Thursday, September 19, 2019

Velocity Pitch Competition heads to Toronto today

Jay Shah speaks at a Velocity Pitch Competition event.

The Velocity Fund Pitch Competition takes place today in downtown Toronto at the Toronto Reference Library's Bram & Bluma Appel Salon. The top 10 finalists will have the chance to win a $50,000 investment from the Velocity Fund as they compete for four investment opportunities worth $200,000 in total. A panel of judges will select the four winners.

This is the first time the event is being held in the evening and outside of Waterloo Region, allowing easier access to working professionals and pre-seed investors in 'the corridor' and in the GTA. The Toronto event is sold out, but you can come out to the viewing party on the second floor of South Campus Hall. The free event, put on by Velocity, takes place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and includes pizza. Please register if you plan on attending. 

You can also follow Velocity on social media or watch the Velocity Fund Pitch Competition's live stream

More than basic shelter

An illustration of a Somali hut being constructed.

This article was originally published on Waterloo Stories.

The torn, colourful fabric sheets of Somali huts deeply moved Amal Dirie when she visited her mother’s homeland last year.

The School of Architecture master’s student was so emotionally taken by the nomadic dwellings that she featured them in an award-winning essay titled The Idea of Home and Belonging. Dirie’s illustrated piece won a Certificate of High Merit in the 2019 Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) International Prize Scholarship competition.

“The poetics of discarded materials, an amalgamation of found objects that created the collage-like nature of the exterior was simply profound,” Dirie describes in her essay for which she will be formally recognized at the RAIC’s International Prize Gala taking place in Toronto next month.

Dirie, a 2017 alumnus of Waterloo’s undergraduate architecture program, says it took a number of years to save up enough money to travel to the country where her mother was raised and “her heart and mind remain.”

Before her trip to Somalia last summer, Canadian-born Dirie says she had never really explored her African roots.

“I was very curious to know about this country I’d never been to,” she says. “I had no concept of it. I would just tell people that’s my background, but I don’t know much about it.”

Unique sense of beauty

It was the nomadic huts and dwellings that first captured her attention when she arrived. Despite being built by internally displaced people within the city out of anything including scraps of fabric, plastic sheets, tree saplings and scavenged wood, each has its own unique sense of beauty from decorative hand-woven mats to fabric exteriors produced to provide natural ventilation.

What Dirie found intriguing is that the huts are both designed and built solely by women.

“From the initial phase of setting up the armature to adorning the facade, the entire process illustrated the genuine strength and close-knit ties between the tribal women and ultimately provided them with the ability to withstand the toughest adversities,” Dirie says.

She also learned about the importance of the seasons and weather, which directly ties into the nomadic nature of the huts and their owners. Whenever there is a drought, the owners shift locations and the same happens when it rains heavily.

Dirie returned to Somalia for a second visit this summer to expand on what she discovered during her previous trip for her master’s thesis.

Read the rest of the article on Waterloo Stories.

Reminder: MySharePoint sites shut down October 1

A message from Information Systems & Technology (IST).

We'd like to remind campus that MySharePoint will no longer be supported as of October 1. On July 17, MySharePoint sites became read-only, and users have until October 1 to transfer any files they wish to keep.

Why is this happening? Currently, MySharePoint sites only provide 1 GB of OneDrive storage and limited functionality. Furthermore, these sites are not being used by most of the campus community. The cloud-hosted Office 365 OneDrive provides 5 TB of storage and is better supported by OneDrive desktop and mobile clients. In addition, moving to the cloud-based service provides a better user experience. 

MySharePoint users have been contacted and advised to move content they wish to keep to a location of their choice, such as an N: drive or Office 365. Instructions on moving documents, OneNote Notebooks and Site folders (bookmarks) are available online. If you require assistance, please submit an RT to with the subject ‘MySharePoint Assistance’.

If you have questions or concerns, please email the IST Service Desk or call extension 44357.

National postdoc appreciation week continues; other notes

Samantha Goodman.

As National Postdoc Appreciation Week continues, we’d now like to introduce Samantha Goodman. Samantha is a postdoc in the School of Public Health and Health Systems in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences. She works with David Hammond and has been a postdoc at Waterloo for almost two years. 

Goodman completed her master’s program at the University of Waterloo with Professor Hammond before moving on and completing her PhD in Human Health and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph.  After graduation, she moved to France for two years where she spent time improving her French, teaching and taking a step away from academia. When she returned to Canada, Samantha contacted her masters’ advisor because, “I really liked the current work he was doing and how his research had evolved.”

