Monday, March 7, 2022

St. Paul's GreenHouse alumnus wins National Changemaker Award

Hannah Sennick

This article was originally published on St. Paul's University College website.

Hannah Sennik (BASc ’19), a St. Paul’s GreenHouse alumnus has been recognized as one of Canada’s top 50 Changemakers in the 2022 Globe and Mail’s Report on Business. 

Hannah attended the University of Waterloo (UW) as she worked to complete her degree in Systems Design Engineering. In the year after her graduation, Hannah attended John Hopkins University to complete her Masters in Bioengineering Innovation and Design and focused on developing a low-cost monitoring solution for neonatal health. In addition to her studies, Hannah has donated thousands of hours to volunteering, held positions at Apple, Intellijoint Surgical Inc., and SickKids Foundation and successfully incorporated the company she began as a part of her fourth-year capstone project, Rekammend. 

Rekammend was conceptualized and founded by a team of four Systems Design Engineering students as part of their fourth-year capstone design project. The Rekammend team worked closely with individuals with aphasia and their care circle to develop a deeper understanding of their needs. Keeping these needs top of mind, they successfully created the app řeka which helps individuals increase their social health, comfort, and participation in daily activities.   

Hannah and her co-founders first joined GreenHouse’s Workplace Innovation Program as a way to incorporate social impact into their project. Fortunately, GreenHouse was able to connect Hannah’s team with KidsAbility, a local child development centre that was looking to improve the ability of non-communicative children to engage in spontaneous play. Through GreenHouse, Hannah and her team received innovation training, mentorship and access to funding that allowed them to conceptualize and develop řeka.

The řeka app allows users who have suffered a stroke or traumatic brain injury to regain their voices using predictive text, AI, and GPS technologies. The word-retrieval app enables communication that is six times faster than it would be with traditional word-finding tools and equips users with aphasia to engage in meaningful conversations. řeka not only serves to break down barriers to social connection for those with speech and language disorders, but it serves as an inspiring example for other talented young engineering professionals to make a difference in their communities. Hannah not only views Rekammend as a company creating a product but also as a company that inspires change through community-based education and awareness.

Hannah wears many hats and is not afraid to try new things. She actively volunteers, mentors UW students, employs co-op students and offers internships at Rekammend, among many other things. And though saying she is busy would be a vast understatement, Hannah brings energy and positivity to every interaction she has. It is very clear that the work she is doing is work she cares for deeply. 

The impact that GreenHouse alumnus Hannah Sennik has made and her impactful work with Rekammend started at GreenHouse with her experience in the Workplace Innovation Program. Learn more about GreenHouse and how the Workplace Innovation Program can help your capstone project make social impact.  

Congratulations, Hannah! 

This Is Open Education Week!

OE week 2022 logo

A message from the Open Scholarship Committee.

We are thrilled to announce a new grant opportunity: The UW OER Fellows Grant Program. A total amount of $15,000 is available in grants of up to $5,000 to support the uptake of open educational resources (OER) at the University of Waterloo. Grants can be used to design and create original resources, adapt existing resources, or develop resources that mix original and adapted content. More information is available on the OER Fellows grant guidelines page. Applications must be submitted by April 1, 2022. The Program is a Library initiative.

An Information Session: OER Fellows Grant will be held March 10. The first half of this 1-hour session will provide an overview of the OER Fellows Grant Program and how your OER project can be supported. It will be led by Mike Chee, Open Education Librarian, and Anna Barichello, lead of the Centre for Extended Learning’s new Agile Development Team. The second half of the session is reserved for any questions you may have about this initiative and the application process. We look forward to seeing you there!

This week we are launching the first in a series of profiles of Waterloo educators who are using and/or creating open educational resources. Profiles include information about their work and motivation to go open. To find out more about open teaching in disciplines such as German, Sociology, Biology, Urban Engineering, and Organic Chemistry, see OER Practitioners at Waterloo.

Elsewhere this week there are free, virtual sessions on OE at Canadian institutions such as the University of Alberta, UBC, and Athabasca. Sessions include Alberta’s “Using OEP to Engage First Year Biology Students – Online!” and “Ed Tech for Open Pedagogies” as well as McMaster’s “Lightning Round” featuring open content in Engineering, Medicine, Math, and Environment. Find these and others listed on OSC’s Events.

In upcoming weeks, the Centre for Extended Learning will be hosting a Virtual Learning Strategy (VLS) Showcase to highlight the Waterloo projects that eCampus Ontario funded in 2021. Project leads will provide a brief overview of the open resource(s) they developed and participate in a Q&A period. The Showcase sessions will be held on March 28th and April 13, 2022, between 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. They will be recorded and made available on CEL’s website. For a schedule of events, see eCO Virtual Learning Strategy Showcase Part 1 and Part 2. For more information contact Meg Nietsch.

