Monday, November 9, 2020

Research Talks presents Curing the COVID-19 Pandemic

Research Talks logo.

A message from the Office of Research.

Day to day life has changed for everyone. Vaccine development, physical distancing, and overall health are top of mind for government, people, and business as the search to cure the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Find out how two Waterloo researchers along with speakers from the World Health Organization and Public Health Agency of Canada are contributing to the current global efforts. This online panel presentation and Q&A for Waterloo staff, faculty, and students will examine risk, resilience, and public wellness on Tuesday, November 17 (11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.).

Please register to receive a link to Research Talks and hear from:

Katherine DeLand.Katherine DeLand (Trust and community engagement): As the senior health advisor in the Office of David Nabarro, WHO Special Envoy for COVID-19 Preparedness and Response, Katherine will discuss developing trust and engaging the community in the response to COVID-19.

Heather Hall.Heather Hall (Understanding recovery needs and resilience for rural Canada): Heather is an assistant professor and Director of the Economic Development and Innovation Program at Waterloo. She will provide a better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on rural communities across Canada and the innovative ways in which rural communities, businesses, and other organizations are responding to these impacts.

Plinio MoritaPlinio Morita (The role of the Internet of Things and mHealth in a pandemic): Plinio is an assistant professor with the School of Public Health and Health Systems (cross appointed with Systems Design Engineering) at Waterloo. He will discuss how IoT and mHealth technologies have been used to help better understand the impact of the pandemic on our population.

Nick Ogden.Nick Ogden (Predicting what comes next: Modelling the pandemic): As a senior research scientist and director of the public health risk sciences division within the National Microbiology Laboratory of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Nick will describe predictive modelling of COVID-19 within PHAC to model scenarios for the epidemic and effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions on transmission.

When friends become founders on the front line of climate change

Dominique Souris (BES ’16, MA ’18) (left) and Ana González Guerrero (BES ’15) (right) co-founded the Youth Climate Lab (YCL) in 2017.

Dominique Souris (BES ’16, MA ’18) (left) and Ana González Guerrero (BES ’15) (right) co-founded the Youth Climate Lab (YCL) in 2017.

By Natalie Quinlan. This story appears in the fall issue of Waterloo Magazine.

Business experts often warn against building a venture with your friends.

Dominique Souris (BES ’16, MA ’18) is glad she missed that lesson because now she’s leading a global organization fighting climate change with her longtime friend Ana González Guerrero (BES ’15).

The pair co-founded the Youth Climate Lab (YCL) in 2017 after González Guerrero responded to a Facebook call-out from Souris. That call-out turned into a conversation over drinks at a campus pub and now the friends are supporting projects that reach thousands of people in almost 80 countries.

The pair have been refining their aspirations and friendship since they both began their studies at Waterloo a decade ago. “I’ve always had a dream to work with friends,” Souris says. “It really comes down to respect and separating your ego from what you’re doing – focusing on the impact.”

YCL, which works to accelerate youth-led policy, projects and business, has collaborated with more than 30 partners around the world.

Co-founders inspired by co-op jobs

Both women credit their success to co-op education jobs in the private sector, academia, government and the non-profit sector. Participating in the United Nations’ Conference of the Parties (COP), an international gathering of leaders and young climate activists, was also a game-changer.

“That was a big moment for us,” González Guerrero says. “COP is super hectic. There are thousands of people in a tiny city with not a lot of accommodations, especially when you’re a non-profit with no budget staying in a small AirBnb, where Dominique and I were sharing a couch.”

Souris adds, “It was the first time we were travelling together; sleepdeprived together and hangry all of the time. You learn a lot about a person going through that. When we left COP, I thought, ‘This is my co-founder for life. I realized that we were building something really special.’”

Building a global venture has meant they’ve had to be agile problem-solvers. “At Waterloo, I learned that there are problems everywhere, at all scales, and you may want to solve all of those problems, but it won’t be feasible,” Souris says. "You have to decide what abilities, strengths and passions you bring to the table – and that’s where you direct your energy.

W Store upgrades POS system to improve contactless shopping experience

A message from W Store.

W Store logo.W Store is in the process of upgrading their point of sale system to further improve their in-person shopping experience. One component of the hardware upgrade focuses on prioritizing contactless payments at checkout. As of December 1, 2020, older versions of WatCard with a magnetic stripe that require the card to be swiped for payment will no longer be accepted at any W Store, W Store Essentials or W Print location.

Faculty, staff and students with a WatCard issued prior to August 2017 will need a new WatCard to enable contactless payments. To get a new WatCard, book an appointment for an in-person visit to the WatCard office, located on the lower level of the Student Life Centre. You will need to bring your current WatCard to your appointment in order to receive a free WatCard update.

For more information about WatCard, please contact the WatCard Office by email at or by phone at 519-888-4567, ext. 32751.

Link of the day

Alex Trebek, 1940-2020

When and Where to get support

Students can visit the Student Success Office online for supports including academic development, international student resources, leadership development, exchange and study abroad, and opportunities to get involved.

