Thursday, October 7, 2021

PART and Thrive invite you to talk about mental health at the intersections

Let's Talk Mental Health at the Intersections banner.

As the University of Waterloo gears up to celebrate Thrive Month, October 18 to November 12, the President’s Anti-racism Taskforce (PART), in collaboration with Thrive, have organized a virtual panel discussion called “Let’s Talk About Mental Health at the Intersections,” on Thursday, October 21 from 1:00 pm, to 2:30 pm. 

Panelists, Iqra Mohammad, student member of PART’s Health and Mental Health working group, Dinuka Gunaratne, manager, Career Education Strategy and Communications, Dr. Yewande Olamide, medical psychotherapist, and Farshid Sadatsharifi, PhD, director, Samaak Inc. will focus on intersectionality (the convergence of two or more identities within a person) and its effects on health and wellbeing. 

Hosted by Professor Bessma Momani, the virtual panel discussion will highlight how identities intersect and manifest themselves in the form of inequities and the effects these intersecting identities and inequities can have on health, mental health, and wellbeing. 

Participants can also expect to learn about practices of self-care, strategies to heal trauma and engage in discussions on what more needs to be done to support individuals with intersecting identities and promote equity. 

“Mental health can be a taboo topic among racialized groups,” said Anita Taylor, PhD, associate director, research strategic initiatives, and member of the PART planning team. “Even more rare are conversations about the intersections of age, race, religion, gender identity, and sexual identity, among other identities, and how these identities affect mental health,” she explained.

“Providing objective safe spaces for discussions about mental issues plays a role in maintaining good mental health for everyone, not just for individuals living at the intersections. Let’s Talk Mental Health at the Intersections provides an opportunity for the campus community to engage in meaningful discussions that highlight how inequality can be addressed to ensure people are able to enjoy good mental health,” Taylor added.  

“Mental health is a shared responsibility, said Grace Wong, Student Mental Health project coordinator, Thrive Core Committee co-chair, and member of PART’s Health and Mental Health working group. “Through Thrive, we aim to promote access to mental health services and share skills and resources that every member of Waterloo can use for themselves and to support others. With an increased focus on mental wellness through a holistic lens, we hope to enhance mental health literacy, build healthy habits and self-care skills, and foster an empathetic and inclusive community."

World Mental Health Day is on October 10 and the World Health Organization (WHO) is encouraging institutions to engage in activities that will raise awareness about mental health issues and mobilize efforts to support mental health, throughout the month of October and beyond.

If you would like to participate in Let’s Talk Mental Health at the Intersections, please register.

Graduate online application system is now live

A message from Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA).

Experts from Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA), Information System and Technology (IST), and points of contact from all faculties, have been hard at work to create a new graduate online application system, which successfully launched yesterday, Wednesday October 6. Graduate student applicants will now apply through the University of Waterloo graduate online application system (powered by the CRM Slate), instead of the previous application interface, which relied on the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC).

The graduate online application system supports Waterloo’s strategic direction for graduate recruitment and allows for greater integration and control of the recruitment, application and admissions processes for future master’s and doctoral applicants. The online application launch is phase one of a multi-phase Graduate Recruitment and Admissions Transformation Project (GRATP), with ongoing improvements and new functionality forthcoming. The project team will continue to work on systems to support the marketing, communications, recruitment, and application processes, as well as to continue to provide superior services to all stakeholders. GSPA and IST are very grateful for the important and productive partnerships with faculty- and program-level colleagues; thank you for your collective support.

Philippe Van Cappellen Named 2021 American Geophysical Union Fellow

This article was originally published on the Water Institute's website.

Philippe Van Cappellen.Philippe Van Cappellen, professor, Faculty of Science, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Canada Excellence Research Chair Laureate in Ecohydrology, has been elected as an American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Fellow.