OE Week is an annual celebration of open education.

For further information about open education or to become involved in raising awareness, see Open Scholarship at Waterloo.

Addressing racial disparities in osteoarthritis research

Osteoarthritis call for participants

This article was originally published in the Catalyst newsletter.

By 2041, over 10 million Canadians will live with the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis. Yet, despite growing evidence that Black people experience more severe osteoarthritis-related pain and disability compared to their white counterparts, most osteoarthritis (OA) research engage only white participants. Rachel Almaw, a research assistant at the Mobilize Clinical Biomechanics Lab, in the Department of Kinesiology, is not only concerned about Black underrepresentation in osteoarthritis (OA) research but plans to do something about it.

The undergraduate student is part of a team of researchers exploring the diverse experiences and impacts of osteoarthritis-related pain among Black and white Canadians. This team also includes Professor Monica Maly as the principal investigator and Denise Le from the Faculty of Science, another student investigator. 

The research objectives include exploring the context surrounding the experience and impact of pain due to OA during daily activity, investigating how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the experience of OA-related pain and exploring barriers, challenges and strategies to promote wellbeing.

“Race-based health disparities exist in osteoarthritis,” Almaw said.The current understanding of OA-related pain is narrow, reflecting an overall lack of racial diversity among participants represented in the existing literature. This research study aims to gain an understanding of the diverse experiences and impacts of osteoarthritis-related pain among Black and White Canadians and improve representation in the OA literature.”

Evidence exists that not only are Black people more likely to have been diagnosed with certain types of osteoarthritis, but they experience worsened pain and have greater pain-related disabilities. She believes that the absence of representation is further contributing to a narrow understanding of OA-related pain among racialized groups. 

“It is critical that we improve inclusion of underrepresented groups in OA-related research which is why we have chosen to investigate this issue,” she said.

The research assistant explained that information learned from this study will be used to further educate health care providers on the wide range of impacts of osteoarthritis among diverse individuals living with this condition.  

The researchers are currently seeking out participants who self-identify as Black or White, are 45+ years of age, currently living with knee/hip pain and/or osteoarthritis in those regions. Participants will be expected to attend two virtual meetings and questionnaires can be completed online or via phone. Interested participants are encouraged to reach out to for more information.

Announcing "KIX 2022," the Knowledge Integration Exhibit

Knowledge Integration Exhibition logo

KIX (n): Knowledge Integration eXhibition; a convergence of disciplines, teaching methods and creative minds in an object-centric exhibition on topics related to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The students of the Knowledge Integration program invite you to experience the culmination of our third-year design project: The Museum Course. Working in teams to produce these exhibits has been a rewarding and unique experience. 

In building our exhibits, we have moved beyond the traditional projects and assignments typical of an undergraduate experience. The creation process allowed us to be self-directed and enabled us to incorporate skills from many different disciplines. The result is an exhibition that showcases our knowledge of museums and their design methods, as well as our teamwork and dedication to something that is a little out-of-the-box.

Visit our exhibits and learn about:

  • Mind Your Body: How your mind affects your physical health.
  • Home Grown: Discover the past, present and future of Southwestern Ontario Agriculture
  • Single-Use Society: Reimagine everyday objects. Break away from Single-Use.
  • Birds of a Feather, When We Flock Together: Explore the relationship between belonging and othering and learn how to promote inclusive communities.
  • [Un]Welcome: Where do you go when there’s nowhere to stay? An exploration of hostile architecture.
  • The Cost of Convenience: The Hidden Toll of Consumer Choices
  • Stuff Your Sex Ed Teacher(s) Never Told You: What was missing from your sex education?

The event runs daily from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Monday, March 14 to Friday, March 18, and from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday March 19 at St. Jerome's University. Learn more about KIX and the Knowledge Integration program, or about this year's event details.


Promotional poster for upcoming tax clinic

Tax season is here and AFSA is back with its FREE Tax Clinic 2022! A group of trained volunteers will provide free tax return services for low-income individuals and families. This year, the annual tax clinic will be held from March 19-20, and March 26-27. To see if you qualify for our FREE services, please visit today! The link also includes information on how to receive our tax-filing service.  

