Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Events supporting Truth and Reconciliation at Waterloo

Indigenous art depicting a ceremony.

A Message from the Office of Indigenous Relations.  

Over the coming weeks the University of Waterloo will observe and participate in a number of meaningful and educational Indigenous events. The Indigenous Commitment Ceremony on September 22, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation series of event the week of September 30, and a Pow Wow celebrating Indigenous culture on September 24.  

Five people wear orange truth and reconciliation t-shirts.

To learn more about the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and events happening on campus to commemorate the day, please visit our events page

Understanding Indigenous history, developing an awareness of the damaging and intergenerational effects of the residential school system and learning how to be a part of the reconciliation process is important. The Indigenous Commitment Ceremony, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Community Walk, and Pow Wow are important events that will help the University community to show solidarity with Indigenous peoples.  

We look forward to your participation in these events and learning opportunities, which are critical to embracing and implementing Indigenous ways of knowing and doing, as we work collectively on strengthening the cords of reconciliation.  

Learn more about the Indigenous Commitment Ceremony

Hack the North 2022 was as much about learning as it was winning

Hack the North overhead image

By Kira Vermond. This article was originally published on Waterloo News.

When Pira Ravikumaran arrived at Hack the North on Friday night, he admits he felt a little nervous.

As a fourth-year Chemical Engineering student at Waterloo, he was new to coding and wasn’t sure if his lack of experience would be a problem. The 36-hour turbocharged (and highly caffeinated) event brings together over a thousand students, experts and sponsors from around the world to Waterloo’s campus each year to code, compete, learn and network.

How would Ravikumaran keep up at Canada’s largest hackathon?

He shouldn’t have worried. After joining a team with other hackers that night, he explained he still had a lot to learn about computer coding — but he was ready to try. To his relief, his new teammates were supportive, especially a professor from Barcelona who runs hackathons in Spain.

“She said, ‘Don’t worry. The whole point of you being here is so you can learn,’” says Ravikumaran on Saturday afternoon, standing beside a table of free powder-blue t-shirt swag. “So that’s why I’m here.”

His story is one of many that played out over the weekend from Sept. 16 to 18. Created by students for students, Hack the North is known as one of the world’s preeminent hackathons offering aspiring developers, analysts and software engineers opportunities to rub shoulders with experts, attend workshops and speaker panels, and even try out brand new software. All while competing to create the most unique software and hardware projects from scratch.

And yes, it’s normal for hackers to pull all-nighters near tables heaped with chips, goldfish crackers, bananas and drinks or slip into a sleeping bag for a few hours of shuteye near dawn.

A table full of snacks for hackathon participants.

Stephanie Mills (BASc in progress), CEO and founder of CodeGem, an early-stage start-up launched at Velocity that offers productivity, collaboration and engagement tracking software, remembers when she used to attend hackathons. But last weekend, she experienced a full-circle moment: serving on the panel of judges beside other tech superstars.

“It feels really weird to be on the other side!” Mills says. “I learned a lot from hackathons. When I talk about CodeGem, hackathons are totally a part of the company’s story. I think they are wonderful experiences, and I hope more students try them.”

She has advice for students who want to attend next year: brush up on your communication skills. Hacking is as much about the pitch as the technical side.

“The people who win the hackathons are generally the ones who can tell the best story,” she says. “The judges aren’t opening code and making sure your syntax is correct. We’re trying to understand if your project can translate into something useful.”

Other Waterloo alumni and Velocity entrepreneurs were speakers and judges on site too, including Moazam Khan, founder of Curiato; Danielle Rose, CEO of Ceragen; Myra Arshad, ALT TEX CEO; and Evelyn Allen, co-founder and CEO of Evercloak.

“Every Velocity founder was helped by those who came before them and pays it forward to the next group,” says John Dick, director of Velocity Campus, which sponsored the event along with the University of Waterloo’s math and engineering faculties. “When Velocity founders and advisors participate in events like Hack the North, it is simply another demonstration of a prodigious culture that provides students the opportunity to gain insights into the founder journey, receive mentorship and build connections.”

Xiao Zhang, a hacker and second-year Computer Engineering student at Waterloo, wouldn’t mind winning a prize for his app that helps manage long lines for students wanting to talk to professors or teaching assistants after class. But that’s not his main driver for being at Hack the North.

“I think learning new skills is more important than winning any prize,” he says, explaining he knew he couldn’t stay up all night working on the weekend anyway. He had seven hours of lectures on Monday to prepare for.

Organizers and volunteers were there for the learning experiences too, from Kaiden Lee, a local high school student eyeing Waterloo as a top pick for post-secondary school, to Jennifer Tsai a student organizer on the sponsorship team. As a Biomedical Engineering student who just finished her second year, she wanted to meet a community of people just as passionate as she is about helping other students learn.

