President's Town Hall Meeting today
President Feridun Hamdullahpur will be hosting a virtual President's Town Hall Meeting this morning on Microsoft Teams.
President Hamdullahpur and senior leaders will provide an update on key issues and about how the University plans to expand in-person experiences for our students and staff in the fall and beyond, from operational changes and safety concerns to progress on vaccinations and beyond.
Sandra Banks, vice-president, university relations, will host and moderate the town hall event.
Attendees can take part in a live Q&A following the president’s presentation.
Equity survey distribution begins
Students, faculty and staff will begin to receive invitations to participate in the University of Waterloo's equity survey today. Some 48,000 undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows and unionized employees will receive an email invitation over the next two days.
The purpose of this survey is to understand the makeup of our community in order to identify equity gaps in our programs, services and policies. Your responses are important to help us do this work.
Look for your unique survey invitation in your @uwaterloo email inbox. For more information, visit the equity survey website.
Campus prepares for 6,887 degrees of Convocation
6,887 students will be crossing the virtual stage in six ceremonies later this week as final preparations are in progress for the 2021 spring Convocation celebration.
At this point, we’re no stranger to celebrating convocation virtually, however this spring the University will be celebrating its graduands with online ceremonies rather than via targeted emails.
There will be 7,251 credentials, such as degrees, diplomas, and certificates, distributed among the more than 6,800 graduands, who hail from more than 60 countries including Canada, China, India, South Korea, Pakistan, Nigeria and Malaysia.
The six ceremonies will take place on Friday, June 18 and Saturday, June 19. All graduands, faculty, their families and the UWaterloo community are invited to faculty-specific virtual ceremonies on the following dates on Eastern Standard Time:
- June 18 — Health (1:00 p.m.), Environment (4:00 p.m.) and Mathematics (7:00 p.m.)
- June 19 — Arts (1:00 p.m.), Science (4:00 p.m.) and Engineering (7:00 p.m.)
During the week of convocation (June 14 to 20), the University social channels will see a “takeover” of convocation-themed assets and content, including sharing messages of pride, student-generated content and student stories from our faculties. Channels will amplify stories and news presented by University Communications and faculty communicators.
The UWaterloo community are asked to share photos and congratulatory remarks to honour the Class of 2021. Please use the hashtag #UWaterlooGrad when sharing your content on social media.
By Saturday's end, the graduands will have joined an alumni family of more than 220,000 Waterloo Warriors.
For more information visit the convocation website.
Turning research into commerce, one fish at a time
A Waterloo Engineering alumnus who parlayed his graduate research into a startup company that is out to solve worldwide water problems has been recognized by a national innovation organization.
Jason Deglint, a co-founder of Blue Lion Labs, is one of five winners of Mitacs Entrepreneur Awards for turning research into businesses that impact the lives of Canadians.
The honour in the global impact category comes a month after Blue Lion, which was launched in 2018, teamed up with a leading marine technology company in the United Kingdom to develop an imaging system to warn fish farmers of harmful plankton and algae blooms.
OTAQ announced it is investing $300,000 for an approximate 10-per-cent stake in the Waterloo-based company. The partners are aiming to commercialize the technology within the next 18 months.
Deglint (MASc ’16, systems design engineering, PhD ’19, systems design engineering) was described by Mitacs, a non-profit organization backed by federal and provincial governments, as “an up-and-coming entrepreneur” who is advancing “first-of-its-kind technology.”
The system based on his doctoral research combines artificial intelligence (AI) software with a custom digital microscope to automatically detect harmful algae in water.
Current testing methods rely primarily on analysis of water samples at off-site labs and results can take up to a week to obtain.
The technology being developed by Deglint and Blue Lion co-founder Katie Thomas, who has a doctorate in biology from the University of Waterloo, would yield results in minutes and effectively function as an early warning system.
“Essentially, if fish farms want to know what types of organisms are in their water today, the sample ends up on a slide with a human looking at it,” Deglint said in a media release. “It’s a tedious, time-consuming task that’s prone to human error.”
A growing industry, aquaculture represents about a third of the total fisheries value in Canada. Harmful algae blooms are a major source of damage and losses.
Deglint, who worked at Waterloo Engineering as a Mitacs postdoctoral researcher, was scheduled to receive his award during an online ceremony today.
“Supporting innovation is essential to help Canada rebound from the repercussions of the global pandemic, and Mitacs is extremely proud of the remarkable accomplishments achieved by our network of talented entrepreneurs,” John Hepburn, the CEO and scientific director of Mitacs, said in the release.
Indigenous artist performs with the K-W Symphony; other notes
As part of the National Indigenous History Month events across campus, the Indigenous Initiatives Office is offering campus community members a chance to stream artist, musician, and creator iskwē in her performance with the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony.
"This collaboration features music from her latest award-winning album, acākosīk, and previous acclaimed releases," says a message from the Indigenous Initiatives Office. "The performance tips a cap to modern innovators like Florence + The Machine and FKA twigs while simultaneously borrowing sounds accumulated over centuries by iskwē’s Cree and Métis ancestors. A limited number of registrations are available during the month of June for campus members to stream this performance for free in your home. To avoid missing out, register for your promotional code as soon as you can."
The video stream must be watched by June 30. Because there are only a limited number of spots, please only register if you are able to view the performance within this time period. Learn more and register.
While we're on the subject of registering, registration is now open for Waterloo Warriors Youth Camps, including multi-sport and games, baseball, basketball, soccer, football, hockey and volleyball day camps. "The Department of Athletics and Recreation’s number one priority is the health and safety of all campers and staff, while creating a fun and enjoyable atmosphere," says a note from Athletics. "All of our camp protocols and policies follow the guidelines put in place by the Public Health Services of Waterloo." For more information or to register, visit www.gowarriorsgo.ca/camps.
Plant Operations is advising that Key Control and Parking Services will be closed on Wednesday, June 16 due to a planned power outage at GSC that day. "We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause," says a note from Rex Coffin, director of business operations for Plant Ops. "Please note that calls to Plant Operations maintenance and service line (x43793) will still be monitored through the day."
The Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology (CBB) will be hosting a workshop in collaboration with the Praxis Spinal Cord Institute on Friday, June 18.
The Indigenous Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) workshop "will feature talks on best practices in research methodology involving Indigenous peoples and the challenges of those with spinal cord injury, particularly in Indigenous communities. It will also have small breakout rooms to discuss basics of entrepreneurship, Indigenous identity, the ideation process, and a Q&A on the program."
This workshop is the kick-off event to the CBB's Indigenous SCI Grant Competition. Workshop participants are eligible to apply for one of eight $2,250 awards to develop a solution that will improve the lives of individuals with spinal cord injury with an Indigenous lens. "With this event we hope to set context for Stage Two of the competition, with awards of $17,500 and $10,000," says a note from CBB. "Please visit the program site for more information."
The event takes place from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Friday. Indigenous SCI Workshop Registration.