A woman doing a vision testResearchers at the School of Optometry & Vision Science are currently seeking adults (18 years or older) who do not have a history of significant ocular/eye or general health disorders to participate in a study assessing shifts in visual midline (perceived straight ahead position) in the typical population. Changes in the visual midline may be associated with balance problems and knowing the normal range in healthy individuals will allow us to diagnose a shift in a person with a neurological disorder. This new study will include two study visits lasting approximately 60 minutes, that include standard eye exam procedures in addition to some tests to assess visual midline. Eligible participants will receive $20 upon completion of each study visit. For more information, please contact Amritha Stalin ( 

This study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through a University of Waterloo Research Ethics Committee.

"Join Feminist Think Tank on Monday, March 14th for the third event in their Networked Feminisms Speaker Series: Activist Assemblies and Digital Practices," says a note from the Games Institute.

Based on the book "Networked Feminisms" edited by GI Members Drs. Shana MacDonald and Brianna Wiens, this third session will explore Digital Activism in Practice, focusing on racial justice, intersectional feminism, South Asian digital diasporic community, and reproductive justice to explore practices of digital activism. Speaker include Leandra H. Hernández, Radhika Gajjala, Sujatha Subramanian, and Angela Smith.

Register on Eventbrite here:

Link of the day

40 years ago: Fitzcarraldo

When and Where to get support

Students can visit the Student Success Office online for supports including academic development, international student resources, immigration consulting, 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):

Supports are available for employees returning to campus. Visit IST’s Hybrid Work and Technology guidelines and workplace protocols to assist with the transition.

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) has virtual services and programs to support undergrads, grad students, postdocs, alumni and employees in figuring out what they value, what they’re good at, and how to access meaningful work, co-op, volunteer, or graduate/professional school opportunities. Questions about CCA's services? Live chat, call 519-888-4047, or stop by our front desk in the Tatham Centre between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST, Monday to Friday.

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

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.

The Library is open with expanded hours for access to book stacks, drop-in individual study space, bookable group study rooms, drop-in access to computers and printers, book pick-up services and IST Help Desk support. Librarian consultations, Special Collections & Archives and the Geospatial Centre are available by appointment. 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 Office of Indigenous Relations is a central hub that provides guidance, support, and resources to all Indigenous and non-Indigenous campus community members and oversees the University's 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.

GSA-UW supports for graduate students: 

The Graduate Student Association (GSA-UW) supports students’ academic and social experience and promotes their well-being.

Advising and Support - The GSA advises graduate students experiencing challenges and can help with navigating university policies & filing a grievance, appeal, or petition.

Mental Health covered by the Health Plan - The GSA Health Plan now has an 80% coverage rate (up to $800/year) for Mental Health Practitioners. Your plan includes coverage for psychologists, registered social workers, psychotherapists, and clinical counselors.

Dental Care - The GSA Dental Plan covers 60 per cent to 70 per cent of your dental costs and by visiting dental professionals who are members of the Studentcare Networks, you can receive an additional 20 per cent to 30 per cent coverage.

Student Legal Protection Program - Your GSA fees give you access to unlimited legal advice, accessible via a toll-free helpline: +1-833-202-4571. This advice covers topics including housing disputes, employment disputes, and disputes with an academic institution.

The Graduate House: Open Monday to Friday 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. - We’re open to all students, faculty, staff, and community members. The Graduate House is a community space run by the GSA-UW. Capacity is limited to 50 per cent, and Government ID and Vaccination Records will be required for all dine-in guests. Graduate students who paid their fees can still get discounts and free coffee.

When and Where (but mostly when)

Warriors vs. Laurier Blood Donation Battle. Join our “Waterloo Warriors” team on the website or app. #ItsInYouToGive

WISE Public lecture Webinar, “Stress-informed model predictive control of hybrid hydropower,” Monday, March 7, 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., on Zoom.

Pivot-RP Administrative staff training: Learn about key functionality of Pivot-RP for admins, Tuesday, March 8, 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information and to register, please visit the Pivot-RP training page.

Health of Canadians in a Changing Climate, Wednesday, March 9, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

NEW - Fire and Feathers, Music for Harp and Violin, Wednesday, March 9, 12:30 p.m., online premiere.

NEW - Health of Canadians in a Changing Climate, Wednesday, March 9, 1:30 p.m.

NEW - On Dwelling: Shelters in Place and Time, Thursday, March 10, 2022, 7:00 pm 

NEW - Day of Action for a Just Transition, Saturday March 12, 2:00 p.m. in the Huron Natural Area

NEW - Blend 2022 – Where Business Meets Design: presented by The Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business and Manulife, exploring the theme "Design for All." Saturday, March 12, 12:00 p.m. to Sunday, March 13 at 6:00 p.m.

NEW - Getting Ready to Facilitate Online Courses: TA Training – Spring 2022. March 21 - April 15 (online certificate course). Register on Gosignmeup