Since 1962, the AGU Union Fellows Committee has selected less than 0.1 per cent of members as new Fellows. The AGU, a non-profit organization that supports 130,000 scientists and enthusiasts worldwide in earth, atmospheric, ocean, hydrologic, space, and planetary sciences, annually recognizes a select number of individuals as part of its Honors and Recognition program. Philippe joins 59 colleagues in the 2021 Class of Fellows.

Philippe was selected as an AGU Fellow in recognition of his outstanding contributions to earth and hydrologic sciences. His work embodies AGU’s vision of a thriving, sustainable, and equitable future powered by discovery, innovation, and action. Equally important is that Philippe has conducted his research and teaching with integrity and respect while valuing collaboration, diversity, and outreach.

“It is a distinct honor to be named American Geophysical Union Fellow,” said Van Cappellen. “It only deepens my resolve as a scientist to foster closer public engagement with the grand environmental challenges of our time.” 

Philippe is an exceptionally creative and productive international scholar who has pioneered cross-disciplinary breakthroughs in reactive transport modeling and insights about biogeochemical processes in environmental systems. He is a gifted mentor and teacher and a dedicated citizen of the research community.

His impact is demonstrated not only by his extensive publication record (H-index 79, >260 publications, total citations >20,000), but also by the translation of his advances to guide natural resource management and environmental remediation; his contributions to community leadership; and his significant efforts to train and develop the next generation of diverse, interdisciplinary environmental scientists.

“Philippe is a pioneer and exceptional leader in the field of ecohydrology. This prestigious AGU Union Fellow award is a well-deserved honor,” said Water Institute executive director Roy Brouwer, professor in the Department of Economics and University of Waterloo Research Chair in Water Resources Economics.

Philippe served for eight years as co-Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Hydrology and led the International Society for Environmental Biogeochemistry from 2018 to 2020. He has (co-)organized large international meetings, including the 2009 Goldschmidt Conference and the 1st International Conference on Water Security in 2018. He is active on many scientific advisory boards, in Canada, US, EU, China and for UNESCO. Philippe chaired the selection committee for the 2020 Science Innovation Award of the European Association of Geochemistry. In recent years, he has been actively promoting open data in the environmental sciences and enabling citizen scientists and indigenous communities to collect and manage water quality data. 

Philippe holds a PhD in Geochemistry from Yale University, and a BSc & MSc Geology & Mineralogy, from Free University of Brussels, Belgium.

AGU will formally recognize this year’s recipients during #AGU21 Fall Meeting, 13-17 December 2021 in New Orleans, LA and online everywhere. This celebration is a chance for AGU’s community to recognize the outstanding work of our colleagues and be inspired by their accomplishments and stories. 

Remembering Marsha Blok

Marsha Blok.Maatje (Marsha) Blok passed away suddenly but peacefully on September 29, 2021 at the Guelph General Hospital at the age of 92.

Marsha came to Canada with her parents and 4 of her siblings in 1948 from the Netherlands. After marrying and having her 2 children, Marsha decided to become a librarian. She went to high school, obtained a BA at the University of Waterloo and a MLS from the University of Western Ontario. She took a position at the University of Waterloo where she was a dedicated and highly professional academic librarian until she retired in 1994 after twenty-five years of service. Marsha was a valued member of the Reference and Collections Development Department in the Dana Porter Library where she had been appointed as the Liaison Librarian for the Germanic and Slavic Studies Department.  Her linguistic talents were fully employed in her work that involved not only assisting undergraduate and graduate students in that department with their studies but also in developing an extensive collection of books and journals for the Porter Library collection which were relevant to the professors’ specialized areas of teaching and research. Marsha was a great enthusiast of the University of Waterloo and was proud to be a member of its staff.

Upon hearing about her recent death one of the professors that Marsha worked with, David John, now a Distinguished Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the department, wrote this about Marsha, referring to when he arrived at UWaterloo at the age of 28 with a PhD dissertation still to finish: “She more than took me under her pedagogic wing, she tutored me like a mother hen in methods of research and sources of information in not only our Waterloo Porter Library but also in the process of reaching other libraries as well. This was particularly useful given the rarity of the material, both primary and secondary, with which I had chosen to work. Marsha’s personality was outgoing, she was one to be remembered for her dedication and generosity to me, and no doubt many others. I am saddened to hear of her passing and grateful for the legacy she has left behind.”

