November 2017.

Each of the ten concepts are on display on a poster board, with room for visitors to add feedback for the teams.

Each of the Top 10 concepts can be viewed this week in the lobby of the Dana Porter Library. The concepts will be displayed on poster boards with room for visitors to add their feedback, which will be given to the teams.

Beginning the week of July 31, the panel displays will move to the Hagey Hub atrium and can be viewed there.

Velocity Fund competition winners named

Velocity Fund winners with their oversized cheques.

A biotechnology company that created a spray that helps farmers and growers protect crops from frost damage was among the big winners at the Velocity Fund Finals held Thursday in the Student Life Centre.

Innovative Protein Technologies created Frost Armour, a spray-on-foam, after witnessing the effects of a devastating spring frost in 2012 that knocked out about 80 per cent of Ontario’s apple crop. Farmers would remove it after several days with another solution that converts it into a fertilizer.

"Frost damage not only affects farmers’ livelihoods, but also our food supply," said Erin Laidley, a Waterloo alumnus, who co-founded the company with Tom Keeling and Dan Krska, two alumni from the University of Guelph. "There are other spray-on solutions, but ours is non-toxic and has no negative environmental impact.” 

During the competition, 10 companies pitched their businesses to a panel of judges representing the investment, startup and business communities. Judges considered innovation, market potential, market viability and overall pitch. 

The following three companies were also grand-prize winners of $25,000 and space at Velocity. Three of the five top-prize-winning companies are based at Velocity Science.

  • Altius Analytics Labs is a health-tech startup that helps occupational groups better manage musculoskeletal injuries.
  • EPOCH is a skills and services marketplace that connects refugees and community members, using time as a means of exchange.
  • VivaSpire is making lightweight wearable machines that purify oxygen from the air without the need for high pressure.

For the first time, the prize of $10,000 for best hardware or science company went to a team that was not among the grand-prize winners. Vena Medical is making navigating through arteries faster, easier and safer by providing physicians with a camera that sees through blood.

During the VFF event, an additional 10 teams of University of Waterloo students competed for three prizes of $5,000 and access to Velocity workspaces. 

The winners of the Velocity $5K are:

  • HALo works to provide manual wheelchair users with accessible solutions to motorize their wheelchairs.
  • QuantWave provides faster, cheaper and simpler pathogen detection for drinking water and food suppliers.
  • SheLeads is a story-based game that helps girls realize their unlimited leadership potential.

“Building a business is one of the boldest risks you can take, and yet our companies continue to demonstrate the vision, talent, and drive to think big and tackle challenging problems,” said Jay Shah, director of Velocity. “Today we are fortunate to benefit from an enormous wealth of experience from our judges who are leaders from the global investment, health and artificial-intelligence communities and entrepreneurs at heart. In helping Velocity award $125,000 in funding to these companies, we have taken a bet of our own in these founders, and said be bold, think big, and go out and change the world.”

The judges for the Velocity Fund $25K competition travelled from Palo Alto, San Francisco and Toronto. They were Seth Bannon, founding partner, Fifty Years; Dianne Carmichael, chief advisor of health tech, Council of Canadian Innovators; Eric Migicovsky, visiting partner, Y Combinator; Tomi Poutanen, co-CEO, Layer 6 AI.

The judges for the Velocity Fund $5K competition were Kane Hsieh, investor, Root Ventures; Tobiasz Dankiewicz, co-founder, Reebee; Karen Webb, principal, KWebb Solutions Inc.

For more information on the Velocity Fund Finals, please visit

Resources for students available as exams loom

As we approach examination period study days on July 26 and 27 and the spring term examination period from July 28 to August 11, there are several resources for students if they need support:

  • Peer Success Coaching at the Student Success Office: book a 1-1 appointment with a peer to help with study strategies, test preparation, and managing test anxiety. You can book an appointment online through to July 27;
  • Exam Prep Workshops at the Student Success Office: An exam prep workshop is being offered during the study day on Wednesday, July 26. Register on LEADS;
  • Counselling Services offers 1 on 1 counselling, peer support, and both seminars and workshops. The coping skills seminars are a good first step in supporting your mental wellbeing and include helpful tips and strategies and other information;
  • Health Services is open for appointments during exams Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and
  • AccessAbility services develops academic accommodation plans, and provide support, for students with permanent, temporary, and even suspected disabilities. Services include advising, a Student Access Van, note-taking support, learning strategy support, and adaptive technology - drop-in for more information or apply online.

And finally, a word about exams in the PAC this term: access to PAC is limited due to the SLC/PAC Expansion, and students writing their exams in the PAC should be aware that two entrances remain open - Red South and Blue South on the Ring Road side of the building. Entrance to the main gym will begin 15 minutes prior to the start of each exam.

