Thursday, March 24, 2022

Six women recognized as 2021 University of Waterloo Co-op Students of the Year

The six winners of the Co-op Students of the Year awards.

By Namish Modi.

From providing engaging social media coverage for non-profit organizations, to demonstrating initiative by developing an iOS app, to helping secure an important federal grant, Waterloo’s Co-op Students of the Year shined in 2021. 

“To announce six outstanding women as our students of the year during the month when International Women’s Day falls is particularly special,” says associate provost of Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE), Norah McRae. “In another challenging year, these bright women stood out, whether it be virtually or in-person. As a result, they will excel in the future workforce and in representing Waterloo.”   

The following six women performed exceptionally on their work terms, and CEE was proud to announce them as Co-op Students of the Year during a virtual ceremony held on March 21.  

  • Ingrid Kaffka, Faculty of Arts;
  • Sarah Odinotski, Faculty of Engineering;
  • Emma Schuster, Faculty of Environment;
  • Madison McBay, Faculty of Health ;
  • Laura Bumbulis, Faculty of Math; and
  • Camille Huo, Faculty of Science.

On March 1, CEE announced the Co-op Student of the Year honourable mention winners’ part of the launch of work-integrated (WIL) month.   

The ceremony also honoured Problem Lab winners:  

  • Paige Hall, Faculty of Health; and 
  • Emily lam, Faculty of Health.

“It goes without saying the quality of our co-op program is thanks to our fantastic students,” says Ross Johnston, executive director of Co-operative Education. “And the student voice is so important to us as we think about how to continue to improve our programming to provide meaningful work-integrated learning experiences that help students prepare for their future careers.”  

Read the full story on Waterloo News and check out the winner citations

The countdown is on: 2022 Waterloo Staff Conference is two weeks away

Staff Conference banner

A message from Organizational and Human Development (OHD).

Two days of engaging and expert-led workshop sessions, award-winning keynote speakers, opportunities to connect with colleagues from across campus – it's all happening this April 6 and 7. This is where inspired learning and talented people come together to make high-impact moments.  

This year’s conference will be held virtually on MS Teams. Check out the agenda and register on Portal today. 

Meet the 2022 Keynotes

Spencer WestAfter losing both legs from the pelvis down at the age of five, Spencer West tackled challenge after challenge, learning to navigate a world set against those with disabilities. His many accomplishments, including summiting Mount Kilimanjaro, and the lessons learned along the way, led him to discover the techniques business leaders, professionals, educators, and young people can use to redefine possible in their own lives and careers.  

As a speaker, West infuses his talks with humour and humility, and will share his insights on how Leveraging Talent with Disabilities can have a very positive effect on our campus and colleagues as the WSC Opening Keynote speaker. 

Register for his talk on Wednesday, April 6 at 10:30 a.m. 

Katharine HayhoeAt a time where climate change has reached a threatening tumult and we are wrestling with feelings of hopelessness, asking “are we too late?” renowned atmospheric scientist, Katharine Hayhoe, brings us hope. Katharine’s research focuses on understanding what climate change means for people and the places where we live. She is the Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy and a Horn Distinguished Professor and Endowed Professor of Public Policy and Public Law in the Department of Political Science at Texas Tech University.   

“One of the nation's most effective communicators on climate change.” (New York Times). 

Katharine has been named one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People, the United Nations Champion of the Earth, and the World Evangelical Alliance’s Climate Ambassador.  

Katharine’s talk on Hope and Climate Change will close this year’s WSC on Thursday, April 7, 2022 at 2:30 p.m. Register today. 

Vaccine education at Pfizer

Gokul Raj Pullagura sits at a computer workstation.

March is Pharmacy Appreciation Month. This month, in our #PAM2022 series, the School of Pharmacy is looking back on the many ways that our pharmacy community has supported Canadians through the pandemic.

There are many steps before a COVID-19 vaccine gets to your arm.

The journey may seem linear: from development to testing to manufacturing. Shipment to countries around the world and distribution to hospitals and clinics where the vaccine is administered.

But there are many smaller steps on that journey that aren’t as obvious. Steps that Gokul Raj Pullagura, vaccine educator with Pfizer, understands intimately. Gokul is a graduate of Waterloo Pharmacy’s PhD program and is also trained as a pharmacist.

“I moved from Ottawa to Vancouver to join the Vaccines Business Unit at Pfizer,” he says. “It’s my job to understand the details of the company’s products and to educate health-care providers on those products.”

As the vaccine educator for British Columbia and Alberta, he’s responsible for supporting health-care providers in the provinces with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

“I’m new to the role and there’s so much to learn. My portfolio includes all of Pfizer’s vaccines,” he says. “Of course, the focus has been on the COVID-19 vaccine and how I can provide additional educational support to health-care providers who have questions about it.”

He conducts small group presentations on the COVID vaccine, working with immunizers to answer questions and collaborating with others inside the organization to ensure health-care providers on the ground have all the answers and resources they need. His team provides this support to every single site administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine throughout Canada.