She ultimately chose Waterloo because she wanted to continue working with Professor Hammond. “He does really cutting-edge research and… the actual research environment in this specific department is great and has lots of opportunity… so I wanted to come back and I knew it would lead to good things.”

Postdoc fun fact of the day: postdoc services and resources

There is a misconception that, because postdocs are not students nor permanent ongoing staff, they don’t have access to many resources or services. In fact, postdocs at University of Waterloo have access to lots of great campus services. Waterloo offers postdoc career advising services through the Centre for Career Action, Writing support through the Writing and Communication Centre, teaching development through Centre for Teaching Excellence, and lots more.

UW Farm Market banner.The next edition of the UW Farm Market is happening today from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Arts quad. The market is open to all students, staff, faculty and to the public. The market boasts 100 percent local produce as well as other products from the area, sourced mainly from the Elmira Produce Auction Cooperative.This fall, the market will continue to feature UW Village Bakery, local honey and preserves and seasonal locally grown produce.

Fair Trade Campus Designation event posterThe celebration of Waterloo’s Fair Trade Campus Designation takes place today from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in AL124. Vice President Academic and Provost Jim Rush will provide welcoming remarks, followed by a panel conversation and audience question-and-answer about the global fair trade movement and campus action to support. Food Services will be providing complementary coffee and tea (all Fairtrade certified, naturally). 
Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) applications are due on Friday, September 20 at 4:30 p.m. Applications can be delivered to E7 7302. The URA program provides undergraduate engineering students the opportunity to gain research experience by working with a faculty member to further their knowledge into their field of studies while earning $800 for the term. For more information, please contact Wei-Chau Xie, URA Coordinating Professor at ext. 33988, or the URA Program Administrator at ext. 44885, or visit the Dean of Engineering Office in E7 7302.

Smile Cookie banner.It’s that time of year again: time to be kind to yourself while donating to worthy causes. How do you do that? By buying a cookie. Food Services is proud to participate in Tim Hortons’ Smile Cookie Campaign for the fourth year in a row. From September 16 to 22, when you purchase a cookie at any Tim Hortons location on campus, you’ll be donating the full $1.00 cost to one of two worthy causes. The SLC location will be allocating funds to United Way Waterloo Region Communities. Tim Hortons in Modern Languages and South Campus Hall will be donating their funds to .

Shake off those September blues and get a smile that does good. James Skidmore, Associate Professor and Director, Waterloo Centre for German Studies, United Way Champion and SmileCookie Connoisseur notes, “Thanks to the generosity of Food Services, your cookie goes further than just your waistline.” 


Link of the day

Yarr, it be Talk Like a Pirate Day

When and Where

Music Department Ensemble Auditions for Fall  2019: Instrumental and Choral, Wednesday, September 4 to September 20, Conrad Grebel University College. 

Free Instructional Week, Monday, September 16 to Friday, September 20.

UW Farm Market, Thursday, September 19, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Arts Quad.

Fair Trade Campus Launch Panel, Thursday, September 19, 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., Arts Lecture (AL) 124.

Grammar Studio II: Sentence structure and punctuation, Thursday, September 19, 1:00 p.m., SCH 228F.

Developing Your Compassionate Mind, Thursday, September 19, 3:00 p.m., NH 2447 – Register on LEADS.

EngCon, Thursday, September 19, 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., E7 1427.

Velocity Fund Pitch Competition viewing party, Thursday. September 19, 5:30 p.m., South Campus Hall 2nd Floor.

Conversemos en español/Spanish conversation circles, “Opportunity to practice your spoken Spanish,” Thursday nights, September 19 to December 12, 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., Community Room, John M. Harper Branch, Waterloo Public Library.

NEW - RCIScience Public lecture featuring Professor Nandita Basu, "Protecting our water," Thursday, September 19, 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Public Library central branch.

Instructional Registration Deadline, Friday, September 20.

IT Seminar: Conference Updates, Friday, September 20, 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., EC5 room 1111.

Graduate Supervision Series Day One, Friday, September 20, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., MC 2036.

Résumé and Cover Letter Writing (Grad Students and Post-docs), Friday, September 20, 9:30 a.m., TC 1208.

Cheriton Research Symposium, Friday, September 20, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., DC 1302.

Knowledge Integration seminar: “Why the Apollo Moon Program Derailed Space Exploration”, speaker: Larry Smith, Director and Founder, The Problem Lab, Friday, September 20, 1pm, EV2-2002.