Instructors can visit the Keep Learning website to get support on adapting their teaching and learning plans for an online environment. The following workshops are current offerings from the KL team (CTE, CEL, ITMS, LIB):

Independent Remote Course Design Essentials. Self-directed, continuous self-enrollment course in LEARN.

Remote Course Design Essentials, beginning Wednesday, November 11. 

Assessment Design Cafe, Friday, November 20, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. 

Employees can access resources to help them work remotely, including managing University records and privacy of personal information. Here are some tips for staying healthy while working from home.

The Writing and Communication Centre is rolling out virtual services and programs for fall term: 

  • Undergrad students -- work with us to brainstorm, draft, revise, and polish assignments by meeting with our writing advisors in virtual appointments. Chat with our friendly and knowledgeable peer tutors in our virtual drop-ins and PJ-friendly writing groups. Or experience an online workshop at your own pace. 
  • First-year Warriors! Check out Waterloo Ready to Write to build your skills for writing success.
  • Graduate Students -- meet with an advisor in a virtual appointments, take an online workshop,  join the grad writing community at our Virtual Writing Cafés and #WaterlooWrites groups, develop your academic voice at Speak Like a Scholar, or make progress on your thesis at Dissertation Boot Camp.
  • Instructors and faculty -- Request and access WCC workshops for use in your courses, join a virtual writing group, or speak with a writing advisor about a writing project.

We understand that these circumstances can be troubling, and you may need to speak with someone for emotional support. Good2Talk is a post-secondary student helpline based in Ontario, Canada that is available to all students. If you feel overwhelmed or anxious and need to talk to somebody, please contact the University’s Campus Wellness services, either Health Services or  Counselling Services. You can also contact the University's Centre for Mental Health Research and Treatment.

The Library has published a resource guide on how to avoid information overload.

The Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo (FAUW) continues to advocate for its members. Check out the FAUW blog for more information.

The University of Waterloo Staff Association (UWSA) continues to advocate for its members. Check out the UWSA blog for more information.

The Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre facilitates the sharing of Indigenous knowledge and provides culturally relevant information and support services for all members of the University of Waterloo community, including Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, staff, and faculty.

WUSA supports for students:

Food Support Service food hampers are currently available from the Turnkey Desk on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Student Life Centre. If you have any questions please email us at

The Bike Centre – Now open by appointment for your bicycle repair and rental needs in the Student Life Centre. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please go to:

Centre for Academic Policy Support - CAPS is here to assist Waterloo undergraduates throughout their experience in navigating academic policy in the instances of filing petitions, grievances and appeals. Please contact them at More information at

WUSA Commissioners who can help in a variety of areas that students may be experiencing during this time:

WUSA Student Legal Protection Program - Seeking legal counsel can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time facing a legal issue. The legal assistance helpline provides quick access to legal advice in any area of law, including criminal. Just call 1-833-202-4571

Empower Me is a confidential mental health and wellness service that connects students with qualified counsellors 24/7. They can be reached at 1-833-628-5589.

When and Where (but mostly when)

Healthy Warriors at Home. Free programming including Online Fitness, Health Webinars, Personalized Nutrition and more from Warriors Athletics and Rec. Open to students, staff, faculty and alumni. Register today.

Renison English Language Institute continues to offer virtual events and workshops to help students practice their English language skills.

Warriors vs. Laurier Blood Donation Battle, until December 2020. Join your fellow Warriors, donate blood and help us win the Blood Battle against Laurier for a second year in a row. Set up a profile or add the PFL code: UNIV960995 to your account if you have a account already. Questions? Contact

Sportsnet Hockey Hack: Powered by Rogers 5G participation applications close Monday, November 9.

Shift Neutral Town Hall, Tuesday, November 10. 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Map the System Student Webinar, hosted by the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement, Tuesday, November 10, 3:00 p.m. Registration required.

Social Justice Wednesdays presents a Virtual Discussion with Dr. Greta Kroeker, "The Artemisia Project and Rape Culture in Early Modern Europe,” Wednesday November 11, 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m., Webex meeting invite available through link.

Noon Hour Concert: The Path before Me - A Woman's Journey (Premiere), Wednesday, November 11, 12:30 p.m.

NEW - Global Insights: “Asia, the West, and the Global Economy: Promise or Crisis? featuring a panel of international experts, including Waterloo Professor John Ravenhill, and moderated by Balsillie School Director Ann Fitz-Gerald, Thursday, November 12, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

NEW - Grad Student Community and Conversation Circle, Thursday, November 12, 3:30 p.m., Online – Register on GoSignMeUp.

NEW - WaterLeadership: Get Published: Tips from Editors-in-Chief (Live Webinar), Tuesday, November 17, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

NEW - Portfolio & Project Management Community of Practice (PPM CoP) session, "How to create time to reach a goal," Wednesday, November 18, 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Register for this event.