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Monday, March 25, 2019

Waterloo celebrates its top co-op students

The six Co-op Students of the Year sit on the stairs in the Tatham Centre.

This is an excerpt of an article originally posted on the Co-operative Education website.

Every year, six exceptional co-op students, one from each faculty, are recognized by the University of Waterloo for their contribution to their employer, their community and the further development of experiential education.

Among this year’s winners is Nathan Duarte – a third-year biomedical engineering student. Nathan has also been recognized as one of Canada’s 2018 Co-op Students of the Year by Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada.

“Across every discipline and level of experience you can find a student who has created a meaningful impact in their workplace,” said Ross Johnston, executive director of Co-operative Education at Waterloo. “The growing number of employers from all over the world who hire Waterloo students demonstrates the reaches of our reputation for excellence.” 

This year’s winners truly exemplify the magnitude of work Waterloo students can accomplish across the globe.

Read the citations for each of the 2018 winners on the Co-operative Education website.

'Tis the Season for watch out

A Canada goose and a gaggle of goslings.

By Kate MacDonald.

It’s that time of the year again! The sound of honking and wing flapping is audible all over campus, signifying the start of nesting season. The geese are settling down in both conspicuous and inconspicuous places, which means it’s time to pull out Goose Watch for the 2019 season.

Goose Watch is a crowd-sourced map through which students and staff are encouraged to submit photos, and the location, where they spot a nest to help us all navigate around the geese nests on campus.

Send in your goose nest sightings through Goose Watch, and celebrate the season with us on our UWaterloo Life Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Plant Operations will be taking the usual precautions by posting signs and possible barricades in the case of territorial bird behavior. It’s important to remember that we are sharing the space with our feathered friends, so give them lots of space and don’t get too close.

Goose Watch is a collaboration between the Faculty of the Environment’s Mapping, Analysis, and Design department and the Student Success Office.

Ethereum founder visits campus for distinguished lecture

Vitalik Buterin.Former Waterloo student and creator of the cryptocurrency Ethereum Vitalik Buterin is the keynote speaker at a Computer Science Distinguished Lecture this afternoon. Buterin's lecture is entitled "Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains: Combining Mechanism Design and Computation."

"Cryptocurrencies and blockchains are one of the most interesting technological developments of the last decade, allowing us for the first time to build applications that are fully decentralized, so no one controls them, and that can hold a long-term memory of what happened in the system in what order with what consequences," says a note about the distinguished lecture. "Originally invented to allow peer-to-peer payments to take place without relying on payment processing monopolies and central banks as intermediaries, today they are starting to be used for a much wider array of applications, and a whole science, combining elements of cryptography, distributed systems and game theory, is forming around how to design blockchain-based applications in different contexts."

Buterin first discovered blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies through Bitcoin and co-founded Bitcoin Magazine in September 2011. After two and a half years looking at what the existing blockchain technology and applications had to offer, he wrote the Ethereum white paper in November 2013. He now leads Ethereum’s research team, working on future versions of the Ethereum protocol.

Buterin was enrolled at Waterloo as a student in computer science, but left the University in 2014 after winning a $100K Thiel Fellowship.

The lecture takes place at 4:00 p.m. in the J.R. Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall.

2019 Hagey Lecture tonight and other notes

John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria, will deliver the 2019 Hagey Lecture tonight, entitled "Living Indigenous Law in Canada."

Borrows blends Anishinaabe stories, language, theories and practices with analysis of Canadian law and constitutional practices to illustrate the possibilities and limits of the seven grandmother/grandfather teachings: love, truth, bravery, humility, wisdom, honesty and respect. A catered reception will follow the lecture, during which some of Borrows' books will be available for purchase.

The event takes place at 7:00 p.m. in Federation Hall. Tickets are available at

The University's Senate meets today in NH 3407 at 3:30 p.m. Among the agenda items:

  • A motion to approve the dissolution of the Centre for Ecosystem Resilience & Adaptation in 2019, in recognition that the centre has fulfilled its mandate; and
  • A motion to approve revisions to several Master’s and PhD programs within the department of Chemical Engineering.

Additionally, the traditional end-of-term presentations for the President of the Federation of Students and the President of the Graduate Students Association will take place.