Looking around the room in the Engineering 5 building, as students and presenters rush past, she admits the last six months of work on Hack the North were hard and chaotic at times, but so worth it.

“Honestly, it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences,” she says. “To put on this huge event for many hackers interested in technology and guide their career path? The reward is just priceless.”

How Waterloo donors are shaping the future

Report on Giving banner image featuring several donors and students who benefit from donations

By Beth Bohnert, Office of Advancement

Whether they are helping students discover their potential or supporting research that addresses the world’s most complex problems, donors across our campus community are making a difference.

Jocelyn Bonti-Akomah and Nathaneal Bergbusch.

For Jocelyn Bonti-Akomah, seeing women in pharmacy who looked like her inspired her to pursue a career in the industry. Now, after receiving a student award honouring her community service, she’s encouraging other women of colour to achieve their goals.

Nathaneal Bergbusch is working with First Nations communities to ensure that environmental assessment processes consider how Indigenous people use waterways. Donor support helped him build the relationships that underpin his doctoral research; the tools he’s developing in collaboration with these communities could help developers avoid triggering environmental catastrophes like the one at Grassy Narrows.

These are just two examples of how donors — including faculty, staff and retirees — empower our students and researchers to explore, create and thrive in Waterloo’s unique learning environment. Through gifts of all sizes, these generous people support teaching and academic excellence, experiential learning, world-changing research, and an incredible student experience.

Read more about students and donors who are shaping the future in the 2021-2022 Report on Giving.

Postdoc profile showcase

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

In honor of National Postdoc Appreciation Week (September 19-23), Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs is proud to share the stories of some of the amazing postdoctoral scholars that have joined our UWaterloo community over the last year.

Taru MalhotraTaru Malhotra is a postdoctoral fellow working with Engineering Teaching and Student Experience, and the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business in the Faculty of Engineering. Her research focuses on technology use and integration in classrooms, educator beliefs, pedagogies, and practices. She has also taught courses in the Faculty of Education, and is excited to apply learning theories to concrete classroom practices within her courses. Learn more about Taru.

Sara Doody.Sara Doody is a postdoc with Department of Knowledge Integration in the Faculty of the Environment. Her research explores how scholars in the sciences communicate, understanding how interdisciplinary teams of scientists (and social scientists) collaborate on and convey research both within their teams and to the public more generally. Learn more about Sara.

Postdoc fun fact of the day: Did you know that Graduate and Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs maintains a central showcase of postdoc profiles? Separate from departmental profiles, these are an opportunity for postdocs to introduce themselves to the wider community at UWaterloo, telling people a bit about their work, interests, and experiences. If you are interested in sharing your experience as a postdoctoral scholar at UWaterloo, use the postdoc profile submission form today.

E Co-op has the power to put students' entrepreneurship dreams within their reach

The Tatham Centre in a fall setting.

By Clare Francis. This article was originally published on Waterloo News.

“It’s a life-changing experience!” says Orianna Min (BASc ’23). Her enthusiasm over the University of Waterloo’s Enterprise Co-op Program (E Co-op) is infectious.

Unique among university offerings in Ontario, E Co-op gives students the opportunity to spend a co-op term building their own businesses. A final year Mechanical Engineering student, Min is an E-Launch E Co-op pitch winner who has fully integrated her E Co-op experience into her studies. Her startup, Elpis, is now her Capstone Design project.

Min’s company got its start as an entry in the PRAXIS Ideation Challenge, a competition run by Waterloo in partnership with the Praxis Spinal Cord Institute.  Her experiences have helped her to develop Elpis’ core product — a device that uses biotechnology to assist people living with spinal cord injuries. She leads Elpis with Daniel Hu, a fellow Engineering student.

Orianna MinWhile in E Co-op, Min has been inspired to recognize her own potential. While previously, she may have ignored certain possibilities, these days, when observing a problem in the world she thinks, “Can I create something to change that circumstance or to improve that situation?”

Overall, the program has been an incredibly valuable experience, helping Min to gain a new perspective on life. Looking to the future, Min is interested in exploring possibilities beyond her specialty. She has been empowered, feeling like, “I can create something world-changing.”

Min’s E Co-op experience has also provided access to a host of resources. This includes expert faculty like Arash Arami, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering whose research interests include Rehabilitation Engineering and Wearable Systems — subjects that are directly associated with the work that Elpis aims to achieve.

Min cites the E Co-op program’s supportive community as a critical part of her experience. “The people I've met are all ambitious, but also inspired.” She speaks highly of her peers’ kindness and positive outlook, which has also influenced her perspective. Meanwhile, through E Co-op’s mentorship component, Min has gained valuable input from a diverse group of individuals, including Waterloo alumni.