"Marsha was never afraid of a challenge and inspired many with her originality, positivity and tenacity," writes daughter Vivian Blok. "She was a keen traveller and was curious about how history shapes different cultures. At home, she loved to sit in the sunshine and enjoy her garden. She will be long remembered."

She is survived by her son and daughter Frank and Vivian Blok, grandsons Jaril Blok and his partner Beth Samuels, Rowan and Linden Forster, and great-grandsons Aiden, Rylan and Liam.

Your Daily Inspirations continue and other notes

Daily Inspiration banner.

Today's Daily Inspiration

Racism always impacts the well-being of communities and individuals

Be part of the change:

  • Sign up for Catalyst, UWaterloo's newsletter to learn more about the many staff, faculty and students who are engaged in anti-racism work each day on campus and how you can get involved
  • Join Anthony McLean's keynote next Wednesday, October 13 on The Intersection of Mental Health and Anti-Racism

See all Daily Inspirations on the Keeping Well at Work conference site. Questions and contest entries can be sent to or tweet @OHDuwaterloo.

"Looking at the weather forecast of cold nights and cloudy afternoons you probably wonder when UWaterloo will turn up the heat on campus," says a note from Stepanka Elias, executive director, facilities in Plant Operations. "The good news is that all of our heating systems are now ready for winter operation. Typically, the change from cooling to heating happens only once each season because, unlike our houses where you can turn the heat on/off, the large district energy system cannot easily pivot from heating to cooling and back."

"Central Plant engineers are monitoring the average temperatures in our buildings and the long-range weather forecast," Elias writes. "The plan for cooling to heating switchover to take place shortly after Thanksgiving. In the days and weeks ahead, please dress in layers and be patient; winter is on its way and the warm days will not last."

 If you have any concerns about the operation of your building and the HVAC system, please email (non-urgent issues) or call the Plant Operations 24-Hour Emergency Service Line at ext. 33793 (emergencies only).

An open exam booklet.

The fall 2021 final examination schedule is now available on the Registrar's Office website. The fall final examination period takes place between December 9 and 23, 2021, and includes Sunday, December 12.

Need inspiration? Come join the WCC Virtual Writing Café and write together with other grads, postdocs, and faculty members. Write together and meet others. Sessions occur every Tuesdays and Fridays at 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon and Wednesdays from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Link of the day

World Cotton Day

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 looking for targeted support for developing online components for blended learning courses, transitioning remote to fully online courses, revising current online courses, and more please visit Agile Development | Centre for Extended Learning | University of Waterloo (

Instructors can visit the Keep Learning website to get support on adapting their teaching and learning plans for an online environment.

Course templates are available within your course in LEARN to help you build and edit your content and assignment pages quickly.

The following workshops, webinars, and events are offered by the KL team (CTE, CEL, ITMS, LIB):

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.

Stay informed about COVID cases on campus by consulting the COVID case tracker.

The Writing and Communication Centre has virtual services and programs to help undergrads, grad students, postdocs and faculty members with academic writing.

Co-op students can get help finding a job and find supports to successfully work remotely, develop new skills, access wellness and career information, and contact a co-op or career advisor.

The Centre for Career Action (CCA) is offering some in-person services for fall 2021. The Tatham Centre is open with front-desk support, limited in-person appointments and co-op consults. Services are also available virtually. Book an appointment online or Live Chat with our Client Support Team. The CCA is here to help.

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 TreatmentGood2Talk is a post-secondary student helpline available to all students.