For safety reasons, only authorized construction personnel are allowed access to the fenced off construction site. 

Email phishing attack uses president's name

Earlier this morning, an email purporting to contain "A Message from Office of the President Feridun Hamdullahpur" was sent to campus email addresses. This is not an official message from the University and should not be opened. Do not click on the link within the email.

Information Systems and Technology (IST) has some helpful tips about identifying suspicious emails, including "spear phishing" attempts like this morning's official-looking message.

Link of the day

The best trailers from Comic-Con

When and where

The University Club presents Lobsterlicious, Monday, July 24 to Friday, July 28, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., University Club.

Conversation Café, Monday, July 24, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., SCH 219.

Lectures end, Tuesday, July 25.

PhD seminar, “Constraint bubbles: Adding efficient zero-density bubbles to incompressible free surface flow,” Ryan Goldade, Tuesday, July 25, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., DC 2310.

Recreation and Leisure Studies 50th anniversary movie night, Tuesday, July 25, 9:00 p.m., Village 1 green.

Pre-examination study days, Wednesday, July 26 and Thursday, July 27.

Women in Physics Canada Conference, Wednesday, July 26 to Friday, July 28, QNC 0101.

Getting Published for Grad Students, Wednesday, July 26, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Exploring Your Personality Type: (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), Wednesday, July 26, 12:00 p.m., TC 1113.

Waterloo Women’s Wednesdays: Lunchtime Yoga, Wednesday, July 26, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., NH3308. Beginners encouraged!

CrySP Speaker Series on Privacy, “Making security sustainable,” Ross Anderson, University of Cambridge, Wednesday, July 26, 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., DC 1304.

Bridges 2017 Conference, Thursday, July 27 to Monday, July 31.

Bridges Conference and UWAG present PASSAGE + OBSTACLE, Thursday, July 27 to Sunday, July 30, East Campus Hall.

Social Impact Showcase, Thursday, July 27, 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., St. Paul's Alumni Hall. All welcome! Register here.

Examination period begins, Friday, July 28.

UWRC presents Mental Health in Childhood and Parenting, Friday, July 28, 12:00 p.m., STC 0040.

Bridges 2017 Formal Music Night, Saturday, July 29, 8:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Bridges 2017 Family Day and Math-Art Expo, Sunday, July 30, 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Davis Centre.

Conrad Grebel Peace Camp, Monday, July 31 to Friday, August 4.

Conversation Café, Monday, July 31, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., SCH 219.

More Feet on the Ground Mental Health training, Wednesday, August 2, 9:00 a.m., Counselling Services.

WISE Public Lecture Series featuring Mahdi Shahbakhti, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics, Michigan Tech, "Physics-based Control of Energy Systems Ranging from Smart Buildings and Power Grid to Smart Hybrid Electric Vehicles," Wednesday, August 2 10:30 a.m., CPH 3681.

UWRC presents Advance Care Planning, Wednesday, August 2, 12:00 p.m., MC 5501.

Employee-Explore your personality type: Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Wednesday, August 2, TC 1113. - Please note, you must sign up for the session on July 26 as this is a follow up session to that one.

Biomedical Discussion Group featuring Professor Patricia Trbovich, Academic Research Lead, UHN and Assistant Professor, U of T at University Health Network and University of Toronto, "Application of Human Factors to Quality Improvement and Patient Safety," Wednesday, August 9, 2:30 p.m., STC 1019. Register online.

Quantum Cryptography School for Young Students, Friday, August 11 to Friday, August 18.

UWRC Book Club presents The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy, Wednesday, August 16, 12:00 p.m., LIB 407.

10th Annual St. Paul's Golf Tournament, Friday, August 25, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Glen Eagle Golf Club.

PhD oral defences

Physics & Astronomy. Paulina Ugalde, "Experimental Prospects for Detecting the Quantum Nature of Spacetime." Supervisor, Robert Mann. On deposit in the Science graduate office, PHY 2013. Oral defence Thursday, July 27, 10:00 a.m., PHY 352.

Psychology. Jeffrey Wammes, "On the mnemonic benefits of drawing." Supervisor, Myra Fernandes. On deposit in the Arts graduate office, PAS 2428. Oral defence Thursday, July 27, 10:00 a.m., PAS 3026.

School of Pharmacy. Haya Fernandez, "Bone health in women with Epilepsy." Supervisor, Tejal Patel. On deposit in the Science graduate office, PHY 2013. Oral defence Thursday, July 27, 10:30 a.m., PHR 7007.

Civil & Environmental Engineering. Hani Ahmed, "Automatic Detection of Changes in Construction Supply Chain Risks, and their Impact on Time and Cost." Supervisors, Carl Haas, Tarek Hegazy. On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, DWE 3520C. Oral defence Friday, July 28, 9:00 a.m., E2 2350.