As for the question of whether people ought to apply for E Co-op, Min is clear. “Do it!” She’s already recommended the program to friends among Engineering’s student body.

Ultimately, working on her startup via E Co-op has given Min a rewarding experience. “I can create something that will make the world a better place. I feel like that has always been what I want to do.” This program has the power to put students dreams within their reach.

It's National Payroll Week and other notes

A calculator, pen and balance sheet.

"Every September, the National Payroll Institute hosts National Payroll Week (September 19-23) to help celebrate payroll professionals in Canada and to highlight their roles and their impact," says a message from Human Resources. "They play a crucial role in the oversight of accurate, timely payment of all workers. Employee satisfaction depends largely on the functions of the payroll professionals who keep the process smooth behind the scenes." 

"The past two years have emphasized the tremendous impact that payroll professionals had during the global pandemic and continue to have every day. As our workforces at the University and around the world rapidly moved to different work arrangements, organizations needed to ensure their people were paid accurately, on time, for continued success and operation."  

"Thank you to all our payroll employees and administrators across our University. Payroll is at the center of our working lives, is vital to our economy, and to the financial well-being of working Canadians. Learn more about National Payroll Week, explore events in your area, or how you can celebrate payroll administrators in your area or unit." 

Speaking of payroll issues, for employees who are on the monthly payday cycle, Human Resources has sent an update about a change this month. "Friday, September 30 is the National Day for Truth & Reconciliation and is a statutory holiday for federally regulated workplaces, including Canadian banks which will be closed," says the memo from HR. "Employees who are paid monthly will receive their pay one day early on Thursday, September 29 instead of the last Friday of month as is our standard practice."

Karen Sunabacka and Darryl Reimer.The fall term's Noon Hour Concerts at Conrad Grebel University College kick off today with Curlicue.

Curlicue features solo piano works composed by Karen Sunabacka, and performed by pianist Darryl Reimer.  Curlicue refers to the title track, but also reflects the twists, turns, and curls of canoe trips, water, and life as explored in these compositions. 

The free concert gets underway at 12:30 p.m. This term, all Noon Hour Concerts will be held in-person in the Conrad Grebel University Chapel. Check out for further details.

Employers hosting Virtual Employer Information Sessions (VEIS) this week include NimbleRx, Moody’s Analytics, Smart Density, MunichRe, PartnerRe, Overbond, MNP LLP, Nulogy, HOOPP (Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan), Perpetua, Blackberry, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo Canada, Wind River, The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, Kiewit, Quora, Solidigm, Sanofi, and Nasdaq. Make sure to register through WaterlooWorks and check the calendar for any updates.

Link of the day

World Alzheimer's Day

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 KL team (CTE, CEL, ITMS, LIB) offers workshops, webinars and events.

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

Students with permanent, temporary and suspected disabilities and disabling conditions (medical conditions, injuries, or trauma from discrimination, violence, or oppression) can register with AccessAbility Services for academic accommodations (classroom accommodations, testing accommodations, milestone accommodations).

Instructors can visit AccessAbility Services' Faculty and Staff web page for information about the Instructor/Faculty role in the accommodation process. Instructors/ Faculty members are legally required to accommodate students with disabilities. AccessAbility Services (AAS) is here to help you understand your obligations, and to offer services and resources to help you facilitate accommodations.

The Writing and Communication Centre has in-person and virtual services to support grad and undergrad students, postdocs and faculty with any writing or communication project. Services include one-to-one appointmentsdrop-ins at Dana Porter Libraryonline workshopswriting groupsEnglish conversation practice, and custom in-class workshops.  

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 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 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Drop-in to in-person Warrior Study Halls on Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in DC and DP. Join a Peer Success Coach 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 here to help, both in person and online. Our spaces are open for access to book stacks, study space, computers and printers, and the IST Help Desk. For in-depth support, meet one-to-one with Librarians, Special Collections & Archives and Geospatial Centre staff. Access our resources online for anywhere, anytime learning and research. 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 - MATESGlow CentreRAISEWomen’s Centre - Click on one of the links to book an appointment either in person or online for the 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. 

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

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 Tuesday 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Wednesday to Friday 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 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. We’re adding new items to the menu. 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

Warriors Game Day Tickets and Season Passes, on sale now. Cheer on your Warriors W/M Basketball, Football W/M Hockey and W/M Volleyball teams at home during the 2022-23 season. Purchase today.

The Next 100 Symposium, Wednesday, September 21 to Friday, September 23. Find out more.