While the Library continues to focus on digital resources and consultations, our spaces are open for the fall term. Dana Porter Library is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Davis Centre Library is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for drop-in individual study space, bookable individual study rooms, drop-in access to computers and printers, book pick-up services and IST Help Desk support. Special Collections & Archives and the Geospatial Centre will be accessible by appointment. Library staff are available for questions via Ask us. Full details on current services and hours are available on the Library’s COVID-19 Update webpage

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 Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPRO) supports all members of the University of Waterloo campus community who have experienced, or been impacted, by sexual violence. This includes all students, staff, faculty and visitors on the main campus, the satellite campuses, and at the affiliated and federated Waterloo Institutes and Colleges. For support, email: or visit the SVPRO website.

The Indigenous Initiatives Office is a central hub that provides guidance, support, and resources to all Indigenous and non-Indigenous campus community members and oversees the university Indigenization strategy.

The Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre, based at St. Paul’s University College, provides support and resources for Indigenous students, and educational outreach programs for the broader community, including lectures, and events.

WUSA supports for students:

Peer support  - MATES, Glow Centre, RAISE, Women’s Centre - Visit to book an appointment either in person or online for the Fall term!

Food Support Service food hampers are currently available from the Turnkey Desk 24/7 in the Student Life Centre. Drop off locations are also open again in SLC, DC, DP, SCH and all residences.

Co-op Connection all available online. Check for more details.

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 caps@wusa.caMore information is available.

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 (Online Fitness)

Warriors vs. Laurier Blood Donation Battle. 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

Drop-in to Warrior Virtual Study Halls on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Come together in this virtual space to set goals and work independently or in groups each week.

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

Employer Impact Awards Virtual Ceremony, Thursday, October 7, 12 noon.

Inaugural 2021–22 Distinguished Lecture Series with Raquel Urtasun, Founder and CEO of Waabi Innovation Inc., Professor at University of Toronto, and Co-founder, Vector Institute for AI, Thursday, October 7 at 12:30 p.m. Online Zoom presentation hosted by the Cheriton School of Computer Science.

IQC Alum Lecture Series: Corey Rae McRae, Thursday, October 7, 2:30 p.m.

Book Launch, “Dress in Mediterranean Antiquity”, Thursday, October 7, 7:00 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College (virtual).

Thanksgiving holiday, Monday, October 11, most University operations closed.

Keeping Well at Work conference, Wednesday, October 13 and Tuesday, October 19.

NEW - Spanish and Latin American Studies presents Dr. Dolores Figueroa Romero, Binational Dialogues on the Challenges to Document Violence Against Indigenous Women in Mexico and Canada,” Tuesday, October 19, 11:00 a.m. RSVP to Jorge Castaneda Ochoa,

NEW - GEDI Exchange Webinar - A 30 Minute Exchange with Metagenom Bio and Ceragen, Tuesday, October 19, 1:00 p.m. Join this discussion with Metagenom Bio and Ceragen as they discuss Microbiomes: Building a business and feeding the world. Register online.

NEW - 2021 Benjamin Eby Lecture, “Composing Louis Riel's Dream: Exploring the history of the Red River Settlement through family stories and music”, Thursday, October 21, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College. Virtual event.

PhD oral defences

Chemistry. Laidong Zhou, "Lithium ion conducting inorganic solid electrolytes and all solid-state lithium batteries." Supervisor, Linda Nazar. This thesis has been deposited in the Faculty of Science Graduate Office. Oral defence Tuesday, October 12, 10:00 a.m.

Computer Science. Akshay Ramachandran, "Geodesic Convex Analysis of Group Scaling for the Paulsen Problem and the Tensor normal model." Supervisor, Lap Chi Lau. Thesis available from MGO - Oral defence Tuesday, October 12, 1:30 p.m.

School of Accounting and Finance. Min Jeong Hong, "Fair Value Accounting and Informational Efficiency: A Look at the Confirmatory Role of Financial Reports." Supervisor, Patricia O'Brien. Thesis available upon request from the Faculty of Arts, Graduate Studies and Research Officer. Oral defence Wednesday, October 13, 1:00 p.m.