Inauguration officielle de la Chaire de recherche du Canada en études des minorités/Official Inauguration of the Canada Research Chair in Minority Studies, Friday, September 20, 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., HH 1104. A reception will follow the inauguration and public lecture by Distinguished Professor Emeritus François Paré. RSVP on Eventbrite.

Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) applications deadline, Friday, September 20, 4:30 p.m. Applications due to E7 7302.

New Faculty & Family Dinner, Friday, September 20, 5:30 p.m. at the University Club. Register by September 12.

Eye Talks: Overcoming Vision Loss, Saturday, September 21, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., School of Optometry and Vision Science.

School of Planning Ceremony of Induction, Saturday, September 21, Registration and Reception 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Environment 3 Atrium; Ceremony 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Theatre of the Arts.

Doors Open Waterloo Region, Saturday, September 21, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Featured Site: evolv1, 420 Wes Graham Way, Waterloo. See guide for schedule of WaterTalks and guided tours.

WaterTalk: Weather gone wild: What can we do to limit home and community-level flood risk? presented by Blair Feltmate. Saturday, Sept. 21, 10:30am & 11:30am evolv1, Room 1012. Co-sponsored by the Faculty of Environment & IC3.

Renison University College's 25th annual One Sky Festival, Saturday, September 21, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Renison University College.

Catalyzing Collaboration“Celebrating the 5th Anniversary of the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement”, Saturday, September 21, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. CGUC. 

Thrift Stylist Event, Sunday, September 22, 1:00 p.m., Goodwill, 1348 Weber St E., Kitchener.

Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation (WICI)’s Conversations on Complex Systems, Monday, September 23, 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., DC 1302. 

Regulating Emotions: Learning Skills from Dialectical-Behavioural Therapy, Monday, September 23, 1:00 p.m., HS 2302 – Registration is by referral.

Open Format Conversations on Complex Systems with Bill Sutherland, Monday, September 23, 1:30 p.m., DC 1302.

Interviews: Preparing for Questions, Monday, September 23, 1:30 p.m., TC 1208.

Coping Skills Seminar - Empowering Habit Change, Monday, September 23, 3:30 p.m., HS 2302 – Register on LEADS.

QPR Mental Health Training for Students, Tuesday, September 24, 1:30 p.m., NH 2447 – Register on LEADS.

Faculty Lunch & Learn: Campus Tech Tips, Tuesday, September 24, 12:00  p.m. to 1:00 p.m. in MC 5479.

Coping Skills Seminar – Cultivating Resiliency, Tuesday, September 24, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302 – Register on LEADS.

Eating Disorder Support Group, Tuesday, September 24, 4:30 p.m., NH 3308 – Register on LEADS.

Concept by Velocity - Intro Session: Startup Mythbusters, “Curious about the myths and facts surrounding startups?”  Wednesday, September 25, 7:30 p.m., South Campus Hall, 2nd Floor.

NEW - Women & Non-binary New Year Meet & Greet, Wednesday, September 25, 12–1 p.m., LIB 323

NEW - Résumé Tips (for employees only), Tuesday, September 25, 12 - 1 p.m., TC1208.

NEW - Alleviating Anxiety Seminar, Wednesday, September 25, 1:00 p.m., HS 2302 – Register on LEADS.

NEW - Mindfulness Meditation: A Stress Reduction Program, Wednesday, September 25, 2:00 p.m., NH 2447 – Register on LEADS.

NEW - MySharePoint sites will be deleted, Tuesday, October 1. Instructions on moving content is available on the SharePoint website.

PhD oral defences

Physics & Astronomy. Lucia Gomez Cordova, "Non-perturbative approaches to Scattering Amplitudes." Supervisors, Pedro Vieira and Robert Myers. On deposit in the Science graduate office, PHY 2013. Oral defence Monday September 23, 1:00 p.m., PHY 374.

Sociology & Legal Studies. Allison Chenier, "Gender, Schooling, and Antisocial Behaviour: Perspectives of School Personnel." On deposit in the Arts graduate office, PAS 2428. Oral defence Tuesday September 24, 10:00 a.m., HH 373.

Pure Mathematics. Sylvie Davies, "Algebraic Approaches to State Complexity of Regular Operations." Thesis available from MGO - Oral defence Friday September 27, 11:00 a.m., MC 2009.

School of Pharmacy. Fahad Alzahrani, "Understanding the Relationship Between Pharmacists' Implicit and Explicit Bias and Perceptions of Pharmacist Services Among Arab and Black Individuals." On deposit in the Science graduate office, PHY 2013. Oral defence Tuesday October 1, 1:00 p.m., PHR 7007.