Applied and Computational Mathematics Distinguished Lecture, “High Order Numerical Methods for Hyperbolic Equations,” Dr. Chi-Wang Shu, Theodore B. Stowell Professor, Brown University, Wednesday, September 21, 11:30 a.m., MC 5501.

NEW - Noon Hour Concert - Curlicue, Wednesday, September 21, 12:30 p.m.

Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation (WICI) Open House, Wednesday, September 21, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Safeguarding Science workshop, Wednesday, September 21, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Public Safety Canada invites faculty, staff and students to attend this virtual event via MS Teams. Register to receive a link.

Indigenous Commitment Sunrise Ceremony, Thursday, September 22, 7:30 a.m., United College ceremonial grounds.

Unlearning the Binary: Fostering a Truly Trans-Inclusive Campus, Thursday, September, 22, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon, online.

Farm Market Arts Quad Toonie Picnic, Thursday, September 22, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Arts quad.

Indigenous Commitment Ceremony and feast, Thursday, September 22, 10:30 a.m., BMH Green.

David Sprott Distinguished Lecture featuring Stephen Senn, Thursday, September 22, 4:00 p.m.

Douglas Wright Celebration of Life event, Friday, September 23, 11:00 a.m., livestreamed on YouTube.

Welcome Back Lunch Friday, Friday, September 23, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the BMH Green. Free for the campus community. RSVP not required but let us know if you plan to attend.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know Part I, Friday, September 23, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW) event, Friday, September 23, 2:30 p.m., Grad House.

NEW - Pathways for addressing (with care) Disclosures of Racism, Monday, September, 26, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

NEW - Water Institute Research Conference 2022Water as a foundation for healthy communities and sustainable livelihoods, Monday,  September 26 to Wednesday, September 28, 7:00 to 10:00 a.m., online.

NEW - Waterloo at 100 staff consultation, Monday September 26, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., in-person meeting (registration required)

NEW - Waterloo at 100 staff consultation, Tuesday September 27, 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., virtual meeting (registration required)

NEW - Waterloo at 100 student consultation, Thursday September 29, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., virtual meeting (registration required)

University of Graz x University of Waterloo Erasmus+ Staff Mobilities 2022 application deadline, Friday, September 30.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department, viewable on the UWaterloo Talent Acquisition System (iCIMS):

  • Job ID# 2022-9238 - Administrative Officer - Office of VP, Finance and Administration, USG 12
  • Job ID# 2022-9237 - Director, Strategy and Operations - Office of Vice-President, Finance and Administration, USG 14
  • Job ID# 2022-9153 - Communications Specialist - Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association, USG 7
  • Job ID# 2022-9192 – Analyst - Co-operative and Experiential Education Business Services, USG 10 – 11
  • Job ID# 2022-8796 - Information Technology Specialist - Science Computing, USG 9
  • Job ID# 2022-9224 - Information Technology Specialist - Optometry and Vision Science, USG 9 – 11
  • Job ID# 2022-9217 - International Student Advisor - CEE - International Strategic Initiatives, USG 8 – 9
  • Job ID# 2022-9246 - Partnership Development Officer - Dean of Science Office, USG 10
  • Job ID# 2022-9057 - Research Coordinator – Biology, USG 7
  • Job ID# 2022-9176 - Student Advisor - Toronto West - CEE - Co-operative Education, UST 8 – 9
  • Job ID# 2022-9249 - Student Services Assistant - Arts Undergraduate Office, USG 5
  • Job ID# 2022-9218 - Writing and Communication Advisor, Workshops and Integrated Support - Writing and Communication Centre, USG 8 – 10
  • Job ID# 2022-9173 - Advancement Event Specialist - Engineering Advancement, USG 7
  • Job ID# 2022-9146 - Accounting Analyst - Print + Retail Solutions, USG 6
  • Job ID# 2022-9227 - Case Support Co-ordinator - Campus Housing, USG 8
  • Job ID# 2022-9232 - COMPASS Research Coordinator – School of Public Health Sciences, USG 6
  • Job ID# 2022-9151 - Project Manager - School of Public Health Sciences, USG 8

Secondments/Internal temporary opportunities

  • Job ID# 2022-9240 - Financial Officer - University Relations, USG 10
  • Job ID# 2022-9244 - Account Manager - West Region (Vancouver or Calgary) - CEE - Co-operative Education, USG 10 – 11
  • Job ID# 2022-9191 - Education Developer, Career Programming - CEE - Centre for Career Action, USG 10
  • Job ID# 2022-9215 - Student Advisor (East Region) - CEE - Co-operative Education, USG 8 – 9
  • Job ID# 2022-9248 - Contracts Manager – WatSPEED, USG 12
  • Job ID# 2022-9247 - Manager, Operations - Student Success Office, USG 7

Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo opportunities