The redesigned E6 elevator lobby wall, featuring Chemical Engineering graphics.

The elevator wall in the lobby of Engineering 6 has been spruced up thanks to a collaboration between Chemical Engineering and Plant Operations.

The original blue-metal facade of the elevator lobby.The original blue-metal façade was beginning to show its age, according to Chemical Engineering's Director of Technical Operations Tom Dean, and Plant Operations and Chemical Engineering hit on the idea of a wrap covering featuring designs from co-op students. The new look features relevant Chemical Engineering terminology, names, formulae, and background process schematics.

“The design was revised many times to make optimum use of the space, taking into account the elevator twin doors, the TV monitor, the directory and the plaque installed on the wall,” writes Dean. “This covering completely changes the look of the E6 lobby, and because of the durability of the skin product, should serve that space well for many years to come.”

Drop by and check it out for yourself. 

Here's the latest Nutrition Month "myth vs. fact" supplied by Health Services Dietitian Sandra Ace:

Claim:  Gluten-free foods are healthier for you.

Evidence:  Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley and in any food made with these grains. Following a gluten-free diet is the only healthy way of eating for people diagnosed with celiac disease, an immune disorder in which the small intestine is damaged by gluten. There is no cure for this medical condition, which can cause a wide-array of symptoms beyond the gastrointestinal tract. The only effective treatment is to follow a strict, gluten-free diet for life. Celiac disease affects about 1 percent of the Canadian population although it often goes undiagnosed.

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) is a less well-understood condition. The symptoms of NCGS may be similar to those found in celiac disease, although certain disease markers such as specific antibodies found in the blood and intestinal inflammation are absent. It is possible that rather than the protein in wheat, rye and barley, some people may react to another component of the grain. These grains contain certain carbohydrates that some people don’t digest well. A thorough assessment by a family physician or specialist, including a detailed patient and family history as well as a diet history, is always advised. A blood test and/or an intestinal biopsy to exclude celiac disease may also be recommended. Individuals should not self-diagnose or start a gluten-free diet on their own and without medical advice. If a person needs to be tested for celiac disease, the test is only accurate if gluten is being included in the diet.

Over the past decade, gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular. People adopt them for a variety of reasons, including the belief that they are healthier or promote weight loss. In fact, some estimates suggest as many as 30 percent of North Americans have gone gluten-free. Without a medical diagnosis that requires a gluten-free diet, there are no clear health benefits. In addition to the increased cost of following a gluten-free diet, it may be more difficult to get enough dietary fibre and some nutrients, including iron and B vitamins. If you have questions about following a gluten-free diet, talk to a dietitian who can provide you with accurate, personalized and practical advice.

Link of the day

20 years ago: Mr. Oizo's Flat Beat

When and where

W Store End of Term Clearance Sale, Monday, March 25 to Wednesday, March 27, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., W Store, South Campus Hall.

Climate and Energy Action Plan Open HouseMonday, March 25, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., SLC Multipurpose Room.

University Senate Meeting, Monday, March 25, 3:30 p.m., NH 3407.

Distinguished Lecture Series, Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains — Combining Mechanism Design and Computation, Vitalik Buterin, Creator of Ethereum, Monday, March 25, 4:00 p.m., RCH 101.

NEW - 2019 Hagey Lecture: Living Indigenous Law in Canada, Monday, March 25, 7:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

Part 1 - IP and Commercialization full day workshop, Tuesday, March 26, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Event is only open to faculty, students and post docs.  Please RSVP or contact Parisa Hamilton ( for more information.  Light lunch and refreshments are provided. Presented by WatCo and supported by CBB.

Climate and Energy Action Plan Open HouseTuesday, March 26, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Davis Centre Fishbowl (1301).

Velocity Fund Finals $5K, "Early-stage startups compete for $20K in funding," Tuesday, March 26, 11:00 a.m., SLC Great Hall.

Women in Mathematics presents Speed Networking Lunch for Graduate Students, Postdocs and Faculty, Tuesday, March 26, 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., MC 5501.

Understanding the Pension Plan and Planning for Retirement, Tuesday, March 26, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., EC5 1111.

Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation’s WICI Talk: Dr. Noelle Eckley SelinTuesday, March 26, 1:30 p.m., QNC 1501.

Management Consulting as a Career Option, Tuesday, March 26, 2:30p.m., TC 2218.

2019 Silver Medal Award Guest Lecture: “The Unbearable Lightness of Trust: Mobilities, trade networks and the life-world of Indian exports agents in China”, Tuesday, March 26, 5:00 p.m. EV3 room 1408.

Women in Mathematics Lean-In Circle event, Tuesday, March 26, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., MC 5501. Pizza and refreshments will be provided.

Velocity Fund Final $25K, "10 startups compete for $25,000 investments," Wednesday, March 27, 9:30 a.m., Tannery Event Centre.

Climate and Energy Action Plan Open HouseWednesday, March 27, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Environment 3 Foyer.

Research Ethics drop-in training session, Wednesday, March 27, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Dana Porter Library.

Software Engineering Capstone Design Symposium, Thursday, March 28, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Davis Centre.

CBB lecture: Making a Case for Multi-energy X-ray Detectors with Dr. Karim Karim, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering; CTO, KA Imaging, Thursday, March 28, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. This event is only open to faculty, students and post docs. Please register.

NEW - Public Lecture featuring Dr. Scott Ventureyra, “God, Consciousness, and Evolution: A Lecture on the Origin of Consciousness,” Thursday, March 28, 3:30 p.m., St. Jerome’s University, SJ1 3014.

EDGE – Skill Identification and Articulation, Thursday, March 28, 5:00 p.m., TC 2218.

WCGS Book Prize 2017 Winner – Alice Weinreb, author of Modern Hungers, Thursday, March 28, 7:00 p.m., Conrad Grebel College Chapel.

Keeping the Human in Artificial Intelligence – expert panel in Cambridge, Thursday, March 28, 7:00 p.m., School of Architecture, Idea Exchange. Please register.

Continuous Improvement Workshop for employees, Friday, March 29, 10:00 a.m., STC 0050.

Climate and Energy Action Plan Open HouseFriday, March 29, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Dana Porter lobby.

Career – Focused Workshop for Graduating Students, Friday, March 29, 1:00 p.m., TC 1112.

NEW - Knowledge Integration seminar: “Unlearning for Transformational Change”, speaker: Chryssa Koulis, School for Social Entrepreneurs, Friday, March 29, 2:30 p.m., EV3-1408. 

Accounting and Finance Student's Association tax clinic, Saturday, March 30 and Sunday, March 31, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., STC 1012.

Computer science seminar, ShallowForest: Optimizing all-to-all data transmission in WANs, Hao Tan, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, Monday, April 1, 4:00 p.m., DC 2585.

Stratford Campus Project Showcase, Tuesday, April 2, 4:00 p.m., Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business.

Research Ethics drop-in training session, Wednesday, April 3, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Dana Porter Library.

Communication Speaks! Colloquium featuring Shana McDonald and David Janzen, Wednesday, April 3, 1:00 p.m., EV2 2002.

PhD oral defences

Computer Science. Haotian Zhang, "Increasing the Efficiency of High-Recall Information Retrieval." Supervisors, Mark Smucker, Gordon Cormack. Thesis available from MGO - Oral defence Wednesday, April 10, 9:00 a.m., DC 2310.

Chemical Engineering. Jing Zhang, "Electrolyte Design and Engineering for Electrochemical Energy System." Supervisor, Zhongwei Chen. On display in the Engineering graduate office, E7 7402. Oral defence Wednesday, April 10, 9:30 a.m., E6 2022.

Geography and Environmental Management. Joseph Kangmennaang, "Exploring perceptions of national wellbeing: links between inequalities, health and wellbeing in Canada." Supervisor, Susan Elliott. On display in the Faculty of Environment, EV1 335. Oral defence Friday, April 12, 9:00 a.m., EV1 221.

Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering. Karthik Yerrapragada, "Coupled Dynamics of Cable-Harnessed Structures: Analytical Modeling and Experimental Validation." Supervisor, Armaghan Salehian. On display in the Engineering graduate office, E7 7402. Oral defence Friday, April 12, 9:30 a.m., MC 2009.