Waterloo Science student wins co-op triple crown
March 19 to 23 is National Co-op Week and Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Week, and the University of Waterloo is celebrating its students’ co-op and WIL opportunities.
Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) named Science student Emily Pass the winner of the national Co-op Student of the Year Award. Pass is the third Waterloo student to win the CEWIL award in the last four years. She also won the top prize in the province, the Education at Work Ontario (EWO) Co-op Student of the Year Award, as well as the Waterloo Faculty of Science Co-op Student of the Year Award.
This summer, Pass worked as a research assistant at Western’s Centre for Planetary and Space Exploration. She designed and implemented the software, algorithm and code for the telescope array, Colibri. The new technology monitors light curves for geometric diffraction patterns, allowing scientists to know the size and orientation of an object that passes through an area of space. Her findings were published in a 13-page paper in the academic journal, Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, a well-respected publication in the field.
Pass credits her first co-op work term as a quality assurance developer for Validus Research Inc. for her success in developing Colibri’s rapid-imaging program. The field of quality assurance changed the way she thought of testing and problem-solving.
“You have to think about how something could go wrong, how to test it and the possible outcomes,” said Pass, a Schulich Leader. “You have to do a deep think of the problem before starting on the solution.”
Since then, her work terms have explored different areas of astronomy. She has worked as a research assistant at Dalhousie University investigating galaxy protoclusters, Kuiper Belt objects at Western and next summer she’ll study exoplanet atmospheres at McGill.
Although Pass developed a passion for astronomy in elementary school, she didn’t take a physics class until her first semester at Waterloo. The first midterm didn’t go well and while others thought the course was easy, Pass questioned her choice to major in astronomy. She persevered and each subsequent test was better.
“If I had given up then, I wouldn’t have had all these wonderful experiences and opportunities,” said Pass.
The CEWIL leads National Co-op and Work-Integrated Learning Week, which celebrates the growth of co-operative education and work-integrated programs across the country. Waterloo is the world leader in Co-operative education, and is home to the world’s largest co-op program.
Pharmacist Awareness Month: Think Health Educators
March is Pharmacy Awareness Month and the School of Pharmacy is encouraging others to think about the many roles pharmacists play, including the role of community educators.
This March, University of Waterloo pharmacy students are teaching over 600 elementary and high school kids about important health topics. Pharmacy students visit local classrooms as part of PAM Outreach, an initiative which has over 50 future pharmacists speaking in 13 schools throughout Waterloo Region.
In elementary schools, pharmacy students educate about handwashing technique and medication topics like the importance of taking medication safely and the difference between candy and medicine. For older learners, presentation titles include Operation: Butt Out and Operation: Allergies and teach teenagers about the effects of smoking and how to recognize and respond to an allergic reaction.
“We make sure our talks are engaging and interactive,” says Kris Mendoza, third year pharmacy student. “We want not only to educate kids on these important topics, but also to show them that pharmacists are accessible professionals who can share knowledge on a wide variety of health topics.”
The Think Pharmacists series is issued by the School of Pharmacy for #PAM2018.
StarterHacks a successful hackathon how-to
On March 3 and 4, more than 600 students spent their weekend in the Science Teaching Complex learning, collaborating, and networking with their peers and mentors. StarterHacks is the University of Waterloo’s first beginner-friendly hackathon that encourages students from any faculty (or university) to explore the tech field.
This year, StarterHacks partnered with the Faculty of Mathematics to introduce their hackers to some of the biggest players in the tech industry, such as Deloitte Digital and Google. Other strong on-campus supporters included Conrad Business Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre and Velocity.
To ensure everyone had a similar starting point, regardless of their skills or background, they split the hackers split into business (14 percent), design (27 percent), and development (59 percent) streams. With 49 percent female participants and a fifth of the participants being high school students, StarterHacks showcased that a diverse hackathon leads to great projects.
This year, they decided to introduce hackers to some meaningful problems via dedicated problem spaces where mentors and students could post problems in areas of e-commerce, social impact, community building, everyday difficulties, and environmental issues. This led to projects such as creating robotic arms that can replicate human movements remotely to help with remote surgeries, virtual reality apps that showcase the effects of global warming, and a website that helps with patient wait-times at clinics.
The hacking came to end at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday after which students were given the opportunity to pitch their projects to judges. With coaching provided on how to pitch in three minutes, the students had no difficulty pitching their projects in the assigned times and wowing the judges.
StarterHacks gave out category prizes to encourage and reward students in the diverse streams:
- Best Tech – Up4theChallenge created four different games to gamify student’s work-life balance.
- Best Pitch – Nova built an Artificial Intelligence chatbot designed to liaise between students and on-campus resources.
- Best Design – Null Pointers created a new way of visualizing data using triangles.
In addition to prizes created to bring attention to the different streams, StarterHacks presented a Mentor’s Choice award to encourage more students to interact and seek advice from the 100 student mentors at the event. Mentor’s Choice went to CloudSMS who created a way to make information from the web accessible through text messages for those without access to the internet.
Nutrition Month "myth vs. fact" for March 20
Here's the latest Nutrition Month "myth vs. fact" supplied by Health Services Dietitian Sandra Ace:
Myth: Rinse raw meat, fish or poultry to reduce your risk of food poisoning.
Fact: While it might seem like a good idea, rinsing raw meat, fish or poultry before cooking won’t remove bacteria that have the potential to make you sick. In fact, it can actually do the opposite, so save yourself this messy step! Rinsing these raw foods can cause cross-contamination by spreading bacteria as juices splash onto your sink, counters and anything else nearby like clean dishes or raw veggies. The best way to keep meat, fish and poultry safe is to thaw these foods properly (in the refrigerator, cold water or microwave) and cook them to the recommended internal temperature as checked by a food thermometer. Refrigerate leftovers promptly and use them up within 3 days. Meat, fish or poultry that has been properly thawed, cooked and stored can be safely frozen within 3 days of preparing.
Senate elections spring up and other notes
The Secretariat is running elections for vacancies on the University's Senate in the graduate student and undergraduate Environment constituencies. The voting period began on Monday, March 19 for the following elections:
Graduate Student Representatives
- Two graduate students to be elected by/from the full- and part-time graduate students of the University, terms 1 May 2018 to 30 April 2020.
Candidate statements are available online for the five candidates who are contesting the positions:
- Robert Bruce, School of Planning
- Samantha Hossack, History
- Linda Ogechi Iheme, School of Public Health and Health Systems
- Matthew Robbins, Physics and Astronomy
- Maxime Salman, Earth and Environmental Sciences
All graduate students may vote, and will receive an email with a link to the electronic ballot.
Undergraduate Student Representative from the Faculty of Environment
- One undergraduate student to be elected by/from the full-time undergraduate students from the Faculty of Environment, term 1 May 2018 to 30 April 2020.
Candidate statements are available online for the two candidates who are contesting the position:
- Fred Chereshski, School of Planning
- Jenna Phillips, School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability
All full-time undergraduate students in the Faculty of Environment may vote, and will receive an email with a link to the electronic ballot.
Both elections will close Monday, March 26 at 3:00 p.m. Check the Secretariat page for more information.
We're at the midpoint of the Book Store's 30-40-50 sale, taking place this week in the South Campus Hall concourse. On Monday, March 19 customers could save 30 percent on sale items, and today, the discount goes up to 40 percent. Tomorrow, the discount is up to 50 percent. The sale takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.