“It’s a rewarding experience to be able to support vaccine education and contribute to combating COVID-19,” he says. “I did not expect to be in this role today, and I think that’s a good lesson for current grad students. There’s nothing you can’t do, so stay open to opportunities. Take a leap of faith when it comes your way and see where it takes you.”

Read Gokul’s full story on the School of Pharmacy website.

Using media resources to engage students and enhance course content

A message from Information Systems & Technology (IST).

A collection of movie DVD coversAs instructors prepare their courses for the upcoming spring and fall terms, Information Systems & Technology (IST) would like to remind the University’s teaching and learning community of the vast selection of media resources available to them, at no cost. Whether you’re looking to engage and connect with students, share complex ideas, or provoke discussion, IST Media Resources can help.

Enrich the learning experience

With access to more than 30,000 streaming titles and over 9,500 physical resources (Blu-Ray, DVD, VHS, 16mm) available, the University of Waterloo has one of the largest and most diverse media resource libraries in Canada.

Through subscriptions with nearly all major streaming platforms, titles are conveniently accessible through online catalogues where individuals can search for the resource they’re looking for, browse by genre or recently added, and even view a list of recommended staff picks. In 2020, IST added Kanopy to the list of available media resource platforms.

And, as we transition back to campus, IST is pleased to share that all IST Service Desks are open for in-person support, including signing out physical media resource titles from the Davis Centre Library service desk.  

Accessing media resources

Unable to find a title you’re looking for?

Purchase a new title through Kanopy on your own, or submit a media purchase request to gain access to titles across our other platforms.

Support for media resources

Questions about IST’s media resources service can be sent via email to

Grants for open education resources available; other notes

A pair of glasses and a pen sit on the pages of an open book.

The UW OER Fellows Grant Program has $15,000 to support Open Education Resources (OER) projects and is accepting submissions until Friday, April 1. "The OER Fellows Program is a pilot program (2022-2023) sponsored by the Library that provides grants to support the uptake of open educational resources (OER) at the University of Waterloo," says a statement from the Library. "Making learning materials freely accessible and available to the Waterloo community is part of the Library's mission."

More information is available on the OER Fellows grant guidelines page or by emailing Mike Chee, Open Education Librarian.

"The Lectures in Catholic Experience lecture scheduled for this Friday has moved to an online format only," says a note from St. Jerome's University. Religion and Nationalism Refuse to Die. So now what? will feature Professor of Religious Studies David Seljak on Friday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m. Find out more about the lecture on the St. Jerome's University websiteThe lecture will be broadcast on Microsoft Teams.

Another pop-up COVID vaccine clinic is being scheduled for March 31 in the lower level of the Student Life Centre and will run from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. 

"As part of this year’s Waterloo Staff Conference, we are hosting a UWSA Drop-in Session on Wednesday, April 6," says a note from the University of Waterloo Staff Association (UWSA). "There have been a lot of changes affecting staff this year, both good and bad. We are holding this session as an opportunity for you to say hello, find out more about the UWSA, and ask any questions about your working life at UWaterloo. Register now for the UWSA Drop-In Session to add it to your calendar, and then drop in if your time permits. Here’s what you’ll find:"

  • Q&A – our team will be on hand to answer any questions you have about the work of the UWSA
  • Ask an Advocate – join our staff advocate, Gail Spencer, in a one-on-one break-out room to confidentially ask any questions or book an appointment
  • UWSA Membership – not sure if you’re a member? We’ll be available to check and help you sign up if you’re interested
  • Prize Draw – Enter to win a $500 gift card for Apple, sponsored by Johnson Insurance. Just drop in to get your prize draw entry form. Fill it out and a winner will be chosen randomly.

Link of the day

International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims

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 undergradsgrad 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 per cent 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 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 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. Vaccination Records and Government ID continue to be required for all dine-in guests. Graduate students who paid their fees can 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

Half Price Fitness Memberships and Rock Climbing Memberships. Only $25 for the remainder of the term. Purchase your membership now.

Warriors truLOCAL Kickback ProgramMarch 22 to April 22. Purchase high quality locally sourced meat and fish while supporting your favourite Waterloo Warriors varsity team. Find out more.

Theatre and Performance program presents Mustard, Thursday, March 24 to Saturday, March 26, 7:30 p.m.

Sawatsky Lecture, Resistance Strategies: Equipping Ourselves and Our Communities for Long Term Justice Work featuring Professor Regina Shands Stoltzfus, Thursday, March 24, 7:30 p.m. 

NEW - University Senate meeting, Monday, March 28, 3:30 p.m., MS Teams.

Quantum Valley Investments Problem Pitch Competition, Tuesday, March 29, 5:30 p.m.

Master of Taxation, Virtual Information Session, part-time info session, Thursday March 31, 1:00 p.m., full-time info session, Thursday March 31, 2:00 p.m. To register visit,

Indigenous Speakers Series presents Lenore Keeshig, Thursday, March 31, 4:00 p.m.